Redskins

Rested Eagles defense practices under Bowles

Rested Eagles defense practices under Bowles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) With Todd Bowles in place as the new defensive coordinator, the Philadelphia Eagles were back at work and eager to move forward following a tumultuous bye week.

First, players had to deal with questions about Juan Castillo.

``You know, it's a part of the business of football,'' cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said Monday. ``We all respect him. I respect Juan as a man, as a coach. Obviously, he's going to land on his feet and he's going to do well. It was tough, at first, to hear it because you've pretty much grown so much with a guy and seen him grow so much. But you know that he's going to be fine wherever he ends up.''

Asomugha's thoughts on Castillo's dismissal were particularly noteworthy because he publicly questioned his playcalling following Philadelphia's loss to Detroit last Sunday. Two days later, Castillo was fired after his defense blew consecutive fourth-quarter leads.

``I had a tough time last week when those stories came out, to be honest,'' Asomugha said. ``It was more so a character thing and that's something that I would never do as a player. I wouldn't do that to a coach and especially Juan, just because as far as a player-coach relationship, we had been so communicative. It wasn't a good feeling. But after speaking to him and him knowing that wasn't the case, I think it made it a lot better.

``But I don't think that had anything to do with him being let go or anything.''

Whether Asomugha's second-guessing factored into coach Andy Reid's decision to let Castillo six games into the season won't be known. Regardless, Bowles is in charge now for the first time in his coaching career.

Bowles addressed the players before practice and has their full support. He has a far longer history with the defense than Castillo did. Bowles played safety in the NFL for seven seasons and has coached that side of the ball the last 13 years. Castillo was switched to defense after 13 years coaching the offensive line.

``He's definitely a player's coach,'' safety Nate Allen said of Bowles. ``He relates to us well and we all like him as a coach, and off the field he is a great guy. He's smart so it's going to be a good thing. He talks to us like men. He's not real up in your face. He's not a loud guy. He expects you to know what you have to do as a man and as a professional.''

Bowles has never called the defensive plays before, though he was interim head coach for Miami for the last three games in 2011. He'll get his first chance Sunday when the Eagles (3-3) host Atlanta (6-0). It's uncertain whether Bowles will be on the field or up in the booth.

``I think in the grand scheme of things he was helping make play calls throughout this year,'' safety Kurt Coleman said. ``He's a smart coach, he really is. He's going to do his due diligence and understand the game as far as the offense is going to attack us and you have to be able to adjust during the game. I think he's going to do a great job with that.''

The Eagles had a familiar face back on the field Monday. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson returned to practice after missing the first six games due to brain surgery in the offseason. Patterson likely will need at least a couple weeks of practice before he can be ready for a game.

``They're just going to take it slow,'' Patterson said. ``We're going to see how things work out. The big man (Reid), he's just not in a rush to get me out there and risk anything. So, they're just kind of looking at me.

``I'm just happy to be out there running around.''

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These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

In Brandon Scherff, the Redskins have a 27-year-old guard who has delivered on his first-round status, a lineman who has become one of the best in the league at his position and should have many more years of production and defender-mauling left.

Therefore, it's in the Redskins' best interest to extend Scherff this offseason, and the veteran confirmed on Monday there have been talks about getting that done

But during a discussion on the Redskins Talk podcast, J.I. Halsell, a salary cap expert and former agent, laid out something that could force those negotiations to stall.

"There are some things you have to take into consideration because 2020 is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement, so there are some things you have to work around when structuring the deal," Halsell said.

Not only is that deadline approaching, but another one is, too. In 2021 and 2022, the NFL's TV deals with Monday Night Football, FOX, CBS and NBC expire as well.

So, there's a very real possibility the league's salary cap could look much, much different in a few seasons. And that, according to Halsell, may make Scherff much less willing to accept an extension now.

"If you're Brandon Scherff, in 2021, with a new collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap might be $250 million or something crazy like that, with all the new revenue coming into the league," he explained. "And so why would I take a deal today and preclude myself of taking advantage of a very lucrative and larger revenue pie?"

Essentially, it comes down to whether Scherff wants to take a present risk that could pay off down the line (kind of like how Kirk Cousins did a few years back with the Burgundy and Gold). He could probably lock something in over the next few months — Halsell's projection was an agreement for five years, including $45 million guaranteed and a $14.5 million average per year — or step away from talks now and try to cash in later.

Haslell told Redskins Talk he'd probably advise the lineman to take the second route.

"You would say, 'Look, you're a former first-round pick. You've made a decent amount of money in your career thus far,'" he said. "You have the financial wherewithal to not take the bird in hand today that may not be as lucrative as what is out there in 2021. So, bet on yourself and play out the last year of your rookie deal, force them to tag you in 2020 and then see what this new NFL salary cap world looks like in 2021."

Now, who knows truly how much these factors will play into Scherff's back-and-forth with the 'Skins. Nevertheless, you can see why the Pro Bowler's next contract may not be as much of a no-brainer as previously thought.

"If the kid is willing to bet on himself," Haslell said, "then it could be very lucrative on the back end."

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

School: Virginia Tech
Position: Guard
Age: 20 (turns 21 in September)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 204
Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.4 FG% (5.6/11.8), 37.4 3PT% (1.7/4.6), 77.8 FT%

Player comparison: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Tomas Satoransky

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 14th, Bleacher Report 18th, Sports Illustrated 20th, Ringer 16th

5 things to know:

*Walker-Alexander is a big guard known for his offensive skillset. He can handle the ball, pass and score in a variety of ways. He can play both point guard and shooting guard and affect games with his passing at either spot. 

*He was an excellent three-point shooter in college. As a freshman, he shot 39.2 percent from long range on 4.5 attempts per game. His percentage dipped as a sophomore to 37.4 percent, but that was still impressive given he attempted 4.6 shots per game. 

*Walker-Alexander has a plus wingspan, which he uses to his advantage on defense. He averaged 1.9 steals per game this past season in Blacksburg and his highlight reels are flooded with open court dunks off turnovers. He appears to have strong instincts as a perimeter defender, but could struggle initially at the NBA level against quicker and stronger guards.

*Though he has great size and length for a guard, Walker-Alexander is not considered a premier athlete for the position. He does not have elite quickness or the ability to play consistently above the rim. Because of that, some wonder how high his ceiling will be in the NBA. He may, however, have a high floor given his well-rounded game and basketball IQ.

*Walker-Alexander is from Canada. He has played for the national team as a junior and is part of a new wave of players from the country in the NBA. Walker-Alexander was a high school teammate of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who just enjoyed a strong rookie season with the L.A. Clippers.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards need help at just about every position, so even a guard can't be ruled out. Walker-Alexander would give them more backcourt depth and that is needed long-term, even after John Wall returns from injury.

If Walker-Alexander can develop into an above average perimeter defender, he could be very useful for the Wizards. They need to improve at stopping dribble penetration and three-point shooters. They could use more players with Walker-Alexander's length and ability to force turnovers. Also, he would help spread the floor with his shooting.

All that said, the Wizards could probably find a player with more upside than Walker-Alexander with the ninth overall pick. He would be more in line with their decision to take Troy Brown Jr. last June.

Like Brown, he is smart and a safe bet to carve out a long NBA career. But could Walker-Alexander become an elite player at his position? He seems like a better option if they trade down into the teens and acquire more picks.

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