Redskins

Lions' Suh fined $30,000; says kick not on purpose

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Lions' Suh fined $30,000; says kick not on purpose

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) Ndamukong Suh's reputation for being a nasty player was born as an NFL rookie.

Suh slammed two quarterbacks to the ground by grabbing their helmets two years ago, and his image became even more notorious last season when he infamously stomped on an opponent.

Just when the Detroit Lions defensive tackle started to improve his ability to play the game cleanly this season, he had a setback.

But if you think he's contrite, guess again.

The NFL fined Suh $30,000 on Wednesday for unnecessary roughness because he kicked Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area. The previous day, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league didn't suspend him because it couldn't reach a judgment on his intent.

Schaub shouldn't hold his breath waiting to hear Suh say he's sorry.

``I was dragged to the ground,'' Suh said. ``A lot of things happen to me.

``It's part of the game.''

Suh was on his chest after being taken down by an offensive lineman when his left cleat hit Schaub below the belt in Detroit's loss to Houston last Thursday.

``I just thought it was very Suh-like to give a little extension there at the end,'' Texans linebacker Connor Barwin said.

For the first time, Suh tried to explain what happened.

``It's a crazy play, it's one that unfortunately happened,'' he said. ``I didn't even realize it until the end of the game, when I see my Twitter feed, I see my friends telling me about it. Other than that, I can't do much more about it. I was being dragged to the ground and my foot inadvertently hit the man.

``But it's over with and I am moving forward and getting ready to play the Colts.''

Detroit (4-7) will have Suh on the field when it hosts Indianapolis (7-4) because he dodged another suspension from the NFL. His reputation, though, has taken another hit.

``Certainly the perception in the NFL is he's a very dirty player,'' Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. ``The perception among players is that he's not very well liked. The perception among the fans is starting to be the same.

``It's one thing to play hard and have physical hits in the course of a game or be an aggressive player, but it's another thing to take just blatant cheap shots all the time.''

The NFL suspended Suh for two games last season after he stomped on Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith in a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving Day. Suh said sorry to Dietrich-Smith personally for stepping on his right arm on purpose and has shown remorse publicly for what he did a year ago.

``I think I'm always going to be punished some form or fashion for last Thanksgiving,'' Suh said. ``I apologized for it and I will continue to apologize for it. It's something that happened, a mistake that I made. I'm living up to it and I'll continue to move past it. Some people may not, some people will and some people will teeter-totter back and forth depending on whatever the situation is.''

Suh has been fined in previous seasons for roughing up QBs: Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, Chicago's Jay Cutler and Cleveland's Jake Delhomme. He easily cut the checks because he'll make $40 million guaranteed - with a chance to get paid as much as $68 million - in a five-year contract signed after Detroit drafted him No. 2 overall in 2010.

Schaub refused to talk about the play - or Suh - after last week's game and declined to say much about it or him again Wednesday. Schaub insisted it didn't matter to him that Suh avoided a suspension and only got a fine.

``Don't really care,'' Schaub said.

Cutler did choose to chime in on the 6-foot-4, 307-pound Suh, who has ferociously knocked him down multiple times and once finished off a tackle by twisting and ripping his helmet off.

``It seems like he's always in this predicament every five, six, seven games,'' Cutler said. ``You have to be aware of him when he's playing football. He's a tough competitor. He plays hard.

``Sometimes, he goes overboard.''

Delhomme agreed.

In a preseason game two years ago, Suh grabbed Delhomme's face mask, twisted it, wrapped his arms around his helmet and slammed him to the ground.

``What he did to me as a rookie and how he hit Cutler hard earlier this year were just aggressive plays,'' Delhomme told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, adding that he's likely going to stay retired in Louisiana. ``But there's no place in the game for kicking Schaubie like he did or stomping that guy last year on Thanksgiving.''

Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene, who was also regarded as a nasty player in the NFL, told the AP last year that he hoped Suh's reputation wouldn't be tarnished forever for what he did last Thanksgiving.

Greene said then that he wanted to talk to Suh about their shared experiences as interior defensive linemen, and they have connected.

``I spoke to him,'' Suh said softly before answering a slew of questions from reporters following Wednesday's practice.

Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson probably talks to Suh more than anyone else and said his close friend is misunderstood.

``I've heard people call him self-centered and arrogant, but if you take the time to get to know him, you'll see a different side of him and find out that he's a cool guy,'' Jackson said. ``People are going to have perceptions of him because of the way he came into the league with some aggressive plays that nobody saw before.

``But look at a guy like Brodrick Bunkley. He kicked a guy in the head and we don't hear much about that.''

The NFL hasn't suspended Bunkley, a New Orleans defensive tackle, for his boot to the back of San Francisco lineman Alex Boone's helmet in the final minutes of a game Sunday.

Since Suh broke into the league in 2010, when he was the only rookie on the All-Pro team, he leads all defensive linemen with nine personal fouls and is tied for fifth with 19 penalties, according to STATS LLC.

He drew most of those flags in his first two years. His only infraction this season has been one encroachment penalty.

The Lions have already lost more games this year than they did in 2011, and for a second straight season, Suh is falling short of his production as a rookie.

When Detroit was winning or Suh was racking up sacks, he was regarded as a talent. Now that the Lions are losing and he's struggling statistically, Suh's rep compounds his problems.

So what's he thinking?

``I can't really fish into that,'' he said. ``Too much energy to even look at it and digest all that.''

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-

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AP Sports Writers Andrew Seligman in Lake Forest, Ill.; Tom Withers in Berea, Ohio; Kristie Rieken and Chris Duncan in Houston contributed to this story.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter:http://twitter.com/larrylage

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Need to Know: What’s the outlook for the Redskins’ secondary in 2018?

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: What’s the outlook for the Redskins’ secondary in 2018?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 25, 31 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Fan questions—The secondary

To be sure, there are reasons to be concerned about the secondary and we’ll get into those in a bit. But the popular notion that the secondary struggled last year is not accurate.

Do you want to go standard stats? They were ninth in the league in passing yards allowed and 10th in opponent passer rating last year.

Do you prefer more advanced analytics? They were sixth in defensive passing DVOA and 11th in adjusted net yards per attempt.

That’s not a great pass defense but it was a pretty good one. It should be noted that they also benefited from a solid pass rush; they were seventh in the league in sack percentage. Still, you don’t finish in the top third of the league in pass defense without at least a competent secondary.

The question is, will it remain competent? Kendall Fuller was indeed a key player, one of the best slot corners in the league. Bashaud Breeland was inconsistent, but he did shine on occasion. But the fact that he is still available as a free agent indicates what the league thinks of him, problems passing the physical notwithstanding. Those two will have to be replaced.

It is likely that Quinton Dunbar will take Breeland’s spot on the outside. That is at worst a lateral exchange if not an improvement. Dunbar has been working for three years to get this opportunity and there is confidence among the coaches and, perhaps more importantly, the players that he is ready.

Orlando Scandrick is the probable starter at slot. He is a downgrade from Fuller, no question about it. If he is healthy—a big if—Scandrick is good enough to get the job done. Don’t let the star he wore on the side of his helmet for so many years blind you to the fact that he’s a solid player.

The depth at slot consists of second-year player Josh Holsey, who played all of nine snaps on defense last year, and rookie Greg Stroman. That’s not ideal but most of the other teams in the NFL have a similar depth chart.

The wild card who could be the difference between this secondary being better than last year or worse is Fabian Moreau. He played only 59 defensive snaps as a rookie but he did show off his speed and hard-hitting style on some of his 349 special teams snaps. During the offseason practices that were open to the media, Moreau was mostly Josh Norman’s backup at left cornerback. The feeling is that he won’t remain a reserve. We will have to see how things sort out during training camp.

There should be some improvement at safety if Montae Nicholson figures out how to stay on the field in his second year. If he struggles with injuries again and Deshazor Everett has to line up alongside D.J. Swearinger for a good chunk of the season, the safeties are no worse off because that's what happened last year. 

The bottom line is that a secondary that was good last year may take a step down in 2018 but the decline should not be steep. And if Moreau can be the player the organization thought he could be when they used a third-round pick for him, it could be just as good if not better.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler.

Tandler on Twitter

I tweeted this in response to a discussion about the relative popularity of the NFL and NBA. Albert Breer’s tweet on the TV ratings for the leagues’ respective drafts was the nexus of the discussion.

Timeline  

Redskins cornerback Josh Holsey was born on this date in 1994.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 31
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 45
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 59

The Redskins last played a game 176 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 76 days.

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Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

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USA Today

Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 on Sunday night to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

Anthony Rendon homered and doubled, Bryce Harper tied a career high with three doubles and Michael A. Taylor and Murphy each had three singles in a game that was delayed 38 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams homered for the Phillies, who had won three straight.

Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk against Victor Arano. With one out, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (1-2) came on to face Harper, who doubled to right, with Goodwin stopping at third.

After Rendon grounded out, Juan Soto was intentionally walked and Murphy lined a 1-2 pitch to shallow right. Taylor's single made it 8-6.

Ryan Madson (2-3) pitched the eighth inning, and Sean Doolittle finished it for his 21st save.

The Phillies took a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run triple by Odubel Herrera and a two-run homer by Williams.

Washington pulled within a run at 6-5 in the sixth with four two-out hits, including an RBI triple by Trea Turner and RBI doubles by Harper and Rendon.

Nick Pivetta went five innings and allowed two runs on eight hits for the Phillies.

Washington starter Jefry Rodriguez was charged with four runs and five hits in four-plus innings.

The Phillies broke on top on Hoskins's two-run homer in the third.

Rendon made it 2-1 with a solo homer in the fourth. The next three hitters singled, tying the game, but with the rain intensifying, out came the tarp. When play resumed, Pivetta struck out three straight to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the seventh with a right knee contusion. ... 3B Maikel Franco slipped on first base and fell hard in the eighth. He stayed in to run, but left after the half-inning. ... INF Jesmuel Valent?n was placed on the paternity leave list and OF Dylan Cozens (left quadriceps strain) was reinstated from the 10-day DL.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) allowed 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Sunday. "I'm more concerned with the way he feels," manager Dave Martinez said, downplaying the results. "We'll go from there." ... RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) threw a scoreless inning at Potomac. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on the field again. "We'll keep doing his throwing progression and figure out when he can actually throw from the mound," Martinez said.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.82) starts the opener of a series against the Yankees on Monday. He is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two games vs. New York.

Nationals: RHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08) opens a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. He is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six games against the Rays.