Nationals

Browns interview former assistant Trestman

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Browns interview former assistant Trestman

CLEVELAND (AP) The Browns' coaching search turned toward one of their former assistants.

And, three other ex-Cleveland coaches somehow got pulled into the mix.

On Tuesday, the team interviewed Marc Trestman, the current coach of the Montreal Alouettes and Cleveland's offensive coordinator the last time the Browns played in the AFC title game, a person familiar with the meeting told the Associated Press.

Trestman interviewed with Chicago on Monday and arrived at the Browns' facility in suburban Berea Tuesday morning, said the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the search. He is the fifth known candidate to interview with the Browns, seeking their sixth fulltime coach since 1999 after firing Pat Shurmur last week.

Trestman was the Browns' quarterbacks coach in 1988 and offensive coordinator in 1989, when Cleveland appeared in its third AFC championship in four years with quarterback Bernie Kosar. Trestman has extensive background as an NFL assistant, working with eight teams, most recently Miami in 2004.

Also, the Browns asked permission to speak with Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who worked as Butch Davis' offensive coordinator in Cleveland from 2001-03. Arians was admitted to an Indianapolis hospital for treatment of an inner ear infection that caused him to miss Sunday's playoff game in Baltimore, ESPN reported.

Two other former Browns assistants made news as Nick Saban all but ruled out a return to the NFL, while Bill Cowher told Newsday he wants to coach again at some point.

Trestman has spent the past five seasons with Montreal, leading the Alouettes to two Grey Cup titles. The 56-year-old also worked as an offensive coordinator with San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland. The Raiders went to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season in the offense Trestman geared for QB Rich Gannon.

In recent years, Trestman has worked as a consultant in the NFL and in the offseason helped develop young quarterbacks, including Cleveland's Brandon Weeden, whose future with the Browns will be determined by the club's next coach.

``Marc is an extremely knowledgeable football mind and with his obvious success everywhere he has been proves that he knows how to develop and teach quarterbacks,'' Weeden said in a testimonial on Trestman's website.

The Browns are not commenting on any of their interviews or candidates.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are in the second week looking for a coach. They've interviewed several coaching candidates and are expected to meet with more this week. Trestman's interview was the first to take place in Cleveland.

Arians, too, has had success working with young QBs. He helped groom Ben Roethlisberger into a Super Bowl winner with Pittsburgh, and this season mentored rookie Andrew Luck as the Colts went on a surprising run to the postseason.

Haslam and Banner conducted several interviews last week in Arizona. They spent the most significant time with Chip Kelly, who decided to return to Oregon. The Browns also interviewed former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, who was hired by Buffalo, and Penn State's Bill O'Brien.

If the team was even thinking about contacting Saban about its vacancy, Alabama's coach made it clear the NFL is in his past - not his future.

The Browns may have considered calling Saban, who coached in Miami for two years before taking over the Crimson Tide's program. However, fresh off winning his third national title in four years, the 61-year-old reiterated that he's content at Alabama and outlined several reasons why he prefers the college game.

Saban worked as an assistant in Cleveland under Bill Belichick, and there has long been speculation he might one day return to the Browns. He did his best to end that discussion for good on the morning after Alabama's 42-14 throttling of Notre Dame.

Saban bristled while addressing speculation that he would take another turn in the pros.

``I didn't feel like I could impact the team the same way that I can as a college coach in terms of affecting people's lives personally, helping them develop careers by graduating from school, off the field, by helping develop them as football players,'' Saban said. ``And there's a lot of self-gratification in all that, all right?

``So I kind of learned through that experience that maybe this is where I belong, and I'm really happy and at peace with all that. So no matter how many times I say that, y'all don't believe it, so I don't even know why I keep talking about it.''

The timing of Cowher's comments are interesting. With five teams still looking for a coach, Cowher said at a CBS function to promote coverage of the Super Bowl that he probably will return to the NFL.

``It would be a challenge,'' said Cowher, who has been a broadcaster since leaving the Steelers in 2006, ``but I think that's probably why I would get back into it, because of the challenge.''

Cowher played linebacker for the Browns before he was an assistant on Marty Schottenheimer's staff. He dismissed the idea the game has changed too much since he left.

``I did it for 27 years,'' he said. ``You don't just forget things overnight. ``

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Kevin Long dissects Juan Soto’s World Series Game 1 home run off Gerrit Cole

Kevin Long dissects Juan Soto’s World Series Game 1 home run off Gerrit Cole

Before the Nationals faced off with the Houston Astros in the 2019 World Series, Washington’s hitting coach Kevin Long sat down with FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci. Long told the veteran reporter that he guaranteed young phenom Juan Soto would hit a home run off a high fastball from Gerrit Cole.

It was considered a lofty prediction, as Cole was in the midst of a Cy Young-caliber year and had allowed just one earned run in 22.2 postseason innings thus far that October. But sure enough, four innings into the first game of the series, Soto did exactly that.

In his first at-bat, Soto looked overmatched and struck out on three pitches. He got his second look three innings later and must have learned something, because he took Cole’s 1-0 pitch—a fastball high and outside—and sent it 417 feet to the opposite field.

At the Nationals’ annual WinterFest event, Long spoke with NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas about what went into that prediction and why he felt compelled to make it.

“First and foremost, I do believe that Juan Soto is one of the best high fastball hitters in baseball,” Long said. “I’ve seen him numerous times take high fastballs and take care of business. Gerrit [Cole] doesn’t pitch in much, so I figured it was going to be out over the plate.

And the other factor there is, we weren’t getting much credit. They basically were cashing that game in as a loss. ‘We can’t beat Gerrit Cole. Gerrit Cole is too good. Gerrit Cole hasn’t lost since May.’ So I just said, ‘You know what? Let me just make a prediction, because I’m sick of hearing about how we’re not going to be able to do anything against this guy…and it ended up working out, it’s pretty cool.”

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST BELOW

The Nationals entered the World Series facing the longest odds Las Vegas oddsmakers had given to an underdog since 2007, when the Boston Red Sox were heavy favorites over the Colorado Rockies. Given that Washington went on to stun the baseball world and win in seven games, it isn’t surprising that most national fans didn’t quite yet understand what kind of player Soto is when the series began.

“I’ve had numerous people come up to me and say, ‘That was one of the most impressive home runs I have ever, ever seen,’” Long said. “As a left-handed hitter, number one. A 97-mph fastball and how far he hit it was remarkable. It truly was.

“We were putting together pretty good at-bats off him in those big situations you just need one guy to come through and that was Juan Soto’s moment. He got the pitch, he didn’t miss it and I don’t know if Gerrit was admiring it—I’m sure he wasn’t—but he was probably like, ‘Wow, this kid is pretty special.’”

Now, Soto is entering the 2020 season as the undisputed top hitter in Washington after Anthony Rendon departed for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency. Long doesn’t want Soto to change his approach too much, but rather just focus on what got him to this position in the first place.

“He doesn’t have to do a whole lot extra, he’s just got to basically be the Juan Soto he’s been,” Long said. “His swing is really, really good. He makes adjustments really well. He’s smart. He gets it, and at 21 years old that’s what makes him certainly unique.”

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Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews help lead AFC to victory in Pro Bowl skills competition

Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews help lead AFC to victory in Pro Bowl skills competition

Lamar Jackson was excellent this season finding his receivers across the field en route to an MVP caliber season. 

As it turns out, he’s not so good at hitting targets that aren’t human. 

Jackson struggled in the precision passing event, an event with moving targets labeled from one to five points and scored just two total points on 17 throws. 

But Jackson’s poor performance in the first event didn’t hurt the AFC, as it won the 2020 Pro Bowl skills competition over the NFC.

“A lot of bad throws,” Jackson said of his performance in the first event. “A little wind with me. It’s all good.” 

As soon as the event aired, Jackson immediately took to Twitter.

The events that followed were: The Gauntlet, Best Hands, Thread The Needle and Dodgeball. 

Jackson and teammate Mark Andrews competed in the Best Hands and Thread The Needle competitions. 

The duo’s obvious chemistry resulted in the second-best time, 49.4 seconds, out of four total pairings. 

The next drill was another passing drill called ‘Thread The Needle,’ which Jackson fared better in. He scored 12 total points, tied for the second-best of four passers. The concept of the drill was to throw the ball past a defender guarding a wall with nine targets, each with a corresponding point total.

In the final event of the night, the AFC beat the NFC two games to zero in dodgeball — led by Jackson and Andrews’ division rival, Browns wideout Jarvis Landry.

Jackson didn’t start the night well, but thankfully for him, the next targets with numbers he’ll see will be actual receivers at the Pro Bowl on Sunday afternoon.

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