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Resurgent Giants ready for rematch with Cowboys

Resurgent Giants ready for rematch with Cowboys

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Nothing against Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, but the New York Giants defense just feels it is in a better place to face their NFC East rivals this time.

The Cowboys (3-3) embarrassed the defending Super Bowl champions 24-17 in the NFL kickoff Sept. 5, and the host Giants (5-2) readily admit it.

Dallas dominated after intermission, scoring on its first three possessions while using the fourth to run out the clock. Seemingly everything the road team tried worked.

Romo and company had the ball for 17:30 and scored on drives of 80, 65 and 82 yards, with the last one covering 112 yards because penalties added an extra 30.

``We didn't play our best ball obviously, but they have a lot to do with that,'' Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck said. ``They played pretty good. They skinned us pretty good. They found something that worked against us and kept going to it in the right situations.''

To start with, the Cowboys protected Romo especially well. New York had only two sacks and none was provided by the trio of talented defensive ends - Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora.

If there was a key, Romo got rid of the ball quickly time after time and burned the secondary and linebackers repeatedly on little slant patterns.

``They executed better than us and won the game,'' Pierre-Paul said. ``They beat us. It always comes down to who executes better in a division games. They were the more physical team and they came out to win.''

This time, though, the Giants are healthier, the secondary is solid and the defense is jelling. They're also back in first place.

The big key might be the secondary. New York went into the game with only one tested cornerback, Corey Webster, a couple of journeymen and one rookie, Jayron Hosley.

Michael Coe notched the start with Terrell Thomas on injured reserve and Prince Amukamara out with an ankle injury. By the end of the game, Justin Tryon was playing after Coe injured his hamstring late. That led to Dallas' final touchdown on a 34-yard pass to Miles Austin on a first-and-30 play.

Amukamara is back now, though, starting and playing well. Hosley has developed into a nickel back. Webster, who was burned in the opener, has also settled in.

``When you've got guys getting healthy, getting back on the field, that's always a plus,'' said Webster, who was beaten for a 40-yard touchdown by Dallas wideout Kevin Ogletree early in the second half. ``You always like to go to war with all your troops, but you know, the situation we have, we couldn't do that at the beginning of the season. Now we're getting guys coming back.''

The defensive line is also a little stronger with defensive tackle and former Cowboy Chris Canty back in the lineup. He was on the physically unable to perform list for the first six games, recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Canty can be a force in the middle against the run and the Giants didn't have that in the second half of the opener when DeMarco Murray gained 111 of his 131 yards rushing.

``Definitely I'm looking forward to being a part of it,'' Canty said Wednesday. ``It was tough for me to sit back and watch the first game and see the first game against a division rival, and now to have an opportunity to be a part of this, having a chance to face my old football team. This is another big division game for us.

``As coach said, once you win big games, the games after that just become bigger. This is another big game for our football team.''

Linebacker Michael Boley was annoyed thinking about the season opener.

``It wasn't what they did, it was what we did,'' Boley said. ``We shot ourselves in the foot that game. I wouldn't say it was anything they did. It was us not playing gap-sound football, not playing with our leverages. We're definitely different than we were then, overall. It will definitely be a different game.''

Romo felt the Giants played well in the opener.

``We just made a few plays that allowed us to win the game,'' he said. ``If you look at it, the game sometimes comes down to a play or two. If your team makes that play, you have a great opportunity to win. The last couple of weeks are a great example for us. In Baltimore, the game comes down to a kick. If you make a kick, you did a lot of good things well that week. If you don't, then you didn't.

``That's why it's a team game.''

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Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- It might be quite a while before we see John Wall on the court playing for the Wizards again.

It was already well-known Wall will miss extended time as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon, a rehab that usually takes at least 11 months. But it is starting to sound more and more like he won't play in the 2019-20 season at all.

Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis shared that harsh reality on Monday during a press conference at Capital One Arena.

"Our highest-paid player, our five-time All-Star, may not play at all next year. He probably won't play at all next year," Leonsis said.

If Wall follows the general timeline for the surgery, he could come back sometime early in 2020. A 12-month recovery would have him return in early February.

If Wall missed all of next season, he would return to start the 2020-21 campaign after a 20-month recovery. That would be nearly double the rehab time many players have taken for the same injury over the years. He would be 30 years old by then.

But Wall and the Wizards have reason to be extra patient. He is entering the first season of a four-year, $170 million supermax contract. Punting the first year, even if he is making $38 million, could be worth it in the long run if it means he returns to his All-Star form.

The Wizards are also likely to have a gap year of sorts anyways. They retooled their roster with young, inexperienced players. The odds they make the playoffs this season are lower than they have been in years. The Wizards are taking the long view and they know getting Wall's rehab right is paramount.

Leonsis and team officials currently get daily reports on Wall's progress. After making the supermax investment, they are taking extra measures to ensure he is holding up his end of the bargain. The Wizards closely monitor his weight and have a rotation of physical therapists working with him every day.

If it were up to Wall, he would be more likely to return next season. The team is the side taking extra caution.

"Trust me, nobody wants to get back to the court more than John Wall," GM Tommy Sheppard told NBC Sports Washington. 

"But I've tried to manage this with him and say there is no calendar or clock that is going to tell you to come back. You're going to come back when you're 100 percent healthy. Anybody who has watched him in the playoffs play with broken hands and all of the aches and pains he's had over the years and he still showed up and played at a high, high level. You know you need to monitor him a little more than most. That's the kind of player that is going to try to sneak back on the court any time he can."

What Leonsis said publicly has been the belief behind the scenes in the Wizards organization for quite some time. They are preparing for next season as if he won't play, 

"We have to see if John Wall comes back and how he looks and how he plays," Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington. "If John Wall can come back at 80 percent the year after [in 2020-21], I would be really happy because then we would have a great, great backcourt."

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Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season. In episode 1 titled "The Future Starts Now" the Redskins begin their journey toward improvement following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.

The episode begins immediately following the disappointing end to Washington's season as players participated in locker cleanout day. A somewhat somber atmosphere, the likes of Shaun Dion Hamilton, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams reflect on the season and look ahead to 2019.

Following that, it's on to the additions and changes on the coaching staff. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on new defensive staff hirings Ray Horton and Rob Ryan as well as Kevin O'Connell's jump to offensive coordinator. Ryan and O'Connell also explain their excitement for next season in their respective roles.

With the coaching staff puzzle becoming clear, the episode transitions to the NFL Combine. Gruden along with Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, President Bruce Allen and Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith take you through the Combine process. Discussions about the interview process and what the Redskins are looking for in players give insight into how evaluations are done. 

The Combine portion has a heavy focus on players Kyler Murray, D.K. Metcalf and Montez Sweat among others. Released on March 20, one can see and hear from Sweat before the idea of him becoming a Redskin came to fruition and listen to Metcalf's thoughts on Jay Gruden.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Chad Englehart also makes an appearance, discussing his viral moment with Ed Oliver at the combine and the fraternity-type bond conditioning coaches in the NFL share.

Washington's journey toward success in 2019 began the moment the clock ran out on the 2018 season. Episode 1 of "Redskins365" picks up right in that preliminary stage.

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