Washington Football

Seahawks hoping to improve their run defense

Seahawks hoping to improve their run defense

RENTON, Wash. (AP) For the first six weeks of the season, the Seattle Seahawks run defense was among the best in the NFL.

In the eight games that have followed, the Seahawks have statistically been among the worst.

What changed?

``The run game has been solid except for some big plays we've given up to really good players,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ``We're hoping to play a lot cleaner, a lot sharper.''

Over the first six games, the Seahawks were No. 2 in the NFL in yards rushing allowed per carry at 3.3 yards. That ability to stop the run put more pressure on the opponents passing game to find openings against Seattle's secondary.

But during the past eight games, the Seahawks have struggled. They're giving up 5.3 yards per carry, which ranks last in the NFL.

Part of the problem is the big runs Seattle's defense has allowed to running backs such as Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore and Reggie Bush.

In five of the past eight games, the Seahawks have allowed their opponent at least 100 yards rushing as a team, after not letting any of their first six opponents reach that mark.

Still, there are concerns that have allowed those big runs to happen in the first place.

``We know that we have given up some big plays we know with Adrian and some backs,'' Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. ``It's still kind of a work in progress. That's still our No. 1 emphasis after getting the ball.''

Seattle enters Sunday night's matchup against San Francisco still with the No. 2 scoring defense in the NFL - right behind the 49ers - and with the 10th ranked rushing defense.

But it was the 49ers that started Seattle down the path of struggles with its run defense. It was a mix of defensive scheme and talent that helped Gore run for 131 yards when the teams faced off in Week 7. That remains Gore's season high and the second-most yards rushing allowed by the Seahawks this season.

San Francisco found its success by catching the Seahawks with some trap runs, especially in the second half that led to big running lanes for Gore.

It was a smart move schematically as the Seahawks were unprepared. Linebacker K.J. Wright said this week he'd never seen a trap play before until the 49ers ran one.

``I was lost. I was like `what was going on?''' Wright said.

While the trap runs caught Seattle by surprise in the first meeting, it will be how San Francisco uses mobile quarterback Colin Kaepernick that'll be new for the Seahawks this time. Kaepernick was just a spectator when the teams met in October.

Since becoming the starter five games ago, Kaepernick has rushed for 202 yards, adding another element to the 49ers offense.

The Seahawks defensive line took a hit this week when Jason Jones was placed on injured reserve with torn cartilage in his knee, but defensive tackle Alan Branch should be able to play despite an ankle injury.

While Seattle did give up 118 yards rushing last week to Buffalo in an easy win, its victories over Arizona and Chicago featured a run defense that was more like what the Seahawks got earlier in the season.

Seattle held Matt Forte to 66 yards and the Cardinals to just 43 yards rushing as a team. Those two efforts gave Bradley optimism that the run defense was heading in the right direction.

``I thought the Arizona game we played better and the Chicago game for the most part we've played pretty well,'' Bradley said. ``There are some good backs that we have faced ... Some of those guys are going to get their yards. For us the biggest thing is for us to keep the points down so we have a chance to win.''

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'I think it's a travesty': Former Washington kicker Mark Moseley upset by name change

'I think it's a travesty': Former Washington kicker Mark Moseley upset by name change

For many who have played for -- or even just followed -- the Washington football team over the years, the name change can be seen as a bittersweet moment. It's viewed by many as a necessary change, but also the end of an era filled with history.

Former Washington kicker Mark Moseley sees nothing "sweet" about the switch in monikers, as his feelings toward the decision are mostly bitter.

In an interview with ABC 7 News' Scott Abraham, Moseley shared how he felt about the name change, expressing great disappointment. To him, the ones most negatively impacted by the decision are the Native Americans.

“Well, I’m disappointed naturally that we’ve given up the fight here," Moseley said. "I’m disappointed here because they are the ones that are losing with this. They respected us, they loved the Redskins. That’s all I got.”

“Now, what do they gain from this? What are the Native Americans going to gain from this? Absolutely nothing. What do they lose? The constant representation of their people," Moseley said.

Moseley explained that throughout his life, and especially during and after his time with Washington, he has made an effort to connect with the Native American community. Through visits, football camps and more, he feels he has a strong understanding of how the name change really impacts the community. 

Based on his past conversations, Moseley believes that the Native American community didn't want the name change. Rather, it was the past moniker that was helping people learn about their history.

“That’s not what they wanted, I can assure you from personal experience of meeting with hundreds and hundreds of them, that’s not what they wanted," Moseley said.

"These radicals once again are going to jump up and down holler and scream that we won, we won," Moseley said. "They haven't won a damn thing. All they have done is hurt the Native Americans. I hope they are happy with themselves."

RELATED: WALKER WONDERS HOW TO CELEBRATE HISTORY MOVING FORWARD

As for the conversation on how the name change impacts the history of the franchise, Moseley feels that isn't what the focus should be. To him, it's not the franchise past that will be forgotten

“That’s not the point. That’s where this is all gong wrong. That’s not the point," Moseley said. “The point is that people are taking away liberties every day and this is just another one of them. The name Redskins was not doing anything but helping the Native Americans. It was keeping their name out there, it was making people remember who they are.”

Moseley, who played 13 seasons in Washington, always saw it as an honor to represent that Native Americans with the name and logo. It was a reason he spent so much time with the franchise, stating that it was bigger than the game of football.

“Me as a player, I took great honor and respect to that name," Moseley said. "Every game, every year, year after year after year that I played here I played because that name meant something.”

“I think it’s a travesty that they’re taking that away from the Native Americans here," Moseley said.

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Though Moseley is strongly against the name change, he's accepted that change is sometimes inevitable. He personally believes it was the wrong choice, but is now going to "learn to live with it."

He believes others against the decision will as well. When it comes down to it, the name is only one part of the franchise. For Moseley, as much as he loved what it represented, it's the players past and present that truly make Washington football what it is.

“It’s not really the name so much as it is the players. That’s who the fans, the fans love the players. Those guys that are out there every Sunday, those guys that every day they work their butts off to get bigger, stronger, faster so they can improve and make the team a better team," Moseley said. "That’s what it’s all about, and that’s going to continue."

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Which Nationals would have been named All-Stars in a normal season?

Which Nationals would have been named All-Stars in a normal season?

July 14, 2020 was supposed to be a day for celebrating the best players in Major League Baseball. The 2020 MLB All-Star Game, set to take place that evening at Dodger Stadium, had the promise of putting some of the biggest names on display such as Mookie Betts in his new LA threads, Gerrit Cole still fresh off signing a $324 million deal last winter and Mike Trout from only a few miles down the road.

However, the coronavirus pandemic had other plans. MLB suspended spring training on March 12 and spent three months on hold before ultimately settling on a 60-game season that begins July 23. As a result, there will be no All-Star Game for the first time since 1945.

The Nationals, coming off their first World Series title in franchise history, have plenty of stars who would’ve merited consideration. Even with 2019 NL MVP candidate Anthony Rendon departing for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency, there’s no shortage of talent in D.C.

Here are the players that stood the best chance of representing the Nationals in this year’s All-Star Game.

The favorites

SP Max Scherzer

Name value alone could’ve gotten him in if fans could vote on pitchers, but even a 35-year-old Scherzer can’t be counted out of making another run at the NL Cy Young.

SP Stephen Strasburg,

The reigning World Series MVP is already a three-time All-Star and coming off an offseason in which he signed a seven-year, $245 million deal to return to Washington.

LF Juan Soto

Making his first All-Star team would seem like something of a formality for Soto, who has already established himself as one of the game’s best young stars.

RELATED: DANIEL HUDSON ISN’T SURE A 60-GAME MLB SEASON CAN DETERMINE THE BEST TEAM

Needed a career year

SP Patrick Corbin

Corbin was given the Warren Spahn Award for the best left-hander in baseball last season and is no stranger to the Midsummer Classic. If he could’ve avoided the infrequent implosion (five starts of 5+ runs allowed in 2019) on the mound, he stood a good chance of posting numbers worthy of a selection.

RP Sean Doolittle

With Will Harris and Daniel Hudson in the fold, Doolittle wouldn’t have been relied on as much as he was last season. By getting more rest and still handling closer duties for a contending team, Doolittle certainly would’ve been in the running.

SS Trea Turner

No broken finger holding him back, Turner had a chance to show he can help replace some of Rendon’s production in what would’ve been his age-27 season. Shortstop is a deep position in the NL (Trevor Story, Javier Báez, Fernando Tatís Jr., Corey Seager) but Turner has to make it one of these years, right?

2B Starlin Castro

Castro may not be the first player who comes to mind when you hear “four-time All-Star” but that’s what happens when a young, healthy infielder plays every day during a rebuild. However, coming off a 2019 second half in which he hit .302 with 16 home runs, Castro came to D.C. looking to show he’s developed into a different kind of player.

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If he made the leap

CF Victor Robles

Though it’s a bit of a long shot considering his struggles at the plate as a rookie, Robles has always displayed the tools that make coaches dream of what he can become. As he gains a few more pounds—Robles is one of the strongest players on the team—and improves his plate discipline, there’s no telling what his ceiling might be.

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