NFL rising star signs 6-year extension


NFL rising star signs 6-year extension

From Comcast SportsNetTEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Cardinals and inside linebacker Daryl Washington have agreed on a six-year contract.The Cardinals had targeted the third-year pro throughout training camp as the next player to get a new deal. A second-round draft pick -- 47th overall -- out of TCU in 2010, Washington led the team in tackles last season with 111."I feel really good, really good," he said after practice on Thursday. "I'm glad it was able to get done before the season, sooner than later. I feel real good about the decision, about my agent Jordan Woy and the organization. I told them I wanted to be here for a long time and I'm glad it got done."Terms weren't disclosed but the deal contains guaranteed money, a pay raise over the next two seasons with a team option bonus in 2014.Washington, known for his extreme speed at a critical position in Arizona's 3-4 scheme, had 16 tackles for loss last season, the most by an Arizona player since 1995. He was one of five players in the NFL in 2011 with at least five sacks and two interceptions.He had two years left on the contract he signed as a rookie."It just shows they believe in me, they believe in my talent," Washington said. "It shows the kind of person I am, the kind of character that I have. I'm just excited right now, very excited."He joins defensive end Calais Campbell as players who signed long-term deals with Arizona in recent months."It just shows that they've got two potential great players for a long period of time," Washington said. "We're looking to really take over the defense and really show the organization that we're worth the pay."He said the contract does not create more pressure for him to prove he's worth it."It's more of a challenge," Washington said, "to go out there and play as well as they expect me to play. But I expect that of myself."Coach Ken Whisenhunt said "it's great when you have a young player that has made the strides that Daryl has.""We thought highly of him before we drafted him and he certainly hasn't let us down," Whisenhunt said, "so to know that he's going to be here for a number of years was a great thing."Washington has plenty of room for improvement."I think to continue on that upward scale is the next step for him," Whisenhunt said. "He learned the defense, understood what he had to do in the defense. He's been an explosive player, a fast player. When he knows what he's doing he's hard to block with the speed that he's got. He's all over the place and I think that just getting more and more comfortable in this defense and understanding where he has to be, he can get there fast, and that helps."The Cardinals had their eye on Washington throughout his college career "on a very good defense" at TCU, the coach said."For the fit in what we're trying to get done defensively, he has all the things that you like to see," Whisenhunt said. "He's smart, he's fast, he thumps a lot more than you think he would based on his size (6-foot-2, 230 pounds). He can cover, he can get down the field. All those things to play that linebacker position, a three-down linebacker, make him very valuable."Just his work ethic, that's one of the things that you look for in some of these young players, if they're going to be a leader, if they're going to be one of the guys that you count on defensively, they've got to be the right kind of guy, and Daryl is that."He is among five players from Arizona's 2010 draft class who will start in Sunday's season opener against Seattle.Campbell was elated to see Washington get the deal."He deserved it. He's definitely a great player," Campbell said. "I'd love to play with him a lot of years because he's going to make me look good and make all kinds of plays."Campbell said the Cardinals were smart to sign Washington now because he would have been a lot more expensive after this season."Because he's going to have a great year," Campbell said. "I'm predicting him to be All-Pro."

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Morning tip: Under Scott Brooks, Wizards roster is much younger than a year ago

Morning tip: Under Scott Brooks, Wizards roster is much younger than a year ago

The decision on the final 15-man roster for the Wizards represents yet another significant shift under coach Scott Brooks.

After the preseason finale Friday, he kept rookie free agents Daniel Ochefu, Sheldon McClellan and Danuel House as the team prepares for the Oct. 27 regular-season opener at the Atlanta Hawks.

Brooks has re-focused the Wizards on defense, revamped the offense and has cut down on practice time to keep his players fresh.

The latter is a major about-face of the Wizards’ philosophy under then-coach Randy Wittman, who ran longer and more frequent practices. The Wizards had the previous two days off before the 119-82 rout of the Toronto Raptors. They’re practicing Saturday and will be off Sunday.

"It's great," point guard John Wall, who had surgeries to clean up both knees on May 5, of having more recovery time. "Coach understands us as players, (we) come in with the mind-set of whatever we got to do, get it done. A lot more focused than we've (been) in the past. It's a new beginning for all of us."

By simply taking a look at the 15-man rosters to start the season in 2015-16 and 2016-17, the direction that Brooks is heading with personnel also is vastly different.

Last season, the Wizards began with seven players 30 and over (Nene, Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries, Marcin Gortat, Gary Neal, Alan Anderson and Drew Gooden). They had two who were 29 (Garrett Temple and Ramon Sessions). Only five players were 27 or younger.

Now, the roster has Gortat at 32, Jason Smith at 30 and Ian Mahinmi will be 30 next month. Marcus Thornton is 29.  The other 11 on the roster are 27 or younger.

Wittman, who said on multiple occasions that he had input on makeup of his rosters, preferred more experienced players and had the freedom to use those pieces how he saw fit. Heavy practice time for an older roster might've backfired during a 41-41 season when there was an injury rash.

Brooks has gone with energy and potential upside. Even though this roster is younger, he was brought in by president Ernie Grunfeld, in part, to do a better job with development which is why sticking with Ochefu (22), McClellan (23) and House (23) follows the blueprint.

The defensive intensity of McClellan and House when they were on the floor together was noticeable. Ochefu earned more time when Mahinmi went down with a knee injury.

Brooks can’t play all 15 and someone has to be on the inactive list when the regular season begins, but House, McClellan and Ochefu will have opportunties that might not have been there previously. 

MORE WIZARDS: Wall responds to NBA GMs survey: 'That's just more motivation...

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Doctson could return from IR in Week 15

Doctson could return from IR in Week 15

The announcement that the Redskins are sending Josh Doctson to injured reserve wasn’t really a surprise to anyone, although perhaps the timing was. Jay Gruden has said earlier that he thought they would wait until after the bye to make a decision on whether or not to put Doctson on the shelf. But visits to a couple of specialists convinced them to make the move.

The team’s top draft pick ends the season with 31 snaps played and two receptions for 66 yards including a 57-yard reception against the Cowboys. Doctson wasn’t expected to contribute much this season but the plans were to let him get his feet wet, learn in practice, and be ready to take over a starting role next year.

Now, he can’t practice for eight games even if he overcomes his mysterious Achilles problems. He can go to meetings and be around the facility and there is some benefit in that.  

Like any player put on injured reserve after the roster cut to 53, Doctson is eligible to return after eight games. The team has one move off of IR that it can use each season. The earliest that Doctson could return is Week 15, when the Redskins host the Panthers. There is a long way to go before that bridge needs to be crossed.

The other possibilities to be activated later are center Kory Lichtensteiger and safety David Bruton. But that is a decision that can be made later in the season. Who knows what the injury picture might look like when they do have to make a call.

To replace Doctson on the roster the Redskins signed rookie free agent wide receiver Maurice Harris to the roster. At 6-3 Harris immediately becomes the tallest receiver on the roster.

The move doesn’t have much of an effect on the wide receiver depth chart since Doctson has been inactive for four weeks. It remains to be seen when Harris will see the field on game days.