Nationals

Cowboys add former Lions coach Marinelli to staff

Cowboys add former Lions coach Marinelli to staff

IRVING, Texas (AP) The Dallas Cowboys hired former Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach Friday, a day after the Chicago Bears said he wasn't returning as defensive coordinator.

Marinelli's hiring reunites him with new Dallas defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Marinelli held the same title from 1996-2005 under Kiffin in Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers consistently finished in the top 10 in total defense.

Marinelli left Kiffin's staff in 2006 to become head coach of the Lions, who had the only 0-16 record in NFL history in his final season in 2008. His three-year record was 10-38.

A four-year stint in Chicago ended this week when Marinelli decided he didn't want to return after coach Lovie Smith was fired. New Bears coach Marc Trestman said he wanted to keep Marinelli, who was defensive coordinator the past three seasons.

The Cowboys hired Kiffin after deciding to switch back to the 4-3 defense. Marinelli and Kiffin won the Super Bowl under Jon Gruden after the 2002 season, the year after Gruden replaced Tony Dungy. The Bucs were the first team since the 1985 Chicago Bears to lead the league in total defense, points allowed and interceptions.

Under Marinelli, Tampa Bay's defensive line, led mostly by Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice, had an NFL-high 328 1/2 sacks from 1996 to 2005. In Marinelli's three years as Chicago's defensive coordinator, the Bears' defensive line had 88 sacks.

``The big part of playing the defense this way is getting people who really, really believe in it,'' said Dungy, who was in the Dallas area Friday for the NCAA convention. ``You have to sell it to your group. And what we had back then, we hand Monte, Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli. And they all believed.''

Marinelli has 17 years of NFL experience among his 37 in coaching. He was a college assistant at Utah State, California, Arizona State and Southern Cal.

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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How Al Horford opting out could affect Bradley Beal

How Al Horford opting out could affect Bradley Beal

NBA free agency madness has started early this year. Just hours after it was reported Tuesday that Al Horford would opt out of his current contract to negotiate a more cap-friendly one for the Celtics, he's had a charge of heart. 

If Horford leaves, would it make it more or less likely that the Celtics make the Wizards an offer for Bradley Beal? 

According to Sports Illustrated NBA Insider Chris Mannix, who appeared on NBC Sports Boston this week, made the possible case for Boston to pursue the two-time All-Star in a trade.

Ted Leonsis, the owner in Washington, loves Bradley Beal, but a new GM could walk in there and say look, I've got John Wall probably not playing next season. Bradley Beal has three years left on his contract. He is an enormously valuable trade asset. Can you get a Bradley Beal without throwing a Jayson Tatum in a trade? I don't know. But Bradley Beal is the next big star, I think, that could be available.

The Wizards are reportedly reluctant to part with Beal, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of buzz. In fact, they plan to offer him a three-year, $111 million extension when he's eligible in July, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Pelicans have shown sincere interest, according to NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig, and there is speculation surrounding the Knicks, yet the Wizards have stood pat.

When it comes to the NBA offseason, however, Kevin Garnett said it best: anything is possible. 

The Celtics have the assets to make a realistic offer. They own three first-round selections in the draft—14, 20 and 22—along with two blue-chip prospects in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

But much of it could hinge on Horford's decision.

The Celtics' most consistent player over the past three years, losing Horford would be a poor start to what looks like a possibly dreary offseason for the Celtics. If the Celtics strike out in free agency and Washington decides to move Beal, perhaps a trade would be Boston's big swing.