AJ McCarron isn’t worrying about Bills’ plans at QB

Listen, I can’t worry about that because it creates mental clutter for myself. So if I create mental clutter for myself, I can’t become the best player, the best teammate that I need to be for this team, McCarron said Tuesday during a break in Buffalo’s offseason workouts.

Everybody has labels for you… I can’t sit there worried about what somebody else thinks about me — a bridge quarterback or not that good of a quarterback — whatever it is, McCarron said. I know I trust in myself. I have self-confidence. I think that’s what makes people successful, and not worry about what my teammates and coaches think. I just go from there. I don’t worry about labels.

Labels aside, McCarron was unable to shake Dalton in Cincinnati. The former Alabama star has a legitimate shot to open the season as Buffalo’s starter — but keeping the job will be an entirely different story.

As the NFL draft nears, the Cleveland Browns are still doing their homework on quarterbacks. The final exam is quickly approaching, but the No. 1 pick remains an unknown to everyone, including coach Hue Jackson. On Tuesday, Jackson dismissed reports that general manager John Dorsey has settled on a quarterback and said the top prospects – Southern California’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and UCLA’s Josh Rosen – remain in contention to be selected by the Browns.

I think they all are (in the mix) today, he said. I think we haven’t settled on that yet. Coming off a 0-16 season, the Browns, who haven’t been able to adequately fix their quarterback problem for years, are being thorough in their evaluation of what is considered a very strong QB class. Jackson and Dorsey have attended pro days and private workouts and the team has hosted the top four quarterbacks, along with 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, at its headquarters in Berea, Ohio. Jackson insists Dorsey hasn’t made up his mind on the top choice.

When I say this I mean it, John Dorsey and his group, they don’t come up for air, Jackson said. This is 24 hours, seven days a week, through the weekend. I’ve worked more on the weekends here than I ever had to be a part of this. That’s what John does. There’s no detail that we’re going to leave unturned. So there’s a lot of time being spent to get this right.

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Four Erik Karlssons? Not quite, but Predators’ vaunted D poses toughest test yet for Penguins

Cracking one Erik Karlsson is tough enough. But four of him? Good luck.

Talk out of Pittsburgh ahead of Monday’s Stanley Cup Final opener has centered on how, exactly, the high-powered Penguins offense will fare against a vaunted Predators blue line that indiscriminately shut down its opponents’ top forwards while cutting through the Western Conference. It’s the matchup that should make for an intriguing series.

The trade winds have been swirling around the Avalanche and Matt Duchene for some time now. It makes little sense for both player and team to enter another season with a malcontent on the roster, so it’s high time a deal gets done. Yet here we are.

Avs GM Joe Sakic is asking a lot: a young defenseman plus some combination of top prospects or draft picks and possibly the moon.

The Islanders reportedly offered Travis Hamonic and a first-rounder, but that ship has sailed. Montreal remains a suitor, especially after Radulov’s departure, but may no longer have the assets to meet those demands with Mikhail Sergachev now in Tampa. Columbus is in hot pursuit as well and would seem to be the best fit.

Though Sakic has every reason to hold out for the right return for his 26-year-old star, his rivals can play the waiting game, too.

It was a huge win for the Capitals, who were bounced from the playoffs by the Penguins in the second round of last year’s playoffs before Pittsburgh went on to win the Stanley Cup.

He checks a lot of boxes for us, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said after sending multiple draft picks, including a 2018 first-rounder and a pair of future second-round selections, to New York for the 26-year-old Hamonic.

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