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Schaub has shot to get Texans into AFC title game

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Schaub has shot to get Texans into AFC title game

HOUSTON (AP) Matt Schaub made his first playoff start last week and helped lead the Houston Texans to a win.

But he did make a key mistake, throwing an interception which was returned for a touchdown.

He knows he'll have to be much better if the Texans expect to win at New England in a divisional playoff game on Sunday.

``He's going to have to play at a high level, but we all are,'' coach Gary Kubiak said. ``You know what I mean? We got a job to do around him.''

Schaub's No. 1 goal this week is to help the offense score touchdowns instead of field goals when it gets in the red zone. Houston got inside the 20-yard line four times last weekend against Cincinnati, and settled for field goals three times after the offense stalled.

``Against this team in their building threes aren't going to cut it,'' Schaub said. ``We've got to get down there and we've got be aggressive and score touchdowns.''

Schaub is a nine-year veteran, but Saturday was his first start in the postseason after he missed Houston's playoff run last year because of an injured foot. He said it meant a lot to him to be with his team for the first time in the playoffs, and of course, getting the win made it even better.

Receiver Andre Johnson believes that having that first game out of the way will help Schaub this week against the Patriots.

``Him just getting his first win probably just got a monkey off his back,'' Johnson said. ``Because that's something that a lot of people talked about. I think with him getting that out of the way, it will make him feel more comfortable going into the game.''

The Texans had their worst game of the season in their first trip to Foxborough, a 42-14 loss to the Patriots last month. But Schaub said that the loss didn't do anything to hurt their confidence.

``We know what type of team we can be when we're playing up to our expectations and our standards and what we demand out of ourselves,'' he said. ``We'll go up there with a lot of confidence to win a road football game.''

Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was pleased with Schaub's work against the Bengals, and liked how he dealt with their pass rush, which is among the best in the NFL.

``He managed the game well and then he handled the pressure when it was coming, to get the ball out, when he was hot,'' Dennison said. ``He missed a couple of things. Obviously, his footwork was a little off, it cost us one there. But he's a tough-minded kid and he kept playing. Our guys rally around tough guys and he's done a nice job with that all year - just keep bouncing back. I think with that he leads us very well.''

Schaub threw for 4,008 yards with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the regular season. But he's thrown just one touchdown with four interceptions in the past five games.

Aside from the interception, Schaub was better against the Bengals as he completed 29 of 38 passes for 262 yards. He was helped by improved protection, and wasn't sacked after being taken down 12 times in the previous four games combined.

He knows they'll likely face a completely new look from New England's defense this time around.

``You've got to go in expecting a lot of different things,'' he said. ``You've got to be prepared to handle a lot of different situations and circumstances, things that they can do because they do a lot. Being able to adjust in game will be important.''

Along with taking advantage of opportunities in the red zone, Schaub knows another key to the game will be limiting penalties and turnovers against New England. He had an interception early in the last game against the Patriots that contributed to an early 14-0 deficit.

``The way they play, you can't have penalties and put yourself behind in the down and distance,'' he said. ``You can't give them extra possessions by turning the football over. The way their offense is playing you have to expect them to score points, and (can't) give them extra opportunities with the ball.''

Schaub, who has been criticized for not showing enough emotion at times, was animated when asked if the demeanor of the team changes this time of year.

``There's no tomorrow at this time of the season,'' he said. ``If you want to move on, you've got to bring a sense of attitude and nastiness with you to go out and dominate your opponent on every play.''

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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