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Jones nears wins record for Oklahoma quarterbacks

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Jones nears wins record for Oklahoma quarterbacks

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) As he closes in on rewriting some of Oklahoma's storied history, Landry Jones got a timely note to provide just the boost he needed.

Jones was doubting himself after committing two costly turnovers in the Sooners' loss to Kansas State last month. Then he received a letter from former Sooners quarterback Steve Davis - the very man whose school record for wins he's about to break.

``He just really wanted to encourage me,'' Jones said. ``Just keep going, keep leading those guys and keep fighting, regardless of what happens in the next game or the last game. Your focus is on this game and always to lead those guys.''

Jones rebounded with a solid performance, throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns - this time with no turnovers - in a 41-20 win at Texas Tech on Saturday that at least momentarily silenced his critics.

Jones was as tough as anyone on himself after his fumble was picked up for a K-State touchdown and his interception set up the Wildcats' go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. He called himself out for playing ``dumb football'' and encouraged everyone to place the blame on him for the loss, even as his coaches and teammates insisted he wasn't the only one at fault.

Then he had an extra-long time to soak it in, with the Sooners (3-1, 1-1) having the following week off.

``There were some high parts and there were some low parts, that's for sure,'' Jones said. ``That night you're just thinking to yourself what could I have done better, especially after the game. That's the worst part. But then once Monday rolls around you just have to put it behind you and fight those doubts of whether you can actually make plays or not plays, but it's just one thing you have to fight.''

Jones has been through plenty in his time as Oklahoma's starter. He was thrust into action when Sam Bradford was injured in 2009, a year after he'd won the Heisman Trophy. Twice Jones lost games when he relieved Bradford, including against rival Texas.

He's won a Big 12 championship and three bowl games, but it's never seemed like enough while playing in the shadows of Bradford, 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and Josh Heupel, who led the team to the 2000 national title.

``Landry's had ups and downs. We've had our ups and downs since he's been the quarterback, as a program,'' said Heupel, now the Sooners' offensive coordinator. ``He's resilient. He comes back. During the course of the game, he's that way. ... He's mature in that way. He knows who and what he is as a person and player, so that's why he just keeps coming after it. He might not always get the results you want, but he's willing to come after it.''

Jones has by far thrown the most passes in Oklahoma history and came into the season already holding the records for most yardage and touchdown passes, most yards in a game and numerous others. He's 32-8 as Oklahoma's starter, tying the number of wins Davis had during a remarkable 32-1-1 run that included the 1974 and 1975 national championships.

Jones can break the wins mark in marquee fashion Saturday when his No. 13 Sooners take on No. 15 Texas (4-1, 1-1) in the Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Jones is technically 2-0 as a starter in the rivalry and could become only the fourth Oklahoma quarterback to go 3-0, joining Jimmy Harris, Jamelle Holieway and Davis.

``There's a lot of emotion that goes into that game,'' Jones said. ``It's just a different type of game because there's so much tradition.''

In a nutshell, that's also how Jones has approached his entire tenure as the starter and how Davis instructed him to remain even during the tough times.

``I think it's a great position in sports, It's a tough position in sports, too,'' Heupel said. ``There's ups and downs for everybody while you're here. This is what happens when you play at Oklahoma. You're expected to win every ball game, and the quarterback's supposed to be the guy that's the catalyst for that.''

From being dumped in defeat, Jones can quickly redeem himself in one of the best ways possible: by beating the Longhorns.

``That's typically the way it goes. One week you're the worst person in the world, the next week everybody loves you,'' Jones said. ``You just have to realize what you are. I think I've been saying don't ride the wave. Always be somewhere in between. You're not as bad as you think you are and then some nights you're not as great as you think you are. It's always somewhere in between those two lines.''

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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