September 19, 2014

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

Washington Capitals “40 Greatest Caps”

The Washington Capitals recently announced voting for the “40 Greatest Caps” to commemorate their 40th anniversary season this year. The voting is for 10 additions to the “30 Greatest Caps” they did 10 years ago.

Here’s the entire ballot.

Here’s how the District Sports Page staff voted. Each person could vote for up to 10 players on the ballot: [Read more...]


The Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0, clinching the National League East title on Atlanta’s home field.

The Nats take their second division title in three years.

Much more to come later on District Sports Page.

DSP’s Washington Redskins Postgame Show: Week 2 Jacksonville Jaguars

Dave Nichols and Andy Holmes discuss the Washington Redskins 41-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Robert Griffin III injury.

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with DSPs Redskins Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Redskins Game 2 Review: Redskins beat Jaguars, lose Robert Griffin III


The Washington Redskins had little trouble taking care of business against the Jacksonville Jaguars, winning easily, 41-10. Unfortunately, it came at a cost, as Robert Griffin III exited the game in the first quarter with a left ankle injury and Desean Jackson injured his shoulder. Neither returned to the game.

Kirk Cousins took over for the injured Griffin and hit his first 12 passes, finishing 22 of 33 for 250 yards and two touchdowns. [Read more...]

Washington Redskins lose Robert Griffin III to leg injury

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III left the game against the Jaguars earlier today with a lower leg injury.  He was injured when trying to make an awkward running throw. On the next series wide receiver DeShawn Jackson suffered a shoulder injury. Neither player will return to the game.


Hagerstown Suns fall in Game 5 to Asheville

Courtesy Hagerstown Suns

HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Hagerstown Suns (2-3, 87-53) closed their 2014 season by falling to the Asheville Tourists (3-2, 89-49) by a final of 4-1 in game five of the best-of-five South Atlantic League Championship Series on Saturday night. It is the second year in a row the Suns have lost in the South Atlantic League Championship Series.

The Tourists wasted no time going ahead on Saturday, as they took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Third baseman Ryan McMahon drew a two-out walk, and he advanced to second on a throwing error by RHP Nick Pivetta (0-2). McMahon scored from second on a line drive single to right by 1B Correlle Prime.

The Asheville lead grew to two in the third. With one out DH Raimel Tapia sent a ball out of the park over the center field wall for his first homerun of the postseason, making it 2-0 Tourists. The lead doubled in the fourth thanks to a two-out, two-run double by 2B Zach Osborne, which brought Prime home from second and catcher Jose Briceno home from first. That made it 4-0 Asheville after three and a half innings.

The lead remained at 4-0 until the eighth, when Hagerstown picked up its only run. Center fielder Rafael Bautista reached first on a fielding error by McMahon. Second baseman Wilmer Difo then singled to right, pushing Bautista to third. Bautista scored from third on a groundout to short by LF Narciso Mesa, setting the final score at 4-1.

Hagerstown Suns even series with Asheville at two games apiece

The Hagerstown Suns (2-2, 87-53) eliminated a three-run deficit with a five-run sixth inning on Friday night en route to a 6-3 win over the Asheville Tourists (2-2, 89-49) in game four of the South Atlantic League Championship Series at Municipal Stadium. The win by the Suns evens the best-of-five series at two games apiece.

Trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the Suns began the frame with a single to left by LF Narciso Mesa. Two batters later, 3B Drew Ward drew a walk, which forced Asheville to make their first pitching change of the night. In came RHP Trent Blank (0-1), and after striking out the first batter he faced he gave up a two-out triple to 1B Jimmy Yezzo, which drove in both runners on base to make it 3-2. Yezzo then scored from third on a fielding error by 3B Ryan McMahon, which allowed SS David Masters to reach first. Following the error, RF Cody Dent came to the plate and he blasted a two-run homer over the right-center field wall to put Hagerstown ahead 5-3.

The Suns built their lead to three the next inning thanks to a two-out single by Yezzo with the bases loaded. That brought home Catcher Craig Manuel from third and wound up setting the final score. Yezzo finished the night with three hits and three RBI.

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden assesses Robert Griffin III’s performance opening day

In his Wednesday media availability, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden assessed Robert Griffin III’s performance in last Sunday’s 17-6 loss to the Houston Texans.

“There are certain things you like,” Gruden started, when asked about Griffin’s performance. “You know, when you play a game, you throw 39 balls or whatever it was, he completed 29, he had a high completion percentage. We didn’t drive the ball down the field, unfortunately, but we scored six points. We fumbled twice in the red zone. He took a couple sacks that he shouldn’t have taken. He did some great things, he did some things not so great. That’s kind of the story of everybody in that game, play callers included.

Gruden insisted that the offense’s lack of scoring was a team effort. “Everybody has a lot of improving to do,” Gruden stated. ” I like where [Griffin]‘s at mentally. I think he’s starting to gain momentum and confidence every day out at practice. We just have to carry it over on the field and decisions have to be consistent at the quarterback position, especially when games are tight.”

Gruden went on about the finite margin of error at the NFL level. “When the level of competition is so equal amongst the 32 teams one mistake here can cost you, and we had five or six catastrophic mistakes that really cost us and you can’t have those if you expect to win the NFL. Quarterback had a couple, our punt team had one, our defense had one or two. All those add up to major losses in NFL so we have to eliminate those, quarterback had a few. Overall, I think from a mental standpoint, I feel good about it now. It’s just a matter of him getting comfortable and letting loose and playing. He’s still a young kid, he’s just got to go out there and play and let loose and let it rip.”

Gruden was also asked about Griffin’s pocket management, and how and when he decided to run on Sunday.

“There wasn’t a lot of running lanes for him. As a dropback passer, sometimes you’ll get running lanes. Sometimes the pass rush up the field, you’ll get a natural running lane, but Houston did a great job of really pushing the pocket and not giving a lot of running lanes for him to go.”

Gruden said the staff didn’t design any runs for Griffin against the Texans, and that Griffin must become more comfortable in the pocket. “If you’re going to be a professional football quarterback, you’re going to have to learn to be a pocket passer at some point in your career and he’s learning. He’s not a finished product yet by any stretch of the imagination, but he will get there. I know one thing that if you keep telling Robert he can’t do something, he’s going to do it and he’s going to want to do it and he’ll get there.”

District Sports Page Washington Redskins Postgame Show Game 1: 17-6 loss to Texans

Dave Nichols and Andy Holmes of District Sports Page discuss the Washington Redskins 17-6 opening day lost to the Houston Texans.

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with DSPs Redskins Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Redskins Game 1 Hot Take

For the Washington Redskins, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For all the changes that took place this offseason — new coaches, schemes, players, etc. — the team that lost to the Houston Texans 17-6 on NFL’s opening day looked too much like last year’s squad that went 3-13.

To wit:

  • Robert Griffin III looked hesitant and unsure on most throws except for the single-read quick-hits. He had trouble finding secondary receivers and held the ball way too long, opening himself up for contact he doesn’t need to take.
  • The offensive line did a decent enough run-blocking job, but remains porous on the pass protection. Notably, J.J. Watt had a field day, especially when he was matched up against Chris Chester or Tyler Polumbus. Trent Williams fairly owned Javedeon Clowney until the rookie left with a knee injury.
  • The defensive front created very little pressure, allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to pick apart a still vulnerable secondary. Bacari Rambo still doesn’t know the defense and can’t tackle worth a lick.
  • The special teams, in one word, were atrocious. Extra point blocked (by Watt, who never, ever takes a play off) and a punt blocked for a touchdown. Roy Helu, Jr., whiffed on his block assignment and the Texan defender almost had time to take the ball off the punter’s foot.
  • Two fumbles lost inside the opponent’s 10-yard line. Griffin fell and tried to reach Alfred Morris (91 yards on just 14 carries) and the ball squirted loose (recovered by Watt). Niles Paul with a long catch-and-run but stripped from behind.

This was a very winnable game on the road against one of the other worst teams in the league and Washington shot themselves in the foot time and time again. The biggest problem for new head coach Jay Gruden: today’s effort looked exactly like last season. An inauspicious debut, to be sure.

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief and Washington Nationals and Capitals Page Editor for District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards. Dave also works for Associated Press, covering college football and basketball and Major League Soccer out of its Spokane, WA college sports desk. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence.  You can follow Dave on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP.

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