QB Matt Hasselbeck starting 4th straight vs Colts


QB Matt Hasselbeck starting 4th straight vs Colts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans do not have a quarterback controversy just yet, and coach Mike Munchak is doing his best to keep the situation under control by making it clear the starting job is Jake Locker's when healthy.

When that will be still remains to be seen.

For now, Matt Hasselbeck should make his fourth straight start Sunday against Indianapolis, and the veteran's play in leading Tennessee to fourth-quarter comebacks each of the past two games makes it easier for Locker to take his time healing up his shoulder.

Locker injured his left, non-throwing shoulder Sept. 30 for the second time in four games. He just started throwing in practice last week on a limited basis, and Munchak said they would discuss the quarterback's status later Monday. The coach said again that Locker will start when he's ready with the only holdback how quickly the quarterback can move through each stage of healing.

``He could progress very fast,'' Munchak said of Locker.

``That's all the information we really have other than that it's just a lot of speculation of where he's at and timing and guessing what week he'll be (back). We just don't know that. When he's ready to play, like I said, he'll be back playing. We just don't know when that is right now.''

Hasselbeck threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington on fourth down with 1:03 left in rallying the Titans (3-4) to a 35-34 win at Buffalo. He also drove the Titans to 10 fourth-quarter points in beating Pittsburgh on Oct. 11. Locker praised the 14-year veteran's performance as being ``awesome.''

``I'm happy that we're winning games, and I don't think you can look at it any other way,'' Locker said. ``It's my job to get myself healthy and myself back on the field as soon as I can.''

Locker said he had another round of tests on his shoulder Monday and hadn't heard the results yet. What doctors are looking for on the MRI exams is a more healing around the shoulder where the bone dislocated twice.

``Once that happens, then the discussion about being able to come back becomes a little more serious,'' Locker said.

The Titans have a chance to claw their way back to .500 if they can beat Andrew Luck and the Colts (3-3), their AFC South rivals. That would revive playoff hopes after a dreadful 1-4 start, especially in the AFC where all but two teams have at least three losses.

After Indianapolis, the Titans host Chicago and visit Miami before their bye week on Nov. 18. Keeping Hasselbeck as the starter with Locker continuing to heal up could position Locker for a return Nov. 25 against Jacksonville and the final six games this season.

Munchak said everything gets factored in when making a decision on when a player returns from injury. He also said too much football remains to ``put all your eggs in one basket.'' But the coach refused to speculate on how long Locker will remain out, noting not many people though the Titans could rally from 1-4 to have the chance to be 4-4.

``If Jake's ready to play this week, Jake will start,'' Munchak said. ``If Jake's ready next week, Jake will start and from there we'll figure it out.''

Another factor could be the health of left tackle Michael Roos, who had an appendectomy Monday morning. Roos has started all 119 games since being drafted in the second round out of Eastern Washington, and Mike Otto would start if Roos isn't able to play against the Colts.

The Titans have allowed 13 sacks, and Locker dislocated his shoulder for the second time when sacked hard by the Texans.

``He's a quick healer,'' Munchak said of Roos. ``He can tolerate high pain levels and still pain, which he's done since he's been here. We'll have to wait and see.''

The Titans aren't worried about a quarterback change affecting the timing of the offense, not after working with both Locker and Hasselbeck throughout training camp. Receiver Kenny Britt said Locker should make sure he's feeling better when he's back, especially after Hasselbeck showed he can still throw the ball.

``We're winning, and that's what we want to do is keep winning,'' Britt said. ``We can definitely win when Jake's in the game too. We definitely have two great quarterbacks right now.''

Notes: The Titans will be looking at linebackers after Munchak announced Zac Diles broke his right leg in Buffalo. Diles likely will be placed on injured reserve. Linebacker Will Witherspoon also hurt a hamstring that will make him questionable against Indianapolis, and reserve Patrick Bailey broke a rib. ... Munchak said S Jordan Babineaux hurt a wrist but should be OK.


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Capitals mailbag: With Tom Wilson back, does that fix the penalty kill?

Capitals mailbag: With Tom Wilson back, does that fix the penalty kill?

It’s time for the weekly Capitals mailbag! Check out the Nov. 14 edition below. Have you got a Caps question you want to be answered in next week’s mailbag? Send it on Twitter using #CapsMailNBC or by email to

Please note some questions have been edited for clarity.

Getting Tom Wilson back certainly helps in terms of the penalty kill. The Caps killed off five out of six power plays in Tuesday’s win over Minnesota and the only goal they gave up came after the game was no longer in doubt. In his very first game back, Wilson logged 5:23 shorthanded minutes so you can see how important he is.

Todd Reirden wanted the penalty kill to be more aggressive this season, but the Caps have not found a way to do that while not leaving themselves vulnerable defensively. It will take time to adjust. The first goal of the game Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes came because the penalty kill got caught in the offensive zone with three Caps players going behind the goal line and they could not get back in time to set up. That’s a coachable moment. You show that video and tell the players if you are on the PK, you should never be behind the goal line.

The best thing they can do is study Arizona’s penalty kill. The Coyotes rank first in the league at 90.6-percent and have also scored an unfathomable nine shorthanded goals already, less than a quarter of the way into the season. That’s the type of penalty kill Reirden is looking for so find out what makes it so effective and replicate that.

Let’s not get too low on the power play. It still ranks second in the NHL at 30.3-percent. The production we saw at the beginning of the season was simply unsustainable. The bigger problem offensively has been five-on-five scoring, but Wilson’s return has set the lines right so that should improve as well.

From Nathan S.: I always hear that what happens on the ice stays there but I have to imagine that some tense words can be exchanged between players who have had nasty hits on them, i.e., would Pens players “have words” with Wilson about his dirty hits if they came across him in a bar? Do players ever confront their opponents off ice or do they all go hang out together after the games the way NBA players apparently do?

There are occasions where bad blood can carry over off the ice. It happens, but for the most part players and coaches are good at moving on.

It is important to remember that the division among teams and rivalries run much deeper among the fans than they do for the players. Players are very good at compartmentalizing and moving on from frustrating incidents because they have to, not just in terms of looking towards the next game, but because of their relationships with one another. These players train together, many have played together or will play together in the future. Heck, you may even play for some of those players you play against someday so it doesn’t make sense to burn bridges because you can’t let something that happened on the ice go.

Dmitrij Jaskin fought Wilson on Sept. 22, 2017. The Caps didn’t ask him if he was still upset with Wilson before claiming him off waivers because you have to move on.

That’s not to say all the players like each other. I’m sure Alex Ovechkin and Nazem Kadri aren’t buddies just like I doubt Zach Aston-Reese will be sending Wilson a Christmas card this year. But most players are smart enough to know to leave it on the ice.

Ryleigh V writes: How can I meet Oshie?

The Caps hold a number of events every year in which players interact with fans. Oshie in particular is very good at those kinds of things. My advice would be to check on the Caps’ website or their twitter account for any update on any local events. Sometimes you can meet players after practice as well at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, but not always.

Or you could just try to catch the same Metro train as him on the way to a game. If you do meet him, just don’t ask him to drink a beer through his shirt. A lot of people keep asking him to do that.

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Former Hoya great Jeff Green says slow your roll on Mac McClung

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Former Hoya great Jeff Green says slow your roll on Mac McClung

Through three games as a freshman for the Georgetown Hoyas, Mac McClung has lived up to his hype as a social media sensation, at least when it comes to his ability to wow crowds with high-flying dunks. 

McClung has a long way to go to become a true star in college basketball, but the kid can fly. Already, he has provided several viral highlights.

Wizards forward Jeff Green is one of the best players in Georgetown's decorated basketball history, and on Wednesday after shootaround, he weighed in on McClung's flashy start.

Green, now an 11-year NBA veteran, spoke from the perspective of a guy who's been around the block. He says people should calm down a bit and wait to see what McClung becomes.

"Yeah. I've seen a lot of him. The guy has been great, but it's not just him. I think because of the internet people have just focused on him," Green said. 

Green went on to reference McClung's famous YouTube mixtapes some more.

"It's just the way the world is. People are focused on the internet and he's all over the internet and that's all you think about. They have a good collection of guys," he said. "Georgetown is a team. It's not just one person," 

Now, just because Green was downplaying the hype for McClung, who last year set the Virginia state high school scoring record, and did so by passing former Hoya great Allen Iverson. Green thinks McClung has a chance to be really good and probably far surpass his three-star recruiting grade.

"It's not hype. The kid is good," Green said. "You can't put these expectations. What have people been calling him? White Iverson. There's no other player that's gonna be Allen Iverson. He's gonna be who he's gonna be."

Green gave a further explanation that seemed to suggest the word 'expectations' had struck a cord. Green himself was a three-star recruit and went on to exceed that grade by becoming the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

"People put expectations on other people and then when they don't grow into those expectations, in their eyes he's a bad player. You can't do that. Let him grow into what he's going to be and then you define him," Green said.