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Carroll says Sherman, Browner expected vs. Chicago

Carroll says Sherman, Browner expected vs. Chicago

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expects to have his starting cornerbacks available this Sunday in Chicago.

After that is anyone's guess.

Carroll said Monday he plans on Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner playing this week against the Bears, despite the possibility they could be facing four-game suspensions for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Carroll didn't say much regarding the duo at his regularly scheduled media availability, trying not to violate league rules. But his belief is that Sherman and Browner will be able to play in potentially Seattle's most important game of the season.

``As of right now, I'm planning on those guys playing,'' Carroll said.

ESPN.com first reported Sunday afternoon, following the Seahawks' 24-21 loss at Miami, that Browner and Sherman are facing suspensions and are in the process of appealing. The team said Sunday night it was aware of the report and according to the league's collective bargaining agreement, players can continue to play until the appeal is heard and settled.

The team is limited in what it can say regarding the possible suspensions and Carroll eventually said he wouldn't comment further until there is some resolution.

``Because it's so important we do this properly I'm not going to comment on anything about it. That's the best way to do this because these are league issues,'' Carroll said. ``At this point I'm going to keep it there and hope you can respect that this is the way we have to do that, and we can talk about it later on.''

In a phone interview with Seattle reporters after Carroll's press conference finished, Browner's agent Peter Schaffer said that his client only received notice of the failed test last week.

``Brandon Browner has no knowledge of how any illegal substance could have gotten into his system,'' Schaffer said. ``He is an outstanding person and a very good football player. He takes tremendous care of his body and he is very careful with what he puts into it. We're exploring all avenues to try and figure out how any substance out of the ordinary would be in his system.''

Schaffer added that the league typically schedules appeals within 20 days of the notice being received, depending on circumstances. He did not provide specifics on when Browner's appeal would take place.

``It's too early to tell what we're going to need, what witnesses and evidence and experts are going to be required, so there is no way to even guess at this point,'' he said.

Sherman, an active participant in social media, posted on his Twitter account late Sunday night after arriving back in the Northwest, ``This ... issue will be resolved soon and the truth will come out. Not worried.''

If Browner and Sherman are found guilty of violating the league's policy, they would be the fourth and fifth Seahawks players in the last calendar year to be violators. Guard John Moffitt was suspended four games late last season. Reserve offensive lineman Allen Barbre was suspended for the first four games of this season before being released by the team once his suspension was up. And just last week, rookie safety Winston Guy was handed a four-game suspension after taking an over-the-counter product that had a banned substance in the ingredients, according to his agent.

None of those suspensions could have the impact of Browner and Sherman, and it could not come at a much worse time with the Seahawks trying to hold on to the final wild-card spot in the NFC. The Seahawks (6-5) are tied with Tampa Bay and Minnesota, but hold the tiebreakers.

Seattle's defense is predicated on the ability of its cornerbacks to play man coverage and lock up receivers. Sherman and Browner allow strong safety Kam Chancellor to play closer to the line of scrimmage in run support and give free safety Earl Thomas the chance to roam the secondary with his speed.

If the duo does miss time, Seattle would turn to veteran Marcus Trufant and a trio of youngsters - Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane - to fill the spots. Trufant was a starter until getting injured during the 2011 season, while Seattle has hoped Thurmond would develop into a key contributor, but he has been slowed by injuries. Thurmond has yet to be active for a game this season after starting the year on the physically unable to perform list.

``They've been special in their effectiveness and a lot of it has to do with the way we ask them to play. It suits them very well. It fits. They've been a big factor for us. We love the way they're playing. ... How it develops in the future with our guys when they get a chance they can play at the level and style that we want,'' Carroll said. ``We still try and tailor our expectation of our play to the athlete and what he can do and what they're capable of doing, and we've always looked at it that way. Some guys play a little different than others and we have a pretty good group of guys to battle and give us versatility, I think.''

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Jeff Green lifts Wizards as fellow Hoya Otto Porter watches late again

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USA Today Sports

Jeff Green lifts Wizards as fellow Hoya Otto Porter watches late again

The Wizards’ 117-109 win over the Orlando Magic Monday night was the tale of two Hoyas.

Washington brought Jeff Green back home this summer to help anchor the second unit with his defensive versatility and scoring spurts. Both aspects were on display in the fourth quarter, as the Wizards finally broke free from the Magic.

Another former Georgetown star, Otto Porter, was nowhere to be found in the fourth. Zero minutes for a third consecutive game for the Wizards’ highest-paid player, thus adding another layer of weird to his season.

The why is a topic. For a team that registered its first winning streak of the season after a 2-9 start, all that matters is finding success. That was the postgame message from Scott Brooks.

There’s no detective work required as to why Green turned into a late-game staple.

After his 19-point outing in Saturday’s win at Miami, the streaky scorer had 10 of his 18 in the final period against Orlando with four 3-pointers. Defensively the 6-foot-9 forward offers Brooks an option the roster lacked last season: a versatile player capable of guarding on the perimeter and, as was the case against Orlando center Nik Vucevic, inside against bigger players.

“We need his all-around play,” Brooks said. “He can guard just about everybody on the floor. … I thought [Jeff] did a pretty good job on the big fellow.”

Green and Markieff Morris handled the interior spots the entire fourth quarter. When the forwards can match up with opposing four’s and five’s on defense, it typically means their scoring presence opens the court for penetrating guards John Wall and Bradley Beal on the other end.

Green sinking bombs throughout the game helped as well. He finished four of five from deep with two coming in the fourth. The career 33 percent 3-point shooter is 9 of 13 from beyond the arc overall during the last four games, and 21 of 28 overall.

“He's starting to get a little bit of rhythm from the three-point line, and we need that from him,” Brooks said.

Maybe Green isn’t the ideal athletic-4 Wall called for in recent years, but the on-court connection between the power forward and point guard is evident. During the decisive 14-4 run, the two hooked up for an alley-oop lob that's turned into a go-to play for Washington.

With shooters surrounding the duo, Wall dribbles toward the left elbow, taking all eyes with him. Green immediately turns down an open lane and rolls to the rim before rising high to meet the toss.

“We have shooters, we have guys that have to [be] respected,” Green said of the play. “It keeps [defenders] at bay, and with John’s speed, to get downhill at the rim, you have to help (on him).”

Wall passed on offering any keys to the play’s success (“We just tweaked a little bit of the play. I can’t tell you about, but it’s kind of working for us.”), but he praised Green’s performance with ease.

“That’s what we got Jeff for,” Wall said.

The Wizards matched that massive four-year, $106.5 million restricted offer sheet Porter signed with Brooklyn in 2017 for all kinds of reasons. Among them, he’s an instinct-rich player who makes winning plays and ranks among the most accurate 3-point shooters in the league. Those traits haven’t kept Porter on the court late in games recently in part because they haven’t shown in full-throated ways.

The term “benching” is harsh, though the situation is odd. Morris sat out the final periods at Orlando and Miami. Dwight Howard didn’t enter the fourth Monday despite finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds. Only Porter’s sit streak reached three games.

The small forward played a strong defensive game in Saturday’s win at Miami, but Brooks rode with a group that gained momentum as Washington surged past the Heat.

Porter is 9 of 16 on 3-pointers over the last four games. That’s only one aspect of the game. Brooks is looking for more. Porter took only one shot attempt in the first half Monday, lacked vigor defensively, and scored six points in 21 minutes.

"I mean, it's trying to find a blend of guys that are going to compete and going to play hard,” Brooks said of his lineup choices.

Asked specifically about Porter, Brooks said, “It’s just the way it is. Some games Otto is not going to have good games. Tonight isn’t one of them. He’ll bounce back. The guy is a winner. He knows how to play.”

Green and Porter honed their games at Georgetown under coach John Thompson III and turned into top-5 NBA Draft selections. The program is mostly closed off to the outside world, but a strong bond between the players exists regardless of when they played. The two forwards never joined forces until this season. Green knows Porter, enough to tell whether a helpful chat is required. This isn’t one of those times. 

“Otto is a pro, man,” Green told NBC Sports Washington. “I don’t have to say anything to Otto. He’s a team-first guy. He’s a guy who’s going to make sure whenever his name is called he’s going to be ready. He’s not worried about if he’s playing. I’m sure he’d like to be playing. He’s doing whatever it takes it to make sure the team is in a place to win.”

So is Scott Brooks. For now, that includes one former Georgetown star in the fourth quarter. It’s just not the obvious one.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' 117-109 win over Magic, including Bradley Beal's big dunk

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' 117-109 win over Magic, including Bradley Beal's big dunk

The Washington Wizards topped the Orlando Magic 117-109 on Monday night. Here are five plays or moments worth revisiting...

1. Like most games the Wizards have played this season, on Monday they started out scorching on offense while defense appeared optional. 

This play was an exception. Bradley Beal, whom you will see plenty more from in this post, got a steal that led to a three for Otto Porter Jr. on the other end:

Though the Wizards won, Porter was held to just six points in 22 minutes of action.

2. Back to Beal. Though that first-half play was nice, he was quiet for much of this game. It wasn't until less than five minutes were remaining in the third quarter that he flipped a switch.

But when he did, there was nothing the Magic could do to stop him. This was one of the plays he made during his third quarter takeover. He used a nifty behind-the-back crossover to set up Dwight Howard for an and-1 bucket:

3. Beal accounted for 10 points in a three-minute stretch, capped off with this steal and dunk:

Beal started the game 3-for-13 from the field, but ended it with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

4. John Wall (25 points, 10 assists) and Jeff Green (18 points, six rebounds) also had big nights. They connected on this alley-oop in the fourth quarter:

Green had 10 points in the fourth quarter and Wall had nine.

5. Wall kept it going late with this fadeaway jumper to force a Magic timeout. The way he toyed with the defense off the dribble was quite impressive:

Speaking of Wall, if you ask Beal, it was the media (and more specifically ESPN's Stephen A. Smith) that set the five-time All-Star off. Wall, Beal says, was playing with some extra motivation with Smith sitting courtside:

Don't question him. Just go with it.

The Wizards have now won two straight games. In a sign that it's still super early and probably not time to freak out about the big picture, the Wizards are now just 1 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the East.

 

 

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