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Mark Sanchez of Washington Redskins — ‘Butt Fumble’ just ‘one play’

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ASHBURN, Va. — Mark Sanchez understands his history, both the good and the bad. And he knows one play gets discussed more than any other: the infamous “Butt Fumble.”

So, now that he’s the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Sanchez was ready when a reporter asked about his past — from the playoffs to one play in particular.

Like a good quarterback, he anticipated the topic — and tried to fool everyone in the room.

“I’m not following you,” he said with a deadpan delivery.

“What are you gonna do? It was a crappy play in a game we were getting our butts kicked. … Who cares? It’s one play. You just move on. I prefer to remember the good stuff.”

Sanchez hopes there’s more good stuff in his future with Washington. Even if it’s for only four more weeks. The Redskins remain alive in the playoff race at 6-6. But Sanchez is their third starting quarterback in the last month.

Washington signed Sanchez on Nov. 19, one day after Alex Smith suffered a season-ending broken leg. Then, on Monday, Colt McCoy broke his right leg and that left Sanchez as the starter. Washington signed Josh Johnson on Tuesday to back up Sanchez.

Sanchez will make his first start since the 2015 season when Washington hosts the New York Giants on Sunday. He had not thrown a pass in a game since the 2016 finale before relieving McCoy on Monday night. He completed 13-of-21 passes for 100 yards and an interception vs. the Eagles.

Wednesday, just before Sanchez took the podium, he did what any new employee would: introduce himself to a member of the Redskins public relations staff. Even more important, he still must get to learn names and faces in the locker room.

It’s not an ideal situation for the Redskins. For Sanchez, though, it’s exactly what he wanted.

“You work for something, you pray for something and then it finally happens,” Sanchez said. “You don’t care what the circumstances are, you’re just happy to get a shot … It’s a great situation. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Both Sanchez and Johnson have some familiarity with the Redskins’ offense; but both are still being taught on the fly.

During a drill with running backs in practice Wednesday, passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell would give a quick verbal reminder at times about their responsibilities. O’Connell played behind Sanchez in New York. O’Connell will translate plays by letting him know what it had been called in New York.

“There’s a ton of carryover and that’s nice to have,” Sanchez said. “It’s really learning a slightly different dialect of a language you already know. Some words carry over. Some don’t. … It’s nice having people who have been around so it’s not a complete overhaul.”

The Redskins signed Sanchez in part because he has a 4-2 record in the playoffs, showing how he handles tense games. He started 62 games with the Jets, including six postseason games. But Sunday will be just his 11th start since the 2012 season.

“You just know what’s at stake,” Sanchez said. “Without that experience you never know. I remember my rookie year we were right here. I’m like, ‘6-6? We won a bunch of games in college, won a bunch of games in high school. Either we suck as a team or I’m playing crappy. This is all bad.’ I remember the older guys – the Nick Mangolds, the Alan Fanecas, the Bart Scotts – saying hang in there, trust the process. Go through your reads, make sure you throw to the right colored jersey and we’ll be just fine.”

The key for Sanchez is adapting to not only a new offense, but new players and how they run their routes. He admitted after Monday’s loss that he didn’t know everyone’s names. He’s still learning.

“Don’t ask me their names now,” Sanchez said.

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As season’s end nears, no surprise by league’s top rookie – NFL Nation

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We’re almost to the end of the regular season, with multiple teams jockeying for playoff position. Many of those teams will rely on rookies in major roles. That includes the Los Angeles Chargers and top rookie Derwin James.

From game analysis and discussions with personnel evaluators, here’s a look at the top 10 rookies so far this season.

Top 10 (stats are Weeks 1-15 combined)

Stats: 93 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 INTs

Previous ranking: 1

As the Chargers make a push for home-field advantage in the AFC — the team has won 10 of its past 11 games — James continues to be the most versatile option defensive coordinator Gus Bradley can move anywhere in the formation. Some opposing offensive coaches have tracked him at five different positions as they prepared to play the Chargers.

Stats: 146 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 INT

Previous ranking: 2

He was credited with 11 tackles, including one for loss, and knocked down passes in the Colts’ 23-0 win over the Dallas Cowboys — the first time the Cowboys had been shut out since 2003. The guy has sacked the quarterback once in every four times he has rushed, and he added a recovery of a blocked field goal to his résumé in the win over the Cowboys.

Stats: 51 tackles, 12 sacks, 2 FF

Previous ranking: 3

The Broncos have asked Chubb to hold the edge in the run game, and he has dropped into coverage from time to time as well. He has usually been assignment-sound in all he has been told to do, and he continues to impact things in the rush. He needs 2.5 sacks in the last two games to tie Jevon Kearse’s rookie record set in 1999.

4. QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Stats: 3,065 yards passing, 21 TDs, 11 INTs

Previous ranking: 4

The Browns are clinging to wafer-thin playoff chances with four wins in the past five games, including Saturday night, when the Broncos held Mayfield to 18-of-31 passing. But Mayfield went 4-of-4 for 39 yards and a touchdown on what turned out to be the game-winning drive early in the fourth quarter.

Stats: 1,155 yards rushing, 13 total TDs

Previous ranking: 5

Barkley was held to 31 yards rushing by the Titans this past Sunday — his second-lowest rushing total of the season — but his 170 yards rushing on just 14 carries in Week 14 were a season best.

Stats: 108 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT

Previous ranking: 9

Rare athleticism and savvy have been consistently on display in a Bears defense that locked down the Rams in Week 14 and is now among the league’s top four in scoring defense, total defense, sacks, forced fumbles and interceptions. Khalil Mack gets much of the attention, but Smith has had a huge role in Chicago’s run to the divisional title.

Stats: 117 tackles, 7 PD, 2 INTs

Previous ranking: 7

Vander Esch has already set the team’s record for tackles by a rookie, and the Cowboys will now try to work Sean Lee back into the lineup (Lee’s hamstring injury forced Vander Esch into a starting role). Lee played seven snaps against the Colts on Sunday — his first game since Nov. 5 — but Vander Esch has been key in the Cowboys’ push to win the NFC East.

Stats: 991 yards rushing, 10 total TDs

Previous ranking: 6

In back-to-back Broncos losses, Lindsay was held to 30 and 24 yards rushing, but the body of work remains top-shelf this season. He’s fifth in the league in rushing, and his 5.4 yards per carry average is second in the league among qualifying backs.

Stats: No sacks allowed in six games

Previous ranking: 10

Nelson continues to draw raves from personnel executives around the league for his ability to finish. He has had some flags — nine penalties this season — but his awareness in and out of double-teams to go with his power at the point of attack is a rare combination.

10. CB Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns

Stats: 48 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 INTs

Previous ranking: 8

Ward missed the past two games and most of a third with a concussion. Browns interim coach Gregg Williams said Monday that Ward remains in the league’s concussion protocol.

Close but not quite (totals are for 15 weeks)

49ers RT Mike McGlinchey (no holding penalties in 14 starts); Bengals S Jessie Bates (98 tackles, 3 INTs); Browns RB Nick Chubb (860 yards rushing, 5.2 yards per carry, 10 total TDs); Panthers CB Donte Jackson (62 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 sack); Texans S Justin Reid (75 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 TD); Packers CB Jaire Alexander (62 tackles, 1 INT, 11 PD); Bills LB Tremaine Edmunds (98 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 FF); 49ers LB Fred Warner (105 tackles, 1 FF); Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (56 catches, 699 yards, 8 TDs); Steelers S Terrell Edmunds (68 tackles, 4 PD); Giants DT B.J. Hill (45 tackles, 5 sacks); Titans LB Rashaan Evans (44 tackles, 2 TFL); Dolphins S Minkah Fitzpatrick (73 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 TD); Ravens T Orlando Brown Jr. (just three penalties); Titans LB Harold Landry (37 tackles, 3 TFL, 2.5 sacks).

Kickers need love, too

Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson, who was waived by the Vikings after missing three kicks in Week 2, continues to make the most of his second act. Carlson missed his second field goal attempt with the Raiders — a 45-yard attempt that hit the right upright in a Week 9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers — but he hasn’t missed since. He was 3-of-3 this past Sunday.

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Devin Bush of Michigan Wolverines to miss Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, enter NFL draft

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Michigan linebacker Devin Bush announced Wednesday that he will miss the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl because of a hip injury and is forgoing his senior season to enter April’s NFL draft.

Bush is ranked as the No. 8 prospect available for the draft by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and the No. 10 prospect by Todd McShay.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had separate stress fracture in back found his freshman year

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PHILADELPHIA – Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had a separate stress fracture in his back that was discovered his freshman year at North Dakota State, according to a league source.

The injury was from his adolescence and was completely healed by the time he was in college, and is unrelated to Wentz’s current injury, the source said.

Wentz’s medical report, given to teams at the NFL Scouting Combine prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, referred to a healed stress fracture in his back, the Philadelphia Daily News first reported. While it was discovered in college, a league source clarified that the stress fracture had occurred prior to his playing days at North Dakota State. Wentz was a redshirt freshman when the fracture was discovered and it did not impact him on the collegiate level.

It also did not affect his draft stock, as he was selected No. 2 overall by the Eagles.

The current stress fracture was discovered following a CT scan last Tuesday, according to Eagles coach Doug Pederson. Wentz sat out last week’s game at the Los Angeles Rams and it appears he’ll be sidelined again Sunday, as Pederson has named Nick Foles the starter for the Eagles’ upcoming game against the Houston Texans.

“He’ll be listed as week-to-week. We will not put him on [injured reserve],” Pederson said of Wentz. “Obviously when he’s healthy, he’s our quarterback and we’ll go from there.”

Wentz was first listed on the injury report with a back issue in late October. He was feeling better symptom-wise as the season progressed, evidence of a healing process already underway, a source said.

Pederson noted the recovery period could be about three months, though that is not set in stone. Optimism remains that Wentz, who is coming off multiligament knee surgery, will not be hampered by the back issue long-term.

“The fact that he doesn’t need surgery on this, I mean, is the best news that you could possibly have on anybody that has a stress fracture or a stress injury in this case,” Pederson said last week. “As long as we take the proper steps to make sure that all our players are 100 percent, then [there is no long-term concern].”

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