Redskins

Seattle trying to avoid distractions about CBs

Seattle trying to avoid distractions about CBs

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Richard Sherman is at the center of what could be a massive distraction for the Seattle Seahawks as they try to keep hold of the last playoff spot in the NFC wild-card chase.

Yet the talkative cornerback said Wednesday that this week is the same as always, despite news leaking out of failed drug tests by Sherman and fellow starting cornerback Brandon Browner that could be a huge blow to Seattle's playoff chase.

``No, nothing different. It's not tough at all. It's just the same old routine for us regardless of what is going on,'' Sherman said. ``You just go out there and play football. That's the good thing about the game, you can just go out there and play. You don't have to worry about nothing, and there is nothing to worry about in the first place.''

Sherman spoke for the first time since news first broke saying he and Browner failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs and face possible four-game suspensions. The Seahawks expect the pair to play this week at Chicago while they work on their appeal to the league.

``The truth always comes out. You just go on about going on,'' Sherman said. ``The process is going to play out how it's going to play out and when you know what you know, you just continue to be confident, continue to go out there and play.''

Later Wednesday, after the Seahawks wrapped practice, the pair released a statement through the team saying they would not be commenting about the situation again until the appeal is completed.

``To allow our focus to remain on football, during the appeal process we will refrain from any further public comments regarding this situation,'' the statement said.

Browner's agent, Peter Schaffer, told reporters Monday night that Browner has no knowledge of how any illegal substances could have entered his system.

The team is limited in what it can say directly regarding the possible suspensions because of the league's collective bargaining agreement.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll on Wednesday said the issue was discussed and there would be no lingering hangover, whether it was from Seattle giving up 17 fourth-quarter points last Sunday at Miami, or all the attention on the possible suspensions.

``I feel like they have responded well, and we have talked about any issues that can come up, and those issues are no different than what everybody faces in that Chicago has six guys hurt. How do you deal with that? You have all of those issues that you have to deal with so you just take them on, face it up and go,'' Carroll said. ``So right now whatever you're referring to is not an issue in our locker room.''

Seattle fullback Michael Robinson, one of the Seahawks' players union representatives, said he was concerned that news of the suspensions leaked out before the appeal was heard and about how that could influence opinions.

``I think it puts the players in a compromising situation. I feel like the people that are hearing the appeals watch TV just like you and I and perception is reality,'' Robinson said. ``If the media is driving a story that some players did something and it might not be true - who knows - I feel personally that affects the appeals process. I think it should be very, very confidential and no one should know about it until all the facts are out.''

Browner and Sherman are key for the Seahawks defense. Browner was a Pro Bowl selection a season ago, and Sherman has quickly climbed the ranks of the elite cornerbacks in the league in just his second season. Their ability to play one-on-one, physical defense is largely why Seattle has the third-best pass defense in the NFL.

On a conference call Wednesday, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said he respected cornerbacks like Browner and Sherman because of their willingness to match up one-on-one against receivers.

``I love one-on-one coverage, so if they're going to do that then it's going to be fun out there,'' Marshall said. ``This is what the NFL is about, man on man. All of this double-coverage, triple-coverage stuff, I don't really respect that or corners that hide behind a system, and these two guys don't hide behind the system. They want the target on their back and I respect them for it.''

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

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USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

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NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.