Has Trent Richardson carried his final ball for the Oakland Raiders?

It has become fairly obvious based on training-camp reports and preseason performances that Trent Richardson has an uphill climb to make the Oakland Raiders’ 53-man roster. 

The former No. 3 overall pick has struggled, rushing 15 times for 42 yards. Yes, he burst through the hole, just like the salad days at Alabama, for a 15-yard gain late against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday night. But it was a glimpse of what was, not what is.

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Latavius Murray is the Raiders’ starter, and it appears that Roy Helu, Taiwan Jones and even Michael Dyer, Richardson’s former rival and counterpart from Auburn who has taken the roundabout way to the NFL as an undrafted rookie, look like better options in the backfield. Throw in versatile fullback Marcel Reece, and Richardson is a candidate to be slashed from the roster as early as Tuesday.

Richardson now could be traded or released by three teams — three teams that have struggled to run the ball consistently in recent years, mind you — in a span of 23 months, and we could be looking at one of the biggest top-of-the-draft busts in the past 15-20 years.

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It’s easy to forget just how good this guy was in college and at least where Richardson stood following a promising rookie season with the Cleveland Browns. At worst, he looked like a functional power back with a little burst but little big-play prowess. There have been plenty of those backs who have made a decent career for themselves; think Alfred Morris and what he has become.

That could have been Richardson. Instead, we’re left to wonder if he even will get another chance this season in the NFL. 

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Are the Redskins prepared to move on from Robert Griffin III?

It’s been almost 72 hours since the last weird Robert Griffin III saga, so it’s about time we had a fresh one.

You’ll remember the Washington Redskins announced Griffin was cleared of concussion symptoms on Thursday to play in this weekend’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, and then not cleared upon further review “by neuropsychologists” on Friday. Just another 24 hours in the life of the Redskins.

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Cut to Sunday, when ESPN’s Dianna Russini and Adam Schefter together, with help from Chris Mortensen, cited team and league sources who suggested owner Daniel Snyder is resisting pressure from both coach Jay Gruden’s staff and front-office officials to either trade or cut the former No. 2 overall pick.

Except, in a matter of hours, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio refuted the ESPN report, citing three sources who claim Snyder, Gruden and new general manager Scot McCloughan all remain on the same page regarding Griffin. One of Florio’s sources even went so far as to dub the ESPN report “spaghetti journalism.”

In fact, a two-hour meeting between Snyder and McCloughan about the concussion weirdness may have been the impetus for the reported rift between ownership and football operations, according to Florio. All of which makes the latest on Griffin so very Redskins. What Florio’s story does not refute, however, is that Washington may be prepared to cut ties with RGIII when NFL teams pare rosters down to 53 on Saturday.

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According to ESPN, the Redskins engaged multiple teams in trade talks about Griffin to no avail. The concussion further complicates matters. If RGIII is injured during the regular season, he must be cleared to play before being cut in order to avoid guaranteeing his $16.15 million salary in 2016, per The Washinton Post. Given his injury history, that’s a risky play for teams who would otherwise be interested in his services.

Meanwhile, the Redskins put together their most complete preseason performance on Saturday, sans Griffin, as quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy combined to complete 30-of-39 pass attempts for 285 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-13 win over the Ravens. In two previous preseason appearances, Griffin was 6-of-13 for 44 yards and zero scores, further lending credence to questions about his future in Washington. 

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NFL Preseason Blitz: Tim Tebow tries his new role for red-hot Eagles

One of the thoughts when the Philadelphia Eagles signed quarterback Tim Tebow was that Chip Kelly could use him as a two-point conversion specialist.

It made sense. Tebow is a great goal-line option because he’s big and athletic. And if preseason is any indication, there will be many more two-point tries throughout the NFL with the new extra point rule. On Saturday night, Kelly rolled out that plan, sending Tebow in for the first two two-point conversions of the game.

It didn’t go well, though it was a very tiny sample. On the first attempt, Tebow was stuffed on a run. On the second, he fielded a low snap, tried to hit a quick slant to Nelson Agholor but Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward almost intercepted it. The pass fell incomplete. The Eagles kicked extra points after that. Tebow was 2-of-2 for 15 yards and rushed for 4 yards on three attempts in limited playing time late in the game.

The two-point conversions were about the only thing that didn’t go right for the Eagles, who are lighting up the scoreboard in the preseason. Preseason doesn’t matter, of course, but the Eagles look very good and did so again in a 39-26 win over the Packers.

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Sam Bradford (AP)Sam Bradford completed 10-of-10 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns. That shows the potential of what he can do in this fast-break offense. Thanks to Bradford’s play and a pick-six from Walter Thurmond, the Eagles led 25-0 after the first quarter at Lambeau Field. This was the Packers without Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, and receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder) and tackle Bryan Bulaga (angle) left early with injuries (the Packers, more than anyone, want this preseason to be over), but it was still another impressive performance by the Eagles.

After three preseason games, the only question the Eagles might have left is whether they want to rethink their plan for two-point conversions.

The Dallas Cowboys had some questions to answer in preseason, mostly at running back and cornerback. The answers aren’t so clear after three games.

In replacing reigning NFL offensive player of the year DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle seemed to have the edge all offseason. But he has dealt with injuries and hasn’t run away with the job in the preseason. Randle had 30 yards on seven carries last week, then on Saturday night had 15 yards on six carries in the first half of a 28-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Darren McFadden, whose health is always a concern, looked pretty good. He had 37 yards on four carries in the first half, including a 15-yard run. McFadden might look like the best option now, but can the Cowboys depend on him?

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The Cowboys also have cornerback issues after Orlando Scandrick’s season-ending injuries. Brandon Carr, the much maligned free-agent addition in 2012, was beat deep by Mike Wallace on a nice sideline pass by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, though Carr rebounded later with an interception. Morris Claiborne, who is working back from a torn patellar tendon, took a pass interference penalty. When Bridgewater left the game early in the second quarter, he was 7-of-7 for 76 yards.

The Cowboys’ defense isn’t great, but was helped last year when Murray sustained the offense through his tough running. The Cowboys still need a top running game to help the defense, but that’s not such a sure thing this season.

 

New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr. has been the center of attention this offseason, and that probably played into the scrutiny of him not having a preseason catch through two games. It was better in a 28-18 loss against the New York Jets, though most of his catches were short and his best catch didn’t count.

Beckham had five catches for 31 yards. The Giants wanted to get him going early, so they flared him out on third down from the slot on the first series, though he was stopped short of the first down. Beckham didn’t get much going against the Jets’ talented cornerbacks, with a long catch of 9 yards, but at least he got something.

Beckham’s night was very close to being a lot better. He had a tremendous one-handed catch on the sideline, but landed out of bounds and ruined the highlight (it was still one heck of a catch). Later on he beat Darrelle Revis deep down the sideline but the pass was thrown too far to the outside and he couldn’t pull it in. If the throw was better he might have scored a long touchdown.

Beckham is going to get a lot more defensive attention this season, so replicating what he did as a rookie won’t be easy. But the Giants will find ways to get him the ball a lot, as they showed on Saturday night.

Bills 43, Steelers 19: The story of the Bills quarterbacks is a fun one, after Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel both stated a case to be the Week 1 starter. But there’s another side to the story. The Bills quarterbacks went 30-of-33 for 386 yards and we don’t think the Bills passers are very good … so is the Steelers defense really going to just be that bad this season?

Dolphins 13, Falcons 9: Another preseason game, another impressive day from Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill was 15-of-19 for 145 yards and a touchdown. There hasn’t been a lot of reason to believe Tannehill has made great strides as a deep passer, but he’s very good in running the Eagles-style offense of coordinator Bill Lazor.

Browns 31, Buccaneers 7: Jameis Winston’s line: 6-of-15 for 90 yards and an interception. He was also under constant pressure. Not the warmup the Buccaneers wanted for him with just one preseason game remaining before it counts.

Redskins 31, Ravens 13: If there was a Steve Smith hat trick, it would be scoring a long touchdown, getting ejected in a fight and then going to watch the rest of the game in a suite with his kid. He pulled it off on Saturday night, scoring on a 63-yard touchdown before getting the boot and getting in some family time. With rookie Breshad Perriman being unavailable all month with a knee injury, Smith should get the ball early and often from Joe Flacco this season.

Bengals 21, Bears 10: Because it has become so easy to rip Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, the next conversation is always if AJ McCarron will get a shot. The former Alabama star looked as good as he has on an NFL field against the Bears. His 31-yard touchdown to Marvin Jones was the highlight of a very nice night for him. He was 12-of-17 for 149 yards.

Seahawks 16, Chargers 15: Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka nailed a 60-yard field goal with 12 seconds left for the Seattle win. Even if the game doesn’t count, that’s pretty great.

Colts 24, Rams 14: A couple players in new places did well. Andre Johnson caught a 32-yard touchdown from Andrew Luck (and yes, it’s still really weird to see him wearing No. 81 in Colts colors). New Rams quarterback Nick Foles was efficient, going 10-of-11 for 128 yards and a touchdown.

49ers at Broncos: NaVorro Bowman is back. The 49ers star linebacker, who missed all last season with a knee injury suffered in the NFC championship game two seasons ago, had a couple sacks and was all over the field. He had a phenomenal play on an outside C.J. Anderson run, scraping to the ball and blasting Anderson down with a big hit. He looks like he’s back to his old self. What a great story.

• The big story on Saturday night was injuries. Read Eric Edholm’s rundown of who left the games early. The Packers really, really want this preseason to be over. 

• Peyton Manning got hit way too much against the 49ers. On a third down near the goal line, he was hit hard and low as he released the ball. The Broncos’ line is a weakness, and the team better figure out a way to protect Manning or this season isn’t going to go well in Denver. 

The transition to Gary Kubiak’s offense is still ongoing. The first-team offense played the first half, didn’t score a touchdown, and Manning finished 14-of-21 for 124 yards and an interception.

• In better Broncos news, DeMarcus Ware got a safety after running past right tackle Erik Pears and sacking 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Even at age 33 Ware is still one of the best edge rushers in the game. 

Melvin Gordon’s transition to the NFL hasn’t been easy. The Chargers rookie running back and first-round pick had 11 yards on six carries in the preseason opener, sat out the second game, then didn’t look confident against Seattle. Struggling to find and hit the hole, Gordon had just 34 yards on 14 carries with a long run of 8 yards.

• On a third down deep in Falcons territory, Ndamukong Suh beat the guard like he wasn’t there, forced Matt Ryan into a quick incompletion and then rag-dolled Ryan to the ground. From all camp reports and preseason action, Suh has been worth all of the hype for the Dolphins defense. 

• Ryan Fitzpatrick had a nice 18-yard touchdown toss to Eric Decker, had an easy 24-yard touchdown to Zac Stacy coming out of the backfield wide open, and generally looked pretty good for the Jets. Fitzpatrick was 9-fo-14 for 127 yards. Fitzpatrick really shouldn’t be a downgrade over Geno Smith and in the short term, he might be a better option for this offense. 

• Duke Johnson’s concussion for the Browns might set the backfield battle back to square one. The Browns had wanted to get a look at Johnson, the rookie from Miami who has been hurt and was making his preseason debut Saturday, but now it appears his entire preseason resume will be a single run for 4 yards and one catch for a yard. That probably puts the onus back on Isaiah Crowell, at least early in the season. 

• At the end of the first half, the 49ers’ offense had zero passing yards, three first downs and a field goal. Kaepernick needed to make two completions late just to get the passing yardage out of the negative column. The Broncos’ defense is tough, but that’s not a good look for the 49ers. 

• Rookie running back Tevin Coleman, who has been nursing a hamstring injury, made his preseason debut for the Falcons. He had 2 yards on four attempts. Coleman had a chance this month to gain ground because Devonta Freeman has been hurt too, but it wouldn’t appear he’s earned a big early-season role.

• Minnesota Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (remember him?) had a 107-yard kickoff return touchdown. The chances of the former first-round pick becoming a viable NFL receiver are getting slimmer and slimmer, but maybe he can be a top return man.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Lance Lynn carves up Giants, injures ankle in Cardinals win

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew’s daily wrap up. We’ll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

It was a bittersweet afternoon for Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn.

On the plus side, he was excellent on the hill, silencing the San Francisco Giants bats for seven scoreless innings in the Cardinals 6-0 victory. Lynn allowed six hits, walked two and struck out two en route to his 11th win.

On the down side, he was forced from the game with an ankle injury that according to reports looked worse than it actually was.

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The injury occurred in the eighth inning when Lynn attempted to field Juan Perez’s chopper. Lynn fielded it cleanly, but then twisted his right ankle trying to throw to first. The Cardinals are calling it a mild ankle sprain, though given what happened to Adam Wainwright this season Cardinals fans might hold their breath until they see him pitch again.

(Getty Images)

The Cardinals offense was locked in as well against San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong. They scored four runs on seven hits in his 4 2/3 innings, before adding two extra runs in the ninth. Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty set the pace atop the order, combining for six hits and four runs scored. Piscotty was 4-for-4 with a triple.

That sets up the rubber match on Sunday with Jaime Garcia facing off against Chris Heston. 

MIKE FIERS STAY HOT FOR ASTROS

Coming off a dominant no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his previous outing, Houston Astros right-hander Mike Fiers stayed hot in their 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

With three extra days rest after throwing a career-high 134 pitches, Fiers tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits and three walks. Fiers had fans moving toward the edge of their seats early, carrying another no-no into the fourth inning. That’s when serial history interrupter Joe Mauer singled cleanly to center field.

Fiers finished the game with five strikeouts and improved to 2-0 since being acquired from Milwaukee. He’s allowed one run or less in his last four outings.

Offensively, Houston did its damage early, scoring four runs in the first four innings. Evan Gattis and Jake Marisneck each singled home one, while Luis Valbuena doubled home a pair.

With the win, the Astros have now won six of their last eight. The surging Twins have seven wins in their last nine. 

RED SOX EMBRACE SPOILER ROLE AGAINST METS

Remember when it looked like the Mets wouldn’t lose again? The Boston Red Sox have taken care of that, knocking off the NL East leaders in two straight games to begin their weekend series.

The Red Sox emerged with a 3-1 victory on Saturday behind a stellar outing from Joe Kelly. The 27-year-old right-hander tossed 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball, allowing just five hits and two walks.

That continued a string of stellar outings from Kelly, who was sent to the minor leagues in June to retool and refocus. He’s done just that, completing August with a spotless record.


Well, he did say he’d win the AL Cy Young this season.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen. The Pitcher of the Month award probably won’t either, but he definitely has something to hang his hat on moving forward.

NATS GAIN GROUND IN NL EAST

It’s big news these days when the Mets actually lose. It’s even bigger news when the Washington Nationals take advantage and gain ground with a victory. 

They were able to do just that on Saturday, topping the Marlins 5-1 behind Jordan Zimmermann’s pitching and three home runs. 

Zimmermann was actually coming off a pair of tough outings in which he allowed four earned runs in each. Against Miami, he was on point, allowing a Justin Bour home run and little else. Zimmermann ended up tossing seven innings, allowing seven hits and one walk. 

Meanwhile, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman got Washington’s offense on track with a first-inning solo home run. In the sixth, Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond went back-to-back, with Robinson’s shot driving home two. 

From there, Washington cruised to victory while the Mets sat back and licked their wounds from the Red Sox defeat. The Nationals are now 5 1/2 back in the division race. As we all know, that’s their only hope for a postseason berth. 

Want to see more from Saturday’s slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Injury to Robbie Lawler sends Ronda Rousey to Australia to headline UFC 193

An injury to welterweight champion Robbie Lawler forced a postponement of his Nov. 15 title defense against Carlos Condit in the main event of UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia. 

As he often does, UFC president Dana White turned to women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to fill the void. White said Friday on “SportsCenter” that Rousey’s title defense against Holly Holm, which was previously announced as the headliner for UFC 195 on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas, will now headline UFC 193 in the 90,000-seat Eithad Stadium.

White told Yahoo Sports on Friday he is not certain when Lawler will fight again, but said it is not a serious injury.

UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler has an injured thumb and is out of UFC 193. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)He said when he heard that Lawler needed time to recover, he had no problem granting it. But he needed Rousey to bail him out given the importance the company is placing on UFC 193.

“I swear on my life, I called her today when I thought something might happen and I said to her, ‘Hypothetically speaking, … ‘” White said. “She interrupts me and said, ‘I’ll do whatever you need me to do.’ So I laugh and I’m telling her how much I love that attitude and I’m going on and she stops me again and says, ‘Hey, so what is up? What do you need?’ She’s incredible. In 15 years of doing this, I’ve never seen anyone remotely like this woman.”

White, who said Rousey is the UFC’s highest-paid fighter “even before pay-per-view,” said he hopes to set a new attendance record for an MMA event.

He’s not certain what he’ll do to fill the slot in the main event at UFC 195. Lawler-Condit is a possibility, but White said he hasn’t had enough time to work through things. He wanted to move strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s title defense against Valerie Letourneau, which had been set for UFC 195, to Melbourne as the co-main to Rousey-Holm, but it is too soon for Letourneau to be ready.

“I just have to rethink all of this,” White said. “There are a lot of ways we can go, but we’ll make this a kick-ass event and we’ll get back at it and figure out [UFC 195] and do the same thing with that.”

 

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