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Redskins' 'One Man Gang' Alexander gets his due

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Redskins' 'One Man Gang' Alexander gets his due

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Lorenzo Alexander is a familiar name around the NFL, especially among those who follow special teams. He's been a relentless force on coverage units for years, and the Washington Redskins currently list him at the league leader in the unofficial stat of solo special teams tackles.

He's also a team captain and one of the locker room's unofficial spokesmen. Last year he won the Redskins' Good Guy Award for his genial cooperation with the media and was also Washington's nominee last year for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his off-the-field work.

This week, for a change, Alexander is getting noticed for making some big plays on defense.

He plucked a fumble out of the air deep in opposition territory and had 1 1/2 sacks and four quarterback hurries in the Redskins' 38-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. He had an impact even though he was on the field for just 27 defensive plays - about one-third of the total. He received a game ball from coach Mike Shanahan and, for the first time in his six-year career, was given a spot at the podium for his own news conference following the game.

``He's a guy that gives everything,'' Shanahan said. ``And we're going to have to play him some more, obviously.''

When two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo was lost for the season with a shoulder injury in Week 2, Shanahan said Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson would rotate at the outside spot with the expectation that one or the other would emerge as the new starter.

Four weeks later, the position is still very fluid. Jackson played exactly half of the 84 defensive snaps against the Vikings. Wilson was on the field for just two, fewer than both Alexander and recent midseason signing Mario Addison (11).

Alexander, whose been called the ``One Man Gang'' and the ``Swiss Army Knife,'' played both offensive line and defensive line earlier in his career and lost some 30 pounds this offseason to help his coverage skills as a backup inside linebacker.

Instead, with Orakpo gone, he's finding a niche on the edge.

``I think we might have struck gold with where we've got him playing right now, in that kind of rush-linebacker position,'' defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. ``It's almost like he's running down, busting through a wedge, when he's breaking through that line of scrimmage. To me it seems like a natural fit. As soon as we put in him there, it seems like he's flourished in that role, so I think we can expect big things from him in that spot.''

Alexander was typically humble about his big game, saying he was being opportunistic and ``in the right place at the right time,'' but he acknowledged the recognition was a nice change of pace from the often-ignored work he does on special teams.

``It's a cool feeling, a cool perspective,'' Alexander said. ``Obviously I know what special teams brings to the game - it's not appreciated on a grand scheme - but it is what it is, and I'm fine with getting this attention now that I've done a little bit on defense. Now it's about consistency.'' ---

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon, or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Anthony Santander has a huge outing in blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox

Check out the latest news and notes on the Baltimore Orioles

Player Updates:

Even in a loss, the night belonged to OF Anthony Santander who went 4-for-5 with a homer, triple and two runs scored. Santander tripled and scored during the Orioles' five-run rally in the third inning. He then tagged Rick Porcello for a solo shot in the fifth that pulled the Orioles to within 10 runs at 16-6. It was the first four-hit game of the young outfielder's career. 

SP Thomas Eshelman had a rough day on the mound giving up nine runs (five earned) on six hits over 3 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander also issued three walks while striking out three. He struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark in this one, giving up home runs to Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts before departing in the fourth. 

Due to Pedro Severino's illness, the Orioles optioned C Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk. He has played in 16 games for the O's this year with a .233 batting average, zero homers and three RBI in 47 plate appearances.

Injuries:

C Pedro Severino: Illness, Day-to-day

SP Dylan Bundy: Knee, 10-day Injured List

RP Josh Rogers: Elbow, 10-day Injured List

OF DJ Stewart: Ankle, 10-day Injured List

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-day Injured List

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-day Injured List

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-day Injured List

Coming Up:

Sunday 7/21: Orioles vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Monday 7/22: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Tuesday 7/23: Orioles at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m., Chase Field

Source: Rotoworld

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