Nationals

An update on Michael Vick's status for Week 1

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An update on Michael Vick's status for Week 1

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Michael Vick will take his next snap in the season opener for the Philadelphia Eagles. Who replaces him if he gets hurt again remains a question.Vick is back at practice after leaving last Monday's game with injured ribs. He didn't play in Friday's game at Cleveland, but returned to the field Sunday night for Philadelphia's annual practice party at Lincoln Financial Field."I think he's real close to 100 percent," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Monday. "I thought he threw the ball last night just beautifully; threw it strong and aggressively. So, I think he's ready to rock and roll. That's my point on that. I think he's ready to go."Vick has taken just 12 snaps in two preseason games and isn't expected to play against the New York Jets in the preseason finale Thursday. The Eagles visit Cleveland in Week 1 on Sept. 9."I think in that ballgame that he got hurt, I think he would have played in the game if it was a regular season game," Mornhinweg said. "I don't know that for sure, but that was just my thought at the time."The more important thought in the coordinator's mind right now revolves around the backup quarterbacks. Philadelphia has Mike Kafka, Trent Edwards and Nick Foles in the fold right now.Foles, a rookie third-round pick from Arizona, has been impressive in the first three games. He threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter and led the Eagles to a 27-10 victory over the Browns last Friday. Foles finished the victory 12 of 19 for 146 yards with one interception. He's 36 of 57 passes for 507 yards, with six TDs and two interceptions so far.Kafka, the incumbent backup, hasn't played the last two games because of a hand injury. It would seem that Foles has moved up the depth chart, but Mornhinweg wasn't ready to say it."That choice has not been made," Mornhinweg said. "We've got several different things to evaluate there. I certainly have great confidence in all of our quarterbacks to do all of the jobs that we would ask them to do: backup and the number three. (Quarterbacks coach) Doug Pederson has done just an outstanding job with all four of the quarterbacks."Kafka, a third-year pro, might even be in danger of losing his roster spot. Edwards has also been outstanding in the preseason. The 28-year-old veteran is 32 of 48 for 292 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. Edwards was 14-18 as a starter for Buffalo between 2007-10. He was released by Oakland last year and sat out the season."Well, we haven't come to that decision. We've got some days of practice and the last preseason game to evaluate that and discuss it," Mornhinweg said. "We've got four quarterbacks here (who) really can play at a high level. Those are good things. Those are good things that you have to come to a decision on at some point here and it's coming up pretty quick."The Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32), who closed the regular season on a four-game winning streak last year, are 3-0 this preseason and have scored 78 points along the way.

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Juan Soto's 2-run double carries Nationals past Orioles

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USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto's 2-run double carries Nationals past Orioles

WASHINGTON -- A teenager among men, Juan Soto has impressed his teammates on the Washington Nationals with his maturity and, even more so, his potent bat.

Soto hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning, and Washington beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 Thursday night in the deciding matchup of a three-game interleague series between neighboring rivals.

Soto, a 19-year-old rookie, is batting .326 with 16 RBIs in 28 games. Starting in the cleanup spot for the first time, he drew a walk and delivered the game's pivotal hit.

"I think we're all amazed every single day," Washington ace Max Scherzer said. "He puts together great ABs. He has antics and has some flair. He's a great young player. He's just enjoying himself."

Bryce Harper led off the eighth with a double off Mychal Givens (0-4) and Trea Turner followed with a single. After Anthony Rendon struck out, Soto hit a liner into the gap in left-center.

"He's got unbelievable poise," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Soto. "No matter what the situation is, he goes out there with a game plan."

Whatever that plan is, it's effective.

"I just try to be focused and keep working," Soto said.

Rendon homered for the Nationals, who received seven strong innings from Scherzer and flawless work from their bullpen.

Newcomer Kelvin Herrera (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Sean Doolittle got three straight outs for his 20th save in 21 tries.

Seeking to end a rare run of two straight losses, Scherzer left a tied game after allowing two runs -- both on solo homers -- and striking out nine.

Afterward, the right-hander heaped praise upon Soto for the manner in which he's adapted to playing in the big leagues.

"He has a great feel for the strike zone," Scherzer said. "To have that type of eye, it's remarkable for him to be able to do that at this time and this age and this level."

Activated from the 60-day disabled list before the game, Colby Rasmus homered for the Orioles in his first at-bat since April 6.

"Me and Max, we go way back, so I felt real good," said Rasmus, who had been sidelined with a hip injury.

In addition, Rasmus made an outstanding throw from right field to the plate, nailing Wilmer Difo on a tag-up play in the seventh inning with the score tied.

Mark Trumbo also homered for Baltimore, his sixth of the season and third in four games.

Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman gave up two runs and four hits over six innings. The right-hander was lifted with the score tied, leaving him winless in his last seven starts.

MORE NATS COVERAGE: 

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How drawing up a play in the interview process helped sell the Wizards on Troy Brown

How drawing up a play in the interview process helped sell the Wizards on Troy Brown

While meeting with Oregon's Troy Brown during the pre-draft interview process, evaluators from the Washington Wizards issued him an on-the-spot challenge. Head coach Scott Brooks pulled out a dry-erase clipboard and a pen. He wanted to see Brown draw up a play.

This is a test Brooks has administered before to other players. Some have failed miserably.

"It sounds easy to throw a board at somebody in front of a big group and say 'okay draw a play' and I have seen many plays drawn, and I have seen it where there are not five players on the floor," Brooks said.

That wasn't the case with Brown. He didn't just draw up one play, he drew up several. One in particular came to mind when asked by reporters on Thursday night soon after the Wizards took him 15th overall in the first round of the NBA Draft.

“I think it was a situation where we were down by two or something like that," he said. "It was like a back screen into a slip, and then the fade three and they gave you a lot of various options to cause mismatches on the court for a last minute shot to either go ahead, or even attack the basket for a layup to go into overtime.”

NBC Sports Washington analyst Cory Alexander, a veteran of seven NBA seasons, demonstrated what Brown's play looked like on a whiteboard:

The Xs and Os of basketball flow effortlessly for Brown and Wizards' brass couldn't help but be impressed.

"He really understands the game. I think for a kid that is 18 years old, that is rare but he just has a good feel," Brooks said. 

"We were impressed with his character and the type of person he is and his basketball knowledge," team president Ernie Grunfeld said. "Obviously, like any young player, he has a lot of work to do but he has a lot of the intangibles that I think you need in today's game."

Smarts are a big part of what makes Brown a good basketball player. He isn't a particularly explosive athlete, with a modest 33-inch max vertical leap, but he boasts a 6-foot-10 wingspan and solid agility. Being in the right place at the right time and knowing how to operate an offense helps him make the most of his natural abilities.

Passing is where his basketball IQ comes in handy. Brown is unusually good at distributing for a 6-foot-7 small forward. He averaged 3.2 assists as a freshman at Oregon and nine times had five assists or more in a game.

He can pass like a point guard and the Wizards are excited to implement that skill into their offense.

"Passing is contagious. We’ve been pretty good the last two years and with talking about that how we even want to take another step," Brooks said. "He has the ability to make a lot of quick plays and his ball handling is pretty good for a guy his size. That is one thing I was impressed in his workout last week or when we had him. He is able to take the contact and use his strong frame to get inside the key and make plays.”

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