Washington Redskins

Short-handed Steelers getting healthier

Short-handed Steelers getting healthier

PITTSBURGH (AP) Maurkice Pouncey is expected to return to the Steelers' lineup on Sunday, and Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman might do the same.

Pouncey, an All-Pro center, will practice Wednesday after missing the game in Cincinnati Sunday due to a right knee sprain. Mendenhall (Achilles) and Redman (ankle), who top the running back depth chart, ``have a chance'' of playing as well, Sunday, coach Mike Tomlin said.

The news is not all good though, as Pittsburgh (3-3) prepares to host the Washington Redskins (3-4). All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu and starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert have already been ruled out.

The Steelers moved into second place in the AFC North with a 24-17 win over the Bengals on Sunday.

The players most impacted by these returnees might be on special teams. Beleaguered and penalty-ridden, these units have become a chief concern for Tomlin. The coach even threatened benchings in the return game, where five flags were thrown in the Steelers' 10 return opportunities vs. Cincinnati.

``The multiple offenders, the egregious offenders, are going to be watching instead of playing as soon as we get some options,'' Tomlin said. ``Right now, with the injuries, we have minimal options.''

Safety Will Allen will be limited early this week after leaving the Bengals game due to a sprained ankle. Allen has started in place of Polamalu the past two weeks, and Tomlin said he anticipates him being able to play against Washington.

If some or all of the injured group - Pouncey, Mendenhall, Redman and reserve linebacker Chris Carter - return, it'll create a domino effect in which Tomlin has the freedom to pick and choose players to sit. Carter missed the Cincinnati game with a hamstring injury.

``We believe we have some dynamic return men, and penalties negate that effort,'' Tomlin said. ``What's going on in the return game from a penalty standpoint is disturbing. The first chance we get, we'll send a strong message in regards that we won't accept that type of performance.

``We feel like we can be explosive in that area provided we don't shoot ourselves in the foot, and I thought we did that in the football game (Sunday).''

Tomlin did not mention names when talking about possible benchings. DeMarcus Van Dyke, a cornerback claimed off waivers from the Oakland Raiders late in training camp, has been one of the players flagged multiple times.

Without Mendenhall and Redman, the Steelers still had their best running performance of the season Sunday. That could create another tough decision for Tomlin down the road. Jonathan Dwyer had 122 rushing yards against Cincinnati after being deactivated for each of the two previous games. Also, rookie Chris Rainey had the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

If all of Pittsburgh's running backs are healthy, who suits up against the Redskins? And how will the carries be split up?

``We're going to base those judgments on what it looks like as these guys prepare and get closer to game action during the week,'' Tomlin said. ``We're not going to hypothesize as to what that might be. We'll simply react to it and come up with the best formula that suits us for being successful this week.''

The Steelers improved their league rank in rushing yards from 31st to 26th with the 5.9 yards-per-carry performance in Cincinnati. This despite the fact that Pouncey and Gilbert were replaced by Doug Legursky at center and rookie Mike Adams at tackle, respectively.

``It was a strong run-game performance,'' Tomlin said. ``I thought we did a nice job up front getting hats on hats. I thought all the running backs did a nice job, of course highlighted by Jonathan Dwyer's efforts, but also Chris Rainey and Baron Batch and others I thought did a nice job.''

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Online:http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Preseason Week 2 Redskins vs Packers; 3 things to watch

Preseason Week 2 Redskins vs Packers; 3 things to watch

Remember that playoff game at the end of the 2015 season? Or the Sunday Night Football rout from last year? Well, Saturday night when the Redskins take on the Packers in the second game of the preseason, much less will be on the line, but that doesn't mean the game doesn't have plenty to watch.

All the coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on CSN, and will feature a 1-on-1 interview where Jay Gruden explains exactly what he's looking for from his team. The first preseason game in Baltimore was a poor showing for the Redskins, and Gruden wants to see his squad look much better at home against Green Bay. The weather looks perfect for an August evening, and here are three things to keep in mind in advance of the contest. 

  1. They're gonna play - Last season, Gruden unexpectedly sat many of his starters for the second preseason game. The move set off mild chaos, especially when Colt McCoy got the start over Kirk Cousins. It was just the coach resting players, reducing the risk of a preseason injury, but it was a big surprise. And it was also probably a mistake. This year, Gruden made clear the starters will play in the second preseason game, and Cousins will start against Green Bay. The starting offense only took six snaps against the Ravens last week, and generated zero first downs. While the first downs are no guarantee, expect the first unit to play more than six snaps, likely at least double, and some offensive production should follow suit.
  2. Well, not everybody - The long wait for Redskins fans to finally see Junior Galette on the field will continue. The pass rush specialist hasn't played since 2014, and has never suited up for Washington. He won't play Saturday night, and neither will star tight end Jordan Reed. A few others will likely miss the game, but many eyes will be on Josh Doctson. After a slight hamstring injury suffered in Richmond, the second-year wideout missed the Ravens game and a number of practices before getting back out there Thursday and catching a few passes from Cousins in team drills. Gruden said of Doctson, "we’ll get a look at him during pregame warmup and see where he stands and try to get him out there. We’ll see." On the Green Bay side, Aaron Rodgers is not expected to play either.
  3. The other side - Much of the focus has been on the offense needing to perform, particularly the run game. Keep in mind, however, the Redskins defense performed well in Baltimore. Greg Manusky's unit will look to keep the strong work going, especially from the first team. One change on the Redskins defense: free agent addition Zach Brown will move into the starting lineup and play alongside Mason Foster as the two interior linebackers. That means 2016 defensive captain Will Compton starts the game on the bench. Preston Smith should also be back on the field and starting opposite Ryan Kerrigan; Smith missed the Ravens game with a sprained ankle. No word yet on rookie linebacker Ryan Anderson, who suffered a stinger in Baltimore. Gruden on Anderson, "we’re going to let him dress in pregame warmup on Saturday and see where he is. He has total mobility now back, I think he’s fine, but we just want to make sure he has strength back."

News and notes:

  • Saturday marks the eighth time the Redskins and Packers have played in the preseason since 1961. In regular season and postseason play, the Packers hold a 20-15-1 record against the Redskins. 
  • In their last two meetings, the Redskins rocked the Pack 42-24 last November on Sunday Night Football. It was the high point of Washington's season, as the 'Skins skidded from there and missed the playoffs, losing four of their final six games. 10 months earlier, the Packers knocked the Redskins out of the playoffs in almost equally one-sided fashion. The game was early, but Green Bay proved to be too tough for Washington, and the Redskins lost on their home turf after a surprising NFC East title run. 

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John Wall loves fact Wizards-Celtics will be on national TV, thinks Morris twins will make it fun

John Wall loves fact Wizards-Celtics will be on national TV, thinks Morris twins will make it fun

It may be difficult for Markieff Morris to continue viewing the Boston Celtics as a bitter rival once he steps on the court and sees his twin brother Marcus wearing that green jersey. For John Wall, it will apparently be very easy.

Markieff admitted the Wizards-Celtics rivalry will be a "little bit softer" now that his brother is on the other side. But Wall has already talked to him about how it's going to be.

"I told him 'man, I know that's your brother and you do everything alike, but he's our enemy when we play them those four games.' He's cool with it," Wall said on Friday at his charity event at Rosedale Community Center in Northeast Washington.

[RELATED: MORRIS PREPARING FOR FATHERHOOD]

Morris held a backpack giveaway last weekend and said he hopes the rivalry remains a contentious one, adding that "we don't like those guys and they don't like us." Wall not only has plans for that to continue, but he's excited to have all four games between the teams in 2017-18 set for national television.

"Remember what I [said] last year when we got in that little altercation? I said that every game from now on should be on TV. It wasn't. Well, now every game this year is on TV, so. I'm fine with that," he said.

That includes a matchup on Christmas Day. The Morris twins will have to play against each other in one of the NBA's best rivalries after spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together as a family.

That shouldn't be awkward at all. Nope, not one bit.

"It's kind of crazy [Marcus] got traded to the team we have a rivalry now with in this league. It should be fun," Wall said.

[RELATED: WALL GOES IN-DEPTH ON RACE IN AMERICA]

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