Redskins

Return of Browner puts Seattle at full strength

Return of Browner puts Seattle at full strength

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Brandon Browner was back in the Seattle Seahawks' locker room Wednesday, shaking hands and sitting just a few feet from fellow cornerback Richard Sherman.

For a time last month, no one was sure whether Browner and Sherman would be around at this point of the year with each facing four-game suspensions for using a banned substance. Browner eventually dropped his appeal and sat out the last four games of the regular season, while Sherman won his appeal and had his suspension overturned.

The result is that the Seahawks will go to Washington on Sunday for the opening round of the playoffs at nearly full strength.

``Getting Brandon Browner back is a big deal to us. He's been a big part of what we've done here and a significant factor in the style that we play,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ``He comes back and (we'll) see how he does. It's been a month; we'll see how rusty he is. But we're very fortunate right now.''

There are a few key players whose seasons ended early due to injuries. Offensive lineman James Carpenter, defensive tackle Jason Jones and cornerback Walter Thurmond are all players Seattle would like to have available when its faces the Redskins.

For the most part, what Seattle's starting lineup looked like for most of the season will be on the field against the Redskins. The only player listed on Seattle's injury report Wednesday was Marshawn Lynch, who continued with his trend of having a light practice early in the week to rest his back.

``Our confidence is sky high and we feel like we can match and scheme with anybody,'' Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill said.

The return of Browner is significant because of how the rest of Seattle's defense plays off the skills of its cornerbacks. Browner's size at 6-foot-4, combined with adequate speed has made it possible for the Seahawks to play press coverage with its cornerbacks and allow safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas to roam around and make plays in run support and the pass game.

Combined with Sherman on the other side, Seattle's pass defense ranked sixth in the league, allowing 203.1 yards per game. The Seahawks were ranked as high as No. 3 in the league against the pass during the regular season.

According to STATS, Inc., Browner and Sherman were among the best in the league at not getting burned. Browner was targeted 65 times and allowed 30 receptions with six passes defensed. Sherman was targeted 94 times and allowed 43 receptions, and led the NFL with 24 passes defensed according to STATS.

``It just adds along to all the ballers we have back there,'' Thomas said. ``(I) don't want to take any credit away from the young guys that have been playing back there, but that's a Pro Bowl player and it's hard to replace that type of player. He's a physical guy, can cause fumbles and interceptions. We're just glad to have him back.''

If there was a benefit to Seattle losing Browner for the final four games it was that some inexperienced players got an opportunity to play. Seattle initially went to Thurmond to take Browner's role until he was sidelined by a hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve earlier this week. Thurmond going down required the Seahawks to give rookie Jeremy Lane and second-year defensive back Byron Maxwell their shots at filling the role and both played well. Lane was tested deep on the first play of the game against both Buffalo and San Francisco and each time was stride for stride in coverage. Maxwell regularly entered and played on the outside in passing situations with Lane moving inside to play against slot receivers.

Overall, the results give the Seahawks flexibility on how they run their schemes and playing time for their youngsters.

``That's just the outside perspective. We already knew how strong he was, we already knew how good he was,'' Sherman said about Lane. ``It wasn't news for us, it was just him getting to show the world how talented he was and we knew the whole time. That's why he's on this team.''

Along with the return of Browner, Hill practiced Wednesday after missing last Sunday's regular-season finale because of a hamstring injury. Malcolm Smith started last week against St. Louis and Carroll said he did not know who would start if Hill made it through the week. Hill has the second-most postseason experience of anyone on Seattle's roster with seven games.

``Like I said, we'll be ready,'' Hill said. ``We've got our full confidence up and we have reliable backups. We know Malcolm can play. We know (Lane) and Byron can play.''

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Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice is a very positive person. Unfortunately, he's playing for a team right now that's shrouded in negativity.

The Redskins have played 10 games this season, and they've walked off the field as losers in nine of those contests. They've gotten rid of their head coach, and many are wondering how many other major changes will come.

And when it comes to the fans, many — if not most — are furious with the direction of the franchise. Guice is noticing that, too.

"It just sucks when I score, or someone else scores, and our team posts a picture to Instagram or Twitter and everything under it is just, 'Fire this, fire that, we suck," Guice told JP Finlay in a 1-on-1 interview on the Redskins Talk podcast. "That doesn't help anything."

The running back understands that frustration. However, he wants those who are angry to know one thing: While this current roster is obviously responsible for the 2019 issues, they aren't responsible for the two-decade-long slump that's affected the organization.

"I'm new here," Guice said. "I understand some of these fans have been here 20-30 years, but like, there's a lot of guys on this team that are new. Y'all can't bring all that negativity to us like we've been here 20 years. I don't think that's fair to us players."

That's what makes this situation so difficult for those on the field and those who watch those on the field. Fans have been on this unsatisfying ride for far too long, yet most of the players hopped on a stop or two ago. 

So people who post those hateful comments or send those angry DMs are doing so because they've seen a handful of free agency and draft classes bust, and because they've seen numerous coaches come in and fail, and they've been lied to repeatedly about how "close" the Redskins are. They aren't necessarily trying to take it out on Guice or Dwayne Haskins or Landon Collins, it just appears that way.

Guice, for one, is trying his best to improve how he handles that side of being an athlete. He's also choosing to focus on those who've stayed on his side through what's been a trying first couple of seasons in the league.

For all the negativity he encounters, he's grateful for those who remain positive like him.

"A guy that's been there two years and has only played two real games, there's a lot of fans that have still never left my side since I got drafted," Guice said. "That's something I always have to cherish."

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Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

When you win a championship the way the Nationals did, other teams are going to try and capture that magic in any way they can. 

Of course, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg are at risk of leaving town and free agency, but now the Davey Martinez will have to make changes to his coaching staff as well. 

According to Jim Salisbury, the Phillies hired Washington's assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon as their new hitting coach under manager Joe Girardi. 

Working with hitting coach Kevin Long, Dillon helped the Nationals lead the national league in on-base percentage while ranking second in batting average and OPS. 

The Phillies struggled at the plate in 2019, ranking 22nd in batting average, 19th in on-base percentage and 17th in OPS. Despite acquiring Bryce Harper, Jean Segura and JT Realmuto last offseason, Philadelphia boasted an anemic offense under former hitting coach John Mallee. 

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