I found this tweet extremely relatable as the clock struck midnight and my fantasy draft got underway (that’s what I get for playing with people in different timezones).
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.
Kickoff is 7:30 pm ET.
via Getty Images
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.
via Getty Images/Patrick Smith
Quarterbacks: Alex Smith, Colt McCoy
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.
via Keith Allison/Hanover, MD
Cornerbacks: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Adonis Alexander, Danny Johnson, Greg Stroman
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.
via Washington Post/John McDonnell
Safeties: D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everrett, Troy Apke, Quin Blanding
Washington would be best suited to keep 5 safeties as Apke may need more time to develop as a backup and a little competition from Blanding might help speed things along.
Special Teams: Dustin Hopkins (K), Tress Way (P), Nick Sundberg (LS)
Again, no surprises here. This unit returns from last year.
via San Francisco Chronicle
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.
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.
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.
You can watch Anthony’s highlights here.
John wears gloves to lift weights
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:
Keef Morris Sighting!
Markieff Morris makes a cameo at the 6:37 mark in the Ballislife video. Or is it Marcus? That isn’t for me to try to decide, nor is it for you.
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.