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Cowboys hire Monte Kiffin to replace Rob Ryan

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Cowboys hire Monte Kiffin to replace Rob Ryan

IRVING, Texas (AP) The Dallas Cowboys hired former Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as the replacement for Rob Ryan on Friday.

The move signals a switch back to the 4-3 alignment eight years after Bill Parcells implemented the 3-4.

Dallas coach Jason Garrett said he had two days of discussions with the 72-year-old Kiffin and came away believing the Cowboys have the personnel to make the switch work.

The most notable change will be Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware becoming a defensive end, and Anthony Spencer could make the same move if the Cowboys re-sign him.

``Monte Kiffin's level of experience and track record of success as an NFL defensive coordinator are unmatched,'' Garrett said. ``He has produced NFL defensive units that have consistently performed at a high level in a scheme that has stood the test of time.''

Kiffin hasn't coached in the NFL since ending a 13-year run in Tampa in 2008. He spent the past four years coaching in college with his son, Lane Kiffin, at Tennessee and Southern California.

At Tampa, Kiffin's defenses frequently were among the league's best, and the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl with him after the 2002 season. That unit was the first in the league since the champion Chicago Bears in 1985 to lead the NFL in total defense, points allowed and interceptions.

``I came away from the interview process with Jason with a feeling that Dallas is the right place to be,'' Kiffin said. ``They're close, and I am confident that there are quality pieces in place for us to be able to get the job done.''

Ryan was fired Tuesday after two seasons. His defenses were inconsistent pressuring the quarterback and didn't force many turnovers. In 2011, the Cowboys allowed the second-most yards passing in franchise history.

This season's injury-filled unit couldn't stop New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and rookie Washington running back Alfred Morris in season-ending losses that kept Dallas (8-8) out of the playoffs for the third straight year.

The Buccaneers finished in the top 10 in total defense 11 times in 13 years under Kiffin and had streaks of 69 straight games with a sack and 54 with at least one turnover during that stretch. Tampa had 31 interceptions when it won the Super Bowl, nine more than the Cowboys have the past two seasons combined.

Kiffin, who turns 73 next month, has 26 years of NFL experience with other stops in Green Bay, Buffalo, Minnesota, the New York Jets and New Orleans.

He coached 17 years in college before going to the NFL, including 11 seasons under Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne at Nebraska, his alma mater.

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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