Redskins

Raiders prepare for Broncos without head coach

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Raiders prepare for Broncos without head coach

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Being mired in a five-game losing streak with a short week to get ready for Peyton Manning and the first-place Denver Broncos is tough enough.

The Oakland Raiders have to do it without their head coach.

Dennis Allen left the team after Sunday's 20-17 loss to Cleveland to be with his father, who has a serious medical issue. Allen is expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday night and be on the field Thursday when the Raiders (3-9) host the Broncos (9-3).

But until then, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will oversee the team and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver will map out the defense.

``This is a pretty unique season, both on and off the field, I'll say that,'' Tarver said Monday. ``There's a bunch of adversity and the true character of a man and a coach and whoever is to, no matter what the circumstances, be a pro and handle your business. But I've been a part of a lot of different situations, both in this league and in coaching, but there's some unique things that have happened this year.''

Allen is with his family in the Dallas area helping to care for his 66-year-old father, Grady, a former NFL linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons. Knapp said he texted Allen on Monday morning to pass on good wishes and planned to talk to the head coach as the team prepared for the Broncos.

Oakland did not practice on Monday and will have two brief practices before the game Thursday. With the short week, the position coaches had begun some of the scouting of the Broncos last week to allow the coordinators to put together the game plan on Sunday night and Monday.

Allen, a former defensive coordinator in Denver, is typically heavily involved in the defensive game plan, while giving more general tips about philosophy for Knapp to use on offense.

``Today we went right into a normal Tuesday routine for coaches,'' Knapp said. ``We started game planning this morning for Denver, and then our practice schedule for the next two days will obviously be a little bit shorter because our guys need to still recover from this game and get ready for the next game. From a game-plan standpoint, you condense maybe three days of practice into two. From a coaching standpoint, you've done a lot of work ahead of time, so you can make it happen a little bit sooner during the week.''

While Knapp is officially in charge of the team while Allen is away, he said the only real additional responsibility he will have is to decide when to blow the horn to move to the next practice period.

Some of the players just learned of Allen's absence on Monday and wanted to pass their best wishes on to their coach and his family. They said it will be hard to concentrate entirely on the Broncos knowing what Allen is going through.

``I think it will because obviously we'll be caring about his situation, just wondering what's going on,'' cornerback Michael Huff said. ``But we know we have a game to get ready for. It will because we'll be worried about him, but I think we'll still walk on the field and focus.''

The Raiders will need to be at their best to have a chance against the Broncos. Oakland has lost five straight games and was carved up by rookie Brandon Weeden on Sunday in the loss to the Browns.

Now the defense must deal with Manning, who was 30 for 38 for 338 yards and three touchdowns in Denver's 37-6 home win over Oakland in Week 4.

The Raiders are also dealing with a number of injuries in the secondary, with starting free safety Matt Giordano, backup safety Mike Mitchell and backup cornerback Phillip Adams all leaving Sunday's game with concussions.

The three will need to pass the league's concussion protocol in order to play Thursday, which could be difficult because of the short week.

That could lead to a patchwork secondary on Thursday night.

``You're never really ready for Peyton Manning,'' Tarver said. ``It's a matter of getting on the same page and having enough coverage looks to hopefully slow down his progression and challenge guys in coverage, that's what we need to do.''

NOTES: RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are expected to play after missing the previous four games with sprained right ankles. ... The Raiders are hosting their first Thursday game since Oct. 25, 1979, against San Diego. They have played eight Thursday road games since then.

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Instant analysis: 5 field goals lift Redskins past Jets

Instant analysis: 5 field goals lift Redskins past Jets

LANDOVER, MD — Here is my instant analysis of the Redskins’ 15-13 preseason win over the New York Jets.

— Alex Smith started the game and so did most of the other players who are expected to start Week 1. Rob Kelley was at running back, Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson lined up at receiver, and the offensive line was intact — with the exception of Geron Christian playing left tackle. Vernon Davis was the tight end. 

— Smith moved the team efficiently on the first drive, completing four of six passes for 48 yards. He converted one third-and-9 by finding Doctson in a big soft spot in the Jets’ zone for 11 yards. On third-and-goal at the 4, he threw a pass a little behind Trey Quinn; it was catchable but not easy and Quinn couldn’t handle it. A field goal made it 3-0. After that 11-play, 71-yard drive, Smith and most of the rest of the offensive starters left the game. 

— Ten of the 11 regular defenders started the game, the exception being Matt Ioannidis. In his first series in a Redskins uniform, Daron Payne stopped the drive with a sack on third down. After that three-and-out, they weren’t as effective against Sam Darnold on their second possession. The rookie was sharp leading a 12-play, 42-yard field goal drive. 

— The first time Samaje Perine touched the ball, he ran for 30 yards off left tackle, following a nice block from J.P. Holtz, a tight end who was lined up at fullback. Since they released the only fullback on the roster last week, TE as FB is likely to be the plan. Perine then left the game with an ankle injury. He did not return. 

— There were some special teams gaffes in the first half. Dustin Hopkins hit the right upright on a 35-yard field goal try but it went through. On the ensuing kickoff, though, the kick went out of bounds. Later on, Byron Marshall put the ball on the ground on a kickoff return but replay showed it that he was down. So there was one costly miscue and two near-misses. 

— The Redskins backup defensive unit was back on its heels in a second-quarter drive with most of the Jets’ offensive starters in. They ended the drive when Danny Johnson make a good tackle to force a third and one. The Jets went for it and Darnold’s pass was tipped by Deshazor Everett and intercepted by Troy Apke. Tim Settle dominated in the middle, usually matched up against former Redskins center Spencer Long. 

— It was bad news, then good news for rookie WR Cam Sims in the second quarter. First he had a pass in his hands for a first down in the red zone but the ball popped out without him being touched and the pass was picked off. On the Redskins’ next possession he made a nice catch between two defenders for a 27-yard gain on third-and-10. Later in the drive he made a leaping catch in the end zone, but a penalty negated the TD. He has been inconsistent in practice in Richmond and is carrying over. 

— The Redskins had some red zone woes in the first half. The had three shots from there and settled for field goals every time. They also had the situation where Sims had the pass in his hands in the red zone before it popped out for an interception. 

— Long shot Martez Carter got his name on the board with a runs of nine and then 30 yards, showing blazing speed around the corner on both runs. He remains a long shot but speed like that will get you some attention. 

— Third QB Kevin Hogan was able to lead a scoring drive on his first possession but it was done mostly via Carter’s runs and the first application of the new helmet rule in a Redskins’ game this preseason, a flag that went against the Jets. The next two possessions he went two for three for seven yards and the Redskins went three and out both times. 

— The Jets kicked a late field goal to take a 13-12 lead. Hogan had a chance to bring them back and got them into Jets territory. Then Cam Sims made a 20-yard grab to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt. Hopkins hit it as time ran out to give the home team a 15-13 lead. 

— The win doesn’t mean anything but it’s always more fun to win than to lose. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Washington Nationals announce the addition of a bullpen cart

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USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals announce the addition of a bullpen cart

Sean Doolittle has gotten his wish - the Washington Nationals will now have a bullpen cart for the remainder of the 2018 season. 

In a release on Thursday, the Nationals announced that they will unveil a the WGL Energy Bullpen Cart on their upcoming Friday night game against the Miami Marlins. The cart will be at all remaining home games at Nationals Park.

Both the Nationals’ pitchers and opponents will be able to utilize the cart to enter a game as a reliever. The cart will transport the relief pitcher from the bullpen to their dugout instead of the traditional long trout out to the mound. 

Players are not required to use the vehicle if they do not want to. 

Earlier this season, Doolittle was the first National ever to use the bullpen cart at Chase Field, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Afterward, he noted that although he had less time, he was not out of breath and “loved it.”

In addition to the Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers, the Nationals are the third active team to have a bullpen cart. Per the release, this is the first season that the bullpen cart has been used in MLB since 1995.

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