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NFL's Coaching Carousel
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
NBA Quiz: With the passing of David Stern, instrumental in the formation of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, name the 12 players and the head coach. Answer below.
6 Minnesota at 1 San Francisco, 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
6 Tennessee at 1 Baltimore, 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS)
4 Houston at 2 Kansas City, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
5 Seattle at 2 Green Bay, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Sadly, there will be no winter weather to speak of in Baltimore, K.C., or Green Bay. Very depressing.
I think Tennessee is going to lose big. But the two NFC games should be close.
As for the Texans, they have a shot only if Will Fuller returns at wide receiver for them.
--Meanwhile, the Seahawks’ Jadeveon Clowney said of the helmet-to-helmet on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz that knocked him out of the game:
“I was just playing fast, and he turned like he was running the ball, so I was trying to get him down,” said Clowney. “It was a bang-bang play. I don’t intend to hurt anybody in this league, let me just put that out there. I’ve been down the injury road; it’s not fun.
“That’s a great player over there for their team and for their organization. I hope he’s OK. Like I said, I didn’t intend to hurt him. I didn’t even know he went out of the game until the next series. It thought it was just a small hit, but everybody was going crazy on the sidelines. I was just trying to finish the play, it happened.”
Here’s what also happened. There was no penalty on the play. I totally understand Eagles fans being bent out of shape, but no call was made...so in my position, I’m not going to go on and on about it.
Pass interference calls, non-calls, are frustrating as well, but when the game is over, it’s over. Yes, a lot of times it sucks when you’re a fan (Saints fans last January...that was a different level, for sure), but at a certain point, ya gotta move on. No results are changing.
It’s like with the NCAA and its idiotic rulings that sometimes take wins away from a coach (like Bobby Bowden). The games were played! It’s history. It’s over. What purpose is served by wiping games away?! None. Fans know what the result was.
[Bobby Bowden won 357 games in his coaching career, not the ‘adjusted’ 346 the NCAA reassigned him.]
Anyway...back to Clowney, backup Eagles quarterback Josh McCown gave Clowney the benefit of the doubt afterward, while Eagles left tackle Jason Peters was less forgiving.
“I just hold him, ‘man, that’s a dirty play,’” said Peters of Clowney. “He’s like, ‘my bad,’ you know, and we just kept playing. I just kept reminding him, ‘come on, man, stay off my quarterback.’”
--One more on Bobby Bowden. Do you realize Florida State finished in the AP Top 5 for 14 seasons in a row, 1987-2000?! Goodness gracious. It helped immensely that Bowden’s teams were 11-3 in their bowl games over that stretch, including nine in a row, 1987-95.
After finally notifying Jason Garrett on Sunday that he was out as their head coach, the Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy, according to reports.
Jerry Jones said in a written statement that Garrett would not be retained. “He is, and always will remain, a cherished member of the Dallas Cowboys family, and his contributions to the organization are greatly appreciated.”
What contributions? The guy did nothing.
So McCarthy had already interviewed with the Giants, Browns and Panthers.
Meanwhile, with the Patriots’ exit from the playoffs, the above three teams were scrambling to line up interviews with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
The Giants now appear to be back targeting Baylor’s Matt Rhule. Bill Belichick is telling the Giants that Joe Judge, his special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach, would be a good selection.
Boom! Rhule is headed to Carolina. I told you on Jan. 2 in this space, “Rhule seems like a David Tepper-type guy,” and sure enough, Tepper reeled him in. $62 million, seven years, with incentives for another $8 million. Carolina paid a $6 million buyout. Staggering $dollars for a guy who hasn’t coached a game in the NFL.
Good for the Panthers, even as we all know it can be difficult making the transition from college to the NFL. Rhule was in the league one season, 2012, as an assistant O-Line coach with the Giants.
No doubt, Rhule has had tremendous success in a short period of time at both Temple and Baylor.
So then we had the reports the Giants were hiring Joe Judge. Judge wasn’t even in the conversation until just the past few days, it seemed, but the 38-year-old has been mentored by Nick Saban and Belichick. He’s supposedly a no-nonsense guy. But, boy, it’s an outside-the-box move. No one freakin’ knows a thing about the guy outside of some folks in New England.
On the other hand, it’s another example of the amazing dysfunction in the Giants’ hierarchy. Rhule was supposed to be their guy all along, if not then McCarthy, and because they dithered, they ended up with Judge. That’s the only way to look at it.
There’s also talk the Giants are now thinking of Jason Garrett to be the offensive coordinator. Now this one makes sense; Garrett with close ties to the organization. It’s a position where Garrett, because of his low-key way, wouldn’t be seen as a threat to Judge and I think he’d embrace the job. And then if two years from now, the Giants have turned things around, Garrett will get his head coaching opportunities again.
But now, with only one vacancy left, Cleveland, is Josh McDaniels going to be shut out?
--Tua Tagovailoa announced his intentions Monday...he’s entering the NFL Draft, saying he had “a difficult time making this decision,” one that he had reached “with lots of prayers thoughts and guidance.”
This is going to be fascinating, and part of the reason why the NFL finds ways to grab our attention virtually 365 a year. Yes, as I wrote the other day, it was not a cut and dry decision at all. Tua knows his draft position is better in 2021 if he had played for ‘Bama next fall and stayed healthy.
But when the draft comes April 23, it’s a crapshoot on his medical condition and recovery from a dislocated right hip and posterior wall fracture, the surgery Nov. 18. Tua said Monday: “I don’t think any of the doctors can tell the foreseeable future, none of the guys rehabbing me can tell that. From what [doctors have] seen in New York, everything looks good, but you can’t really tell until the three-month mark or the four-month mark. That’s the gauge on all that.”
Well, four months means a month before the draft. It’s just will the teams be able to trust what they hear. It’s still highly unlikely that Tua will be running around then.
Tua had 87 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions, 7,442 passing yards, and another nine TDs on the ground in his relatively short stint at ‘Bama.
--Finally, don’t forget to catch at least the ending of the FCS (Div. I-AA) Championship, #1 North Dakota State (15-0) vs. #2 James Madison (14-1). Certainly has the potential to be a good one. [Noon ET, ABC]
AP Top 25 (records thru Sun.)
Outside of the top three, we have never seen a shakeup like we have this week this late in the season.
1. Gonzaga (54) 16-1
2. Duke (9) 13-1
3. Kansas (2) 11-2
4. Baylor 11-1
5. Auburn 13-0
6. Butler 14-1
7. San Diego State 15-0
8. Michigan State 12-3
9. Oregon 12-3
10. Florida State 13-2
11. Ohio State 11-3
12. Maryland 12-2
13. Louisville 11-3
14. Kentucky 10-3
15. Dayton 13-2
20. Penn State 12-2
25. Colorado 12-3...despite losing to Oregon State 76-68 Sunday night (after I posted)
27. Seton Hall 10-4...if you carry out the votes.
Eleven teams moved up or down 5 or more spots, with FSU up 8 to crash the top ten.
Auburn’s ranking is its highest since 1999-2000!
Butler’s ranking is its highest ever! SDSU’s the highest in six years.
Gonzaga is the first team this year to remain atop the poll for three straight weeks, even though it had to rally in the second half to beat both Pepperdine and Portland, hardly powers.
Duke is an incredibly quiet No. 2, as I’m sure they like it. Very hard to get a handle on the ACC, with North Carolina (8-6) struggling mightily, Roy Williams admitting he’s lost the team. How good is Florida State?
The other week I mentioned this year is shaping up to be so crazy, that a team outside the top 25 entering the tournament could win it all. I believe that more than ever.
By the way, I went to DraftKings to see what the odds were on Seton Hall to win it all and saw nothing. So I wrote DK and asked ‘what’s up?’
Doh, I forgot that here in New Jersey, we can’t bet on our college teams. So I placed a little coin on Colorado at 60-1 because, well, I have to put my money where my mouth is. [Now my Buffaloes better make the freakin’ tourney.]
--Last night, 12 Maryland defeated 11 Ohio State 67-55, and 18 Virginia was upset on the road at Boston College 60-53, the Eagles suddenly 3-1 in the ACC.
And in a biggie in New Jersey, Rutgers improved to 12-3, 3-1, defeating 20 Penn State 72-61, the Scarlet Knights led by Ron Harper Jr. (yes, the son of that Ron Harper).
4 Baylor edged 22 Texas Tech 57-52.
--Sunday night the Lakers defeated the Pistons 106-99, blocking 20 shots, the first team to do so in 20 years, but the Lakers also blocked 25.6% of the Pistons’ overall shot attempts (20 of 78), making it the highest percentage of blocked shots in a game since blocks became an official statistic in 1973-74, according to Elias. [Anthony Davis led the way with eight blocks.]
The Knicks went into L.A. last night, 6-8 under interim coach Mike Miller, but were blown out 117-87. The Lakers (30-7) had a scare when A.D. fell hard on his back, apparently ‘just’ bruising it. But he’ll miss some time.
--Here I issue a shout-out to former Wake Forest hoops player Ish Smith, for his career-high 32 the other neat in a Wizards win, and then Monday, ‘Ish happened’ again...27, including 14 in the fourth quarter, as Washington upset the Boston Celtics 99-94, Smith hearing chants of “M-V-P!”
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said with a smile afterward: “If it was a two-game season, I would have to agree with the crowd: MVP. And he’s bringing back the mid-range. He’s hard to stay in front of. His change of direction. His pace. The speed.”
It was his coach at Wake, Skip Prosser, who forced Ish to watch tapes of Steve Nash and Tony Parker using the mid-range jumper extensively in their arsenal.
It was also kind of cool how much praise after that Boston coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics players handed out.
So for two nights, 10-year, 11-team, journeyman Smith had his time in the sun. Kind of like ‘Linsanity,’ as Knicks fans remember.
Smith already has a contract for 2020-21, so it’s not as if he’s playing for another deal.
--What an incredibly exciting finale we had in the Tournament of Champions Sunday night at Kapalua; quite simply, the best playoff we are likely to get all year with World #s 4, 8, and 11...Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and our villain, Patrick Reed, battling it out.
Reed had made a tough birdie putt on 18 to finish up at –14, an hour before Thomas and Schauffele came in. J.T. was –16 after 15, but bogeyed 16 and 18 to inexplicably allow Schauffele and Reed in the door, all of this playing out in prime time Sunday.
Schauffele was then eliminated on the first playoff hole, the three playing No. 18 over and over until we had a winner, which was Thomas the third go ‘round.
What I really appreciate after this one is what a great finishing hole the 677-yard, par-5 18th is at Kapalua (677 because it is all downhill). There are all kinds of options for the second shot, and lots of danger.
Anyway, it all ended at 11:15 p.m. eastern time and I hope some of you golf fanatics caught it. Golf Channel’s ratings had to be huge (in relative terms).
With the win, Justin Thomas became just the fourth in golf history to win 12 PGA Tour titles before the age of 27, the others Tiger, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead. Pretty, pretty good.
It was also Thomas’ third win in his last seven starts.
Patrick Reed had an otherworldly 45 one-putts for the week, which was 13 more than any other player in the field.
But he also had to deal with old demons, as a fan yelled out “Cheater!” after he struck his birdie putt, which missed, on the final playoff hole.
Yes, it’s going to be one interesting year for him...and a potentially terrific year for the tour overall. One thing that would make it sweeter is if Jordan Spieth could get back to his past form.
--PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, in an annual media briefing at the Tournament of Champions, had an interesting note on the business of the tour. Sentry, sponsor of the T of C, signed a new 10-year agreement to sponsor the event through 2030. The tour now has 11 sponsorships of that duration when there were none as recently as 2013.
As Monahan said of these long-term commitments, “The reason that this is so helpful is it’s like any other business. If you think you’ve got three years to plan and you don’t know what happens after three years versus if you have 10 years to plan, you’re going to investment spend, you’re going to be...more aggressive, you’re going to be able to engage your community with confidence and from a position of strength.”
--Golf World’s Joel Beall has a column “Undercover Caddie” with an anonymous looper. So the age-old question is asked of the guy, “Is cheating a problem on the PGA Tour?”
The answer is, not really.
But, there is one international guy. “Just an absolute nightmare when it comes to law-breaking.
“Whatever trick you can imagine – fudging coins, liberal drops, patting behind the ball for a better lie – he does it, and does so without remorse. His big tell is carrying a driver or fairway wood from the tee to his position in the rough. Takes out more grass than a weed whacker. But, honestly, he’s the exception.
“Now, there is one problem area, and that comes to hazards. It’s not an epidemic, but more and more, players are incorrectly dropping. It can be hard to be precise – how can you really be sure where a ball enters when you’re 300 yards away? Just recently at a fall event, a number of players hit it into the water on one hole and dropped farther up than they should have, mostly because where the ball crossed would have left a third shot where you couldn’t reach the green. If you’re looking for a future controversy, this will be the subject....
“Other than that, it’s pretty clean out there. There’s a pride among players, and caddies, that we play a fair game. The other week, Russell Henley called a penalty on himself for accidentally violating the one-ball rule (using the same model), something no one would have possibly known but him. He’s the rule, not the exception. That goes for the mini-tours as well. You would think the temptation is greater, given what’s at stake. The lack of cameras and media coverage make it easier, too. But in my experience, the conduct is the same. Cheating rarely happens.”
--Meanwhile, for those of you watching golf who aren’t as familiar with the ways of the game, if you’re wondering what caddies make, caddies for better players generally earn $1,500 for a week, 5 percent of his player’s earnings if he makes the cut, 7 percent for a top 10, 10 percent for a win. According to an “Undercover Tour Pro,” that’s the standard deal; which was the cause of Matt Kuchar’s mess last year when after he won $1.29 million in Mexico, it came out he had paid his local looper about $5,000, only to be shamed into paying $50,000...which was still short of the $129,000 the guy deserved.
Someone carrying a bag for a Web.com event is probably not going to receive the weekly rate, or if you take a local caddie who isn’t incurring travel expenses. But virtually all Tour players say the percentages are “sacrosanct.”
There are a few Tour pros who might go a season employing only local caddies, paying perhaps $600 a week, meaning they are saving a lot over the course of a year. It’s then just a crapshoot whether you get someone good or not. Normally they are.
Which reminds me of an old story involving moi. I hired a local caddie I knew to loop for a Wake Forest friend, Todd B., who was playing the club I belonged to at the time for a Mid-Am qualifier here in New Jersey, Todd not having ever played the track, and wouldn’t you know, but Bobby and Todd won it!
I’ll never forget the first green, walking with one of Toddy B.’s friends, when they reach the first green and the two were faced with a tough 18-footer for par. I whispered to ‘Doc,’ ‘If Todd trusts Bobby’s read on this one, they’re going to do just fine.’ Todd did, he drained the putt, and they were off to a 68!
--Back to Patrick Reed...John Feinstein / Golf World
“There’s a scene in... “The West Wing” in which Rob Lowe, playing presidential communications director Sam Seaborn, tries to explain...he’s not really as bad a guy as he appears to be.
“ ‘I really am a good guy,’ he says. ‘But I’m a good guy having a very bad day.’
“Patrick Reed would tell you he’s a good guy – and I’m one of those who would agree with him. But there’s no doubt that he’s had enough bad days that he’s earned a reputation on the PGA Tour among players and spectators as a bad guy that’s not likely to go away anytime soon.
“That reputation came into focus yet again on Sunday when a heckler screamed ‘Cheater!’ at Reed just after he stroked his birdie putt on the third hole of sudden death...
“Reed has had more than one bad day during his often-tumultuous PGA Tour career, but when he’s willing to open up to people, it’s clear he not only is a good guy but wants to be a good guy. He could just use some counseling on how to handle bad days.”
John Feinstein then gets into the issue from Tiger’s exhibition tournament and Reed improving his lie in a sandy waste area. Reed insisted he wasn’t attempting such a thing, “but also said he understood how the camera angle might make it appear that was his intent.
“Three things are worth noting here: First, Reed didn’t apologize then, hasn’t apologized as of now and – almost certainly – won't apologize in the future. Two, (PGA Tour rules official Slugger) White, who had an angry run-in with Woods over a two-stroke penalty he assessed him during the 2013 BMW Championship, said that Reed was ‘a complete gentleman’ when he told him he was going to be penalized. Three, Reed bounced back the next day to shoot a 65 and finished third. If nothing else, Reed has proved over the years that controversy doesn’t often affect his golf....
“When Phil Mickelson spoke to the Ryder Cup team on Saturday night at Gleneagles, he made a comment on each of the other 11 players. Addressing Reed, he said, ‘We need to get to know you more. Because you’re going to be playing a lot of these.’
“Reed said he took that advice to heart and has tried to be more open with other players, especially those he might find himself sharing a team room with in the future. But golfers are like elephants when it comes to any controversy – they don’t forget.
“Players still talk about Reed’s stormy departure from Georgia and whisper about his estrangement from his parents. There was also the incident at Bay Hill in 2018, when Reed asked for relief from behind the 11th green on Sunday because there were TV camera wires in the area where his ball had landed. When it was denied, he said to the gallery that to get relief, ‘I guess my name has to be Jordan Spieth.’”
And then you had the s---show at the 2018 Ryder Cup when captain Jim Furyk broke up the past successful team of Reed and Spieth, wherein Reed said he was “blindsided” and added it was clear to him that Spieth simply didn’t want to play with him.
“There is a me-against-the-world approach taken by Reed and his team. Some of that is understandable, but backing off it and understanding that there has never been a public figure who didn’t make mistakes – and admitting to one almost always defused the issue – might work better.
“Reed is almost certainly going to hear it from fans... And if Reed is hearing it from the ordinarily docile galleries in Hawaii, imagine what will happen in louder venues, like TPC Scottsdale or TPC Sawgrass? Or in New York this summer at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot? This isn’t something that’s just going to go away.”
--Here we go again. Two months after The Athletic detailed how the Houston Astros used electronic devices to steal signs in 2017, the online publication reported the Boston Red Sox used monitors in their video replay room to decipher opponents’ signs in 2018, and then relay the information to the dugout.
The Dodgers were defeated in the World Series by the Astros and Red Sox those seasons.
The Athletic cited three anonymous people who were with the Red Sox in 2018.
In a statement to The Athletic, the Red Sox said: “We were recently made aware of allegations suggesting inappropriate use of our video replay room. We take these allegations seriously and will fully cooperate with MLB as they investigate the matter.”
According to the report, the use of the video room in such a fashion was only in practice during the 2018 season.
“It’s cheating,” a source who was with the Red Sox in 2018 told The Athletic. “Because if you’re using a camera to zoom in on the crotch of the catcher, to break down the sign system, and then take that information and give it out to the runner, then he doesn’t have to steal it.”
MLB told The Athletic it was investigating.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora is already facing discipline as part of MLB’s investigation of the 2017 Astros’ alleged sign stealing. Cora was Houston’s bench coach that season.
--The Washington Nationals made yet another big move, bringing back free agent reliever Daniel Hudson, signing him to a two-year, $11 million deal, three days after signing another reliever, Will Harris (three years, $24 million). Hudson recorded the final out of the World Series on Oct. 30, after the Nats had acquired him in a trade at the July deadline. Hudson then notched four postseason saves.
So Washington has Hudson, Harris and Sean Doolittle for the late innings.
--I watched the third period of the Rangers’ win over the Avalanche last night to see the highly-anticipated NHL debut of 24-year-old Russian goaltender Igor Shesterkin; and Shesterkin delivered, the Rangers winning 5-3. The Rangers had drafted the kid five years ago and for various reasons he wasn’t available until this season, having played spectacularly in the AHL. He’s the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist.
--The death toll for koalas in Australia’s bushfires is now believed to be at least 25,000, which can lead to devastating consequences for the survival of the species. One safe haven, Kangaroo Island, was described on Saturday as “virtually unstoppable” by firefighters.
--Mountain lions are in the news again, as a hunter in Idaho killed a cougar that “attacked and partially consumed” a pet dog near Cascade, Idaho, on Jan. 3. It’s unclear if this lion was responsible for another dog attack that occurred nearby several days earlier.
According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, mountain lion attacks on people and animals are rare. When lions do attack pets as a food source, however, the department takes the situation very seriously as “the risk to human safety is heightened.”
Just wait ‘til mountain lions begin to ride the rails, east.
Top 3 songs for the week 1/4/60: [Driving around last Sunday, I caught Sirius’ 60’s channel review of this week and there were some outstanding tunes.] #1 “El Paso” (Marty Robbins) #2 “Why” (Fankie Avalon) #3 “The Big Hurt” (Miss Toni Fisher)...and...#4 “Running Bear” (Johnny Preston) #5 “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans” (Freddie Cannon) #6 “Heartaches By The Number” (Guy Mitchell) #7 “It’s Time To Cry” (Paul Anka) #8 “Among My Souvenirs” (Connie Francis...super tune...) #9 “Pretty Blue Eyes” (Steve Lawrence) #10 “Go, Jimmy, Go” (Jimmy Clanton...back into the 70s next time...)
NBA Quiz Answer: 12 members of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team....
Christian Laettner, Duke
David Robinson, San Antonio
Patrick Ewing, New York
Larry Bird, Boston
Scottie Pippen, Chicago
Michael Jordan, Chicago
Clyde Drexler, Portland
Karl Malone, Utah
John Stockton, Utah
Chris Mullin, Golden State
Charles Barkley, Phoenix
Magic Johnson, Los Angeles
Coach – Chuck Daly
Next Bar Chat, Monday.