Fairfax native seeks turnaround

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Fairfax native seeks turnaround

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Steve Marinos first round at the 2008 AT&T National was memorable for two reasons: the affable Fairfax, Va.-native boasted the tournaments rowdiest gallery and, for a time, sat atop the leaderboard.
When the event kicks off at Congressional Country Club on Thursday, Marino figures to be closely followed by a big gallery filled with friends, former classmates and family. Whats less certain, though, is how hell perform on one of the PGA Tours toughest courses.
Its always really exciting for me to come back and play at this tournament having grown up around here, said Marino, a graduate of W.T. Woodson High and the University of Virginia. I kind of mark this tournament down every year as something I look forward to.
Theres something else thats got him looking forward to it this year hes finally healthy.

Marino missed four months earlier this season with a knee injury. In the three tournaments since his return, including the U.S. Open two weeks ago, hes missed the cut.
Complications with his left knee occurred following surgery to repair a torn meniscus last October. At the Sony Open in January, Marino endured excruciating pain each time he bent over to read putts.
I pulled my pant leg up and my knee was just really swollen, a lot of fluid in it, Marino said.
After playing through the pain for two more weeks, he was diagnosed with a condition called avascular necrosis.
At first I thought I was going to miss a few weeks and be back, Marino said. But I ended up having a bone contusion on the tip of my tibia and femur. There was no blood flow to the area, so it wasnt healing.

Basically, my bone was dying, he continued. They wanted me to stay off it, non-weight bearing stuff.
So, for the next 16 weeks, Marino, a normally active 32-year-old who likes to fish, was reduced to a couch potato who occasionally slept in a hyperbaric chamber.
No boating. Definitely no fishing, doctors orders.
It was pretty boring for a few months, he said with a smile. Watched a lot of TV. I think Ive seen every movie thats ever been made.

Since returning to the Tour last month, Marino has struggled to regain his form, failing to reach the weekend in any of his three outings. At the U.S. Open, he fired an 84 and followed it up with a 78.
Still, he likes his chances this week, in part, because his knee feels much stronger.
Hopefully Ive knocked most of the rust off, said Marino, who has almost 9 million in career earnings but is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory. I just need to get one solid round under my belt then I can start rolling a little bit.

Marino will certainly have the support of a large and loyal gallery, even if his supporters are less boisterous (and minus a guy wearing green shorts emblazoned with pink flamingos) than before.
Some of them might have matured a little bit the last couple of years, Marino chuckled, referring to his hometown buddies. So it might be a little bit tamer. And also, that year I think I had the first round lead. So everybody was really excited. They were pretty rowdy.

Marino may not be among the favorites to win, but if youre looking for a personable underdog to follow, hes your guy.

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Cousins confident but for now 'it's all just talk'

Cousins confident but for now 'it's all just talk'

RICHMOND—Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is ready to move on from all of the talk about how he and the Redskins offense will perform in 2016 and start to see it on the field.

“I think we're going to find out,” Cousins said when asked about where he is in the process of taking ownership of the starting quarterback job. “It's still so early in the development, we're still in the first day of camp in the preseason so we'll find out as we go.

“For right now it's all talk but there's no doubt that you have more comfort if you've played and have been the starter and have been out there and had experiences. What we went through last year has helped me having confidence going forward. Hopefully it translates into a great offense and a lot of production but it's just talk right now until we go out there and do it.”

Cousins started the 2015 season off slowly after being named the starter just two weeks prior to the start of the season. But he came on strong in the last 10 games, throwing 23 touchdowns and three interceptions. If he takes another step forward the Redskins’ offense could be one of the best in the league.

But, as Cousins said, for now that’s just talk. We will see how it turns out when they start playing the games.

 

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Junior Galette willing to 'travel around the world' in order to avoid surgery

Junior Galette willing to 'travel around the world' in order to avoid surgery

Junior Galette has been here before.

The Redskins linebacker is once again facing a full season on the shelf thanks to a right Achilles injury he suffered just days before training camp

It is the same position Galette was in a season ago, when a left Achilles injury stopped him from ever taking the field with the Redskins.

But after having surgery in 2015, the former Temple Owl is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid having to undergo surgery again.

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Other than investing in bionic legs or using duct tape (Both of which were suggested by Twitter users), there are not many options.

Galette could opt to forgo surgery in favor of letting it heal on its own, but immobilization is more likely to lead to another tear than surgery would. 

The immobilization process is not recommended for someone who is actively trying to return to professional sports, even if he has roughly a full calendar year to do so.

At 6-2, 256 pounds, Galette's Achilles tendon is of major importance, and allowing it to heal on its own may not be the best course of action, despite Galette not wanting to go the surgery route.

He could opt for the controversial method of stem cell therapy. Many NFL players have traveled abroad in the past to be injected with stem cells in order to speed up the recovery process. But typically stem cell therapy is used as an aid to surgery, not an alternative.

Nonetheless, the next month is going to be painful for Galette and not just because of his injured Achilles tendon.

He is going to have to make a difficult decision on his future all while watching his teammates getting ready for theirs without him.

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Grading the Caps' offseason moves: Trading for Lars Eller

Grading the Caps' offseason moves: Trading for Lars Eller

The quest for the Stanley Cup doesn't begin on the ice, but during the offseason as general managers build their teams for the upcoming campaign. The Caps have made a number of moves this summer to try to make their team better and get over the playoff hump.

Let's break down and grade each move the team made this offseason to help figure out whether it was the right move for the team.

Today's move: Trading for Lars Eller

Throughout the playoff series against Pittsburgh, one thing was abundantly clear: the Caps needed more scoring depth in the bottom six.

The Caps have the skill to match any team in the NHL on the top two lines, but it was the Penguins’ third line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel that truly tipped the scales in their favor.

No other team had that kind of scoring depth.

In their never-ending quest for the Stanley Cup, the Caps needed more offense from their bottom two lines.

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Jay Beagle played well last season and though he wants to play on the third line, he’s a better option on the fourth. If given the choice between an average third line center or a great fourth line center, the choice is clear. Strengthen the fourth line and bring in someone who can bolster the third.

Brian MacLellan did just that by trading for Lars Eller.

Eller’s time in Montreal got off to a rocky start as he was traded from St. Louis to the Canadiens in the deal that sent hero netminder (and Capitals' playoff nemesis) Jaroslav Halak out of Montreal. He then had to deal with a constantly changing offensive lineup that at times saw him frequently matched with different linemates.

There were even times he moved from center to wing.

Despite flashes of brilliance, Eller has tallied 30 points only once in his career and has never scored more than 16 goals in a season. Yet, his offensive production is still better than that of Beagle and it should go up with a better offensive lineup and the stability he should get in Washington. He is also a very good possession player and managed to maintain solid possession numbers in Montreal despite shuffling through linemates.

Grade: B+

Eller’s highlights and stats seem to tell two different stories.

When you watch him, he looks like a 20 goal scorer. It’s surprising that he hasn’t had more offensive production given his talent, but that may have a lot to do with the instability of Montreal’s lineup.

Washington will be different. Eller was brought in to be the third line center and, barring injury, that’s exactly what he will be. The lines will shuffle now and again with the normal ups and downs of an 82 game season, but he will see more stability in Washington than he ever had in Montreal. He will certainly not be asked to play wing any time soon.

Eller is an offensive threat with fantastic stick-handling abilities. He drives possession and has good positioning even without the puck on his stick. He checks off every box on the Caps’ wish list but two: speed and cost.

It would not be fair to call Eller slow, but no one would say that Eller has blazing speed either. Heading into the offseason, the Caps wanted to get faster in response to the speed they saw from Pittsburgh. Eller does not make them a faster team.

That’s not the end of the world. The Caps are clearly a better team offensively with Eller on the third line and Beagle on the fourth. What really bumps this grade down, however, is what it cost to get him.

Two second-round draft picks is high for a player you’re planning on plugging into the third line. Montreal didn’t help matters by trading for Andrew Shaw on the very same day for the exact same cost, two second-round draft picks.

As good as Eller is and as good as he will be with the Caps, Shaw is better and younger. Eller’s cost seemed high initially and that was confirmed by the fact that the same price netted Montreal and even better return.

No one will care about those draft picks if Eller proves to be the key piece in a Capitals Cup run, but that loss will sting the next two years come draft time.

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