Redskins

Browns have sights on Oregon's Chip Kelly

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Browns have sights on Oregon's Chip Kelly

CLEVELAND (AP) The Browns may strike quickly to get Chip Kelly, Oregon's coach who does everything in a hurry.

Kelly, whose up-tempo, fast-paced offense has captured the imagination of several NFL teams and maintained the Ducks' status as a national power, appears to be near the top of Cleveland's list of candidates to replace Pat Shurmur, fired earlier this week after going 9-23 in two seasons.

According to several reports, Browns CEO Joe Banner is already in Arizona and intends to interview Kelly, who is preparing the fifth-ranked Ducks for Thursday night's Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State. An interview could take place as early as Friday.

Kelly has been deflecting questions about his future all week. He did so again on Wednesday when he was asked if he expects to be contacted by NFL teams in the days ahead.

``I don't expect anything,'' said Kelly, 45-7 in four years at Oregon. ``I said this a million times. I'm never surprised by anything. I do not know what the future holds. I do know we have a football game tomorrow night and I'm going to be there.''

After that, his next stop isn't certain.

Kelly and Alabama's Nick Saban are the hottest commodities in the college game. It's possible that new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam may make a strong run at Saban, who worked in Cleveland as an assistant under Bill Belichick in the 1990s.

Saban would not be available for an interview until after next Monday's BCS title game, and the Browns could risk losing out on Kelly if they wait that long.

The Philadelphia Eagles are also believed to be interested in Kelly, who came close to taking Tampa Bay's job last year.

Browns safety T.J. Ward knows the 49-year-old Kelly as well as anyone. Ward, who walked on with the Ducks, believes his former coach is ready to make the leap to the pros.

``I think the players in the NFL would respect him and they will respect how he approaches you,'' Ward said. ``He lets you do your job. In college, he treated us like pros. I think that's what players respect and appreciate about him.''

It is not known if Haslam is with Banner in Arizona. Haslam said earlier this week that only he and Banner know which candidates may become Cleveland's sixth coach since 1999. The Browns, who have lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons, are not confirming any interviews.

On Tuesday, the Browns interviewed Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who said his meeting with the team was ``fantastic.''

Horton's interview satisfies the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to speak with a minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation positions.

Haslam and Banner made it clear that their next coach will have final say of the team's 53-man roster, a perk that could entice Kelly to leave Oregon. Kelly's pedal-to-the-metal offensive system is intriguing to the Browns and other teams who have already borrowed aspects of Oregon's no-huddle, go-go-go approach.

During the offseason, Kelly met with Belichick to share insight. Belichick has acknowledged using a few tips from Kelly, including the use of one-word play calls to speed up the Patriots offense.

``He's a great coach,'' Ward said. ``You can see what he's doing at Oregon. I think he has what it takes to be successful in this league. Whoever they pick, Chip is a great option. He's a great motivator. He comes in and he knows what he wants to do and he gets his players to play for him and play hard.

``He has a great scheme, great system. He's a high-energy coach.''

If Kelly comes to Cleveland, he may have to adjust his system to fit quarterback Brandon Weeden, who can throw the ball with anyone but doesn't have the speed to run a spread offense.

``I don't think I can run the zone read,'' Weeden said, smiling.

There are some who doubt Kelly's system can work in the NFL, arguing that it's a trendy gimmick that will be exposed by bigger, faster and stronger defenders. Kelly was asked if he thought it could work at the next level.

``Don't know, haven't been there,'' he said. ``There's a lot of ways to play football. Any coach is going to learn from other people and see how they can implement it in their system. Anything you do has to be personnel driven. You have to adapt to the personnel you have.''

Banner believes some elements of the spread offense are transferrable to the NFL.

``The game evolves and there is always some stealing from college into the pros and some stealing from going in the other direction,'' he said. ``You probably can't just take a pure NFL system and put it in college and have it work and you probably can't just take a purely clean current college system and put it in the pros and have it work.

``But that doesn't mean there are things that the right coach could integrate from both systems that could work very well at this level.''

Cleveland also must replace general manager Tom Heckert, who was fired after three seasons. However, Banner said it's possible the Browns may hire a player personnel director, giving the coach ultimate power.

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AP College Football Writer John Marshall in Scottsdale, Ariz. contributed to this report.

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Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': You'll absolutely love this Ron Rivera halftime speech

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Amazon Prime

Rewatching 'All Or Nothing': You'll absolutely love this Ron Rivera halftime speech

Pete Hailey is rewatching Amazon's All Or Nothing, a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Panthers, to learn about Ron Rivera and other key people who are now a part of the Redskins. Here's his review of episode five, "It Happens."

The first four episodes of 2018's All Or Nothing, which closely followed Ron Rivera's Panthers from the start of the season to the end, have led to thoughtful reviews about the coach's steady leadership and how he believes in building confidence in his young players.

This review, however, is going to be simpler than the previous installments. In fact, it'd be difficult to get much simpler, honestly.

That's because the climax of the fifth episode involves Rivera ripping into his team at halftime, and the ripping goes on for 60 straight and intense seconds, and few things are cooler than getting access inside of a locker room where this level of ripping is occuring, so this story exists just to highlight the ripping.

The reason Rivera goes off on the Panthers is because of a very poor first half on the road against the Steelers. Carolina went into Pittsburgh hoping to make a statement on prime time, but instead, they got worked to the tune of a 31-14 deficit through two quarters.

So, Rivera lets his guys have it. First, he addresses corner Donte Jackson, who was losing his one-on-one battle with Antonio Brown. After that, he goes in on everyone else. Here's a transcript of it all (pretty much every sentence could have an exclamation point at the end of it, by the way, so read this in your best yelling voice):

Don't lose your mind. Don't let him get inside your head. You got just as much skill and ability as anybody on that damn field. You don't let that (redacted) push you around. You're too good, but you've got to keep your mind in the game and stay focused, all right? Don't let him get to you. You are too good of a football player to worry about (redacted) like that, all right? You go out and do your job.

Now, the rest of you (redacted), the same thing. The only thing they've gotten on us has been what? Two (redacted) long passes. You have to challenge these (redacted) guys. You can't sit there and accept it. This is their (redacted) history. This is who the (redacted) they are. They expect you guys to (redacted) roll over. You can't. You've got to defy them and challenge their (redacted). You've got to hit the (redacted) (redacted) center in his (redacted) mouth. That's how you beat these (redacted) teams. These (redacted) teams come out because they think they've got (redacted). And they challenge your (redacted). Well (redacted) them. Challenge them back. Find out what they're really made of. 

While All Or Nothing is a produced show, Rivera's passionate speech wasn't followed by a made-for-TV comeback. In fact, the second half was worse than the first, with the Panthers losing the contest 52-21. That said, the rant was 1) still compelling as (redacted) and 2) a look at a side of the 58-year-old Redskins fans obviously haven't seen yet.

Since taking over the Burgundy and Gold in January, Rivera gave an introductory press conference that featured only hints of his competitive nature. After that day, he's done plenty of other interviews, but they've been fairly typical or even lighter conversations.

The version of Ron that lit up the Panthers that night in 2018 will probably only show up from late-summer to late-winter or so, when meaningful practices and games are taking place. Until then, the calm and thoughtful (though still serious) vibes he's given off so far with the Redskins when behind a microphone or on-camera should continue.

However, as episode five of Amazon's project highlighted, Rivera's not afraid to turn the dial up so much it snaps off in his hand. 

In recent years, big-name Washington players like Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Allen have made it clear that they didn't like how easygoing Redskins Park felt at times, specifically when the results on the field suggested a need for more accountability and discipline.

When watching Rivera sound off on his old team, it was hard not to think how that approach will be more than welcome on his new team.

Here is a link to the uncensored speech. If around family, you may want to put some headphones in before watching.

Links to past reviews:

Episode 1: Rivera doesn't flinch after adversity hits

Episode 2: Rivera shows his feelings on distractions

Episode 3: Special teams truly mean something to Ron

Episode 4: Young Redskins will have a chance in 2020

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This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

This date in Wizards history: Kobe Bryant scores 55 in last matchup with Michael Jordan

With the NBA season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Wizards, or any team for that matter, are currently unable to make their mark on the NBA history books. 

So on this day, March 28th, we roll the clocks back 17 years to a major moment in not only Wizards history, but in NBA history as well. The final meeting between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. 

2003 was Jordan's second season in Washington and his last in a legendary 15-year career where he won six championships, five MVPs, 10 scoring titles and nine All-Defensive selections.

If anyone came close to being the next MJ, it was Bryant. By their final meeting, the 24-year-old prodigy already had three titles and more than enough reason to put on a show against his idol. 

Bryant went for 55 points against the Wizards, scoring 42 in the first half. He went 15-for-29 from the field and made 9-of-13 from three. Safe to say, Bryant was on a mission following a one-point loss to the Wizards earlier that season. 

He scored an inefficient 27 points on 8-21 shooting and was outplayed by a 40-year-old Jordan. According to Gilbert Arenas, Jordan told Bryant he would never fill his shoes following the loss. In true Bryant fashion, he held onto that moment, apparently didn't talk to his teammates for two weeks leading up to the rematch and took it all out on the Wizards. 

Jordan didn't have a bad game by any stretch. He still scored 23 points on 10-20 shooting to go along with four assists, but he was simply no match for Bryant. 

The Wizards would go on to finish 37-45 miss out on the playoffs and take Jarvis Hayes with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.

The Lakers went for the first run of four-straight titles since Bill Russell's Celtics but fell short in the Western Conference Semifinals to Tim Duncan and the Spurs. They'd return to the Finals the following year only to lose to the Pistons. After that, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami and the Lakers didn't win a championship for another five years. 

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