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Reynolds proves clutch for Kastles in 19th straight win

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Reynolds proves clutch for Kastles in 19th straight win

The Washington Kastles kicked off their home opener with a ring ceremony to commemorate the 2011 season, a season in which the Kastles went 16-0 en route to capture their second King Cup. Naturally, owner Mark Ein likened the 2011 Kastles to the 1972 Dolphins.

All the Kastles received rings, except for newcomer Anastasia Rodionova. Ein ensured Rodionova would receive a ring this time next year.

The Kastles are well on their way to continued dominance. The Kastles, already 2-0 on the season, improved their record to 3-0 with a narrow 20-18 victory over the New York Sportimes.

Mixed Doubles

Mixed Doubles was a star-studded affair with five-time gland slam winner Martina Hingis and her partner Robert Kendrick taking on the Kastles' pair of Anastasia Rodionova and Leander Paes. Paes reached the Wimbledon finals earlier this year with a different partner, Elena Vesnina.

After a shaky start, Kastles rookie Anastasia Rodionova was able to redeem herself. On serve, trailing the Sportimes 4-2, Anastasia didn't allow New York on the board. Then the great Martina was broken, the event was tied at 4 all, and headed to a deciding tiebreaker.

From there the Kastles cruised, giving Washington a 5-4 lead heading into women's doubles.

Women's Doubles

The ladies were up next, Hingis and the notorious Ashley Harkleroad versus the Kastles other sister act of Anastasia and Arina Rodionova.

The Kastles struggled at first, trailing 3-1, but fought back. With Anastasia relentless on serve, the Rodionova sisters were able to tie the match at 3.

Down 4-3 with Arina serving for the Kastles, the Sportimes took over. Hingis and Harkleroad allowed just 1 point before closing out the match at 5-3 and giving New York the 9-8 lead.

Men's Doubles

Ladies first, up next the men. New York sent Jesse Witten and Robert Kendrick to take on Bobby Reynolds and Leander Paes for Washington.

Prior to the match, Paes said that Reynolds "made his job" easy, and it showed. Jokingly, Paes added that Coach Murphy Jensen did not make his life any easier.

The men's doubles matchwas no contest as the Kastles jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Bobby Reynolds then effortlessly closed out the match, giving the Kastles a 13-9 overall lead.
Women's Singles

Anastasia vs. Hingis. Anastasia's inexperience showed as Hingis had no problem dismantling the Kastles newest edition 5-2. Hingis' victory cut the Washington lead to 15-14 with just the men's singles match remaining.

Men's Singles

Bobby Reynolds wasted no time setting the tone of the match against Jesse Witten, sending a volley winner straight into the stands.

However, shutting Witten out would prove tough for "the closer" and Reynolds quickly found the match tied at 3.

On serve, Reynolds delivered back to back aces giving him a 4-3 lead. But Witten would answer the call, and at 4-all the Kastles and Sportimes were headed to a tiebreak.

Reynolds would show his home court confidence by taking the tiebreak 5-1, giving the Kastles the 20-18 victory over their conference foe.

After the match, Reynolds noted that he embraced his role as the Kastles clutch player. For Washington, that's a good thing, because Reynolds is good at what he does.

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Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

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Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Scherff, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.