Nationals

Tebow will be active for Jets, but no wildcat

Tebow will be active for Jets, but no wildcat

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Tim Tebow's days of running the New York Jets' wildcat-style offense appear over for now.

Rex Ryan said the backup quarterback, recovering from two broken ribs, will be active Monday night for the team's game at Tennessee, but will likely only play in the conventional offense if starter Mark Sanchez goes down with an injury. That means no wildcat or participating as the punt protector on special teams.

``I'd love to help this team in any way,'' Tebow said Thursday. ``Whether that's running, throwing (or) whatever I can do, however I can do it.''

Tebow has not played in the Jets' last three games after being hurt Nov. 11 at Seattle.

``I think he's improving,'' Ryan said. ``Improving to where you're going to run the powers and the counters and all that other stuff? I'm not sure about that.''

Tebow was limited at practice, as he has been in recent weeks.

``It's definitely getting better,'' Tebow said. ``Everything from running to exercising to throwing, it's all getting better. Slowly, but it's getting better.''

Ryan said tight end Dustin Keller (ankle), running back Bilal Powell (shoulder, broken toe), linebacker Bryan Thomas (strained pectoral), defensive back Aaron Berry (hamstring) and wide receivers Clyde Gates (concussion) and Stephen Hill (knee) all did not practice. Despite Powell's toe injury, Ryan thinks he'll be OK to play Monday night.

Newly re-acquired wide receiver Braylon Edwards was limited with a hamstring issue, but passed his physical with the Jets and Ryan expects him to play against the Titans.

Tebow has been medically cleared to play the last few weeks, but Ryan has chosen to keep him on the sideline rather than risk further injury. Tebow played three offensive snaps against St. Louis on Nov. 18, but the soreness in his ribs intensified after the game. X-rays revealed the fractures, but Tebow convinced Ryan he could play Thanksgiving night - after being cleared by team doctors - but never saw the field.

He was inactive against Arizona two weeks ago, with Greg McElroy serving as the backup to Sanchez - who he replaced in that game and led New York to a comeback victory. Ryan said it's possible third-stringer McElroy could also be active at Tennessee, but Tebow is still the No. 2 quarterback.

``I feel better about Tim in that role,'' Ryan said. ``I feel he gives us the best opportunity.''

Ryan said Tebow has not experienced any setbacks with his injury, and there isn't any cartilage damage or further complications.

``I'm more comfortable with him playing now, obviously, than I was a few weeks ago,'' Ryan said. ``I feel better about him playing with the way he's worked out on the practice field, we've increased his reps, and the day before the (Jaguars) game, he was throwing it pretty good.''

Tebow was expected to be a major part of the offense after being acquired from Denver in March, but he has had little more than a minor role in New York. Ryan clarified his comments from Monday when, during a radio interview, he said he would think Tebow is disappointed with his situation with the Jets.

``As far as his particular role, the wildcat and all those type of things, we haven't run it that much and obviously with the two broken ribs or cracked ribs, that's something that's got to be disappointing because you're not going to do that,'' Ryan said. ``That's how I feel. As a competitor, you want to win a ton of games, want to win all your games but we're 6-7, so I think that's disappointing for all of us. With his role, having the ribs these last few weeks, obviously his role has been diminished some. I don't think he's happy about that.''

Ryan quickly added that he believes Tebow is still happy to be a member of the Jets.

``I think he likes his teammates,'' Ryan said. ``I think he likes the people in the building and the way we take care of our players. You'll have to ask him, but I'm pretty sure he's happy with that.''

Tebow has been trying to take things in stride, even if things haven't worked out how he thought - for himself or the team.

``Sometimes, you have ups and downs, and you just try to deal with them the best you can,'' Tebow said. ``They're all learning opportunities, and when you believe everything happens for a reason, it makes it a whole lot easier. Honestly, you try to find the good in every situation.''

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3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

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USA TODAY

3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

Nationals fans are teetering on the edge. 

On one hand, the Nats are 3.5 games out of first place after a 10-week span full of injuries and underperformance. The team just acquired All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera, and their 19-year-old left fielder looks like an All-Star already. 

On the other hand, doom is imminent. The Monstars stole Bryce Harper's abilities at some point over the last three weeks, Steven Strasburg can't stay healthy, and the offense is pushing everyone's patience to the limit. 

So who's overperforming? Who's underperforming? Who's out there just trying their very best? LET'S LIST. 

Three Up

1. Juan Soto

Our large young son Juan continues to impress. He's now hitting .325/.411/.602 with a 1.013 OPS in 95 plate appearances over 25 games. That means we're mercifully starting to leave the 'fluky start' narrative behind. He's been the best hitter on the Nationals by a wide margain since he got called up - although that's perhaps more of an indicitment on the rest of the lineup than it is on Soto. Still, in less than a month he's probably earned the starting left field spot for the rest of the summer. Not bad. 

2. Justin Miller

Miller is 31, on his third team in four years, and owns a career ERA north of 4.50. Despite all of this, Miller's been the best reliever in baseball since coming up for the Nats. Of relief pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched (we hear your sample size comment and are not going to acknolwdge it), no one has a better FIP than Miller (0.64). He's striking out over half of the batters he sees and has yet to walk a single person this year. All the elite relief pitchers are already at 30-40 innings pitched, so Miller has a while to go before these stats mean a whole lot. If he stays even 75 percent as good as he's started, the Nats' bullpen looks scary. 

3. Michael A. Taylor

Have yourself a week or two, Michael A.! The centerfielder is slashing .500/.556/.583 over the last 14 days, the first of many "Maybe He Put It Together?!" runs we'll see from him this year. He also has six stolen bases during that span, more than anyone else on the team. His plate discipline has been better over the last two weeks, with a BB% a shade over 11 percent - only behind Juan Soto for highest on the team. Juan Soto, man. 

Three Down

1. Bryce Harper

A couple things here. We'll start with the admission that Bryce Harper is obviously not having a superb year. We've already briefly touched on why looking at only his batting average is a lazy way of judging his season, and we stand by that. With that said - Harper's had a bad season. The last month has been particularly painful. There's no way of dressing up a .189/.278/.400 slashline over the last 30 days. Still, his contact has been as great as his luck terrible - there's a positive regression coming, we promise. 

2. Pedro Severino 

And you think Harper's been slumping?? Over the same 30 days, Severino has hit .098/.179/.115 with a .294 OPS. He's essentially daring the Nats to put together a trade package for JT Realmuto at this point. He has six hits over his last 68 plate appearances and five of them are singles. 

3. Shawn Kelley

Kelley owns a 6.09 FIP and a 4.32 ERA over the last month (10 games, 8.1 innings pitched). He's walking close to nine percent of the hitters he's faced during that time. He has a 12.5 HR/FB over the last month. With the trade for Kelvin Herrera and the sudden emergence of Justin Miller, Kelley's role going forward isn't quite as clear anymore. 

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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