Redskins

Eagles en route to Arizona to continue interviews

Eagles en route to Arizona to continue interviews

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles' search to replace Andy Reid took another twist Saturday with Chip Kelly still on the market and within their grasp.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and President Don Smolenski went to Arizona to continue interviews for the team's coaching vacancy, and the team released a statement naming three candidates.

``The Eagles are committed to finding the right fit for head coach and are heading to Arizona now to kick off a week of interviews with a variety of candidates including Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley,'' the statement said.

Two people familiar with the plans told The Associated Press that Kelly and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone also would meet with the Eagles. The team wouldn't confirm either interview.

Another person familiar with the negotiations told the AP on Friday that Kelly was nearing a deal with the Cleveland Browns. So, the Eagles continued with their plans to interview other candidates.

However, Kelly didn't finalize a deal with the Browns and he also interviewed with the Buffalo Bills on Friday before meeting the Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Kelly was expected to have dinner with the Browns, but there were reports he was still meeting with the Eagles late into the night.

Kelly had no reason to cancel interviews with teams interested in him, keeping his options open and probably driving up his price tag. It's likely his agent, David Dunn, used that as leverage for negotiations.

But the Browns may have gambled by not locking up Kelly and allowing the Eagles to possibly steal him away. There's a long history between Lurie and Browns CEO Joe Banner, adding a soap-opera element to this coaching drama.

Banner, a longtime friend of Lurie, spent 19 seasons with Philadelphia, the last 12 as president. He left the team last year after a falling out, and the Eagles could be using that in their talks with Kelly.

Banner had a knack for rubbing people the wrong away in Philadelphia, and wasn't popular in the locker room because of the way he handled contract dealings.

Former Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel was extremely critical of Banner last year, and former linebacker Jeremiah Trotter ripped Banner on a Philadelphia radio station Thursday.

``No player I played with trusted him,'' Trotter said.

Whether any of that plays a role in Kelly's decision remains to be seen.

The Eagles interviewed Penn State's Bill O'Brien on Thursday and met with Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong on Wednesday. O'Brien is remaining at Penn State.

The interviews with Arians and Bradley will likely take place by Tuesday.

Arians was 9-3 as interim coach in Indianapolis filling in for Chuck Pagano. He previously served as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator from 2007-11. The 60-year-old Arians is quite familiar with Philadelphia, having coached Temple from 1983-88.

Bradley is in his fourth season in Seattle. His defense finished first in the NFL in points allowed (15.3), fourth in yards (306.2) and tied for fourth in takeaways (31).

Marrone is 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse. He previously served as the offensive coordinator in New Orleans under Sean Payton from 2006-08.

The Eagles' search could last until after the Super Bowl. There are several other coaches on playoff teams that could get interviews with Philadelphia, including Cincinnati's Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer, Green Bay's Ben McAdoo, Seattle's Darrell Bevell, Washington's Kyle Shanahan and Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

Former coaches Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy - all Super Bowl winners - are not on Philadelphia's radar at this time.

The Eagles went to the playoffs nine times in Reid's 14 seasons, but not since 2010. They last won a playoff game in 2008.

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Kyle Shanahan admits he knew Kirk Cousins was leaving Washington after the 2017 season

Kyle Shanahan admits he knew Kirk Cousins was leaving Washington after the 2017 season

Kyle Shanahan has never hidden the admiration he has for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

The two worked together for two seasons with the Redskins in 2012 and 2013, when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator and Cousins was the backup to Robert Griffin III.

In his third year as the San Francisco 49ers head coach, Shanahan's squad is facing the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, led by third-year quarterback and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes. Shanahan had the opportunity to draft Mahomes in 2017, his first draft as the helm in San Francisco.

So, why did Shanahan pass on Mahomes? Enter Cousins.

"It's pretty well documented the relationship I had with Kirk," Shanahan said. "Just being in Washington and everything, I felt confident he wasn't going to stay there."

It was expected that Shanahan's 49ers would be making a run at signing Cousins the following offseason before they traded for Jimmy Garoppolo at the 2017 trade deadline. Garoppolo won all five of his starts in 2017, and the 49ers signed him to a five-year extension the following offseason.

Cousins, who spent his final two years in Washington playing under the franchise tag, departed from the nation's capital to Minnesota, where he signed a three-year, $84 million fully-guaranteed deal with the Vikings.

"Any time you go into a season and know a franchise quarterback is going to be available the next year, it made me a lot more picky with what we were looking at," Shanahan said.

The 49ers decided to trade back with the Chicago Bears (who traded up to No. 2 to select UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky), and San Francisco ended up selecting defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. San Francisco took Iowa signal-caller C.J. Beathard in the third round, and he competed with veteran Brian Hoyer for the 49ers starting job in 2017. 

Shanahan expanded on his decision to pass on Mahomes, emphasizing the difficulty in scouting college quarterbacks in certain systems. Mahomes' system under Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech was named the "Air Raid' due to the high-volume of passes. 

"There were a bunch of talented guys in that draft," Shanahan said. "But it's very tough when you watch college systems and stuff, you don't really know until you get somebody in the building.

"You can see ability. You can see talent," he continued. "But how's the mind? How's the play in the pocket? How do they process? That's not just an IQ score. That's stuff that I don't think you can totally test."

The 2017 draft wasn't just Shanahan's first with the 49ers, it was his first draft as a head coach, ever. Thomas was a highly-rated prospect and was a relatively safe pick.

Looking back, it makes sense that the rookie head coach did not want to take a risk on a rookie quarterback, especially if he felt the team had a good chance at landing Cousins, someone he was familiar with.

But San Francisco ended up sticking with Garoppolo, and now the 49ers are 60 minutes away from their sixth Super Bowl title.

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Ryan Zimmerman on electronic sign stealing: ‘It’s the greatest sin that you can do’

Ryan Zimmerman on electronic sign stealing: ‘It’s the greatest sin that you can do’

When the Nationals faced the Astros in the 2019 World Series, the public didn’t yet know Houston’s electronic sign-stealing scheme helped propel the club to its first championship just two years prior.

But less than two weeks after Washington beat the AL West champs in seven games and claimed a World Series title of their own, The Athletic reported that Houston had in fact been using a live camera feed to steal opposing catchers’ signs and report them back to their hitters in real time by banging on a trash can behind the dugout.

Although Houston was only found to have used the scheme in 2017 and not against Washington this past October, the Nationals changed up their signs frequently and used plastic cards to create intricate sets of signals that could be alternated from inning to inning or batter to batter.

Recently re-signed first baseman Ryan Zimmerman spoke with reporters on a conference call Tuesday just a few hours after the team made his new one-year deal official. When asked about his thoughts on the Astros scandal—one that has also stretched to Boston, where the Red Sox are being investigated for an alleged scheme they carried out in 2018—Zimmerman took a definitive stance against people within the game who use technology to steal signs.

“I think first and foremost, the integrity of our game and any professional game is the thing that matters the most,” Zimmerman said. “Rules are put in place to guard the integrity of the game for people to enjoy it and for just the fairness of play. I think any time that is compromised, people should pay the ultimate price.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred dealt significant penalties to the Astros, fining them for the maximum $5 million, stripping them of their first- and second-round picks for the next two years and suspending manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow for one year. Astros owner Jim Crane held a press conference later that day and announced the team would be firing both Hinch and Luhnow outright to give the organization a clean slate to move forward.

However, critics of the ruling have pointed out that none of the players involved were held responsible for their actions. Only Carlos Beltran, who had been hired by the Mets to be their next manager but was let go after the findings were released, was mentioned in the commissioner’s report at all.

“Sign stealing and things like that have been a part of baseball for a long time,” Zimmerman said. “Technology, obviously, makes it easier and there’s always a line about how much you can use it, how much you can’t. I think the players and the field staff and the video people have to use their moral judgement and their respect of the game to know how much is too much.

“If there’s a camera in center field in real time giving people what pitch is coming, that’s obviously crossing the line. I don’t think you would find anyone who would disagree there.”

The Nationals and Astros share a Spring Training facility in Florida. Although the players themselves occupy opposite sides of the complex and won’t see each other too much, national reporters on the Grapefruit League tour will have plenty to write about when they pass through West Palm Beach.

“I don’t think there’s any place for it in the game,” Zimmerman said. “I think mostly that the players would respect the game enough to not partake in that stuff and then moving up from there the managers, the field staff, front office people, would obviously stop it if they saw it.

“There’s reports that it wasn’t handled like that in Houston. I don’t know enough about it to really comment on it but all I can say is obviously I think it’s completely wrong when you start messing with the integrity of the game in any aspect. It’s the greatest sin that you can do.”

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