Redskins

No. 25 Texas Tech beats Kansas 41-34 in 2OT

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No. 25 Texas Tech beats Kansas 41-34 in 2OT

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) No. 25 Texas Tech has practiced the play that gave the Red Raiders a 41-34 double overtime win over Kansas on Saturday - not always with the best results.

Eric Stephens took the snap out of the wildcat formation, rolled to his right and threw a 3-yard jump pass to Darrin Moore for the winning touchdown.

``It's been hit or miss in practice, but I just had a really good feeling about it,'' quarterback Seth Doege said. ``I think Eric's one of those guys when you call his number, he's going to get the job done.''

Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings couldn't connect with Tre' Parmalee in the end zone on fourth-and-9 for Kansas to end the Jayhawks' chances.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime. Cummings found James Sims for a 5-yard score to put Kansas up 34-27. Stephens tied it at 34 on a 1-yard run.

The Jayhawks (1-9, 0-7 Big 12) came from behind in the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime on a 32-yard field goal by Nick Prolago with under a minute remaining in regulation. Those points were set up by a 44-yard run by Cummings on fourth-and-3 from the Jayhawks 36 that took the ball down to the Texas Tech 20.

``Michael runs down there and keeps the ball and almost takes it to the house,'' Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. ``With my luck, he would have taken it to the house too quickly because, as it was, they came down the field and had a chance to win right there.''

Doege completed 45 of 59 passes for three touchdowns and 476 yards for Texas Tech (7-3, 4-3). He had one interception in the second quarter that seemed to give the Jayhawks belief they could upset the Red Raiders. The Jayhawks outscored the Red Raiders 20-6 in regulation after the interception.

Tony Pierson had a career-high 202 rushing yards on 16 carries for Kansas, which lost its ninth in a row and 19th straight Big 12 game.

Pierson also got the longest run from scrimmage this season for the Jayhawks when he scampered 69 yards to set up Sims' 3-yard run that pulled Kansas within 27-24 with about nine minutes remaining in the game.

Sims, the junior from Irving, Texas, got his sixth game with more than 100 yards, becoming the first Jayhawk to do so since 1961. He finished with 127 yards on 30 carries.

The win ended a two-game skid for the Red Raiders, following losses to Texas and Kansas State.

Doege's completion to Tyson Williams at the Kansas 20 with six seconds remaining in regulation was called back after a review because Doege's knee hit the ground after he fumbled the snap. Then Ryan Bustin missed to the left by about a yard on a 41-yard field goal attempt in high winds that would have won the game at the end of regulation.

Texas Tech was 18th in the country in total defense coming into the game, giving up an average of 314 yards per game. Against the Jayhawks they gave up 419 yards.

Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said his team played well in spurts in the second half.

``We weren't able to make big plays like we thought we could,'' he said. ``They made us earn it. There were times we were on the edge of breaking that thing open. We just weren't able to do that.''

For a second straight week, the Red Raiders had some trouble when they got into the red zone. Last week, in the loss to Texas, they went for field goals four times after they stalled inside the 20. This week they got two field goals after failing to get into the end zone.

Still, Doege threw touchdown passes of 9, 16 and 6 yards - one each to Jakeem Grant, Williams and Moore - to build a 21-7 lead for Texas Tech in the second quarter.

A video clip of Tuberville went viral during the game. Footage shows him facing graduate assistant Kevin Oliver and appearing to use his left hand to strike him on the right side of his face. Oliver's headset and ball cap fall off. It happened when the Red Raiders seemed to have difficulty getting the right personnel on the field.

Tuberville said he didn't mean to hit the graduate assistant.

``It wasn't anything to it,'' he said. "It was just one of those deals where I missed his shoulder and ended up grabbing the microphone on his head set and pulled it off.''

Texas Tech's offense was hit or miss in the first half. The Red Raider had three three-and-outs on three of their seven possessions. Yet at times Doege still was able to the offense down the field, despite a stiff south wind that at times gusted 50 mph.

Kansas pulled within 21-14 after Doege threw his ninth interception of the season. Brad McDougald picked off the pass in the middle of the field and returned it 32 yards to the Red Raiders 29 halfway through the second quarter.

A few plays later Cummings found Brandon Bourbon in the near-side flat and he ran it in for a 10-yard touchdown.

On the Jayhawks' next possession, Pierson juked diagonally across the field for a 49-yard run that led to a 22-yard field goal for Kansas to whittle the lead to 21-17 going into halftime.

On Doege's second touchdown pass he moved into third place all-time at Texas Tech. His 63rd touchdown pass came when he hit Tyson Williams in the back corner of the end zone to put the Red Raiders up 14-7 early in the second quarter.

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Need to Know: Tandler's Take—Jay Gruden know the pressure is on him in 2018

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Need to Know: Tandler's Take—Jay Gruden know the pressure is on him in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 24, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The heat is on Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden knows that his Redskins need to win in 2018.

“This isn’t a two- or three-year process,” he said last week. “This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away.” 

Jay Gruden gave this answer to a question about Alex Smith, but his words should resonate with the whole team. He’s right. This is no longer a rebuilding team. It’s time for this team to get it together and make a playoff run. 

That puts the pressure on Gruden. 

This is his fifth year as coach of the Redskins. He is well beyond the point where he can credibly point a finger of blame at his predecessor for any problems that are lingering. Only five players who were around in 2013, Mike Shanahan’s last year in Washington. It’s Gruden’s show now. 

His tenure is now the longest for a Redskins head coach since Norv Turner made it nearly seven years, from 1994 through 13 games into the 2000 season. His 49-59-1 run with the Redskins spanned three owners in Jack Kent Cooke, John Kent Cooke, and Dan Snyder. 

It should be noted that Turner’s third and fourth years at the helm closely resembled Gruden’s past two years. Turner’s team went 9-7 in 1996 and 8-7-1 the next year, narrowly missing the playoffs both years. That looks a lot like Gruden’s 8-7-1 and 7-9 records over the past two years. 

Gruden does not want this year’s team to resemble the 1998 Redskins. Turner’s fifth team started out 0-7 before winning four of their last five to finish 6-10. 

Turner kept his job in part because of the team’s uncertain ownership situation after the elder Cooke passed away in 1997. Gruden will not have a similar set of circumstances to help him out if he needs a lifeline in January. 

Gruden wants his fifth year to turn out more like Turner’s sixth season. That team went 10-6, topped the NFC East standings and won a playoff game. 

To get there, he needs a lot of his decisions to go right. While the trade for Smith was not his call, every indication is that he was on board with it. 

Last year, it was his decision to say no, thanks to Wade Phillips, who wanted to be his defensive coordinator and promote Greg Manusky into the job. The results were mixed as the Redskins were sixth in pass defense DVOA but 29thagainst the run. It was viewed as a marginal improvement on defense but the unit still seeme to be more of a liability than an asset. 

This year, the Redskins re-signed inside linebackers Zach Brown and Mason Foster and added defensive lineman Daron Payne with their first-round pick after spending their first-round pick on DE Jonathan Allen in 2017. There will be no excuses for Manusky and, by extension, Gruden if the defense does not improve. 

Joe Barry, Manusky’s predecessor who also was hired by Gruden when Phillips was an option, was out after two years of failing to significantly improve the defense. Any reasonable analysis would have to conclude that Barry did not get an infusion of talent anywhere approaching what Manusky has received in his two seasons. Manusky is getting a second year but he probably won’t get a third if the defense is still considered to be an impediment to the team’s progress. 

And if Manusky has to go, you have to wonder if Gruden will get a chance to hire a third defensive coordinator. 

I’m not sure if there is a certain number of games that the Redskins have to win for Gruden to return in 2019. It feels like he would not survive a 6-10 season or maybe not even another 7-9 finish. On the other end of the spectrum, making the playoffs and winning a game when they get there would certainly punch his ticket for a sixth season. 

Anything in between would leave Gruden in some jeopardy and the call would come down to the vague “moving in the right direction” criteria. 

There are some holes on this team, to be sure. But every team has some and the ones that are well coached figure out how to overcome them. The pressure will be on Gruden to best utilize their strengths and minimize any damage brought about by the weaker points. 

From his statement, it’s apparent that he is well aware of that. 

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

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 32
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 60

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 77 days. 

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Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

The Wizards' selection of Troy Brown of the University of Oregon with their first round pick has been met with a strong reaction among fans, many of whom argue he doesn't play a position of need, that it was a luxury pick when other areas could have been addressed, most notably in their frontcourt. Big man Robert Williams of Texas A&M, for example, was still on the board. 

The Wizards, though, did address needs by picking Brown. And really, they arguably filled more pressing needs in the short-term than those at power forward and center.

Though the Wizards clearly need some help at big man in the long-term, as both of their starting bigs are on expiring deals, they need help immediately at both shooting guard and small forward. Brown, though he is only 18 years old and offers no guarantees to contribute right away, can play both of those positions.

Shooting guard is where he can help the most. The Wizards have one backup shooting guard in Jodie Meeks and he is due to miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season while serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Even when Meeks was available this past season, he only helped so much. He shot just 39.9 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. Head coach Scott Brooks often chose to rely more on starter Bradley Beal than go to Meeks as his replacement. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any player in the NBA.

More depth at shooting guard will help relieve Beal of some of that workload. That would be great for keeping him fresh throughout the season and help him be at his best when they need him most in the playoffs.

The Wizards also have some urgency at small forward. It is their strongest position in terms of one-two on the depth chart, but they have no logical third option. That was magnified in the playoffs once Otto Porter got injured. They were left with Kelly Oubre, Jr. and had to trot out Tomas Satoransky, who has limited experience at the position.

Brown can play both shooting guard and small forward, giving them much needed depth. If he can play well enough to earn a rotation spot, the emergency situations the Wizards encountered last season could be avoided in 2018-19.

The Wizards still need to find long-term solutions at power forward and center, but they were going to need to find answers at shooting guard and small forward as well. Both Meeks and Oubre have one year left on their deals. Brown helps solidify the long-term outlook at wing.

Now, there's no denying the Wizards already had considerable talent at both shooting guard and small forward with Beal, Porter and Oubre. That begs the question of how much Brown can offer particularly in the first year of his career. But the Wizards would like to play more positionless basketball and to do that requires depth at wing.

The Boston Celtics have helped make positionless basketball famous and their roster shows that the one player-type you can't have enough of is similar to Brown. Boston has Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris. All are around 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 and offer versatility on both ends of the floor.

The Wizards also now have four players of that size and with positional versatility in Brown, Porter, Oubre and Satoransky. They can roll out different combinations of those guys and possibly have an advantage on defense with the ability to switch seamlessly on screens.

In the age of positionless basketball, players of Brown's ilk have become major assets especially for teams that have many of them. There is such a thing as having too many point guards or centers because they can't coexist on the floor. Versatile wings, in most scenarios, can play together in numbers.

It's different but in a way similar to certain positions in other sports. In baseball, you can have too many catchers but you can't have too many talented pitchers and utility players. In football, you can have too many running backs or tight ends, but you can't have too many defensive linemen. 

Brown gives them options from a roster perspective in the long-term. Oubre has one year left on his contract and if he continues his trejectory with a strong 2018-19 season, he could price himself out of Washington. Brown could move up the depth chart as his replacement one year from now. The Wizards also now have the option to consider trades at the position given their depth.

The problem, one could argue, with drafting Brown over a Williams-type is that it limits their options at center in particular. Drafting Williams would have made it easier to trade Marcin Gortat, for instance, because they would have had depth to deal from. Now, it's more difficult to trade Gortat, whom they have shopped on and off for months, without a plan to replace him. Finding a Gortat substitute in free agency with the limited resource they have would not be easy.

But big man wasn't their only need and in Brown the Wizards may have found a solution at other areas where they clearly needed help.

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