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Washington Football Team inks Charles Leno to three-year extension, per report

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Even with one game still left on the season, the Washington Football Team has taken care of one of its bigger items on the club’s offseason to-do list. According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport, Washington has signed left tackle Charles Leno to a three-year, $37.5 million extension. The 30-year-old was set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Throughout the 2021 season, Leno proved to be a sturdy addition along the offensive line, particularly in pass-blocking sets. He’s started in all 16 of Washington’s games entering Week 18 and is currently the third-highest-graded pass-blocking tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. In 655 pass-blocking snaps, Leno has allowed just six sacks and seven quarterback hits along with 23 hurries. 

The Boise State product originally entered the league as a seventh-round draft choice of the Bears and had developed into a solid tackle along the O-line and was a Pro Bowler in 2018. He was released by the Bears in early May of last year and only lasted a few weeks on the market before Washington inked him to a one-year deal, which has proven to be one of the better additions of the offseason for the club. 

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This also isn’t the first time that Leno has cashed in on a big-money deal as he previously inked a $38 million deal with Chicago in 2017. 

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Steelers defense focused on getting back to team’s ‘standard’ after disappointing season

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for having exceptional defenses. Players like Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Joe Greene and more have been shaking up offenses throughout the franchise’s history.

With each new generation of Steelers players, they strive to reach the level of those before them. Now it is guys like T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds and Cameron Heyward who hope to be feared by offenses around the league.

Last season, the Steelers were 20th in points allowed and surrendered the most rushing yards in the league. For the first time since 2017, the Steelers were not in the top six for yards allowed, finding themselves in the 24th spot.

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It was not exactly the year the defense wanted to have, and this year the unit is focused on getting back to being a classic Steelers defense.

Defending Defensive Player of the Year Watt spoke about the expectations in Pittsburgh. 

“As a Pittsburgh Steeler defender, it’s just that much more important for us to take pride in everyone that came before us and uphold the fact that the standard is the standard. At the end of the day, when the back is against the wall, when it’s a two-minute drill, when the game is on the line, we want to be on the field,” Watt said (via NFL.com). “That’s the mentality we have to have to be a hard-nosed defense, and that’s why we’re here to build that type of tradition, that type of standard for the season.”

The defense last year was not where they wanted it to be, with Watt commenting on the “unacceptable” number of 100-yard rushers they allowed in 2021.

With such legends coming before them, there could be pressure on the players that could backfire. Heyward says he does not look at it as pressure, but what the team standard is.

“When you come to the Pittsburgh Steelers, you’re known for your defense. That wasn’t the case last year, so going forward it’s put up or shut up. If we’re going to win these games, it’s got to come down to us,” he said. “But that comes with the standard we are charged with upholding. It’s not pressure. It’s what’s expected.”

The Steelers are “based on defense,” new senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Brian Flores said. 

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“Its roots and foundation is defense,” Flores said. “It’s stopping the run and rushing the passer and keeping the score down. Any outsider can look at that and, if you peel back the layers, that’s who the Steelers are and that’s who we want to be and what we want to be. But there’s a process to doing that.”

Teryl Austin, who was promoted coordinator after three seasons serving as senior defensive assistant/secondary coach, said he appreciates Flores giving an outsiders view as someone just getting to Pittsburgh.

The Steelers’ season was cut short after a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round.



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Stat Proves What The White Sox Offense Is Lacking

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(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

 

The Chicago White Sox, against all odds, are playing .500 ball at the time.

They are 56-56, which is highly disappointing since they were widely expected to comfortably take the AL Central division like they did last year.

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Of course, unexpected circumstances have gotten in the way: injuries, slumps, demotions, a lack of action at the deadline, and other scenarios have undoubtedly affected the Sox.

The most interesting part is that they are still very much alive in the playoff race.

Before Friday, they are 3.5 games behind the division leaders, the Cleveland Guardians.

That is definitely not an insurmountable difference.

They will need to show some thump with the bat, though.

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“705 of the White Sox’s first 1,000 hits this year were singles. Most recent teams to finish a season with at least 70% of their hits being singles: 2018 Marlins (63-98), 2016 Marlins (79-82), 2015 Marlins (71-91), 2015 Braves (67-95). The Tigers also are on pace to join this list,” stats guru Jeremy Frank tweeted on Friday.

 

The White Sox Lineup Lacks Punch

As you can see, hitting mostly singles doesn’t exactly correlate with a lot of wins: all of the aforementioned teams were under .500.

The White Sox are currently at .500, but they won’t make the playoffs if they can’t show some slug.

At the moment, they rank 18th in MLB in slugging percentage, with a disappointing .386.

The almighty Sox, lauded as one of the best lineups of the last few years, are 25th in homers with just 98 so far.

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That’s definitely something they will need to change if they want to repeat as AL Central champs.

The Guardians and the Minnesota Twins, Chicago’s main competitors for a place in the postseason, are prepared to fight until the very end to be in October.

The post Stat Proves What The White Sox Offense Is Lacking appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Will OBJ sign with Rams, Cowboys, Packers or elsewhere? | SPEAK FOR YOURSELF

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Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off a Super Bowl season and looking to sign to an NFL team as a free agent. Who will he suit up for next season and could he return to the Los Angeles Rams? Emmanuel Acho and David Helman predict where OBJ lands next year.



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