Redskins

Steelers need to lower the flags against Titans

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Steelers need to lower the flags against Titans

NEW YORK (AP) When the Pittsburgh Steelers are around, flags fly.

Despite playing one fewer game than most teams, the Steelers lead the AFC in penalties with 37. It's something they must clean up soon.

Fortunately for Pittsburgh (No. 9 in the AP Pro32), the opponent this week is Tennessee (No. 30), perhaps the most disappointing team in the conference. When they meet Thursday night in Music City, the Steelers (2-2) will be a 5 1/2-point choice over the Titans (1-4), whose main problem is a sieve of a defense that has yielded a league-high 181 points.

If the Steelers don't stop attracting those yellow handkerchiefs, though, taking advantage of Tennessee's inability to stop anyone will be difficult.

``They're just small mental errors,'' Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said. ``It's a part of football. Sometimes it happens. That's something that we've got to tighten up if we want to be the team we want to be.''

Handing the opposition more than 86 yards per game in penalties just won't cut it, especially on the road, where the Steelers are 0-2 and played their worst game of the season - and perhaps several seasons - in a sloppy 34-31 loss at Oakland.

The Titans will take anything anyone wants to hand over, and backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck - Jake Locker is out with a left shoulder injury - will be comforted by the absence of star safety Troy Polamalu (right calf).

``We're all trying to get better,'' Titans safety Michael Griffin said. ``In the past, you started seeing a lot of finger pointing, things of that nature. Right now we're all still together.''

And still losing together.

STEELERS, 17-13

No. 28 Oakland (plus 9) at No. 2 Atlanta

Raiders are rested after bye, but still mediocre. Falcons are a lot better than that.

BEST BET: FALCONS, 38-15

No. 15 Denver (plus 2 ) at No. 13 San Diego, Monday night

Both teams showed defensive weaknesses a week ago. More of same ...

UPSET SPECIAL: BRONCOS, 31-28

No. 7 New York Giants (plus 5) at No. 3 San Francisco

Rematch of super NFC title game in January. This time, Niners squeeze through.

49ERS, 24-21

No. 12 Green Bay (plus 3 1/2) at No. 1 Houston

After Benson injury, Aaron Rodgers might throw 50 times. Watch out for J.J. Watt, Aaron.

TEXANS, 33-27

No. 22 Detroit (plus 5) at No. 11 Philadelphia

Eagles don't win anything easily this season.

EAGLES, 21-20

No. 18 Dallas (plus 3 1/2) at No. 4 Baltimore

Difficult month for Cowboys starts off poorly.

RAVENS, 22-17

No. 5 New England (minus 3 1/2) at No. 15 Seattle

Tough place to visit, but Patriots might be ready to go on long roll.

PATRIOTS, 27-16

No. 14 Cincinnati (minus 2) at No. 32 Cleveland

Might have gone with Browns had Bengals not lost last week.

BENGALS, 27-20

No. 22 Indianapolis (plus 3) at No. 24 New York Jets

After huge win, Colts won't be so amped at Meadowlands.

JETS, 14-13

No. 29 Kansas City (plus 3 1/2) at No. 25 Tampa Bay

Could be a difficult game to watch, especially for Chiefs fans.

BUCCANEERS, 19-13

No. 17 St. Louis (plus 3 1/2) at No. 20 Miami

Rams look great at home. South Florida isn't home.

DOLPHINS, 20-19

No. 27 Buffalo (plus 5) at No. 10 Arizona

Bills lost wandering in the desert? Not quite, but close.

CARDINALS, 20-14

No. 8 Minnesota (OFF) at No. 19 Washington

RG3's health takes this one off board. If he plays, go with Skins. If not, try Vikings.

REDSKINS 23-20 with Griffin

VIKINGS, 20-13 without Griffin

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2012 RECORD:

Against spread: 5-9 (28-47-2). Straight up: 9-5 (43-34)

Best Bet: 3-1-1 against spread, 4-1 straight up.

Upset special: 3-2 against spread, 2-3 straight up.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

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Associated Press

Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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