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Thursday, 6-Sep-2012 00:33 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Cowboys change mind about activating Lance Dunbar

Early on Wednesday there were reports out of Dallas that the Cowboys were going to shuffle their roster before the game against Nike NFL Jerseys 2012 the Giants.

Running back Lance Dunbar was reportedly going to be activated from the practice squad while tight end Colin Cochart, claimed off waivers from the Bengals a few days ago, would be waived after the team declined to bring him to New Jersey. Dunbar did travel with the team and was Jacksonville Jaguars Jersey ticketed for a special teams role against the defending champs.

That ticket’s been revoked. The team had until 3 p.m. ET to make the move, but Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that they changed course and decided not to activate Dunbar. It had been their plan to make the movie, per Mendez’s report, but they opted to go with 52 men for the game.

Naturally, that leads us to wonder if Dunbar was left on the practice squad because the Cowboys might have a player in mind for his spot on the 46-man roster for Wednesday’s game. Someone like tight end Jason Witten, for example.

Witten’s status remains up in the air with just a few hours left before the game and the season get underway. He has reportedly offered to sign a waiver absolving the team of liability if he got hurt against the Giants, Kansas City Chiefs Jersey but we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out if he’s going to be on the field.

Tuesday, 4-Sep-2012 23:54 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Undrafted rookie G Lucas Nix biggest surprise on 53-man roster

When the Raiders set their initial 53-man roster Friday, there were a handful of surprising survivors. None was bigger than Lucas Nix, Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys an undrafted rookie from Pittsburgh.

Nix flew under the radar during OTAs, mini-camps and training camp, at least for those on the outside looking in.

“I think I have the ability to be a great player,” Nix said Tuesday. “It's just putting it on the field and letting everybody else see it.”

After he learned he had made the team, Nix sent a Tweet that read, “Cream Rises.” That's exactly what the father of his best friend, who coached him in football and basketball until he entered high school, told him after he went undrafted.

“I got hurt last season, but I can't use that as an excuse,” said Nix, who missed five games with a dislocated knee cap. “I thought I played good in college and good enough to get drafted. The simple fact is I didn't. I can't change that. It's out of my control. You can't lose confidence in your ability and your skill. Just keep pushing forward.

“That was the big thing my buddy's father told me when he said cream rises. He said, ‘Just because you didn't get drafted, don't think any less of your ability. Just because someone got drafted doesn't mean they're better than you. They saw something in them that they didn't see in you.' I came out here with that attitude and I worked hard. Fortunately I'm still on this team.”

Nix didn't know that he had survived the cut until he reported to a team meeting late Friday afternoon.

“I guess I was relieved,” he said. “It was a real stressful day, just waiting around for a call, and I didn't get one. I'm blessed and thankful for that. I can't say I expected it, but I put my best on the film, and I've been playing my best out here. If that wasn't good enough, I left it all on the field for them.”

Back on track: After hitting a few bumps on his road back from offseason left knee surgery, punter Shane Lechler has rounded into shape and regained his Pro Bowl form in plenty of time for Monday's opener against San Diego.

“I was a little shaky against Detroit,” Lechler said. “It was hurting a little bit in the second half of that game. I was able to get through that and then went into the Seattle game feeling really good. Pretty sore the next day after the Astroturf stuff. Now, today, I hit the ball great. No symptoms afterwards. I think I'm on the right track.”

Lechler missed the first two exhibition games, New York Giants Jersey but in the final two he averaged 47.9 yards on 12 punts with a long of 59.

Depth chart update: The Raiders released their latest depth chart Tuesday, and there no big surprises or changes. Center Stefen Wisniewski is still listed as the starter, ahead of Alex Parsons, despite missing the final three exhibition games with a calf injury. Tight end Brandon Myers, as expected, still tops the depth chart, ahead of Richard Gordon and third-stringer David Ausberry.

Rookie receiver Rod Streater, who led the team with 18 catches in the preseason, remained third string at one of the wide-out spots, behind Denarius Moore and backup Jacoby Ford. But with Moore (hamstring) and Ford (foot) both battling injuries, Streater could start against San Diego.

New cornerbacks Joselio Hanson and Phillip Adams were plugged in as second string; Hanson on the left side behind Ron Bartell and New York Jets Jersey Adams on the right behind Shawntae Spencer. New linebacker Keenan Clayton is the top backup on the weak side behind rookie starter Miles Burris. New offensive tackle Willie Smith is listed as the top backup for starting left tackle Jared Veldheer.

Adams is listed as the third-team punt returner, behind Ford and Moore. Adams will likely handle those duties Monday night.

Taiwan Jones held onto the No. 2 spot at running back ahead of Mike Goodson, and he's listed as the No. 2 kick returner behind Ford. He could be busy returning kicks against San Diego. Coye Francies, another recent addition to the team, is listed as third string at right cornerback and at kick returner.

Extra points: Kicker Sebastian Janikowski was excused from practice for personal reasons. … Ford and Moore missed practice again. … The Raiders are off Wednesday and return to practice Thursday morning. … Wide receiver Juron Criner practiced again but was still hobbling because of an ankle injury he suffered at Seattle.

Tuesday, 4-Sep-2012 00:23 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Williams wins 6-0, 6-0 at US Open

Didn't take long for Serena Williams to show her fourth-round opponent at the U.S. Open where things were headed.

"The first point of the whole match," 82nd-ranked Andrea Hlavackova explained, "when I served, and she returned, like, a 100 mph Nike NFL Jerseys forehand return, I was like, 'OK, I know who I'm playing. You don't have to prove it to me. I know.'"

Monday's match was less than 15 seconds old. It might as well have been over.

Dominant from the moment she ripped that return of an 88 mph second serve, forcing Hlavackova into an out-of-control backhand that sailed well long, to the moment she powered a 116 mph service winner on the last point, Williams extended her 2½-month stretch of excellence with a 6-0, 6-0 victory to get to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.

Those two big zeros pretty much tell the story; it's the fifth time in her career Williams won with what's commonly called a "double bagel." Some other impressive numbers: Williams won 60 of 89 points, built a 31-9 edge in winners and improved to 23-1 since losing in the first round of the French Open. That run includes singles and doubles titles at both Wimbledon and the London Olympics.

Hlavackova knows this act all too well: She and Lucie Hradecka were the doubles runners-up at both of those events. Not that those 2-on-2 encounters helped prepare for the 1-on-1 match in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

"Singles is completely different," said Hlavackova, who chose the phrase "What can you do"? more than once when analyzing what it's like to face 14-time major champion Williams.

"My coach warned me to not go on the court and play for a score," Hlavackova said, by which she meant just trying to keep it as close as possible. "I was in the match. I was trying to figure out how to win. And when it was, like, 6-love, 4-love, 30-love, I was thinking, 'Well, I'm not playing for a score, but one game wouldn't hurt.'"

Oh, well.

Next for the fourth-seeded Williams, who won the U.S. Open in 1999, 2002 and 2008, is a match against former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, who reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time since winning the 2008 French Open by defeating 55th-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-4.

Williams — who lost in the third round of doubles with older sister Venus on Monday night — is 3-0 against Ivanovic, including a straight-set victory in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year. Must not have left much of an impression on the American, because when asked what she remembers most about their most recent match, Williams replied: "Was it here?"

Assured that it was, in 2011, Williams said with Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey a smile: "OK. Yeah, I remember, clearly, not a lot, but I will be looking at the film."

In the semifinals, the Williams-Ivanovic winner will meet either No. 10 Sara Errani or No. 20 Roberta Vinci, doubles partners who both eliminated higher-seeded women Monday and now face the uncomfortable prospect of trying to beat a best buddy.

"Our friendship won't change, no matter what, no matter who wins," said Vinci, noting that she expects they'll have dinner together, as usual, Monday and Tuesday. "It definitely won't be an easy match from a mental perspective. We know each other well. We practice together often. We play doubles together. We know everything about each other."

Errani and Vinci teamed up to win the French Open doubles championship in June, and now one of them is going to be the first woman from Italy to play in the U.S. Open semifinals since the professional era began in 1968.

Errani, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova at the French Open, got past No. 6 Angelique Kerber of Germany 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Reaching her first singles quarterfinal in 32 career Grand Slam tournaments, Vinci stunned No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-4.

"I really had the worst day," said Radwanska, who could have moved up to No. 1 in the WTA rankings by reaching next weekend's final. "She really mixes it up — a lot of slice, then suddenly hitting very well from the forehand side, then kick serve, drop shots, volleys as well, coming to the net. It's really tough because she really had an answer for everything."

Radwanska could sympathize with Hlavackova's plight, having lost to Williams in the Wimbledon final.

"When she's on fire, you can't do anything about it. It doesn't matter what you try to do, it's going to be a winner," Radwanska said. "It's just Serena. She's a great champion."

So is No. 1-seeded Roger Federer, of course, owner of a record 17 Grand Slam titles, including five at the U.S. Open. As he attempts to add to those numbers, Federer got some extra rest Monday, because his fourth-round opponent, 23rd-seeded Mardy Fish of the United States, withdrew hours before their scheduled match for precautionary reasons, citing medical advice.

The man Federer beat in July's Wimbledon final and lost to in August's Olympic final, Andy Murray, muted 15th-seeded Milos Raonic's San Diego Chargers Jersey big serve and won 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 Monday night to reach an eighth consecutive major quarterfinal.

"Today was by far my best match of the tournament," Murray concluded.

No. 3 Murray will play No. 12 Marin Cilic of Croatia, who put together a 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 victory over 50th-ranked Martin Klizan of Slovakia, the last left-hander and unseeded man remaining. Murray has won 6 of 7 matches against Cilic over their careers, but the lone loss came at the U.S. Open in 2009.

The 30-year-old Fish missed about 2½ months this season because of an accelerated heartbeat and had a medical procedure in May.

"We are not 100 percent sure what the issue is and if it is related to his previous issues," Fish's agent, John Tobias, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Mardy is fine and will return home to L.A. tomorrow. This was strictly precautionary and I anticipate that Mardy will play in Asia this fall."

After losing a match at Key Biscayne, Fla., on March 29, Fish went to be checked by doctors because his heart started racing uncontrollably that night. He pulled out of the U.S. Davis Cup team's quarterfinal against France the following week.

The walkover left soon-to-retire 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick — who plays 2009 champ Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round Tuesday night — as the last American man in the field, and it allowed the top-seeded Federer to reach his 34th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, extending another record he owns.

Federer now faces No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, who eliminated No. 11 Nicolas Almagro of Spain 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1. Berdych stunned Federer in the 2010 Wimbledon quarterfinals on the way to reaching the final there.

"I am really sorry for Mardy. I just want to wish him a speedy recovery," Federer said in a statement issued by the tournament. "We all want to see him back on tour soon."

Sunday, 2-Sep-2012 23:57 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Browns seek depth on defensive line and at linebacker

Injuries, a suspension and roster moves made during final cuts have left the Browns young and thin on the defensive line and at linebacker.

The only two non-starting defensive tackles on the team Nike NFL Jerseys are rookie Billy Winn and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, and Kitchen was awarded to the Browns on Saturday after being waived by the Ravens on Friday. They are behind Ahtyba Rubin and rookie John Hughes.

General manager Tom Heckert admitted the roster is unbalanced. There are 11 defensive backs and four running backs on the roster. Ten defensive backs and three running backs are more the norm.

"We wanted to keep what we consider the best 53 no matter what position," Heckert said. "If we have to go light at one position or heavy at another one, we were willing to do it. It worked out that way, at least right now, and we'll see how it goes.

"It really doesn't affect us in games. Practice is always the problem. With the practice squad you get into it. There are some pros and cons whether you have enough guys for practicing or you say we're going to take the best players. If an offensive lineman has to play defense for scout team or something like that, that's what we're going to have to do right now."

Four defensive linemen were cut Friday night as the Browns trimmed the roster to 53. Tackles Brian Schaefering, Kiante Tripp, Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey Ronnie Coleman and Ernest Owusu plus end William Green were all dismissed.

Another defensive lineman, Scott Paxson, suffered a sprained right knee in the preseason opener. He was waived-injured on Saturday.

Phil Taylor is beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list and by rule has to miss at least six weeks. His projected return from pectoral surgery is somewhere around Nov. 4 for the game against the Ravens.

It is even worse at strong-side linebacker. The Browns claimed linebacker Tank Carder off waivers from the Bills to fill a gaping hole.

Scott Fujita cannot practice because he was suspended for the first three games by commissioner Roger Goodell for his alleged involvement in the Saints bounty scandal in 2009. The courts might free Fujita before the Browns open the season next Sunday at home against the Eagles, but Fujita is banished for now.

Rookie James-Michael Johnson, who started on the strong side in the last three preseason games, left the game against the Bears on Thursday with a strained oblique. Coach Pat Shurmur said X-rays were negative, but Johnson did not practice Saturday and his return is up in the air.

Shurmur said Johnson is "day to day." Middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson did not sound as optimistic about a quick return.

"That guy loves football," Jackson said. "When I saw him go down, he went back in, he thought he could play, but obviously it was more serious than he anticipated.

"It shouldn't be a season-ending injury, so we'll get him back. The moving parts we do have, guys have to step up. I was in that position when I was a rookie, so it can be done."

Rookie Emmanuel Acho was third on the depth chart at strong-side linebacker 10 days ago, but he suffered a season-ending San Diego Chargers Jersey knee injury in training camp.

Jackson, Kaluka Maiava, Carder, rookie L.J. Fort and first-year player Craig Robertson are the only healthy linebackers available for the opener.

Friday, 31-Aug-2012 02:40 Email | Share | | Bookmark
New York Giants' Mathias Kiwanuka fires back at Dallas Cowboys'

Less than a week before his New York Giants face the Dallas Cowboys in the 2012 NFL season opener, linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka had no problems adding fuel to the teams' NFC East rivalry.

Kiwanuka, Nike NFL Jerseys 2012 in an interview with New York radio station WFAN-AM on Thursday, didn’t hold back in response to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ recent statement that the Cowboys will "beat the Giants' asses."

"He should (want to win). I mean the Giants have been whupping his ass for a long time," Kiwanuka said.

Jones has kept himself in the headlines lately with his viral hip-hop video to pitch Papa John's Pizza and his delicate handling of wide receiver Dez Bryant. This is a big season for the Cowboys, given Jones also said their window to win a Super Bowl with quarterback Tony Romo is closing.

Kiwanuka understands how frustration could set in for the team the Giants edged to take the division title last season and used as a springboard to win Super Bowl XLVI. For Kiwanuka, it was his second ring with the Washington Redskins Jersey Giants, who also won Super Bowl XLII after a 2007 season in which Dallas won the NFC East.

“It’s gotta be tough on the outside looking in on all of these championships lately,” he told WFAN. “That’s the feeling I feel like everybody in the league has—and everybody should have—because we’re here on top and everybody NFL Kids Jerseys should be wanting to knock you off.”

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