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Ryan could be staking 2 jobs on Sanchez

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Ryan could be staking 2 jobs on Sanchez

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Rex Ryan is as loyal as an NFL coach possibly can be, and his decision Wednesday to stick with Mark Sanchez at quarterback was the logical move for now.

Staying with Sanchez has its pitfalls, too, and Ryan could be staking not only Sanchez's future with the New York Jets on what happens in the final four weeks of the season, but his own job security.

``It's one where I obviously have to get this decision right, and I believe I have,'' Ryan said, exuding confidence but - as the coach of a 5-7 team - maybe not his signature bravado.

Ryan's benching of Sanchez on Sunday against Arizona was done not just to rescue the Jets from another embarrassing defeat. It was done to deliver a message to the only starter Ryan has had for nearly four seasons, since both he and Sanchez arrived with the Jets.

``The thing we have not done a good job of is protecting the ball,'' Ryan said. ``Mark is the obvious guy we are talking about.''

The strategy worked two ways. Third-stringer Greg McElroy made his NFL debut a successful one, leading the Jets to a 7-6 win. And Sanchez say he got the message was delivered and understood.

``I know I can play better and it's time to prove it,'' Sanchez acknowledged. ``I put myself in a tough spot and it's time to work my way out of it.''

That chore begins Sunday at Jacksonville, but clearly this is not a one-game project. The ramifications of keeping Sanchez as the starter will have a long-term effect on the franchise.

After leading the Jets to the AFC title game in his first two seasons, Sanchez has regressed as a passer and as a decision maker. Never was that more apparent than in the victory over the Cardinals, and Ryan finally pulled him for the untested McElroy late in the third quarter, to loud cheering from the home fans.

Yet Sanchez has never had someone to truly challenge for his position and, even now after perhaps the worst two-game stretch of his career, he remains the Jets' only viable option.

The Tim Tebow experiment has been an utter failure as the Jets have found no way to make use of him in their offense. The flutterballs he throws, his inability to find secondary receivers and the limited play selection for him all have made Tebow a virtual nonentity - and now he has broken ribs.

McElroy was outstanding at Alabama, leading the Crimson Tide to a national championship. But he's raw and has little familiarity with the starters on offense because he gets virtually no snaps during the week's practices. He provided a spark against Arizona and could do so again, but making him the No. 1 QB at this point is a reach.

Going with Sanchez, albeit on a short leash, is not.

Of course, it will need to be an improved and wiser Sanchez.

``Sometimes you learn from when you're put in that position, when somebody goes in,'' Ryan said. ``And sometimes it's as easy as you step back and see somebody else in that role. He hasn't really had that before. I think sometimes you learn a great deal from that.''

Ryan had better hope that's the case, because his loyalty to Sanchez could backfire on the coach. They've never been more inextricably tied together.

Sanchez is owed $8.25 million in guaranteed money for 2013 as part of a contract extension the team gave him last March after failing in a short pursuit of Peyton Manning. Ryan certainly had a hand in that decision.

Until now, Ryan never has wavered in his support of Sanchez, even when it became obvious the quarterback wasn't progressing the way other fourth-year QBs such as Matthew Stafford and Josh Freeman had. Ryan recognizes that the contract extension and having no real competition for Sanchez left him with few choices that wouldn't smack of panic.

Ryan is hoping Sanchez finds his way even though he is working with the least-talented group of teammates he's had with the Jets. New York lacks a No. 1 receiver with Santonio Holmes sidelined - some say Holmes isn't a No. 1, either - and the rest of his targets are young. Running back Shonn Greene wouldn't start for most teams, and his backups are a nondescript bunch. The line has been in a slump for nearly two seasons.

Those issues are not Sanchez's fault; they lie with personnel decisions made by management, including Ryan.

What is Sanchez's responsibility is executing on the field, both mentally and physically. He's shown little adeptness in either area this season.

``We are where we're at. I can't go back and change anything,'' Sanchez said. ``My job is to play well for the guys in this locker room and for a head coach who believes in me.''

A coach who believes so much in him that he might be staking his own job on that faith.

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How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

Monday night was supposed to be another night of Capitals action with a game against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately due to the NHL’s hold on the season in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the show can not go on as originally planned. 

However, with some minor adjustments to the presentation, there is still a way to keep things going. 

Monday night at 7 p.m. ET the Capitals will be taking the ice to play the Sabres as planned, only this time it will be virtual ice on an NHL 20 simulation. 

In partnership with Monumental Sports Network, NBC Sports Washington will be airing all Wizards and Capitals games in simulated NBA 2K20 and NHL 2K20 games. The format of these games includes watching the simulated versions of Caps games based on the existing schedule with the bonus of commentary from NBCSW’s experts. 

To make things even more fun, in between the simulation and the re-air of the simulation, there is a chance to relive a classic Caps game. So don’t forget to stick around and re-watch Dowd and the Capitals dominate the Penguins from earlier this season. 

Here's everything you need to know to watch. 

When: Monday, March 30 at 7 p.m. ET

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
  • Monumental Sports Network via its website www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com or via any of its available apps on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Xbox.

Broadcast schedule: 

7:00 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (P)
8:00 PM: NHL Classics: Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins (R) 
10:30 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (R)

Starting lineups: 

Capitals: TBD
Sabres: TBD

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

These 2K simulations certainly do agree with the Wizards. Coming off a stunning victory over the Bucks Friday, Washington turned around on the second night of a back-to-back and beat the Lakers 73-66 at virtual Capital One Arena. 

LeBron James was a one-man wrecking crew for LA, Bradley Beal led the scoring attack for the Wizards and Thomas Bryant got revenge on the team that waived him. 

Here's how the Wizards picked up their fourth-straight 2K win. 

Offensive rebounds

The Lakers are one of the biggest teams in the NBA with James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard playing heavy minutes, but it was the Wizards who dominated the boards in this one. 

Bryant led the way for Washington on the glass with seven of his 13 rebounds coming on the offensive end. The Lakers shot the ball significantly better than the Wizards (47% to 39%) but Washington was simply overwhelming them on the glass to create more opportunities. 

Washington grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers' eight, and it ended being the major difference in the result. 

LeBron's one-man show

The real-life Lakers' biggest weakness is their lack of playmaking outside of James. In a game where James had everything working for him, the Lakers struggled to get anything going whenever he didn't have the ball. 

Rajon Rondo struggled mightily despite tallying eight assists (2-11 FG) and Davis had a bad game relative to his standards (10 points, one rebound, three blocks).

I'd be curious to see what virtual LeBron would have to say about his teammates after this particular game. 

Thomas Bryant's revenge

As we stated before, Bryant was waived by the Lakers after his rookie season and his virtual self took it all out on his former team Saturday night. 

He dominated the boards and once again protected the paint in a way that would make Elvin Hayes proud. He finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. 

With Bryant playing the way he has been the last few simulations, the Wizards' defense has been exceptional. Outside of defensive versatility, having a strong defensive center anchoring the defense is paramount to an effective unit. 

Other parting thoughts

Jerome Robinson continues to play well as a starter, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes. The Wizards didn't get that long of a look at Robinson before the NBA suspended its season.

After acquiring him at the trade deadline in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, it'd be another steal by Tommy Sheppard if Robinson can play like this consistently in real life. 

Instead of erupting in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards secure a win, Beal went off for 14 points in the third this time. He finished with 24 points and went 12-for-30 from the field.

Markieff Morris made a return to DC in this one. The Lakers uniform looks weird on him. 

It's hard to capture just how quick Ish Smith is in a video game, but this spin move came pretty close. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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