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Lynch, Strahan and Ogden make Hall semis

Lynch, Strahan and Ogden make Hall semis

CANTON, OHIO (AP) First-time candidates John Lynch, Michael Strahan and Jonathan Ogden were among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2013 class announced Friday.

Joining Lynch, Strahan and Ogden among first-year eligible players are Morten Andersen, Larry Allen and Warren Sapp.

Lynch was a star safety for Tampa Bay and Denver over 15 seasons and was considered one of the hardest hitters in the game, as well as a strong coverage defender.

Strahan retired after the Giants won the Super Bowl following the 2007 season with 141 1-2 sacks, including a league-record 22 1-2 in 2001. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in `01 and played 15 seasons for New York.

Ogden was a fixture at left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-2007, making the Pro Bowl in all but his rookie season.

Andersen retired in `07 as the NFL's career scoring leader with 2,544 points. He spent a quarter-century in the league with five teams: New Orleans, Atlanta twice, the Giants, Kansas City and Minnesota.

Only one placekicker, Jan Stenerud, is in the hall.

Allen was a Pro Bowler in 11 of his 14 seasons (12 with Dallas, two with San Francisco), playing both tackle and guard.

Sapp spent nine seasons with Tampa Bay and four with Oakland, making the Pro Bowl seven times, including 1999, when he was Defensive Player of the Year..

Also among those making the cut to 27 are former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter and Charles Haley. Senior committee nominees Curley Culp and Dave Robinson automatically make the semifinals and don't count in the 27.

The field will be reduced to 15 modern era finalists and the two senior nominees in early January. Voting for the inductees will take place Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, in New Orleans.

Inductions will be Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.

The semifinalists:

FIRST-YEAR ELIGIBLE NOMINEES

Defensive Linemen - Warren Sapp, Michael Strahan

Offensive Linemen- Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden

Placekickers - Morten Andersen

Safeties - John Lynch

ADDITIONAL NOMINEES

Cornerbacks - Albert Lewis, Aeneas Williams (also safety)

Defensive Linemen - Curley Culp

Linebackers - Kevin Greene (also DE), Charles Haley (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Dave Robinson

Offensive Linemen - Joe Jacoby, Will Shields

Running Backs - Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis

Safeties - Steve Atwater

Wide Receivers - Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker

Coaches - Don Coryell, Bill Parcells

Commissioners - Paul Tagliabue

Contributors - George Young

Owners - Edward DeBartolo Jr., Art Modell

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 23, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview—defense 

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the defense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. I looked at the topics on offense yesterday

Lining up the line

Will Phil Taylor, who seems to be a long shot to make the team after they drafted two nose tackles, get some run with the first and second teams? Also, this is a young group and Jim Tomsula will have a lot of opportunities to teach. Watching him interacting with his line and going over the details of line play is fun to watch.

Spaight vs. Vigil

The two starting inside linebacker starters are safe and the team is intrigued enough by the potential of both Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton to make them likely bets to make the 53-man roster. That leaves Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight competing for the last ILB roster spot. 

Spaight is a known quantity who has been a mainstay on special teams since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2015. They kept him over Vigil in the cut to 53 a year ago. But last year when injuries hit, Vigil started over Spaight. In a way, this is Round 3 between the two. 

Ryan Anderson

We know what outside linebacker starters Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith can do. Pernell McPhee will be good for four or five sacks and perhaps a forced fumble or two. Anderson, who was the team’s second-round pick last year, is a big question mark. He played 193 snaps in 14 games, but he barely dented the stat sheet with no sacks and just 11 tackles. Anderson is a hard worker and they need him to produce.

The pieces of the cornerback puzzle

This is discussed in some detail here by JP Finlay and I’ll look at it later this week. To pick out one detail, I want to see what the rotation in the slot is. Right now the guess is that Orlando Scandrick is the starter but who will be behind him? That’s important because Scandrick has missed 25 games in the last three seasons due to injuries. 

Apke’s progress

Fourth-round safety Troy Apke displayed impressive makeup speed during offseason practices and that let him make some plays on the ball. But he needed that speed too often as he had issues in coverage. You need to be more than just fast to play in the NFL. If Apke is going to be an alternative if injury problems strike Montae Nicholson again, he needs to start making some progress while he is in Richmond. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 3
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 17
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 40

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 48 days. 

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