Redskins

Saints RB Ivory hopes he earned more action

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Saints RB Ivory hopes he earned more action

METAIRIE, La. (AP) Chris Ivory doesn't know why he didn't get his first chance to carry the ball until the eighth game of the season.

The Saints running back figured the best thing he could do during the first seven weeks of the season was simply stay sharp and focused, so that he could be relied upon when his number finally was called.

``I still don't get it. I just played the patient role,'' Ivory said on Wednesday after logging 10 carries for 48 yards - nearly 5 yards a carry - including a 22-yard touchdown in New Orleans 28-13 victory over Philadelphia on Monday night. ``It was hard to be patient but, you know, I was. ... When they needed to count on me, I was accountable. The focus was definitely there, and like I said, once they called my number I was ready to go.''

Although the bruising 6-foot, 222-pounder made major contributions against the Eagles, Ivory cannot be sure he'll have a more consistent role in the offense. One reason he saw more action last week was because Darren Sproles was out with a broken bone in his left hand. Sproles did not practice Wednesday and could be out again this week, but the Saints are deep at running back, with Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram also in the mix.

In recent seasons, New Orleans coaches said they believed they could never have too many good running backs because one of more of them inevitably would be too banged up to play every week, but that was not the case during the first seven weeks of this season, leaving Ivory fourth on the depth chart.

``I feel like it's more the situation with the backs here and them trying to divvy up carries with all the guys,'' Ivory said. ``I don't think it has anything to do with my talent or if you want to say lack of talent, maybe. I don't think that's what it is. If they keep calling my number, I'm going to be ready.''

Saints coaches never indicated any loss of confidence in Ivory, simply stating that they believed Thomas, Sproles and Ingram were the three running backs performing the best early in the season. However, the ground game was rarely a prominent part of New Orleans' offense during the first seven games, only once accounting for more than 100 yards and four times accounting for fewer than 60 yards.

With Ivory in the lineup against Philadelphia, New Orleans rushed for 140 yards, its second-highest team total this season. And it's not like Ivory came out of nowhere. He was New Orleans' leading rusher as an undrafted rookie in 2010 (716 yards, 5 TDs), when he was pressed into service because of injuries to Thomas and Reggie Bush.

``We know what Chris Ivory can do. He is one of those backs that can combine power and speed and elusiveness,'' Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt said. ``He is doing a better job with ball security. He understands our run game. He understands some pre-snap reads now. So we like Chris. It was good to get him back involved and we are excited for him.''

Atlanta coach Mike Smith, whose team meets New Orleans in the Superdome on Sunday, said Ivory's recent performance speaks more to New Orleans' depth at running back than any fault with the Saints coaching staff not giving the third-year pro a chance this season until Monday.

``They are going to run the football by committee. I think if Darren (Sproles) doesn't play, they still have three outstanding running backs that can run the football,'' Smith said. ``When you get the running game going, everyone knows that bodes well for the quarterback because it opens up opportunities to throw the ball down the field.''

Not surprisingly, Saints quarterback Drew Brees had plenty to say about Ivory's re-emergence.

``It's impressive. We have a good problem (which) is we have all these backs,'' Brees said. Ivory ``adds a very physical component. You see his size and he's an extremely powerful running back. I think you saw his explosiveness and ability on that (touchdown) run, his ability to hit that hole and then be by the safety. He's a rare combination of speed and power.''

NOTES: In addition to Sproles, RT Zach Streif (left groin), DE Junior Gallette (left ankle), and WR-KR Courtney Roby (left shoulder) also missed Wednesday's practice. ... The Saints usually keep practice indoors when preparing for a game in the Superdome, where they play the Flacons this Sunday, but chose on Wednesday to practice outside in cool, sunny weather. ... New Orleans signed CB A.J. Davis to their practice squad and waived practice squad CB Nick Hixson.

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Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

Redskins are keeping Greg Manusky, and they swear it's not because the other guys said no

In the weeks since the 2018 season ended, the Redskins have had various levels of contact with Todd Bowles, Steve Wilks and Gregg Williams.

All three men have extensive experience as defensive coordinators and all three men got new jobs already this offseason in that position. 

Now, after Bowles, Wilks and Williams picked up those new jobs, The Washington Post reported that the Redskins will keep Greg Manusky as defensive coorinator. He's already under contract. 

The meetings with all the other guys? A source told the Post that the Redskins wanted to get "different perspectives" on improving the defense for 2019.

Different perspectives. From the three hottest coordinator names on the coaching market. Sure. 

That said, Manusky is not the sole reason the Redskins fell apart in the second half of the 2018 season. In fact, he's probably not in the Top 5 reasons. 

The Washington defense improved in Manusky's second season as defensive coordinator and looked like a fierce unit in the first half of the year. The team made tremendous strides in rush defense and proved to be quite good at forcing turnovers.

Late in the season, verbal spats with safety DJ Swearinger might have undermined Manusky's status with the defense. But the team decided to release Swearinger, cementing the coach's authority. It also helped that emerging leader Jonathan Allen came out and vocally supported Manusky and his defensive schemes. 

At this point, the Redskins have no choice but to say the team was keeping Manusky all along.

If the organization was interested in other candidates at defensive coordinator, and it sure seemed like they were, those guys found other jobs. The marketplace isn't packed with other candidates with brighter resumes to replace Manusky, so the team is smart to bring back the incumbent. 

The process was awkward, regardless of what gets said now. Manusky is a professional, and has been coaching in the NFL for more than a decade. He understands how business gets done. 

Now, Manusky will be back, and there is good young talent on the Redskins defense, especially up front. 

The guess here is Manusky will say he always expected to be back and never stopped working on getting better for 2019. Now he gets the chance to show it. 

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You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

Chris Thompson is an accomplished player in the NFL. Despite being a fifth round pick, Thompson has made it to a second contract, something more than half of the league never does. 

In six seasons with the Redskins, Thompson has nearly 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. At times, he's been among the best third down backs in the NFL. 

This is a long way of establishing that Chris Thompson is an accomplised football player. Redskins fans know that.

Adrian Peterson didn't. 

Not many people would share that story, so good for Thompson for doing it. Let's add that Peterson joined the Redskins after offseason workouts and training camp, the normal time for new players to get to know each other. Peterson signed up with the Redskins in the middle of August, well after the regular get-to-know-you period had closed. 

Still, that's a tough break for Thompson. 

Peterson is a legend in the NFL, one of the best running backs to ever play the game. When he joined the Redskins, a number of players watched him work in practice with the hint of awe in their eyes. He proved to be a great teammate and a strong presence in the locker room.

By the end of the year, Peterson was obviously a leader for the Redskins. Players looked up to him, even if he didn't know their name when the year started.

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