What to watch for: Bengals at Redskins

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What to watch for: Bengals at Redskins

What:Redskins vs. Bengals
Where:FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
When:Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV:CBSAfter a triumphant opener in New Orleans, the Redskins didnt just stumble in St. Louis last week, they suffered a pair of significant injuries that could hamper them for the rest of the season.On Sunday, the Redskins (1-1) will get their first taste of life without two-time Pro Bowl selectionBrian Orakpoand defensive endAdam Carrikerin their home opener againstAndy Daltonand the Bengals (1-1).The defensive front seven was supposed to be the Redskins strength this season and Orakpo was supposed to lead the charge.Now its a major concern for a unit that yielded 31 points to the previously punchless Rams.The void left by Orakpo is so daunting, in fact, defensive coordinatorJim Haslettsaid he intends to use a trio of unproven reserves Rob Jackson,Chris WilsonandMarkus White in the hopes that three will equal one. None, however, has ever made an NFL start.In addition, the Redskins defense could be without starting cornerbackJosh Wilson(concussion) and strong safetyBrandon Meriweather(knee) against a Bengals offense that features a Pro Bowl quarterback-receiver tandem in Dalton andA.J. Green,plus running backBenJarvis Green-Ellis.Since the start of training camp, Coach Mike Shanahan has touted his teams improved depth.This weekend, well find out how much deeper the pool actually is.Injuries aside, there are a handful of other storylines the crew atwww.csnwashington.comwill be following: Among them:1) One unit that has been consistent for the Redskins thus far has been theRobert Griffin III-led the offense. It has racked up 40 and 28 points in the first two games and Griffin has been the talk of the league.Although the status of wide receiverPierre Garon(sore foot) remains unclear, Griffin could be primed for a big home debut against a Bengals defense that has struggled this far. In the first two games, in fact, Cincinnati that has yielded a total of 434.5 yards (30th) and 35.5 points on average (29th).2) Special teams remain a problem for the Redskins. A season after five field goals were knocked down, punterSav Roccapunts blocked in consecutive games. Both blocks, meantime, led directly to pivotal touchdowns for the opponent.This week, Shanahan professed confidence in special teams CoachDanny Smith, pointing out that players not scheme were to blame for both miscues. Either way, the unit must get turned around. And quick.3) How much will Griffin run the ball? Eyebrows were raised last week when the dual-threat rookie carried the ball 11 times for 82 yards totals that ranked just five and seven, respectively, behind running backAlfred Morris.Griffins ability to run for first downs, extend plays and make something out of nothing with his legs is a huge bonus for the Redskins. It could, however, prove to be an even greater risk.Although Griffin said hes well versed in how to avoid taking punishing hits, it should be pointed out that at least one last week appeared to stun him. On a 15-yard keeper up the middle in the second quarter, Griffin took a shot to the back of his helmet. One play later, he tossed arguably the worst pass of his fledgling NFL career, an off-balance, off-target throw that ended up in the hands of cornerbackCortland Finnegan.

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Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

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Josh Norman critiques Roger Goodell, fires warning shot about coming penalties

Josh Norman critiques Roger Goodell, fires warning shot about coming penalties

Josh Norman is great talker. He almost always has something provocative to say, and his Bleacher Report interview published Thursday didn't buck the trend. 

Norman's sneering at NFC East receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant drew immediate, look-what-he-just-said attention.

But let's not gloss over the larger theme of this interview: Norman thinks the NFL is headed down the wrong path. The timid path. 

In his five seasons, the Redskins corner has been on the receiving end of flags and fines for taunting and excess contact. And yet he told Bleacher Report that he's never once met commissioner Roger Goodell. 

Asked how he would handle the commissioner job differently, Norman started with interpersonal basics. 

"First, I would change how I handle people. For one, you don't show up anywhere. You don't show up where the players show up. So how are you going to know what they want?"

"If this is the guy who is your commissioner, who makes all these rules, wouldn't you think you'd want to see him other than when you get in trouble?" he continued. "Why would I see you if I'm in trouble—what's the point? Why wouldn't I see you before then so you can eliminate that?"

MORE REDSKINS: Scouting each opponent on the Redskins' 2017 schedule

But Norman's criticism morphed from finding fault with Goodell to dissatisfaction with the overall evolution of the league.

You're going to recognize this argument. It starts with defensive players lamenting how NFL rules have moved to limit contact, turning guys timid. 

"Now you have to stop and think about it before you actually hit somebody or you're going to get fined," Norman said. "But where's the offense getting fined?"

Then comes the nostalgia for the old days when football players were tough, as opposed to today, when everyone is Mary's little lamb. 

"Playing the way people used to play it in the old days. Like Mike Haynes. Those kinds of guys. Lester Hayes. People who played it with violence and ruthlessness," Norman said when asked what kind of legacy he wants to leave. "Lockjaw. No pussyfooting around. No inching off. None of that softness."

It's that soft mindset of the modern world that's diluting football, and the young guys are part of the problem. 

"We have too many soft guys, too many guys coming up saying, 'I don't know....' Playing their little off, soft technique," he complained. "That's how the soft mind-set of this world has us thinking now."

MORE REDSKINS: Trent Murphy trying to move on from 'gut-wrenching' suspension

This line of reasoning should be very familiar so far, but most that espouse it stop short of saying what they're going to do about it.

Not Norman. 

"You can't touch guys after five yards. ... Screw that! Hands on. Call it if you call it. So what. You're going to have to call it all game."

"I want him to see me with my hands in his face. That's what I want you to see. In their chest, their breast plate, so they cough up air. They skip a beat in their heart kind of thing," Norman said. 

So ... expect some rule-stretching this season? Perhaps against NFC East opponents?

"Trust me when I tell you, it's going to be bad blood this year," he warned. "There's going to be a lot of fines and maybe some suspensions. I'm going to be honest with you: This s--- is going to get really ugly. Because I do have a safety that don't give a f--- and I definitely don't."

"I'm letting all hell break loose."

Well, then. Noted. We'll let the league – and the Redskins – decide how to feel about this plan. 

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins’ Norman confident that changes will improve defense