Raiders

NASCAR owner involved in plane crash

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NASCAR owner involved in plane crash

From Comcast SportsNet
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick returned home Tuesday, a day after he broke a rib and shoulder when his plane ran off the runway in Key West, Fla. Hendrick Motorsports said the brakes failed when the Gulfstream G150 landed at Key West International Airport on Monday night. The plane is co-owned by Jimmie Johnson and normally shuttles the five-time defending NASCAR champion and his family to and from races. "As everybody is aware, there was a brake issue with the airplane landing," Johnson said. "All four on board are OK and are home back in Charlotte. We are just beyond thankful that everything turned out well with the crash and there weren't any major injuries down there. It certainly was a scary event -- I can only imagine." Hendrick, his wife, Linda, and the two pilots were all released from Lower Keys Medical Center on Tuesday morning and returned to Charlotte. Linda Hendrick sustained minor cuts and bruises. The two pilots were not injured. The plane apparently skidded off the 4,800-foot runway and came to a stop along a 600-foot unpaved safety area that had been added in May. "If we hadn't done that, it likely would have been a different story," county airport director Peter Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space. The FAA incident report listed the damage to the aircraft as undetermined. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. Hendrick is the most successful team owner in NASCAR, and fields cars for Johnson, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. The team recently celebrated its 199th career victory in the Sprint Cup Series. In 2004, a plane Hendrick owned crashed en route to a race in Martinsville, Va., killing all 10 on board. That included Hendrick's son, Ricky, his brother and twin nieces. Photographs of the crash show the plane largely intact and with its nose resting on the ground about 20 feet in front of a chain-linked airport boundary fence. Johnson said he spoke to Hendrick on Tuesday. "It's been a long night for him -- he's trying to get some rest and we just touched base and I know that he's OK," Johnson said. "It's just nice to hear his voice and hear him say he's fine and OK and Linda is as well along with the pilots. "We don't have a lot of answers at this point. There's a lot of really good, smart people working on getting answers to these questions so we can all understand what exactly took place." NASCAR driver Greg Biffle was uninjured this year when his plane's right main landing gear failed and the wing hit the runway during a landing at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky. Biffle's team owner, Jack Roush, has survived two plane crashes, including one last year in Wisconsin in which he lost his left eye.

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

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USATSI

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

ALAMEDA – John Pagano can’t implement his scheme in a week. He can’t import his plays and preferences cultivated during five seasons as Chargers defensive coordinator. Full offseason programs and training camps are required for that.

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired on Tuesday. Pagano will call his first Raiders game five days later against Denver at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders’ assistant head coach – defense believes he can impact how the Silver and Black does business.

“There’s always room for change and there’s always room for doing things better,” Pagano said Thursday. “Without telling you our game plan, it’s about how we go out and execute the call, bottom line.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio said the Raiders weren’t playing fast enough. They weren’t creating enough turnovers, weren’t doing well enough on third down and weren’t regularly affecting the quarterback due to a lack of both rush and coverage.

That’s why Norton had to go.

Pagano’s first objective, which must get accomplished in a few days, is getting the Raiders to play with confidence. Then he can add some design wrinkles with some of his personality.

“You have to have that ability of going out there, knowing your assignment and playing faster,” Pagano said. “It’s not to say that there have been times where we’ve simplified things, but taking the thinking out of the game and making them react is, I think, most important. Going out there and playing fast and that’s doing the little extra things, the attention to details of studying and getting those things processed. See ball, go get ball.”

That last sentence sums up how Pagano wants his guys to play. He’s a quality play caller and creative blitzer with a knack making simple plays look complex. He can find and exploit opposing weak links. His defenses have always been good creating pressure and turnovers alike. The Raiders need more of both.

To do that Pagano wants to relieve a player’s mental burden and keep them focused on using talent well.

“The one thing I’ve always stressed and always been about is technique, fundamentals and unbelievable effort,” Pagano said. “I think those three things can get you home.”

The Raiders haven’t been home much as a defense. They’re tied for last with 14 sacks. They’re dead last with six turnovers. They’ve gone 10 games without an interception, the longest single-season drought in NFL history.

A lack of big defensive plays has killed the Raiders this season. It obviously increases points allowed. Good field position has been hard to come by. The offense has to earn everything the hard way. That’s a recipe for losing football, a maddening turn after the Raiders finished second with 30 takeaways last year.

Pagano has a chart listing “MOPs,” short for missed opportunities. There have been many, especially in a secondary he oversaw before this week.

“I talked to these guys this week about we need to do simple better,” Pagano said. “What is simple? It’s fundamentals of covering. It’s tackling. It’s communicating. It’s catching the ball when it comes. We’ve had opportunities. It’s not like we’re out there struggling and straining to dive and layout for the thing. It’s hit us in the hands where we’ve had many, many opportunities.”

Missed opportunities have also plagued a pass rush featuring reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Pagano brought up a moment early in Sunday’s lost to New England, when Treyvon Hester forced a fumble near three teammates that the Patriots somehow recovered.

Pagano’s goal is to improve performance. Players must buy in to do that. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin headline a large group close to Norton, one with enough pride and professionalism to get behind a new playcaller in Pagano, who could be here long term.

“There is a human element to this,” Pagano said. “We are family. It’s sad any time a member of your family gets dismissed or something. At the end of the day, we have the Broncos coming in here on Sunday and we have to get our minds right to go play this game. That’s something that they’ve done a great job with this week, truly focusing in on what we need to do.”

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

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AP

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell made an instant impact for the team this season. But as of late, his playing time has dwindled. In four of the Warriors' last five games, Bell has been inactive. 

“It's just the life of a rookie,” Bell said to The Athletic. “That's what Steve Kerr always tells me. It's not because I'm playing bad. Just gotta be professional about it and stay ready. It's like being a freshman all over again.”

While Bell wants to be on the court with his teammates, what he appreciates most from Steve Kerr is his communication. Kerr is always honest about when he won't play Bell and he keeps the former Oregon Duck encouraged. 

“He talks to me about it every time he sees me,” Bell said. “Lets me know I'm not going to be active. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing good. But it still f------ sucks. You're playing well and it doesn't mean anything because you're younger. It sucks, but you got to be professional about it.”

Bell has played in 12 of the Warriors' 18 games this season. The 22-year-old is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 8.3 minutes per game. 

The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls and selected Bell. On Friday night, the Warriors, and perhaps Bell, play the Bulls for the first time this season.