Oakland Raiders

'Good chance' Jon Gruden returns to Raiders

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'Good chance' Jon Gruden returns to Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Jon Gruden says he had a good talk with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis about returning to the organization for a second stint as coach and believes there is a "good chance" it will happen.

Gruden gave an interview to ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss his pursuit of the Raiders job that opened when Jack Del Rio was fired after a disappointing six-win season.

Gruden has been out of coaching the past nine years while serving as ESPN's analyst for "Monday Night Football." He is scheduled to work the network's playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans and could come back to the Raiders as soon as next week.

Gruden coached Oakland for four years from 1998-2001 before going to Tampa Bay (see full story).

Giants: Interim Spagnuolo interviews to be head coach
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have started the interview process for their head coaching job by starting with the man who ran the team for the final month of a disastrous season.

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo was interviewed by new general manager Dave Gettleman, co-owner John Mara and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams Wednesday, three days after the Giants (3-13) ended the season with an 18-10 win over Washington.

Co-owner Steve Tisch will meet with the candidates later in the process.

Spagnuolo posted a 1-3 record after being promoted from defensive coordinator to replace the fired Ben McAdoo on Dec. 4. He has head coaching experience, having guided the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.

The likable Spagnuolo, who was promised an interview after being the interim coach, has had two tours as Giants defensive coordinator. He held the position in 2007-08 and helped the franchise win a Super Bowl. He returned in 2015 working the first year under Tom Coughlin and being retained by McAdoo (see full story).

Bills: McCoy (ankle) misses practice, uncertain vs. Jags
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills running back LeSean McCoy missed practice Wednesday because of a right ankle injury and it's uncertain whether he can play Sunday at Jacksonville in Buffalo's first playoff game in 18 years.

Coach Sean McDermott would only list the Bills' top offensive threat as day to day and declined to say whether McCoy would be able to practice at all this week. McCoy did not speak with reporters during time designated for interviews, as team officials said he was being treated by trainers.

McCoy was carted off the field after being hurt on the opening drive of the second half of Buffalo's 22-16 win at Miami on Sunday.

The win coupled with Baltimore's 31-27 loss to Cincinnati clinched Buffalo's first playoff berth since the 1999 season. As the AFC's sixth seed, the Bills (9-7) will face South Division champion Jacksonville (10-6) in a wild-card game.

McCoy leads Buffalo with 1,138 yards rushing, 59 catches and eight touchdowns, including two receiving (see full story).

Vikings: Bradford explains mindset on latest comeback
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The worst-case scenario fear surfaced in Sam Bradford's mind at midseason, in the aftermath of the 30-year-old quarterback's latest surgery on his left knee.

This procedure was an arthroscopic cleanup, not another reconstruction, but that didn't quiet the question about whether he'd be able to resume his career.

"That was a battle I fought for a few weeks," Bradford said. "But it seemed like each day where it got better, each week where it felt like I was making true progress and could do a little bit more, those thoughts started to leave my mind. I started to become more confident in how I felt on my knee and what I was able to do."

Bradford returned to practice with the Minnesota Vikings this week, the earliest he was eligible to do so after being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 8.

The Vikings can put him back on the active roster for the playoffs at any time, with a decision required by Jan. 23 if they advance to the Super Bowl.

Packers: Capers out as defensive coordinator
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have announced the departure of veteran defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and inside linebacker Scott McCurley were also let go.

The moves made earlier this week were announced by coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday.

Packers president Mark Murphy said on Tuesday that McCarthy has the authority to fill the coordinator position without waiting for a new GM. Murphy is leading the search for a replacement for general manager Ted Thompson, who is moving to an advisory role with the team.

Capers had been defensive coordinator since 2009. Green Bay was fifth in overall defense in the Super Bowl-winning season in 2010.

But the defense slipped to 22nd in each of the past two seasons despite being stocked with high draft picks. Injuries have plagued the cornerback position.

More changes to McCarthy's staff could be coming after the team finished below .500 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Raiders: Headquarters land deal offered by city near Vegas
HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Oakland Raiders came one step closer Wednesday to securing the land the team needs for its new headquarters and practice facility near Las Vegas, and at a steep discount.

Officials in suburban Henderson approved a resolution that allows the city to move forward with a direct sale of 55 acres (22 hectares) to the Raiders for more than $6 million -- half the land's appraised value. The city is using a Nevada law that allows for no-bid sales at under-market prices when they are considered to be in the public interest.

"This is an opportunity to take the city of Henderson to a new level," Assistant City Manager Greg Blackburn said during the city council meeting ahead of the resolution vote. "It's hard to put a dollar value to what this does to help us for the future."

The Raiders have promised that the venue will create an estimated 250 full-time jobs not counting players. The team will spend about $75 million to build the complex.

The team wants to kick off its 2020 season at a 65,000-seat domed stadium built partially with taxpayers' money across the freeway from the Las Vegas Strip. The team in May paid $77.5 million for the 62-acre (25-hectare) site and hosted a glitzy groundbreaking ceremony in November (see full story).

NFL head coach firing tracker

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NFL head coach firing tracker

TEMPE, Ariz. — Bruce Arians is retiring from coaching after five mostly successful and usually entertaining seasons as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

The 65-year-old two-time NFL Coach of the Year, known for his Kangol-style hats, colorful vocabulary and love of a wide-open offense, announced the decision on Monday after meeting with his players.

Arians won a franchise-record 50 games in his five seasons with Arizona.

Counting his stint as interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts, he went 59-35-1 as a head coach, counting the playoffs.

Before that, he won two Super Bowl rings as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh, the second one as offensive coordinator of the Steelers team that beat Arizona in the 2009 Super Bowl.

Arians has had health issues in recent years, including treatment for diverticulitis and a successful fight against kidney cancer last offseason.

Bears decide to not retain Fox
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears fired John Fox on Monday after a 5-11 season, ending one of the least successful coaching stints in team history.

The Bears announced the dismissal one day after a loss at NFC North champion Minnesota.

Chicago has had four consecutive losing seasons — each with 10 or more losses. The Bears haven't finished above .500 since they let Lovie Smith go following a 10-6 finish in 2012. They haven't been to the playoffs since 2010.

Fox was 14-34 in his three years with Chicago, a .292 winning percentage that ranks as the second lowest for the Bears. Only Abe Gibron was worse — 11-30-1 (.274) from 1972-74.

He is 133-123 in 16 seasons as a head coach and is one of six coaches to lead two teams to Super Bowl appearances, joining Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren.

Fox helped orchestrate quick turnarounds while leading Carolina and Denver to a combined six division titles and seven playoff appearances in 13 years before he took over Chicago in January 2015.

Caldwell done with Lions
The Detroit Lions have fired coach Jim Caldwell.

Detroit made the move Monday, dismissing a coach who received a multiyear contract extension before the season.

The Lions ended their season with a 35-11 win over to Green Bay. They went 9-7, their third winning record in four years.

Detroit met relatively modest expectations this season, but raised hopes by starting with a 3-1 record before fading.

Caldwell was 36-28 in four seasons and went 0-2 in two postseasons with the Lions. Including three years with the Indianapolis Colts, he is 62-50 and 2-4 in the playoffs.

Raiders fire Del Rio after 3 seasons
Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio has been fired after a disappointing season.

Del Rio said owner Mark Davis told him after the team's season-ending 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday that he would not be retained as coach in Oakland. Del Rio had signed a four-year contract extension last February after Oakland ended a 13-year playoff drought with a 12-win season last year.

The Raiders followed that up with one of the most disappointing seasons in the NFL. Oakland went 6-10 for the second biggest one-season drop in wins in franchise history.

Pagano, Colts part ways
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts fired coach Chuck Pagano on Sunday, less than two hours after they ended a 4-12 season with a 22-13 victory over Houston.

Team owner Jimmy Irsay made the announcement in a statement, wishing Pagano and his wife well in the future.

The move comes after Indy missed the playoffs for the third straight year, the team's longest postseason drought since a seven-season absence from 1988-94.

With Andrew Luck missing the entire 2017 season, Indy never had a chance. The Colts wound up with their first losing season since 2011, their second since 2002, and the first in Pagano's six seasons as coach.

Pagano finished his first head coaching job with a 56-46 record, including a 3-3 mark in the playoffs.

How Eagles' run D can make history Sunday

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How Eagles' run D can make history Sunday

Some good, some bad in this week's Roob's Stats. Don't worry … it's mostly good!

• The Eagles haven't allowed a rushing touchdown in their last nine home games. That's the 10th-longest streak in NFL history and five shy of the NFL record of 14, set by the 1995 and 1996 Steelers. Only four teams have gone an entire season without allowing a rushing TD at home — the 1942 Chicago Cards, 1977 Bills, 1985 Saints and 2005 Arizona Cardinals. 

• The Eagles' one third-down conversion Monday night was their fewest in 13 years since they went 0-for-8 in a loss to the Steelers in 2004 — their only loss that year with the starters in the lineup. This was the first game the Eagles won with just one third-down conversion since Nov. 18, 1990, when they beat the Falcons 24-23 despite going 1 for 9 on third down. Their one conversion in that game came on their first third down. They had a 3rd-and-5 on their first drive and Randall Cunningham converted it with a 10-yard pass to Keith Byars.

• With one TD pass and one INT, Nick Foles extended the Eagles' streak of games with one or more touchdown pass and one or fewer interception to 17, dating back to the end of last year. That's the third-longest streak in NFL history, behind the Falcons' 21-game stretch from 2015 through earlier this year and an 18-game streak by the 49ers over the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

• Zach Ertz's nine-catch game was his 12th career game with eight or more receptions. That's 12th-most in NFL history by a tight end and most in Eagles history by any player.

• Ertz locked up his third straight season with 70 or more catches and 800 or more yards. He and Travis Kelce are the only tight ends to do that in each of the last three seasons, and he's the first player in Eagles history to do it three straight years. Only seven tight ends in NFL history have had longer streaks with 70 catches and 800 yards.

• The Eagles have seven players with two or more interceptions — Patrick Robinson (four), Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby (three each) and Corey Graham, Rasul Douglas and Malcolm Jenkins (two each). This is the first time since 1991 they’ve had seven players with two or more interceptions. In 1991, it was Eric Allen (five), Wes Hopkins (five), Seth Joyner (three), Rich Miano (three), Byron Evans (two), Ben Smith (two) and Otis Smith (two).

• Derek Barnett's touchdown as the game ended Monday night was the first by an Eagles' rookie defensive lineman in 36 years, since Greg Brown recovered a Joe Theismann fumble and returned it four yards for a touchdown against the Redskins at the Vet on Sept. 27, 1981.

• The Eagles won despite netting just 219 yards of offense. That's their fewest yards in a win in 12 years, since they had 201 in a 17-16 win over the Rams in 2005 with Mike McMahon at quarterback at the Edward Jones Dome.

• Monday's game was the first in which the Eagles forced five turnovers in a half since the last day of the 1999 season, when they forced six in the second half of a win against the eventual Super Bowl-champion Rams at the Vet. Those six turnovers were a Mike Mamula interception of Kurt Warner, a Robert Holcombe fumble forced by Tim Hauck (now an Eagles assistant coach) and recovered by Barry Gardner, a Rashard Cook strip-sack of Joe Germaine recovered by Mamula, a Cook interception of Germaine, a Watson fumble forced by Gardner and recovered by Hauck and a pick-six off Germaine by Al Harris.

• If the Eagles gain 55 or more rushing yards and allow 61 or fewer rushing yards Sunday, they will become the fifth team in NFL history to gain 2,100 or more rushing yards and allow 1,200 or fewer rushing yards.