Capitals

Titans' D hopes to prove Miami game no fluke

Titans' D hopes to prove Miami game no fluke

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans went from being on record pace for most points allowed in an NFL season to stifling the Miami Dolphins with their best defensive performance in nearly a year.

Now they must prove that was no fluke.

The Titans had allowed at least 30 points in seven of their first nine games and an average of 34.2, which put them on target to pass the 511 points allowed by the Baltimore Colts in 1981. After a 37-3 win in Miami, they still remain on pace for surrendering the most points in franchise history.

Defensive back Jason McCourty hopes a light bulb clicked on and stays on for the rest of the season for the Titans (4-6), who visit Jacksonville (1-9) on Sunday.

``We just looked bad,'' McCourty said. ``We looked like we weren't being coached. Guys didn't know where to be; we weren't making the plays we needed to make. But there's nothing we can do about that now. We've got six more games, and let's do our best to win all six of them and see where we are at the end.''

Before the Dolphins game, the defense had been heavily criticized for the poor play, and McCourty said it made players mad.

``You can't get mad at the people saying it because they're just watching the game and calling what they see,'' McCourty said. ``You put bad stuff on tape, and people are going to call you out for it.''

They finally did something about it against Miami.

Tennessee forced a season-high four turnovers with each of the starting linebackers picking off a pass, didn't allow a touchdown for the first time since Nov. 13, 2011, and also had two sacks. The 37-3 win trimmed the Titans' average to 31.1 points per game, but they remain on track for a franchise record in points allowed at 497.6.

The turnovers helped the Titans' offense enjoy short fields and turn in a 34-point margin of victory that was Tennessee's biggest on the road since a 47-10 win at Detroit on Thanksgiving in 2008.

``Hopefully that's something we can continue to do,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak said.

Part of the Titans' improved play came because several key defensive players healed up: tackles Jurrell Casey and Sen'Derrick Marks and middle linebacker Colin McCarthy. Casey played with an injured right elbow, while Marks missed the first two games this season as he recovered from an injured knee. McCarthy has been trying to play through a right ankle he sprained in the opener.

This defense also is very young with six starters in their third NFL season or less. The three starting linebackers include Akeem Ayers and McCarthy in their second season, while Zach Brown is a rookie. Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said they didn't have any big mental errors in Miami. Players weren't trying to do more than their own job against the Dolphins, either.

``A lot of times young guys seem to think they have to put a Superman cape on to be a football player, and you don't,'' Gray said. ``If you do your job to the best of your ability, more than nine out of 10 times you're probably going to be right. That's all we ask you to do. We're not asking you to make great plays, just make your plays.''

The Titans should have a chance to show they can be consistently stingy on defense on Sunday in Jacksonville, at least. The Jaguars rank last in the NFL in total offense, managing just 283 yards, and are 29th with 16.4 points per game.

Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey has noticed the Titans' defensive improvement.

``At this time of year, you want to see progress, and I see that from that team,'' Mularkey said. ``Defensively, you know, Miami's played well this year, and to go down there and hold them to three points and get four turnovers, pretty much a dominant performance. I see improvement, and that's what you want from your team, and Mike (Munchak's) getting that.''

Notes: TE Craig Stevens (hamstring) practiced Thursday after sitting out Wednesday. McCarthy was held back a bit. RB Jamie Harper (ankle) and S Al Alfalava (ankle) did not practice. LB Xavier Adibi (knee) was limited.

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, offense

Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 21, one day before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

Redskins player one-liners, offense

A few weeks ago, I did an early projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster on offense and defense. As the team gets ready for OTAs here is a comment on each player expected to make the team on offense; the defense will be up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks

—It seems likely that Alex Smith will jump right into the leadership role on the offense, unlike his predecessor, who often seemed to be a reluctant leader. 

—Since Smith has missed a few games with injuries here and there, the chances of the team needing Colt McCoy to come in and win a key game are greater than they were the past three years. 

Kevin Hogan has from now until the end of the season to show that he can be a viable No. 2 quarterback to help ensure that he has a job here in 2019. 

Running backs

—It’s been a while around here since expectations were this high for a player picked late in the second round but Derrius Guice will try to meet them. 

Chris Thompson could be ready to participate in OTAs but look for him to get a very light workload if he puts on a helmet at all. 

—If Rob Kelley wants to be a regular on the 46-man game day inactive list he will have to play a lot of special teams, something he has done sparingly in his two years in the league. 

—Since the team likely will monitor Guice’s workload as a rookie, Samaje Perine will get some carries in key situations this year. 

Wide receivers

—While Josh Doctson does need to get more chances to use his huge catch radius and take balls away from defenders, he also could benefit by working to get more separation on a regular basis. 

—Smith was one of the best deep ball throwers in the league last year and if he is going to maintain that status he will need to look for Paul Richardson at least a few times per game. 

—After his play leveled off in his second and third years in the league, will Jamison Crowder have a contract year breakout? 

—It will be interesting to see what Maurice Harris can do if he stays healthy and get some consistent playing time. 

—Will Trey Quinn be a project or will the last pick in the draft have some instant impact on the offense? 

Tight ends

—​Jordan Reed could be an All-Pro or he could be a cap casualty in 2019. 

—The numbers say that Vernon Davis needs to have Reed on the field to be consistently productive; he had no more than two receptions in any of the last six games. 

—​Jeremy Sprinkle will be relied upon to block and play special teams and anything he produces in the receptions department will be a bonus. 

Offensive line

—After making the Pro Bowl while dealing with a serious knee injury last year, who knows what Trent Williams can accomplish if he can, you know, practice during the week.

—Right now Shawn Lauvao is the Redskins’ starter at left guard but a trade or free agent signing could change that in a heartbeat.

—Jay Gruden has a great deal of confidence in Chase Roullier as the starting center and the hope is that he keeps the job for many years to come. 

—Will Brandon Scherff take the next step and attain All-Pro status?

—​Morgan Moses dealt with injuries to both ankles last year, but he was the only offensive lineman who didn’t miss at least two starts.

—If I had to bet right now I’d say that Ty Nsekhe will start the season as the backup tackle on both sides and not as the starting left guard. 

—As long as Nsekhe is the swing tackle, Geron Christin is likely to be inactive on game days. 

—​Tyler Catalina will have to battle his way onto the roster but his ability to play both guard and tackle will land him on the 53. 

—​Tony Bergstrom is the answer to the question, “Who is the Redskins backup center?”

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

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 22
—Training camp starts (7/26) 67
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 81

The Redskins last played a game 140 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 112 days. 

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