Warriors

A couple big changes in Jacksonville

599734.jpg

A couple big changes in Jacksonville

From Comcast SportsNet

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The Jacksonville Jaguars fired coach Jack Del Rio on Tuesday after a 3-8 start, parting ways with the franchises second coach during his ninth season.

Del Rios job security had been tenuous since owner Wayne Weaver said the coach needed to make the playoffs to secure a 10th season in Jacksonville. The Jaguars were essentially eliminated with Sundays 20-13 loss to AFC South-leading Houston.

The timing of the move made sense since the Jaguars are struggling to sell tickets and host a Monday night game against San Diego. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was named the interim coach. The team scheduled a noon news conference to discuss the move.

Del Rio leaves with a 69-73 record, including 1-2 in two playoffs appearances. The Jaguars didnt win the AFC South in any of his nine seasons.

Weaver considered firing Del Rio after last season, but kept him partly because of the uncertainty surrounding the NFL lockout. Weaver refused to give contract extensions to any of Del Rios assistants, putting everyone on alert that this was a win-or-else season.

Del Rio refused to let offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and linebackers coach Mark Duffner interview for lateral positions. He couldnt stop quarterbacks coach Mike Shula, whose contract ended, and receivers coach Todd Monken, who returned to a college job at Oklahoma State, from bolting.

Given the situation, the pool of coaches wanting to come to Jacksonville was small, so Del Rio had few options while rebuilding his staff. Del Rio hinted this season that his hands were tied in terms of what he could to assemble the best staff.

Fans have been clamoring for his departure for years, with many calling for him to be fired following a 5-11 finish in 2008. Instead, Weaver parted ways with personnel chief James Shack Harris and selected Gene Smith the general manager.

Smith has rebuilt the roster over the last three years.

But the Jaguars have shown no progress under Del Rios leadership.

Del Rios tenure will be remembered for putting an ax and a wooden stump in the locker room in 2003, setting up a situation in which punter Chris Hanson hacked into his leg, and for repeatedly failing to properly handle quarterback situations.

He announced he was benching Mark Brunell and giving rookie Byron Leftwich the job in 2003 before talking to the players. He insisted Leftwich was his starter in 2007, and then cut him days before the season opener. He did the same thing to David Garrard this season, cutting him five days before the opener and naming Luke McCown the starter.

McCown was benched after two games.

The Jaguars have been inept most of the season with Blaine Gabbert under center. The 10th overall pick in Aprils NFL draft has been rattled under pressure, has been inaccurate on short throws and doesnt appear to be making much progress.

Del Rio said Monday he was sticking with the rookie.

It turned out to be the coachs final decision in Jacksonville.

Another new boss

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)The Jacksonville Jaguars have reached an agreement to sell the small-market franchise to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan.

Majority owner Wayne Weaver made the announcement Tuesday, hours after he fired coach Jack Del Rio and gave general manager Gene Smith a three-year contract extension. He said Khan will have 100 percent control of the team.

Weaver called Khan a great American success story and said the Pakistan-born entrepreneur will keep the team in Jacksonville.

Khan is the owner and CEO of the Flex-N-Gate Group based in Urbana, Ill. Khan had been a candidate to buy controlling interest in the St. Louis Rams last year.

The sale of the franchise and the firing of Del Rio are the citys most significant news since the teams inception in 1993.

Warriors spend day reviewing Rockets' horror show, focus on one area of concern

kerrscreaming-rockets-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Warriors spend day reviewing Rockets' horror show, focus on one area of concern

OAKLAND -- Sidelined with a back strain, Andre Iguodala spent Tuesday night “yelling at the TV more than I normally do” as the Warriors labored through an uneven performance before blowing a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.

So there was Iguodala, this time with his teammates, sitting before a monitor Wednesday as coach Steve Kerr review the horror show that was a 122-121 loss to the Houston Rockets.

“We only did about a half-hour on the floor, mostly skill work,” Kerr said after the light practice. “Watched a lot of video.

“That game was a weird game because we were shooting the ball well and scoring enough to win. But we never had control of it the way we normally have control of a game, with defense and toughness.”

Though the Warriors were hampered by injuries -- Iguodala being out, while Draymond Green and Omri Casspi were hurt during the game -- beyond their control, there was at least one thing they believe they can fix immediately.

They can avoid some of the fouls, particularly those that are mindless.

That’s the trap Stephen Curry fell into, picking up three fouls in the first four minutes. That he was limited to 30 minutes, and only 18 through the first three quarters, had an impact on the playing rotation and was a factor in the loss.

“The only thing I’m worried about with him is just those little fouls,” Iguodala said. “Because when he’s on the court, no matter if he’s scoring or not, he’s making life easier for everyone else.”

Kerr after the game cited conditioning as an issue and elaborated on the subject Wednesday.

“Conditioning is not just physical. It’s mental, too,” he said. “We were not ready, mentally, to play that game, even when we weren’t tired early in the game.

“There were other lapses, too. After made baskets, transition threes for them we neglected to pick up. That’s not physical conditioning. That’s mental conditioning. That’s where we need to get better. And we will.”

The Warriors will be wounded in more ways than one when they board their flight to New Orleans Thursday morning. They’ll have some achy players, for sure, but they’ll also have a 0-1 record.

“I feel like losses have this huge effect on us that usually benefits us,” Iguodala said.

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

bowman-us.jpg
USATSI

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

ALAMEDA – NaVorro Bowman was a sponge this week, absorbing the Raiders defense as quickly as possible.

The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon and did enough to play Thursday night’s pivotal home game against Kansas City.

That’s a huge plus for a Raiders team looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Bowman should be able to help right away despite being new to the scheme.

“He’s a veteran. He understands ball,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday. “We haven’t tried to install the entire playbook, but specific game plans and things. He’s had a good week. Even though it’s a short week, we feel good and he’ll play.”

He’ll probably start at inside linebacker and play the base defense as least. While many have criticized his speed and coverage skills diminished from major injuries, Bowman remains a sure tackler who can provide solid on-field leadership.

Veteran savvy and natural ability should carry Bowman while he masters a new scheme, allowing him to make the immediate impact required with the Raiders reeling at 2-4.

“He is very instinctive,” Del Rio said. "He’s a veteran guy that’s been there before. He understands what it looks like to lineup against a good football team and help us win.”

Bowman’s fresh and healthy, a step above his others at his position. Inside linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) are all questionable heading into Thursday’s game.

He has also been a willing teacher to a group of inside linebackers featuring a second-year pro and three rookies.

“They’re just soaking it up,” Del Rio said. “They’ll ask, ‘When do you lift? How often do you lift? When do you meet? When do you cover this?’ It’s good stuff to have for a really young group.”

In other injury news, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is out, leaving Vadal Alexander to start in his spot. David Sharpe should be the swing tackle in reserve.