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Tiki Barber has a mechanical fix for Matt Jones' fumbling problems

Tiki Barber has a mechanical fix for Matt Jones' fumbling problems

There are so many issues in sports that affect athletes and can only be overcome by being in a good place mentally. But when it comes to fumbling — something that can doom an NFL running back's career — Tiki Barber says the fix comes more from the physical side than the thinking side.

And, as someone who was once plagued by putting the ball on the ground but eventually improved in that aspect of the job, his insight into the topic is very relevant for someone like Redskins running back Matt Jones.

"It sounds harder than it actually is, because it's all mechanical," Barber told the Sports Junkies on CSN Wednesday morning. "It's not an awareness thing."

Upon remembering Barber's post-fumbleitis running style and hearing him discuss it, Eric Bickel poked fun at the three-time Pro Bowler by calling it extreme. The ex-Giant didn't take offense to that, either — because that style is what took him to the next level.

MORE REDSKINS: HOW THE TEAM'S DEFENSE CAN TAKE STEPS FORWARD

"It was extreme, but it actually helped me become a more effective runner," he said. "Just put it higher, and kept my elbow down. But more importantly, when you go into contact, you cover it up."

"Now, the traditional way to cover up a football is to put the ball perpendicular to the ground," Barber continued, before explaining why that's not the best method to use. "It's across the ground, it's across your body, but there's nothing supporting the ball underneath. The actual way to do it is to put the ball vertical to the ground, wrap your off-ball hand across your on-ball hand, and go to the ground with basically an 'x' across your chest as opposed to two parallel boards across your chest. It was a very simple fix and a mechanical one that just took some drilling in." 

Barber did sound optimistic about Jones' future, and said when he first saw the 2015 third-rounder play, he predicted he was going to be "a stud." However, Barber noted that when he kept fumbling in New York, there was no better backfield option so he was allowed to work through it, while Jones was benched in favor of Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson.

Of course, there's no denying Jones' talent, because it's there and he's shown it plenty. In fact, he may even have more of it than Kelley and Thompson. But a head coach will almost always choose a running back who demonstrates more ball security over one who doesn't, which is why there's so much uncertainty for No. 31 heading into the offseason.

The offseason, though, is the period of time on an NFL schedule where new skills can be added and flaws can be addressed. According to Barber, all Jones needs to do is make one simple switch, then ensure that switch becomes second nature.

If he can, perhaps his stint as a second thought in Washington will be put to an end.

MORE REDSKINS: HOW WILL GARCON-JACKSON SAGA PLAY OUT?

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Ron Rivera sends military veteran to the Super Bowl

Ron Rivera sends military veteran to the Super Bowl

One lucky fan is headed to Super Bowl LIV, courtesy of Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.

Teaming up with USAA and the American Veterans, Rivera is sending military veteran LeCheton “Omar” Settles to Miami. The Redskins head coach tweeted about it on Wednesday.

Settles joined the United States Marines at age 17 and dedicated eight years of his life to service. During his military tenure, Settles spent time as a Field Artillery Cannoneer, Marine Corps Security Force Guard, Martial Arts Instructor-Trainer, and Small Arms Weapons Instructor.

Rivera comes from a military background himself and is using this as a way to reward one military member for his service.

"Inspired by my father’s military service, we always had a strong military appreciation in our team’s culture during my time in Carolina and I plan on continuing that now with the Redskins in Washington, D.C.," Rivera said in the release. "To kick that off, I am privileged to partner with USAA and AMVETS to award a trip to the Super Bowl to Sergeant Omar Settles in recognition of and for his service to our country."    

 

He will meet with Settles on both Friday and Saturday of Super Bowl week at the USAA Salute to Service Lounge in Miami. 

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Giants quarterback Eli Manning announces retirement from NFL

Giants quarterback Eli Manning announces retirement from NFL

After 16 seasons with the New York Giants, quarterback Eli Manning has announced he will be retiring from the NFL.

Manning, who was drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 draft and then traded to the Giants on draft day, spent all 16 years of his NFL career with Big Blue. The team will hold a news conference on Friday.

The 39-year-old is one of the most accomplished players in Giants history. He's a two-time Super Bowl champion (and two-time Super Bowl MVP), four-time Pro Bowler, and started a franchise-record 236 games at quarterback for New York. 

"It was an honor and privilege to coach Eli, and to go through the wonderful and magnificent moments that he and his teammates provided for all of us in the world championship '07-'08 and '11-'12 seasons," Tom Coughlin, Manning's longtime head coach, told Giants.com. "I and my coaching staff and our teams from 2004 right through 2015, for me at least, my part, hold Eli in the highest respect and congratulate him and his family, and his mom and dad, for all of the wonderful, wonderful experiences he's had, and the happiness and pride that he has brought to the entire Giants family, the fanfare, the fans, the family and everyone that's taken so much pride from his performances and for what he's meant."

Based on their record against Manning, Redskins fans will be happy to see Manning go. In 27 starts against Washington, Manning was victorious in 18 of them. The longtime signal-caller has more wins against the Redskins than he does any other NFL opponent.

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