Redskins

Cardinals hire Bruce Arians as head coach

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Cardinals hire Bruce Arians as head coach

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals have filled the NFL's final head coaching vacancy by hiring Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

The team confirmed the hiring in a release Thursday night, saying Arians received a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year.

The 60-year-old longtime assistant went 9-3 as Colts interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was undergoing treatment for leukemia last season.

Arians arrived in Arizona on Wednesday night, had dinner with top team officials, then interviewed on Thursday and met with reporters to indicate his interest in the job.

He was offered and accepted the job Thursday night. Arians also was a finalist for the Chicago job that went to Marc Trestman.

Arians was the sixth known candidate interviewed to replace Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired after six seasons.

Whisenhunt was introduced on Thursday as the offensive coordinator for new head coach Mike McCoy in San Diego.

The Cardinals said Arians would be introduced as coach at a 3 p.m., EST (1 p.m. local time) news conference on Friday.

The team posted a photo of Arians getting a congratulatory call from Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is vacationing in Belize and undoubtedly will welcome anyone who can do something to revive a dreadful offense.

In his meeting with reporters earlier Thursday, before he was hired, Arians said his stint as Pagano's replacement ``answered all questions I ever had'' about whether he could succeed as an NFL coach.

``I hope it answered all the questions everybody else has had for all these years,'' he said.

It apparently did for the Cardinals, who lost 10 of 11 this season to finish 5-11 for the second time in three years.

Arians said there are young coaches for teams still in the playoffs that will be denied a chance to be a head coach now because of their teams' success.

``Maybe I was a victim of that a couple of times,'' he said. ``Hey, I'll take the Super Bowl ring and look back later. You can't worry about why you never got one or why have you got one this time. I'm just happy it happened, and I look forward to seeing what's made of it and what turns out.''

Arians has been a football coach since his days as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech in 1975 and he has 20 years of experience as an NFL assistant. He also was head coach at Temple for five seasons.

Wearing a Super Bowl ring from his days in Pittsburgh prominently on his right hand, he said his stint as head coach in Indy taught him that being a head coach is ``not as hard as it's supposed to be.''

``It's really not,'' Arians said. ``I think it's all about building relationships. Coaching is all about relationships. As long as it's built on trust, loyalty, and respect, anything is possible.''

When the Jacksonville Jaguars hired Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Thursday, Arizona's job was the only one still open.

Arians was wide receivers coach in Pittsburgh and he succeeded Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator there. He was Steelers offensive coordinator when Pittsburgh beat Whisenhunt's Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl. Arians left the Steelers to become Pagano's offensive coordinator last year, taking over as interim coach when Pagano left for treatment for leukemia.

``It has been an unbelievable 12 months for me personally,'' Arians said.

McCoy was among those interviewed by Cardinals President Michael Bidwill. Other known Arizona candidates were Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

Horton has a year left on his contract and his future with the organization was in question.

Asked Thursday afternoon if he would keep Horton as defensive coordinator if he got the Arizona job, Arians declined to discuss the prospect.

``Right now it's way too early in the process,'' Arians said. ``Obviously, I know Ray. I've got a history with Ray. But all those things would be way down the road. Guys are under contract. You can't really comment on staff members at this point in time.''

Horton was defensive backs coach with the Steelers when Arians was offensive coordinator there.

The Cardinals had the worst offense in the NFL, and Arians downplayed any similarities to his offensive scheme and the one used by Whisenhunt. He said that after Whisenhunt left the Steelers for Arizona, he and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat down and simplified the playbook.

Arians said his offense has some similarities, but many differences from the one implemented by Whisenhunt.

Arians emphasized the importance of building a close relationship with the quarterback.

``As a head coach or an offensive coordinator, you're tied to that guy,'' Arians said. ``Your future is him. You better realize that, and you better have a heck of a strong relationship so that when it's really tough in the game, he's telling you what he's seeing, not what he thinks you might want to hear.''

Quarterback is a major problem for Arizona. The only one of the four who got a start in the Cardinals' 5-11 season that had any success was Kevin Kolb, and he went down with a rib injury in Week 6 and never returned.

Arians said the Cardinals must either improve what they have at the position or find a new one behind what he called ``Door No. 2.''

He said he would call the plays as head coach ``until I can find someone who is going to do it better than me. I haven't found him yet.''

He said he would not leave Indianapolis for just any head coaching job.

``I said early when some teams contacted my agent about setting up interviews,'' he said, ``I'm going to have a heck of a feeling about that organization, owner, general manager, team, to leave where I am right now.''

Did he have that feeling with Arizona?

``Yes,'' he said. ``I do.''

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One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While his record at Ohio State was impressive, Haskins didn't log many starts. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden talked about Haskins back in March during the league meetings, before the Burgundy and Gold drafted the quarterback, and said that because he played just one year in college he would need significant time to learn the NFL game. 

"You would like a guy to play more than a year to see how he’s developed over the years. Haskins has a unique skillset. He’s big, strong and can really throw it," Gruden said. Then, "Is he going to be ready for the first year?"

After OTAs and minicamp, it's obvious Haskins has all the talent needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He's made touch throws and he's rifled balls into tight windows. At the same time, he seemed confused in spots about play calls and struggled with the speed of the pass rush. 

All of that is normal for a player with just 14 starts. But it's that number, the one year of starting experience in college, that makes one statistic stand out about Haskins. 

That's some serious company, both good, bad and ugly. 

As a rookie in 2011, Cam Newton went 6-10 with 35 total TDs and 17 interceptions, not to mention a Rookie of the Year trophy. His running prowess made up for average numbers in the pass game. The more important comparison for Redskins fans is that Newton eventually developed into an NFL MVP and got the Panthers to the Super Bowl. 

For Mark Sanchez, the rookie numbers and the career comparison aren't as kind. Sanchez threw 12 TDs and 20 INTs in 15 games as a rookie, though he was at the helm as the Jets got to two straight AFC title games. Still, for his career, Sanchez threw more INTs than TDs and could not keep a starting job after his rookie contract. 

Trubisky is a different deal. He's only started 26 games since being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft with a record of 15-11. He's thrown 31 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, and run for another five scores. It's hard to describe Trubisky's game. At times he's terribly inaccurate, but in other spots, he looks like a future Pro Bowler. 

Newton is the sure thing, Sanchez is the poor outcome. Trubisky is still to be determined. 

For Haskins, it's not good company or bad company. With only 14 starts at Ohio State before the Redskins drafted Haskins, it's just the company he's in.

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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

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Tomas Satoransky set to enter unpredictable free agent market for point guards

Of the Wizards' players set to hit free agency on June 30, one who has a good chance to return is point guard Tomas Satoransky. He and center Thomas Bryant are atop the team's priority list with Bobby Portis likely too expensive and Jabari Parker set to enter the market unrestricted.

Satoransky will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Wizards can match any offers made by other teams. And in talking to members of the Wizards' coaching staff and front office, they speak of Satoransky like he is part of their future.

Still, nothing can be assumed and especially in a year in which many teams have money to spend. As Kevin O'Connor of the Ringer noted this week, there is more cap room available this summer than the previous two combined. That could lead to 2016-level contracts where role players get paid like starters and average starters get paid like stars.

What will make Satoransky's market interesting, though, is the fact there are some much bigger names available at his position. At point guard, teams with the most money can go after All-Stars like Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving and D'Angelo Russell. There is then a robust second tier that includes Malcolm Brogdon, Terry Rozier and Ricky Rubio. Then you have Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, Patrick Beverley, Darren Collison and Rajon Rondo.

It is a great year to be a free agent, but maybe not the best year to be a free agent point guard. The position class is absolutely loaded.

Satoransky, though, will still draw plenty of interest and among the teams expected to check in on him are the Mavericks, Pacers, Magic and Celtics, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Celtics have already been tied to Satoransky by Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. But they also have their sights set on some of the bigger fish at point guard with rumors linking them to Walker, in particular.

The Utah Jazz were also set to pursue Satoransky, but their trade for Mike Conley Jr. has taken them off the list. The Phoenix Suns could also emerge as a suitor, though they are being linked to higher profile free agents at this point.

Both the Wizards and Satoransky expressed interest in a contract extension midway through the 2018-19 season, as NBC Sports Washington reported, but those talks didn't get much further. The Wizards ended up putting a lot of things on hold once they drifted out of the playoff race and ultimately fired team president Ernie Grunfeld.

With senior vice president Tommy Sheppard serving in the interim, though, Satoransky has a big proponent calling the shots in the Wizards front office. Sheppard scouted Satoransky before the Wizards drafted him and was key in convincing him to leave Europe for the NBA.

Satoransky likes playing in Washington and recognizes an opportunity at point guard with John Wall set to miss most of next season due to Achilles surgery. But he also recognizes this as a chance to earn the biggest payday of his career.

How much money Satoransky will ultimately receive is hard to predict. Those in his camp are apprehensive to throw numbers out there because even they aren't sure.

One potential comparison could be Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who makes just over $9 million per year. Though VanVleet is arguably better, Satoransky is hitting the market with more money to go around. 

Many have tried to project Satoransky's market in the past few months. Soon we will find out just how valuable he is.

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