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Black ex-coaches say NFL's Rooney Rule is broken

Black ex-coaches say NFL's Rooney Rule is broken

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Three black former NFL head coaches say the league needs to rethink its Rooney Rule for promoting minority hiring after 15 top vacancies - eight head coaching jobs and seven general manager positions - were all filled by white candidates since the regular season ended a month ago.

``I know the concept is good and something we need to do,'' said Tony Dungy, who was with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2006 season when he became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl. ``Obviously, it's not working the way it should.''

The Rooney Rule, implemented in 2003, was named for Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, who steadfastly pushed the league to require every team to interview at least one minority candidate every time there is a coaching or general manager opening.

Before the rule went into effect, the NFL had had only six minority head coaches in more than 80 years. Since it has been in place, 12 have been hired.

But none were hired this year to replace the two black coaches who were fired - Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Lovie Smith in Chicago - and the one fired black GM, Rod Graves in Arizona.

Herm Edwards, former coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs and now an ESPN analyst, has called for not only revising the rule but perhaps even changing its name.

``When you use the Rooney Rule and not correctly, you put a little bit of a bad mark on Mr. Rooney's name, and that is not good,'' Edwards said Wednesday. ``If it keeps going this way, we might need to take his name off the rule. It is not being used in the right manner that Mr. Rooney meant it to be.''

Robert Gulliver, the NFL's executive vice president of human resources, said that the hiring results were ``disappointing'' and that he expects to make revisions in the rule.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group of minority coaches and front-office, scouting and game-day NFL officials, wants the Rooney Rule expanded to apply to coordinators, assistant head coaches and club president positions.

Unlike Dungy and Edwards, Jim Caldwell is still coaching, albeit as an assistant. Not only that, his team, the Baltimore Ravens, will play the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's Super Bowl. But he wasn't even invited to interview for one of the eight vacant coaching jobs, though having a team in the playoffs can be a hindrance to such opportunities.

Fired as the Colts' coach following the 2011 season, Caldwell joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach. When head coach John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in December, Caldwell was promoted. With his guidance, Baltimore's offense responded.

Caldwell is no stranger to the Super Bowl, having led the Colts there three years ago after replacing the retired Dungy. It was only after Peyton Manning was sidelined for the 2011 season that Caldwell was fired.

``It has been a great rule and it has worked in the past,'' he said. ``Just like anything else, you have to, after a certain period of time, revisit it and take a look and see if it needs a little tweaking. I think it does in this particular case.''

Caldwell added: ``That's one of the reasons that the Rooney Rule was put in place, because you're trying to avoid those situations, if possible. We're at that stage where guys like Lovie Smith, who didn't get an opportunity, who had won and been very successful previously ... obviously, there's some concern there, and that's why I think the rule is going to be revisited.''

Dungy said he believes the entire system is broken. He cited 21 head coaching jobs changing in a three-year span, which he said indicates owners are making the wrong hires regardless of race.

Edwards said he wonders whether minority candidates get interviewed only to satisfy the rule, even though they have no chance of getting the job. He and Dungy noted that the last black head coach hiring - other than coaches promoted from within, like Leslie Frazier, Raheem Morris, Mike Singletary, Hue Jackson and Crennel - was Mike Tomlin by Pittsburgh, in 2007.

There are currently four minority head coaches: Tomlin, Frazier in Minnesota, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Ron Rivera in Carolina. Minority general managers include Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome, Detroit's Martin Mayhew, Houston's Rick Smith, the New York Giants' Jerry Reese and Oakland's Reggie McKenzie.

``I am not saying you have to hire a minority candidate. No one is saying that,'' Edwards said. ``I am saying you can't be blinded. It can't be, `Who is the guy to interview to get this out of the way?'''

``The problem I have is you don't really abide by the Rooney Rule the correct way,'' he said.

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What Trace McSorley’s shining performance vs. Philadelphia means for the Ravens roster battle

What Trace McSorley’s shining performance vs. Philadelphia means for the Ravens roster battle

PHILADELPHIA — Trace McSorley knew something was brewing when he saw he had missed two phone calls: One from his quarterback's coach, James Urban, and the other from his head coach, John Harbaugh. 

McSorley received word early Thursday morning that he would make his NFL starting debut later in the evening against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field with starter Lamar Jackson not suited up.

And with the biggest opportunity he’s had all preseason, McSorley delivered his best performance as a Raven. He finished 19-of-28 with 203 yards through the air, two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown to lead the Ravens to a 26-15, lightning-shortened win. 

It was McSorley’s first performance where he didn’t come off the bench this preseason.

“You’re really coming into it, if you’re not starting you kind of come in and you know when you’re going to be up so you’re getting the juices flowing, getting yourself ready,” McSorley said. “Tonight, as a team, we were able to come in and play really good offensively.”

His best performance of his pro career might have clinched him a spot on the 53-man roster, too. At the very least, it moved him closer to earning a spot when the rosters shrink on Aug. 31.

“I thought he played really well,” Harbaugh said. “I thought he was really poised, he made a lot of plays on the move, extended some plays and made them. He played really well.”

With normal backup quarterback Robert Griffin III sidelined with a right thumb injury, McSorley has been the team’s backup all preseason long. 

In that role, he’s gotten reps he typically wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Thursday, he showed it’s paying off.

“Just being able to get in and really see things, really be there live, it’s a big difference than watching the film or sitting back and getting the mental reps,” McSorley said. “Once you get in there, see it live, it’s different. It’s been extremely beneficial getting all these reps.”

Aided by the return of Marquise Brown, the Ravens offense scored 23 points in the second quarter — with three touchdowns from McSorley — to pull ahead for a 26-0 lead.

McSorley’s best play came when he rainbowed the left sideline and found Michael Floyd in the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown pass that found the wide receiver right on the money. That followed his toughest effort of the night, a four-yard scramble where he found a way to get his right arm, and the football, over the goal line for a touchdown.

His other touchdown came on a seven-yard fade route to Jaleel Scott to put the Ravens up four possessions.

Still, despite his strong performance, he deflected individual praise and was more focused on how the offense ran as a whole. 

“I think so far, I think this is probably… we made some progress from the first couple games,” McSorley said. “That’s just kind of been the goal from week one to week two, from week two to week three. I think that’s something that coach Harbaugh talks about, I think we were able to do that as an offense again tonight.”

With Jackson and Griffin not expected to play next week in Washington for the team’s fourth and final preseason game, the spotlight will once again be on McSorley, as he’ll make his final case to be on the roster. 

Even though he looks like a safe bet to make the team now, especially with the special teams reps he’s received in practice, nothing is confirmed for the former Penn State quarterback.

But Thursday’s performance, one where he played the best football of his professional career, will go a long way toward ensuring he’s on the 53-man roster when the regular season begins.

“He did amazing,” running back Justice Hill said. “He got, what, three touchdowns? That’s crazy. And he only played a half.”

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Stock up, stock down: Justice Hill, Mother Nature's stock down in Ravens win

Stock up, stock down: Justice Hill, Mother Nature's stock down in Ravens win

PHILADELPHIA — In the team’s 16th straight preseason win, the Ravens jumped out to a 26-0 lead over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field and were able to hold on for a 26-15 win on Thursday. 

Here are a few players who stood out for the Ravens:

Stock up: Michael Floyd

With Floyd seemingly on the outside looking in to the Ravens roster bubble, he certainly made his case loud and clear. 

Floyd finished with three catches for 54 yards and a score. He caught a beautiful route down the sideline from quarterback Trace McSorley on an over-the-shoulder grab for the score. 

He’s still fighting for a roster spot, but Floyd registered his first catches of the preseason. If nothing else, he performed well to potentially get a look from another team, should he be released by the Ravens.

"Yeah, he's really had a good couple weeks," coach John Harbaugh said. "I think he got his legs kind of going the first week and he plays kind of angry. He does, and I say it in a good way. He plays with aggressiveness and tempo and physicality. He had some big catches for us today and he's done a great job."

Stock up: Trace McSorley

McSorley had an excellent first half and carried that the rest of the way for a 19-of-28 performance. He threw for 203 yards yards, had two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

WIth McSorley still fighting for his spot on the roster, his showing at quarterback moved him that much closer to a spot on the 53-man roster. 

He’s expected to play special teams this year, which will boost his chances of being on the 53-man roster, and the 45-man active roster each week. 

Still, his start against the Eagles was his best performance as a professional. 

Stock down: Justice Hill

Hill didn’t have many opportunities to make a special play, but he had a pedestrian game after his excellent showing against the Packers a week ago. He had just eight yards on seven carries.

With Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon out of the lineup, Hill got his fair share of touches but struggled to make much of them. He made a key block on a 44-yard pass to Miles Boykin, but the rest of his night was largely forgettable.

In a crowded backfield, Hill has to stand out each and every week to earn his touches. Thursday was a step in the wrong direction.

It is noteworthy, however, that the entire team only had 40 yards put together. While it wasn't just Hill who struggled on the ground, he's one that is fighting for playing time.

Stock up: Miles Boykin

Boykin had just one catch, but he made it count as he took the pass for 44-yards for the Ravens longest gain of the evening.

Expected to see significant reps this season, Boykin has been a big, athletic target for Ravens quarterbacks to throw to all preseason long. As his experience grows, the Ravens offense should evolve with him.

Stock up: Marquise Brown

Marquise Brown's stock isn't up because he played. It's how he played. 

He had three catches for 17 yards and a rush, but suffered no setback and said he felt good with how he played postgame. 

"I think it was very emotional during the pregame," Brown said. "Just knowing that I'm finally able to play. So once I got there, it was just back to football."

Stock down: Mother Nature

With 11:43 left in the fourth quarter, Mother Nature intervened. 

The game was called after multiple lightning strikes, ending the game early. 

That’s not good news for some of the Ravens on the roster bubble, who were looking for any reps they could get. The team has just one more preseason game, and just over a week, before the rosters are cut to 53.

"I mean, (Eagles coach) Doug (Pederson) and I had the exact same feeling and all the players on both sides felt that way. ALl the coaches felt that way. To send the guys out there after sitting in the air conditioning for, it was going to be a long time, would've just been crazy."

This post has been updated with quotes.

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