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Purdue needs to win them all to go bowling

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Purdue needs to win them all to go bowling

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Purdue is running out of time to save its season.

The Boilermakers, who entered the season talking about playing for a Big Ten title, have lost their first five conference games and need to win out to become bowl-eligible. Purdue (3-6, 0-5) travels to Iowa on Saturday with its season on the line.

The Boilermakers said they were fired up after the previous week's 44-28 loss at Minnesota and expected a better performance last Saturday against Penn State. Purdue grabbed an early lead against the Nittany Lions before falling apart and losing 34-9.

Purdue has been outscored 189-86 in league games. Coach Danny Hope, normally positive in his news conferences, spent most of Tuesday's session explaining what has gone wrong.

``It is surprising, surprising and baffling in some ways, but again, I think it's a combination of a lot of things, and a lot of it might be poor management on my part,'' he said. ``What they can handle and what I think they can handle might not be the same thing at times.''

Hope said the Boilermakers didn't deal with the high expectations well.

``Sometimes you can be too pressed to win,'' he said. ``There's a real difference between intense and tense. We may be tense more than intense at times, the pressure of wanting to win and wanting to exceed and wanting to meet our expectation levels. But again, I don't apologize for trying to be the best. I think it would be beneath us if we did.''

The Boilermakers went 3-1 in nonconference play, including a close loss to Notre Dame that got the nation's attention, before opening the conference slate with losses of 44-13 to Michigan and 38-14 to Wisconsin.

``You lose and you lose ugly, and then the fans turn on you in some ways and then doubt creeps in it a little bit and maybe a guy doesn't play as well, and then a few guys get injured, and pretty soon, you're not as good as you should be or as good as you were,'' Hope said. ``It's hard to kind of hold all that together. And then the competition picks up and you get more guys injured and you lose some more and things become tough around you.''

Purdue pushed Ohio State, but the Buckeyes scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the final seconds of regulation to tie, then won in overtime.

After that came a loss to Minnesota, athletic director Morgan Burke put out a statement saying the team's performance hadn't allowed the team to reach its goals, and that those associated with the program were disappointed.

Things got no better the next week with a loss to Penn State that put this season in jeopardy of being a complete failure.

Hope said it comes down to execution.

``We call it DYJ, doing your job,'' he said. ``We've got guys that are trying like hell but not getting the job done. Guys are really working hard in practice and focusing in practice and studying his plays and then he gets on the field and he does everything right except for a thing or two, and the next thing you know it manufactures a huge play (for the opponent).''

Hope is aware that the fans are unhappy, and they showed it with attendance of just 40,098 at last Saturday's game. They have been busy on message boards on Twitter, railing against the program and criticizing both players and coaches. Hope said he doesn't worry about the negative comments.

``I'm not going to let a disgruntled fan or any one person take my spirit away or take away from what it is that we're here to do, and that's to coach football and have fun and to win,'' he said. ``Obviously, the fans have a reason to be disappointed. We're very, very disappointed. But I don't let someone that demonstrates themselves in a small way set me back a whole lot.''

Hope said the message to his players is that he still believes in them, but they need to get it together.

``We try not to coddle them right now,'' he said. ``We don't need them feeling sorry for themselves. They need to man up and get ready to get it on and guys have to suck it up and play injured.''

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series