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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 have an energetic head coach to go along with their brash general manager.

The Jaguars hired Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as the franchise's fifth head coach Thursday, the latest move in the team's rebuilding project.

The 46-year-old Bradley 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, earning a reputation as a fiery assistant who demanded - and often got - the most from his players. 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 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.

``I had faith that Dave would make an outstanding hire, and my faith has been rewarded,'' Jaguars owner Shad Khan said. ``Gus Bradley is perfect for our franchise. The energy he will immediately bring is incredible and I am confident the victories will follow.''

Bradley will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday morning.

``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.''

His liveliness seems to be a good fit with Caldwell, who oozed confidence during his introduction last week. Caldwell pointed to his ``track record of success,'' adding that he has ``never been a part of a losing team.'' He also openly shot down any chance of bringing in New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow, a bold move in Tebow's hometown.

Caldwell came across like the polar opposite of former general manager Gene Smith, who showed little emotion in his four years at the helm.

Bradley probably will look equally outgoing compared to former coach Mike Mularkey, who was known for taking a calm and consistent approach to everything - including losing.

Bradley 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 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 Smith, the architect of the roster since 2009, 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.''

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.

No surprise then that Bradley inherits a team that lacks playmakers on both sides 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 under center.

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

Defensively, the biggest issue is generating 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's defense had several young stars.

Defensive end Bruce Irvin, the 15th overall pick last April, led all rookies with eight sacks. 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 had a career-high 11 1/2 sacks.

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3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

Nicklas Backstrom scored with less than seven seconds remaining to give the Capitals the 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a preseason preview of the regular-season opener. Radko Gudas and Richard Panik also scored.

Here are three players who impressed for the Caps.

1. Richard Panik

Panik got plenty of practice on the penalty kill with 4:16 of shorthanded ice time shorthanded. In that time he gave a glimpse of why he was so coveted by the Caps as a free agent.

In the first period, Panik pounced on a loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle in the defensive zone. Seeing he had room to work with, he did not just clear it down the ice and instead elected to skate up with it. He fought off the backcheck from Tyler Bozak through the neutral zone, drew an additional two Blues players to him, then drew a holding call from Bozak because he would not give up the puck.

Panik's 4:16 of penalty kill time was more than top penalty killer Carl Hagelin's 2:26, though the fact that Hagelin took two minors on the night probably had something to do with it.

Late in the game, Panik was also added to the power play as a sixth attacker with the goalie pulled. He would score the game-tying goal with just 1:09 left in regulation.

2. The goalies

Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both played about a half of the game. It is really hard to evaluate a goalie on just 30 minutes of work, so I will give a shoutout to both as both played very well.

Vanecek got the start. He looked a little awkward at first, but settled in as the game went along for a solid performance. He stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced with the only goal he allowed a weird deflection off of Brett Leason’s skate.

Samsonov took over about halfway through the second period and within minutes found himself defending the net on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The penalty killers helped out their young netminder allowing only one shot on goal, but it was a good one. Colton Parayko one-timed a slap shot, but Samsonov was there to stop with no rebound. Soon after the penalty was over, Vladimir Tarasenko was all alone in front of the net, but was denied by Samsonov’s who stretched the blocker to deny the high shot.

Sanford scores on the PP. Samsonov wasn't tight against the post. Showed him too much daylight and Sanford made him pay.

Samsonov finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.

3. Connor McMichael

Boy, somebody got a confidence boost from Monday’s game. 

McMichael was given a second preseason game as a reward for his solid performance on Monday and he definitely showed off the confidence that comes along with being a first-round draft pick.

In the first period, McMichael found himself all alone with the puck on a mini-breakaway on Jordan Binnington. Just a reminder, this is the Binnington who was the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup champions.

So what did McMichael do? He skated to the front and tried the stick between the legs shot. It may not have worked, but you have to respect the confidence this kid had just to try, though no doubt the coaches probably had a few words for him in the locker room about it.

There was one area in which McMichael struggled, however, and that was on the faceoff where he lost all five draws he took on the night.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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