Redskins

Sanchez's numbers better, but Jets QB struggling

Sanchez's numbers better, but Jets QB struggling

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Mark Sanchez remembers bouncing off his offensive lineman's backside, dropping to the turf and wondering what hit him.

The New York Jets quarterback certainly knows now.

He has been, well, the butt of jokes on sports radio shows and blogs all over the internet. Especially since the replay has been shown countless times since he ran into Brandon Moore and fumbled last Thursday night in a 49-19 loss to the New England Patriots.

``I guess (I was) more stunned than anything,'' Sanchez said Wednesday. ``Just like a car accident. I was like, `Whoa. What just happened?' Then, the ball's gone. It was weird.''

It was a broken play in which Sanchez tried to make something happen, but instead made all the blooper reels. And the fumble led to a touchdown in the middle of a 35-point second quarter for the Patriots.

``It's embarrassing,'' Sanchez said. ``You screw up the play and I'm trying to do the right thing. It's not like I'm trying to force something. I start to slide and I slide right in the worst spot I possibly could: right into Brandon Moore.''

Sanchez said his teammates have been cool with him about the play, keeping the razzing to a minimum. After all, in many ways, the play epitomized the season for the Jets (4-7) and their struggling quarterback.

``Hopefully,'' Sanchez said, ``we'll laugh about it later.''

Sanchez's overall statistics have been a bit better the last few weeks than they were earlier in the season. He has completed more than 72 percent of his passes in two straight games and has a 300-yard passing performance. But the numbers don't tell nearly the whole story.

Sanchez is still making crucial mistakes in games, just as he did last week, and the question remains as to whether he'll ever be better than he is now. Four of his 10 interceptions this season have been in the red zone, or within the opponents' 20-yard line. Six of the 10 have come from inside the 35.

``We've made mistakes in the red zone and it hasn't just been Mark Sanchez making a mistake,'' coach Rex Ryan said. ``There's been other mistakes as well. Is it a route? Is it a dropped pass? A protection error? Sometimes a lot gets blamed on the quarterback, but sometimes there are other things involved as well.''

Ryan dodged questions about Sanchez's struggles specifically, pointing to everyone needing to improve - including himself.

``If we could just say, `Stop. Just don't do it,' I think we've said that a bunch,'' Ryan said. ``I don't think that's going to fix it. Clearly, you have to, I think, look more into why the mistakes were made or whatever.''

It's true that the Jets' offensive woes can't be entirely pinned on Sanchez. New York ranks tied for 16th in the NFL with 20 dropped passes. The running game has failed to be consistent for a prolonged stretch this season, and the offensive line has also had its share of troubles protecting the quarterback.

But Sanchez has failed to become the franchise-type player the Jets expected him to be when they drafted him in 2009, the type of quarterback who can take an offense on his shoulders and make everyone around him better. He has 41 turnovers in the last two seasons - 28 interceptions and 13 fumbles lost.

Former NFL MVP Rich Gannon had a one-word description of Sanchez on CBS Sports Network's ``NFL Monday QB'' earlier this week: ``Lost.''

Phil Simms followed that up with his own critical assessment.

``I think that really sums up everything for the New York Jets,'' the former Giants quarterback said. ``I live up here in the New York area, so I read it every single day. Tim Tebow brought in. A different offense. All of the injuries to skill players. Very tough for a quarterback to get firm footing and show what kind of talent he has.''

There have been plenty of excuses made by many people, but to Sanchez's credit, he has never pinned any of his struggles on anyone other than himself - no matter how justified he might be in doing so.

``They can't happen,'' Sanchez said of his mistakes. ``I just have to do a better job of protecting the football.''

He has five games left in the regular season to try to do that, and to firmly establish himself as the future of the franchise and not just a player who peaked in his first two seasons while helping the Jets to consecutive AFC title games.

Ryan and his staff have put together videos of how to limit turnovers, especially since the Jets rank tied for fifth in the NFL with 22.

``We have clips of every single player we have - how to hold it, what the opponent's seeing, everything,'' Ryan said. ``You name it, we're trying to find answers to it, solutions to it.''

All five of the Jets' opponents - Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo - have records under .500, and Ryan has said the goal is to run the table, go 5-0 and see what happens from there.

``It's important for all of us,'' Sanchez said. ``Being the quarterback of a team, there's always more pressure and attention at that position. I don't treat it as anything else. We just need to win some games here. We've done it in the past and hopefully we'll do it again.''

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NOTES: Ryan faces Arizona's Kerry Rhodes for the first time since he called him ``selfish'' in his book last year after the two clashed at times while the safety played for the Jets. ``That's in the past,'' Ryan said. ``I'm not going to get into it.'' ... Sanchez on fan Ed Anzalone ``retiring'' from being Fireman Ed, partially because of increasing ``confrontations'' at MetLife Stadium stemming from him wearing the quarterback's No. 6 jersey: ``He's been really supportive. Obviously, I appreciate that. He's been around a long time, seen the ups and downs of our team. Obviously, if his safety is in jeopardy here, then maybe it's a good move.''

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Need to Know: Redskins' Jay Gruden and Alex Smith from the podium

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins' Jay Gruden and Alex Smith from the podium

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 24, 64 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What Jay Gruden and Alex Smith had to say from the podium

After yesterday’s OTA practice, Alex Smith and Jay Gruden took the podium. Here are some of their quotes and my comments on them:

Smith was asked about getting together with his new teammates:

So I think every guy these last two days has enjoyed just getting back out there and losing yourself in the game, right? To be limited, it does make you miss it, and I think it makes you appreciate it, so that’s been nice. 

Comment: This is a guy who loves football and everything that goes with it. Smith would start playing games tomorrow if they were scheduled.

Gruden was asked how Smith has looked in these first two days of OTAs:

He’s got good command of the offense already. Great command in the huddle. He’s just getting a feel for the receivers, the players around him, how we call things, but overall, the first two days, I would say I’m very pleased with his quick progression and learning. I knew that wouldn’t be an issue with as much as he’s played in a similar-style system.

Comment: It did seem that Smith was in sync with his receivers, Jamison Crowder in particular. He and Paul Richardson connected on a deep pass after giving each other a look at the line of scrimmage. The encouraging thing is that he is coming from a similar offensive system, so the learning curve should not be too long. 

Smith had a great analogy when asked about similarities to the offenses he has run:

Both from West Coast worlds, so it’s kind of like they are all Latin-based languages, you know, but they are not the same. There are some similarities, structure of the playbook, of how we call things, things like that. There are a lot of similarities but it’s not the same language. I guess that’s the best analogy I can make

Comment: If terminology is the biggest obstacle for Smith to overcome it will be a smooth transition for him. 

Gruden was impressed with the running backs. 

“I’ll tell you what, just today in general, you could see the competition. You could see Rob Kelley step up. Samaje Perine’s had a couple big days. Byron Marshall, I mean, he had a couple great routes today. He’s running the ball between the tackles. [Kapri] Bibbs had some big runs yesterday. Obviously, Derrius Guice has come in here and fueled the fire a little bit.

Comment: I think that the Redskins are going to have to release some good running backs. Rob Kelly never really earned the nickname “Fat Rob” but he looked particularly lean and quick running the ball. He wants nothing to do with being on the roster bubble. Marshall moved quickly and showed his speed. Although Gruden wouldn’t say it, Guice clearly was the best of the bunch; his ability to change direction while maintaining his speed will serve him well. It must be noted that they are not in pads and not getting tackled so more definitive opinions will have to wait until we are in Richmond for a few days. 

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

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 19
—Training camp starts (7/26) 64
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 78

The Redskins last played a game 144 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 108 days. 

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NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are the only two hockey teams left standing and will meet to decide the 2017-18 NHL Stanley Cup champion.

The Capitals advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998, thanks to a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Golden Knights, in their inaugural season, shocked the NHL world, defeating the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets to become the first team in major American professional sports history to reach the championship game in the franchise's first season.

The Capitals and Golden Knights met twice during the regular season, with Vegas coming out on top in both games. The Golden Knights blanked the Caps 3-0 in the Caps' first trip to Sin City, and bested the Caps 4-3 at Capital One Arena on Feb. 4.

Game 1 of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC and is available to be streamed online by using the NBC Sports App.

NBC Sports Washington will broadcast pre and postgame coverage of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights,  with Caps FaceOff and Caps GameTime preceding Capitals vs. Golden Knights puck drop and Caps Extra and Caps OverTime following the end of each game. 

2018 STANLEY CUP FINAL HOW TO WATCH

Game 1: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Monday, May 28
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, May 30
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Saturday, June 2
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 4: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Monday, June 4
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 5 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Thursday, June 7
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 6 (If Necessary): Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Sunday, June 10
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 7 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, June 13
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)
 

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