Redskins

Raiders uncertain of their starting QB in finale

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Raiders uncertain of their starting QB in finale

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen isn't ready to select a starting quarterback for Sunday's game in San Diego and said it's possible that both Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor could play.

Leinart and Pryor shared reps in practice with Oakland's first-team offense during practice, three days after starter Carson Palmer went out with cracked ribs and a bruised lung after being hit from behind by Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy.

Allen said Wednesday that Leinart and Pryor split the workload during practice, but Pryor later said Leinart took the majority of reps.

``Both of them looked pretty good,'' Allen said. ``They had a good day out there and both of them got reps with the (starting offense). We'll continue to monitor it and we'll make a decision at the end of the week which way we're going to go.''

Both played in last week's loss to Carolina after Palmer was hurt, though Pryor was in for only a handful of plays. Leinart completed 16 of 32 for 115 yards. He also threw a momentum-shifting interception just before halftime.

Palmer had started 24 consecutive games for Oakland after being acquired in a midseason trade with Cincinnati in 2011, and his absence leaves a void at quarterback.

Leinart has started just two games since 2007 while Pryor has never started in his two NFL seasons.

While Leinart - the 10th overall pick in 2006 - has more experience than Pryor, Allen noted the Raiders offense would be limited in some capacity no matter who starts.

``I don't think you're going to be the same with either quarterback as you would with Carson because Carson's been getting all the reps and he has the full command of the offense,'' Allen said. ``So yeah, I would think we'd be scaled back a little bit with either one of those quarterbacks that would play.''

Allen said after the loss to Carolina that Leinart would remain ahead of Pryor on the depth chart, but changed his mind after reviewing film when he decided to keep the competition open.

``We got a chance to see what Matt could do and we might need to see a little bit more of Terrelle,'' Allen said. ``They're two totally different quarterbacks. Terrelle obviously is an athletic quarterback that can really do some things on the move. Matt's a little bit more your prototypical pocket passer. So when you look at those guys you've got to take into account those skill sets and what they do well.''

Leinart was unavailable for comment and a team spokesman said the former Heisman Trophy winner won't talk until Friday.

Pryor, a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft, was just thankful for the extra work in practice after running the scout team for most of the season.

``That two or three snaps I get, I'm happy with it because it's way more than I was getting,'' Pryor said. ``Today I thought I did a fairly decent job. I commend Coach Allen and Coach (Greg) Knapp. They knew I wasn't ready. Still may not be. I'm just trying to work hard. I feel like I'm close.''

Palmer, who will not accompany the team on its flight to San Diego because of his bruised lung, finishes with the second-most yards passing by a Raiders quarterback in a single season.

Notes: The Raiders (4-11) didn't have a player voted to the Pro Bowl. K Sebastian Janikowski and FB Marcel Reece were selected as alternates. Janikowski has made 31 of 34 attempts, going 25-for-25 on kicks of less than 50 yards. ... RG Mike Brisiel (concussion/ankle) was held out of practice. Rookie Tony Bergstrom, a third-round pick, has been practicing in Brisiel's absence. ... S Tyvon Branch (neck/ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee, hamstring) and CB Phillip Adams (groin) also did not practice.

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Landon Collins: 'You never know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're getting'

Landon Collins: 'You never know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're getting'

Kirk Cousins started 57 games during six seasons with the Redskins and, well, um, it's hard to come up with one word to describe his time in Washington. 

There were certainly highs, none higher than the hot streak Cousins went on late in 2015 to capture an NFC East title. The Redskins closed that season on a four-game win streak where Cousins threw 12 touchdowns against just one interception. 

There were also lows. In Week 17 of 2016, the Redskins needed a win in the season finale to get in the playoffs while the Giants had already clinched the NFC East title. The Redskins had everything to play for, the Giants ended up resting a number of their starters. Still, the Redskins lost, and Cousins threw a dagger interception late in the game to seal their fate. For the game, Cousins finished with 287 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, but the pick to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was the season killer. 

The point here is not to drag Cousins. He was the most durable and most stable quarterback the Redskins have had in decades. He never got hurt, and while he turned the ball over, he could deliver downfield strikes and run the team's offense at all times. 

The point here is to say Cousins is not always the most consistent QB, and that's backed up by Redskins safety Landon Collins.

"Like I was with the Giants, you never know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're getting. Right now they're getting Pro Bowl Kirk Cousins over there," Collins said on Monday.

Collins faced Cousins plenty of times when the safety played for the Giants, and New York found plenty of success against the quarterback. In nine career games against the Giants, all as QB of the Redskins, Cousins threw 12 interceptions. 

So when Collins talks about slowing Cousins down, it's not from a hypothetical place. 

"Pressure. Pressure. When I was with the Giants, I know we put a lot of pressure on him, put a lot of guys in his face, a lot of blitzes, lot of different systematic fronts and stuff like that, disguises," the Redskins safety said. 

Cousins will come into Thursday's game against the Redskins on fire. He's thrown 10 TDs against just one INT in the Vikings last three games, all wins. In Detroit on Sunday, Cousins went for more than 300 yards passing with four touchdowns and wasn't sacked once. 

"Right now he's playing like a Pro Bowl Kirk Cousins," Collins said. "We would say at the Giants, 'You don't know what kind of Kirk Cousins you're going to get.' Right now they're getting Pro Bowl Kirk Cousins, and he's playing at a high level right now."

At 1-6 the Redskins defense doesn't scare anybody. The team has had some success upfront, however, causing pressures and getting to passers. Washington has 16 sacks on the season and the front five has gotten things going after a very slow start.  

Cousins isn't unique. Pressure causes turnovers for defenses. Players on both side of the football know that, and that's what Collins want to see in Minnesota against Cousins.

"That's the biggest game plan: try to force him into mistakes. Right now he's playing at a high level, so it's going to be hard. He's playing against a lot of good teams and he's been going against a good defense. That's probably made his skill level and his play much better."

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10.21.19 Rick Horrow interviews Abby Warner

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USA TODAY Sports

10.21.19 Rick Horrow interviews Abby Warner

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick interviews Indy Women in Tech Summit Co-Chair Abby Warner and shares the biggest sports business stories of the past week.



LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST EPISODE HERE

1. Top cyber protection software provider Acronis is leading the way in data protection for the modern enterprise. Sports partners include Boston Red Sox, NIO Formula E, Arsenal FC, ROKiT Williams Racing, SportPesa Formula 1, Manchester City FC, and more. Trusted by the world’s leading sports teams across the world, Acronis ensures they have the latest technology backing up, storing, and protecting their valuable data. “This event will bring to life the vision… that we’ve been building across all facets of our business during the last five years,” Serguei Beloussov Acronis Founder and CEO said in advance of last week's inaugural Acronis Global Cyber Summit. The summit welcomed over 600 IT professionals to hear from world-renowned experts and business leaders shaping the future of cyber protection, including Herjavec Group CEO Robert Herjavec, Security Analyst and Researcher at Tel Aviv University Keren Elazari, and American former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative Eric O’Neill, along with Acronis founder and CEO, Serguei Beloussov.

2. ISC exec Grant Lynch drives into sunset. Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 1000 Bulbs 500 at Talladega Superspeedway marked the final race of Rick’s friend longtime track Chairman Grant Lynch’s tenure, and ISC put out a video thanking him for the 26-year run. Lynch joined the track in January 1993, and over the years he has become one of NASCAR’s most well-known and respected track executives, influential behind the scenes and constantly doing media appearances. Lynch is retiring after this year and is set to be replaced by Talladega’s vice president of marketing and sales Brian Crichton. Daytona International Speedway, the flagship track of Talladega’s parent company, ISC, released a montage Sunday morning with several senior executives sharing their memories and thanking Lynch, including NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, ISC President John Saunders, and Chief Innovation and Development Office Craig Neeb. Alas, we won’t know the outcome of Sunday’s playoff race until Monday, as rain delayed the race’s conclusion. Talladega also unveiled their new $50 million infield renovation this past weekend – which will serve as a lasting legacy to Lynch.

3. Merging Vets and Players (MVP) charity teams up with the Atlanta Falcons to reduce military and veteran suicides. According to KOAM News, the MVP charity aims to bring together combat veterans and retired professional athletes to help them adjust to life outside their professions. The organization has set up chapters in four major U.S. cities, and the Atlanta branch is working closely with the Atlanta Falcons. MVP was founded by FOX’s NFL insider, Jay Glazer, and Nate Boyer, U.S. Army Green Beret Veteran and former NFL athlete who played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. After recently running some physical activities as a group, MVP coaches run “The Huddle” – a 1:15 long support group where participants are coached to be proud of their scars. Some of MVP’s ambassadors include former NFL players Michael Strahan, Olin Kreutz, and Chris Long, who have struggled with retirement. By crossing the interactions between NFL and combat veterans, both ex-players and veterans can help express their emotions and struggles in a positive way.