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Jets continue GM search, with Gamble front-runner

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Jets continue GM search, with Gamble front-runner

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Jets were moving forward with their search for a new general manager, with San Francisco 49ers executive Tom Gamble appearing to be the front-runner to replace Mike Tannenbaum.

Gamble, the 49ers' director of player personnel, met with the Jets over the weekend. He also canceled a second interview with Jacksonville and postponed a meeting with San Diego for their GM vacancies, according to published reports.

New York also spoke with Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell this weekend.

The Jets were still expected to interview Marc Ross, the Giants' director of college scouting, and in-house candidate Scott Cohen, the team's assistant GM under Tannenbaum. The meeting with Ross will satisfy the NFL's ``Rooney Rule,'' which mandates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate for front-office and head coaching jobs.

But Gamble seemed to have the clear edge as of Sunday night.

ESPN reported Sunday, according to sources, that Gamble told the Jaguars he wasn't taking a second interview for their vacancy so he could concentrate on the Jets. NFL Network also reported that Gamble rescheduled a meeting with the Chargers, fueling speculation that New York could be moving close to a deal.

The new general manager will have several issues to consider, including what to do with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who struggled mightily this season and was benched but has $8.25 million in guarantees in his contract for next season. The team would take a hefty salary cap hit of $17.1 million if he is cut.

The Jets are also expected to try to trade Tim Tebow or release him after just one disappointing season in New York in which he was rarely used - and never started at quarterback even as Sanchez was pulled. Tebow was disappointed in his lack of playing time, failing to reach the end zone during the regular season despite the team touting him before the season to be a major part of the offense.

The Jets also have several key potential free agents to address, including LaRon Landry, Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards, Shonn Greene and Yeremiah Bell.

Owner Woody Johnson has not spoken publicly since the season ended and he fired Tannenbaum on Dec. 31 , but he will address the media - along with coach Rex Ryan - on Tuesday at the team's facility in Florham Park, N.J. It's unlikely the Jets will have their new general manager in place by then.

If they decide on Gamble, the Jets would get a veteran front-office presence who has been in the league for 24 years, including the last seven with the 49ers. He was promoted to director of player personnel before this season after serving as the team's director of pro personnel.

Gamble played a key role in helping general manager Trent Baalke turn the 49ers into one of the NFL's top franchises during the last few years. He was previously a college scout for the Colts from 1998-2004, a defensive assistant/quality control coach with the Jets from 1995-96 and started out working in Philadelphia's front office from 1988-94.

Gamble and Ryan have some history since their fathers worked together with the Eagles. Harry Gamble was the team president when Buddy Ryan was the Eagles' coach in the late 1980s.

Rex Ryan is expected to remain as coach for at least this season since he has two years remaining on his contract, and Johnson praised him in a statement last week, saying he ``has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team.''

Ryan and his staff were expected to return from a week of vacation on Monday. Despite rampant speculation, the team hasn't made a decision on the fate of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, whose offense finished 30th overall in his first season with New York. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine turned down a contract extension early in the season, and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired after the season finale, so there could be several changes to Ryan's staff.

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Capitals vs. Predators: Alex Ovechkin returns from suspension

Capitals vs. Predators: Alex Ovechkin returns from suspension

The Capitals (34-11-5) are back home for the first time since Jan. 16 to take on the Nashville Predators (22-19-7). Pregame coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live at 7 p.m. Catch the game at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN then tune back to NBC Sports Washington for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.

Here is what you need to know for Wednesday’s game.

Ovechkin is back

Alex Ovechkin returns to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for skipping the All-Star Game. With him back, the lines returned to normal from what we saw before the break:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas

Ovechkin currently sits tied for ninth on the all-time scoring list at 692, just eight goals shy of 700.

Holtby starts

Braden Holtby will get the start after a strong performance on Monday against the Montreal Canadiens. He made 31 saves on 33 shots for a .939 save percentage. It was the first time in his past eight starts that Holtby was able to register a save percentage over .900.

9 games and counting

Ovechkin may have eight goals in his last three games, but Jakub Vrana is the hottest Cap with a nine-game point streak. He has eight goals and three assists during that stretch.

When last we met

Wednesday’s game is the second and final meeting between these two teams this season. They last met early in the season on Oct. 10 in a 6-5 win for the Predators in Nashville. Washington actually held a 4-2 lead heading into the third period, but gave up four goals in the final frame to take the regulation loss. Those types of games have been typical for Caps-Predators as this seems to be a matchup the Caps just can’t quite figure out.

Washington has lost seven straight against Nashville and almost all of them have been high-scoring affairs. In those seven losses, the Caps gave up at least five goals five times, at least six goals four times and held the Predators to fewer than four goals only once. You have to go all the way back to March 18, 2016 for the last time Washington has beaten the Predators.

A chance to get right on the power play

Washington’s power play has been abysmal of late, but showed some promising signs in Monday’s game against Montreal as Tom Wilson was able to score in a game in which Ovechkin was suspended. Now Ovechkin is back and the power play will have a chance to build on its momentum against a bad Nashville penalty kill. The Predators rank 29th in the NHL on the PK with only 74.0-percent.

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Kurt Warner believes Dwayne Haskins has the skill set to be a franchise QB

Kurt Warner believes Dwayne Haskins has the skill set to be a franchise QB

When the Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the organization hoped their investment in the passer would result in Washington finding its franchise quarterback of the future.

Whether Haskins becomes that franchise quarterback is still up for debate, as the signal-caller had an up-and-down rookie season. But the Ohio State product seemed to improve by the week and ended the season playing his best football, giving fans hope for the future.

Kurt Warner, a Super Bowl-champion quarterback who had to wait several years before getting his first NFL shot, believes Haskins can eventually develop into that franchise QB for the Burgundy and Gold.

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback joined the Redskins Talk podcast on Tuesday, and spoke highly of the 22-year-old's ability.

"The skillset, without question, is there," Warner said. "We saw that in college, we saw that in moments last year."

Warner explained that one of the things he looks for in young passers is their week-to-week improvement. That's something Haskins did very well towards the end of the 2019 season.

"To me, that's what greatness is all about," Warner said. "It's not about coming into the league and being a finished product. It's about working and getting better all the time."

In his final two games, Haskins threw for 394 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions on 72 percent completion rate. He was on his way to the best game of his brief career in Week 16 against the Giants before an ankle injury ended his afternoon in the third quarter.

"What I saw with Dwayne this year, he did improve game by game," Warner said. "As he got more comfortable with the NFL, as he got more comfortable with the system, he played better and better and made them more competitive each and every time out."

The 2020 offseason is crucial for Haskins. It's his first full offseason in the NFL, and seems poised to make a jump in Year 2. 

Haskins dealt with a lot in 2019, rookie or not. Five weeks into the season, his head coach was fired. He wasn't named the starter until Week 9, only due to injury to Case Keenum. Entering his second season, Haskins has a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, and new position coach.

There's little carryover from a season ago. Very few organizations that constantly change in the NFL are successful. 

"For young quarterbacks or players in general, you want to be able to find something you’re comfortable with and grow in," Warner said. "Hopefully this is the only move they make during Dwayne's career and he can get comfortable in that offense and hopefully one day be playing in the Super Bowl as well."

Warner knows plenty about waiting to get his opportunity; he didn't get his first shot in the NFL until he was 28. But he was put into an offense nicknamed 'The Greatest Show on Turf" that featured plenty of weapons -- Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt -- which allowed the inexperienced Warner to thrive.

In his first season as the Rams starter, Warner threw for a league-high 41 touchdown passes on an 8.2 percent touchdown rate, with just 13 interceptions. His 109.2 quarterback rating was the NFL's best that season. The Rams went on to win the Super Bowl, defeating Tennessee.

"I think the other component is finding the right situation, the right system for you," Warner said. When I got back into the NFL with the Rams, I was 28 years old when I got my first start. I was able to have a lot of success early because I found myself in the right system. The offense did what I did well. It played to my strengths."

Washington doesn't have the weapons that Warner's Rams did, but the Redskins have several young assets -- Terry McLaurin, Derrius Guice and Steven Sims -- that have shown promise. Getting Haskins in the right system, one that caters to his strengths, will be crucial in the development of the young passer.

"I believe that is key for players, especially at the quarterback position. You've got to find a system," Warner said. "In this case in Washington, they need to build a system around what Dwayne Haskins does well. That's how you thrive. That's how you get to and win Super Bowls."

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