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Jaguars hire Seahawks' Bradley as head coach

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Jaguars hire Seahawks' Bradley as head coach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as head coach Thursday, the latest move in the team's rebuilding project.

He joins general manager Dave Caldwell, who led the coaching search after being hired last week.

``It was just a matter of time before Gus Bradley became a head coach in the NFL, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely fortunate that Gus will be on our sidelines for many years to come,'' Caldwell said in a statement. ``Gus more than met every criteria we insisted on from our new head coach, and his intangibles and leadership abilities are exceptional. Gus is who the Jaguars need now and in the future.''

Bradley spent the last four seasons in Seattle, where his defense improved each of the last three years and finished in the top 10 in points and yards the last two. This season, the Seahawks ranked first in the NFL in points allowed (15.3), fourth in yards (306.2) and tied for fourth in takeaways (31).

The Jaguars were 30th in the league in total defense in 2012.

Owner ``Shad Khan and Dave Caldwell expect to win, and that's what I wanted to hear,'' Bradley said. ``That's why I am coming to Jacksonville - to win a Super Bowl.''

Bradley will be introduced at a news conference Friday.

He began his NFL coaching career with Tampa Bay as a defensive quality control coach in 2006. He was the Buccaneers' linebackers coach the next two seasons before going to Seattle. Bradley coached in college from 1990-2005, including two stints at his alma mater, North Dakota State, and four years at Fort Lewis College (1992-95).

But his rise through the NFL ranks had him on several teams' radar. He also interviewed for the head job in Philadelphia this week.

``He's got a brilliant football mind,'' Seahawks coach Peter Carroll said this week. ``He's got a way of reaching people and touching people and getting the best out of them, coaches and players alike. He's got everything that you're looking for.''

The Jaguars interviewed defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden before striking a deal with Bradley.

Bradley replaces Mike Mularkey, who went 2-14 in his only season in Jacksonville. Mularkey failed to make the team any better in his first season.

Khan fired general manager Gene Smith, the architect of the roster the last four years, and charged Caldwell with turning around one of the league's worst franchises. Caldwell's first move was ousting Mularkey, saying the team ``needed a fresh start.''

``I'm looking for a co-builder of our team,'' Caldwell said last week. ``I felt like it was an atmosphere of change. I felt like that to do that, you've got to have a fresh start across the board.''

Many believed Caldwell would target close friend and college roommate Greg Roman, San Francisco's offensive coordinator.

Instead, Caldwell and Bradley will team up in hope of getting the Jaguars back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Jacksonville has missed the postseason 11 times in the last 13 years.

``The relationship between the general manager and the coach is vital,'' Khan said last week. ``It has to be a symbiotic relationship and they have to grow together and the coach has to be somebody that it's very, very important to win and very, very important for Jacksonville.''

Bradley inherits a team with few playmakers on either side of the ball.

The Jaguars have running back Maurice Jones-Drew under contract for another year and have young and talented receivers Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III. But the offensive line was a mess in 2012, adding to the team's quarterback woes.

Neither Blaine Gabbert nor Chad Henne proved to be the answer.

Caldwell said he had ``others in mind'' to compete for the starting job.

Defensively, the Jaguars could lose linebacker Daryl Smith, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and cornerbacks Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis to free agency. The more pressing issue will be how to generate more consistent pass rush.

The Jaguars had a league-low 20 sacks this season. Philadelphia Eagles cast-off Jason Babin helped down the stretch, but the Jaguars are likely to use the No. 2 pick in April's NFL draft to find a pass rusher.

Bradley helped develop rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin this season. Irvin, the 15th overall pick, led all rookies with eight sacks. His defense had other young stars, too.

Linebacker Bobby Wagner, a second-round draft pick, ranked second among rookies in tackles with 140 and fourth with three interceptions. Safety Earl Thomas was voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. Second-year cornerback Richard Sherman led the team with eight interceptions, and defensive end Chris Clemons has a career-high 11 1/2 sacks.

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Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Washington Mystics guard Kristi Toliver is a WNBA All-Star once again. 

Toliver was named an All-Star reserve on Monday as selected by the league's coaches. She joins Elena Delle Donne, who was named a captain of one of the two teams, and head coach Mike Thibault as representatives from the Mystics. 

This selection gives Toliver, 5-7, the third honor of her career and the second with Washington. Last year en route to the franchise's first WNBA Finals appearance Toliver was named an All-Star. She also got the nod in 2013 when she played with the Los Angeles Sparks. 

Through 15 games, Toliver is averaging 12.1 points and is second in the league with 5.7 assists per game, which is also on pace for a career-high.

She is shooting at a career-best .497 clip and is looking as explosive as ever at 32-years-old. With her and Delle Donne, the Mystics are 9-6 and second in the Eastern Conference.

In the offseason, Toliver is also an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. Often she worked on the player development side of the staff and closely with Bradley Beal. 

Delle Donne will have the first choice of selection in the All-Star game draft. As a reserve, Toliver cannot be selected until after the starters are chosen. 

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Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Besides the quarterback competition between Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, one of the biggest storylines from Redskins training camp will be whether the team and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff can agree on a contract extension before the start of the 2019 season.

On Monday, a report came out from 106.7 The Fan's Erin Hawksworth that Scherff has been offered multiple contract extensions from the Redskins, but "the two sides are far apart."

Scherff is entering the 2019 season on the last year of his rookie deal and set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end. 

The fifth-year guard will make a base salary of $12.5 million in 2019 after the Redskins picked up his fifth-year option a year ago as part of his rookie deal.

Should Scherff hit the open market, he will be a hot commodity. 

He may not receive a contract as big as Cowboys' guard Zack Martin did, but expect him to command close to top-market money. Martin received a six-year, $84 million deal in 2018 with $40 million guaranteed. A contract extension for Scherff could look something like the five-year, $66.5 million deal Jaguars' guard Andrew Norwell signed in 2018. 

Besides tackle Trent Williams, Scherff is without a doubt the most important piece to the Redskins offensive line. With Williams currently holding out, Scherff's presence on the offensive line is even more important.

Scherff missed eight games a season ago with a torn pectoral muscle, and his absence was very visible.

One thing is for certain: if the Redskins are not willing to pay Scherff top-market money, barring something unexpected, he will certainly get it somewhere else. And no Redskins fan wants that.

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