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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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Scott Brooks plans to give Tomas Satoransky more minutes, and this time he means it

Scott Brooks plans to give Tomas Satoransky more minutes, and this time he means it

One of Scott Brooks' most common postgame platitudes is the assertion he needs to find a player more minutes. It is usually said about a guy on the bench who just had a nice game.

Quite often, that doesn't end up happening. Whether it's because he only meant it so much, or because other factors mitigate those plans, usually that player goes back to the very same role they had been serving.

Brooks seemed to acknowledge that after Tuesday night's win, when he really, really emphasized that he needs to find backup point guard Tomas Satoransky more minutes.

"A lot of times, I try to find everybody some minutes, but I'm finding him minutes," Brooks said. "I'm finding him minutes. I don't care who [it affects], I'm finding him minutes."

Satoransky had just played his second consecutive good game. Against the Clippers on Tuesday, he compiled 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. 

The 27-year-old helped key a 24-point comeback for the Wizards by playing almost all of the third quarter. The Wizards went into halftime down 73-54, but caught momentum in the third and outscored L.A. by 10 points in the frame.

Satoransky and a host of bench players nearly led the Wizards back from down 29 points against the Blazers on Sunday. Those two games have caught Brooks' attention.

"He just plays hard and plays the right way. There's no agenda," Brooks said.

Satoransky's role has fluctuated over the past two seasons. Last year, he was in and out of the rotation, sometimes starting while also riding the bench for extended stretches.

He has been through enough to know that comments made by Brooks in a postgame interview only mean so much. But he likes to hear that the coach is taking notice.

"I'm happy, obviously," Satoransky said when relayed Brooks' comments.

"My approach to the game is to always play hard and play for my teammates. That's what I've learned throughout my career. I'm always trying to bring it every game. Obviously, hopefully it is going to bring me more minutes."

Satoransky played a season-high 24 minutes in Tuesday's win. Part of that was due to foul trouble for Kelly Oubre Jr. But Satoransky got some of the minutes that would otherwise go to fellow backup guard Austin Rivers.

He was playing well and he got rewarded for it. His teammate Bradley Beal was happy to see that.

"He's a killer. A lot of people don't know it though [because] he's nice," Beal said. "A lot of people don't respect him because he's European. A lot of people may not know who he is, but he got game." 

Satoransky seems to have done his part. Next up is the Toronto Raptors on Friday and that will be the first test of Brooks' goal to get Satoransky more playing time.

According to the coach, it's been a long time coming.

"I'm slow. It took me 15-16 games to figure that out, but he's earned it with the way he's playing," Brooks said.

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Thanksgiving is a huge game for the Redskins and a huge opportunity for Colt McCoy

Thanksgiving is a huge game for the Redskins and a huge opportunity for Colt McCoy

For decades, the most iconic image of America came from Texas. 

Hollywood loved the cowboy, silently toiling in the heat and cold, staring down danger and prepared to answer any challenge that came his way.

But over time, industrialization and modernization, cowboys drifted from the national consciousness, or at least from the movies and television screens. 

As things shifted, however, another Texas icon emerged: the quarterback. 

Friday Night Lights, first as a book, then a movie, and later a TV show, made the country care about small town Texas high school football. The sophomoric Varsity Blues helped too. 

As that mythology grew, one real life QB emerged to fit the storybook casting: Colt McCoy.

With blue eyes and a humble voice, McCoy came from tiny Tuscola, Texas, a town of fewer than 800 people about three hours west of Dallas. He went on and excelled as the starting quarterback at the University of Texas, becoming the winningest Longhorn QB ever. 

Then the storybook ended.

In 2010, he was drafted by a terrible Browns team. In two seasons he started 21 games, but went 6-15. 

His career stumbled, he landed on a few bad San Francisco teams after that. He battled injuries, often, and didn't play all that well in spurts. 

His chance at NFL stardom, like he'd found in college, faded. Eventually, he caught on with the Redskins in a weird situation. 

McCoy joined the team in 2014, the same year Jay Gruden took over as head coach. Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins were already on the roster, and a multi-year awkward dance ensued. 

All three QBs got starts in 2014, but by 2015, Cousins got the starter's job, McCoy became the backup and RG3 hit the bench. In 2016, Griffin went to Cleveland, with McCoy firmly entrenched as Cousins' backup.

For two years, Cousins took every snap in Washington, and McCoy worked hard on the scout team to press the defense. 

Things seemed to be coming to a head as Cousins' contract situation reached a breaking point in 2018. Finally, maybe, McCoy would get his chance. 

And then Washington traded for Alex Smith.

McCoy again seemed destined to the bench, but much like fictional characters Johnny Moxon or Matt Saracen, the backup got thrust into the spotlight. 

After 10 games and a 6-3 start, Smith went down with a broken leg last week in a loss to Houston, and now, after a long, long wait, it's McCoy's team.

"For me, now is not a time to really kind of think about what got me to this point right here," McCoy said Tuesday. "Now, it's time to play."

That said, a small town upbringing is a big part of his story, and for McCoy, he can't forget it.

"I certainly wouldn’t change where I grew up, where I came from," McCoy said. "Everyone there means so much to me and that's a special part of me. Right now, my focus is on this team and how I can help this team this week because I know they're counting on me."

What McCoy might not know, or realize, is that his story is part of what makes him so appealing. 

The small town hero, the Texas gunslinger, McCoy fits all those bills. 

Redskins running back Chris Thompson tried to describe the intangible trust that comes from playing with McCoy, and the best he could muster was labeling it that "Texas thing." 

Watching McCoy enter the game for the Redskins last week at FedEx Field, there was an undeniable electricity that shot through the stadium. It was palpable, and multiple Redskins players said they felt it, too. 

And now, after four starts in four years in Washington, McCoy has the chance to lead a good team into the NFL playoffs in a league where a backup quarterback got named Super Bowl MVP last season.

"This opportunity is a great one for him," Gruden said.

"We don't have to change a thing with Colt at quarterback. We just go on as scheduled. I know the players all have a ton of respect for Colt and they're going to play hard for Colt and they know the ball's going to be thrown in the right spot."

Of course it starts on Thursday, on national television, and of course it starts in Dallas with the Redskins installed as big underdogs. 

McCoy found success once before playing against the Cowboys in Dallas on national television. It was a riveting win, down to the wire, and the Redskins entered the game as big underdogs, too. 

That came in 2014, in the middle of a lost season for Washington, but the victory still resonates for a lot of fans, in the same way Colt McCoy resonates with a lot of fans. 

The story is easy to root for and the person makes it even easier. McCoy, despite some circumstances where other players would complain, publicly or privately, never did. He never really got his chance to start, but kept soldiering on. 

"It's not easy but at the same time, I'm thankful for where I am and for the things that I’ve gone through. Hopefully some of the ups and downs that I've been through in my career will help me now, help me in this situation. I think if I didn’t enjoy football, if I didn’t love football, I probably would have maybe been through. But I love the process. I love the challenge each week."

This week's challenge is much different than it has been for McCoy. 

The challenge is no longer staying engaged in meetings or practices when playing time isn't on the horizon. 

The challenge is the Dallas Cowboys, on a short week, with a surging defense and a vicious pass rush.

The challenge is a beat-up Redskins offensive line and the pressure of maintaining a one-game lead in the NFC East. 

For years, the challenge has been mental. Now, the challenge will be very, very real. 

This game is huge for the Redskins. For their playoff hopes. For their coach's job security. For the organization's direction in 2019. 

And it's also huge for McCoy. To validate his hard work. His patience. To validate Tuscola. 

"I'm thankful for the opportunity but I think it's even more than that. It's time to just go play and put everything else aside," he said.

"We have a huge game this week. It's a huge game."

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