Nationals

Maybe Andy Reid isn't going anywhere

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Maybe Andy Reid isn't going anywhere

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Andy Reid has been fired by nearly everyone except the man in charge.

It's a foregone conclusion in Philadelphia and around the NFL that Reid will coach his last game with the Eagles on Sunday at the New York Giants. Fans already have a wish list for a new coach and the media has speculated for months about Reid's successor.

But owner Jeffrey Lurie has said nothing. Lurie hasn't spoken to reporters since Aug. 30, which is when he said another 8-8 season would be ``unacceptable.''

A careful look at the questions Lurie faced and his exact answers during that news conference leaves open the possibility that maybe Reid may not get fired.

It doesn't seem likely that he'll step down.

``I want to coach. That's what I want to do,'' Reid said Friday.

Reid has one year left on his contract, so Lurie made it clear the last time he spoke publicly that he wouldn't discuss a contract extension with Reid's agent, Bob LaMonte, until after the season.

After that statement, Lurie was asked six straight questions about Reid's future. Here's the questions and responses:

-Does there need to be a certain level of success on the field for Reid to receive a contract extension?

``It goes beyond that but there's no question what I said was we need substantial improvement,'' Lurie said.

- Did you set a level of what qualifies as a successful season?

``I don't have a level or anything like that,'' Lurie said. ``I just want to be clear about that. You just try to make the best judgment you can after the season.''

-Would another 8-8 season be considered satisfactory?

``No, it would not,'' Lurie said.

-Will you know after the season whether it was successful?

``I do. I think it will be very clear,'' Lurie said.

-Does your statement on an 8-8 season have qualifiers, including potential injuries?

``Listen, you just have to make the best decisions you can after the season,'' Lurie said. ``As I said, 8-8 was unacceptable.''

-Regardless of injuries, is an 8-8 season unacceptable?

``Again, I am not going to make blanket statements,'' Lurie said. ``I really wanted to try to explain to you that 8-8 was unacceptable. Yeah, I guess if two-thirds of the team is not playing, there are always exceptions. That was a really unacceptable outcome. I just want to reiterate that.''

At no point did Lurie say he would fire Reid if the team didn't make the playoffs. However, the widespread assumption after that news conference was that Reid had to take the Eagles deep in the playoffs to keep his job. Because the Eagles are 4-11 and out of the playoffs for the second straight year, it seems inevitable that Reid's days are numbered.

But Lurie left himself an out when he said ``there are always exceptions.''

Here are five reasons why Lurie could keep Reid for one more year:

1. Reid is due to make $6 million in 2013. That's a lot of money to pay a guy to go away. Sure, the Eagles have missed the playoffs two years in a row. But Reid is the winningest coach in franchise history. Nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five conference championship games and one Super Bowl loss is quite a resume.

2. A slew of injuries never allowed the Eagles to get in a rhythm on offense. The four best players - quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and left tackle Jason Peters - missed a combined 31 games. Center Jason Kelce missed the last 14 games, and Evan Mathis was the only lineman not to miss any. Though some players were hurt after the team started its slide, losing these key players didn't give Philadelphia much of a chance to bounce back.

3. The Eagles had too much turmoil on defense. Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo after six games. The decision to move Castillo from offensive-line coach to defense in 2011 was Reid's biggest mistake. But the defense struggled terribly after Castillo was dismissed. It wasn't until defensive-line coach Jim Washburn was fired with four games remaining that the defense started making progress under new coordinator Todd Bowles.

4. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles and rookie running back Bryce Brown were bright spots on offense in a dismal season. Reid made his mark in the NFL by helping develop Brett Favre in Green Bay. He drafted and turned Donovan McNabb into a six-time Pro Bowl QB. So, he certainly knows quarterbacks. Foles would have to start fresh in a new system if Reid and his coaching staff are let go.

5. Reid has complete support in the locker room. No one on the roster has said a negative word about the coach and any player asked says he wants him back.

This already was a tough year for Reid before the Eagles even started playing games that count. Reid endured a devastating loss just weeks before the season opener when his oldest son, Garrett Reid, died during training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.

Lurie said that wouldn't factor into his decision.

``You are there to win and win big and you have to separate the two. All of the analysis will be on Andy Reid the coach,'' Lurie said.

Still, it's difficult to imagine a personal tragedy of that magnitude didn't even affect Reid's coaching. Lurie and Reid have had a close working relationship throughout their 14 seasons together.

Maybe Lurie lets Reid finish out his contract. It may cause a riot among the fans, but the city loves its Eagles and the stadium is always full.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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