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Texans rave about Arian Foster's skills

Texans rave about Arian Foster's skills

HOUSTON (AP) Houston's Arian Foster is one of the NFL's top running backs.

Running, however, is only one part of his game that makes him so good.

The Texans raved this week about his blocking and receiving skills, and perhaps most importantly, his knowledge of the game.

``There's nothing he can't do,'' offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. ``He catches the ball extremely well. He blocks very well. The little things, as far as seeing somebody, it's almost like a chess move. He knows a couple moves ahead when a guy is coming so he doesn't take a solid shot. One of the best things that you notice about runners is they don't get hit really hard, and Arian does that very well.''

Houston has a pair of solid backup running backs, but they rarely go in because Foster is so valuable when he's on the field.

``He understands everything we put him in,'' Dennison said. ``That's why he's on the field all the time.''

That fact is not lost on Foster, who aims to be indispensable.

``(I take) a lot of pride,'' he said of doing many things well. ``I try to be the most complete back I can because your value is higher, not just monetarily, but as a football player, is higher to your coaching staff and team if you can do all things well.''

Foster finished second in the AFC with 1,424 yards rushing in the regular season. He added a season-high 32 carries for 140 yards in Houston's wild-card win over the Bengals to become the first player in NFL history to run for 100 yards or more in each of his first three career playoff games.

He also added eight receptions for 34 yards on Saturday.

``Whether he's running or catching it, very rarely does the first person tackle him, and that creates big plays for your offense,'' quarterback Matt Schaub said. ``When you can dump it down to your running back if something's not there downfield and he can turn a 3-yard catch into a 12-, 15-yard gain, that's a huge positive for us.''

The Texans will need another big game from him on Sunday when they face New England in a divisional playoff game.

If he reaches 100 yards against the Patriots, he'll become just the fourth player in league history to reach the mark in four straight postseason games.

Not bad for a player who went undrafted out of Tennessee in 2009 and was picked up as a free agent by the Texans. Foster was on the practice squad for part of that year, and his first career start came in the last game of that season against the Patriots.

He did well, running 20 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Things didn't go nearly as well in his next shot against New England. He had just 46 yards rushing as Houston had to abandon the run game after getting down early in last month's 42-14 loss.

Foster signed a five-year, $43.5 million contract before this season, and says that he rarely thinks about the inauspicious start to his NFL career anymore.

``Anytime you can achieve an elite level performance in any sport ... I think it's special,'' Foster said. ``Me being undrafted I don't think had anything to do with it. It didn't change my opinion of myself.''

The draft snub once motivated him, but it doesn't anymore.

``At one point it was. That training camp and that season it was,'' he said. ``But after that nobody cares that you went undrafted anymore.''

Coach Gary Kubiak saw many good qualities in Foster before the Texans picked him up, but he's been really impressed with how he's grown since.

``The thing that helps players really take their game to the next level is when they don't have to work so darn hard on game plans because they know things,'' Kubiak said. ``You can walk in with 40 new runs and 100 new passes and it will take Arian about an hour to sit there and read and study and he can go right out there and it's no problem. His talents take over all the time because he is such a smart player.''

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With Devante Smith-Pelly back in the Caps lineup, we look back at his four goals in NBC Sports Washington's Top 20 goals from the Caps' Cup run

With Devante Smith-Pelly back in the Caps lineup, we look back at his four goals in NBC Sports Washington's Top 20 goals from the Caps' Cup run

With Devante Smith-Pelly back with the Capitals following an injury to T.J. Oshie in Game 4, Washington is hoping that DSP will be able to perform similarly to how he did during last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs. With seven goals last postseason, including one in the Stanley Cup-clinching game, Smith-Pelly was a vital part of the Capitals' success.

Before he takes the ice in Game 5 on Saturday night, let's revisit some of those goals that made NBC Sports Washington's Top 20 goals from the 2018 Stanley Cup run.

17. Devante Smith-Pelly's Game 4 goal vs. Vegas

Devante Smith-Pelly scored in the first period against the Golden Knights to put the Caps up 3-0 early and secure an eventual 6-3 win for a 3-1 series lead.

14. Smith-Pelly strikes in Game 6 against Columbus

Devante Smith-Pelly's series-clinching tally in Game 6 helped Washington advance to the second round of the 2018 postseason.

13. Smith-Pelly grows the lead in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. Vegas

Devante Smith-Pelly proved to be pretty clutch. He capitalized on a Golden Knights turnover to toss the puck top shelf over Fleury in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

4. Devante Smith-Pelly's game-tying goal in Game 5 against Vegas

About halfway through the third with the Caps down 3-2 in Game 5 of the Cup Final, Devante Smith-Pelly put the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury while falling to tie things up against Vegas.

Enjoyed that little trip to the past? Check out the full Top 20 here.

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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