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).
After Dukes was burned by the Nats for scheduling his first pitch to coincide with Kate Ledecky’s (we wrote about that here, the olive branch was extended).
This Friday Dukes will ride the Cart after the 2nd inning as the Nats take on Milwaukee at 7:05PM.
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.
Washington Nationals Overview – 4:30
Washington Redskins Pre-Season Talk – 33:00
Washington Wizards Off-Season – 1:01:10
Washington Capitals Off-Season – 1:12:35
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.
Deadspin wrote up a piece regarding The Athletic, the subscription region-based digital sports website that has been notorious of late of snagging sportswriters left and right.
DC is the next target, but apparently, things have not gone as planned.
Some key quotes from the story are below.
On the failed execution of the plan:
A variety of reporters at the Washington Post and in the D.C. area, who spoke to Deadspin about The Athletic’s efforts, described a failure to execute an audacious plan to pillage one of the last good sports desks at an American newspaper (even as the newsroom within which that desk is situated goes to war with its cartoon plutocrat owner), an inability to entice other notable reporters with roots in the area, and a failure to either notice or care that a ready-made operation with deep local connections was right there, ready to be absorbed. The end result is that The Athletic’s entrance into the nation’s capital, one of the biggest sports markets in the county, has stalled before it even started.
On the reporters approached:
Sources at the Washington Post say the Athletic has approached, and failed to hire, sports editor Dan Steinberg, Capitals reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan, Redskins reporter Kimberley Martin, columnist Barry Svrluga, Nationals reporter Jorge Castillo (who recently announced he was going to the Los Angeles Times), soccer writer Steven Goff, and college sports, tennis, and WNBA reporter Ava Wallace. It’s unclear whether Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes and Wizards reporter Candace Buckner have talked to The Athletic and if they are considering—or have accepted—jobs at The Athletic. (Update: Sources familiar with the situation say Janes and Buckner were also approached by The Athletic. They are both staying at the Washington Post.)
The story goes on to discuss the connection with Bezos and how that may have played into the ability to thwart the poachers. It also discusses the other digital sports media competitions that already have footholds in the area.
The Athletic’s mission is to destroy newspapers as we know it. For now it seems, the DC Sports Newspaper scene is safe. We’ll see how this evolves as The Athletic grows.
By the way, hey The Athletic, our talents are for sale!!!