Redskins

Browns moving on from Oregon's Kelly

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Browns moving on from Oregon's Kelly

CLEVELAND (AP) Chip Kelly wouldn't jump. So the Browns bailed.

Oregon's visor-wearing coach isn't coming to Cleveland - or the NFL.

A person familiar with Cleveland's coaching search said the team passed on Kelly after he was indecisive about making the leap to the pros. The Browns nearly had a deal with Kelly two days ago, but they've moved on to other candidates, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because of the sensitivity of the search.

The Browns questioned whether Kelly ``was committed to coming to the NFL,'' said the person. And because of his hesitation, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner returned from Arizona to Cleveland to continue looking for the club's sixth fulltime coach since 1999.

As it turns out, Kelly is staying at Oregon, a person with direct knowledge of his choice told the AP late Sunday night.

Kelly's decision was first reported by ESPN.

Following Thursday night's Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State, Kelly said he hoped to have the interview process ``wrapped up quickly.'' He spent two days interviewing with Cleveland, Buffalo and Philadelphia before deciding to remain at Oregon.

It's the second straight year Kelly has entertained overtures from NFL teams only to reject them. He turned down Tampa Bay's job deep into negotiations last season. Kelly will go back to Oregon, where he has built the fast-flying Ducks into a national powerhouse. Oregon is 46-7 the past four seasons with four BCS bowl games under the offensive innovator.

With Kelly no longer in play, the Browns will consider some of the candidates they've already met with or maybe begin a second wave of interviews. Haslam and Banner spent most of last week in Arizona and are known to have spoken to former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Syracuse's Doug Marrone and Penn State's Bill O'Brien.

Marrone accepted Buffalo's coaching job Sunday, three people familiar with the negotiations told The AP. O'Brien decided to stay with the Nittany Lions.

The Browns aren't confirming any of their interviews or commenting on any candidates.

Haslam could still make a run at Alabama coach Nick Saban following Monday night's BCS title game. Saban has not given any indication he wants to take another stab at coaching in the NFL, but it's possible the 61-year-old could be persuaded by Haslam with the promise of power and a monstrous contract.

A former NFL player, Whisenhunt, who went 45-51 in six seasons and led the Cardinals to a Super Bowl, spent one year as a special teams coordinator with Cleveland. The 50-year-old coach served as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator from 2004-06, and that connection could serve him well with Haslam, who had a minority share in the Steelers before he bought the Browns.

Horton spent seven seasons on Pittsburgh's staff before joining the Cardinals in 2011.

Haslam and Banner fired Pat Shurmur last week, one day after the Browns finished a 5-11 season with a loss in Pittsburgh. Shurmur went 9-23 in two seasons for the Browns, who have lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and have changed coaches four times since 2002.

Before embarking with Banner on the coaching search, Haslam said there was no set time frame on finding a coach. He promised to wait as long as necessary to ``bring the right person to Cleveland.''

``Our goal is to get the best person and if we happen to find that person within a week, that's great and if it takes a month, that's great also,'' Haslam said.

Haslam and Banner are focused on hiring a coach first before turning their attention to a personnel executive. Tom Heckert, who overhauled Cleveland's roster in the past three years, also was fired last week. It's not known if the Browns have interviewed any GM candidates.

Cleveland's courtship of Kelly turned into a two-day fling with no shortage of drama.

After Kelly met with the Browns for seven hours Friday, it appeared he was headed to Cleveland. The Philadelphia Eagles left Arizona after they were informed a deal between the Browns and Kelly was imminent. Kelly, though, kept his commitment for an interview with the Eagles and reportedly spent nine hours with him on Saturday, preventing the Browns from a second meeting

Kelly also met Friday with the Bills, but that was nothing more than a cursory interview for both sides.

The pursuit of Kelly created an interesting subplot between the Browns and Eagles. Banner spent 19 seasons in Philadelphia before leaving the team last year amid a power struggle. Banner is longtime friends with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and the two of them potentially squaring off in a bidding war for Kelly was straight out of a screenplay.

It's not known what kind of offer the Browns made for Kelly, who earned a base salary of $2.8 million last season at Oregon and has five years left on his contract.

Kelly's high-octane, hurry-up offense has raised his profile and made the Ducks, with their splashy array of colorful Nike uniforms, more than a curiosity. Several NFL teams, including New England and Washington, are using elements of Kelly's schemes.

The Browns were intrigued enough to see if they could work something out with Kelly.

But in the end, they detected he wasn't ready.

They were right.

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The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

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@kerrigan91

The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

The Kerrigan family is about to make a big-time addition to its roster.

Ryan and his wife, Jessica, already have two very, VERY, very, very cute bulldogs in their household. 

But on Tuesday, the two announced in separate Instagram posts that Jessica is 18 weeks pregnant and that a third human Kerrigan will arrive in 2019.

"Can I eat dis sign aftur da picturr iz over?" George the bulldog said when reached for comment on the news.

"How did dey gett such a smawl jerzey for da baby alreddy?" Franklin the other bulldog added.

This is all very wonderful.

Come next March, the world is about to get a little precious-er.

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The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

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USA Today Sports

The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

Tuesday’s practice was a lot like every other for the Caps until the end. After working on the power play, the team gathered at one end of the ice and began working on faceoffs. It was not just the centers, but wingers and defensemen alike got into the action with every win celebrated by loud cheers from teammates.

It should could as no surprise to see faceoffs as a point of emphasis for Washington considering just how much the team has struggled with them in the early season. The Caps rank 30th in the league in faceoff win percentage at only 43.8-percent.

“Yeah, there's little details that can help our game,” Lars Eller told reporters after practice. “The more you have the puck, easier the game is gonna be for you. We have a little more time in between games than usual during the season here, so we have the time to work on something like that, which can be little things that makes the difference.”

The team as a whole watched video on faceoffs prior to practice and then worked as a five-man unit during the drill. The main point of emphasis head coach Todd Reirden wanted to drill into his players was that faceoffs are not simply the responsibility of the centers alone.

“The days of it just being center vs. center and a clean draw being won back are a rarity now so it's important to have all five guys helping, something we watched video on earlier today,” Reirden said.

“You ask any centerman if they have a good group of wingers that can help them out on draws, that makes a huge difference,” Nic Dowd said. “I've been lucky, I have [Devante Smith-Pelly] on my right and I'm a righty so I win all my draws my backhand side so a lot of pucks go his way and he wins a lot of draws for me. That's huge. You have a guy that's sitting over there that's sleeping, you could go easily from five wins to five losses and then that's your night. It makes a big difference.”

Faceoffs were always going to be more of a struggle for the Caps this season with the departure of Jay Beagle who was, by far, the team’s best faceoff man for several years. Whenever the team needed a big draw, Beagle was the player relied upon to win it. With him gone, it is no surprise to see the team struggle.

But the Caps don’t like the idea of keeping possession off a draw just 43.8-percent of the time.

“It's essentially like the ref is creating a 50-50 puck and you snap it back, you get possession, now you're forechecking and it makes a huge difference,” Dowd said. “You play against those top lines, they want to be in the O-zone. Well, if you lose the draw, now you're playing D-zone, you win the draw now you're playing O-zone. So effectively, you've shut down their shift.”

There is a school of thought suggesting that perhaps the importance of winning faceoffs is overrated and a team’s faceoff win percentage is not overly important. Eller himself admitted as much to reporters.

What no one can argue, however, is that while some faceoffs may not matter all that much, there are some that are hugely important in a game. The Caps recognize that. For them, being a strong faceoff team is not necessarily about improving the team’s win percentage, but more about being able to win those critical draws.

“It's something that for the most part the players understand and a neutral zone faceoff with 14 minutes to go in the first period is not nearly as important as one that's 5-on-6 at the end of the game,” Reirden said. “We all know that. It's important to put the right people on those situations and give them the best chance to have success.”

“A center ice draw, I could see where guys could make the argument, well you lose it you still will play hockey and stuff could still happen,” Dowd said. “But I think the game is such a possession game now that any opportunity you can win a 50-50 puck whether that's a faceoff or a board battle, it makes a huge difference.”

 

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