Written by Thomas Threlkeld on . Posted in Washington Redskins
Pro Bowl special teamer/linebacker Lorenzo Alexander isan unrestricted free agent and the Washington Redskins are over the salary cap. Those two facts being the case, it should come as no surprise that contract negotiations may prove difficult. Alexander has rejected Washington's first contract offer and it now seems likely he will test the free agency waters next month.
“They offered me a deal but obviously at this point I’m not going to jump into it and sign right away,” Alexander said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on. At this point we’ll play the waiting game and be patient and see what’s the best thing to do for myself and my family. Hopefully that’s with the Redskins . I don’t expect them to outbid anybody but from what I’ve done and sacrificed and what I’ve earned on the field, obviously that’s going to bring a certain dollar amount. There will be interest from other teams. But you really know when free agency starts what your value is.
“I’m willing to take less for the Redskins, but they have to be close. They can’t be way off.”
That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Alexander will turn 30 this offseason and has never earned a ton of money by NFL standards. This is probably his last best chance to make himself comfortable for the rest of his life and he should jump on it. The Skins have an unjust $18 million penalty hanging over their heads as a result of the team being unwilling to cooperate in the league's illegal antitrust behavior during the 2010 uncapped year. A player like Alexander, who has been with the Redskins since 2006, may fall through the cracks.
Losing Alexander would be a blow to the team, though. He's a team captain, a leader, their best special teams player and a versatile defender who has played defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker during his career. He's done everything the Redskins have asked of him and then some. He belongs in Washington. Let's hope it works out that way.
Written by Mark Buterbaugh on . Posted in Washington Capitals
Don't count the Washington Capitals out of it just yet. After the Caps 3-0 shut out of the Southeast Divison leading Carolina Hurricanes tonight, the Caps have pulled themselves to within four points of the Divison lead.
Caps grabbed two defensive goals for the second time this season and added a power play marker. Nicklas Backstrom got the Caps on the score board first in the first period with a power play goal. Backstrom was fed nicely by Mike Ribeiro in front of the net to pick up the helper, along with Alex Ovechkin. The first period ended with a 1-0 Caps lead as they out shot the Canes 17-12.
The last two tallies came from the Caps blue line. John Erskine unloaded a bomb in the second period to give the Caps the 2-0 lead, it was Erskine's second gaol of the season, one day after being rewarded with a two year contract extension. Backstrom and John Carloson picked up assists. Caps took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission and out shot the Canes 14-8.
John Carlson scored the final goal of the game at the 11:28 mark of the third period. The goal was assisted by Mathieu Perreault and Joel Ward. Both Ward and Jason chimera were held scoreless tonight, but had excellent multiple opportunities during the night.
Braden Holtby recorded his fifth career shutout and his second blank of the season. He improves his record to 6-6 on the season. Holtby stopped all 33 Carolina shots.
Nicklas Backstrom: 1 goal, 1 assist
John Carlson: 1 goal, 1 assist
Jason Chimera led the Caps with 7 shots on goal and Carlson had 6.
Caps were1 for 4 on the power play and a perfect 2 for 2 on the penalty kill.
Written by Mark Buterbaugh on . Posted in Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis has been cleared to resume full practice when OTS commence. Davis missed part of last season with a torn Achilles tendon. He is now fourth months post surgery.
The Redskins need to determine what future, if any, Davis has in DC. They do not have that long to make that determination. Davis' contract expires in two weeks, after that, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Although the Redskins offense dramatically improved last season, they missed Davis' presence as a big play threat.
Davis had 24 receptions for 325 yards, averaging 13.5 yards per catch, before going down to injury last season. One season prior, David caught 59 passes for 796 yards and 3 TDs. That was through 13 games. Davis was suspended the final four games of the 2011 season because of a drug violation, his third such violation. Davis' disciplinary past complicates long term deal scenarios. One more violation and Davis would be suspended for an entire season. Coming off injury combined with the drug issue, the Redskins may be able to negotiate a more cap friendly deal with Davis.
Davis was franchised last year by the Redskins.
TEs on the roster: Chris Cooley, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen
USA Today did a nice job breaking down tournament hopefuls, with both Maryland and Virginia bubble teams.
Maryland: Record: 19-8, RPI: 65
Plus: Beat Duke and N.C. State
Minus: No. 295 NC SOS, 3-6 on road/neutral
At-large ranking: 42
Next two games: at Georgia Tech (Feb. 27) | at Wake Forest (March 2)
Analysis: The pros (two top-25 wins) and cons (dreadful nonconference schedule mostly designed before coach Mark Turgeon added three pieces to his rotation) are obvious. There's no fixing that problem, but the Terrapins really just need to string together a few wins. That might not be especially likely, since the Terps have not won more than two in a row since a 13-1 start. (Feb. 24)
Virginia: Record: 19-8, RPI: 77
Plus: Beat N.C. State, Wisconsin; 6-2 vs. T100
Minus: 6 100+losses, No. 305 NC SOS
At-large ranking: 37
Next two games: Duke (Feb. 28) | at Boston College (March 3)
Analysis: The Cavaliers might just be befuddling right up until Selection Sunday. The great record against the top 100 helps them and the dreadful nonconference strength of schedule and six dubious losses (including the clunker of the year against Old Dominion) drags the Hoos down. Beating Duke, even at home, would provide another much-needed asset for a team that's difficult to judge (Feb. 24)
Maryland took a giant step towards March Madness with the big win over Duke last week. The loss that followed at Boston College tempered expectations a bit. The win over Clemson swung momentum back their way, but there remains work to be done.
With four games remaining, Maryland probably needs to win three, beginning Wednesday night in Atlanta. The Terps should be favored and at Wake Forest on Saturday as well. It may come down to the Terrapins needing to split their final two games, the home finale against UNC and the season ender in Charlottesville.
at Georgia Tech *
8:00 p.m. ET
at Wake Forest *
12:00 p.m. ET
vs. North Carolina *
College Park, Md.
7:00 p.m. ET
at Virginia *
6:00 p.m. ET
The ACC Tournament tips off two weeks from Thursday in Greensboro.
Written by Mark Buterbaugh on . Posted in Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals picked up their first Grapefruit League win last night with a 6-4 decision over the New York Mets. Gio Gonzalez (1-0) threw two scoreless and hitless innings in his Spring debut. Gonzalez, Ross Ohlendorf, and Nathan Karns combined for nine strikeouts in the first 7 innings, scattering just two hits and allowing one run, charged to Ohlendorf. Karns, the fifth rated prospect in the Nats system, threw two scoreless innings and allowed just one hit.
Eury Perez continues to impress at the plate for the Nats, going 3 for 3 on the day with 2 runs scored and a stolen base. Perez is now 5 for 9 (.555) in three games. Steve Lombradozzi was 2 for 3 with two RBI as he continues in his battle to increase playing time at second base over Danny Espinosa. Lombo scored a run and drive in two runs. Will Rhymes was 2 for 2 at the plate. Tyler Moore, Adrian Sanchez, Destin Hood, and Carlos Rivera also drove in a run apiece. Overall, the Nationals battered Mets pitching for 6 runs on 17 hits.
The Nats improved to 1-1 with 1 tie in three games. Washington will face the Atlanta Braves today.
Written by Thomas Threlkeld on . Posted in Washington Wizards
The Wizard and Raptors turned Toronto into Brick City tonight, as the two sub-.500 Eastern Conference teams put on a putrid offensive display filled with bad decisions, bad turnovers and, most of all, bad shooting. However, Washington outlasted the Raptors thanks to some good defense and out-rebounding Toronto 49-39. It's the thrid straight win for the Wiz and 14th in the last 22 games. This is only the second road game the Wizards have won against an Eastern Conference opponent. [Milwaukee was the other.] The Wizards have won 7 of their past 9 games and are 7-4 this month, guaranteeing them a winning record for the month of February.
It was not an aesthetically pleasing game, as Washington missed 9 straight shots during one stretch of the first quarter. The Wizards hit only 27% of their shots in the first quarter, but led 17-16 because the Raptors were so careless with the ball. Toronto committed 12 turnovers before halftime.
The Wiz shot only 42% from the field and attempted 10 fewer free throws than the Raptors. But Washington made those free throws count, hitting 15 of 17 from the stripe. The bigger difference, though, was from long range, where the Raptors missed 14 of 19 [26.3%], while Washington was careful and superb, hitting 7 of 12 [58.3%] on 3-pointers.
"Our defense gives us a chance," Head Coach Randy Wittman said after the game. He's right. The Raptors shot under 37% from the floor on the night. Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster, Nene and Emeka Okafor all had good games defensively, important contributions on a night when Ariza, Nene, and Okafor combined to miss 22 of their 33 shots. Toronto guard Rudy Gay, who played his high school ball in the D.C. area, lit up the Wizards for 24 points in the Raptors' win in D.C. last week, but he couldn't get rolling tonight, with the harassing Wizards defense crawling all over him. Gay missed 10 of 11 shots and scored only 7 points, a big reason Washington got the road win tonight.
The Wiz got a big assist from the bench, with backup point guard AJ Price playing almost as much as John Wall, as the starter got into early foul trouble. Price scored 12 points on 5-7 shooting [2-2 on 3-pointers].
The Wizards built a 40-28 lead late in the second quarter and led 40-32 at halftime. However, the Raptors chipped away at the lead in the third quarter, finally tying the game up at 49. However, that's when Washington turned the tide for good. Beal scored to put the Wiz back up and then Ariza dropped a 3-pointer and AJ Price hit a runner in the lane. Quick and slick the Wiz were back up by 7 and although the Raptors went on a couple of runs, they never took the lead away. Washington led 63-54 going into the fourth quarter.
It looked like the Wizards might run away with it, as they hit 6 of their first 8 shots in the fourth quarter and built the lead back up to 12. However, Beal had to leave the game with foul trouble [he finished with 5] and Washington struggled to score without their rookie on the floor.
Rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 20 points [18 in the first three quarters], hitting 8 of 13 shots and grabbing 6 rebounds. Nene shot terribly for most of the game, but finished strong, scoring 11 points on 4-10 shooting and grabbing 9 rebounds. Even worse as a shooter, tonight, Emeka Okafor hit only 4 of 14, but he did grab 13 boards and played solid defense. Martell Webster scored 12 points on 4-8 shooting, while Wall had another brutal shooting night against the Raptors, missing 8 of 11 and scoring only 10 points. He did a bit better as a point guard, though, dishing 7 assists and committing only 1 turnover.
Leading 83-77 with one minute and 30 seconds left, the Wizards forced a bad miss by Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. John Wall ran the clock down on offense, dribbling aimlessly before putting up a hideous jump shot -- worse than most of his ugly jump shots tonight -- that returned the ball to Toronto. However, a foul on Nene gave the Raptors two free throws and the chance to cut Washington's lead to four. However, DeMar DeRozan made only one of two, so Washington led by 5 points with 1:04 to play and Wizards coach Randy Wittman called timeout to talk things over.
The Wizards had committed 20 turnovers leading to 25 Raptors points so it was critical they protect the ball. However, John Wall inexplicably lost his footing and fell down as he crossed half court. Wall quickly called timeout before Lowry could tie him up and force a jump ball. The Wizards set up a new play and Wall took a slick pass as he cut to the basket, blowing past Amir Johnson who committed himself too far out on the floor, and layed the ball neatly off the glass to extend Washington's lead to seven with 46 seconds to play.
Rudy Gay missed a long three-pointer from the corner, but Trevor Ariza fell out of bounds as he grabbed the rebound. It looked like Ariza was fouled by Kyle Lowry, but nothing was called and the Raptors got the ball back. That led to long shots from Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry, both of which missed, as the Wizards struggled to grab rebounds and hold the ball. Finally, Wall grabbed a Lowry miss and, after taking an in-bounds pass, was fouled by Lowry, sending Wall to the line. Wall calmly sank both shots, putting Washington up by nine points with 17.4 seconds to play.
Lowry quickly hit a 3-pointer on the next play to reduce Washington's lead to 87-81 with 15 seconds left. Martell Webster took the in-bounds pass and was fouled immediately and sent to the line. Webster, 19th in the NBA in free throw shooting, hit both shots to push the lead back up to eight, 89-81. Lowry then hit another 3-pointer, this one from about 30 feet, to cut the lead to 89-84. Garrett Temple snuck behind the defense and was tripped as the long pass arrived. The call probably should have been a clear path foul, giving Washington two free throws and possession, but the refs went with a standard foul. Temple made the first shot, but missed the second. The Raptors threw up a desperation three, but it missed and the clock sounded game.
Final score: Washington 90 Toronto 84.
Next game: Wizards host Detroit Pistons on Wednesday at 7 PM.
Written by Mark Buterbaugh on . Posted in NFL Draft
The NFL Mock Draft Database is updated several times per week and now lists a whopping 305 mock drafts, an increase of 19 mock drafts since the last mock munch. For this week's mock munch, we munched together all NFL mock drafts updated between February 21, 2013 and February 25, 2013, that is a total of 67 mock drafts! By munching them together, we come up with leaders based upon an average of the most updated mock drafts out there.
These mock drafts range from major sports media, to fan networks, to newspaper media, and to fan bloggers. It's OK to be skeptical. Their just mock drafts. Their just opinions. However, our mock draft consensus was pretty accurate last year. So were many mock drafts. Many of these are based on inside sources and team connections that may know a team's specific and general thinking of player rankings. So take it for what it is worth and what you value it to be.
We track the total percent of mock drafts projecting the Top 6 picks and the change in percentage from the last update. Here are the Top 6 picks
1. Kansas City
OT Luke Joeckel
DE Werner/OT Lotulelei
DT Sharrif Floyd
OT Luke Joeckel
DE Bjoern Werner
DE Ezekiel Ansah
The Top 6 projection has been shaken up from the top slot the whole way through. That will likely continue through the NFL Combine. Five of the Top six slots see new leaders projected. We also have a new first overall draft choice projection in OT Luke Joeckel. Since we started munch mock drafts in December, West Virginia QB Geno Smith has been the projected top overall pick. No more. Any by a large shift as well. In fact, many mock drafts have Smith falling out of the Top 6. Last mock munch, over 50% of the mock projected Smith to the Chiefs. Now, 59% of the mock drafts project the Texas A & M offensive tackle to the Chiefs. The second overall pick is a tie between OT Star Lotulelei and DE Bjoern Werner. Will be interesting to watch what kind of impact the Lotulelei health news has on mock draft writers. Lotulelei was held back with an irregular heart test, but has since been cleared. Will there bve an impact? There are also new projections at the third slot with a relative new comer to the Top 6, DT Sharrif Floyd. Floyd now leads to the Raiders with 27% of projections. 23 of the 69 mock drafts project Floyd between #2 and #4. Steadily, DE Ezekiel Ansah continues to get projection at the sixth overall slot and now barely leaders there. The sixth pick is pretty evenly projected between 5 players, Anmsah (10), LB Barkevious Mingo (9), LB Jarvis Jones (9), CB Dee Milliner (8), and DE Dion Jordan (7).
OTHERS NOT LISTED:
DE Dion Jordan is a growing favorite between the 2nd and 6th overall slots. 34 of the 67 mocks project DE Damontre Moore to go 2nd to 4th overall. QB Geno Smith, who has led the mock munch since December, until this week, seems to be fading out of the Top 6. OT Eric Fisher gets 22 projections between 4th and 5th overall.
Written by Mark Buterbaugh on . Posted in Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals have agreed to contract extensions for two players.
The Caps have resigned D John Erskine to a two year, $3.925 million extension. Erskine came to Washington in the 2007-08 season. He has 1 goal and 1 assist this season. The Caps extended Erskine because of the tough and grit he brings to the blue line.
The Caps have also agreed to a two year contract extension with 23 year old net minder Braden Holtby. The Holtby deal is similar, a 2 year extension for $3.7 million. Holty has wrestled the starting job away from Michal Neuvirth and has started the last six consecutive games. His overall record this season is 5-6-0 this season with a 3.37 goals-against average and a save percentage of .896. The Caps have won four of their last six games and significant credit is given to the goal tending of Braden Holtby, who has gone 4-2-0.
Written by Thomas Threlkeld on . Posted in Washington Wizards
DC Pro Sports Report: We lead off with our roundup of this past weekend's Wizards action. It was a fun two games and we've got the words and video to prove it.
Rant Sports: Sharing is caring -- about winning -- and the Wizards are the team to prove it.
The Wizards are 6-2 in their last eight games and get a rematch against one of the teams they lost to during that stretch on Monday. It just so happens that the game they lost against the Toronto Raptors also happens to be when John Wall had his lowest assist output and the team had their second lowest in the last eight games. In the six wins the Wizards are averaging 26 assists per game while in the two losses they only averaged 21. ...
The catalyst for all of the sharing that has been going on for the Wizards, Wall. For his career he averages 8.1 assists per game but has been averaging 9 during this eight game stretch, reaching double digits in assists three times.
One can only hope this marks the final death of hero ball for the Wizards. More on that below.
Wash Post: Wizards guard Bradley Beal is playing like the closest thing this team has to a star.
Wash Post: But the Wiz do not truly have a star yet,so they wisely do not try to create one in crunch time:
But Coach Randy Wittman doesn’t go into late-game possessions determined to set up one individual, relying mostly on his gut while seeking to exploit mismatches on the floor. The hero emerges within the flow of the game, rather than from reputation.
Wittman has managed to make it work in recent weeks, with the team winning 13 of 22 and calling on everyone from Bradley Beal, to Nene, to John Wall, to even the recently-dealt Jordan Crawford, to make a play with the game on the line.
“I coach by feel. I don’t have a set play we will go to every time,” Wittman said after the Wizards (17-37) beat the Houston Rockets, 105-103, at Verizon Center and improved to 3-2 in games decided by three points or fewer since Jan. 7.
Hip Hop DX: Hip hop star Wale discusses his confrontation at a recent Wizards game.
Written by Mark Buterbaugh on . Posted in Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are 0-1-1 in the Grapefruit League. No, that is not the Caps record. The Nats and Marlins settled at 2-2 after ten innings yesterday in their second Grapefruit League game. Nats manager Davey Johnson had to enjoy the two runs scored by the Nats. They came off a two run home run by the 6th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, Anthony Rendon. No doubt the Nats will start Rendon out at Harrisburg (AA), but they will be keeping an extremely close eye on Rendon this season. Rendon is looking to shed an injury riddled first two years. More on Rendon's homer.
“I guess it was my bad luck, my three or four years,” Rendon said last week. “That’s how I’m going to view it right now. I’m just looking forward to what’s ahead in my future.” Rendon knows some people have attached an “injury prone” label on him. He disagrees, but he understands.
“I can’t blame them,” Rendon said. “If I were to see somebody, if I were in their perspective, seeing how many injuries they had, I might probably feel the same way. But obviously, I don’t feel that way about myself. I couldn’t help the way fields are. It’s just a freak accident.”
Speaking is injuries, the Nats will be watching Danny Espinosa closely this season. Espinosa has a torn rotator cuff, but opted to rehab rather than surgery. So far, Espinosa said the shoulder feels great. Additionally, Nats reliever/starter Chriostian Garcia will be shutdown for 10-14 days. Good news for Garcia is a forearm MRI revleaed only a strain. Garcia has been suffering from forearm tightness.
Nats take on the Mets today at 6:15 for their second meeting with the Mets in three games. Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for his spring debut. Here is the expected lineup for this evening.
Eury Perez CF, Steve Lombardozzi 2B, Corey Brown RF, Tyler Moore DH, Chris Marrero 1B, Carlos Rivero LF, Matt Skole 3B, Chris Snyder C, Zach Walters SS
Gio Gonzalez P
Jordan Zimmermann yielded two hits and one run in his Spring debut. He was pleased and is focused on the task at hand in spring training, improving his change up pitch.
The Nats packed the house at Viera yesterday for their spring training home opener. Although fans support the Nats are Viera, it is likely not an option past 2014. The Nats wish to move to the West Coast of Florida to cut down on travel times. Most spring training stadiums are on the west coast. Nats owner Mark Lerner did admit that it is unlikely the Nats will have a deal in place for next spring. Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray was on hand in Viera yesterday to toss out the first pitch.
Here is another article on Micah Owings attempt to make a switch from pticher to first base. He is a non-roster invitee.