Redskins

Ryan excited that Koetter staying with Falcons

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Ryan excited that Koetter staying with Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Quarterback Matt Ryan is enjoying his best season in five years with the Atlanta Falcons.

So it's no wonder Ryan was delighted to hear that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter won't be leaving to take a head coaching job with another NFL team.

``The thing I think everybody respects and likes the most is that he trusts our guys to go out there and make the plays,'' Ryan said on Wednesday. ``He's not afraid to be aggressive. It's been fun.''

Ryan has worked just one season with Koetter, who has signed a contract extension to stay with the team through 2014, and the results have been impressive for the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed.

Roddy White and Julio Jones each have over 1,000 yards receiving. Tight end Tony Gonzalez leads the team in catches, and Ryan is having his best season as a professional.

The only drawback has been the substantial decline in production from running back Michael Turner, but Ryan credits the coach's game plans and play-calling in helping the Falcons (13-3) enjoy a bye week before they host a divisional round game Jan. 13.

``I think he does a great job of putting all of our guys in position to succeed,'' Ryan said. ``He changes it up and puts different guys out there at different times.''

Koetter's name surfaced this week as a head coaching candidate in Cleveland, Kansas City and Philadelphia. The Falcons moved to re-sign Koetter after his interview with Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt on Tuesday.

Atlanta coach Mike Smith declined to give details of the developments involving Koetter and other job offers.

``I don't want to really get into any of the details,'' Smith said. ``Dirk is going to be here with us. He informed me of that last night. We talked at length. That's where we're at right now.''

Koetter, who spent the previous five years as coordinator in Jacksonville, oversees an offense that ranks second in third-down efficiency, seventh in scoring and fewest sacks allowed and eighth in total yards.

Much of the Falcons' success offensively has been credited to the numbers produced by Ryan, White, Gonzalez and Jones, but Koetter doesn't rely solely on his stars.

Everyone seems to get some action because Koetter has five potential receiving targets on the field for nearly every snap.

Relatively anonymous players like receiver Drew Davis, tight end Michael Palmer and offensive tackle Mike Johnson have caught touchdown passes.

Some personnel groupings include reserve running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling on the field for the same play. And opponents don't know if White, Jones or even Gonzalez will line up wide, in the slot or in the backfield.

``Using all your guys keeps everybody motivated, gives everybody something to prepare for each week,'' Koetter said last week. ``I think our high this year was 32 personnel groups. We usually average in the low 20s with many different combinations of guys. It's fun for the guys and lets the coaches who have different parts of the game plan be creative in how we use our guys.''

Koetter's hiring last January got a mixed reaction.

He had overseen a balanced attack during his first four years with Jacksonville as the Jaguars ranked 13th in total offense, seventh in rushing, fifth in third-down conversions and first in fewest interceptions.

But Jacksonville all but collapsed in 2011 as rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert struggled and the Jaguars finished last in total offense and in yards passing. Their 15.2 scoring average ranked 29th.

When he arrived in Atlanta, Koetter wanted to earn the trust of his new players quickly so he went out of his way to keep his playbook simple.

``I think one of the biggest things that helped throughout the situation was him adapting to the terminology and a lot of the concepts that we had used and kind of the one guy changing for the mass as opposed to the mass changing for one guy,'' Ryan said. ``I think guys respected that and really appreciated that.''

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Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

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USA TODAY Sports

Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

Upsets get a lot of attention in March, due to the allure of the NCAA Tournament and the non-allure of everyone who loves to talk about how THEY CALLED that upset that YOU DIDN'T.

With that being said, upsets happen every month of the year, and they go down weekly in the NFL. So, how about we look back at some of the Redskins' particularly surprising wins from the past decade?

Here are five of the most memorable. 

5) 2014 - Redskins 27, Eagles 24

The Eagles came into FedEx Field late in 2014 with a 9-5 record needing a win to remain squarely in the playoff hunt. The Redskins, meanwhile, were just 3-11 and had changed quarterbacks a depressing five times.

Yet in this matchup, Robert Griffin III managed the offense well and DeSean Jackson had more than 120 receiving yards against his former team because DeSean Jackson is awesome.

Yes, the 'Skins were outproduced in nearly every major stat category. But Mark Sanchez — sorry, future Redskin great Mark Sanchez — had two costly turnovers and Cody Parkey missed two field goals (Philly fans have probably forgiven him by now), allowing the home team to squeak out a W.

4) 2009 - Redskins 27, Broncos 17

This is one of those random Redskins games you've probably forgotten about because it came in a lost season, but it was still a miraculous victory.

The most iconic play from this one was a Hunter Smith to Mike Sellers TD on a fake field goal — a fake, mind you, that came after a timeout by Jim Zorn because the unit's first fake punt attempt included only 10 players on the field.

Denver was 6-2 but lost Kyle Orton to injury at halftime. Jason Campbell, on the other hand, helped the Burgundy and Gold score more than 17 points for the first time all year.

"We've had a desert experience -- very arid, if you will -- for the last few weeks," Zorn said postgame. "So to be able to come out with a win, you almost don't know how to feel."

The Zorn Era was terrible, but you have to give the dude credit for working "very arid" into an NFL press conference.

3) 2012 - Redskins 40, Saints 32

There was plenty of hype surrounding RG3's debut, but there was no way he was going to lead the Redskins to a win over the Saints... in his debut... in the Superdome... right?

Wrong. Incorrect. Not right.

Griffin found Pierre Garcon early for an 88-yard score and the offense stayed hot all afternoon, outpacing a New Orleans squad that was favored by more than a touchdown. If you want a further reminder of how impressive this effort was, look back at what happened to this franchise in the Superdome this past season. 

2) 2014 - Redskins 20, Cowboys 17

Dallas' six-game winning streak stood no chance against Colt McCoy, as the Texas legend went into the Cowboys' house for a wild Monday Night triumph.

Kai Forbath's field goal sealed it in overtime and Bashaud Breeland dominated Dez Bryant, but McCoy was the star. On the way to his first successful start in close to three seasons, the signal caller went 25 for 30 in the air and found the end zone on the ground, too.

1) 2017 - Redskins 17, Seahawks 14

If someone in your life thinks they can't do something, just pull up the box score or highlights from this contest. They will then realize that nothing is impossible, because the Redskins beating the Seahawks on this Sunday should've been impossible, yet it somehow happened anyway.

Washington went into Seattle's harsh environment down six starters, including three on the O-line, but Kirk Cousins kept things together and found Brian Quick and Josh Doctson for long completions on a harrowing last drive to steal this result. It wasn't quite UMBC over Virginia, but it was absolutely a stunning final nonetheless. 

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With nine games left, where do the Wizards stand in the East and NBA Draft Lottery?

With nine games left, where do the Wizards stand in the East and NBA Draft Lottery?

At the beginning of the week, the Washington Wizards had 12 games left on the schedule and needed to win a minimum of eight or nine of those games if they hoped to make the playoffs.

It’s Thursday night and Washington’s loss to the Jazz makes three in a row.

With nine games left on the schedule, where do they stand in the East postseason race and the draft lottery order?

Eastern Conference Standings

Losing three-straight games hasn’t actually dropped the Wizards from the 11th spot in the East, where they’ve hovered the last couple weeks. For that they can thank the tanking Atlanta Hawks.

Don’t think those L’s aren’t costing Washington, though. In the same span of time, the 8-seed Heat have won three in a row.

Now Bradley Beal and Co. are a full six games out of the final playoff spot with nine games to go. They also trail Orlando (34-38) in ninth and Charlotte (32-39) in 10th.

They’re not absolutely, certainly, 100-percent eliminated from playoff contention, but they must win every game left.

Even that might not be enough.

NBA Draft Lottery

Back-to-back-to-back losses took a major toll on whatever playoff hopes Washington had left. For a silver lining, look no further than the team’s draft lottery position.

The Wizards started the week ninth in the draft lottery order, which gave them 20.3 percent odds of scoring a top-four pick (preferably in the form of a Duke freshman or Ja Morant). That ninth spot also carries a 4.5 percent chance at the top-overall pick.

While the Wiz kids were busy dropping 3 games, the two teams immediately ahead of them in the lottery order had better luck.

The Grizzlies won their only game so far this week, while the Pelicans won one of two.

Those results dropped New Orleans to number nine, boosted Washington to number eight and left them tied with Memphis at 15.5 games out of number one in the lottery order (though Memphis’s win percentage is fractionally lower and keeps them in seventh).

If the Wizards can pass the Grizzlies and climb into seventh, that’s a big deal in terms of lottery odds. Simulating the drawing, the ninth-place team gets a top-four pick once in every five simulations. The seventh-place team gets a top-four pick once in every three simulations.

Look Ahead

Washington can’t lose another game if they want to make the playoffs. This is literally must-win territory.

Even winning out is no guarantee they’ll advance to the postseason.

Up next, Washington hosts Miami at home on Saturday, followed by a West Coast road trip the following week.

Games to Watch

Heat at Wizards, Saturday 7 PM

Timberwolves at Grizzlies, Saturday 8 PM

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