<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Capital Games]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/capital-games http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:42:33 -0400 Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:42:33 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Manziel Fined for Flipping Off 'Skins]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:04:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/206*120/453799298.jpg

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has been fined $12,000 for extending his middle finger to the Redskins bench during their preseason game Monday.

Following a third-quarter incompletion, ESPN cameras caught Manziel flipping the bird toward the Redskins as he trotted toward the huddle. 

"I felt like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night, and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up," Manziel said following the game.

That slip-up will cost Manziel, who will start the season as the Browns' backup after Brian Hoyer earned the starting job.

“It was hilarious,” Orakpo told ESPN of Manziel’s gesture earlier this week. “We were messing with him a little bit, just saying this ain’t college and stuff like that. We were having a little fun. … Manziel flipped us off. It was something funny. We were all laughing on the sidelines.”


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Matt Williams Must Impersonate Babe Ruth]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 07:04:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/201*120/453925696.jpg

In an absolutely ridiculous development, the Nationals won via walk-off again Thursday when an Arizona Diamondbacks throwing error in the bottom of the ninth allowed Denard Span to score and secure a 1-0 victory.

For those keeping (or losing) count, that is five walk-off wins in Washington's past six games. The Nationals are the first team since the 1986 Houston Astros to have such a stretch and the seventh team to do so since 1900, according to Elias Sports Bureau. 

Of course, that is 10 straight victories overall too. That means manager Matt Williams must reprise his Babe Ruth impersonation as he promised in May.

“As in any situation with games or any of that, timing is important,” Williams told reporters with a smile. "So I wouldn’t imagine that right now is the proper time. It’s probably not appropriate. But in some form or fashion, at some point, probably in the privacy of some stadium somewhere, we’ll bring it out again. I don’t know when that will be.

“It’s not appropriate. You talk to folks and you say ‘Hey, boy, sure we’d like to win 10 in a row.’ But at some point it will be fun and appropriate but not right now.”

While we wait, click here for a sneak preview, courtesy of Williams from June 1991


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<![CDATA[ESPN Predicts Redskins Will Finish 7-9, Last in Division]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:25:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/453832182.jpg

There is certainly an abundance of optimism in Washington as the Redskins prepare to erase the painful memories of a 3-13 season.

According to ESPN The Magazine, the Redskins will indeed improve upon their disastrous 2013 season, but not enough to return to the postseason. The magazine projects Washington to finish with a 7-9 record, which would place it in the NFC East basement.

Here is how ESPN believes the season will play out game-by-game:

The magazine says that the Redskins will win 10 games "if new coach Jay Gruden's pass-heavy offense gets RG3 in sync with his explosive trio of weapons." However, they will win six games "if their failure to address a horrid secondary proves costly and the O has to score 30 to win." 

What do you think? What will the Redskins' record be at the end of the season?


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<![CDATA[Nats Keep Walking Off]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:43:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/210*120/453882120.jpg

Within the past week, much Gatorade has been spilled at Nationals Park. On Wednesday, Anthony Rendon's pinch-hit single drove in Bryce Harper in the bottom of the ninth as Washington walked off again in a 3-2 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Nationals' latest victory -- their ninth in a row, one shy of matching the franchise record of 10 -- was their fourth walk-off win in their past five games.

After tying a franchise record by winning three straight games via walk-off prior to an 8-1 victory Tuesday, Washington is just the third team in the past 20 seasons with as many wins of that type over a five-game span, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The Cubs and Royals did so in June 2009 and April 2000, respectively.

"It's absolutely epic," Harper told reporters. "That's the best word I can put out there."

Five of the Nationals' past six victories have been by one run. Their recent run has them nursing a seven-game lead over the Braves in the NL East with 37 games remaining.

"It's gratifying for [the players], it's exciting for them," manager Matt Williams said. "It's not a whole of fun in the dugout for the staff, but that's OK."


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<![CDATA[NFL Ref Avoided Redskins Games Because Of Name]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:56:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/208*120/183953692.jpg

In an interesting story written by The Washington Post's Mike Wise, longtime NFL referee Mike Carey revealed that he avoided assignments to work Redskins games because of the team's nickname.

“I’ve called them Washington all my life,” Carey told Wise. “And I will continue to call them Washington.

“It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me."

Carey, a highly respected official who worked for the NFL for nearly two decades, "essentially told his employers his desire for a mutually respectful society was so jeopardized by Washington’s team name that he could not bring himself to officiate the games of owner Daniel Snyder’s team," according to Wise. Carey did not reveal exactly who honored his request other than to say that he would communicate with the person making up the officiating assignments.

While the issue has certainly become a hot topic of conversation recently, Carey did not work a Redskins game after 2006. He now works as a rules analyst for CBS, which is leaving the decision regarding whether to use the name during broadcasts up to the on-air talent.

“There was an epiphany for me that it was time," Carey said when asked about his decision eight years ago. "I was never comfortable with the name. I’ve never said [the team’s name] in my games. But then I realized it wasn’t an option to be part of them anymore. For me, I just knew. I knew that everybody — everybody — deserves a level of respect."


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<![CDATA[Redskins DBs Pay Tribute to Michael Brown]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:24:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/217*120/Screen+Shot+2014-08-19+at+11.26.19+AM.png

As the Redskins' defensive backs took the field prior to their preseason game against the Browns on Monday, they did so with their hands up. It was a symbol of solidarity for Michael Brown, the Missouri teenager whose death sparked the ongoing turmoil in Ferguson.

"We just wanted everybody to know that we support Michael and acknowledge what happened in Ferguson,'' safety Brandon Meriweather told USA TODAY Sports. "Crazy things happen every day in this world.

"It was all of ours idea, something we decided to do as a group just to show our support.''

“Anytime you get an opportunity to do something like that, it’s something that needs to be discussed, something that you truly need to believe,” safety Ryan Clark told reporters. “That could have been any one of us. That could have been any one of our brothers, our cousins, just anyone.

“We have voices, even though sometimes we don’t like to see it that way, we do have voices. We got the opportunity to do something.”


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Photo Credit: CSN Washington]]>
<![CDATA[LaRoche's 1st Career Walk-Off Homer Lifts Nats]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:51:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/453793144.jpg

The Nationals extended their winning streak to a season-high seven games Monday with a 5-4 victory against the Diamondbacks, their third walk-off win in a row after Adam LaRoche hit a game-winning home run in the 11th inning.

Washington's third straight walk-off win tied a franchise record set by the Expos on July 26-28, 1988. The Nationals also became just the second team in the majors to accomplish that feat this season, joining the Rays, who did so May 22-24.

Even more impressive than that is the fact that LaRoche's home run Monday was the first-ever walk-off home run of his career.

He entered the game with 235 career regular-season home runs, the second-most among players who never hit a walk-off homer. Only Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira has more with 361 career home runs.

"[It's] nice to get my first one -- it took me long enough," the 34-year-old told reporters. "I got every bit of it, I did. Just a crazy few days. I don't know how we've gotten these walk-off situations the last few days, but we have and have been able to grind back."

LaRoche is hitting .306 with six home runs and 12 RBIs in August. 


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<![CDATA[RGIII Still Can't Slide]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:07:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/205*120/4537924741.jpg

Much of the focus of the Redskins' preseason game against tbe Browns was on Cleveland's quarterback competition (and Johnny Manziel's middle finger), but Robert Griffin III was by no means invisible.

He finished 6-for-8 for 112 yards and an interception, but he also scrambled four times for 24 yards, leaving himself vulnerable to big hits from the Browns' defense.

He slid awkwardly on multiple runs and absorbed unnecessary contact from three Browns as he ran toward the sideline on one particular play in the first quarter. Griffin even came up limping following one cringe-worthy slide. He suffered a thigh contusion during the game, but it is not considered serious. 

“It’s something we have to continue to talk to him about: how important he is to this franchise,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters. “When he gets out of the pocket, he needs to protect himself. He’s had a career where he’s been able to get out of those predicaments with his speed and athleticism. But here, being that it’s a 16-game season with all the great talent that’s across the league, he’s got to pick his shots and learn how to get down a little bit better.”

In a recent article on ESPN.com, a "high-ranking personnel evaluator" told Mike Sando that Griffin's running style is unsustainable and leaves him susceptible to hard-charging defenses.

"He is not going to make you miss," the anonymous evaluator said. "Some of these other quarterbacks can shake a guy or make a move."

Following his gruesome knee injury two seasons ago, Redskins fans watch Griffin scramble through their fingers. To his credit, Griffin is aware that he must improve in regards to avoiding such contact.

“It’ll continually be a work in progress,” Griffin told reporters when asked about his decision-making when he takes off with the ball. “I’m going to keep focusing on getting down in those situations — knowing when to fight for those yards and when not to.” 


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<![CDATA[Walk-Off Weekend Has Nats Streaking]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:40:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/453758772.jpg

In both of their games against the Pirates over the weekend, the Nationals trailed late, Saturday by three runs in the bottom of the eighth and Sunday by one in the bottom of the ninth.

Yet in each instance, Washington celebrated in walk-off fashion, sweeping their second straight series and extending their winning streak to a season-long six games.

Saturday, Wilson Ramos' ground-rule double to deep right scored Bryce Harper to secure a 4-3 victory after Kevin Frandsen and Adam LaRoche sparked the rally in the eighth. The Pirates had won 61 straight games against the Nationals/Expos franchise when leading by at least three runs in the eighth inning or later, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Then on Sunday, after Rafael Soriano blew a save with the Nationals leading 4-2 entering the top of the ninth, Asdrubal Cabrera (who was hitting a MLB-worst .197 with runners in scoring position over the past two seasons for players with a minimum of 200 at-bats) singled in Jayson Werth to tie the game. Scott Hairston's sacrifice fly in the 11th brought home Werth for the victory.

The Nationals, the hottest team in baseball with their current winning streak, now lead the Braves by six games in the NL East.


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<![CDATA[Cleveland's QB Competition Comes to Washington]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:07:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/452727898.jpg

There is much intrigue surrounding a preseason game between the Redskins and the Cleveland Browns on Monday at FedEx Field, as Cleveland's well-publicized quarterback competition will ultimately be decided. 

Browns coach Mike Pettine recently said that he hopes to announce either Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel as his starting quarterback Tuesday for Week 1 against the Steelers.

How both fare against the Redskins will provide Pettine with vital information. Hoyer will start, but the plan is for Manziel to receive equal time with the first-team offense.

"I think it's a little overblown as to who the starter is going to be," Pettine told reporters last week. "The key component, as I've stated earlier this week, is that we are going to balance the reps. We will play it a little by ear as it goes on, we haven't truly decided as far as the rotation but the goal is, for when we look at the stat sheet at halftime, that they both have the same amount of repetitions and hopefully they both get a good amount of work."

Robert Griffin III -- like Manziel, a former Heisman Trophy recipient -- can commiserate with "Johnny Football" about the attention and scrutiny he has received.

"You can’t fight that battle," Griffin told The Washington Times. "There’s always going to be something that you say or something that you do that somebody’s not going to like. It's not to be liked, but to be yourself and if that's who Johnny is then that’s who is if he accepts that.... The media probably won’t accept that, they'll probably continue to cover it and do whatever they want to do with it. From my perspective, for what I've had to go through, it's hard to fight some of the stuff that’s been said. But, you have to just continue to be yourself."

Meanwhile, coach Jay Gruden plans to play his starters for only a quarter, so Hoyer and Manziel should both see reps against the Redskins' top defenders within the first 15 minutes. Former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is now in charge of the same in Cleveland, which should allow for a bit of interest.

For the Redskins, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, both of whom sat out of the preseason opener against the Patriots, should play Monday, giving the team and the fans their first glimpse at Washington's revamped receiving corps.  


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<![CDATA[Snyder, Gruden Take #IceBucketChallenge]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:00:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/BvGLhoQCMAEfcFx.jpg

On Thursday, I shared with you Keith Olbermann's challenge to Daniel Snyder to participate in the #IceBucketChallenge to raise money and awareness for ALS.

Well, I doubt that Snyder accepted Olbermann's specific dare, but the Redskins owner and coach Jay Gruden were both drenched following practice Friday. 

Here is more visual evidence of the challenge, which also featured former Redskin Joe Theismann, president/general manager Bruce Allen and PR guy Tony Wyllie.

I have yet to be challenged, though I would not be opposed to being completely dry while making a donation.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the ALS Association


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<![CDATA[Nats Make Franchise History Against Mets]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:22:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/230*120/453621578.jpg

The Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the Mets on Thursday in a 4-1 victory, taking a six-game lead over the Braves in the NL East with roughly 40 games remaining in the regular season.

In defeating New York (which included a rare Stephen Strasburg road win), Washington set a franchise record.

The Nationals have now won 11 straight games at Citi Field, their longest-ever road winning streak against a single opponent. The previous record of 10 as the Expos came against the Cubs from 1982 to 1983. Washington has outscored New York 74-21 during the streak. 

Meanwhile, the 11th straight loss to the Nationals at home was also a franchise record for the Mets, overtaking their 10-game skid against the Braves at Shea Stadium from 1991 to 1992.

There have been significantly longer losing streaks of this particular kind in recent history; Toronto snapped a 17-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium last month and the Rays lost 18 straight in Cleveland from 2005 to 2010.

Yet the Nationals have four more games in New York from Sept. 11 to 14, and four more victories at that time could realistically solidify a division title and playoff berth.

In the mean time, the Nationals return to Washington for a 10-game homestand beginning Friday against the Pirates.

"We played really well here," manager Matt Williams told reporters in New York. "Now we've got to go do it at home."


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<![CDATA[Redskins File Appeal of Trademark Ruling]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:00:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/197*120/182622212+%281%291.jpg

Thursday, the Washington Redskins filed their appeal of the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s June decision to cancel several of the team's trademarks because it was "disparaging to Native Americans."

"We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision," said Bob Raskopf, trademark attorney for the Washington Redskins, in a statement.

According to the release, "the appeal is in the form of a complaint, effectively starting the litigation anew, this time in a federal court before a federal judge, and not in the administrative agency that issued the recent split decision."

The team will argue that its First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated.

"Specifically, by cancelling valuable, decades-old registrations, the Board improperly penalized the Washington Redskins based on the content of the team’s speech in violation of the First Amendment," the statement said. "The complaint also alleges that the team has been unfairly deprived of its valuable and long-held intellectual property rights in violation of the Fifth Amendment."

While the case is in federal court, the Redskins’ federal trademark registrations remain in full force and effect, giving them the right to use its marks and to enforce them against infringers and counterfeiters.


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<![CDATA[Olbermann Challenges Snyder to #IceBucketChallenge]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:45:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/453310774.jpg

Those of you who are frequent users of social media have surely seen the #IceBucketChallenge phenomenon that has raised $5 million this week alone to combat ALS.

It seems that everybody and their mother has doused themselves in freezing-cold water, and it's been incredibly popular in the sports world, with local athletes like Alex Ovechkin and Bryce Harper both taking part.

Another local sports figure was recently challenged. And it is a fairly interesting one.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has been dared by ESPN talking head Keith Olbermann to participate.  

Olbermann has been one of Snyder's harshest critics, regularly allotting time on his program to chastise the Redskins organization for their polarizing name. (Evidence here, here and here.)

Admittedly, Olbermann can be a bit of a blowhard, but the proverbial gauntlet has been thrown down. 

I doubt that Snyder will respond, but you never know, right?


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<![CDATA[Wizards Release 2014-15 Schedule]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:52:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/219*120/489636501+%281%29.jpg

The NBA released its complete 2014-15 schedule Wednesday evening, and the Washington Wizards will open the season on the road against the Miami Heat on Oct. 29. Their home opener will take place on Nov. 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Among the more notable games on Washington's schedule, the Wizards will be featured in one of five Christmas Day games, visiting the New York Knicks for an early-afternoon matinee.

As for LeBron James, Kevin Love and the reinforced Cleveland Cavaliers, they will visit Verizon Center on Nov. 21 and Feb. 20.

The Wizards will play nine Friday home games throughout the season and 12 combined on Saturdays or Sundays. 

Click here for the complete schedule


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<![CDATA[Nats Continue Road Domination of Mets]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 07:49:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/207*120/453539058.jpg

While out of town, the Nationals have made themselves at home at Citi Field. Following their 7-1 victory Tuesday, the Nationals have now won 23 of their last 27 games in Flushing Meadows, including nine straight (the longest of any Mets opponent).

The dominance does not end there for Washington. Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond and Michael Taylor (making his MLB debut) all hit home runs, the fifth time Washington has hit at least four home runs in a game at Citi Field, all of which have come in the past two seasons.

Meanwhile, the Mets themselves have only five such games of their own at home since the park opened in 2009.

Rendon, Desmond and Taylor all went yard in the sixth inning, the first time the Nationals have hit three homers in an inning in nearly two years (Sept. 5, 2012).

Also, during that aforementioned nine-game winning streak at Citi Field, the Nationals have outscored the Mets 67-18.

That's what we call domination.


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<![CDATA[Chris Baker Wins Redskins Dance-Off]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:32:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/232*120/BuyOiHwIAAE0CNd.jpg

The Redskins packed up and left Richmond on Tuesday, but not before defensive lineman Chris Baker and rookie running back Lache Seastrunk participated in a dance-off Monday prior to the afternoon walkthrough.

Baker has displayed his serious dancing skills before, and with that said, Seastrunk never stood a chance.

Hey, it's the preseason.

 

 
 

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<![CDATA['Skins Wrap Up Training Camp]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:35:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/204*120/453497770.jpg

As the final practice of training camp concluded Tuesday, one Redskins player shouted "Freedom!" following 16 days of practices in Richmond. 

Perhaps that declaration is premature; Washington still has plenty of work to do and three preseason games left to play, but there is reason for optimism.

"Honestly, every time we leave camp we feel good," left tackle Trent Williams told reporters. "It's always an optimistic feeling leaving camp so I don't know that there was anything different [this time]."

Unlike last summer, this year's training camp was devoid of daily drama. There were no quarterback controversies (despite what some may want you to believe), no major injuries and mostly cooperative weather. 

“I never want a media circus or anything like that,” coach Jay Gruden said. “I don’t know what happened last year; I wasn’t here. But everybody’s one the same page as far as what we’re talking about, what we’re doing on the field. There’s no hidden agendas, I don’t think. Hopefully that remains consistent throughout the season, not just in training camp.”

Following a day off, the Redskins will return to their Ashburn headquarters to finish preparing for the regular season, which begins in less than a month. With little to blunt the good vibes emanating from Richmond, the Redskins are confident that they can rebound from a disastrous 3-13 season. 

"You always have that optimism, but at the end of the day reality sets in," corner DeAngelo Hall said. "You see the preseason, you see how you're doing in drills and you think, 'We'll probably struggle with this or struggle with that.' With this camp it's been different. You see all the weapons and you see the success we can have and you get excited about it. We can't wait to strap it up for real."  


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<![CDATA[Wizards Release Preseason Schedule]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:30:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/248*120/489636593.jpg

Following a successful 2013-14 season in which they recaptured the attention of Washington fans, the Wizards announced their 2014-15 preseason schedule Monday afternoon.

The Wizards will play eight games, beginning Oct. 6 against the Bulls. They will play neutral site games against the Pelicans (in Jacksonville and Baltimore) and Hornets while also hosting Maccabi Haifa of the Winner Sal League, the top basketball league in Israel.

Tickets for the game in Baltimore will go on sale to the general public on Aug. 20. The rest will be available at a later date.

Below is the entire schedule:

Monday, Oct. 6 -- at Chicago -- United Center (Chicago, IL) 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 8  -- at New Orleans -- Veterans Memorial Arena (Jacksonville, FL)  7:00 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 10  -- at Charlotte -- Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Greenville, SC)  7:00 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 12 -- vs. Detroit -- Verizon Center (Washington, DC)  1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 15 -- vs. Maccabi Haifa -- Verizon Center (Washington, DC)  7:00 p.m.

Friday , Oct. 17 -- vs. Charlotte -- Verizon Center (Washington, DC)  7:00 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 20 -- vs. New Orleans -- Baltimore Arena (Baltimore, MD)  7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 22  -- at New York -- Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)  7:30 p.m.


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<![CDATA[Harper 'Desecrates' Braves' Logo]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 11:18:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/206*120/4534059681.jpg

Fans of the Atlanta Braves don't like Bryce Harper. That much is self-explanatory. Yet they directed their vitriol toward the Nationals slugger in a peculiar way Saturday.

Apparently, Harper desecrated Atlanta's "A" emblem drawn into the dirt behind home plate by allegedly scraping his cleat over it with intent on his way to the batter's box.

Notice how he drags his right foot over the logo? That was evidently enough for fans at Turner Field to boo him more lustily.

It even made the paper:

What’s the problem with the ‘A’ Bryce Harper? 

The Nationals outfielder dragged his foot across the Braves emblem in the dirt behind home plate - in a clearly intentional move - in each of his first three trips to the batter’s box in Saturday night’s game against the Braves.

Harper has been roundly booed in each plate appearance during the series. He apparently chose to take the lack of southern hospitality out on the Georgia clay. He kicked at the Braves’ ‘A’ emblem on his way into the left-hand batter’s box once, twice and three times.

For his part, Harper didn't even realize that he was "doing" anything (or played it off expertly). 

"That's the last thing on my mind when I'm coming to the plate," he told reporters. "I have no idea."

In things that undoubtedly happened, the Nationals defeated the Braves 4-1 in 11 innings after a rain delay of nearly four hours. The final out wasn't recorded until 2:29 a.m. Sunday morning. 


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<![CDATA[Strasburg Terrible On The Road]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 09:04:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/225*120/453360786.jpg

Friday in Atlanta, Stephen Strasburg allowed seven runs on seven hits -- including a career-high four home runs -- in five innings as the Nationals lost 7-6 to the rival Braves.

Unfortunately, Strasburg's disastrous road performance was not an exception, but the rule. In 12 starts away from Nationals Park this season, he is 1-8 with a 5.25 ERA. (Comparatively, he is 7-2 with a 2.41 ERA at home.)

Opponents are hitting .291 against Strasburg on the road (.234 at home), he is walking more batters (21 to 14 at home in roughly 16 fewer innings) and striking out two fewer batters per nine innings (11.7 at home, 9.5 on the road). 

Overall, Strasburg's early-inning struggles continued as well. He allowed three of his four home runs in the first two innings. Ten of the 18 home runs he has allowed this season have come in the first or second innings and his ERA in both is 5.40.

And by the way, he is now 1-3 with a 6.99 ERA at Turner Field in seven starts.

Strasburg's next scheduled start is also on the road, Thursday against the Mets. Maybe he should be sent down to the minors. Kidding.

But really, maybe he should just stay home from now on.  


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<![CDATA['Skins Defeat Patriots to Open Preseason]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 05:42:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/217*120/453316182.jpg

The Redskins' 2014 season opened promisingly with a 23-6 preseason victory against the Patriots at FedEx Field. 

Washington's starters only saw one series, which ended with a Kai Forbath 39-yard field goal. Robert Griffin III completed two passes for nine yards before giving way to Kirk Cousins. 

Wide receiver Aldrick Robinson made the most of an opportunity with both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson nursing injuries, catching three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. Rookie kicker Zach Hocker was successful on field goals from 27 yards and 39 yards, while Forbath missed from 46 yards.

The Redskins will return to Richmond to continue training camp and prepare for their next preseason game on Aug. 18 against the Browns.  


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Williams Chastises Media for Harper Demotion Talk]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/217*120/451744054.jpg

It started innocently enough, with The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan asking Nationals manager Matt Williams during his weekly appearance Wednesday if it would be "a wacky idea" to send the struggling Bryce Harper to the minors. 

“I don’t know,” Williams answered. “I don’t think it’s stupid. Generally, if you have young players, that’s what you do. But this guy is a special young player. We all know that. It’s different. I think he works hard every day. He’s the first one in the ballpark, generally, to get his day going. He’s grinding. We’re doing everything we can to get a good feel going in there and help him with his confidence and all that. It’s not easy, by any stretch. But I don’t know if it’s a good idea at this point to do that, because it’s completely different pitching.

"We all know the big difference between Triple A pitching and big league pitching. It’s probably more of an option to have him feel good here, get it back. We’ve seen him, certainly, good and hitting well. For me, it’s not necessarily that he can’t hit, of course. It is that he’s in some kind of a slump. What we have to do is try to work our way through it and get him out of it as quickly as possible. He grinds every day, you guys. He’s doing everything we can to get out of it, and so are we.”

Entering the Nationals' game against the Mets on Wednesday, Harper was hitting .214 and slugging .306 since returning from a thumb injury on June 30. (He was hitting .289 and slugging .422 before his stint on the disabled list, according to ESPN.)

As the 24-hour news cycle is wont to do, Williams' response became one of the hottest topics in the sports world Wednesday. The manager sensed this, so when asked about Harper again prior to Wednesday's game, Williams was less than pleased.

Case closed, it seems. It was a rare outburst from the normally low-key Williams. Here is the transcript of the video above:

"I would caution everybody in this room: The minute you think you can read my freaking mind, you're sorely mistaken. It [ticks] me off to even think about, that somebody would take a comment I made on the radio and infer I am thinking one way or another. I've had it. Don't do it anymore. 

"Bryce Harper is one of the guys on our team, he's a very important part of our team. Just like everybody else is. Do we understand each other?

"It's not fair to the kid, it's not fair to the rest of the guys in that clubhouse to even think about sending Bryce Harper to the minor leagues, or to cause a stir. It's unacceptable. It won't happen."

Harper went 1-for-3 on Wednesday in Washington's 7-1 victory.


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins' Preseason Game: If You Go]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 19:12:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/RedskinsFlag+.jpg

The Washington Redskins have their first preseason game against the New England Patriots Thursday. If you're heading out to FedEx Field, there's a few things you should know.

If you attended a Redskins game last year, most details remain the same, but some security policies have changed, and parking fees have gone up.

Check out the Redskins' preseason schedule here and keep an eye on the weather with our forecast. Don't forget to look out for Patriots rookie Travis Hawkins, who is from Rockville.

 

What You Can (and Can't) Bring With You

FedEx Field has strict policies on what can be brought inside.

Bags are not allowed unless they are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC. You can also bring clear Ziploc-style freezer bags, up to the one-gallon size. Small clutch purses are allowed if they will fit into one of the freezer bags.

Leave any backpacks and large purses in the car (or better yet, at home). Official NFL team bags will be for sale at merchandise outlets if you need an alternative at the last second.

More details on this policy are available from the NFL's security information site.

Prohibited items include seat cushions, umbrellas and bottles. You also cannot bring any food or beverages into the stadium. More information on prohibited items, as well as available food vendors, is available on the Redskins' site.

Parking & Traffic

A parking permit is available online, but the price has increased since last year. For $57.50, you can park on-site at FedEx Field, or for $46 you can park in the Gray Lot, a little further frm the field. You can can purchase a permit from FedEx Field's online ticketing site.

The permit is valid for one-time parking and cannot be used for additional tailgating space.  Those fees are significantly higher for buses and RVs.

Cash parking will also be available on the night, off of Brightseat Road, in the Gray Lot.

Check out this map of FedEx Field for a better idea of the layout and consult these detailed driving directions.

The game is likely to see high attendance, so traffic probably won't be fun. You can get updates by texting "RSTRAFFIC" to 44636. You can sign up for mobile traffic alerts on the Redskins Fan Zone page.

Public Transportation

FedEx Field is located within walking distance of Morgan Boulevard Station on Metro's Blue Line.

Although public transportation is likely to be crowded, Metro will stay open an extra hour Thursday evening for 'Skins fans. The last trains from Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations will depart just after 12:20 a.m.



Photo Credit: File Photo ]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Preseason Game Airs on NBC4; Changes to Primetime Line-up]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 19:12:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140807+NBC4+DC+Logo.jpg

The Washington Redskins' preseason game against the New England Patriots will air Thursday night on NBC4 at 7:30 p.m., so that will mean a change to the primetime line-up.

NBC's Thursday primetime line-up will move to Cozi between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Here's where to find Cozi TV in the D.C. area, based on your cable provider:

  • NBC: 4.2
  • Comcast: 208
  • Cox: 803
  • Verizon Fios: 460
  • RCN: 28

Access Hollywood will be pre-empted, and will not air Thursday.

The Redskins game is expected to end at 10:30 p.m. You can catch post-game coverage on NBC4 until 11 p.m.

]]>
<![CDATA[Univ. of Minnesota Attempting to Ban 'Redskins' ]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:53:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/251*120/187298260.jpg

In Week 9 of the NFL season, the Vikings will host the Redskins in an afternoon game at the University of Minnesota, where the Vikings will play their home games this season while they await the construction of a new stadium.

Meanwhile, the university's president, Eric W. Kaler, is "working with the Vikings to make every effort to eliminate the use of Washington’s team name in promotional and game date materials and public address announcements" during the Nov. 2 game.

That was shared in a letter from Kaler to Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) last week.

McCollum wrote a letter to Vikings owner Zygi Wilf in June urging him to take a stand against "that hateful slur" shortly after the U.S. Patent and Trademark office canceled the Redskins’ trademark registration. Kaler was copied on McCollum's letter. 

The Vikings, however, have not made any concrete decisions regarding the issue, though they have met with school officials once and plan to do so again at some point before the game.

“We take the issue very seriously, but we’re just getting ready for our season and we’ve been very focused on training camp and the preseason, and to be honest, we don’t have a game plan for our Nov. 2 game versus Washington,” Vikings executive vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley said.

Kaler wrote that the Redskins name is "offensive and should be replaced." As expected, the Redskins themselves disagree with the school's effort to ban the usage of the name.

“We have met many native Americans from Minnesota who agree with our position and feel we are using the term correctly and honorably, ” spokesman Tony Wyllie said. 


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Open Preseason Against Patriots]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:00:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/203*120/1590424332.jpg

Following three joint practices in Richmond, the Redskins and Patriots will open their respective preseason schedules against each other Thursday evening at FedEx Field.

The Redskins found working with the Patriots this week to be invaluable; Washington was able to assess how another team attacks its offense and defense.

“It exposed some things we really have to work on as a staff,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters. “And it exposed some things we have to work on as players. We competed very well. I’m excited the way we came off the ball and competed in drills. But moving forward we know that we have a long way to go, but we’re not as far as we think.”

Thursday provides an opportunity for younger players and those on the proverbial bubble to impress the higher-ups in in-game situations.

According to Gruden, he expects the projected starters to take part in only 8-10 plays. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who is nursing a hamstring injury, will not play, while DeSean Jackson is questionable after twisting his ankle during the walk-through Wednesday.

As for New England, it's believed that backup quarterback Ryan Mallett will start instead of Tom Brady

The Redskins finished last preseason with a 4-0 record before winning just three games during the regular season, so be wary of anointing them championship favorites if they look good during glorified scrimmages. But football is back, so enjoy it.

The game will be broadcast on NBC4. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with a live post-game show immediately following.


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Werth Does Not Get Werth Gnome]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:15:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/223*120/BuUh7gsIUAAzWh9.jpg.jpg

Tuesday, 25,000 Jayson Werth garden gnomes were procured by lucky fans at Nationals Park. Not among those fortunate few: Jayson Werth.

The inspiration behind the transcendent promotional giveaway did not leave with one of his own.

Werth -- and the Nationals -- did not put together their most inspiring performance against the New York Mets in front of 40,686 fans. Werth went 1-for-4 in Washington's 6-1 loss. 

"Unfortunately we weren't able to get a win for them," Werth told reporters. "A night like tonight, when it's your giveaway, you've got a bobblehead or a gnome or whatever, you'd like to perform a little better than I did. So I feel bad about that, and obviously the loss hurts a little."

All 25,000 gnomes were handed out by 6:15 p.m. -- almost an hour before first pitch -- according to the Nationals.


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Photo Credit: @RecordsAndRadio]]>
<![CDATA[Jackson 'Cleated', Suffers 'Fluke' Leg Injury]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:34:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/BuS1rW5IYAAU-5j.jpg.jpg

Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson left the team's joint practice with the New England Patriots on Wednesday morning after being "cleated," according to coach Jay Gruden.

Jackson is questionable for the Redskins' preseason opener against the Patriots on Thursday at FedEx Field.

According to News4's Dianna Russini, Jackson stepped on someone's foot while running a route, forcing him to hobble to the sideline where trainers iced his left ankle.

Gruden confirmed that Jackson "twisted his ankle just a hair," calling the injury a "fluke."


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Photo Credit: @Redskins]]>
<![CDATA[Werth Gnome Giveaway Has Nats Fans Excited]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:23:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/BuTN9mbIQAAXrvs.jpg.jpg

Every once in a while, there is a promotional giveaway at a ballpark that transcends beach towels, tote bags and bobbleheads. The Jayson Werth garden gnome is one of them.

The gnome has arrived at Nationals Park for Washington's game against the New York Mets on Tuesday, and fans have been lined up since 2 p.m. to be one of the 25,000 lucky recipients of the diminutive Werth, which traveled the country with the Nationals on their recent road trip.

Some fans have already started selling them on eBay, by the way

Be sure to send your photos to @NBCWashington. Gnome your role.


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Photo Credit: @Nationals]]>
<![CDATA[Snyder Speaks About Redskins Name Controversy]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 20:03:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dan-snyder.jpg

For as long as we can remember (and perhaps longer than we would have preferred), we have heard a lot of things from a lot of people regarding the polarizing moniker of Washington's professional football team.

Yet we have not heard much from the principal figure in this ongoing saga: owner Dan Snyder. Since emphatically stating that "we'll never change the name...NEVER" last year, Snyder has mostly kept quiet. 

Snyder, however, finally opened up about the "Redskins" name in an interview with ESPN 980's Chris Cooley. (Keep in mind that Cooley is a former player working for a radio station operated by Snyder's media company.)

That being said, below are some of Snyder's lengthy answers on questions involving the team's name. 

(The Washington Post's Des Bieler provided the complete transcript.)

On what it means to be a "Redskin":

"It’s honor. It’s respect. It’s pride. And I think that every player here sees it, feels it, every alumni feels it, and it’s a wonderful thing, it’s a historic thing. It’s a very historic franchise, it’s been a pleasure."

On what he "would iike the fans to understand, factually, about our name and what we’re doing going forward":

"You know, I think it would be nice, and forget the media from that perspective, but really focus on the fact that — the facts, the history, the truth, the tradition. People talk about the logo, and when we tell them the story, that in 1971 a chief of a tribe named Walter "Blackie" Wetzel actually came to the Redskins. He was the president of NCAI [National Congress of American Indians] and a Montana tribe called Blackfeet Nation at the time, and he said, "Hey, I want to create a logo for the team, because we really think it should represent us." And he went back to Montana and helped create that logo that we all love.

"And that’s one example of just the facts, and the truth, and the things that a lot of people ignore, and I think that it’s time that people look at the truth, and the history, and real meanings, and look at us for what we are. We’re a historic football team that’s very proud, that has a great legacy, that honors and respects people."

On what he has learned from visiting several Native American reservations:

"I said, I wrote a letter to the fans last, I think it was last October, and I said I wanted to make sure that I would listen and I would learn. So I set about, and I traveled around, and I remember my wife saying to me, 'Where are you going now?' I said, 'We’re going to Arizona,' or 'We’re going to New Mexico,' or 'We’re going to South Dakota,' and all these different states all over the country. And I wanted to meet with the leadership, as well as tribal members, and it was a great, great, uh, quite frankly a lot of fun. It was quite a trip, and we enjoyed it, and it took months to do.

"And what I learned, what I listened and learned, is really that they love this team. They actually have a tremendous amount of fans on reservations, not only for our team, but many teams that have Native American imagery — the Atlanta Braves, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Blackhawks. And they really are proud of these teams, and I think that I learned more of the truth."


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wall, Beal Cut From Team USA]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:35:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/163823865+%281%29.jpg.jpg

Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal are among the first cuts from Team USA's FIBA World Cup roster, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.

The personnel moves -- which will also reportedly include Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap -- will be made official Tuesday afternoon

While Wall and Beal combined to lift the Wizards to a second-round playoff appearance this spring, they each faced incredibly tough competition to crack the Team USA roster. Guards James Harden, Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose are considered shoo-ins, while Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard are likely to make the team. 

Washington may actually be the beneficiary of Wall and Beal's exclusion from Team USA as its two best players will be hungry to prove the selection committee wrong.


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryce Harper Surprises Students With New Locker Room]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 19:58:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bryce+Harper+at+Anacostia+High+080714.jpg Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper surprised a group of D.C. student-athletes with a locker room makeover. News4's Carol Maloney has a look at the new digs at Anacostia High School.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Richmond Arby's Trolls Belichick]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 10:10:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/171*120/BuMe5feIUAAeKNI.jpg.jpg

The Richmond location of Arby's at 2309 W. Broad Street -- across the street from the Redskins' training facility -- has created a tradition out of offering reserved parking spots to Washington's finest.

Owner Dean Kovanes first presented quarterback Robert Griffin III with a spot last year prior to the Redskins' Richmond debut. That spot was then transferred to former player LaVar Arrington this summer.

"We're going to have a new one for the Patriots, maybe," Kovanes said at the time, preparing for New England's three-day visit that begins Monday.

Kovanes was true to his word, poking fun at Patriots coach Bill Belichick with his latest sign.

Scott Allen explains Kovanes' inspiration:

When Bill Parcells resigned after three seasons as head coach of the Jets in January 2000, Belichick, who had been an assistant on Parcells' staff, was promoted to head coach. In a stunning announcement the following day, Belichick quit. He reportedly wrote his resignation note on a sheet of paper, or a napkin: "I resign as HC of the NYJ." The binoculars are a less obscure nod to the 2007 'Spygate' controversy, in which Belichick and the Patriots were fined for videotaping Jets coaches' signals during a September game.

Belichick is known for his dour disposition, so something tells me he will not be eating any roast beef sandwiches or curly fries anytime soon.


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Photo Credit: @RTDSports]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Ready to Practice With Patriots]]> Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:20:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0724Redskins6.jpg

For the next three days, the Washington Redskins will have some company at training camp. The New England Patriots have arrived in Richmond for three joint practices, leading up to a preseason game Thursday at FedEx Field (which will broadcast on NBC4). 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden, who participated in joint sessions with the Atlanta Falcons while serving as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, sees the benefit of working against another team in a practice setting.

“I thought it was great,” he told reporters recently of his previous experience. “Initially going in I wasn’t too fired up about it, but going into it and just giving them the chance to practice against different people, I think that’s the big thing. You get tired sometimes of seeing the same people over and over again as a player is concerned. Now you’re going against somebody else and somebody else that’s trying to make a team so the competition should be fierce, I would think.

"It’s a great opportunity for some of these young guys to really show what they have against another football team that’s been very good for a long time. I think it’s a great chance for everybody to learn and get better and also a great chance for us as coaches to evaluate our guy and evaluate what we’re doing schematically.”

Gruden contacted Patriots coach Bill Belichick this spring to gauge his interest and a schedule was quickly formulated. As Gruden alluded to, the next three days will provide the younger Redskins with an opportunity to work closely with one of the NFL's consistently successful franchises. 

That applies to quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will have a chance to work in close proximity to New England counterpart Tom Brady.

"To tell you I won't be looking at Tom Brady and seeing what he's doing would be a lie," Griffin told reporters. "I'll be looking at him. He won't be the focus of my attention the entire time he's here. But he's been a great quarterback in the league for a long time, so you want to soak up whatever knowledge from him.

"If I get a chance to sit down and talk to him, I'd love to, just to pick his brain," Griffin said. "But he's also still playing quarterback in the NFL. It's a competitive position, a competitive sport. So I don't expect him to give me any groundbreaking secrets." 


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Photo Credit: Zora Stephenson/News4]]>
<![CDATA[Nats Acquire Indians' Cabrera]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:15:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/451446088.jpg.jpg

Less than an hour before Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, the Nationals acquired shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for infielder Zach Walters.

A two-time All-Star, Cabrera is batting .246 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs in 97 games so far this season. He has spent the majority of his playing career at shortstop (730 games), but he can play second base. That would allow Anthony Rendon to play third base while Ryan Zimmerman remains out indefinitely with a significant hamstring strain. Cabrera is scheduled to become a free agent at season's end.

Walters hit .234 with three home runs and six RBIs in 40 games for Washington in the past two seasons.


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Durant on Possibility of D.C. Homecoming]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:00:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/204*120/452532458.jpg.jpg

Earlier this month, the basketball world lauded LeBron James for deciding to return home to Ohio to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers following four successful seasons with the Miami Heat.

James' homecoming naturally led to discussions about whether other elite NBA players would entertain similiar ideas. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant's contract expires in 2016, and the reigning MVP from Washington, D.C. was recently asked whether he would follow James' lead in two years.

"I grew up taking the train to that arena, all the time, to watch Georgetown, the Bullets, the Washington Mystics," Durant said. " That whole city is a part of me. It's in my blood. I love going back home, seeing my family and playing there, but I love Oklahoma City too."

"I'm going to do what's best for me," Durant told reporters in Las Vegas following a USA Basketball training camp session. "It's hard to talk about that right now when I've got two years left in Oklahoma City. I'm just going to focus on that. I'm not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does.

As the ESPN article notes, Durant has close ties to his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, even beginning his MVP acceptance speech with a reference to his home: "I come from a small county outside of Washington, D.C., called P.G. County."

Durant avoided making any sort of commitment, but he didn't necessarily shut down the idea either.

"Look, we going to put it out on tape," Durant said. "It's been talked about. Everybody's asked me about it every time I go on Instagram or Twitter. All my friends ask me about it. So I'm not going to sit here and act like I'm naïve to the fact that people think about that stuff. But I just tell everybody that I'm here in Oklahoma City, [and] I love it here. Who knows what will happen? I never close the door on anything. But I like where I'm at right now, so I can't answer that question."


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caps' Trotz Discusses Lineup Construction]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:36:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/194*120/478767155.jpg.jpg

As the hockey wasteland that is August approaches, starved fans are scrounging for any morsels of information they can sink their teeth into.

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz provided plenty of tasty tidbits in an interview with NHL.com's Dan Rosen on Tuesday, offering a window into his thought process regarding how Washington's lineup may look come October. 

As has become customary in these parts, the position of second-line center is once again vacant following the departure of Mikhail Grabovski, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the New York Islanders earlier this month. With roughly $1.1 million in available salary-cap space, the in-house options are really the only options.

General manager Brian MacLellan previously offered Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brooks Laich as potential replacements. Trotz recently told CBC's Elliotte Friedman that "the third linemate with Ovechkin/Nicklas Backstrom probably depends on who becomes the second-line [center]."

For the past two seasons, that third linemate has primarily been Johansson, who spent 56.2 percent and 54.2 percent of his 5-on-5 ice time with Ovechkin and Backstrom last season, respectively. (In 2012-13, Johansson spent roughly 72 percent of his ice time with the Capitals' superstars.)

Yet Trotz envisions starting the 23-year-old at center. With Johansson, Kuznetsov and potentially 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky (whose "outstanding" performance at center -- a position he was largely unfamiliar with -- during this month's development camp impressed the higher-ups), Trotz is hopeful that Washington will boast formidable center depth.

"I'm going to let them play it out," Trotz told Rosen. "We're going to try to get the best three up the middle in terms of the people who are really good at distributing the puck and making things happen from the middle of the ice....I'm going to let them play through the camp, but my vision is that Johansson will play in the middle and Kuznetsov or Burakovsky will play in the middle and one will have to move to the wall. In today's game, the more options you have the better off you are.

"The center-ice position is where I'm going to focus a lot of attention. I think we're going to be a lot deeper through the middle of the ice then I even expected."

On the wings, Trotz foresees a more prominent role for Tom Wilson, who was utilized exclusively in a fourth-line role as a rookie. The bruising Wilson is recovering from offseason surgery to repair a fractured left fibula, but Trotz expects him to be ready for the start of training camp in September.

"When I first talked to [MacLellan], when we both got hired, one of the things I said is based on watching him play and seeing where he is, he needs to move up the lineup," Trotz said of Wilson. "He's got a lot of the qualities of a Milan Lucic-type player, a power forward, physical, but he has the ability to get around the ice and the ability with the hands to do something. I can see him moving up the ladder....Down the road I think he's going to be a top-six forward. I think he's a guy that's going to move up really quickly."

The shuffling of the center depth chart will also push Eric Fehr, who mostly centered the third line last season, back to his natural wing position.

Fehr is an intriguing option to join the first line. He has had success playing opposite Ovechkin, though in a limited capacity. Since 2010 (excluding a one-year stint with the Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12), Fehr and Ovechkin have played 174:29 of 5-on-5 time together while controlling 56 percent of shot attempts

Regardless of how Trotz ultimately constructs his lineup, he has several options to toy with when the Capitals reconvene for training camp in roughly six weeks. 

"Through Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer -- one of them might have to play on the top line -- Kuznetsov, Johansson, Burakovsky, Fehr, I think we can probably establish a pretty good second line," he said. "If we can do that the depth of the third line will be very good too."

In the mean time, Trotz's thoughts have left the rest of us playing what he has been known to call "fantasy hockey," a welcome distraction from the midsummer doldrums. 


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Lawyer Elected as NBPA Executive Director]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:55:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/636271.jpg.jpg

The National Basketball Players Association has elected Washington-based trial lawyer Michele A. Roberts as its newest executive director, according to multiple reports.

Roberts, of law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, "has been called the finest pure trial lawyer in Washington, D.C. by Washingtonian Magazine." She also served for eight years in the office of the Public Defender Service for D.C.

“On behalf of the NBA, I would like to congratulate Michele Roberts on her appointment as the NBPA’s new Executive Director and look forward to working with her and the NBPA Executive Committee to ensure the continued health and growth of our game," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. "The partnership between our players and teams is the backbone of the league, and we are eager to continue working with the Players Association to build this relationship."

Roberts will be the NBPA's sixth executive director and first woman to hold the position. She replaces Billy Hunter, who was removed in Feb. 2013


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<![CDATA['Skins Fan Turns Autographs Into Tattoos]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:08:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/205*120/159039408.jpg.jpg

Thousands of fans have attended the Redskins' first few training-camp practices thus far. Friday, a combined 8,600 people watched both sessions, while 6,668 came out for Military Appreciation Day on Sunday.

One of those fans was 41-year-old Charlie White, who has been collecting the signatures of all 22 starters...on his arm so that he can immediately have them tattooed.

"I believe in getting starters on my arm for a reason," White told ESPN's John Keim. "It's because I bleed burgundy and gold."

Sunday, White received autographs from defensive backs Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather, wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Santana Moss, as well as quarterback Robert Griffin III. 

As for the lady in his life, White's wife supports his ambition.

"She knows that between fishing and the Redskins, leave me alone," he said.


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: RG3 Looks Good, Wins Praise]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:17:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/robert+griffin+fans.jpg

Hi Guys!

I cannot imagine how difficult it was for the players to wake up this morning. It was cool, rainy, and early -- the perfect sleeping weather!

Oh yeah, they also were in pads yesterday for the first time so their bodies are sore.

Coach Jay Gruden told me he expected the guys to look tired maybe even a little beat up but he thought they came out hungry to play. Coach says he wants all these practices to have 3 themes and that’s physicality, full speed action, and high pressure on this offense.

RG3 looked the best he has today as did Kirk Cousins especially on a play where DeSean Jackson met 2nd year corner David Amerson. Cousins dropped back and threw deep and high -- and found DJax.

The play pumped up everyone -- even the new Redskins receiver.

  • DeSean Jackson praised RG3 for his accountability. Robert appreciates his teammates standing by their quarterback.
  • Pierre Garcon gave me the best answer when I asked him if he was sore. "I'm use to it, I'm one giving out the physiciality.
  • Andre Roberts pointed out that many players that you wouldn't think are that good start showing their skills now that the pads are on. "Lot of people are good at flag football when you don't have pads on, its more physical with pads."
  • The Redskins have canceled Monday's second session practice.
  • The best news? No major injuries.

See you on TV at 6 and 11 on NBC4.

 

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<![CDATA[Caps' Ward Provides Perspective On Trotz]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:46:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/201*120/187631356.jpg.jpg

By now, we are keenly aware that Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz has begun to foster a cultural shift within the organization, one built on structure, discipline and accountability.

It will be at least two more months when the team reconvenes for training camp in September -- perhaps longer -- until Trotz's vision and how the Capitals adjust to it can be tangibly seen. 

Yet there is one current Capital that has the ability to provide insight into how players function in Trotz's demanding environment: forward Joel Ward, who spent three seasons under Trotz with the Nashville Predators for three seasons (2008-11).

"Barry's just detailed," Ward said Saturday prior to an appearance at the Capitals' annual summer blood drive. "He's a simple, very detailed guy. He's a big family guy, great family. I think he's going to make sure that we're all very close together and closer as a unit on and off the ice.

"On ice, I expect us to be a lot more detailed, I think. You'll get a sense of that I think right away of guys having to do some homework at times. Again, it's going to be fun though. At the same time, it's going to be a hardworking team. From my years of experience in Nashville, we weren't the most talented I'd say on paper, but we always found a way of just being hardworking and earning our grit in points. I expect us to do that here."

Under former coach Adam Oates last season, the Capitals were frequently undercut by a lack of uniformity, leading to their exclusion from the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in seven years and Oates' dismissal in April.  Such aimlessness is not expected to continue with Trotz in charge. 

Ward lamented losing yet another coach (the third time that has happened since he arrived in Washington three summers ago), but he is eager to prove himself once again. 

“I was a little upset with the fact that we had to change coaches again,” he said. “You try to gain a rapport with one and you try to build off that. Again, it’s definitely a good sign to have somebody that I knew a little bit. Hopefully [Trotz] thinks I got better since then and we keep going from there.”

From a personal standpoint, Ward will attempt to improve upon a career season in which he set personal bests in goals (24) and points (49) while being entrusted with more responsibility.

The 33-year-old hopes to be paired with his "twin," forward Jason Chimera, with whom he developed undeniable chemistry last season after sharing 84.3 percent of his even-strength ice time with the speedy veteran. Even then, Ward does not intend to reconfigure his on-ice mindset.

"I think when you start worrying about stats and whatnot, then I think you might lose focus," he said. "I think the main thing for me is just going out there and trying to work hard."

For now, Ward will return to his native Toronto to prepare for the upcoming season, attending Blue Jays games and serving as his teammates' guide to Trotz in between. 

“I think now I’ve got to tell some guys a few things,” Ward said, laughing. “It’s definitely been a good relationship in the past and hopefully keep that going. Definitely I can always teach a few guys some of the tendencies and some of the things that we’ve done back in Nashville that I’m sure he’ll carry over.”


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<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: Putting on the Pads in Day 3]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:38:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/RedskinsFlag+.jpg

News4's Dianna Russini is in Richmond throughout Redskins Training Camp, and sending regular reports. Here's today's news from camp.

Hey Guys!

Day 3 of Training Camp here in Richmond and the shoulder pads are on! After months of running plays wearing shorts, the team finally is playing real football.

The best part, nobody is playing politely. The intensity, the tempo, the competition, everything has picked up. Right off the bat, you could feel the difference out on the field.

Robert Griffin III says they talked about it in the locker room, when the pads are on, that's when you find out the real football players. They can be very revealing.

It is the truth too, many players don't feel like "its real" until the pads are on. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he was actually a little nervous putting them on because he knows its time to start hitting. After the first couple pops, he says he was settled.

Rookie LB Trent Murphy told me he was a frustrated with some of his play (he also admits he's a perfectionist) but getting the first hit felt like cleaning off the dust.

Brian Orakpo calls it just another day in the office for him. He says when you are in the trenches all the time you always feel like you are in pads. DeSean Jackson also loves the idea of getting back to real football he calls it.

  • The best play in camp so far was DeAngelo Hall's pick 6. Robert Griffin III's throw to DJax on the right side cleanly intercepted by Hall.

After practice he told me he showed DJax a picture of a lion this morning with the quote "If you want to be lion you have to train with the lions" (You can look at my twitter @nbcDianna, DeAngelo tweeted me the picture.)

  • Ryan Clark wore his white game pants to practice. He was the only one. He told me that he's in game mode. He also tried to get the rest of the defense to do it but nobody would listen to him. He laughed and said his leadership needs to improve.
  • Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay is the most active person on the field. He never stops running around, talking, cheering, getting in player's faces. He's only 28 year old. He also always wears a long sleeve shirt...even in the heat. I'm interviewing him later and that will air Sunday night at 11:30pm.
  • Jay Gruden's wife was on the sidelines today, we will talk to her later today too about this experience as a first time, first tim head coach's wife
     


Photo Credit: File Photo ]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Fans Brave Downpours to Attend Camp]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:19:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/198*120/BtUCCHfCMAAo7a-.jpg.jpg

Football season is officially here as the Redskins' first practice of training camp is underway in Richmond. 

As camp kicked off at around 8:30 a.m., Richmond was enveloped by a steady stream of storms, leaving the uncovered masses soaking wet. No matter, though.  

Points for dedication. There were roughly 1,000 fans in attendance when camp convened.

You know, if you download the Storm Team 4 app for your phone, then you would know what to expect weather-wise as you migrate to Richmond. (Check's in the mail, right, Doug?)


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Photo Credit: @BrittMcHenry]]>
<![CDATA[Which Caps 'D' Should Run PP?]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:06:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/185770148.jpg.jpg

For all that went wrong for the Washington Capitals last season, the power play was once again a source of strength. Tbe Capitals converted 23.4 percent of their power-play opportunities last season, tied for the highest success rate in the NHL. 

Opposing teams have struggled to thwart Washington's 1-3-1 formation, choreographed by former coach Adam Oates and overseen by assistant coach Blaine Forsythe. In all, the Capitals have scored a league-leading 107 5-on-4 goals over the past two seasons.

The man advantage should become even more formidable next season with the respective arrivals of assistant coach Todd Reirden and defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have scored an NHL-leading 164 power-play goals since 2011 (and were the team which tied the Capitals atop the power-play percentage leaderboard last season).

Reirden will collaborate with Forsythe on the power play, and even with Oates having been replaced by Barry Trotz, it does not make too much sense to fix what it is not broken. 

Niskanen's addition provides the Capitals with three right-handed defensemen with power-play credentials, Mike Green and John Carlson being the others. In the interest of killing time during the midsummer doldrums, which defenseman should anchor Washington's vaunted power play?

Below is a chart documenting each player's power-play statistics during 5-on-4 play last season. A simplified explanation of the terms is underneath the chart. 

  Goals  Assists  TOI/G  PShr  SP  Shots  ON%  Shots/60  iFenwick/60
Green  3  11  2:45  51.9%  88  35  46.1%  11.77  18.498
Carlson  5  16  3:08  53.9%  95  69  56.6%  16.72  21.081
Niskanen  3  12  2:59  45.5%  73  51  47.2%  12.81  19.086

(All statistics courtesy of NHL.comExtraSkater.com and stats.hockeyanalysis.com)

  • TOI/G: Power-play time on ice per game
  • PShr (Point share): Percentage of on-ice goals player had a point on (goals, assists)
  • SP (Setup passes): Estimate of passes by player that directly resulted in a shot attempt
  • ON% (On-net percentage): Percentage of shots by player that hit the net
  • Shots/60: Shots on goal by player per 60 minutes
  • iFenwick/60: Shots on goal/shot attempts (missed shots) by player per 60 minutes

Based on the table, Carlson was the most productive of the trio, scoring the most points, having a hand in the most goals and generating the most accurate shot attempts. (Carlson saw significantly more time on the power play than Green -- 257:56 to 193:31. Niskanen totaled 242:26.)

Something to consider: Carlson was one of three defensemen last season -- Philadelphia's Kimmo Timonen and Detroit's Niklas Kronwall were the others -- to average at least three minutes of power-play ice time and shorthanded ice time per game. He was also on the ice for 65.2 percent of Washington's shorthanded situations last season, the highest percentage in the NHL.

Carlson will assuredly continue to play a integral role on Washington's penalty kill next season. If Trotz wanted to spell Carlson for a few minutes with the Capitals on the power play, then he has two viable alternatives in Green and Niskanen, neither of whom are typically relied upon to kill penalties.

At the risk of copping out, the Capitals have three capable defensemen who can contribute to the power play. They are in good hands with all three and it never hurts to have options.


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nats' Barrett Wins National Anthem Standoff]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:29:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/209*120/Screen+Shot+2014-07-23+at+8.10.22+PM.png

Prior to the Nationals' afternoon game against the Rockies on Wednesday, Washington pitcher Aaron Barrett and Colorado outfielder Brandon Barnes had an old-fashioned standoff following the National Anthem.

The stalemate lasted several minutes as Barrett was fanned and hydrated by teammates. Jerry Blevins applied sunscreen on his fellow pitcher's neck. First base coach Tony Tarasco delivered an animated pep talk. 

Barnes suggested a game of rock-paper-scissors to crown the victor, but Barrett had none of it. With Denard Span in the batter's box to lead off the game, Barnes blinked first, leaving Barrett the exuberant winner.

“The umpire looked at me and was like, ‘If there’s a pitch and you’re still there, you’re gone,’ ” Barnes told the Denver Post.

“It was a big win for the team,” Barrett told The Washington Post. “They were getting pretty serious behind me. He wanted to do Rock, Paper, Scissors for the end. The guys were like, ‘You better not lose.’ I didn’t want to hear the wrath of the team if I would have lost. Why not? It was fun. It was good camaraderie.”
 


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Photo Credit: MLB.com]]>
<![CDATA[Zimmerman Out With 'Substantial' Hamstring Strain]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:20:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/452542696.jpg.jpg

Not long after he returned from missing 44 games with a fractured thumb, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has once again landed on the disabled list, this time with a "pretty substantial" right hamstring strain. 

Zimmerman had been on a tear at the plate, hitting .362 with six doubles and two home runs in July. He injured himself Tuesday against the Rockies sprinting up the first-base line.

The Nationals have been a much better team with Zimmerman than without. Washington is 33-19 when he starts and now 22-25 when he does not after a 6-4 loss to Colorado Wednesday.

"You don't ever want to see that happen to any of your teammates," Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche told reporters. "But a guy who has battled back from one injury and is a core piece of your lineup, that stings a little more."


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What to Watch at Redskins Camp]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:51:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/205*120/186338485.jpg.jpg

Last season, the Redskins followed their NFC East championship in 2012 with a 3-13 record, their worst in nearly 20 years. The final weeks were marred by the deterioration of quarterback Robert Griffin III and coach Mike Shanahan's relationship, ultimately culminating with the latter's dismissal in December.

Yet training camp, which begins Thursday morning in Richmond, provides an opportunity for the team and fans alike to hit the proverbial "refresh button."

A new coach in Jay Gruden, a new offensive weapon in wide receiver DeSean Jackson and a healthy Griffin all provide fans with a modicum of hope. A 0-0 record never looked so good. 

Washington's season opener is less than two months away (Sept. 7 against Houston, to be exact), so consider this a primer of what to pay attention to at camp and in the upcoming weeks. 

All In For Weeks 1-16?

The motto of last summer's training camp was "All In For Week 1," a clever marketing campaign trumpeting the eventual return of Griffin from knee surgery.

Griffin was true to his word, starting Week 1 against the Eagles after eight months of relentless rehabilitation following a gruesome knee injury.

Yet he was never really there last seasonHindered by a clunky knee brace, Griffin was not the dynamic player that captivated the NFL in his rookie season. By season's end, he was on the bench watching, shut down by Shanahan as backup Kirk Cousins mercifully ended what was left of 2013.

Once seemingly impervious to criticism, everything about Griffin -- from his mechanics to his personality and leadership capabilities -- were nitpicked.

There have been no flashy catchphrases this summer (remember "Operation Patience"?). Griffin has kept himself out of the spotlight as much as someone of his stature possibly can. He will have the knowledge of Gruden (a former quarterback in his own right) at his disposal, as well as a stout receiving corps bolstered by the arrival of Jackson, a former division rival in Philadelphia.

Jackson offers a big-play threat (he has caught 21 touchdowns of 30-plus yards since 2008, tied for the most in the league), while Pierre Garcon returns as a trusty target. Add in tight end Jordan Reed (if healthy) and Griffin has numerous options. 

It is up to RGIII, however, to prove that he can be an effective passer (his completion percentage dropped from 65.6 percent in 2012 to 60.1 percent last season and he threw seven more interceptions) and playmaker (he rushed for 326 fewer yards last season, though that was more knee-related). 

If the Griffin that instilled hope in a downtrodden fan base two years ago can make an appearance this season, an overall improvement will be a given. 

Defense?

As the remnants of Shanahan's regime were removed from Ashburn, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett survived. 

That may have come as a surprise to some, considering Haslett's defenses have not been particularly stalwart during his tenure.

From ESPN Stats & Information:

During his tenure from 2010-13, the Redskins are cumulatively 29th in yards per play (5.75), 31st in yards per pass attempt (7.22), 21st in yards after contact (5,016) and 27th in points per game (25.2).

Those who regularly report on the team believe that the Redskins have too many holes on the defensive side of the ball. There are five likely starters, according to ESPN's John Keim, who are 30 or older. The Redskins' potential starting inside linebacker, Keenan Robinson, has 11 career tackles in two injury-plagued seasons. The secondary does not particularly inspire confidence either 

This should be obvious, but the Redskins have to tackle better as well. According to ESPN, "the Redskins allowed 756 yards after contact in the run game (23rd worst in the NFL) and 544 after contact by receivers (22nd worst) [last season]. They were 26th in the NFL for their combined yards after contact allowed." 

Meanwhile, the pass rush should improve in theory with the additions of defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and drafted linebacker Trent Murphy to aid Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. To be frank though, a lot has to improve in order for Washington to be taken seriously. 

Gruden's Way

Those in the know have seen nothing but positive vibes emanating from Gruden thus far. It is a vast departure from the aforementioned contentiousness between Griffin and Shanahan that enveloped the Redskins at the end of last season.

"Owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen believe that Gruden’s style, approach, youth and experiences as a former quarterback will help restore order in that coach-quarterback relationship," wrote Mike Jones of The Washington Post. "So far, Griffin has praised Gruden for his communication skills, leadership style and vision for himself and the offense. Gruden, meanwhile, has praised Griffin’s approach to the game and willingness to learn."

What to watch for is how Gruden, formerly the offensive coordinator of the Bengals, handles the added responsibilities of coaching an entire football team as opposed to simply running the offense. 

"What if there’s an issue with Griffin? What if the defense doesn’t produce and he thinks the Skins need to tweak their scheme? Will Gruden be able to make those hard decisions when necessary? In-game and in-season adjustments matter greatly, and Gruden has to prove himself in this area," Keim wrote. "He was not a unanimous hotshot choice to be a head coach, but the Redskins believed in him and thought he could handle the job."

Above all else, leading a consistent winner will be Gruden's primary objective. All concerns will be washed away if the Redskins are a competitive football team. 


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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Training Camp: Everything You Need to Know]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:51:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140218+DeAngelo+Hall.jpg

For most people, summer is the time to take a vacation -- but for D.C.'s football players, it's time to get serious. The Washington Redskins begin their training for the 2014 season Thursday ... and you’re invited.

The event is a great chance for Redskins fans to connect with the team, gear up for the coming football season and to take a break from the city. Check out our tips below to maximize your time at the event or to turn it into a weekend break.

Why Camp is Way Better Than the Regular Season

Training camp, the beginning of the pre-season for the Redskins, is when the team is put through its paces and the 53-man roster emerges. But it's also when the players take the time to meet with fans after their training sessions.

The public is invited to attend and can watch training exercises, including joint training with New England Patriots players on select days. There are also events, promotions and merchandise tents -- and best of all, admission is free.

Did we say free? Free.

Find the most up-to-date info on the Redskins site here.

How Do I Get to Training Camp?

The event is held at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center at 2401 West Leigh St in Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond is about two hours away by car. There are several parking lots for fans attending the camp, which cost $7 daily (cash only). The locations are all close to the Bon Secours Center, but a trolley shuttle will run between them for $2. The shuttle will run an hour before the first practice event and until an hour after the last. More information is available here.

No car? You can also take a bus for around $20 from Union Station or an Amtrak train, also from Union Station.

When Is Training Camp?

The event begins Thursday and runs through Aug. 11. Daily training is generally scheduled to begin at 8:35 a.m. and ends with a walkthrough at 4:10 p.m. Several days have special events or altered training times.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot (more on that below). Gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

There is no training camp July 29, Aug. 3 and Aug 8. See more information on the schedule here.

How Can I Attend?

Attendance is free, but you will need to sign up for a Training Camp Pass on the Redskins site. Only one is necessary per family group. Signing up for a pass will also enter you into a drawing to win Redskins game tickets and merchandise.

Joint training sessions with the Patriots and Fan Appreciation Day are especially busy events. Passes for those events are provided via a lottery system on the above signup form.

However, attendance may be capped or changed on some other days, so check the Redskins site before you attend.

What Else Should I Know?

Amenities

Expect a merchandise tent, games and fan competitions, as well as several on-site food outlets. The center also includes a park with walking trails.

The Women of Washington Redskins will host events geared toward female 'Skins fans, and obstacle fitness courses will help younger fans let off some steam in. The Redskins Kids' Club will also keep younger fans entertained.

Redskins players, cheerleaders and coaches will sometimes be available to sign autographs and meet fans after training events.

Seating

There are no bleachers available, so guests have the option to either bring lawn chairs and blankets, or to sit in the outdoor amphitheater that overlooks the practice fields.

Standing areas offer fans the chance to stretch their legs and view the events from different vantage points.

Pets

Animals are not allowed at Training Camp (except service animals), so they can't join you during the day.

But that doesn't mean your four-legged friend has to miss out on all the fun. Old Towne Pet Resort (in both Springfield and Dulles) is offering a Dog Agility Training Camp on July 26 to celebrate the Redskins Training Camp.

Special Days

On Aug. 4, 5 and 6, the Redskins will be joined by the New England Patriots for joint training sessions. Fan Appreciation Day is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2 at 10:30 a.m.

What to Bring

Bring a cooler with food and non-alcoholic drinks if you want to picnic during camp. Alcohol, glass bottles and video cameras are not allowed at the event.

How Can I Make Training Camp Into a Mini-Vacation?

Richmond is a city steeped in history and famed for its museums, art and monuments. If you're excited about the Redskins Training Camp but need a break, the city could provide a great day trip or weekend getaway.

Where to Stay

If you're planning on staying the night, you have plenty of options throughout the city, including quaint bed and breakfasts as well as budget-friendly chains.

There are three possibilities within a few blocks of the training center. The cheapest is the Comfort Inn Conference Center Midtown about four blocks away, but there are also two bed and breakfasts nearby for a little more luxury. Maury Place at Monument and Grace Manor Inn both have five-star ratings on TripAdvisor.com.

Elsewhere, there are dozens of hotels in downtown Richmond, the Fan District and Shockoe Slip, all of which are within easy reach of the training center. Downtown offers dining and shopping, while the two latter neighborhoods are historical areas with great sightseeing opportunities.

How to Get Around

Driving is the easiest way to get to Richmond and to get around the city, but there are public transportation options available if you want to leave the car at home.

The Greater Richmond Transit System runs an extensive bus service that should get you to all of the city's attractions.

The closest bus stop to the training camp is to the west on North Boulevard Street at the intersection of West Moore Street, which is served by the 24 bus route. However, to the south, West Broad Street is served by several routes, including the 1, 2, 3, 6, 19 and 24 routes, Check out the schedules and routes here.

Where to Eat

The Magpie and Lunch two of the highest-rated Richmond restaurants on Yelp.com, and both are only a short walk away from the training center.

But to get into the spirit of football and tailgating, there are also several barbecue joints nearby. The most popular of those with Yelp users are Gus' Bar and Grill and Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue.

Where to Drink

If you're hoping to wash down a day of football with a beer at a sports bar, you'll have to go a little further afield. The Home Team Grill is a local chain that offers a location in the nearby Fan District, and is the closest sports bar to the training center.

If the Redskins excitement gets to be a little too much and you find yourself in need of a pick-me-up, try Sugar Shack Donuts just a short walk away on North Lombardy Street that offers coffee and donuts.

And if you do decide to stay the night in Richmond, why not make it a memorable experience? Infuzion is the club closest to the Redskins event, but there are also two bars nearby: Strange Matter, an arcade/music venue hybrid, and Empire, a lounge and indie bar. Both are a few blocks away, just off West Broad Street.

There are also several clubs in downtown Richmond. Some of the most popular are The National, a concert venue and club; Barcode, a gay bar and club; and Kai, a dance club.

What Else to Do

The Bon Secours Training Center is located just behind the Science Museum of Virginia and the Children's Museum of Richmond, making it an ideal location to entertain the family away from the field.

The Hardywood Craft Brewery is also just a block away, and yes -- they offer tours.

Depending on the length of your stay, there are plenty of other things to see and do a little further out.

For some more sports-related fun, the home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels minor league baseball team is a short walk away on North Boulevard Street. If you'd like to catch a game, see their schedule here.

The Richmond Kickers soccer team also plays just a little further away at UKROP Park on West Broad Street. Their schedule is available here.

Richmond is a city with a long and fascinating past, and it is home to some of Virginia's most treasured historical landmarks. If you plan to take in some of that history, consider visiting Maymont Park, The American Civil War Center, Richmond National Battlefield Park and The Virginia War Memorial. There are many other sites worth visiting too.

For a break from football, try the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or tour the famous Hollywood Cemetery, which is the resting place of presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as many other historical figures.

For something that takes a full day, though, you might want to consider Kings Dominion, which is only about 30 minutes north of Richmond by car. There is also an express bus service that runs there several times daily from downtown Richmond.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>