Redskins

Monday's Sports in Brief

Monday's Sports in Brief

The fury of Superstorm Sandy barely laid a glove on sports around the country.

While the storm flooded shore towns in the Northeast, washed away a section of the Atlantic City Boardwalk and shut down transit and school systems, sports emerged practically untouched on a quiet Monday.

Perhaps the biggest dislocation came in the NFL. The league moved its trade deadline back two days to 4 p.m. EDT Thursday because of potential complications from the storm.

Just as a combination of meteorological forces made for a particularly harsh storm, sports was spared Monday by a confluence of elements.

The World Series ended a day earlier. The Monday night football game was in Arizona. Hockey is shut down by labor problems. The NBA does not begin until Tuesday night. College basketball has not yet begun.

BASEBALL

Baseball's business began with the New York Yankees exercising $15 million options on second baseman Robinson Cano and center fielder Curtis Granderson, two of the disappointments in their AL championship series loss to the Detroit Tigers.

Oakland, the surprise AL West champion with a major league-low $59.5 million payroll, exercised a $4.5 million option for closer Grant Balfour and declined its half of a $10 million mutual option for shortstop Stephen Drew, who receives a $1.35 million buyout.

Minnesota declined a $9.25 million option on right-hander Scott Baker, who missed the entire season because of a torn elbow ligament. The Twins are interested in keeping him at a lower salary.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who haven't made the playoffs in three years, declined options on first baseman Juan Rivera ($4 million), right-hander Todd Coffey ($2.5 million) and catcher Matt Treanor ($950,000). Rivera gets a $500,000 buyout, Coffey $300,000 and Treanor $150,000.

NEW YORK (AP) The San Francisco Giants' sweep of the Detroit Tigers set a record low for the World Series' television ratings.

The four games on Fox averaged a 7.6 rating and 12 share, Nielsen Media Research said Monday. The previous low was an 8.4 for the 2008 Phillies-Rays and 2010 Giants-Rangers series, which each went five games.

Last year's Cardinals-Rangers World Series went the full seven games and built momentum to average a 10.0/16.

PRO FOOTBALL

Michael Vick remains the starting quarterback in Philadelphia, for now.

Three people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that coach Andy Reid hasn't benched Vick.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because all announcements about the starting lineup come from Reid. The Eagles' headquarters was closed due to Superstorm Sandy, and there was no media availability.

Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, has struggled this season and Philadelphia (3-4) has lost three straight games.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Several corporate sponsors stepped up to help save the San Diego Chargers the embarrassment of having Thursday night's NFL Network game against the Kansas City Chiefs blacked out on local TV.

The NFL Network began showing Thursday night games in 2006 and has never had one blacked out.

The Chargers said the sponsors guaranteed the purchase of enough tickets to lift the blackout, which at one point seemed a certainty. Those tickets will be donated to local military bases and military hospitals.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts head coach Chuck Pagano made it back to the team complex for a short staff meeting.

It's the first time Pagano has been back since being diagnosed with a form of leukemia Sept. 26.

Interim coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians says he listened to the discussion after doctors cleared Pagano, whose white blood-cell count has increased as he has undergone treatment for the illness. He's scheduled to start a second round of chemotherapy next week.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Star defensive end Mario Williams had surgery on his left wrist and expects to play Sunday when the Buffalo Bills face the Houston Texans.

Williams said in the locker room Monday that the operation in Alabama was done to ``clean up'' his wrist and he can already detect better range of motion in his left hand.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

The biggest man on The Associated Press' preseason All-America team got the most votes.

Seven-foot sophomore center Cody Zeller, the main reason Indiana is the preseason No. 1 for the first time in 33 years, was one vote shy of being a unanimous selection for the preseason All-America team.

Zeller, who averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 62.3 percent from the field, received 64 votes from the national media panel which selects the weekly Top 25.

Also on the team were junior forwards Doug McDermott of Creighton and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State and three guards - seniors Isaiah Canaan of Murray State and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh and sophomore Trey Burke of Michigan.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says running back Marcus Lattimore told him he will be back on the field for the Gamecocks.

Spurrier spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 players, students and fans who turned out to wish Lattimore a speedy recovery and a happy 21st birthday.

Lattimore dislocated his right knee and severely damaged several ligaments in a horrific injury Saturday against Tennessee.

PRO BASKETBALL

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks are moving on without guard Delonte West, and their starting center for Tuesday night's season opener on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers will likely be someone who wasn't even on the roster a week ago.

The Mavericks waived West on Monday, the eve of a second straight season with a major roster makeover. West was part of the first retooling a year ago, and figured to be a valuable role player again before two suspensions in as many weeks for conduct detrimental to the team.

Dallas had to dump West to make room for Eddy Curry, a journeyman center who was picked up last week after San Antonio let him go. Curry likely will get the start against the Lakers because Chris Kaman and backup Brandon Wright are battling injuries.

THE NCAA

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Rule-breakers are about to find out just how tough the NCAA is going to be.

After debating changes for more than a year, the board of directors is poised to vote Tuesday on an enforcement proposal that would streamline the infractions process, impose harsher sanctions on the worst violators, expand the current two-tiered penalty structure to four and create a more standard set of penalty guidelines.

PENN STATE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Retired boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard said he cried for Jerry Sandusky's accusers after hearing of the former Penn State assistant football coach's arrest on child sex abuse charges nearly a year ago.

An abuse survivor himself, Leonard spoke at at Penn State's inaugural Child Sexual Abuse Conference, saying he hopes the accusers can draw from his own story and willingness to speak out about a problem that garnered national attention following the Sandusky scandal.

Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison earlier this month after being convicted on dozens of criminal counts covering abuse allegations both on and off campus. Eight accusers testified at the June trial.

GOLF

ZHENGZHOU, China (AP) - Rory McIlroy outdueled Tiger Woods in the first one-on-one exhibition match between golf's two biggest names.

McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 to beat Woods by one stroke in an 18-hole match between the two top-ranked golfers at the Jinsha Lake Golf Club in central China.

SOCCER

ZURICH (AP) - Lionel Messi is in the running for a fourth consecutive FIFA world player of the year award.

Twenty-three candidates were announced, and Messi was joined by Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Xavi Hernandez on the Ballon d'Or shortlist.

Seven players for Spain are in contention after the national team retained its European Championship title in July. Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is again the only England player on the list.

Italian players are in the mix for the first time in three years - Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli and Juventus players Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon.

TENNIS

PARIS (AP) - Julien Benneteau was among three French winners in the opening round of the Paris Masters, downing Victor Troicki of Serbia 6-4, 7-5 to set up a match against countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact. 

Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.

So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field. 

DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)

That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve. 

Can Guice do that?

The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game. 

The bigger key is opportunities. 

How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.

If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too. 

Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games. 

Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.

One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December. 

The line can't be that beat up again, right?

Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018. 

One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight. 

The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Various sources

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

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

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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