Redskins

West rides turnovers to 28-13 win in Shrine Game

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West rides turnovers to 28-13 win in Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Collin Klein hoped to use the East-West Shrine Game as his first opportunity to prove he has the ability to play quarterback on the NFL level.

The Heisman Trophy finalist and Kansas State star left the field with only more questions surrounding his game, though, and just a handful of months to provide potential suitors with the answers they're seeking.

Klein struggled in his first all-star game NFL audition, completing just 5 of 13 passes for 43 yards and an interception as his West team fell to the East 28-13 on Saturday.

Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne had a fumble recovery to set up a touchdown and an interception in the second half to lead a West team that came away with four total turnovers on the day.

Klein acknowledged he didn't have the kind of day he wanted, but said his confidence isn't shaken moving forward.

``I felt pretty good. We were a little rough, made a lot of mistakes and penalties that kept getting us in bad down-and-distances,'' Klein said. ``But I think I got better and I learned a lot this week. We're moving on.''

Klein brushed off questions throughout the week about his unorthodox throwing motion and was adamant that he had no intention of switching positions at the next level despite his ability to run the ball.

He looked uncomfortable in the pocket throwing to unfamiliar receivers Saturday, but said it was good training for the future.

``It's good practice because that's what it's going to be in a couple of months when you go to your team and kind of get it figured out,'' Klein said.

While Klein struggled in the spotlight on Saturday, the defensive guys on both sides of the ball made the most of it.

The West never trailed in the showcase for NFL hopefuls and was sparked by a defense that had four turnovers, including a 30-yard interception return for a score by Klein's former teammate, cornerback Nigel Malone.

The West also got a strong offensive effort from Texas A&M running back Christine Michael, who rushed for 42 yards and touchdown.

Arizona quarterback Matt Scott had the only passing touchdown of the game, finding Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis for a 57-yard score. Scott finished 3 of 4 for 81 yards.

Another West quarterback, Alex Carder (Western Michigan) also had a good passing day for the West, throwing for 95 yards. He did throw a late interception.

Bumphis was named the offensive MVP.

``I didn't exactly finish how I wanted to in the Fiesta Bowl, but this meant to a lot to come out here and play my last real college game and come out with a `W','' Malone said.

The West controlled the game from out outset, compiling 18 first downs to the East's 11. The West team also held the ball on offense more than 12 minutes longer.

The East defense came away with four turnovers, but its offense was only able to turn one of them - a muffed punt late in the third quarter - into a touchdown.

Klein looked most comfortable when he was forced to scramble, and led his team in rushing with 35 yards. But neither he, nor any of the other East quarterbacks were able to find anybody in space for big plays.

The West turned a pair of East first-half turnovers into touchdowns as it built a 21-13 halftime lead.

East running back Ray Graham (Pittsburgh) fumbled on the first play of the game and it was recovered by Hawthorne inside the East 20.

West receiver Anthony Amos (Middle Tennessee State) scored on an end around six plays later to put West up 7-0.

That lead was 7-3 when Scott's 57-yard touchdown pass down the sideline to Bumphis pushed it to 14-3.

The West's defense got its second turnover of the half just six seconds later when Malone picked off Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron and returned it 30 yards for a score.

After watching Klein thrive during their time together at Kansas State, Malone said that he has no doubt that he can bounce back from Saturday's performance.

``It's all up to the team to come out and take a chance on him,'' Malone said. ``I think when you really get him in a nice scheme and coach him up, I think he's going to be really successful. People who are humble and have good character and put God first are always successful in life.''

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Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/khightower

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Need to Know: Looking ahead — The Redskins’ salary cap status

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Need to Know: Looking ahead — The Redskins’ salary cap status

Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, September 26, 12 days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking Points

It’s an early bye week so it’s kind of early to be doing a look at the Redskins’ 2019 salary cap.

But the bye is where it is so let’s take a look at what’s going on in the land of prorated bonuses and dead money for next year. 

All cap info is via Over The Cap

The cap for next year is expected to be around $190 million, an increase of slightly over seven percent. This is consistent with cap growth over the last several years. 

Using that number, the Redskins currently have $25.1 million in salary cap space for next year. That number may decline between now and the end of the year. It counts $10.4 million of rollover from this season. The amount they have to roll over could decline if the Redskins have to dip further into their 2018 cap money to sign more players to replace the ones on injured reserve. That can create a dent in the rollover amount. 

If that doesn’t sound like a lot of money, it isn’t. There are 22 other teams who will have more cap space than Washington. 

If the Redskins decide they need more cap room, there are a few routes they could take. One move that they are unlikely to make is to restructure contracts, pushing some cap money back into 2020 and beyond to create for immediate spending money. The organization has a history of avoiding doing this unless it becomes absolutely necessary. 

The more conventional way of saving cap room is to release high-priced veterans. Before the season started there was a lot of talk about the possibility that Josh Norman could be a cap casualty after this season. The last of the guaranteed money on his contract was paid out this year and the Redskins could save $8.5 million in cap space if they let him go. 

That talk was before the season started and now he is a key player in a defense that is playing well. There is a long way to go but the Redskins may want to hang on to Norman despite his $14.5 million cap number next year. 

There are other veterans who could be released to save anywhere from under one million dollars to around $6 million. There will be plenty of time to talk about those players when the season ends, and we can better estimate the value of their performances was compared to their cap costs. 

One other way they can create more cap space if by extending the contract of Brandon Scherff. He is due $12.5 million on his fifth-year option next year. All of that will hit the 2019 cap. If he and the Redskins agree to an extension that would keep him from becoming a free agent in 2020 they could structure it in such a way that it would create more cap space this year. 

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The Agenda

Today: Bye week

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 12 days; Panthers @ Redskins 18; Cowboys @ Redskins 25

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Max Scherzer reaches 300 season strikeout mark in Nationals win over Marlins

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USA Today

Max Scherzer reaches 300 season strikeout mark in Nationals win over Marlins

With a bottle of bubbly at his feet and a baseball with the inscription "300 Ks" in a case in his locker, Max Scherzer allowed himself a moment to consider what he'd just accomplished.

"It was something I dreamed of, reaching this mark," Scherzer said, "because I know how hard it is to consistently go out there and strike guys out."

Scherzer became the 17th pitcher since 1900 to strike out 300 batters in a season, reaching that milestone by fanning 10 in seven innings Tuesday night during the Washington Nationals' otherwise meaningless 9-4 victory over the Miami Marlins.

"A big number," Nationals catcher Matt Wieters said, "when you're talking about strikeouts."

Scherzer (18-7) lowered his ERA to 2.53 by allowing one run in seven innings as he bids for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award; he also won the 2013 honor in the AL for Detroit. He threw 70 of his 100 pitches for strikes, gave up five hits and didn't walk a batter.

The righty reached 300 by getting Austin Dean to whiff on an 85-mph slider at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat for the second out of the seventh. Scherzer pumped his fist while much of the announced crowd of 26,483 -- including his wife, Erica May-Scherzer -- joined players in the home dugout and home bullpen by saluting the ace with a standing ovation.

"I definitely wanted to do it here at home," said the 34-year-old Scherzer, who is currently slated to make one more start, in Sunday's season finale at Colorado. "The fans -- unbelievable support."

They would chant, "Let's go, Max!" They would rise and cheer when he had two strikes on a hitter. They would emit a collective "Awwwwwww" when a pitch near the plate was ruled a ball -- or even when a pitch resulted in any sort of out that wouldn't add to his strikeout total.

Sweating profusely on a muggy, 78-degree evening, Scherzer had all of his repertoire working, from the 97-mph fastballs he threw past Lewis Brinson for strikeouts in the fourth and seventh innings, to the 84-mph changeup that JT Riddle missed for a K leading off the game.

As is Scherzer's wont, he stalked around the grass after strikeouts.

Asked whether he considered pulling his famously intense pitcher before No. 300, Nationals manager Dave Martinez laughed.

"I value my life," Martinez joked. "He was going to get 10 today, somehow."

Scherzer now has 10 strikeouts or more in a majors-high 18 of his 33 starts in 2018, and 82 such games for his career.

He got Dean by throwing fastball after fastball with a full count, then getting him to chase a slider.

"That's probably where you can see Max has become a more complete pitcher than he was earlier in his career," Wieters said, "where he was able to go with the slider and execute it and realize that with where that fastball was starting, (Dean is) going to be way out in front of it."

Dean's take?

"He's the best pitcher in baseball," the Marlins rookie said.

The case certainly can be made. This is, after all, a guy with two no-hitters and a 20-strikeout game on his resume, along with the Cy Youngs.

Scherzer entered Tuesday ranked No. 1 in the NL in eight significant statistical categories, including strikeouts, strikeouts-to-walks ratio (5.69), opponents' batting average (.188) and innings pitched (213 2/3). He was also tied for No. 1 in two others: wins and quality starts (27).

The expectation is that Scherzer and New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom are the main Cy Young contenders in the NL. DeGrom is 9-9 with a 1.77 ERA and single-season records of 23 consecutive quality starts and 28 starts in a row allowing three or fewer earned runs.

"There's more to pitching than just striking guys out," Scherzer said, "but also, it is a big reason why you can have success."

RENDON AND HARPER

Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon hit a three-run shot in the first inning off Jeff Brigham (0-4), increasing his season totals to 24 homers and 90 RBIs and extending his streak of reaching base to 33 straight games. Rendon added an RBI double in the seventh, when Washington batted around and tacked on six runs. ... Bryce Harper scored twice to surpass 100 runs for the season; he already had a career-best 100 RBIs and more than 100 walks. Harper can become a free agent in the offseason, so Wednesday's series finale could be the 2015 NL MVP's last home game at Nationals Park.

UP NEXT

The Nationals will give 26-year-old RHP Kyle McGowin his first start in the majors Wednesday. Miami will start LHP Wei-Yin Chen (6-11, 4.66 ERA).

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