Nationals

Titans hope to erase ugly loss in season finale

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Titans hope to erase ugly loss in season finale

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans and Mike Munchak have one more game to give owner Bud Adams reason to think the coach really can turn around this franchise.

Adams couldn't stand to watch all of the Titans' 55-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The owner, who turns 90 on Jan. 3, plans to talk with Munchak and his front office after the season finale. Munchak said he will detail what's gone wrong and his plan to fix the team.

The coach pointed out he's had one offseason with the Titans (5-10).

``There's a lot of things that are concerning,'' said Munchak, who has two years left on his contract. ``I'll just start with the record. That's concerning. That's the most important factor.''

The Titans have lost six of eight. Once again, they're last in points allowed in the NFL (451), and now the franchise record for most points given up in a season is at risk Sunday against Jacksonville (2-13). The then-Houston Oilers yielded 460 points in 1983, Munchak's second season as a player.

Cornerback Alterraun Verner said after the loss the Titans must have a serious self-evaluation.

``We have one more game, and we've got to fix it,'' Verner said. ``We've got to come out way better than this and finish off strong. This is embarrassing.''

At least the Titans don't have to play an opponent with a winning record. They are 0-7 against such teams this season.

Sunday is no guaranteed win for Tennessee, though. The Titans lost 24-19 in Jacksonville on Nov. 25, and Munchak fired his offensive coordinator the next day. Munchak had the team in Monday to watch the loss to Green Bay before letting players leave for the holiday.

The Titans have sold out their home finale, though how many fans actually show up in the seats remains to be seen. Munchak has worked for Adams since being drafted out of Penn State in 1982 - first as a player and then as a coach since 1994. Adams likes Munchak but wants to get his team fixed before turning off even more paying customers.

Tennessee's problems go beyond coaching. The Titans went into Green Bay without their top two pass catchers. The offensive line with four starters on injured reserve also had the backup center out with a sprained ankle, and replacement right tackle Mike Otto got sick and had to be replaced by Byron Stingily in his first career start.

Jake Locker had his worst performance yet. He was 1 of 7 for 7 yards in the first quarter with two interceptions, had a 0.0 passer rating by halftime and finished 13 of 30 for 140 yards. He underthrew, overthrew and was just late at times with the ball to receivers. He has 11 turnovers in the five games.

Yet the lowlight came when Locker tripped himself up trying to run away from pressure.

Yes, it counted as one of seven sacks.

Munchak defended the quarterback with 10 career starts.

``I think the team's shaky,'' Munchak said. ``I think the support around him isn't great.''

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Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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