Nationals

Wisconsin QB Stave out for season

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Wisconsin QB Stave out for season

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave is done for the season after breaking his left collarbone against Michigan State.

Coach Bret Bielema announced the news Monday, two days after the Badgers' 16-13 overtime loss to the Spartans. Doctors determined the redshirt freshman would not need surgery to repair the injury.

``It probably will be an eight-week recovery, which takes him out of the regular season,'' Bielema said. ``There is an outside chance of something for the postseason, but that would be right on the edge of it. And everything, if it goes to plan, he should be 100 percent to go for spring ball. The good news is he's a freshman, so we have three years of eligibility remaining with him.''

Stave completed 70 of 118 attempts for 1,104 yards and six touchdowns in seven games. He threw three interceptions.

He was the top quarterback in spring practice, but junior transfer Danny O'Brien earned the starting slot in fall camp ahead of Stave and fifth-year senior Curt Phillips. Stave replaced O'Brien in the second half of Wisconsin's 37-26 victory against UTEP on Sept. 15 due to a handful of turnovers by O'Brien, and Bielema named Stave the starter going forward.

O'Brien and Phillips will vie for the starting spot for Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten), which has a bye week before playing Indiana (1-3, 3-5) on Nov. 10 in Bloomington. Freshman Chase Knox will be the Badgers' third option at the position.

O'Brien and Phillips will split snaps working with the No. 1 offense in practice this week and Bielema will choose a starter on Sunday, but won't announce his decision until early next week.

``Danny's had his shot a couple times this year,'' Bielema said. ``We'll take this bye week and pretty much give him and Curt equal reps and see where we're at on Sunday.''

O'Brien completed 52 of 86 attempts for three touchdowns in six games. He relieved Stave in the third quarter against Michigan State, completed 5 of 11 passes for 44 yards and was sacked three times.

Phillips was inserted for three plays in one series during the second quarter of the Badgers' 31-14 win against Illinois on Oct. 6. Prior to that appearance, he had not played in a game since the 2009 regular-season finale.

Phillips, who has undergone surgery three times to repair anterior cruciate ligament injuries to his right knee, has improved in regular-season practice despite slow progress in fall camp. He picked up pace during fall sessions when the Badgers practiced twice daily, and Bielema and offensive coordinator Matt Canada are pleased with Phillips' development.

``I would think he's actually gotten better with a limited amount of practice time,'' Bielema said. ``There's probably not a kid that's invested more time to get on the field than Curt Phillips. Matt has been intrigued with Curt ever since day one. He's got that `it' factor that quarterbacks need to have. It will be fun to see him really compete this week.''

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Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

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USA Today

Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 on Sunday night to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

Anthony Rendon homered and doubled, Bryce Harper tied a career high with three doubles and Michael A. Taylor and Murphy each had three singles in a game that was delayed 38 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams homered for the Phillies, who had won three straight.

Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk against Victor Arano. With one out, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (1-2) came on to face Harper, who doubled to right, with Goodwin stopping at third.

After Rendon grounded out, Juan Soto was intentionally walked and Murphy lined a 1-2 pitch to shallow right. Taylor's single made it 8-6.

Ryan Madson (2-3) pitched the eighth inning, and Sean Doolittle finished it for his 21st save.

The Phillies took a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run triple by Odubel Herrera and a two-run homer by Williams.

Washington pulled within a run at 6-5 in the sixth with four two-out hits, including an RBI triple by Trea Turner and RBI doubles by Harper and Rendon.

Nick Pivetta went five innings and allowed two runs on eight hits for the Phillies.

Washington starter Jefry Rodriguez was charged with four runs and five hits in four-plus innings.

The Phillies broke on top on Hoskins's two-run homer in the third.

Rendon made it 2-1 with a solo homer in the fourth. The next three hitters singled, tying the game, but with the rain intensifying, out came the tarp. When play resumed, Pivetta struck out three straight to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the seventh with a right knee contusion. ... 3B Maikel Franco slipped on first base and fell hard in the eighth. He stayed in to run, but left after the half-inning. ... INF Jesmuel Valent?n was placed on the paternity leave list and OF Dylan Cozens (left quadriceps strain) was reinstated from the 10-day DL.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) allowed 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Sunday. "I'm more concerned with the way he feels," manager Dave Martinez said, downplaying the results. "We'll go from there." ... RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) threw a scoreless inning at Potomac. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on the field again. "We'll keep doing his throwing progression and figure out when he can actually throw from the mound," Martinez said.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.82) starts the opener of a series against the Yankees on Monday. He is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two games vs. New York.

Nationals: RHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08) opens a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. He is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six games against the Rays.

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Jay Gruden wants excellent play from Alex Smith, but he also expects personal responsibility

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USA TODAY Sports

Jay Gruden wants excellent play from Alex Smith, but he also expects personal responsibility

As June minicamp concluded, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden pulled no punches when asked about expectations for new quarterback Alex Smith. 

"He has got to get it down by the first game," Gruden said of Smith. 

While that might not sound overly demanding, remember this is Smith's first season in Washington. The QB will be playing with new teammates and implementing new terminology. 

Still, Smith is a veteran with a lot of experience, and frankly, it seems like Gruden isn't worried about a transition period. 

"We are not in here to build the team around him, the team is built and he has to lead it like right now," the coach said. "This isn’t a two- or three-year process. This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away."

Gruden made things quite clear. He expects the best from Smith, yesterday. 

Those comments created headlines, but there was something else the coach said about his passer that also stood out. Asked about Smith's veteran presence, Gruden talked about what the quarterback might mean for his teammates. 

"The whole job a quarterback has is obviously getting the most out of the people around you. That’s what I think he does as good as anybody," Gruden said. "He’ll get the most out of the tight ends. He’ll get the most out of the backs."

The coach continued, and things got a bit more interesting.

"He’ll get the most out of the receivers and offensive line because they’re going to want to play for him and they’re going to feel confident that he’s going to make something happen in a positive way or at least give it everything he’s got and take responsibility if something doesn’t work out."

Redskins fans are often a weirdly divided bunch. Many liked former QB Kirk Cousins but plenty did not think he was worth the type of money he was paid the last two seasons. Along the way, some fans will read Gruden's comments about making something happen and taking responsibility as a jab at Cousins. That's probably wrong. 

Remember, Trent Williams played through a serious knee injury last season. Asked why, Williams said he wanted to be out there to protect Cousins. Guys played for Cousins. 

The responsibility comment might mean something else, though. Their was a rather hostile back-and-forth last season between Gruden and Cousins last season, when the QB and coach disagreed about taking more risks with the football. A quick reminder of the scene: Cousins told a reporter that he would throw 20 interceptions if he played like Gruden wanted. The coach responded that while the interceptions might pile up, the QB would also throw 60 touchdowns. (Relive it here)

Throughout his career, Smith has thrown less interceptions than Cousins. But that doesn't mean Smith doesn't take risks or put his receivers in position to make plays. 

It's entirely possible Gruden simply expects Smith, a veteran, to be a responsible player and leader. And it's likely that comment had nothing to do with the Redskins previous quarterbacks. 

The bottom line is that Smith better be ready to go Week 1, and his coach made that clear. And if Smith isn't, Gruden expects his quarterback to take responsibility. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

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

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