'Monday Night Football' was just awful

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'Monday Night Football' was just awful

From Comcast SportsNet
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Darren McFadden needed one series to show he's in midseason form for Oakland following a foot injury that cut his last season short. Most of the rest of the first-team offensive players for the Raiders and Dallas Cowboys need plenty of work to get back to that level. McFadden picked up where he left off last season by gaining 38 yards on Oakland's first three plays of the exhibition season and the Raiders went on to lose to the Dallas Cowboys 3-0 on Monday night. "He was able to make some explosive gains," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "That's what we anticipate out of him. He's an explosive playmaker. We have to find ways to get him the ball and give him an opportunity to be explosive for us." McFadden, who missed the last nine games of 2011 with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, opened the game with a 4-yard run, an 18-yard reception and a 16-yard run to delight of the Raiders fans. But Carson Palmer threw an interception to Gerald Sensabaugh on the next play for Oakland (tied for No. 23 in the AP Pro32) and both the Raiders and Cowboys (No. 15, AP Pro32) struggled to generate much of anything until the reserves took over in the second half. "We made some mistakes and it cost us," Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said. "There will be some good stuff to evaluate and get better. We have to get better from tonight's game and we will." Kyle Orton took Dallas 67 yards on the opening drive of the second half to set up Dan Bailey's 33-yard field goal and that proved to be the only scoring of the night. McFadden left after that first series and Palmer couldn't move the Raiders without him. Matt Leinart played the rest of a scoreless first half and completed six passes to undrafted free agent Rod Streater, but couldn't put any points on the board. Dez Bryant, whose status was in question after leaving practice early Saturday because of hamstring tightness, came up with the only big play for Dallas' first-team offense when he made a good adjustment in the air for a 24-yard gain from Romo on the first offensive drive for the Cowboys. That was the only first down in three series with Romo under center. Only two of Dallas' other 10 plays with Romo in the game went for more than 1 yard and both of those were on third-and-longs when the Cowboys couldn't convert. But the Dallas defense did the job after the fast start by McFadden. "We just had to settle down," Sensabaugh said. "Once we got settled down and everybody just kept doing their job, there weren't too many big plays coming after that. (Our) guys were able to make plays." The play was sloppy all around as Dallas twice committed penalties on punts to prolong drives for Oakland and committed another before a botched snap on a field goal try. The Raiders were unable to make the Cowboys pay for those mistakes as the first drive aided by two fourth-down penalties ended in a punt and usually reliable Sebastian Janikowski was wide right on a 47-yard field goal attempt after the third infraction. Oakland had its share of mistakes as Chimdi Chekwa let a punt roll to the goal line instead of downing it at the 1 and receiver Jacoby Ford had a rough day all around. Ford was stopped after a 4-yard return on the opening kickoff, had two passes from Palmer go through his hands, was the target on Palmer's interception and muffed a punt that rolled out of bounds to miss a chance at a return. Even the replacement officials had problems as they spotted one ball outside the hash marks only to have Romo correct them. The game also marked the first real action as a pro for Terrelle Pryor, the former Ohio State star quarterback who had no official plays as a rookie with Oakland. Pryor missed last preseason because he entered the league late through the supplemental draft and committed a false start penalty before his only play in the regular season. Pryor completed 8 of 15 passes for 50 yards, was sacked twice and was quick to leave the pocket to scramble, running six times for 21 yards. He put Oakland in position to score, but Eddy Carmona missed a 36-yard field goal wide right with 6:44 remaining. Pryor then threw an interception on fourth-and-26 in the final minute to end the game. "I thought I played bad," Pryor said. "I just could've played a lot better and I will play better. I just played bad today." NOTES: Cowboys rookie LB Kyle Wilber broke his left thumb. ... Raiders C Stefen Wisniewski left in the first quarter with a calf injury. ... Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden greeted fans in the Black Hole before announcing the game for ESPN. ... New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie lit the torch to honor late owner Al Davis. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for former Raiders DL Ben Davidson, who died last month at age 72.

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Need to Know: Redskins stay in house for both coordinator jobs

Need to Know: Redskins stay in house for both coordinator jobs

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 23, 37 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 45
—NFL Draft 94
First Sunday of 2017 season 230

Staying in house

­There are reasons to dislike the hire of Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator but the notion that he got the job because he is buddies with Jay Gruden really doesn’t hold water. They had no connection prior to last year and with them working on opposite sides of the ball they didn’t work side by side. I’ve heard the two have a friendly relationship but it’s not like he’s out of the Tampa Bay Yacht Club or anything.

I know that everyone is obsessed with yardage rankings, which is a pretty weak indicator of the quality of a defense. Since you want to know, in Manusky’s nine seasons as a defensive coordinator his defenses have finished ranked 18th in yards allowed on average. In reality, Football Outsiders’  DVOA is a more accurate measure of the effectiveness of a defense since it takes the strength of the opponents into account. There isn’t much difference there, Manusky’s average DVOA ranking was about 17. In other words, he’s run middle of the pack defenses. Sure, you'd like them to do better but having a defense that's around average would represent an improvement over most of the last seven seasons.

How has his talent been? Three different players have been first-team All-Pro selections. LB Patrick Willis made it three times, S Eric Weddle and DE Robert Mathias once each. Players under him made the Pro Bowl 13 times with Willis (3), Mathis (2), and DE Justin Smith (2) making it more than once. His defenses had three Pro Bowlers on one occasion when LB D’Qwell Jackson, CB Vonta Davia, and S Mike Adams all made it. That year the Colts defense was ranked 11th in yards and 13th in DVOA.

It remains to be seen how much the Redskins will change schematically. Manusky has run both 4-3 fronts and 3-4’s so the Redskins could make a switch. Even if they go with a 3-4 base the unit is likely to be more aggressive than it was under Joe Barry. Some fans seem to be worried that promoting an assistant coach means that thinks will be done the same. Let me ask you this: If your boss was fired for not getting the job done and you were promoted into his position, would you do things the same way he did? I didn’t think so.

­There will be continuity on the offensive side of the ball as Matt Cavanaugh is going to get moved into the offensive coordinator job. It’s Gruden’s offense anyway so there would not have been much change even if they had brought someone in from the outside. It seems likely that Gruden will call the plays, although we won’t know for sure for a while. The only immediate question on that side of the ball is if Wes Phillips will stay on as the tight ends coach or if he will follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. That should be resolved over the next several days.

Tandler on Twitter

This was in response to a tweet saying that Kyle Shanahan is likely to get roster and personnel control when he becomes the head coac of the 49ers.

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Virginia Tech deals Clemson its 6th consecutive ACC loss

Virginia Tech deals Clemson its 6th consecutive ACC loss

CLEMSON, S.C. — Seth Allen scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half as hot-shooting Virginia Tech held off Clemson 82-81 on Sunday, sending the Tigers to their sixth straight Atlantic Coast Conference loss.

The Hokies (15-4, 4-3 ACC) shot 60.9 percent (14 of 23) in the second half and 54.7 percent overall to win for the third time in the past four games. Allen made five of his six shots — including three 3-pointers — in the final 20 minutes and had a critical steal with 90 seconds left to keep Virginia Tech out front.

The Tigers (11-8, 1-6) appeared to take the lead down 70-69 as Jaron Blossomgame's shot with 3:48 left was rolling around and ready to fall in when teammate Sidy Djitte, attempting a tip in, knocked it away.

Chris Clarke soon followed with a three-point play and Allen hit a crushing 3-pointer with 29 seconds left to seal things for the Hokies.

Clemson got within 80-78 with 5.9 seconds left on Blossomgame's 3-pointer. But Justin Bibbs hit two foul shots to seal things.

Blossomgame and Avry Holmes had 20 points each for Clemson, whose ACC losing streak is its longest since dropping seven straight to end the 2012-13 season.

Holmes hit a 3-pointer for Clemson as time ran out to end the scoring.

Zach LeDay had 16 points and Ahmed Hill had 11 for the Hokies.

MORE NCAA: Georgetown is back on a losing streak