Capitals

Panthers CB Gamble to have MRI on injured shoulder

Panthers CB Gamble to have MRI on injured shoulder

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera said starting cornerback Chris Gamble will have an MRI on his right shoulder to determine if he has a torn labrum, the same injury that sent offensive lineman Mike Pollak to injured reserve earlier this season.

Gamble has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Dallas and Rivera is ``concerned'' he may end up on injured reserve.

``Once he gets the exam and goes through all that we'll determine'' if he goes on IR, Rivera said. ``Probably the soonest we'll know is Monday.''

As if the Panthers (1-4) need any more problems, Rivera also said three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jon Beason is ``very doubtful'' for the Cowboys game because of a lingering knee issue and that rookie Luke Kuechly will make his second start in the middle.

Beason also sat out Carolina's 16-12 loss to Seattle prior to the bye week.

Kuechly, the team's first-round draft pick this year, played well in his absence with 11 tackles and one interception. That also means Thomas Davis will start at weak side linebacker.

``Jon Beason did very, very limited stuff today, so he's very doubtful,'' Rivera said. ``Luke practiced inside and that looks like the direction we'll have to head.''

When he's played Beason has struggled with knee and shoulder problems which affected his strength and ability to tackle. In a Week 3 game against the Near York Giants, running back Andre Brown bounced off a Beason shoulder tackle and kept on going.

Meanwhile, Kuechly said he's feeling comfortable in the middle.

Kuechly played middle linebacker at Boston College and led the nation in tackles twice.

He started the first four games at weak side linebacker for the Panthers. Rivera said earlier in the season the coaching staff did not want to continue to move him from one linebacker position to the other so as to prevent him from feeling overwhelmed.

``It comes back to an extent,'' Kuechly said of returning to middle linebacker. ``There's still some new things we do on our defense. There are a couple of differences, but for the most part it's similar to what I was used to.''

Rivera said Gamble, who has started 117 games in nine seasons, first injured the shoulder against Atlanta on Sept. 30. He sat out Carolina's game against Seattle the following week. He reinjured it in practice this week.

Rivera called Gamble one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the league.

While Carolina's defense ranks 19th in the league against the pass, Gamble has been fairly consistent with the exception of the Giants game.

He's been targeted 14 times and allowed eight catches for 75 yards with two pass breakups, according to STATS LLC. Six of those passes allowed came in a 36-7 loss to the Giants.

Captain Munnerlyn will start in Gamble's spot opposite rookie Josh Norman. In nickel situations, Munnerlyn will slide to the slot and cornerback Josh Thomas will man the outside.

Quick Links

How the Caps upset the Lightning to win the conference championship

usatsi_10841700.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

How the Caps upset the Lightning to win the conference championship

It wasn't supposed to happen.

The Capitals celebrated too hard after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. The Tampa Bay Lightning had been here before. Tampa Bay's roster was deeper. Their goalie was hotter. They had home ice advantage. They had easily won their first two series. Nicklas Backstrom was still injured. Washington wouldn't be able to stop the Lightning's power play.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

For all of those reasons, many did not even give the Caps a chance. Washington overcame every obstacle in their way and was, for the most part, the better team through seven games defeating Tampa Bay to win the Eastern Conference for just the second time in franchise history.

The Capitals showed in their second-round win over the Penguins that these weren't the "same old Caps." They continued to prove that in the conference final when they stunned the Lightning to win Game 1 and Game 2 both on the road.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

When Washington lost the next three, many thought that meant the real Lightning had awoken, but it was the Caps who rose to the occasion in Game 6 and Game 7 where they face elimination as they completely dominated Tampa Bay by a combined score of 7-0.

The Caps now advance to take on the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. The Knights have lost only three games this entire postseason and will hope to carry that momentum with them into Game 1.

If there is one thing this Washington team has proven, however, it's that you should never count them out.

Here's how the Capitals were able to shock the hockey world and upset the Lightning.

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins' Jay Gruden and Alex Smith from the podium

gruden_otas_ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins' Jay Gruden and Alex Smith from the podium

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 24, 64 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What Jay Gruden and Alex Smith had to say from the podium

After yesterday’s OTA practice, Alex Smith and Jay Gruden took the podium. Here are some of their quotes and my comments on them:

Smith was asked about getting together with his new teammates:

So I think every guy these last two days has enjoyed just getting back out there and losing yourself in the game, right? To be limited, it does make you miss it, and I think it makes you appreciate it, so that’s been nice. 

Comment: This is a guy who loves football and everything that goes with it. Smith would start playing games tomorrow if they were scheduled.

Gruden was asked how Smith has looked in these first two days of OTAs:

He’s got good command of the offense already. Great command in the huddle. He’s just getting a feel for the receivers, the players around him, how we call things, but overall, the first two days, I would say I’m very pleased with his quick progression and learning. I knew that wouldn’t be an issue with as much as he’s played in a similar-style system.

Comment: It did seem that Smith was in sync with his receivers, Jamison Crowder in particular. He and Paul Richardson connected on a deep pass after giving each other a look at the line of scrimmage. The encouraging thing is that he is coming from a similar offensive system, so the learning curve should not be too long. 

Smith had a great analogy when asked about similarities to the offenses he has run:

Both from West Coast worlds, so it’s kind of like they are all Latin-based languages, you know, but they are not the same. There are some similarities, structure of the playbook, of how we call things, things like that. There are a lot of similarities but it’s not the same language. I guess that’s the best analogy I can make

Comment: If terminology is the biggest obstacle for Smith to overcome it will be a smooth transition for him. 

Gruden was impressed with the running backs. 

“I’ll tell you what, just today in general, you could see the competition. You could see Rob Kelley step up. Samaje Perine’s had a couple big days. Byron Marshall, I mean, he had a couple great routes today. He’s running the ball between the tackles. [Kapri] Bibbs had some big runs yesterday. Obviously, Derrius Guice has come in here and fueled the fire a little bit.

Comment: I think that the Redskins are going to have to release some good running backs. Rob Kelly never really earned the nickname “Fat Rob” but he looked particularly lean and quick running the ball. He wants nothing to do with being on the roster bubble. Marshall moved quickly and showed his speed. Although Gruden wouldn’t say it, Guice clearly was the best of the bunch; his ability to change direction while maintaining his speed will serve him well. It must be noted that they are not in pads and not getting tackled so more definitive opinions will have to wait until we are in Richmond for a few days. 

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

Tandler on Twitter

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 19
—Training camp starts (7/26) 64
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 78

The Redskins last played a game 144 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 108 days. 

In case you missed it