Nationals

AP Source: Cardinals get OK to interview Haley

AP Source: Cardinals get OK to interview Haley

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) With Andy Reid no longer in the picture, the Arizona Cardinals have received permission to interview Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley for their head coaching job, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person asked not to be identified because the situation has not been made public.

Haley, former head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, was offensive coordinator for Arizona in the Cardinals' Super Bowl run in the 2008 season and has a good relationship with Cardinals President Michael Bidwill.

Bidwill had identified Reid as a candidate earlier this week but the longtime Philadelphia coach, fired by the Eagles on Monday, was close to finalizing a deal to coach the Chiefs and called off all other interviews.

The other known candidates for the Arizona job are Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

The formal interview for Horton was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. McCoy is to be interviewed in Denver this weekend. Horton also interviewed with Buffalo and Cleveland and McCoy is believed to have interest from other teams, as well.

The window to interview McCoy is narrow because the Broncos are in the playoffs but have a bye this week.

Other candidates are most likely in the picture for the Cardinals, although no names have surfaced. The interview timetable suggests no decision until next week, at the earliest. The Cardinals also are looking for a new general manager to replace the fired Rod Graves. Steve Keim, the team's vice president for player personnel, is a leading candidate.

Bidwill emphasized at his Monday news conference that his search ``is not going to move at lightning speed.''

``And you don't want it to,'' he said, ``because you learn a lot during your due diligence period.''

Bidwill fired Ken Whisenhunt after six seasons as coach. Whisenhunt directed the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance in his second season and Arizona won its second straight NFC West title the following year. But this season's team, after a 4-0 start, lost 11 of 12 to finish 5-11 for the second time in three seasons. While the defense under Horton was among the NFL leaders in several categories, Arizona's offense was the worst in the NFL.

Perhaps that's why two of the three known candidates for Whisenhunt's old job have offensive credentials - Haley and McCoy.

Haley was the coordinator of the high-scoring Cardinals team that made it to the Super Bowl, combining with quarterback Kurt Warner to create one of the NFL's most entertaining offenses. Haley's emotional nature was apparent to everyone, even with occasional sidelines shouting matches with Warner, who shrugged them off as no big deal and just part of the way the team operated.

Haley's success in Arizona led to his hiring as head coach of the Chiefs in 2009. In his second season with Kansas City, the Chiefs went 10-6 and won the AFC West. But he was fired after the team went 5-8 in 2011.

In February of last year, Haley returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh as coach Mike Tomlin's offensive coordinator. He had a sometimes bumpy relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who apologized after criticizing Haley in the aftermath of a late-season overtime loss to Dallas.

McCoy has been the Broncos' offensive coordinator since 2009. In 2011, he tweaked the offense to adapt to quarterback Tim Tebow, then went back to his usual approach when the team signed Peyton Manning. The result has been an offense that propelled Denver to a 13-3 record and a first-round playoff bye.

Horton, whose coaching background is entirely on defense, told reporters after his two-day interview was completed with Arizona on Wednesday that he was not concerned about being pigeonholed as a defensive coach only.

``I think I'm a coach of men,'' he said. ``I talk about a plan to build a team. I don't talk about `Hey, I can build this offense or this defense and good luck with the rest of the team.' Whether you're an offensive coach, you've got to have a defensive guy who can do something on that side. It all blends together. I think that's a zero issue.''

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Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

When the Nationals stumbled out to a 19-31 start to last season, Davey Martinez didn’t panic.

He was only in his second season as an MLB manager, but Martinez had a roster of players far more talented than what its record was leading others to believe. Amid swirling rumors about his job status and the future of the franchise, Martinez trusted that his players would be able to turn things around.

Five months later, those very same players took down the Houston Astros in seven games to win D.C. a World Series title for the first time since 1924. Longtime baseball agent Scott Boras, who represented several stars for Washington such as Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, was among those who was particularly impressed with the way Martinez kept his clubhouse together.

Boras talked with NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas and Chase Hughes on Friday’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast about what stood out to him when it came to Martinez’s approach.

“I really credit Davey Martinez because the one message he kept giving everyone was a true lack of concern for the moment and trusting very much about who all those players were,” Boras said. “Every player brought that to my attention at the end of the year, where this was not a compromised manager.

“This was not someone who questioned who we were. It was not someone who showed up and was really making more out of the future other than, ‘Be who you are today and go forward.’”

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

With sports pushed to the side while the world grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, fans have a lot of more important things on their minds than baseball right now. Yet Boras felt that Martinez’s approach was something everyone should try to emulate when dealing with the uncertainty that the future holds.

“It’s a real lesson for a lot of people,” Boras said. “I think particularly when you’re in an environment, ironically that’s in Washington, D.C., [with] what we’re going through with this pandemic and the focus on our leadership and our country…we really have to make sure that we’re looking about what’s within and not looking about the vague aspects of what the future may bring.

“The Washington Nationals represented their city and our country really well with that message.”

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Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Salivating and awe came first. Distribution will have to wait.

The Nationals revealed their jewel-laden championship ring during a slow-moving, hour-long telecast Sunday night which was originally supposed to include select players receiving their rings. After pushback from the players -- who wanted to receive the rings together when it was safe to do so -- the night was converted to more of a reveal than reaction.

The ring itself included several nods to the D.C. area, markers from the championship season, and specific personalizations.

Here’s a blow-by-blow:

-- The ring is 14-karat white and yellow gold

-- The “W” logo is made from 30 rubies to represent the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series game

-- Around the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds

-- Above and below the logo or the words “World Champions” set over the ring via 32 sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4).

-- An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series title and two diamonds for the locations -- Washington and Montreal -- of the franchise.

-- The top and bottom of the ring have 12 rubies to represent the total number of postseason wins

-- On the left side in yellow gold is the player’s name

-- Beneath the name is a flag, the Capitol Building and the Roman numerals MMVI to represent the year the Lerner family purchased the franchise

-- The player’s number is in diamonds on the bottom left side

-- “Fight Finished” is on the right side

-- The interior of the ring is engraved with a shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy. So, yes, a nod to “Baby Shark” has made it onto the rings

-- Also on the interior are the team logos of each opponent the Nationals defeated in the postseason

-- “Go 1-0 every day” is also engraved inside

-- In total, the average championship ring contains 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for a precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.

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The lead up of the ring reveal included congratulatory messages from a slew of people associated with the Nationals in the present and past.

Former closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider started the video messages. Denard Span and Adam LaRoche followed. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell, chef José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among several others to send congratulations.

In a post-reveal show, the players emphasized they were looking forward to receiving the rings in a group.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Howie Kendrick said.

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