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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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!