Redskins

Players bond over memories of .... childhood pets?

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Players bond over memories of .... childhood pets?

From Comcast SportsNet
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jeff Fisher took an offbeat approach for breaking the ice when St. Louis Rams veterans and rookies met for the first time. Besides standing and reciting their names, schools, favorite movies, etc., during introductions, the new players were asked to recall the name of their first pet along with how it died. Fisher said several mentioned hamsters and turtles, while some remembered the family dog or cat getting squashed by trains or buses. "We had one whose parents just put him down that morning," Fisher said Wednesday. "You know, it was sad. No, it was good. Good introduction." Cornerback Cortland Finnegan recalled lighthearted goings on when he was a rookie playing for Fisher in Tennessee. There, he got saddled with the nickname Fido. "It's something coach Fisher always throws in there for giggles," Finnegan said. "I played the nickel and I would always run after the wrong guy." Rams rookies got hung with nicknames, too. Finnegan said one looked like Greg Oden, and another resembled Gonzo, the Muppet. There are limits to the frivolity. Players won't be asked to sing and Fisher went out of his way to emphasize there will be no hazing, no rookies taped to goal posts or the like. "They're here to help us win," he said after the team completed a second day of organized team activities. There is fresh optimism surrounding a franchise that's a sorry 15-65 the last five years. Defensive end Chris Long, the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, is playing for his fourth coach entering his fifth season and can't recall a vibe quite like this. "There's been a lot of changes since I've been here. This is by far the one I'm most excited about," Long said. "I think we're all very excited about it. It's a new beginning for a lot of people and, in the same sense, you have to re-prove yourself." Fisher does not seem worried about all those lean seasons in the recent past. "We've completely forgotten about last year," the coach said. "This is a team that's going out there to win, period. There's players that are emerging that were here. There's players that are improving. We've got an influx of talent through free agency and the draft and we're going to play hard and win games." Fisher said much of the base offense and defense have been installed. The Rams worked on situational play and the red zone Wednesday and might delve into the two-minute offense on Friday. A handful of rookies have been unable to attend. Running back Isaiah Pead, a second-round draft pick, was among four who attend schools on the quarter system and can't participate until the end of exams. Plus, Pead and two wide receivers who could get plugged into the offense immediately, second-rounder Brian Quick and fourth-rounder Chris Givens, are attending an NFL rookie premiere event in California. "It's mandated by the league that they come out there, so unfortunately they're missing some quality work," Fisher said. "It's a photo thing, and (trading) cards and those kinds of things. Really great timing." The Rams added a pair of veterans for depth, signing free agent linebacker Mario Haggan and offensive tackle Barry Richardson, and both were on the field Wednesday. Richardson started every game the last two seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs and the 32-year-old Haggan also has been strong on special teams.

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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

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USA Today Sports

Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Redskins offseason thus far comes from the lack of change. Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky are all coming back. 

One name that is less certain, and is widely loved, is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

For Tomsula, there is no pressure on him to perform better. His work in developing Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle probably ranks as the most impressive on the team. 

"Jim [Tomsula] is definitely my favorite coach I've ever had," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said this week. "I don’t really count [University of Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban because he wasn’t my position coach, but as a position coach, love Jim Tom."

The Alabama product's comments came during a charity even at National Children's Hospital, and they came during an interesting time for the Redskins defense. The organization spoke with a number of highly sought after defensive coordinator candidates in the last few weeks, but stuck with Manusky at the position. The team claimed, through an unnamed source in a Washington Post article, that the meetings were just to gain different perspectives. Interesting. 

Now that Manuksy is back, however, the future for Tomsula becomes one of the biggest questions for the club. 

It sounds like Allen is prepared for any outcome. 

"I don’t know if he will be back. I would love to have him back but he has a family, definitely he’s a big family guy and his family is in Florida," Allen said. "I can completely understand his reasons for not coming back."

Any conversation with Tomsula always centers around family. He's one of the few coaches that remembers reporters' kids' ages and often asks about them. It's a genuine thing for Tomsula, and it's impressive. 

He is also close friends with Manuksy, and the coordinator's return could help in keeping the fiery D-line coach. If Tomsula does leave Ashburn, he's already made a significant impact for players like Allen.

"Regardless what happens I wish him nothing but the best and I’m just glad I got to spend two years with him."

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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis vows his team 'will never, ever tank'

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis vows his team 'will never, ever tank'

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis didn't mince his words in London Thursday.

“We will never, ever tank,” Leonsis told reporters prior to the start of Wizards-Knicks.

The comments come 44 games into the 2018-19 campaign which has seen John Wall exit with season-ending surgery and Dwight Howard only appear in nine games due to back surgery. The Wizards are currently in 11th place in the eastern conference at 18-26, three games back (in the loss column) of the Charlotte Hornets for the final playoff slot.

You can stream Wizards-Knicks beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday from London inside The O2 Arena.

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