Redskins

Utah to hang replica Majerus sweater from rafters

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Utah to hang replica Majerus sweater from rafters

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) University of Utah officials will honor the legacy of Rick Majerus by hanging a replica of his trademark white sweater from the rafters at the basketball arena where he coached from 1989 to 2004 and regularly led the Utes to the NCAA tournament.

A moment of silence will be held at Utah's next game Wednesday and players will wear black patches in honor of a man Utah athletic director Chris Hill remembered as a ``basketball savant.' Majerus died Saturday in Los Angeles while awaiting a heart transplant. He was 64.

``To retire his jersey and put a No. 1 up there, it just doesn't make any sense,'' Hill said Monday.

The replica sweater will be created to fit in with the select names already hanging from the rafters.

``We want people to know it's Rick,'' Hill said. ``You'll know it's a sweater, but at the same time it won't diminish anybody else who is out there.''

Majerus had been invited back previously to be inducted into Utah's Hall of Fame but the timing wasn't right last year as he was coaching at Saint Louis and his health had taken a turn for the worse. Hill said the induction is still planned for a man who led the Utes to the 1998 NCAA final and had only one losing season in 25 years with four schools.

``His career exploded during his time here and the University of Utah's recognition exploded following his wake,'' Hill said. ``We are pleased to have the opportunity to have worked with somebody that was one of a kind.''

Hill said he hopes to sit down with former players, coaches and supporters to discuss other ways to recognize Majerus, especially since there are plans to expand the Huntsman Center and upgrade facilities.

He also is working with the athletic director at Saint Louis, where Majerus most recently coached, to have him inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

``'Essentially he was a genius and a savant in basketball,'' Hill said. ``He died way too soon at 64 and many of us maybe knew that day was coming.''

Hill said he knew by the fourth game of Majerus' tenure at Utah that he was a great coach because of his passion and planning - even if he sometimes couldn't find his own shirt in his messy office.

``Somehow he was able to make it happen,'' he said.

Hill said he intends to attend Majerus' funeral Saturday in Milwaukee.

Current Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, who played five years in Milwaukee and also coached at the NBA level there, remembers seeing Majerus at practices and training camps.

Krystkowiak called Majerus a ``basketball junkie,'' living out of a Marriott near campus so he wouldn't be distracted by rent and coaching players he saw as an extension of his own family.

``Rick did it his way,'' Krystkowiak said. ``He wasn't interested in making everybody happy, but if you were part of that basketball fraternity, then he had a special way to touch everybody.''

Krystkowiak, 5-2 in his second season as Utah coach, recalled a vivid dream he had involving a healthy Majerus a year ago.

It wasn't long after that he spoke with Hill and the coach's longtime friend, Jon Huntsman, about bringing Majerus back to honor him.

``I fly all over the country, recruiting and doing various things and I'll run into people with my Utah gear on and it's unbelievable the people who want to know where Rick is,'' Krystkowiak recalled. ``If you think about Utah basketball, he's the first name that comes to mind.''

Though they weren't able to bring Majerus back for a special game, he said his passing will inspire and motivate everyone involved with the program.

``We're going to represent the program in grand fashion,'' Krystkowiak said, while adding that he doesn't believe anybody can live up to what Majerus did during his run at Utah.

``It's really beyond words what he did basketball-wise,'' Krystkowiak said of Majerus' 323-95 record with the Utes.

Sophomore center Dallin Bachynski said Monday that he regrets not ever having the chance to meet Majerus.

``Even though he's passed, he's still a big part of what (Utah) is now,'' he said. ``He drives us forward, drives coach forward. It's one of the things as a team we want to do - play so we kind of respect what he did. Not play to get the amount of wins he got, but the way he did it, the kind of people that we are... (that) is the way we respect his memory.''

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10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact. 

Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.

So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field. 

DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)

That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve. 

Can Guice do that?

The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game. 

The bigger key is opportunities. 

How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.

If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too. 

Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games. 

Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.

One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December. 

The line can't be that beat up again, right?

Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018. 

One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight. 

The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

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

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

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

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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