Redskins

With odds stacked, Jets look to restore pride

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With odds stacked, Jets look to restore pride

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Mike Pettine read the quotes, word for word, and was bothered.

So, the New York Jets defensive coordinator printed out what San Francisco's Carlos Rogers said about the defense - that it appeared to quit last Sunday - and put it up on a PowerPoint presentation for all of his players to see.

No gasps. No yells. No cusses.

Just silence.

``When it comes from a peer,'' Pettine said, ``you have to kind of stop yourself.''

It's Week 5 of the regular season and the Jets (2-2) are being tested in a major way. They're still in first place in the AFC East, but injuries are stacking up. So are the criticisms, and the odds, especially with undefeated Houston coming to town to play Monday night.

Pettine says there was nothing on film to indicate the defense quit in a 34-0 loss, but it was clear that something's a little off that needs fixing.

After all, their pride is at stake.

``I don't think you can say anybody quit. I think we got worn down,'' Pettine said. ``The guys in the room know what it's supposed to look like.''

And, it's not just the defense that failed last Sunday. Far from it. The offense has hit the skids the past few weeks with quarterback Mark Sanchez playing so poorly that many believe it might be time for Tim Tebow to save the day - and the season.

``It could be one of the best things to happen to us all season,'' Tebow said after the blowout loss last Sunday.

He wasn't brushing it off or trying to be just a team-first guy. Tebow believes that maybe this adversity - including losing cornerback Darrelle Revis and wide receiver Santonio Holmes to season-ending injuries - can be turned into a positive.

``When you have defeats like this where you get beat up and you get beaten in every phase, it really is something you can rally behind and motivate you,'' Tebow said. ``Different teams I have been on with losses like this, I feel like we've rallied behind because you don't want to feel like that again. It kind of puts you on edge a little bit.''

The Jets are a franchise that has lost a laundry list of locker room leaders over the last few years, veterans who kept things cohesive in the face of adversity: Thomas Jones, Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Shaun Ellis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jim Leonhard and Jerricho Cotchery, to name just a few.

Ryan stripped the captains' ``C's'' from the jerseys after last season, but insists there are still a number of players others lean on. Bart Scott, Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, Yeremiah Bell and Eric Smith are among them. And, despite his increasingly tenuous job security, Sanchez also is someone the team looks to.

``All the work and effort I've put in, they know how bad I want it,'' Sanchez said. ``When it doesn't go right, I'm the first to step up and say, `Hey man, that wasn't my best and it wasn't right. I'll get it right.' They understand that and it's my job to keep pushing and leading.''

Most of the talk all week has centered on how complete a team Houston is with its smothering defense and balanced offense, while the Jets are in trouble. They opened as 7-point underdogs, but it might as well have been 37 in the minds of some fans and media.

It's really sort of like the scene from the movie ``Rocky IV,'' when Adrian yells at Rocky: ``You can't win!''

Well, he defied the odds and went out and did, and now the Jets, even this early in the season, face a critical point to change their story line. They can still lose on Monday night and turn their season around. But another blowout, and things will start getting dicey.

``I think, without question, our pride was hurt a little bit,'' Ryan said. ``Our football team, that's not a typical New York Jets game. Now, we've lost in the past, but we haven't been beat like that.''

Actually, as Ryan later pointed out, they have. Back in 2010, when the Jets went to New England in a battle for first place in the division - and the Patriots romped 45-3. New York got back up and rebounded all the way to their second straight AFC championship game appearance.

``That was probably the only game that I can remember that was worse than that game,'' Ryan said. ``We're going to come back the way we know how. We're not covering up. We're going to be throwing punches.''

The feistiness Ryan has always been known for still comes out, but in smaller spurts now than they used to. He thrives in the role of the underdog, and his teams have generally done the same.

But, he knows his team is up against the wall right now with key players out and both sides of the ball having trouble establishing themselves. So, Ryan and his coaching staff huddled for two days and gave the players off so they could come up with some ways to fix the mess. When offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo suggested the offense and defense have a ``nosebleed Wednesday'' - an extra 8-minute period of practice in which the base units go up against each other - Ryan jumped at the chance.

``I challenged our guys to really compete against each other and the only way to get better is when you go full-speed on each other,'' Ryan said. ``That's what we got back to, and that's what we did.''

The Jets talked about tackling after Ryan said during a radio interview that his team missed 17 of them against the 49ers. There were basic concepts discussed, such as players getting their bodies in better position to actually take down an opposing runner and also getting off blocks.

Fundamentals. Back to basics. Whatever you want to call it - Ryan knew it needed to get done.

``I certainly don't have all the answers,'' he said. ``I'm just trying to do what's in the best interest of our football team. We need to improve and I'm reaching out for ways to do that.''

NOTES: The Jets will honor former DE Mark Gastineau and WR Wesley Walker by inducting them into their Ring of Honor on Monday night. ``I'll probably start crying,'' said Gastineau, who made headlines for his popular sack dances and high-profile romance with actress Brigitte Nielsen during his playing days. Walker said he supports Sanchez as the Jets' quarterback, but wants to see more from him. ``To become a premier quarterback, he has got to step up,'' Walker said. ``A big issue with leadership is can he perform with the weapons he does have? I like Mark Sanchez, but he hasn't been that guy, as far as I'm concerned.'' ... ST coordinator Mike Westhoff said newly signed CB Aaron Berry and FB Lex Hilliard will have key roles on his unit.

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

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USA Today Sports

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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Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

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USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

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NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.