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Raiders plan to play Carter against Falcons

Raiders plan to play Carter against Falcons

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders defensive end Andre Carter was always taught to do everything on the field at full speed. Recovering from a torn quadriceps injury required a bit more patience.

Nearly 10 months after being carted off the field in Denver, Carter plans to take the restraints off again in his 2012 regular season debut. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Friday that Carter will be active for Oakland's game this week against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

How much the 12th-year pass rush specialist plays is uncertain, though Allen indicated he wouldn't put limitations on Carter.

``It gives us a little bit more veteran leadership,'' Allen said. ``He's a guy that understands how to do it and he's done it at a high level. He's come in and tried to help the whole group. He's been a good addition for us.''

Carter was signed on Sept. 26 to help a pass rush that has produced just three sacks in four games. The 33-year-old has 76 career sacks, including 10 last year with New England before he suffered the season-ending leg injury.

The quadriceps muscle in Carter's left leg was torn so badly that he required surgery, followed up by a grueling stretch of rehab.

While the injury scared away many potential suitors, Oakland showed an early interest in Carter and had him in for workouts twice before signing him following their Week 3 win over Pittsburgh.

That victory has been the lone bright spot in the Raiders' first season since Hall of Fame owner Al Davis died in October 2011.

Oakland is off to a 1-3 start for the sixth time in eight seasons, with most of the problems coming on the defensive side. The Raiders are 25th overall, 28th against the pass.

Part of that is due to injuries that have sidelined starting cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Michael Huff, the team's starting free safety since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2006, will make his third consecutive start at cornerback this week.

The Raiders pass rush has also been quiet. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy leads the defense with 1 1/2 sacks, defensive tackle Richard Seymour has one while Dave Tollefson has 1/2 sack.

Carter, who began his NFL career across the bay with San Francisco, hopes to help change that. He spent two weeks learning Oakland's defense then joined the rest of the Raiders on Wednesday for his first padded practice since the injury.

``I knew the road to recovery was going to be a process,'' Carter said. ``It's something you definitely have to be very patient about. You don't want to rush anything. You don't want to have any major setbacks, so I did the necessary things as far as my recovery.''

Carter has been lining up primarily at right defensive end in practice, although he also worked on the left side Friday. The Raiders say they'll use him at both if need be to counter the Falcons' high-paced offense.

``He'll be a rotational player, and really that's how we've handled the defensive line anyway,'' Allen said. ``You have to try to limit the number of plays that they play, especially playing a team like Atlanta that throws the ball like they do. You want to make sure you keep some fresh rushers out there.''

Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is also expected to play for the first time since suffering a concussion and neck strain after being knocked unconscious following a helmet-to-chin hit by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy on Sept. 23.

Notes: DE Tommy Kelly returned to practice after injuring his foot Wednesday. Kelly is listed as questionable but is expected to play. ... TE Richard Gordon (hamstring) is out.

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Check out the names on the Wizards' Summer League training camp roster

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Check out the names on the Wizards' Summer League training camp roster

NBA Summer League is right around the corner. While the Washington Wizards continue a search for a new president, they do have one thing pinned down: the Summer League training camp roster.

The Wizards open Summer League play in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 6, when they take on No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Mini camp begins Tuesday and runs through Thursday. Players will participate in a two-hour practice each day.

Here is the training camp roster:

Noah Allen, G/F, Hawaii (Capital City Go-Go)
Armoni Brooke, G, Houston
Elijah Brown, G/F, Oregon (Grand Rapids Drive)
Troy Brown Jr., F, Oregon (Washington Wizards)
Dontay Caruthers, G, Buffalo
Troy Caupain Jr., G, Cincinnati (Orlando Magic)
Corey Davis, G, Houston
Dikembe Dixson, F, UIC (Capital City Go-Go)
Kellen Dunham, G, Butler (Capital City Go-Go)
John Egbunu, C, Florida
Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga
Vince Hunter, F, UTEP (AEK Athens Greece)
Garrison Mathews, G, Lipscomb
Tarik Phillip, G, Ukraine (Petrol Limpija Ukraine)
Admiral Schofield, F, Tennessee
James Thompson IV, F/C, Eastern Michigan
Jeff Withey, C, Kansas (Lavrio B.C. Greece)
Tony Wroten, G, Washington (BC Kalev-Cramo Estonia)

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Free Agency Bracket: Noel Acciari vs. Marcus Kruger

Free Agency Bracket: Noel Acciari vs. Marcus Kruger

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. Marcus Kruger

 

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

 

Marcus Kruger (29 years old): 74 games played with the Chicago Blackhawks, 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points, 10:25 TOI

 

Playoffs: None

 

Hockey-Graph contract projections

 

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

 

Marcus Kruger: 1 year, $861,030 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 give an obvious fourth-line player a decent raise. The Capitals might not, either, but for now, they really only have to add in RFA Jakub Vrana’s new contract and figure out what they’re going to do with RFA Andre Burakovsky. 

 

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 Marcus Kruger

 

A different skill set here for the smaller Kruger (6-foot, 186 pounds). Don’t expect even double-digit goals from him, either. But Kruger will likely cost less than $1 million and can be a valuable penalty killer, where Washington needs help. That’s huge for a team that is now dealing with an $81.5 million salary cap, which is $1.5 million less than expected. Add in the overage bonus for defenseman Brooks Orpik from last season and you’re in trouble at just over $80 million.   

 

Kruger played seven seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and one disappointing one with the Carolina Hurricanes. Kruger has plenty of Stanley Cup experience, too, playing for Chicago’s 2013 and 2015 Cup winners. He has 87 postseason games and a triple-overtime game-winner in the Western Conference Final to his name in 2015 in Game 2 of that series against Anaheim. 

 

A defensive specialist, only two Blackhawks forwards played more short-handed minutes than Kruger (132:46) last season. There is risk here. Kruger was traded to Carolina in 2017-18, but was placed on waivers after 48 games and spent the rest of the season in the AHL before being traded to Arizona and then back to Chicago. But part of that stemmed from how much he was making on a $3.08 million cap hit. At a bargain-basement price, Kruger is more palatable. 

 

Who’s your pick? Vote here.

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