Redskins

Luck has youthful pass-catchers for Colts

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Luck has youthful pass-catchers for Colts

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck's dynamic rookie season is even more impressive when considering that most of the people he's throwing to are new to the NFL, too.

Five of the Colts quarterback's top seven pass catchers are in their first season. Receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill, tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener and running back Vick Ballard are all learning the ropes along with Luck.

The youngsters have helped Luck put most meaningful rookie passing records in jeopardy. Luck has passed for 3,596 yards, fourth in the league behind Detroit's Matthew Stafford, New Orleans' Drew Brees and Dallas' Tony Romo. The Colts (8-4) rank third in the league in total offense heading into Sunday's home game against Tennessee (4-8).

Because Luck is a rookie, the young receivers have the benefit of an understanding quarterback.

``A guy runs the wrong route or breaks the wrong way, he understands because he's a young guy, too. If you're dealing with a veteran quarterback, you might get fussed out or something like that, and that might cause you to lose a little bit of confidence,'' Allen said. ``Andrew's a young guy, just like us. He understands that we all make mistakes, him included, so he tries to make us feel as comfortable as possible when we make those mistakes.''

The young receivers say veteran wideout Reggie Wayne, who ranks third in the league in receptions and yards, has helped them develop. The scary part? They're just getting started as a unit.

``We're still figuring out each other,'' Hilton said. ``We're young, but we've got a few veterans we can lean on. We're growing and the bond is getting stronger.''

Donnie Avery, the team's No. 2 receiver, is a senior statesman at age 28. He scored the winning touchdown last week in Detroit with no time remaining.

``We just play our role,'' Avery said. ``When our number's called we just try to make plays. Everybody just complements 12 (Luck) and 87 (Wayne).''

Avery has 49 catches for 675 yards. Hilton ranks third on the team in catches (39) and yards (588). Allen is fourth on the team in both categories (36 for 435). Fleener, Luck's teammate at Stanford, has 22 catches for 248 yards.

LaVon Brazill has 10 for 178 yards and leads the team in yards per reception. He scored his first NFL touchdown last Sunday in the fourth quarter at Detroit.

Ballard has 14 catches for 133 yards, including a dramatic dive for a game-winning touchdown reception in the first meeting with Tennessee.

Hilton, a speedster from Florida International, is opening eyes with his ability to make game-changing plays. He had two touchdowns against Buffalo two weeks ago, including a 75-yard punt return for a score. He led the team with six catches last week against Detroit. He has set the team record for 100-yard games for a rookie with four.

``He's a great receiver,'' Avery said. ``He's young in the game, but he makes plays. He knows how to get open, he knows how to catch the ball. He's going to be special.''

The offense has developed surprising effectiveness for a group that is so new and lacks NFL experience. The Colts have put together five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. Hilton said it's partially because Luck knows he can go to any of his targets.

``He's trusting us to be in the right spot at the right time,'' Hilton said. ``He drops back three steps and he's looking, he knows we're going to be there. Chemistry is growing. We know people are going to double-team, triple-team Reggie and make other guys get them. That's when we step up and be accountable.''

Allen said the coaching staff expects the rookies to perform like veterans.

``They demand us young guys to not play like rookies,'' he said. ``It's week 14. You're not a rookie anymore. That's what they say all the time.''

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

Check out the latest news and notes on the Baltimore Orioles

Player Updates:

Even in a loss, the night belonged to OF Anthony Santander who went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple and two runs scored. Santander tripled and scored during the Orioles' five-run rally in the third inning. He then tagged Rick Porcello for a solo shot in the fifth that pulled the Orioles to within 10 runs at 16-6. It was the first four-hit game of the young outfielder's career. 

SP Thomas Eshelman had a rough day on the mound giving up nine runs (five earned) on six hits over 3 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander also issued three walks while striking out three. He struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark in this one, giving up home runs to Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts before departing in the fourth. 

Due to Pedro Severino's illness, the Orioles optioned C Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk. He has played in 16 games for the O's this year with a .233 batting average, zero homers and three RBI in 47 plate appearances.

Injuries:

C Pedro Severino: Illness, Day-to-day

SP Dylan Bundy: Knee, 10-day Injured List

RP Josh Rogers: Elbow, 10-day Injured List

OF DJ Stewart: Ankle, 10-day Injured List

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-day Injured List

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-day Injured List

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-day Injured List

Coming Up:

Sunday 7/21: Orioles vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Monday 7/22: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Tuesday 7/23: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Source: Rotoworld

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