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Locker learning but not winning like other rookies

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Locker learning but not winning like other rookies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Andrew Luck and RG3 are winning. Russell Wilson, too - and they're all NFL rookies.

Jake Locker is in his second season, and his 2-5 record as a starter comes nowhere near the success some of this season's young quarterbacks are enjoying.

The Tennessee Titans are not worried.

Coach Mike Munchak says his quarterback takes blame for his mistakes and works hard not to make the same one twice. They love his toughness, and Munchak says he's been around quarterbacks not as willing to accept responsibility when plays go wrong.

``I think our team needs to take a step, it's not necessarily just him,'' Munchak said Wednesday.

Locker, who sat behind Matt Hasselbeck in 2011 as a rookie and missed five games this season due to injury, finally makes the first of what the Titans (4-8) hope are many starts against Luck and the Colts (8-4) on Sunday. He is coming off his worst start yet with five turnovers - two fumbles and three interceptions - along with being sacked six times in a 24-10 loss to Houston.

Watching film of that game wasn't nearly as bad as Locker feared.

``You watch the turnovers, it wasn't guys doing the wrong things. It wasn't going the wrong place with the ball,'' Locker said. ``Balls got tipped, and guys made plays. If it doesn't get tipped and gets through, we've got guys wide open to catch passes for us. From that standpoint, it's kind of encouraging almost.''

As a rookie, Locker played in five games coming off the bench in a season when Cam Newton, Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder got to start and had success. The Titans named Locker their starter this August, and he wound up missing almost as many games as he's played this season after dislocating his left, non-throwing shoulder twice in the first four games.

Locker returned Nov. 11 and led the Titans to a 37-3 win at Miami. Since then, the eighth pick overall in 2011 out of Washington has struggled with five of his seven interceptions along with seven of the 11 sacks he's taken coming in the past two games - both losses.

Against Houston, he was incomplete on seven straight passes early only to settle down in the second half. The Titans outgained Houston 210-110 in the second half and had chances to make it a game with Locker also using his legs. But he had a 28-yard run to midfield wiped out by a penalty.

Locker ranks second on the team in rushing behind only Chris Johnson, averaging 7.7 yards on 21 rushes for 162 yards. That mobility is a key for Locker, who Indianapolis interim coach Bruce Arians said was more natural on the move coming out of school.

``From the pocket is where you thought you were going to have to develop him,'' Arians said. ``I think that's still a natural thing for him to get out and make plays, whether it be running or on the run and throwing. He's still learning to develop everything within the pocket and getting to the second, third and fourth guy.''

Locker ranks 17th among AFC quarterbacks in both attempts (212) and completions (120). He's completing 56.6 percent of his passes for 1,473 yards and a 77 passer rating. He has thrown for more than 300 yards twice this season, first in rallying the Titans to an overtime win over Detroit on Sept. 23 and in the loss to Houston.

Titans receiver Nate Washington said Locker is everything they expected and are satisfied with what he's giving them.

``With all the hype that's been coming in with young quarterbacks, I think people aren't touching on there's still more to learn,'' Washington said. ``Everybody who comes in this league, there's more to learn about this game so that's going to happen with everybody. He's doing what we're asking of him. Could he be doing better? Yeah. But he could be doing a lot worse.''

Locker also has his teammates' respect. After Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins intercepted a tipped pass, Locker tackled him, knocking him up into the air for his second tackle this season. Locker later stood up for center Fernando Velasco after what the Titans called a ``cheap shot'' from Houston defensive lineman Antonio Smith late in the game.

``That's why we love Jake,'' Velasco said. ``Jake's a great guy. He's a warrior. He's a fighter. He's got a lot of heart. I appreciate him going to bat for me.''

Notes: LT Michael Roos did not practice with a sore right knee. Munchak said he went through the walk-through portion and could practice Friday. The Titans placed LG Steve Hutchinson on injured reserve Wednesday after claiming G Mitch Petrus off waivers from New England. ... LB Colin McCarthy (concussion) returned to practice after missing the Houston game. ... WR Damian Williams (hamstring) did not practice and likely will miss Sunday's game. DE Kamerion Wimbley (toe) did not practice.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

Monday night was supposed to be another night of Capitals action with a game against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately due to the NHL’s hold on the season in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the show can not go on as originally planned. 

However, with some minor adjustments to the presentation, there is still a way to keep things going. 

Monday night at 7 p.m. ET the Capitals will be taking the ice to play the Sabres as planned, only this time it will be virtual ice on an NHL 20 simulation. 

In partnership with Monumental Sports Network, NBC Sports Washington will be airing all Wizards and Capitals games in simulated NBA 2K20 and NHL 2K20 games. The format of these games includes watching the simulated versions of Caps games based on the existing schedule with the bonus of commentary from NBCSW’s experts. 

To make things even more fun, in between the simulation and the re-air of the simulation, there is a chance to relive a classic Caps game. So don’t forget to stick around and re-watch Dowd and the Capitals dominate the Penguins from earlier this season. 

Here's everything you need to know to watch. 

When: Monday, March 30 at 7 p.m. ET

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
  • Monumental Sports Network via its website www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com or via any of its available apps on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Xbox.

Broadcast schedule: 

7:00 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (P)
8:00 PM: NHL Classics: Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins (R) 
10:30 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (R)

Starting lineups: 

Capitals: TBD
Sabres: TBD

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

These 2K simulations certainly do agree with the Wizards. Coming off a stunning victory over the Bucks Friday, Washington turned around on the second night of a back-to-back and beat the Lakers 73-66 at virtual Capital One Arena. 

LeBron James was a one-man wrecking crew for LA, Bradley Beal led the scoring attack for the Wizards and Thomas Bryant got revenge on the team that waived him. 

Here's how the Wizards picked up their fourth-straight 2K win. 

Offensive rebounds

The Lakers are one of the biggest teams in the NBA with James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard playing heavy minutes, but it was the Wizards who dominated the boards in this one. 

Bryant led the way for Washington on the glass with seven of his 13 rebounds coming on the offensive end. The Lakers shot the ball significantly better than the Wizards (47% to 39%) but Washington was simply overwhelming them on the glass to create more opportunities. 

Washington grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers' eight, and it ended being the major difference in the result. 

LeBron's one-man show

The real-life Lakers' biggest weakness is their lack of playmaking outside of James. In a game where James had everything working for him, the Lakers struggled to get anything going whenever he didn't have the ball. 

Rajon Rondo struggled mightily despite tallying eight assists (2-11 FG) and Davis had a bad game relative to his standards (10 points, one rebound, three blocks).

I'd be curious to see what virtual LeBron would have to say about his teammates after this particular game. 

Thomas Bryant's revenge

As we stated before, Bryant was waived by the Lakers after his rookie season and his virtual self took it all out on his former team Saturday night. 

He dominated the boards and once again protected the paint in a way that would make Elvin Hayes proud. He finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. 

With Bryant playing the way he has been the last few simulations, the Wizards' defense has been exceptional. Outside of defensive versatility, having a strong defensive center anchoring the defense is paramount to an effective unit. 

Other parting thoughts

Jerome Robinson continues to play well as a starter, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes. The Wizards didn't get that long of a look at Robinson before the NBA suspended its season.

After acquiring him at the trade deadline in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, it'd be another steal by Tommy Sheppard if Robinson can play like this consistently in real life. 

Instead of erupting in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards secure a win, Beal went off for 14 points in the third this time. He finished with 24 points and went 12-for-30 from the field.

Markieff Morris made a return to DC in this one. The Lakers uniform looks weird on him. 

It's hard to capture just how quick Ish Smith is in a video game, but this spin move came pretty close. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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