Peterson says this Pro Bowl pick most meaningful


Peterson says this Pro Bowl pick most meaningful

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's Patrick Peterson is headed to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his two seasons in the NFL.

This one, he said, means more because he has been chosen as a cornerback. Last year, as a rookie, he made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner.

``To go as a defensive back, that's huge because at the end of the day that's my primary position,'' Peterson said after the team practiced Thursday. ``That's a huge accomplishment for me, so I just want to continue to get better each and every year and now my goal is to go their every year as a cornerback.''

Hall of Famer Ron Woodson is the only other player to make the Pro Bowl as a returner and defender. Peterson is the first player to be selected for the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons since Vai Sikahema in 1986-87.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Peterson worked hard to improve at cornerback.

``Attention to detail, study,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I think that's a big part of growing up as a young player is understanding how you have to prepare. We know Patrick is very competitive but he's worked very hard at some of the little things you need to when you get into this league and it's shown up on the field.''

Peterson, usually matched against the opponent's top receiver, is tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions. He also has 15 passes defensed, 57 tackles and one fumble recovery.

Peterson, as confident as they come in pro football, says he expected the selection and considers it a reward for the hard work he has done since the Cardinals made him the No. 5 pick overall in the 2011 draft.

``It was a goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year,'' he said. ``I believe I worked extremely hard from OTAs to minicamps to training camp, during the season. It just goes to show the hard work does pay off.''

He said he's improved his patience and his technique from his rookie season to this year.

``Being able to understand the game,'' Peterson said. ``It's slowed down tremendously for me. And learning the concepts of the route combination these receivers want to do in certain situations. Just those little things helped me tremendous to come into my second year having a breakout year.''

Peterson was fourth at cornerback in fan voting but surged onto the team based on votes from coaches and players.

``That's huge,'' he said. ``That goes to show I do have the respect from my colleagues. The fans, they're going off stats and all that stuff, but coaches, they look at the film. They break down the film. They watch the technique. They watch how hard I work each and every play. I tip my hat off to the coaches and players who helped me get this spot.''

Peterson is Arizona's only Pro Bowl selection. Inside linebacker Daryl Washington and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were chosen as alternates.

``I am kind of disappointed,'' Washington said. ``I guess today kind of showed it a little bit. Guys were kind of encouraging me. I thought I really had it in the book, but you've got to give credit to those guys in front of me, Lavar Bowman and Patrick Willis. Those guys have much respect for me and I wish those guys the best. Hopefully they get to the title game so I can get in there somehow, but much respect to those guys.''

Whisenhunt said that with Washington ``coming out of nowhere'' to prominence, it sometimes takes a year for his performance to reflect in the Pro Bowl balloting. Washington, in his third pro season, has nine sacks, one shy of the franchise best for a linebacker. He leads the team with 128 tackles, 110 solos, with an interception, 14 quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Fitzgerald is a six-time Pro Bowl player, including the last five seasons in a row. But he was surprised to get any mention after all the quarterback troubles of the Arizona offense, which ranks last in the NFL. The quarterbacks' inability to get the ball to Fitzgerald is a big reason the team has lost 10 of 11 after a 4-0 start.

The franchise record holder in virtually all receiving categories, Fitzgerald has 69 catches for 785 yards and four touchdowns. With one game remaining, Sunday at San Francisco, he seems likely to fall short of 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in six years.


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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson


GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”


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Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick


Capitals go to the WHL again, select defenseman Alex Alexeyev with first-round pick

The last time the Washington Capitals had a first-round draft pick, they selected a WHL defenseman. They did not go off script on Friday.

With the last pick of the first round, selecting for the first time as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev, a left-shooting, two-way defenseman from St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev, 18, certainly boasts NHL size at 6' 4", 196 pounds. He currently plays for Red Deer in the WHL, a junior league that has become a major pipeline for the Capitals. In his second season with Red Deer, he tallied 37 points in 45 games.

The NHL Central Scouting's rankings list Alexeyev as the 22nd best North American skater of the draft. TSN projects him to be a top-four, two-way defenseman.

Analyst Craig Button described Alexeyev as a "Smart, effective defenceman who moves the puck, plays with a calm and doesn't make things complicated for himself."