Wizards

Texans tied for NFL's best mark

Texans tied for NFL's best mark

HOUSTON (AP) It wasn't pretty, but the Houston Texans found a way to beat the Bears and escape Chicago tied for the best record in the NFL.

Now the Texans (8-1) are preparing for one of the NFL's worst teams in Jacksonville, focused on improving as they inch closer to their goal of reaching the Super Bowl.

Houston coach Gary Kubiak believes Sunday's win will help his team in the future.

``The more ways you find to win in this league, you get more confidence,'' he said. ``Things like that give you a chance to be a great team. There will be nothing false about what we are when we get there at the end because we've been in some tough situations. And the more we handle them, the better we get.''

He said winning a tough game on the road was particularly important with games at New England and Indianapolis coming up in the second half of the season.

Kubiak sees the Texans maturing, and knows that will be key if they hope to become a championship team. He talks to his team often about getting to that goal.

``Can you be a good enough football team or a good enough organization to win a championship,'' he said he asks his team. ``I think there are different levels and we're trying to work our way toward that mindset.''

The Texans got the 13-6 victory on Sunday by forcing four turnovers and grinding out the win with their running game led by Arian Foster's 102 yards rushing and the game's only touchdown on a 2-yard reception.

Foster is third in the NFL with 872 yards rushing. Kubiak has been pleased with him all season, but thought his work on Sunday night was particularly impressive.

``I would say that was about the toughest 102 yards a man could get,'' Kubiak said. ``If you look at some of the great games he's had, I don't think there's anything bigger than last night because we were running against eight-, nine- man fronts all night. Everybody and their brother knew who was getting the ball and he still found a way to keep us on track.''

Houston's line led by end J.J. Watt, usually leads the way defensively. But against the Bears, it was the secondary that came up big. Safety Danieal Manning, a former Bear, led the way with an interception and a forced fumble.

But that wasn't the only way he contributed to the win.

``He did a really good job with our team the night before the game, just talking about what it was going to take to win in that place,'' Kubiak said. ``He's a leader on this team and a fine player. I thought he did an exceptional job with the rest of his teammates this week letting them know what it was going to be like, how we were going to have to play to win that game.''

Cornerback Kareem Jackson also had an interception for the Texans. Jackson has shaken off a slow start to his career to emerge as a solid member of Houston's defense in his third season.

``We all know what Kareem's been through,'' Kubiak said. ``Good pros, they go through tough times early in their career, but then when they come out of it, they're consistent and good for a long, long time. I think that's what you're seeing from Kareem.''

The Texans could get a boost this week with the return of a trio of injured players. Running back Ben Tate, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, has been running with trainers and could play on Sunday.

Nose tackle Shaun Cody (ribs) and tight end Owen Daniels (back), who sat out Sunday, are also better and should return to practice this week. Cody will go through what Kubiak called a trial run on Wednesday.

``If he's able to work through that situation I think you could see him on the field probably Thursday or Friday,'' Kubiak said of Cody. ``We're heading toward him being back active and being a part of it.''

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Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did

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NBA

Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did

The first round of the NBA Draft played out expectedly for what the Wizards had planned for the night. In Troy Brown, they clearly got the guy they wanted all along, seeing as there were many interesting prospects they passed on to choose him.

The second round was a bit more chaotic. Team president Ernie Grunfeld said there were a few players picked just ahead of them at No. 44 that they had their eyes on. They contemplated trading up, but no perfect deals were presented.

So, they decided to think long-term, like really long-term. In choosing Ukrainian point guard Issuf Sanon, the Wizards understand it may be years before he plays in the NBA.

"We hope to have him developed in a few years," Grunfeld said.

Sanon, just 18, plays for Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia. He may stay in Europe into his 20s before he comes to the United States.

The Wizards have utilized the draft-and-stash model with other players. Their 2015 second round pick, Aaron White, has been playing in Europe for the past three seasons.

Sometimes those players never convey and contribute for the Wizards. But sometimes they do and Grunfeld pointed to a player already on their roster as a model to consider.

"We drafted Tomas [Satoransky] at an earlier age, he went overseas [and] he played at the highest level and it got him ready for the NBA," Grunfeld said.

The difference between now and then is that the Wizards have a G-League franchise starting this fall, the Capital City Go-Go. Because of that, it seemed more likely going into the draft that the Wizards would use the second round pick on a guy who can play there right away. 

Grunfeld, however, opted for roster flexibility. By keeping Sanon in Europe, the Wizards can have another open roster spot. They could either fill that spot, or leave spots on the end of their roster open as they did for much of last season.

"We want to preserve a roster spot, so just because you draft someone in your second round, if you sign him, he still has a roster spot even if you let him play for the GoGo," Grunfeld said.

Sanon may have a bright future. He is a 6-foot-4 point guard with impressive athleticism who doesn't turn 19 until October. He said he models his game after Russell Westbrook, as a guard who can score the ball.

The Wizards passed on several interesting prospects to pick Sanon. Still on the board were Keita Bates-Diop of Ohio State, Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky and Svi Mykhailiuk of Kansas, three players they brought in for pre-draft workouts. But instead, they went with a long-term investment, hoping they found the next Satoransky.

MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE:

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Capitals Draft Tracker

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Draft Tracker

The 2018 NHL Draft starts on Friday with the first round and runs through Saturday. Here's a running tracker of the Caps' picks.

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

6th round, 186th overall: 

7th round, 217th overall: