Seattle finally solves playoff futility on road

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Seattle finally solves playoff futility on road

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Instead of reveling in shaking 29 years of postseason road futility and completely looking ahead to another cross-country trip, Pete Carroll was left waiting Monday for the results of an MRI that only confirmed what the Seattle Seahawks originally feared.

Seattle will go forward in the postseason without pass-rushing defensive end Chris Clemons, who suffered a torn ACL and torn meniscus in his left knee in Sunday's 24-14 win at Washington.

Clemons was hurt when it appeared his cleat got stuck in the messy, dirty turf at FedEx Field early in the third quarter. Seattle was immediately concerned the injury could be serious and Monday's scan confirmed it.

``It's a big loss for us in a lot of ways,'' Carroll said. ``Chris has been a great football player and just a symbol of consistency in the years that we've had him, but he's been a great leader for us too and a tough dude and a guy we've become very comfortable playing with and we'll miss the heck out of him.''

The loss of Clemons and uncertainty about the availability of kicker Steven Hauschka, who suffered a calf strain, overshadowed what should have been a day of celebration after Seattle won its first road playoff game since beating Miami on Dec. 31, 1983.

Clemons was the most consistent pass rusher for the Seahawks since arriving in a trade from Philadelphia before the 2010 season. Clemons had 11 sacks in both 2010 and `11 and followed up a new contract over the summer with 11 1/2 sacks this season.

Rookie first-round pick Bruce Irvin, drafted to be a pass-rushing complement to Clemons, will get the first shot to start. Irvin set a franchise rookie record with eight sacks, but the real challenge will be whether he can hold up in the run game, an area where Clemons did well.

``This is Bruce's opportunity. This is what we drafted him to play and we'll see how he does,'' Carroll said. ``We expect him to do really well as he steps up.''

Players were not available at the Seahawks facility after arriving back in Seattle in the early hours of Monday morning. Clemons tweeted, ``I want to thank everyone for ... prayers. I will be ready for next season. We still got a Super Bowl to win!''

Even with Clemons going down, the Seahawks continued to display a level of resolve that has now carried them to six straight wins and eight of their last nine. Despite falling behind 14-0, Seattle solved the defensive problems that allowed Washington to roll down the field on its first two possessions. In turn, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks offense was given time to chip away at the two-touchdown deficit.

The 14-point hole was the largest deficit overcome in Seahawks playoff history and the largest of any game this season. Wilson directed Seattle back from a 23-10 fourth-quarter deficit to beat New England 24-23 in Week 6. Being down 14 in the first quarter seemed easy compared to that.

``I think people take notice we've put together a lot of games together,'' Carroll said. ``When you look at our schedule you can misread the schedule a little bit if you just look at the W's and the L's. We've played really good solid football for a long time. It hasn't just sprung up at the end of the season.''

Seattle's sudden defensive change was helped by hobbling Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, but also by the Seahawks not overthinking. Carroll said he was concerned that with all the intricate details of learning how Washington runs its unique offense that his defenders could be thinking too much early in the game.

But instead of sticking with the zone-read plays Seattle was ready for, the Redskins simply used Alfred Morris to run right at the Seahawks. Washington had 129 total yards in the first quarter and just 74 the rest of the way.

The sticky defense allowed Wilson and Lynch time to get Seattle's offense clicking. After falling behind 14-0, the Seahawks had five drives of 60 or more yards, including a 68-yard drive to start the second half that ended without points after Lynch fumbled at the Washington 1. Lynch atoned for the mistake with his go-ahead 27-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Lynch carried 12 times for 99 yards after halftime. Seattle rushed for 224 yards as a team, the highest-total in franchise history for a playoff game, and third time during its six-game win streak they have topped 200 yards on the ground.

``We haven't been as solid as we are now,'' Carroll said. ``We're much more solid in our thinking and mentality and just the resolve about everything we're doing.''

Notes: Carroll said both offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley are focused on the game at Atlanta even as both are courted by other teams for possible head coaching jobs. Seattle has granted permission for Bradley to speak with Philadelphia and Bevell with Chicago. ... Carroll said the team would have kickers in on Tuesday to try out because of the uncertainty about Hauschka's calf. ... The Seahawks may also look at linebackers Mike Morgan and K.J. Wright as pass-rush options with Clemons out and Irvin filling his role.

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NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

A lot has changed since the end of the college football season, and that's obvious when you consider all of the names the Redskins might look at with the 17th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night. 

Some players have surged up draft boards on the strength of strong combine or pro day efforts. Other have dropped, due to unfortunate incidents, injuries or poor measurements.

 <<<CLICK HERE TO OPEN ALL-22 LOOK AT REDSKINS POSSIBLE DRAFT 1ST ROUND DRAFT PICK>>>

Think about players like Teez Tabor or Zach Cunningham. Those guys play in the SEC and seemed like first-round locks two months ago. Now the 'Skins might be able to value shop for those players in the second round.

The flip side: A plyer like Haason Reddick. A star at the Senior Bowl who really busted out at the Combine, the Redskins might love to have him but he could be a Top 10 selection.

 <<<CLICK HERE TO OPEN ALL-22 LOOK AT REDSKINS POSSIBLE DRAFT 1ST ROUND DRAFT PICK>>>

All sorts of legal trouble and diluted urine samples will also impact draft night. Injuries too, or even the thought of possible injuries.

Few sporting events are as wild as the first round of the NFL Draft. Stay tuned with CSN for all your Redskins coverage. Chick Hernandez and Rich Tandler will be in Ashburn with the team, JP Finlay will be live in Philadelphia as the chaos unfolds. 

RELATED: A LOOK 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!

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Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 27, 27 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 15
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 27
—Training camp starts (7/27) 91
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 136

Setting the odds one last time

So, today’s the day for the NFL draft and our final chance to make some Monopoly money on who the Redskins first-round pick will be. I’ve chosen five names from the various mock drafts out there and from my own analysis to come up with the five most likely players to be picked at No. 17. Then I broke out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and spread them out on the five players.

LB Haason Reddick, Temple, $30—Reddick could give the Redskins some versatility and learn the inside linebacker spot in the base 3-4 defense and then move to the edge in nickel situations. I’m nearing he’s a “hot” name but I’m not so sure I believe he’s a top-10 pick like I’ve been seeing in some mock drafts lately. Pick 17 seems to be about right for him.

LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, $25—Foster has more red flags than an interstate highway construction project, including a diluted drug test sample at the combine, multiple shoulder injuries, and getting upset during a wait for a medical test, also at the combine. But at some point, the talent makes the player too good a value to pass up at that point would be at No. 17.

Edge Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, $20—Of the five names on here this is the one with the least buzz. But the Redskins need an edge rusher and McKinley, who can win with speed and by being relentless, may be the best one available. A lot of fans may be surprised by this pick but nobody should be mad if it happens.

RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, $20—I’ve been going back and forth about Cook. He’s undoubtedly a talented runner with breakaway potential. But some injury concerns and his fumbling problems create doubts about him. Then again, as with Foster there is a point where the talent outweighs the flags. I’m not so sure that No. 17 is the spot where that happens but I would not be shocked if the Redskins think that it is.

RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, $10—This is another player who supposedly zoomed up draft boards over the last few weeks without playing a single down. Five or six weeks ago he was a late first-round pick. Then he was a lock to go to the Eagles at 14 overall. Now everyone has him going to the Panthers with the eighth pick. The movement seems to be based more on pack journalism rather than any actual information coming out of teams. I’m not going to completely dismiss the chatter but I think there is a good enough chance that McCaffrey will be there when the Redskins pick to throw a few long shot dollars on him.

Bonus bet: As far as possible trades go, with an additional $100, I’ll go with $15 on a trade up, $35 on trade down, and $50 on staying put at 17.

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

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