Redskins

Texas Tech WR depth getting tested

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Texas Tech WR depth getting tested

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Not since Michael Crabtree left for the NFL has Texas Tech had a receiver average 100 yards a game.

These days, the Red Raiders' passing attack is done with a stable of mostly unknown receivers, none of whom get gargantuan receiving yards as did Crabtree, who's most remembered around here for his clutch catch with seconds remaining to beat No. 1 Texas in 2008. None is ranked highly nationally.

Recent injuries could hamper the receiving corps, however, and coach Tommy Tuberville said there will be a drop in production Saturday when the 18th-ranked Red Raiders play at TCU (5-1, 2-1), the schools' first meeting in the Big 12.

``This year we've got some depth, but we're going to start running out of it,'' he said. ``We run so many routes in practice, we run so many routes in games and we block and do all those things. Then all of a sudden you lose a couple guys and it kind of puts you in a tailspin.''

Two of the team's top four receivers are out with injuries. Tuberville said tight end Jace Amaro, at 6-foot-5 and 257 pounds, is questionable for Saturday's game. He got ``mashed'' during Texas Tech's 49-14 win over then-No. 5 West Virginia last weekend and spent two nights in the hospital for observation, he said.

Amaro on Sunday, though, indicated on Twitter he probably won't play in Fort Worth: ``I know my team will hold it down for me this week!''

Javon Bell, the leader this season in receiving yards per game (67.2) fractured his foot in practice leading up to the Mountaineers game and is out for the season. Another receiver, Bradley Marquez, went out Saturday with a season-ending knee injury. Both will have surgery this week, Tuberville said.

No receivers were made available to the media this week.

Quarterback Seth Doege said he's not concerned about being without Amaro, Marquez and Bell.

``We still have guys that can get the job done, that will step up and play well for us,'' said Doege, who threw for six touchdowns and a career-high 499 yards in the West Virginia game. ``We have all the confidence in the world in each guy that is going to play.''

The top four receivers, Darrin Moore, Eric Ward, Amaro and Bell, are each averaging 59 yards or more per game and have 17 of the team's 23 passing touchdowns. None are ranked in the top 75 nationally in receiving yards.

Moore has seven touchdowns in 29 receptions this season - he had three TDs in the win over the Mountaineers - to lead the Red Raiders (5-1, 2-1).

Doege will also go to Alex Torres and Austin Zouzalik. But he'll miss his biggest target, Amaro, who had a touchdown and a 61-yard reception that led to another score against the Mountaineers before his injury.

``He's a big time player,'' Doege said. ``We for sure are going to miss him.''

Last season, injuries hurt the Red Raiders, especially during their five-game skid to close Texas Tech's worst season in 19 years. As many as 18 players had surgeries because of those injuries.

Players and Tuberville are mindful of last year's meltdown that followed a big win at Oklahoma as they move on from the victory over West Virginia.

``We did something nobody else thought we could do and we didn't win another game,'' Tuberville said of last season. ``We're a better team than we were last year, but we're also a target. When you're ranked as high as we are now and people see what you've done, you're going to get their `A' game.''

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Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles, where he got the chance to interview the three Redskins rookies in attendance: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, and Bryce Love. 

Berry, who was a guest of JP Finlay's on the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday, has been a fan of the Burgundy and Gold since he was a kid, so he was eager to talk to three of the team's newest players and learn more about them.

It was during those interviews where Berry got a quick glimpse of a side of Haskins that now has Berry really excited.

"I thought what was really cool was... When I was interviewing McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins came in and interrupted the interview to give him some crap," he told Finlay. "It was really a wonderful moment to see. Obviously, they know each other very well from Ohio State, but just the fact that they felt comfortable enough and he wanted to come over and mess with him a little bit and have some fun, I was impressed with that."

Once Haskins left, Berry explained how he asked McLaurin about the interaction. Redskins fans will like McLaurin's answer.

"That's Dwayne, Dwayne is being a leader," McLaurin said, per Berry. 

Haskins did something similar to Love during Love's interview as well. Berry even caught up with Colts receiver Parris Campbell, who also played with the QB at Ohio State, to inquire about the 15th overall pick. 

"I asked him, 'Listen, I'm a diehard Redskins fan, what am I getting?'" Berry said. "He couldn't have been more effusive. 'You're not only getting a guy who puts the ball where you want it, but you're getting a leader. You're getting a guy who makes sure everyone in the huddle is included.'"

You can be skeptical of how much these little moments mean, and that's fair. Ultimately, how quickly Haskins picks up Jay Gruden's playbook and how accurate his arm turns out to be will factor more into his success in the NFL than being able to joke around a bit with some of his guys.

But you can also hope that these little moments are hints of a bigger personality and approach, a look into an athlete who can get a football team to buy into him. That's the side Berry is on.

"I thought that was really cool, and just showed somebody who's very comfortable in the leadership position and who's trying to be inclusive of everyone," he said. "It's early in the process, but I have yet to hear somebody on or off the record say something bad about Dwayne Haskins."

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in WNBA.com's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.

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