Is the NFL headed for replacement refs?

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Is the NFL headed for replacement refs?

From Comcast SportsNet
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- With no end in sight to the labor dispute between the NFL and its officials, commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that he is comfortable with the idea of using replacement officials in preseason games. Goodell said he doesn't think using officials with less experience will pose a safety risk to players. "That's why we've been training them for the last two months and why they're on the field now, is to make sure they're prepared, they understand the rules," Goodell said during a visit to Green Bay's training camp. Replacement officials were on the field during practice Wednesday and are expected to stay in Green Bay through Friday's "Family Night" scrimmage. The Hall of Fame Game between the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints is Sunday. Members of the NFL Referees Association were locked out in June after talks broke down. "We are in discussions with them," Goodell said. "We've had discussions recently. Hopefully we'll have more discussions with them in the near future. But as you can see, we're preparing for the season and we will have officials on the field. We hope that the officials from last season will be on the field again this year but to date, we haven't been able to get an agreement that makes sense for both parties." Goodell said the main emphasis in negotiations from the league's perspective was to find ways to improve officiating. "We proposed an idea where we could have another 21 officials so we could help train them and have a deeper pool of officials and be able to potentially move them in and out," Goodell said. "And that's something that we're discussing with the officials. But the whole issue is, how do we continue to improve the officials?" The purpose for the proposed pool of additional officials hasn't been clearly defined, but it could become a way for the league to promote and demote officials based on their performance. Goodell said the league also has offered officials a pay raise as part of negotiations. "Of course, they're interested in compensation and benefits, we understand that," Goodell said. "We've made a proposal we think is fair, with an increase. It's five to 11 percent per official. We think we've been responsive on that, and hopefully we can get something done." Packers coach Mike McCarthy says he doesn't have any concerns about the use of replacement officials. "To me it's something that everybody has to deal with," McCarthy said. "(Supervisor of officials) Ed Coukart is here with the new officials, they worked practice today. We will spend some time tomorrow with the officials in our meetings as we have done annually. We're just moving forward. We're getting ready to play games and it's a business issue. As we know from the past, those things will get worked out, and we're just focused on our football team." Packers players generally seemed unaware of the ongoing labor dispute or the presence of replacement officials; the team usually has a group of local officials, generally with high school experience, present during practice. "I really don't pay much attention to those guys, other than the fact that I noticed none of them looked familiar," guard T.J. Lang said. "Talking about the refs, I don't really know what their situation is, so I can't really speak on that. But whoever they have in there, I'm sure they're going to get them coached up." Joked linebacker Desmond Bishop, "I had no idea about that. I was too focused on John Madden out there." The former Raiders coach and broadcasting icon also was at practice Wednesday. Goodell also was asked about recent comments from Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy, who said at last week's shareholders meeting that he couldn't support an 18-game regular season schedule because of health and safety concerns. "We haven't had any discussion about it," Goodell said. "Our view was, we were going to have to go through a full cycle of the offseason, training camp. We'll obviously be done with that shortly and then we'll get back to really analyzing it and trying to say, What are the positives and negatives about it?'" Goodell said he was not sure if the league has received an application for reinstatement from former Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly, who is suspended indefinitely for violations of the league's substance abuse policy. And with three Packers players -- defensive linemen Anthony Hargrove and Mike Neal, along with linebacker Erik Walden -- all facing league suspensions once the regular season starts, Goodell was asked whether he sees a trend developing from recent reports of player misconduct. "Fortunately, the vast majority of our players are terrific," Goodell said. "They do the right things on and off the field. And that's what we encourage. We have rules, we have policies, we want to make sure those are held to the highest standards, because we think our fans deserve it. And so If there's a violation or there's a trend, there's consequences for that."

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Johansen, Vanecek to make NHL debut in Caps' preseason opener

Johansen, Vanecek to make NHL debut in Caps' preseason opener

Capitals fans won't have to wait long to get a look at the team's 2016 first-round pick. Defenseman Lucas Johansen will be in the lineup Monday as the Caps open their preseason against the Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center.

Johansen, 18, was selected 28th overall in the 2016 draft. Monday will be his first NHL experience. Last season Johansen played 69 games in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets, tallying 10 goals and 39 assists. Based on the morning skate, he will be paired with Taylor Chorney.

Goalie Vitek Vanecek will also be making his NHL debut as he will get the start in net for the Caps. The Czech netminder played his first season of North American hockey in 2015-16 with South Carolina of the ECHL. He managed a 2.03 goals against average and .917 save percentage while with the Stingrays and also played in one game in the AHL with Hershey.

Also of note is that the newly acquired Lars Eller will be in the lineup for the Caps. He is someone fans should certainly keep an eye on as he continues to adjust to his new team.

RELATED: Schmidt suffers injury in practice

Here are the lines from Monday's morning skate:

Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Stanislav Galiev

Nathan Walker - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Daniel Winnik - Riley Barber - Brad Malone

Chris Bourque - Chandler Stephenson - Paul Carey

Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Lucas Johansen - Taylor Chorney

Aaron Ness - Tyler Lewington

Facing the Caps on Monday will be a Carolina Hurricanes team led by Jordan Staal. You can watch the game at 7 p.m. on CSN.

MORE CAPITALS: Niskanen puts World Cup disappointment in the past

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MRI reveals Redskins' DeAngelo Hall has completely torn ACL

MRI reveals Redskins' DeAngelo Hall has completely torn ACL

A veteran and a leader for the Redskins defense, it appears DeAngelo Hall's season is now finished just three games into 2016.

Hall injured his knee in the first half of Sunday's game against the Giants. The play looked bad in real time and Hall looked to be in much pain leaving the field.

Somewhat encouragingly, Hall was spotted on the sidelines after the play he was injured on, though Redskins PR announced the safety would not return to the game.

In the moments following Washington's dramatic win, Hall told the media he believed his ACL was torn, certainly putting a damper on the jubilant scene.

Beyond Hall, the Redskins are waiting for further diagnosis on starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland as well as offensive linemen Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger.

Assuming Hall misses significant time, the Redskins will be forced to juggle their secondary, especially if Breeland also misses time. When Hall went out in New York, veteran Will Blackmon picked up much of the slack and played well.

Going forward, defensive coordinator Joe Barry can also look to players like Duke Ihenacho or Deshazor Everett for help. Ihenacho is an experienced NFL safety while Everett showed in the preseason he's not just a special teams player but can play safety at the pro level.

Beyond Ihenacho and Everett, the Redskins may also consider some playing time for rookie Su'a Cravens in the secondary. Drafted as a hybrid linebacker/safety, Cravens made a big-time impact in the win over the Giants and has proven he needs to be on the field a lot for Barry's defense.

MORE REDSKINS: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE REDSKINS WIN OVER THE GIANTS