Redskins

QBs Vick, Smith, Cutler have concussions

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QBs Vick, Smith, Cutler have concussions

Concussions sidelined three quarterbacks Sunday, with Michael Vick, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler knocked out of games in the first half and leaving their teams wondering about their playing status for next week.

The Eagles' Vick was hit by Dallas linebacker Ernie Sims on an incomplete pass and was slow to get up early in the second quarter of Philadelphia's 38-23 loss. Vick headed for the locker room and was replaced by Nick Foles with the game tied 7-7.

Vick threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper in the first quarter.

The 49ers' Smith scrambled and started to slide before turning his back late, and Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar barreled into his neck area with 1:10 left in the first quarter of a 24-24 tie against St. Louis. Smith briefly grabbed his facemask and grimaced but stayed in the game, throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree in the second quarter.

Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith on San Francisco's next possession. Smith sat on the bench next to 49ers athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson and other trainers before walking to the locker room just before halftime.

The 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick, who was 7 for 8 for 72 yards and the touchdown, started every game for the 49ers last season.

The Bears' Cutler left Chicago's 13-6 loss to Houston after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Tim Dobbins. He had just thrown a pass during the first half. On the play, there were offsetting penalties. Cutler was called for an illegal forward pass for being past the line of scrimmage and Dobbins was called for unnecessary roughness.

Cutler stayed in for the rest of the half, but Jason Campbell came out to start the third quarter.

Tampa Bay linebacker Quincy Black was hospitalized for observation of a neck injury after being carted off the field during the third quarter of the Buccaneers' 34-24 victory over San Diego.

Black was injured tackling running back Ryan Mathews for a 1-yard loss, remaining on the ground with just under 4 minutes left in the quarter. The Bucs did not release specifics about the injury, but coach Greg Schiano said the sixth-year pro is expected to be OK.

Trainers worked over Black for several minutes before immobilizing his neck and back on a stretcher.

``He's at the hospital for observation. We think he's going to be OK, but he's got to work through some things,'' Schiano said after the game.

Schiano was the coach at Rutgers when former Scarlet Knights player Eric LeGrand broke two vertebrae and suffered a serious spinal cord injury in October 2010 during a kickoff return against Army. He said thoughts of the paralyzed defensive lineman went through his mind when Black remained on the ground.

``I thought about it immediately. When a guy goes down and he's still,'' Schiano said before stopping abruptly. ``The good thing was Quincy immediately moved his right arm, so that was a relief.''

Several players on both teams kneeled and prayed while Black received assistance on the field.

Buccaneers cornerback Eric Wright left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return.

The Bears also lost defensive end Shea McClellin because of a concussion in the game's opening minutes.

Giants receiver Domenik Hixon suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of New York's 31-13 loss to Cincinnati and didn't return. The Giants initially thought he might return but announced in the second half that he was done for the day. There was no indication of the severity of his injury.

Lions cornerback Chris Houston said he'll ``be OK'' after leaving Detroit's 34-24 loss to Minnesota in the fourth quarter on a cart. He hurt his ankle and said a Vikings lineman intentionally landed with both knees on his lower leg. The Lions also lost defensive end Cliff Avril in the third quarter to a concussion.

Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil left Denver's 36-14 win over Carolina midway through the second quarter with a left shoulder injury. Dumervil, who has six sacks this season, had two tackles and a forced fumble before he was replaced by Robert Ayers.

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Reflections on Rich Tandler and a life well lived

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NBC Sports Washington

Reflections on Rich Tandler and a life well lived

I haven’t felt this way since my father passed last April. I’m not comparing the two, at all, but there were some similarities.

Rich Tandler had life experience. Few people accomplish what he did; total life reinvention. 

Think about that. 

After raising his two successful children and a lifetime in the restaurant business, Tandler created a blog. That blog became big enough to eventually become a full-time job, and over time, put him on television and send him all over the world. 

That’s wild. 

We get so caught up in the “startups” and “disruptors” from Silicon Valley that we missed a true internet success story in Rich Tandler. Our world has become extra cynical. The loudest snark wins, especially on the internet. 

Tandler didn’t trade in those currencies. 

He provided good, quality information. He provided insight and analysis from six decades of obsessing over a football team. 

And fans loved him for it. 

The outpouring from folks that read "Need to Know" or listened to the podcast has been incredible. I’ve been flooded with messages from people, and one overwhelming response is that while they didn’t really know Tandler, they feel like they did.

Well, I was lucky to know him pretty well. And his persona on air was the same way off air. 

Tandler helped me a in a lot of ways. I can be impulsive and have a temper, Tandler would calm me down. Whenever I had something important to say, news to break or a sharp angle of criticism, I would run it by Tandler first. Sometimes, maybe often, I would say too much, and he would reign me in. 

Tandler loved pointing out mistakes. If the universe gave honorary degrees for pointing out minor math errors in salary cap blog posts, Tandler would have a Ph.D. 

He was smart and he was sharp. Good natured but feisty. 

He could dish it out plenty in a media room full of alphas. And he literally dished it out; Tandler controlled all the plastic utensils and paper plates that every media member used at Redskins Park. When we were running low on forks, Tandler would put out some not too subtle calls to action. 

I think for a while he considered the podcast an annoyance, but somewhere along the way, we had a breakthrough. He realized its potential, and everywhere we went, listeners came up and told us how much they enjoyed it. 

That made an impact on RT. And seemingly overnight, he was all in. That’s when things really started to gain steam. Wherever I am in my career, Tandler played a huge role in it. 

But that kind of doesn’t matter now. We will keep the pod going but it will never be the same. Not better, not worse, but way, way different. Same thing with writing and TV. The show will go on, but it won't be the same. It will never be the same. 

In the hours since I learned of Tandler’s passing, I’ve done some reading. I drank a bunch. And I ended up landing on some YouTube videos. 

The one I kept going back to was Jimmy V’s famous ESPY speech. Before he died, Jimmy V implored us all to think, laugh and cry every day, and that would lead to a good, full life. 

If there was ever a dude that laughed, it was Rich Tandler. 

His belly laugh was contagious, and his wit was superior. There were the wacky Tandler’s Got Jokes, and the sly one liners about players, plays and our road antics. 

It wasn’t all laughter either. Tandler was smart as hell, and he was always thinking about new ways to present content for Redskins fans. 

Seriously, our organization employs an army of young and talented digital-first thinkers. And Tandler generated more web traffic than all of them. He constantly tried to figure out why people would read something, or the optimal time for us to drop a new podcast. 

Where I’m an idea guy, Tandler was all execution. I’m a terrible planner and constantly late. Tandler would be on time and busting my chops about our lack of schedule. It’s just how we operated. 

As for crying, Tandler wasn’t much of one. I did see him tear up from laughing a few times, and once because it was real windy when we were taping a segment and something got in his eye. 

I’m not much of a crier either. I’m glad that Jimmy V was, but it’s just not me. 

Thinking about Tandler though in the last 36 hours, there have been some truly hard moments. He was kind and gracious. A true gentleman. 

He never took personal shots at the team we cover, or their front office. Plenty do. He would certainly say when things were bad, and say it loudly. He was binary in a world full of context. 

He was a good dude. He was my coworker, my partner and my friend. 

And damn if it isn’t getting dusty in here all of a sudden. 

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Three things to watch for Wizards' regular season opener against the Heat

Three things to watch for Wizards' regular season opener against the Heat

The Washington Wizards open their regular season on Thursday night against the Miami Heat. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. 

Here are three things to watch...

Will Howard play?

Just one week ago, it would have seemed near impossible that Dwight Howard, the Wizards' biggest offseason acquisition, would be ready to play in the season opener, but after three solid days of practice, it can't be ruled out. The Wizards plan to evaluate him throughout the day on Thursday to determine if he can take the court in what would be his first live game action with his new team.

Howard, 32, missed the entire preseason and nearly all of their practices leading up to the opener with a strained piriformis muscle. Though reports have been encouraging from his three practices, he is not yet in game shape. Even if he can play, expect him to be limited. If he can't play, Ian Mahinmi will get the start.

Heat are banged up

Miami is not only coming off a game the night before, as they lost in their season opener to the Orlando Magic, but they are missing some key guys. Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Justise Winslow are out due to injuries.

That will leave Miami perilously thin at the guard and small forward position. That happens to be an area of the roster where the Wizards are especially deep, now with Austin Rivers as the backup shooting guard behind Bradley Beal and with first round pick Troy Brown Jr. behind Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr.

That said, Waiters and Ellington being out means Dwyane Wade may get more run and, as we saw in the preseason, he is still very hard to stop. He is capable of a big night, especially given it's so early in the year and he doesn't yet have the wear-and-tear of a long season.

Can Beal reach the next level?

One of the most important indicators of how much better the Wizards will be this season is the continued improvement of their young players. John Wall, Porter and Oubre are included in that and particularly Oubre, who is entering an important season in the final year of his contract.

But the guy who improved more than anyone last year and has a chance to take another big leap this season is Beal. Now with one All-Star nod under his belt, what does he have for an encore? 

If Beal can get his scoring average up even higher from the 22.6 he put up last season, he could enter the All-NBA conversation. And he now has more help than ever with Rivers behind him. Beal should, in theory, be more fresh each night with Rivers taking away some of his workload. 

The Heat offer a good matchup defensively for Beal with Josh Richardson. He is one of the more underrated players in basketball and is a menace on the perimeter.

"I've been a fan of his since I played him in college at Tennessee," Beal said. "He's always been a pest. He's super athletic, sneaky athletic. And I feel like he developed his shot to where you have to respect it. If you go under [on screens], he's shooting it."

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