Redskins

Sanchez, Revis want to remain with Jets

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Sanchez, Revis want to remain with Jets

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Mark Sanchez wants to stay right where he is. So does Darrelle Revis.

The two players are among the New York Jets' biggest uncertainties heading into next season. Sanchez comes off a miserable year and Revis is recovering from a serious knee injury while also having a sticky contract situation.

``Until I'm told differently, I'm a Jet,'' Sanchez said Monday as the Jets cleaned out their lockers. ``That's what I always thought would happen. I don't see anything different. I just want another crack at this thing.''

Whether he gets that opportunity remains to be seen. The 2009 first-round pick had his worst season since his rookie year, throwing 18 interceptions and getting benched for a game late in the season. Sanchez appeared to lose his confidence as the season wore on and questions about his ability to lead the team became more frequent.

Sanchez didn't hesitate when asked if he believes he can be the team's starting quarterback again.

``No question,'' he said. ``Absolutely.''

Some believe Sanchez might be best suited for a change of scenery, to leave the pressures of New York and start over with another franchise. But that will be a tough task for whoever replaces Mike Tannenbaum, who was fired as the team's general manager Monday.

Sanchez is due $8.25 million in guarantees next season after having his contract extended last offseason. He would cost the Jets a $17.1 million salary cap hit next season if he is cut, but New York could spread that amount over the next two seasons if he is released after June 1.

The salary cap hit would still be a costly $8.9 million even if the Jets do find a willing trading partner. So, there's a good chance Sanchez will be back next season to compete for the starting job, possibly with a veteran brought in who could present a viable challenge.

``I've got confidence in Mark,'' Revis said. ``It was a tough year for him. The only thing you can try to do is just lift him up as much as you can and be positive around him. ... I just think he has to just focus on football.''

One player who likely won't be back is Tim Tebow.

Tebow was expected to be a key part of the offense after he was acquired from Denver in a trade last March. Instead, he had no impact and was never a serious challenger to Sanchez for the starting job. Tebow was leapfrogged by third-stringer Greg McElroy when Sanchez was benched, and is expected to be traded or released during the next several weeks.

Tebow said all the right things during his one season with the Jets, doing all he could to hide his frustration at his lack of playing time. He was the NFL's most sought backup, though, attracting large crowds of media every Wednesday and Friday - the days he spoke in front of his locker. His presence, many assumed, provided too much of a distraction for Sanchez.

``I'm not going to make any excuses about anything like that,'' Sanchez said. ``He worked his butt off while he was here and he tried to come in and help this team. That's all I'm going to say about that. He's a good teammate.''

Having watched from the sideline most of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee, Revis was disappointed the Jets were labeled by many as a ``circus,'' led by the hoopla surrounding Tebow. There were also the comments by anonymous players throughout the season that annoyed Revis, saying his teammates need to ``keep things positive around here.''

Meanwhile, Revis expects to be ``100 percent ready'' by the time next season begins, but there are obvious concerns. Revis was considered the best cover cornerback in the league at the time of his injury, and he'll need to prove he hasn't lost a step and is healthy enough to be a top player again. A new contract might also depend on it.

``Right now, I'm not even focused on that,'' he said. ``I've got to get this knee back to 100 percent. That's all I'm focused on is rehabbing and we'll go from there.''

Revis considered holding out of training camp because he was expecting an extension, but instead reported on time. Tannenbaum and the team talked about wanting Revis to retire someday as a member of the Jets. Whether a new general manager feels the same will dictate Revis' long-term future.

``I definitely want to be here,'' Revis said. ``This is where I live. This is the team I got drafted by.''

Despite a 6-10 season that ended with three straight losses, Revis thinks the Jets could get back to their winning ways quickly.

``We're not far,'' he said. ``It's just this year there was a lot of stuff going on. ... The season kind of spiraled into turmoil from injuries, and I think we couldn't really bounce back from that.''

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Three ways the Redskins helped Dwayne Haskins truly shine for the first time

Three ways the Redskins helped Dwayne Haskins truly shine for the first time

Dwayne Haskins played really well Sunday against the Eagles, and it wasn't just on certain drives or in specific situations. Haskins put together a complete and encouraging performance in Week 15, and for that, he deserves a lot of credit.

But the Redskins' coaching staff, and most notably Kevin O'Connell, should be praised as well for setting Haskins up to shine versus Philly.

Here are three things O'Connell and the offense did at FedEx Field that contributed to the rookie's best effort as a pro.

They were more aggressive on early downs

The following two things are true: 1) Bill Callahan loves Adrian Peterson, and 2) Adrian Peterson has a legitimate shot at rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season. Because of those two facts, it felt like Sunday was setting up to be the Peterson Show, especially on first down.

It wasn't, though, and that greatly benefitted Haskins.

No. 7 found Terry McLaurin for a nine-yarder to start the contest, a throw that allowed the QB to settle into a nice rhythm from the start. The 75-yard touchdown pass from Haskins to McLaurin was also a first down toss, one that featured play-action:

A first down pass in the second quarter, meanwhile, led to a defensive pass interference that advanced the ball 14 yards. On that possession, Haskins would eventually find Steven Sims for a score. 

Throughout the matchup, the Burgundy and Gold seemed more comfortable with trusting Haskins to attack the Eagles, and that's something he very much enjoyed.

"I hope to continue to do it," he told reporters postgame.

They targeted Steven Sims a bunch

Want another example of O'Connell's influence over the gameplan? Look no further than how much Sims was involved.

Overall, Sims was targeted 11 times, and while he only hauled in five of those passes, he's a guy worth looking to often. O'Connell has talked for weeks now about how much he wants to use Sims, and while it may sound odd to say that an undrafted receiver from Kansas deserves lots of chances on a unit that includes McLaurin and Peterson, it's true.

He's really difficult for defensive backs to stay in front of and he's shown a penchant for making some tremendous grabs, including his toe-tapper for his first career receiving TD on Sunday.  

"I'm seeing everything and I'm playing faster," Sims said in the locker room. 

O'Connell and Haskins are seeing him, too, and his larger role is giving Haskins another weapon to rely on.

They introduced a creative option play

In addition to the uptick in aggressiveness, the Redskins also were more creative against the Eagles than they had been lately. The best example of that is the option they introduced and executed perfectly on two separate snaps.

On the first option, Haskins fake-tossed it to Peterson before lateraling it to him a second later. The fake from Haskins was a nifty way to buy more time for the play to develop and it set Peterson up to pick up a first down:

They went back to it again in the third quarter, but this time, Haskins kept the ball and cut upfield for a 23-yard gain:

Watch any NFL game on any weekend, and you'll see offenses trying new concepts and surprising defenses with those concepts. In Week 15, the Redskins were finally one of those offenses, and the group as a whole was the most effective its been under Haskins. And for that, both the player and the staff should be recognized.

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Mark Lerner reflects on Bryce Harper’s departure in free agency

Mark Lerner reflects on Bryce Harper’s departure in free agency

The entire Donald Dell interview with Mark Lerner can be seen Tuesday, December 17, at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

For seven seasons, the Nationals and Bryce Harper enjoyed a happy marriage that included four NL East division titles, an MVP award and the respect from the rest of the league as legitimate playoff contenders year in and year out.

But principal managing owner Mark Lerner knew their relationship might not last forever. In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Donald Dell, Lerner talked about how the team balanced making a business decision with the personal side of hoping to extend Harper when he hit free agency last offseason.

“We all like Bryce but at the end of the day, there’s the economic factor, there’s other factors that come into it: clubhouse, interaction with teammates, everything you could imagine in a decision about a free agent,” Lerner said.

Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, which at the time was the record for the most expensive contract in MLB history. The Nationals reportedly made him an offer for 10 years and $300 million that included $100 million in deferrals at the end of the 2018 season.

“He [was] a free agent for a reason, he earned that right,” Lerner said. “It’s his decision and his family’s decision where they play. And he chose to move on. He obviously got an incredible offer.

“Everybody seems to forget it’s not just a bidding war to get the players, the player has to want to play here and sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”

By the time Harper signed with Philadelphia in early March, the Nationals had already reported to Spring Training with starter Patrick Corbin signed to a six-year, $140 million deal as well as a slew of new faces on the roster that had joined the club through free agency. Lerner said Washington never heard back from Harper and didn’t want to wait for him to make a decision.

“We were moving down a different path at that point anyhow,” Lerner said. “Because, as you may recall, Bryce had not given us a response through his agent Scott Boras and we had decisions we had to make so we didn’t get caught waiting too long for him to find out we can’t get other players to replace him.

“And our choice at that point in time was either wait for him or we had the opportunity to sign Patrick Corbin. And we chose to sign Patrick Corbin and get another great starter, which has worked out great, and it was really more us at that point to say, ‘We have to move on.’”

The Nationals went on to win the World Series in 2019 while Harper posted an .882 OPS with 35 home runs in 157 games for the 81-81 Phillies. But as division rivals, Harper and the Nationals will see each other plenty over the next 12 years he’s locked into Philadelphia.

Only time will tell which side ends up wondering what could’ve been.

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