Redskins

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Seth Curry scored 25 points and Mason Plumlee added 20 points and a career high-matching 17 rebounds as No. 5 Duke's starters scored all but two of the Blue Devils' points in an 89-71 victory over Minnesota on Thursday in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Sophomore point guard Quinn Cook had a career-high 17 points for the Blue Devils who extended their regular-season tournament winning streak to 21 games, a run that stretches to the championship game of the 2006 CBE Classic.

Duke (4-0) will face VCU in Friday's semifinals.

Rodney Williams had 16 points for the Golden Gophers (4-1), who just couldn't cut into the Blue Devils' lead in the second half.

No. 2 LOUISVILLE 51, NORTHERN IOWA 46

Russ Smith scored 16 points and Louisville overcame a terrible offensive effort for a 51-46 victory over Northern Iowa in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Cardinals had a bad first half, looked as if they straightened things out but then stumbled to the finish.

Louisville (4-0) will face No. 13 Missouri in Friday night's semifinals. The Tigers beat Stanford 78-70.

The Cardinals somehow held a 26-20 halftime lead despite shooting 27.0 percent from the field (10 of 37) and committing 10 turnovers.

They held Northern Iowa (3-1) to one field goal over the opening 10:47 of the second half and that cut Louisville's lead 40-24. It was far from an easy ride to the finish as the Cardinals went 5:12 without scoring and suddenly the Panthers were chipping away.

VCU 78, NO. 19 MEMPHIS 65

Treveon Graham scored 26 points and Rob Brandenberg added 15, including two late 3-pointers, and VCU beat No. 19 Memphis in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Rams used their frenetic style of play to take a 16-point lead in the first half only to see the Tigers pull to 63-61 with 4:05 to play. VCU then went on an 11-0 run with all the points scored by Graham and Brandenberg.

VCU ( 3-1) will meet No. 5 Duke in Friday's semifinals.

Adonis Thomas had 19 points for the Tigers (2-1), who committed 22 turnovers that the Rams turned into 33 points.

NO. 13 MISSOURI 78, STANFORD 70

Laurence Bowers scored 19 points, as usual most were in the second half, and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 13 Missouri beat Stanford in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday.

Bowers, who had 13 points in the second half, has scored more points after halftime in every game this season for the Tigers (4-0).

Missouri will face No. 2 Louisville in Friday's semifinals.

Chasson Randle had 22 points for the Cardinal (3-2).

No. 17 GONZAGA 57, CLEMSON 49

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk each scored 13 points to help Gonzaga beat Clemson in a first round game at the Old Spice Classic.

Olynyk was in the starting lineup after missing the previous three games due to a violation of the student code of conduct. The junior forward, who had his first two shots blocked, also had three rebounds.

Clemson got 10 points from Adonis Filer. Milton Jennings had six points and eight rebounds.

Sam Dower had 11 points for Gonzaga (4-0), which will go against Oklahoma in Friday's semifinals. Clemson (2-1) will face Texas-El Paso in the loser's bracket.

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Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: What to look for at Redskins OTAs

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 23, 65 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What to look for at OTAs

Redskins OTAs started yesterday. The no-contact drills are the first time during the offseason program that the offense and defense are permitted to line up against each other. The-no pads aspect of it does take off a lot of the edge but the reality is that this will be the closest thing to football we will see until training camp starts in late July. 

Here are some things that I will be looking for during today’s practice.

Who’s in? Jay Gruden told us earlier that we should expect to see some injured key players not participating as they continue to recover from 2017 injuries. Specifically, OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Morgan Moses (ankles), and TE Jordan Reed (hamstring/toe) will only be spectators if they are at Redskins Park at all. Other players who may sit out or participate only in light drills are RB Chris Thompson (leg), and ILB Mason Foster (shoulder). The Redskins have been relatively healthy the past few offseasons so we will see how they deal with the aftermath of the injury scourge that hit the team last year. 

Seven-on-seven—Sure, it’s fun to watch the full team drills with 11 on each side but since blocking and tackling is limited by the rules about contact, there isn’t much to be gleaned from watching an off-tackle run. But when they eliminate the guards, tackles, and interior defensive linemen it’s all passing and then we can watch how well Alex Smith and his receivers are connecting. One thing I’ll keep in mind is that Smith decided not to get the receivers together for a “passing camp” before the offseason activities started. He said that he wanted to get to know the playbook first. Because of that they can be forgiven if they are not quite as sharp as they might be. Also, how natural does Derrius Guice look coming out of the backfield to catch passes? His primary job will be to carry the ball, but if he is a legitimate pass-catching threat, the whole offense will be harder to defend.

Rookies vs. pros—In rookie camp two weeks ago we saw Trey Quinn putting defensive backs on the ground with some moves and Troy Apke showing great makeup speed on some long passes. But those tryout defensive backs and quarterbacks are no longer around. How will Quinn look against veteran Orlando Scandrick or second-year corner Josh Holsey? Will Smith’s ball placement negate Apke’s speed? In the one-on-one pass blocking drills, which emphasize technique over power, can Daron Payne get past Brandon Scherff?

The big guys—With Williams and Moses out, who will line up along the offensive line? Does Payne line up at nose tackle or is he used more as an end with Tim Settle in the middle? Is Ziggy Hood in the middle or will he work outside? How is Phil Taylor looking after a quad injury ended his season in training camp? As noted, the rules make it hard to tell much about linemen before Richmond but we try to glean what we can. 

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

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My reaction to this tweet from the NFL illustrating the changes to the kickoff rules:

Timeline  

Today’s schedule:Redskins OTA practice 11:30; Jay Gruden and Alex Smith press conferences, players available coming off the field, after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 20
—Training camp starts (7/26) 65
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 79

The Redskins last played a game 143 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 109 days. 

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

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— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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