Redskins

Rams looking for winning season

Rams looking for winning season

ST. LOUIS (AP) Jeff Fisher recognizes his St. Louis Rams have plenty of goals to reach in their final game of the season.

They can finish with a winning record for the first time since 2003. They can finish without a loss in the NFC West.

Steven Jackson, who might be in his final season with the team, can finish with at least 1,000 yards rushing for the eighth consecutive year.

While all of that might be important, Fisher said Monday the season finale at Seattle cannot serve as the lone measuring stick to the success of the season.

Even if they lose to the Seahawks, the coach said there are plenty of successes this season. He also said if the Rams had been a bit better, it might have turned Sunday's game into a warm-up for the playoffs.

``There's been some good things, but we're playing our final game this final weekend but that's not what you set out to do,'' Fisher said as he gets ready to close out his first season at St. Louis.

The Rams are 7-7-1 heading into Sunday's game against Seattle and 4-0-1 in divisional play. They went 15-65 in the previous five years, including a two-win season last year.

The seven wins match the total from 2010 when St. Louis finished 7-9. But the 12-4 regular-season record in 2004 represents the Rams' only winning season in the past 10.

Fisher appreciates what a win at Seattle would mean.

``It's very important, but it's not going to suggest this season was a loss if we weren't successful in Week 17,'' he said. ``We can make a case, going back to several of those games and or that tie, that we played .500 ball this year regardless what happened this week. But from a statistical standpoint it's something good to talk about.''

The Rams lost their season opener at Detroit after the Lions scored the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds remaining. Greg Zuerlein missed 3 of 5 field-goal attempts in a 17-14 loss at Miami. A delay of game penalty at San Francisco turned a successful 53-yard field-goal attempt in overtime into a 58-yarder that Zuerlein missed.

Jackson has the option of getting out of his contract at the end of the season to explore free agency. But after rushing for 81 yards in the Rams' 28-13 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday, he didn't sound like a player ready to find a new team after 10 years with St. Louis.

He needs 10 yards against Seattle to reach 1,000 for the year.

``We have a lot to play for, a winning season, undefeated in the division,'' he said. ``It's something to build off of and go into the offseason feeling happy and strong and make it appealing to free agents as well.''

Fisher isn't ready to put a bow on the season, yet. Nor did he suggest that this season was a total success even if the Rams are coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history and playing with one of the youngest rosters in league history.

``We had a few in the past that we had a chance to win and didn't. That takes the front page as far as we're concerned,'' he said. ``But, we saw tremendous improvement from our rookie class. We got tremendous from the rookies and from the second-year players. I think we improved in a lot of areas.

``We still have a long way to go.''

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Dwayne Haskins reflects on bond with Kobe Bryant from pre-draft workouts

Dwayne Haskins reflects on bond with Kobe Bryant from pre-draft workouts

Terrible news hit America on Sunday when word came out that basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and seven others. 

A tragic event for a man and a player that made an impact far beyond basketball. Bryant was known for many things, but more than any, it might have been his competitive spirit. A five-time NBA champion and an 18-time All-Star, Bryant's play was defined by a fluid game and an unstoppable spirit. 

For Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins, he got to see some of Bryant's spirit up close. Last year, before the NFL Draft, Haskins trained at Bryant's gym in Los Angeles, and their encounters made an impression on the signal-caller. 

"He's definitely a guy that brings a lot to the table as far as how he trains, how he prepares and what he expects out of his teammates. Very, very demanding," Haskins said of Bryant. "I want to be able to have that other tool, being able to have that edge that Kobe had. Of course, I play like that, but I'd be able to lead like that. That's why I studied Kobe."

Haskins is one of many young athletes that grew up watching Bryant, and for plenty, idolizing Bryant. 

After the news broke Sunday, Haskins reacted on Twitter.

Haskins said it well: RIP to a legend. Gone too soon. 

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Scott Brooks has a simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

Scott Brooks has a simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal was not picked as a starter for next month's NBA All-Star Game through a voting process that included fans, the media and fellow players. Now it is up to NBA head coaches, who select the seven reserves for each conference.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is not allowed to vote for his own player, but believes Beal has a good chance to be picked based on one simple reason. He can tell how much opposing coaches respect Beal each and every night the Wizards play a game.

"Brad's an All-Star. I know that because every night I get to see it. Every night I get to see the defensive schemes against him. He gets double-teamed I want to say every game. That tells me that coaches feel the same way," Brooks said.

Brooks doesn't lobby other coaches to vote for his players, but said others have tried to persuade him in the past. He will "respectfully listen," he says, but believes it is important to do his own research and make his own choices.

"We all take pride in our choice," Brooks said. "It's an elite group and it's hard to get in."

Though Beal isn't a starter, he has a good case for being a reserve. This season he is averaging 28.1 points (third in East), 6.3 assists (10th in East) and 4.5 rebounds per game. 

If Beal doesn't make the All-Star team, it will likely be blamed on the Wizards' record. They are 15-30 and some of his competitors could get credit for being on better teams.

Brooks, though, believes other coaches should consider the circumstances Beal has been in. He says he takes that stuff into account with his own vote.

"There's a lot of factors that go in," Brooks explained. "It's situations. Guys that are on teams that are not playing well... are they not playing well because of him or are they not playing well because they have a lot of young guys, or because they're injured? A lot of players are injured. We've had a lot of injuries this year."

Beal has been an All-Star each of the past two years. We will find out on Thursday if he is in for the third time.

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