Brooks Orpik has retired from the NHL after 15 seasons. The two time Stanley Cup winner won the Cup each with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. He tallied 18 goals and 176 assists over 1,035 regular season games in addition to 4 goals and 22 assists in 156 playoff games.
Matt Sunday/ DKPS
The player known in the Caps locker room as “Batya” (Russian for “dad”) receives lots of love and thank you’s on social media from his teammates,
Truly going to miss you a lot. Thanks for all the help and support during the years. Thanks for always looking after me on and off the ice. You have been a true friend and role model for me. Good luck in the future and wish you and the family all the best. Brooks Orpik!
Ovi on Brooks Orpik: “Batya was a great leader in our locker room & was so important for us to win our first Stanley Cup. We will miss his presence in the room & on the ice. Not only was he a great leader & a player, but he was a better person”. #ALLCAPS
I am here for this. Beal is maybe the most underrated player in the NBA and exposure from a box office hit (let’s be honest, you’re going to go watch it) would help propel him into stardom.
Not sure this even happens, but Beal would join Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, and WNBA Stars Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwunmike. Talk about star power, right Windhorst?
CBS Sports– “In all honesty, he’s been recruiting players to come and try to be in ‘Space Jam’ with him this summer,” Windhorst said, per Yahoo Sports, “and he hasn’t been able to close some of those deals. Some of the top guys he wants to come and be with him in the movie … [are saying], ‘You put me in the movie where you’re the star, I’m gonna be the one you’re dunking on.'”
Toronto Star- Raptors president Masai Ujiri says he appreciates the interest from other NBA clubs, but his roots are in Toronto.
Ujiri held an end-of-season news conference Thursday, in which he talked about his future in Toronto, winning an NBA championship and the growth of basketball in Africa and Canada.
Reports surfaced shortly after the Raptors won their first NBA title that the Washington Wizards were preparing a lucrative offer to lure Ujiri out of Toronto.
Ujiri’s wife is from Washington, and the Wizards were reportedly offering an ownership stake in the team.
This is obviously a huge blow to the Washington Wizards, who have yet to name a replacement to former GM Ernie Grunfeld. Ujiri was the name most talked about online and in the media when discussing front office candidates. Ujiri’s added NBA Champion to his resume this Summer to go along with a track record of helping franchises make the next step. He briefly worked as a scout for the Denver Nuggets before being hired by the Toronto Raptors in 2008 as assistant GM. He returned to Denver as GM and VP of Basketball Operations and won the NBA Executive of the Year award in 2013 before returning to Toronto as GM and President of Basketball Operations.
It is obvious why Ted Leonsis wanted Ujiri to run the front office. During his Toronto tenure, he took Toronto from 4th in the Atlantic to 1st in his first year, ending a five year playoff drought, won 5 division titles (including having the best record in the East in the 17-18 season), and ECF in 2016. He took a huge risk in firing Coach of the Year winner Dwane Casey and pulled off the steal of the year (and maybe century) by trading for Kawhi Leonard AND Danny Green without giving up any young pieces and just one protected 1st rd pick. The Wizards wanted him so badly, they were willing to give him ownership stake.
Washington Post- For several weeks, speculation has persisted about the Wizards’ interest in Ujiri. By late Thursday night, various news outlets detailed the proposed offers: close to $10 million annually, six years for $60 million or even a percentage of ownership and control over other Monumental Sports & Entertainment properties. The Post also reported on the Wizards’ link to Ujiri and that “a potential offer would have to include a pathway to an ownership stake.”
$10 million a year is a huge pay day, not to mention the ownership stake that was reportedly offered. Leonsis has since denied that any offer was or would be made, stating that he would “take his time” in forming the new front office. With the 2019 NBA Draft already in the books and free agency starting in five days, it seems that Leonsis is content to wait this out until the right candidate comes along.
Like a phoenix from the ashes, Ian Mahimi has returned. The Wizards prized signing of the summer of 2016 (4 years/$64 million. Yuck.) has seen game action for the first time since Feb. 4. With Thomas Bryant playing well off the bench and the acquisition of Bobby Portis, Coach Scott Brooks decided to bench Mahimi despite Dwight Howard being out indefinitely (he’s obviously not playing again this season).
Is there anyone with a better gig than Mahimi? Collecting paycheck after paycheck while not having to play a single minute? Sounds like good money if you can find it.
Let’s take a look at some of the key match-ups for Sunday’s game vs the Green Bay Packers:
Green Bay O-Line vs. Washington Pass Rush
Green Bay’s O-line led by Bryan Lulaga and David Bakhtiari, have given up 4 sacks in each of the two games this year. Meanwhile, only Matt Ioannidis and Ryan Anderson are the only Redskins to record a sack thus far. Kerrigan and Preston Smith have remained quiet with 5 tackles between the two of them. One of these units is going to have to win this battle, and it could very well be the Skins’ pass rush. Kerrigan is only a year removed from back to back dougle digit sack and will be hoping to find a groove, as he usually starts the season off pretty fast. Add in the fact that Aaron Rodgers is playing on one leg (which takes him from God-like to slightly less God-like), and it looks like a game where Manusky’s unit can come out on top.
Green Bay WRs vs Washington CBs
(USA Today Sports/Brad Mills)
Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, and Randall Cobb all have over 100 yards and are averaged at least 10 yards per catch. They also have scored 5 TDs between the three. Adams is the biggest threat as Rodgers has targeted him 20 times and owns 5 of the teams 10 red zone targets. Since Adams primary plays on the left side, that means he will match up most of the game against the surprisingly impressive Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar has stood out on defense this season with 5 passes defended and 1 INT. The match up Green Bay would love to exploit is Randall Cobb in the slot vs Fabian Moreau, which is the most advantageous for them.
Green Bay Secondary vs. Alex Smith
Alex Smith has been exactly what he’s been expected. He wasn’t to blame for the loss to Indy, but he hasn’t wow’d anyone. Green Bay gave up 425 yards and 4 TDs to Kirk Cousins at home last week. Davon House replaced injured starter Kevin King(groin) but is currently nursing a bicep injury, leaving Green Bay with Tramon Williams and two rookies at CB. Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson should win these battles, but they’ve been less than stellar. Green Bay plays a lot of Cover 1 with a single high safety, so Smith could exploit the young corners who play on the right side. This is a tough match up to call, but if Smith gets into a rhythm early, we may see a Doctson coming out party.
Not exactly inspiring hope with that answer, Coach. But I will give him the benefit of the doubt here and say he was just being honest. Floyd has produced in the past but has short tenures with the Patriots, Vikings, and Saints since 2016. Perriman is only 25 but a series of knee injuries and setbacks have cost him time. There is no guarantee either player will fit in Gruden’s passing attack, but at this point, it couldn’t hurt to see if they can muster up any sort of spark in the air.
Starting the season off right is correct. In a huge road win with a new quarterback, Jay Gruden won a season opening game for the first time. Every unit on this team seemed to be firing on all cylinders. Alex Smith went 21-30 for 255 yards and 2 TDs. He was boring, and that’s a good thing. Boring doesn’t throw a bad interception when the team is driving. Adrian Peterson racked up 166 yards and 1 rushing TD on 28 total touches while Chris Thompson had 128 yards and 1 receiving TD on just 11 touches. This duo is exciting, Peterson is the workhorse he wanted to be in New Orleans and Arizona while Thompson continues to be the change of pace back who can hit the home run at any time. If these two are healthy, the Skins will have a dangerous backfield. Jordan Reed scored a touchdown as well, he would finish with 4 rec and 48 yards.
Defensively, there was not much to complain about. The Cardinals only ran 49 plays netting 213 yards. David managed 37 yards on 9 carries with a touchdown on the goaline. Quinton Dunbar was the stand out performance to me. The Skins went out and signed FA CB Orlando Scandrick then subsequently cut him during training camp, effectively naming Dunbar the starter opposite Josh Norman. Dunbar finished the day with 5 tackles, 3 passes defended, and 1 int. Pretty impressive numbers for a guy who was playing wide receiver just three seasons ago.
All in all, Skins fan have good reason to feel optimistic. The run game is lethal, Alex Smith is leading the passing attack, the front seven on defense looks stout. Next week will be a big test for the secondary as they face Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Still a no-go on Dez Bryant. I don’t hate that either. As much as I wanted a big name WR this offseason, I never wanted it to be Dez because I never thought he would fit in. I do hope Dez lands a gig somewhere. Maybe Cleveland.
One thing to note here: On the Redskins official website , Kelley is actually listed as the third RB, followed by Perine. Byron Marshall was placed on IR earlier this week, allowing the Skins to sign Josh Keyes who played for the Houston Texans this offseason.
Adrian Peterson of course gets the nod for RB1 with everyone else where they were expected to be except for one player. Danny Johnson will be returning kickoffs.
I’m excited for this team. Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson are officially off the injury report. Fingers crossed that it stays that way for the foreseeable future. That may be wishful thinking but the injuries last year were brutal – 22 players on IR, Trent Williams did not practice all year, Norman out multiple weeks with broken ribs. My optimism may be at an all time high for this squad. HTTR.
Basketball Society Online – Currently, in China, Howard took to Instagram live and made a trip to a shopping mall. While there, he went to a faux ski wintery mix element where he put on a winter coat and walked around before sitting on a ride that had the eight-time all-star suspended from the air.
Sounds like summer fun while also preparing for the East Coast elements in the Washington, D.C. area. Howard, a native of Atlanta Georgia has never played NBA basketball in a cold city with stops with the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, and Charlotte Hornets.
Dwight Howard is continuing to live his best life while making round in the Southeast Division – the division with arguable the best weather in the NBA. You can maybe make a case for the Pacific in the West with 4 out of 5 teams being in California, but the weather in Phoenix is set to rise above 100 degrees the next three days. 100 degrees is a 100 degrees no matter what, even if it is a dry heat.
Regardless, we all could only ever hope to live a life as unbothered as Dwight does.
The final week of the preseason takes the Redskins north to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. RGIII will face his former team for the first time looking to win the backup role to Joe Flacco. But RGIII isn’t the only one competing for a spot.
LB Zach Vigil vs. LB Martrell Spaight – Both players were on the roster at some point last year but only one will start the 2018 on it. Vigil did an okay enough job filing in for the injured Mason Foster and Will Compton last year, but Spaight has special teams upside.
WR Brian Quick vs. WR Cam Sims vs. WR Trey Quinn – In a perfect world, Gruden would keep all three guys. Gruden has been pretty coy about his plans for WR, which may be the deepest position on the team. It’s more likely that one will make the team and the rest will be cut or placed on the practice squad if eligible.
RB Rob Kelley vs. RB Samaje Perine – Both backs will see a lot of action tonight to determine who is the primary backup to Adrian Peterson. Between lack of production and fumbles for each respectively, neither player is a lock to make this team.
Fun Fact: Kevin Hogan and Connor Jessop will get the nods behind center tonight. Both grew up in Northern Virginia.
ESPN – He’s not here to give snappy quotes or provide witty comments. Someone other than Washington Redskins rookie nose tackle Daron Payne can provide that entertainment. That is a good thing, because that’s not what Payne wants to do anyway.
Look at his first preseason action two weeks ago against the New York Jets. He took on double teams without losing ground; he won a one-on-one battle for a sack; he strung out runs, allowing linebackers to make plays.
“It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to worry about,” teammate and defensive end Ziggy Hood said.
Payne is quiet enough that he didn’t want to speak up at Alabama when an apostrophe was inserted into his first name, turning him into Da’Ron. He was listed that way from his freshman season through this past year.
“Just overnight one day it ended up with an apostrophe,” he said. “I never said nothing for a minute and then I finally said something. … I didn’t think too much about it. My agent called me and was like, ‘Do you want it or not?’ And I said no.”
Great article by ESPN’s John Keim on Daron Payne. I’ve always been high on Payne as a player, but as someone who has had their last name mispronounced for 25 years without bothering to correct anyone, Payne becomes much more relatable as a person. You’ve got to love a guy who does not worry about something trivial as a spelling error.
On the field, He’s earned praise from the veteran leader of the Washington defense, Josh Norman, comparing Payne and Jon Allen to Kawaan Short and Star Lotulelei from his days playing in Carolina.
“Young, sprout and just ready to go,” Norman said. “When they played, it was a difference. They moved men. They’d get to a quarterback and he was able to throw it blind sometimes and get it out of their hands faster than they wanted to. That’s when DBs make plays on the ball. Those two guys remind me of them. They’re shorter impact tanks. I look at that and I love it.
Daron, Da’Ron, doesn’t matter. Names aside, Payne is only concerned more important things like sacking quarterbacks and becoming a dominating lineman.
No surprises here. Smith was always going to be the starter and McCoy is a backup who can get you through 5-6 games without ruining your season should QB1 go down. As much as Kevin Hogan would be a nice addition to this team, he is the odd man out as the Skins’ usually only carry 2 QB’s on the roster.
via CBS Sports
Running Backs:Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs, Samaje Perine
No surprises here either. Byron Marshall will be the odd man out. Injuries will likely mean the coaching staff elects to keep 5 backs.
via AP/Alex Brandon
Wide Receivers:Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Cam Sims
Doctson is the incumbent WR1, with Richardson opposite him and Crowder holding down the slot. Harris has impressed throughout training camp and will earn a spot. Sims has performed well in preseason action edging out Brian Quick. Mr. Irrelevant, Trey Quinn, hasn’t done much to separate him self from the pack.
via Washington Post/John McDonnell
Tight Ends:Josh Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
Reed, when healthy, is an elite tight end. Davis is also a reliable target who can fill in as a starter should Reed go down (Reed has never played 16 games in his professional career). Sprinkle has been solid this offseason and no one else has done much to challenge him for the third TE spot.
via USA TODAY
Offensive Line:Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Geron Christian Sr., Tyler Catalina, Ty Nseke, Kyle Kalis
When healthy, this is a top line in the league. It will be interesting to see whether the coaching staff elects to keep 8 linemen like last year or add another for depth purposes. The latter seems more likely.
via AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Defensive line:Jon Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, Anthony Lanier II, Ziggy Hood
This defensive line will be young and hungry. With the exception of Hood, everyone on this line will be 25 years old or younger.
via Garrett Campbell/Washington Redskins
Inside Linebackers: Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight, Shaun Dion Hamilton
Zach Vigil looks to be the odd man out here. Spaight has shown improvement this preseason and can play on special teams, while Hamilton is a raw prospect that can develop into a starter. These four guys will see plenty of action this week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Outside Linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee
Not much to say here, this is likely to be the strongest unit on defense with Kerrigan and Smith returning. McPhee was added this offseason to boost depth.
A young group led by Norman. Dunbar and Moreau are no surprises. Alexander has the size and speed to play safety as well. Johnson has made the most of his opportunities in preseason action. Greg Stroman will look to immediately contribute as a return man on special teams.
Game 3 of the preseason is always the most interesting from a fan’s standpoint because this is the game where starters play more than they normally would. Rather than a long boring recap, I wanted to touch on a few points to watch out for as the season continues.
Alex Smith – 3/8 passing, 33 yards. Not exactly what you want from your starting QB, albeit against a very good Broncos secondary. It looks like the Smith is still working on finding a rhythm with his new corp of receivers – Vernon Davis had 4 targets out of Smith’s 8 passes. We’ll see what happens when Coach Gruden finally opens up the playbook for Smith week 1.
Adrian Peterson – The player everyone had eyes on and there have been no less than 100 articles on him in the last 48 hours. I’ll keep it brief – 11 carries, 56 yards and in less than a half of actions is good. All Day still has a quick step, great vision, and is big enough to fight for extra yards after the contact. He’s played his way into a starting role.
Offensive Line – The good news is that everyone is healthy and if it stays that way, this line will continue to be one of the best in the league.
Simmie Cobbs Jr. – 1 rec, 18 yards, 1 TD. Simmie has gotten more reps with Maurice Harris and Cam Sims out. He is competing for a roster spot with Brian Quick(DNP) and Trey Quinn(1 rec, 2 yards, 4 targets).
Da’Ron Payne – Payne was Washington’s first round pick and he is playing like it. Payne is big, athletic, and strong. Right now, he’s the run stuffer in the middle of the Skins’ defense but don’t sleep on his pass rushing skills. He’s back playing next to Jon Allen. One of these guys will have to be double teamed and the other is going to be a handful for the poor lineman who has to take him 1-on-1.
Da'Ron Payne lines up as the backside 1-tech. Engages with the center and keeps his feet moving horizontally. Disengages and takes down the running back. #Redskinspic.twitter.com/dsj3aTk4Nv
Tim Settle – A fellow Hokie, Settle has a special place in my heart. After a great training camp where he forced his way into the defensive line rotation, Settle was the star of the week 1 preseason game against New England. He had a quieter game this week, but did show good push up front and had a pass knockdown.
Side note: One of the picks acquired from Denver in the Su’a Cravens trade was used on Settle.
Quinton Dunbar – Listed as the number 2 corner on this roster, Dunbar beat out Orlando Scandrick for the job. He’s shown some flashes of potential and it will be interesting to see how he develops in his first season starting full time.
Montae Nicholson – I’m not sure what to make of Nicholson. He has the size and speed to be a starting safety (and he will start at FS to begin the season), but he will be tested in coverage often.
Fabian Moreau – I have high hopes for Moreau (see future number 1 corner). With Kendall Fuller shipped away to Kansas City (I’ll bite my tongue on that topic), Moreau is looking to fill into the role nickel cornerback. He has good length and explosive closing speed, as evidenced on the pass break up again Emmanuel Sanders below. Moreau has a ton of potential and should be very exciting to watch grow.
Solid recovery by nickel corner Fabian Moreau to break up the 3rd down pass to Sanders. Moreau has big shoes to fill with Kendall Fuller gone. #Redskinspic.twitter.com/yYJH7T1X8m
Troy Apke – Apke projects to be a special teamer. He has great straight line speed but is questionable in coverage. Apke is a player on the bubble, he will get a lot of snaps next week.
Tress Way – Still one of the best punters in the league. Full stop.
In conclusion, there is no need to overreact to this overall ugly game by the Burgundy and Gold. There were bright spots, there were bad spots, but that is what the preseason is for. Many key players were out: Zach Brown, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, etc. The d-line and pass rush will be great this year and hopefully mask any shortcoming in the secondary. The offense still needs to find it’s identity but Smith has yet to see live action with all his weapons available (Crowder and Doctson sat out). This team has a few kinks to work out.
A few takeaways from the video in case it was too long for you:
Cole Anthony has the full endorsement of John Wall
Cole Anthony, son of NCAA champion and Knicks 1st round pick, Greg Anthony – has received offers from Duke, Gtown, Kansas, UK, Louisville, UCLA, UNC, and Villanova. According to ESPN, Anthony is the #1 Class of 2019 PG and a future NBA Draft lottery pick. He is scouted as a modern day PG, an explosive athlete who can score from anywhere. The NY native will spend his senior year at Oak Hill Academy. (Notable Oak Hill Academy alums include Carmelo Anthony, Michael Beasley, Rondo, Harry Giles, and some guy who goes by KD.). The senior Anthony said that Cole is planning on announcing his commitment as late as possible.
This is maybe the second worst thing you can do in a weight room behind curling in the squat rack. And normally, I’d be totally against this, however, wearing gloves prevents calluses. I’m for anything that will protect his $170 million dollar hands. Which means we can continue to see plays like this:
John Wall gave away 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies
For the past 5 years, The John Wall Family Foundation has hosted an annual BackPack Giveaway. This year John and the Foundation gave away 1,000(!!!) backpacks and took photos with school kids in the Southeast D.C. area. John has always made it a point to give back to the community, both in D.C. and his hometown of Raleigh, NC. That not only includes these giveaway events, but also serving as a mentor to AAU players and being a huge supporter of Bright Beginnings, a non-profit in D.C. that assists homeless children under 5 years of age get an education.
Interesting move here by Tom Wilson, not picking his own teammates. Brett Connolly was none too pleased. He did choose Erik Gudbranson – who is opposing captain Michael Del Zotto’s blue line partner on the Vancouver Canucks – continuing to do things to ensure he lives rent free in the minds of every NHL player not on the Capitals’ roster. At least Ol’ Tommy Boy can admit his flaws.
A few takeaways from this 23-second clip that are definitely not overreactions:
Chris Thompson looks to be healthy – Thompson suffered a brutal broken fibula last Nov. 19 vs New Orleans. Despite other injuries to the Washington backfield, Gruden is in no rush to bring Thompson back before Week 1 of the regular season vs. the Arizona Cardinals.
Rob Kelley continues to be a question mark – It’s no secret that the coaching staff isn’t exactly thrilled with their running back options following the Guice and Perine injuries. That is why they brought in 12-year vet and former MVP, Adrian Peterson. There was talk of Rob Kelley showing up to camp lighter than he had in the past – hoping to recapture some of the flashes of the potential as a short yardage back he showed in the second half of his rookie year, but so far he has failed to impress. He will get his chances over the next few weeks while AP learns the playbook.
Adrian Peterson looks good – Good being subjective because this is only one drill from his first day and he’s 33. However, the options for Washington are slim and AP signed for a vet minimum of $1.015 million with a cap hit of $630K per Field Yates of ESPN.
TL;DR Rob Kelley almost falls over, AP will probably be the best 33 year old back in the league this year.