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The Unexpected Happiness Of A Redskins Fan On Draft Day

It’s been a few days since the NFL draft ended, as a partisan Washington Redskins fan, I’m experiencing an emotion I can’t ever recall feeling in the immediate aftermath of the draft—positive vibes.

Washington Redskins historyIt’s not just that I like the decision to focus on the offensive line, starting with first-round pick Brandon Scherff, the #5 overall choice out of Iowa, and continuing on to Alabama’s Arie Kouandijo and Austin Reiter from South Florida.

Anyone remotely paying attention could see how badly the ‘Skins needed offensive line help. It’s the organizational consistency that is so pleasantly surprising.

What I mean is this—one of the Redskins’ most notable offseason additions was luring Bill Callahan away from the staff of the Dallas Cowboys to coach the offensive line. Callahan has an outstanding track record. We can go all the way back to the early 1990s, where he coached the first offensive lines for Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin, beginning a tradition of great front fives in Madison. And it continued into last season, when the Cowboy offensive front was the best in the game.

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NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Preview

The second round of the NBA playoffs is set to start this afternoon, but before we say goodbye to the first round, how about a salute to the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs? To Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. And especially to Chris Paul and Tim Duncan, who gave us an unforgettable Game 7 last night. The Clippers survived and it almost seems like the rest of the postseason has to be a letdown. How can anyone possibly top what these two excellent teams did?

But there’s still a championship to be settled and four second-round matchups ahead of us. Here’s a brief rundown on all four, including what Las Vegas thinks on each one…

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The NBA Playoffs Start For Real On Saturday Night

The first round of the NBA playoffs has been mostly ho-hum. That’s not entirely surprising, given that favorites in this league hold serve at a rate that can’t said of their NHL counterparts. The one notable exception has been the incredibly compelling battle between the Spurs and Clippers.

That one comes to a head tonight with a Game 7 at the Staples Center (8 PM ET, TNT) and the other seven series have all concluded. It’s entirely reasonable to say then, that this postseason begins for real tonight.

I’ve been able to watch five of the six Spurs-Clippers games and two things seem fairly evident. The first is that Los Angeles has progressed to the point of being the better team. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin they have the two players most able to take over at a moment’s notice, as both did in a Game 6 road win that extended the series.

The second thing though is that it’s not by much, and San Antonio’s superior veteran savvy has enabled them to steal a couple games they shouldn’t have had, in Games 2 & 5 in Los Angeles.

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Kentucky Derby Preview

The first weekend in May is upon us and that means it’s time for the running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (6:30 PM ET, NBC). This is a race with a history and a structure that has rewarded longshots, but over the last two years, a favorite has won each time. Does 2015 see a return to the big-priced winner? Here’s a look at how the 20-horse field breaks down…

THE FAVORITES
American Pharoah (5-2)
Dortmund (3-1)

Both of the favorites have been prepared by powerhouse California trainer Bob Baffert, who is one of two trainers (along with Todd Pletcher) whose presence looms over the sport.

But Baffert hasn’t won at Churchill Downs since 2002 with War Emblem and this year is his best shot. American Pharoah is ridden by Victor Espinoza, who rode California Chrome to victory here and at the Preakness Stakes a year ago. Martin Garcia, whose biggest win came at the Preakness Stakes in 2010, is aboard Dortmund.

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