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Florida QB Driskel doubtful to play Saturday

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Florida QB Driskel doubtful to play Saturday

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Jacoby Brissett took the first snap of Florida's season, then headed to the bench.

He's pretty much been there ever since.

But with Jeff Driskel doubtful for Saturday's game against lower-division Jacksonville State, Brissett likely will get another chance under center for the seventh-ranked Gators (9-1).

``There's no question, I think it's a great example for us all,'' coach Will Muschamp said Monday. ``When your number is called, you better hurry up and perform and perform well. We always talk about man down, man up, and in that situation, you've got to man up and play.

``It's different from other positions, the quarterback position, and how it affects the entire team.''

Driskel sprained his right ankle in the third quarter of Saturday's 27-20 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. Driskel injured his ankle while being tackled on a zone-read run. He got re-taped on the sideline, but couldn't return.

Brissett came off the bench and completed 6 of 8 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked twice and nearly threw an interception on his first four passing plays. But the sophomore rebounded, finding Jordan Reed down the middle for a 39-yard gain and then hooking up with Quinton Dunbar for a 3-yard score to tie the game with 1:42 remaining.

Florida returned a blocked punt for a score with 2 seconds remaining to stave off overtime and potentially the program's biggest upset.

Much of the talk Monday, though, surrounded the QBs.

Driskel is still wearing a protective walking boot and probable won't practice this week.

Brissett, meanwhile, has been waiting for a shot since losing the battle for the starting job in the opener.

Brissett started two games last season and seemed to be the favorite to win the job this season. But the coaching staff picked Driskel because of his ability to make plays with his legs behind a shaky offensive line.

Muschamp said Brissett handled the decision admirably, continuing to work like a starter in practice. So his relief performance Saturday went about like what the coaches expected.

``What I've seen over a year and a half that we've been here together is a guy has prepared himself well, is very talented,'' Muschamp said. ``He's going to have the opportunities to make good choices and decisions on the field, which he'll do. I've got a lot of confidence in him. I don't think it's just any one day that you say this gives you confidence. I think it's over a period of time that builds confidence with him.''

Driskel has been mostly inconsistent, not all that uncommon for a first-year starter. He held the ball too long at times, rarely looks to throw when he scrambles and made several costly mistakes in Florida's loss to Georgia.

Driskel has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,324 yards, with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has 424 yards rushing and four scores, but has been sacked 29 times.

Brissett has less mobility, but tight end Omarius Hines said he brings other attributes to the table.

``Just throwing the ball wise,'' Hines said. ``He's a better thrower.''

Brissett also has shown a penchant for throwing deep.

``It'll open up plays for us, like set up the run game and at the same time set up the passing stuff, too,'' Hines said.

The Gators have won 50 consecutive games against teams outside the Bowl Championship Series and have never lost to a team from the Football Championship Subdivision.

Even if Driskel doesn't play, Florida expects to extend that streak Saturday against Jacksonville State (6-4).

And with rival and 10th-ranked Florida State on tap the following week, it might seem better to rest Driskel a week anyway, right?

``We'll see how the swelling goes on the ankle and see where it goes,'' Muschamp said. ``Some guys recover quicker than others. ... We'll see Wednesday what he can do or if he can do anything. If not, then we'll go forward and be fine. Jacoby will play well.''

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Michael Pierce responds to last week's dismissal from practice

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Michael Pierce responds to last week's dismissal from practice

Kick off your Monday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. Last week, defensive tackle Michael Pierce was dismissed from practice after showing up in "less than ideal shape" according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec. Pierce joined WSNP-FM 105.5 Friday where he responded to being dismissed from practice. “Throughout the offseason, I tend to lift more than run,” Pierce said. “Being a nose guard, I want to be strong or what not. I, honestly, just mismanaged my running a little bit.”

2. On the other hand, tight end Mark Andrews looks "bigger, faster and stronger" Zrebiec said. Andrews had a standout year last season as a rookie with three touchdowns and 34 catches for 552 yards. Zrebiec said Andrews has not slowed down and will be an even bigger asset to the Ravens offense this season.


Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.

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Free Agency Bracket: Noel Acciari vs. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Free Agency Bracket: Noel Acciari vs. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

It is almost time for NHL free agency to begin, and the Capitals certainly have needs to fill and a limited budget. Who would be the best fit? Who would be the best free agent target for Washington to pursue? That’s what NBC Sports Washington wants to find out!

Our experts got together and made a bracket of the 16 best free agent fits. The bracket is divided into four regions: Third line forward, fourth line forward, depth defenseman and Caps’ free agent. Now we want you to tell us who you want to see rocking the red next year!

Every weekday we will match two free agents up against one another and present a case for each player. Then you get to vote and decide who advances!

Check out today’s matchup:

Region: Fourth line forwards

Noel Acciari vs. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

2018-19 stats

Noel Acciari (27 years old): 72 games played with the Boston Bruins, 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points, 12:59 TOI

Playoffs: 19 games played with the Boston Bruins, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, 13:10 TOI

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (34 years old): 76 games played with the Vegas Golden Knights, 6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points, 12:26 TOI

Playoffs: 6 games played with the Vegas Golden Knights, 0 goals, 0 assists, 11:44 TOI

Hockey-Graph contract projections

Noel Acciari: 2 years, $1,180,934 cap hit

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: 2 years, $1,450,996 cap hit

The case for Noel Acciari

Plays a lot bigger than his 5-foot-10, 205-pound frame. A perfect fit at right wing on the fourth line for Washington. The native New Englander, who played at Providence, is a home-grown Bruin and might not want to leave home, but Boston also might not have the cap space to double the salary of an obvious fourth-line player. 

Acciari is renowned for his character and toughness. He was a college captain for Providence and helped the Friars win an NCAA title in 2015. There’s never been a shot he’s unwilling to block. Acciari sustained a broken sternum in the second round against Columbus and a blocked shot with his right foot in Game 7 of the Cup Final left him in a walking boot. 

Acciari’s offensive upside is limited, but he did have 10 goals in 2017-18. He was a key player for the Bruins in the past two Stanley Cup playoffs and chipped in two goals in this year’s playoff run that came within a game of a championship. Acciari would help on Washington’s penalty kill, too. In 111:52 he was only on the ice for 11 power-play goals against. Only two Boston forwards were on the ice more short-handed.   

The case for Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

A late bloomer who grew into a bottom-six role for the Philadelphia Flyers and, the past two seasons, the Vegas Golden Knights. Bellemare held his own as an above-water possession player on a team that dominated in that area. But even when taking into account his usage and that he ranked lower than most of his teammates in that area, he was still about break even. 

No other forward logged as much time on the penalty kill for Vegas (147:54) and it wasn’t close. The Knights gave up just 18 power-play goals with Bellemare on the ice and scored three short-handed goals. He had two shortys in his time with the Flyers.

Bellemare won’t give you much offensively. He’s never reached double digits in goals or 20 points in a season. He’ll also turn 35 late next season. But he’s played in the Stanley Cup playoffs three of his four NHL seasons (31 games) and the Capitals remember him from the Cup Final in 2018. Bellemare had two assists in that series. He’s difficult to play against, would provide a veteran presence missing on the fourth line and was primarily a center for the Knights so he has positional versatility. 

Who’s your pick? Vote here. 

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