Redskins

Wide receivers Tate, Rice step up for Seahawks

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Wide receivers Tate, Rice step up for Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Sidney Rice and Golden Tate have become the go-to targets for Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

Rice, healthy for the first time in three years, is enjoying a resurgence for the Seahawks. A hip injury derailed his final season in Minnesota before Rice signed with Seattle following the lockout.

Rice couldn't escape the injury bug last year, either, with a pair of bad shoulders and two concussions bringing his season to a premature end. Rice caught just 32 passes for 484 yards and two touchdowns in his first year with the Seahawks.

Tate is finally having the breakthrough he's been waiting for after two mostly unimpressive seasons in Seattle. Entering this season, Tate had never had more than 61 yards receiving in his two years a pro. Through 12 games, Tate has already matched or exceeded his career highs in catches (35), yards (486) and touchdowns (7).

As Wilson has continued to progress as a quarterback, Rice and Tate have shown they can be dynamic weapons in the Seattle passing game.

``We're out here having fun. It feels good to be a part of a team that's so committed to each other,'' Rice said.

The Seahawks' offense has become more reliant on the passing game over the past two months. While Seattle still heavily relies upon the legs of Marshawn Lynch to carry the load, the Seahawks have put more on the shoulders of Wilson and the offense has responded. Seattle is averaging over 25 points over its last five games.

``Ever since that Patriots game we've been really throwing it a good amount and guys making explosive plays,'' Wilson said.

The receiver tandem has stepped up and provided more production. Their seven touchdowns apiece are already the most by any Seahawks receiver since Darrell Jackson had 10 in 2006.

The receiver position for Seattle has constantly been devoid off top-end talent. They have not sent a receiver to the Pro Bowl since Brian Blades in 1989. While neither Rice nor Tate seem destined for Honolulu this season, they have helped elevate the Seahawks' offense in the second half of the season.

``We've been getting things rolling these last few weeks and we want to continue to build from there. We know we've got an opportunity to do something special,'' Rice said.

Rice finally feels healthy again and it's showing in his play on the field. He leads the team in all receiving categories with 43 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. Rice took a blow to the head from Bears safety Major Wright while scoring the game-winning touchdown in Chicago, but has already been cleared and is expected to play this week against Arizona.

``It feels great. Just being back out here on the field, I'm enjoying it. I love it. I love being out on the field being able to make plays for my team,'' Rice said.

Tate credited Wilson's attention to detail and openness in discussing every aspect of the offense for the Seahawks' improved success in the second half of the season.

``Since the three years I've been here, we've never watched the film with the quarterback,'' Tate said. ``But after practice we watch the film with the quarterbacks. When there comes a ball that's an incompletion I always ask, `What do you think Russ,' and then he'll say what he thinks and then I'll say what I think, Sidney will say what he thinks. We're all on the same page I think. We still got some work to do but we're all on the same page and moving in the right direction.''

Tate believes the offense is just scratching the surface of their potential. With the passing game taking a step forward and a manageable schedule over their final four games, the Seahawks are looking to make a strong push to solidify a spot in the playoffs.

``I think with this offense the sky is the limit,'' Tate said.

Notes: The Seahawks added CB Chandler Fenner to the practice squad. ... DE Red Bryant (foot) and CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring) did not practice for a second straight day. S Kam Chancellor (groin) was also held out of practice Thursday. ... LB Leroy Hill (ankle) and C Max Unger (hip) were limited. ... RB Marshawn Lynch (back) and WR Sidney Rice (head) were able to fully participate.

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Need to Know: The forecast for Redskins Park today is a media circus

Need to Know: The forecast for Redskins Park today is a media circus

Here is what you need to know on Tuesday, August 21, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

Looking at a few different topics this morning:

—What was going to be a normal, ho-hum Tuesday preseason practice at Redskins Park will now be on hyperdrive thanks to the addition of Adrian Peterson. After mostly ignoring the Redskins for most of the offseason the national media will turn out in force to chronicle the arrival of AD. Yes, it’s AD as in All Day as I was reminded by several Sooners on Twitter in the past few days. I suppose that now that he’s here I’d better get it right. 

Derrius Guice underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL yesterday (see his tweet below). I haven’t heard but I assume that someone will say that the surgery was a success. Looking at a recovery time of about nine months, Guice could be ready for the start of OTAs in mid-May. But given how cautious this organization tends to be with injuries during the offseason program, we may not see him on the field until training camp. 

—Speaking of injuries, there were over a dozen players who were not participating in practice on both Saturday and Sunday. As I noted here a couple of days ago Jay Gruden has become very tight-lipped when it comes to giving out information on injuries. And teams are not required to give out any injury information at all during the preseason. So it’s hard to sort out veterans’ days from players with minor injuries that are being rested because the game isn’t until Friday from injuries that are reasons for legitimate concern. The first injury report will come out two weeks from tomorrow, so we are mostly in the dark until then. 

—I’m hearing from fans and some in the media that undrafted free agent Cam Sims is a lock to make the 53-man roster. I would suggest pumping the brakes. He has a great opportunity and I have him on the 53 in my last prediction. But he has been erratic. The Jets preseason game, where he made a big-time error when he had a pass bounce out of his arms, turning a completion into an interception then made some key, acrobatic catches was essentially a microcosm of his training camp. He needs a strong finish both in practice and in the two remaining preseason games to get locked into a spot. A few plays like the botched reception and he could be on the outside looking in. 

—Montae Nicholson quietly had a good camp and he has played well in two preseason games (he was one of the few starters to play against the Patriots). He struggled in coverage in the early part of camp. The Redskins are changing their scheme to play left- and right-side safeties instead of free and strong. That means that Nicholson, who played free last year, had to learn the coverage responsibilities for both positions on both sides of the field. It took him some time to get up to speed and during that time it was not unusual to see Nicholson trailing behind a receiver who had a couple of steps on him. He is not immune to making mistakes or just getting beaten on occasion (news flash: NFL rules are set up for DBs to get burned). But he should get the job done most of the time and be the player the Redskins hope he will be. 

Bureau of statistics

Nicholson’s 40 time at the NFL Combine in 2017 was 4.42, the third fastest among safeties and tenth fastest Amon all defensive backs. 

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The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 3 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 11 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 19 days

In case you missed it

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


 

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Ravens hold on to another close preseason win in Week 2

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Ravens hold on to another close preseason win in Week 2

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Baltimore Ravens spoiled Andrew Luck's Indianapolis homecoming.

They picked him off before allowing a completion, and Terrell Suggs nearly chopped the ball out of Luck's hands on a sack. The Ravens then secured a 20-19 preseason win over the Colts by stopping a late 2-point conversion run.

Luck was just OK in his first home start since Jan. 1, 2017. But he did receive a roaring ovation from the crowd when he took the field, led the Colts to one score and apparently emerged unscathed after going down twice on sacks.

"Not too sharp, certainly red-zone turnovers are a negative, missed a couple of throws I'd like to hit," he said. "And I didn't feel like we, as an offense, got into any semblance of a sustained rhythm."

Expectations were high following a solid start in Seattle.

This time, the Colts (1-1) looked sloppy.

Luck missed his first three throws, the third winding up in the hands of Ravens safety Anthony Levine Jr. Luck rebounded to finish 6 of 13 for 50 yards and set up 45-year-old Adam Vinatieri for a 57-yard field before leaving in the second quarter.

If Luck had his way, he might have played longer. But first-year coach Frank Reich wasn't taking any chances with Luck's surgically repaired arm.

"We just never found a rhythm for him and some of his balls were not his best balls," he said. "But I still have a lot of confidence we're headed in the right direction."

Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens looked better.

Flacco went 7 of 9 for 72 yards and one touchdown. Jackson then showed flashes of what helped him win the 2016 Heisman Trophy.

Jackson was 7 of 15 for 49 yards and a TD and carried four times for 26 yards before giving way to another Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III, in the fourth quarter.

Indy still had a chance at the end after Tarell Basham recovered a fumble at the Ravens 9. Five plays later, Phillip Walker threw a 9-yard TD pass to Zach Pascal with 2:24 left. But the Ravens (3-0) stopped Walker on the 2-point try, recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

"Happy to get the win," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We did a lot of things that weren't winning football, especially in the second half."

The Ravens made it tough on Indy all night.

They stopped Indy twice in the red zone and nearly had a third when Jordan Wilkins fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it bounced right into the hands of receiver Chester Rogers.

Flacco gave the Ravens a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter when he hooked up with John Brown on a 7-yard score, and Jackson's masterful hurry-up drive at the end of the first half ended with Justin Tucker's 38-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.

When Colts rookie Nyheim Hines fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half, Jackson hooked up with Chris Moore on a 7-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.