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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens placed running back Kenneth Dixon on injured reserve on Wednesday and promoted undrafted rookie De’Lance Turner from the practice squad.

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Dixon, who was Baltimore’s No. 3 back, led the Ravens with 44 yards rushing and one touchdown in the 47-3 rout of the Buffalo Bills in Sunday’s season opener. He suffered a knee injury toward the end of the game, which extends a troublesome trend. Three knee injuries have sidelined Dixon for 20-plus games in his three-year career.

The Ravens could bring back Dixon by midseason if he’s healthy at that point. Under the designated to return rule, Dixon, a fourth-round pick in 2016, can come back after spending at least eight weeks on IR.

Dixon’s injury won’t affect the top of the Ravens’ depth chart. Alex Collins and Buck Allen are Baltimore’s top two runners.

Turner, who went undrafted out of Alcorn State, ran hard in the preseason. He rushed for 159 yards, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.

The Ravens (1-0) play at the Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) on Thursday night.

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NHL Network will air the second episode of “Top 50 NHL Players Right Now,” a five-part series, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. ET. New episodes will air each Sunday through Sept. 30.

Before the network unveils 10 players on its list in each episode, an NHL.com writer will reveal his or her top players in one of the four divisions the previous Friday. Today, NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti ranks his top 10 players in the Metropolitan Division.

 

[RELATED: #NHLTopPlayers]

 

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Though Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid may have moved slightly ahead of him in the debate over who is the NHL’s best player, Crosby, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, remains the top player in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins’ run of winning back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2015-16 and 2016-17 (with Crosby winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs each time) appeared to catch up with them last season, but the 31-year-old center played in all 82 regular season games for the first time in his 13-season NHL career and his 89 points last season (29 goals, 60 assists) equaled his total from 2016-17, when he led the NHL with 44 goals.
Top 20 Centers: Sidney Crosby
02:37 • August 6th, 2018

 

2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Some thought Ovechkin’s days as an elite goal scorer were over when he dipped to 33 goals in 2016-17, but he rebounded to lead the NHL for the seventh time with 49 last season. The Capitals forward, who will turn 33 on Sept. 17, took his game to another level in the playoffs, when he scored an NHL-high 15 goals, and played the best two-way hockey of his career to help Washington win the Cup for the first time in its 43-season history.
Ovechkin’s record-setting PPG
00:34 • June 8th, 2018

 

3. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Malkin has combined with Crosby the past 12 seasons to give Pittsburgh a 1-2 punch at center few teams can match. The 32-year-old ranked fourth in the NHL last season with 98 points (42 goals, 56 assists), his most since he led the League with 109 (50 goals, 59 assists) in 2011-12. He played in 78 games, his most since he played in 82 in 2008-09. He topped 40 goals for the third time in the NHL and surpassed 30 for the sixth time.
Malkin’s power-play strike
01:01 • April 19th, 2018

 

4. Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
Hall was the driving force last season that carried New Jersey to its first playoff berth since 2011-12 and became the first Devils player to win the Hart Trophy as League MVP. The 26-year-old forward established NHL career highs with 39 goals, 54 assists, 93 points, a plus-14 rating, 37 power-play points and a shooting percentage of 14.0. He also equaled his NHL career highs with 13 power-play goals and seven game-winning goals. Hall had a personal 26-game point streak with 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) from Jan. 2-March 6, a New Jersey record. He set a Devils record with a 19-game point streak during that span, with 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists), from Jan. 30-March 6.
Hall capitalizes on turnover
01:01 • April 13th, 2018

 

5. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
After a down 2016-17 season when he had 58 points (14 goals, 44 assists), Giroux shifted from center to left wing in 2017-18 and rebounded with a career season and finished fourth in the Hart Trophy voting. The 30-year-old set NHL career highs with 34 goals, 68 assists, 102 points (second in the League behind McDavid’s 108), a plus-28 rating, 17.6 shooting percentage and 58.6 face-off winning percentage.
Top 20 Wings: Claude Giroux
01:46 • August 20th, 2018
6. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
A two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goaltender, Bobrovsky wasn’t as consistent last season, but went 37-22-6 with a 2.42 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and five shutouts. Bobrovsky, who turns 30 on Sept, 20, has won at least 30 games in four of the past five seasons.
Bobrovsky’s big save on Ovechkin
00:47 • April 22nd, 2018

 

7. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jones, who turns 24 on Oct. 3, continued his emergence as one of the NHL’s best defensemen in his fifth season. He had NHL career highs last season in goals (16), assists (41), points (57), power-play goals (seven), power-play points (24), game-winning goals (four), shots on goal (249) and rating (plus 10), and averaged 24:36 of ice time to lead the Blue Jackets.
Jones’ game-tying power-play goal
00:53 • April 13th, 2018

 

8. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
Kuznetsov’s breakout 2017-18 season, when he had NHL career-highs with 27 goals and 83 points, carried into the playoffs. The 26-year-old center scored in overtime in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round in Pittsburgh to put Washington in the conference final for the first time since 1998, and led the NHL in playoff scoring with 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists).
NHL Tonight: Evgeny Kuznetsov
02:35 • July 14th, 2018

 

9. Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets
After being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks last summer, Panarin proved to be the dynamic offensive player the Blue Jackets needed and set a Columbus record with an NHL career-high 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists). The 26-year-old left wing has 233 points (88 goals, 145 assists) in 243 games over his first three seasons, seventh most in the NHL over that span.
Panarin ties it up in the 3rd
01:02 • April 18th, 2018

 

10. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
The 30-year-old center’s 799 points (209 goals, 590 assists) since entering the League in 2007-08 are fifth most in the NHL and his 590 assists are second most behind Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin’s 600. Backstrom’s two-way play continues to be underrated; he has never finished higher than seventh in the voting for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive player and cracked the top 10 only twice (seventh in 2016-17 and 10th in 2009-10).

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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Anthony Lynn succinctly summed up how some head coaches view kicking competitions when talking to reporters in training camp last week.

“You know kickers, they’re a little weird,” Lynn said, smiling, when asked why Caleb Sturgis is taking it slow as he works his way back from hip surgery that cut short his 2017 campaign.

Kickers are viewed as having unique personalities, so coaches tread lightly to make sure confidence is high and they can perform on game days.

Caleb Sturgis has made 81 percent of his career field goals. Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Forgive him if Lynn is extra careful around these kickers. The Chargers had five different players handle field goals, kickoffs and extra points in 2017, including punter Drew Kaser. The Bolts finished a league-worst 67 percent on field goals last year.

The Chargers also finished worst in the NFL in kickoff starting point with an average of the 23-yard line.

Last season, the Chargers chose potential over experience, with Younghoe Koo earning the job over Josh Lambo.

The Chargers cut Koo, an undrafted rookie out of Georgia Southern, after four games. Koo had a potential game-tying kick blocked in the final second of a 24-21 Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos and then missed what would have been a game-winner in the final seconds of the Chargers’ 19-17 Week 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Overall, Koo finished 3-for-6 on field goal attempts last year while converting all nine of his extra-point attempts.

Signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars after his release, Lambo finished 19-of-20 on field goals, including a long of 56 yards, and made a 30-yard field goal in overtime to defeat the Chargers in Week 10.

After experiencing the dumpster fire at the kicking position last season, Chargers GM Tom Telesco made fixing it one of the top priorities this offseason. However, the Chargers still do not have clarity at kicker.

They signed Sturgis to a two-year, $4.5 million deal during free agency, including $1 million in guaranteed money. Sturgis is competing with Roberto Aguayo, who signed a future/reserve deal with the Chargers in January.

In 62 career games over five seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, Sturgis converted 81 percent of his field goals with a career-long of 55.

A former second-round selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016, Aguayo, 24, hardly ever missed in college but has struggled in the pros. He was cut by the Bucs and the Bears last year, and spent last season on the Carolina Panthers practice squad.

So far during competition at training camp, Sturgis is 21-of-28 on field goals. In the first two preseason games, Sturgis made a 45-yarder but missed from 41 yards in the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

Aguayo is 23-of-29 on field goals during training camp and made his only field goal attempt during preseason play, a 39-yarder last week against the Seattle Seahawks. Aguayo also made all three of his extra-point attempts, and has handled all of the kickoff duties in two games.

Lynn said the competition between Aguayo and Sturgis is too close to call.

“I would love to make that decision sooner than later. I really would,” Lynn said. “But it’s so close right now, so I just can’t. We have so many battles that we can focus on this training camp, but that one right there — I’m definitely not ready to pull the trigger on that one yet.”

Lynn went on to say it’s possible the Chargers would keep two kickers during the regular season.

Roberto Aguayo is looking to rebound after being cut by the Bucs and Bears last season. Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire
Sturgis, 29, is considered the front-runner because of his NFL experience and the up-front money the Chargers guaranteed in his contract. Sturgis said he experienced a setback during offseason work from his recovery from hip surgery, which limited how much he could kick.

However, the Florida native had his best performance last week during training camp, finishing 6-of-6 with a long of 53 yards.

Aguayo pointed to former Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, now the special teams coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals, and his wife, Courtney, for helping to turn things around, saying at one point he considered calling it a career. Aguayo said his first two years in the NFL he was going back and forth between two different swings and forcing the ball in.

“Really, it’s just keeping the same repetitive motion,” Aguayo said. “Because I knew if I trusted that, I knew I could trust it in games.
“That’s why I really don’t kick in the net that much. I know I’m warm with the way I’m hitting it, and I know there’s a 95 percent chance I’m going to make it.”

Despite the competition, Sturgis and Aguayo appear to have an amicable relationship, unlike last year when the relationship between Lambo and Koo appeared strained, with Lambo turning his back and looking the other way when Koo kicked during training camp competitions.

“He’s a great dude, a great guy,” Aguayo said about Sturgis. “He’s a great competitor. If he makes a kick or does well, I congratulate him. It’s really a great competition. You congratulate someone when they do a good job, that’s just me. And he does the same thing with me.

“Really, at the end of the day it’s going to come from upstairs or the coaches. He’s just trying to do the best he can, and I’m trying to do the best I can with the opportunities we have.”