Redskins

Vandy's Matthews returning for senior season

Vandy's Matthews returning for senior season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) By the time Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews graduates, he'll have a chance to rewrite the record books at his school and in the Southeastern Conference.

But what he really wants is a SEC championship for the Commodores.

By returning for his senior season instead of leaving early for the NFL draft, Matthews believes Vanderbilt can win its first league title.

``I know for a fact I have the guys around me that can take this school to an SEC championship next year,'' Matthews said Sunday. ``That is the main reason why I'm staying, and I'm going to devote all my time to making sure Vanderbilt is on the podium in Georgia by season's end next year.''

Joined by his parents Roderick and Brenda as well as Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, Matthews announced his decision to stay just six days after the Commodores (9-4) wrapped up their first nine-win season since 1915 with a 38-24 victory over North Carolina State in the Music City Bowl.

``I felt like I could have (been) drafted really high and really helped out an NFL team, but we'll just wait another year to do that,'' Matthews said.

He led the SEC this season with a school-record 1,323 receiving yards, the fifth-highest total in league history. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder had 94 catches, the second-most in school and SEC history.

Matthews, a distant cousin of Jerry Rice, also has 10 career games with 100 receiving yards or more, including a school-record seven this season.

In three years, the all-SEC selection has 150 receptions for 2,282 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Matthews needs 812 yards to capture the SEC's all-time receiving record. With another monster season, he could surpass former Vanderbilt standout and current Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett for most career receptions (236) in league history.

``This is the biggest recruit that we're signing this year, getting this guy to come back,'' Franklin said. ``I don't think there is any question that Jordan was ready to make this move (to the NFL) physically and mentally. He made a really mature decision. ... He wants to continue his opportunity, refine his craft, have an opportunity to earn his degree and then take his talents to the next level.''

Matthews plans to graduate next December, so he can begin training immediately for the 2014 NFL draft. According to Franklin, Matthews will take out an insurance policy in case of injury. Matthews said the chance of a season-ending or career-threatening injury, like the one that occurred to South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, didn't weigh heavily on his mind.

``You can get hit by a bus walking outside,'' Matthews said. ``You don't worry about that stuff, man.''

Nor is he concerned with his production decreasing because of a new quarterback.

Jordan Rodgers will be gone, leaving either rising senior Austyn Carta-Samuels or redshirt freshman Patton Robinette to take over.

``Relationships are built. They don't just happen,'' Matthews said. ``We are going to be throwing every single day to the point we get the relationship together the same way me and Jordan had it. So I don't think we're going to miss a beat at all.''

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PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

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USA TODAY Sports

PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

With Derrius Guice out for the season and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall both sustaining injuries during the Redskins' Week 2 preseason game vs. the Jets, the Burgundy and Gold may be in need of some help at running back. Enter seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson.

One of the best running backs to ever play the game, Peterson has rushed for 12,276 yards and 99 touchdowns over a 11-year career.

Peterson's visit is part of the team's contingency plan if they do indeed become very thing at the running back position. Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa have also been at Redskins Park for visits. 

"Well we want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” said Gruden.  

Nonetheless, the thought of having Adrian Peterson in a Redskins uniform is exciting. 

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Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

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Associated Press

Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

During the offseason program and training camp we have seen ample evidence that Alex Smith’s teammates have great respect for their new quarterback. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Smith said that the respect is mutual. 

While saying that, nobody really knows how the team will respond when the games count and the pressure is on, but Smith likes what he has seen so far. 

“I think we’ve got guys that are all in,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are committed, and I don’t think that’s the case everywhere. I think a lot of times it’s easy not to invest because it’s scary to put yourself out there knowing you might not succeed. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys who are all in, really invested in what we’re doing here, and I think that’s all you can ask for. We’ve got a tough team that’s not afraid of competition, not afraid to toe the line. I think that’s been apparent through camp. Like I said, the proof’s in the pudding. You’ve got to go do it when it really matters.”

Of course, it’s smart to be complimentary of your new teammates when you are under contract with the organization for the next five years, and Smith is nothing if not smart. Still, Smith didn’t seem to be blowing smoke when he talked about how he formed his opinion about the team. 

“I think it’s an accumulation going back to April up to this date,” said Smith. “It’s how he conducts himself, how he carries himself in the locker room, in the film room, in the training room, in the weight room, on the practice field, when you’re in camp riding the shuttle bus together. I mean, you can tell, I think, how invested guys are. You can tell who’s real, who’s authentic. That quickly becomes apparent when you put all those things together. You can see what guys are really made of and who’s faking it. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are all in.”

For the last several years, the Redskins have talked a lot about drafting and signing players with character, guys who as Smith put it are “all in”. They haven’t always hit the mark, but they have collected players like Brandon Scherff, Jonathan Allen, Josh Norman, and others who love the game more than they love what they can get from the game (i.e. a big paycheck). 

To be sure, dysfunction involving players is not entirely a thing of the past. There has been occasional drama such as the sudden Su’a Cravens departure last year, but most NFL team have occasional situations and the Redskins are not one of the teams frequently making headlines for the wrong reasons. 

Smith is another one of those high character guys and he is recognizing that in the approach of many of his teammates. 

This all sounds great in August and, as Smith noted, we won’t really know how the high character will translate when they’re in a tight game during the season. But for right now, it’s good that the quarterback has confidence in his teammates and that could count for something when the chips are down in December. 

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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  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler