Redskins

TCU, Michigan State in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

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TCU, Michigan State in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) There might not be anything wild going on at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Well, at least not on offense.

In its first season with a new name, the bowl could have a decidedly defensive feel when TCU and Michigan State meet at Sun Devil Stadium on Dec. 29.

``Both teams have outstanding defenses,'' Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. ``But you never know how games are going to play out.''

Oklahoma and Iowa were locked in a defensive struggle in last year's game, then known as the Insight Bowl, before the Sooners pulled away for a 31-14 victory.

This one could be even lower-scoring.

Playing the nation's fifth-toughest schedule, Michigan State (6-6) finished the regular season fourth in total defense, allowing 273.2 yards per game. The Spartans finished 10th in scoring defense, giving up 16.3 points per game.

TCU (7-5) was 18th nationally in total defense, allowing 332 yards per game, and held six of its 12 opponents to season-low scoring while giving up 23.8 points per game.

It has to keep up in the bowl game, right? Well, not everyone agrees on that.

``I've always said be careful what you wish for, what you talk about, because it usually changes when you give two teams a month to prepare for a ballgame,'' TCU coach Gary Patterson said. ``They said when I played in the Rose Bowl it was going to be a scoring fest. It ended up 21-19. For us, we want to find a way to win the ballgame.''

TCU had an up-and-down first season in the Big 12.

Playing more true freshmen (16) than seniors (11), the Horned Frogs won their first four games, then lost three of four, including a 56-53 shootout in triple overtime to Texas Tech.

TCU bounced back to beat West Virginia in double overtime in another wild game to become bowl eligible, then picked up another big win by beating Texas in Austin on Nov. 24 before closing out the season with a 24-17 loss to Oklahoma.

TCU finished 4-5 in the Big 12 but is headed to a bowl for the eighth straight season. That's not half bad considering the Frogs had to use freshman Trevone Boykin at quarterback after Casey Pachall left the school to enter an inpatient rehabilitation facility in early October.

``Obviously, (Boykin) got us back to a bowl game, which was something that was a concern from the beginning anytime you make that kind of change,'' Patterson said.

The Spartans also got off to a solid start. Their only loss in their first four games was to Notre Dame, which will play in the national championship on Jan. 7.

Michigan State went up and down after that, losing five of its final eight games.

The problem for the Spartans was pulling out close games. Their five losses in the Big Ten were by a combined 13 points, leaving them precariously close to missing out on the postseason.

Needing a win in its final game, Michigan State pulled it out, powering past Minnesota for a 26-10 win Nov. 24 to earn its eighth bowl appearance since 2001.

``The main thing when you look at our football team, we've got to finish, there's no question about that,'' Dantonio said. ``But we can play. The margin of victory has been very, very narrow for either party, whether you're playing us or we're playing you.''

They could be in for another one in the desert against TCU.

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins on about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial 

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” he said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go do Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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