From Comcast SportsNetARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knows one thing he'd change if he could: He'd make sure his everyday players got more rest during the season.Or they might still be playing, and not already several days into what will be a long offseason."I could have looked at not having all my regulars play as many games as they played," Washington said Tuesday. "I think if I could have changed that, and got them some opportunity to get more rest, they'd be much fresher as we went down the stretch. It could have been a difference. I question myself for that."After going to the last two World Series, Texas failed to win even one game this October. They lost 10 of their last 14 overall, including a sweep at Oakland to end the regular season before losing Friday to Baltimore in the first win-or-go-home AL wild-card card.Not counting the postseason game, Texas had seven players who appeared in at least 147 games. Adrian Beltre, the 33-year-old third baseman who just finished his 15th major league season, was among five Rangers who played in at least 156 games."Maybe I played them into the ground," Washington said.The Rangers, who won 93 games, face some significant changes in their roster since eight players will be eligible for free agency.The most notable is slugger Josh Hamilton, and general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday that the team is "not going to make a kind of pre-emptive proposal at this point." The two sides put negotiations on hold earlier this year with the expectation that Hamilton would test the free-agent market."I think that effectively what we decided internally and agreed on with Josh and his representatives during the spring was that was the process," Daniels said. "We're going to let it play out. If you put yourself in his shoes, if you've got this far, you're going to test the market, find out what's out there. I think that's understandable."The Rangers were division leaders for a majors-best 178 games this season, taking the AL West lead four games into the season and staying there alone until be caught by Oakland in the 161st game. They then lost the division crown on the final day of the regular season, 12-5 to the A's after having a 5-1 lead.That made the Rangers a wild card, and they lost 5-1 at home to Baltimore on Friday night."Bottom line it was a very good year, it was a very disappointing finish," Daniels said. "I think we're all on the same page that we want to build on that and get back to where we want to be, which is contending year in, year out for a world championship."That was the consensus feeling among team president Nolan Ryan, Daniels and Washington during a season-ending news conference, which came on the same day the Rangers would have been playing Game 3 of the AL division series had Texas won the AL West title.Instead of batting practice at Rangers Ballpark, stadium workers were stripping away the grass in foul territory between the third-base line and the visitor dugout.The Rangers payroll this year topped 120 million. Ryan, who is also part of the team's ownership group, said there have been numerous discussions about team's budget for 2013 that will not be affected by the lack of revenue-generating home playoff games."Overall, we're probably all pretty much in agreement of where we're headed and how we're doing as organization," Ryan said, without getting into specifics. "I think that we all have thoughts and opinions on how we can improve our ballclub, and those will be expressed obviously during meetings going forward. But overall I think everybody's on the same page."Aside from Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli, the other potential free agents are pitchers.Ryan Dempster came from the Chicago Cubs in a July 31 trade, and the Rangers will not pick up a 9 million option on Scott Feldman, who will get a 600,000 buyout instead. The others are relievers Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Mark Lowe and Roy Oswalt, the three-time All-Star added midseason who wound up in the bullpen after Dempster was acquired.Hamilton hit a career-high 43 homers and drove in 128 runs but was lustily booed by Rangers fans while going 0-for-4 against the Orioles, the same team he hit four homers against on May 8.There was also the dropped routine popup in the regular-season finale, a two-out tiebreaking miscue that allowed the A's to score two runs and go ahead to stay. He missed five games on a September trip because of a cornea problem he said was caused by too much caffeine and energy drinks."Obviously I think Josh probably would have liked to finish stronger and we would have liked to see him finish stronger," Ryan said. "Will it impact our position as far as going forward? No, I don't think so. We'll consider the entire season because it is an entire season that affects the outcome."
With Memorial Day weekend between now and the Redskins next batch of OTAs, let's look at the three best quotes from the first organized team session. For Redskins fans, the biggest looming issue remains the contract negotiations between Kirk Cousins and the organization, but there are plenty of other spots worth watching.
1) Bad recruiting - A long-term deal might not get done, but that doesn't mean the talks aren't moving along. Cousins sounded almost optimistic but also knows that football is never a sure thing. To explain, he told a story from his high school days:
I’ve just kind of learned from previous experiences and if you know my story going back to high school, I played my senior year of high school with no scholarship offers, in fact there was a coach here from Northwestern today who was my recruiting coach at Northwestern, he’s still the running backs coach 10 years later at Northwestern and I was getting recruited by Northwestern, wanted a scholarship, they didn’t offer me, and it was just a reminder that you never know what’s going to happen.
2) Sky's the limit - Despite the high-cost addition of Josh Norman, the Redskins secondary in 2016 was hardly a strength. Much of that came from poor safety play, where the team had few experienced options and spent little. This offseason, Washington invested in the position, bringing in D.J. Swearinger from the Arizona Cardinals. The new safety thinks the secondary can become a strength, quickly.
We have a lot of talent. If we work day in and day out I think this group can be one of the best. We just got to keep working, keep gelling to get everybody on the same page, the sky’s the limit.
3) Does it even matter - The NFL gives out a lot of awards, but at least publicly, there is no hardware for the funniest head coach. If there was a trophy, Jay Gruden should win it. Earlier this week the league announced a number of rule changes, most noticeably a change to stodgy TD celebration penalties. Another rule change: Overtime will shrink from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Gruden wasn't impressed when asked about it.
Bonus - Who you calling fat? Gruden is too funny to only make the list once. Asked about second-year running back Robert Kelley, the coach made sure people know the difference between a nickname and reality.
That was just a nickname, he wasn’t actually fat. I think when you’re a 22-year-old kid, 21-year-old guy out of Tulane and you understand the wear and tear that the NFL is going to give you, you better get yourself into shape if you want to maintain a career in the NFL as a running back.
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Cousins on Jay Gruden as #Redskins play caller: He's kind of a natural— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) May 24, 2017
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The 2016-17 Wizards season had some crazy twists and turns. It ultimately ended with a loss to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs, but they won their first division title and had their most wins as a franchise since 1978-79. Along the way there were many memorable games. Here is a look at the 10 best...
10. April 6, 2017 - Beal says goodnight at the Garden
The Wizards got their 48th win of the season behind 25 points from Bradley Beal and 24 points for John Wall, who also had eight assists. Both hit four threes, none bigger than Beal's from the corner with :49 seconds left. That put the Wizards up 106-103 and that held as the final score. After Beal hit the three, he high-fived a Wizards fan at Madison Square Garden on his way back to play defense. It was a great moment for a team that was inching close to a playoff run.
9. February 28, 2017: Wizards take down big, bad Warriors
Yeah, Kevin Durant got hurt, but it was still a huge win for the Wizards who had just lost two straight coming out of the All-Star break. And even without Durant, the rest of the Warriors were pretty much the same guys who won 73 games one year before. The Wizards edged Golden State by four points after entering the fourth quarter tied. They dropped 40 points in the first quarter alone. Beal led them in scoring with 25 points, and Markieff Morris was great with 22 points and four blocks but it was Wall's career-high 19 assists that made the biggest difference.
8. January 19, 2017: Wizards' controversial win at Knicks
Wall (29 points, 13 assists, 3 steals) and Otto Porter (6 threes) led the way, but this one is memorable because of how it ended. First, Wall made a huge play by turning a defensive rebound into a fastbreak dunk with :13 seconds left. Then, on the final possession Courtney Lee passed up what looked like a wide open shot. It was later revealed by the Knicks that they were confused by Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe standing on the court during the play. Lowe was later fined by the NBA.
7. December 18, 2016: Wizards prove themselves against Clippers
Some would argue the Wizards' Sunday afternoon win over the Clippers in December was among the biggest turning points of their season. At the time, L.A. was one of the very best teams in basketball. But the Wizards beat them convincingly behind 41 points (including 6 threes) by Beal and 23 points, nine rebounds and three steals by Morris. Morris' defense on Blake Griffin in the fourth quarter also helped seal the victory for Washington, who improved to 12-14 and secured their first three-game winning streak of the season.
6. March 25, 2017: Wall explodes as Wizards win at Cavs
This was a nationally-televised game that many were waiting for. The Wizards had emerged as one of the best teams in the East and the Cavaliers did not take them lightly. Immediately, the Wizards imposed their will by shooting 82 percent in the first quarter. Wall set a career-high for one quarter with 18 points in the frame. He ended up with 37 on the night as the Wizards won in a 127-115 blowout that was not as close as the score would suggest. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers emptied their bench in consolation.
5. March 11, 2017: Morris beats Blazers in OT
This may rival the controversial Knicks game as one of the weirdest of the season. The Wizard came back from down 21 points and there were many standouts, as Wall had 39 points and Morris, Porter and Marcin Gortat all logged double-doubles. But it was all decided on a shot by Morris on the baseline that dropped in with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock. A closer look at the replay revealed Morris stepped out of bounds before dribbling out of the corner to shoot. The refs could not review the play and the Wizards were given a victory that probably shouldn't have been theirs. If Morris was called out of bounds, the Wizards would have been down one point with little time left to play. The Blazers were understandably very upset about that.
4. February 6, 2017: OT loss vs. Cavs
The only loss to make this list, the Wizards overtime battle against the defending-champion Cavaliers was one of the best games of the entire NBA season. Afterwards, Scott Brooks called it an "instant classic." Not only did all the stars show up with great games, but LeBron James' fadeaway bankshot to send the game to overtime may go down as one of the best - or at least most difficult - of his career. The loss also snapped a 17-game home winning streak for the Wizards.
3. January 24, 2017: All-black game vs. Celtics
The game itself was nothing to write home about, as the Wizards destroyed the Celtics by 15 points behind Beal's 31. But the hype that preceded this one made it among the most memorable of the season. After beating the Hornets in Charlotte the night before, the Wizards announced they were going to wear all-black clothing to their rematch with the Celtics, their first meeting since Wall and Jae Crowder got into a postgame altercation that took their budding rivalry into overdrive. Sure enough, they did show up in all-black. The Wizards set the bar high for themselves and could have easily been embarrassed by a loss, yet they delivered on all accounts.
2. April 28, 2017: Wall's epic Game 6 vs. Hawks
This game was also pretty lopsided, as the Wizards beat Atlanta by 16. But it was a closeout game and in it Wall put in one of the best performances by a Wizards or Bullets player in decades. Wall was brilliant with 42 points, eight assists, four steals and two blocks. Most impressive were his 19 fourth quarter points, which set a new personal best for points in one quarter. Wall scored the Wizards' final 13 points to almost singlehandedly ensure they would advance a round in the playoffs.
1. May 12, 2017: Wizards win Game 6 vs. Celtics behind Wall's 3
This will go down as one of the best Wizards games in years, even though they ended up losing the series. Down 3-2 to the Celtics with their season on the line, the Wizards made key plays in the fourth quarter to stay alive. They also avoided the bad optics of a loss where the Celtics showed up in all-black and looking for revenge. To win, the Wizards had to come back from down five points with less than :90 seconds to go. Beal and Wall matched the Celtics, who couldn't miss in the final minute. And it all came down to Wall knocking down a three-pointer in Avery Bradley's face with 3.5 seconds left. One defensive stop later and Wall was on top of the scorer's table celebrating with a soldout crowd. It was an amazing moment and one that will be recalled for a long time by Wizards fans.