Redskins

With staff in place, Syracuse, Shafer mold team

With staff in place, Syracuse, Shafer mold team

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) When former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone shuffled off to Buffalo to take over the Bills, he ended up leaving the cupboard almost bare for new coach Scott Shafer.

Since Marrone was officially announced as coach of the Bills Jan. 7, he's brought along seven members of his staff from Syracuse, including offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

Though Marrone brought Syracuse football back to a respectable place and laid a solid foundation - he was 25-25 in four seasons at his alma mater with bowl victories over Kansas State and West Virginia - Shafer has his work cut out as the school prepares to leave the Big East Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference July 1.

At least the new staff is in place to hit the recruiting trail as signing day looms:

- Chuck Bullough, a two-time All-Big Ten linebacker at Michigan State, takes Shafer's place as defensive coordinator after two seasons as a defensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns. He was linebackers coach at Western Michigan in 2005 when Shafer was defensive coordinator there, and also spent five years at UCLA.

- George McDonald takes over for Hackett as offensive coordinator. McDonald and Shafer worked together at Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.

- DeAndre Smith, who has mentored nine 1,000-yard rushers in 14 years of collegiate coaching, will coach the running backs. Smith was running backs coach at Illinois and also was on staff with Shafer and McDonald at Northern Illinois.

- Tim Lester takes over as quarterbacks coach. Lester just completed his fifth season as coach at Elmhurst College, where he guided the Bluejays to their most successful season in school history.

- Clark Lea is in charge of the linebackers, replacing Steve Morrison, who left Syracuse for personal reasons after just one season with the Orange. During a three-year stint at UCLA, Lea worked with Bullough and joins the Orange after coaching linebackers at Bowling Green.

- Shafer, one of Marrone's first hires, managed to maintain some continuity, retaining defensive line coach Tim Daoust and wide receivers coach Rob Moore.

``The No. 1 trait I was looking for was character,'' Shafer said. ``Sometimes, it's really hard to investigate that word. You can talk to people you know that have worked with people, and sometimes you have to go that route. I feel like I'm extremely pleased and somewhat blessed here to have prior work experience, especially with these first two guys that'll be our coordinators.''

McDonald has a solid recruiting resume - he was tabbed as one of the Top 25 recruiters in the country by Rivals.com in 2012 - and that should be a bonus. So far, only one recruit that was on the Orange's radar has decided to go elsewhere, but it was three-star quarterback Zach Allen of Texas, who changed his mind and enrolled at TCU.

Syracuse will start spring practice with a primary goal of replacing quarterback Ryan Nassib, who set numerous records this past season in the Orange's up-tempo, no-huddle offense that Hackett installed, and Allen was expected to be a top contender. That leaves Austin Wilson, of Enola, Pa. as the lone quarterback coming in. He's among 15 remaining players targeted by Syracuse.

``Playing a first-time starter is not easy, but it can be done. It can be done successfully,'' Lester said. ``You see it in the NFL, you see it in college. I'm excited to get to work with those guys physically and mentally as soon as we get done with recruiting.''

Scout.com ranks Syracuse's class at No. 72, while Rivals.com has it pegged at No. 79, a drop of nearly 10 spots since Marrone's departure. Among Syracuse's future ACC rivals, only North Carolina State, whose recruiting class is ranked No. 81 by Scout.com, has a worse rating than Syracuse.

Five new players already have enrolled and started classes. National letter of intent signing day is Feb. 6.

The Orange, under former coach Doug Marrone, went 8-5 last season, and defeated West Virginia, 38-14, in the Pinstripe Bowl.

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Redskins have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

Redskins have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

There is a one-in-eight chance the Redskins will play against the Arizona Cardinals next season in Mexico City.

The Cardinals are hosting the Super Bowl in 2023, so as a tradeoff, one of their games next season will be played south of the border at Estadio Azteca, the NFL announced Friday.

Arizona has home games against the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in 2020, so one of those eight squads will head to Mexico City rather than the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. AZ.

"We are thrilled to learn that this game will take place at Estadio Azteca where we received such an enthusiastic reception in 2005," Cardinals chairman and president Michael Bidwill said in a release. "We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from fans in Mexico and look forward to an incredible experience."

The Redskins have only played in one game outside the United States as part of the International Series. In Week 8 of the 2016 NFL season, the Redskins and the Bengals finished in a 27-27 tie at Wembley Stadium in London.

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Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards lose to Jazz

Another 40-point game from Bradley Beal not enough as Wizards lose to Jazz

The Washington Wizards lost to the Utah Jazz 129-119 on Friday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. Only one spot in the standings separates the Wizards from the playoff picture, but it sure doesn't seem like it at the moment.

With their loss to the Jazz on Friday night, the Wizards have dropped four of five coming out of the All-Star break. They have lost nine straight games to the Jazz going back to 2016.

If the Wizards are going to figure it out soon, they will have to do so on the road. Their loss to Utah kicked off a four-game West Coast road swing.

The Wizards are now 21-37 on the season. That puts them on pace for 30 wins.

2. Within the context of this week, 30 points on Wednesday against the Nets qualified as an off-night for Bradley Beal. On Friday, he was back to his early-week form with 42 points, including 23 in the first half alone.

Beal also added 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals. He shot 17-for-33 overall and 6-for-15 from long range.

This was Beal's 10th 40-point game of the year, which is two off the franchise record for a single season. The problem is the Wizards are 1-9 in those games.

This was Beal's 17th straight 25-point game, which is tied for the longest streak ever in Wizards/Bullets history. He tied Walt Bellamy, who set the record in the 1961-62 season.

3. Some day years from now, when Rui Hachimura is asked if he remembers his 'welcome to the NBA' moment, he's probably going to answer with what Donovan Mitchell did to him in the first half on Friday night.

Mitchell threw down one of the more vicious poster dunks you will see, and it all happened in the halfcourt. Mitchell is just a different type of dunker and he got Hachimura at the perfect time with a jump off two feet.

 

On one hand, good for Hachimura for meeting him at the rim. But, man, that was ugly.

4. That moment aside, Hachimura had a solid night in the box score. He poured in 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting and added seven rebounds and three steals.

Hachimura's consistency scoring the ball already as a rookie continues to impress. This was his 35th career game and his 26th with double-figure points and his 18th with 15 points or more.

But also consistent is Hachimura's trajectory as a scorer. It was another game where he started off hot, then cooled down to disappear late.

5. It appears that Troy Brown Jr.'s decrease in minutes on Wednesday was not a one-time thing. He again took a backseat to Jerome Robinson, who played 22 minutes compared to Brown's 18.

Head coach Scott Brooks explained the move on Wednesday by saying "minutes are going to be competitive" now that the team is healthy. Robinson has evidently been showing Brooks more in recent games.

The best guess is that it involves defense. Robinson has been more impressive on that end than he has been on offense. He is a physical perimeter defender and the Wizards can use more of that.

One play in the first half demonstrated that well. He checked Jordan Clarkson at the three-point line and trailed him off the dribble to the baseline where he stuffed him to force a jumpball. It was the type of contest we haven't seen enough of from the Wizards this season.

Brown, though, has a chance to respond and he was more aggressive attacking the rim against the Jazz. That is a good sign.

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