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New Jaguars GM plans to address QB situation

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New Jaguars GM plans to address QB situation

David Caldwell's tenure as Jacksonville's general manager opened with him slamming the door on quarterback Tim Tebow.

He might do the same to Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.

Caldwell spent the majority of his NFL career in Indianapolis and Atlanta, learning firsthand the importance of having a franchise quarterback. Finding one for the Jaguars likely will determine the team's long-term success.

``It's hard,'' Caldwell said Thursday at his introductory news conference. ``It makes it a lot more difficult. (If you don't have one), everything else has to be perfect. I don't necessarily know that you have to have a franchise quarterback, but you have to have one that can win games for you.''

The Jaguars have won just seven games the last two seasons with Gabbert, Henne and Luke McCown under center.

Former general manager Gene Smith traded up to draft Gabbert with the 10th overall pick in 2010, but the former Missouri standout has made little progress during 24 starts. His pocket presence has been routinely criticized, though not nearly to the degree of Tebow's throwing motion.

Gabbert completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,662 yards this season, with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. He also was sacked 22 times in 10 games.

Former coach Mike Mularkey benched Gabbert in mid-November, just two days before the quarterback ended up on injured reserve because of shoulder and forearm injuries. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder and spent the last six weeks recovering.

Henne started the final six games, finishing with 2,084 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was sacked 28 times.

Both quarterbacks played behind a shaky offensive line and didn't have the benefit of having Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) for the entire season.

Nonetheless, it has become clear that neither is the answer.

``I have others in mind,'' Caldwell said, adding that he also is ``comfortable with what's here.''

Tebow isn't on the list.

Caldwell made it clear that the popular and polarizing New York Jets backup isn't the answer, saying he ``can't imagine a scenario'' in which Tebow would play for his hometown team.

Passing on Tebow, who is expected to be released in the offseason, should be no surprise given Caldwell's background. He spent 10 years with the Colts, watching Peyton Manning lead them to the playoffs eight times. And he spent the last five seasons with the Falcons, where Matt Ryan has made Atlanta one of the top teams in the NFC.

``The common thread is the relationship between the head coach, the general manager and obviously the quarterback,'' Caldwell said.

Before Caldwell addresses the quarterback situation, he has to hire a head coach.

Potential candidates include San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Roman seems to be the front-runner given that he and Caldwell were college roommates and teammates at John Carroll University.

``The relationship between the general manager and the coach is vital,'' owner Shad Khan said. ``It has to be a symbiotic relationship, and they have to grow together.''

One change Khan made when he gave Caldwell a five-year contract to begin the team's rebuilding process was to the team's organizational structure.

Khan had Mularkey and Smith reporting to him last season, which seemed to cause internal issues. Khan declined to provide details other that saying ``that structure didn't work.''

Now, Caldwell will have complete authority over the head coach - much like he will in finding a franchise quarterback.

``We plan to address the quarterback situation, obviously,'' Caldwell said. ``Blaine is the second-youngest quarterback in the NFL, but we're going to have open competition. We'll bring in, whether it's through draft or through free agency, we'll bring in some more people to compete at the quarterback position.''

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Ja Morant turning into a 'hell, yeah' NBA Draft option if Wizards get lottery lucky

Ja Morant turning into a 'hell, yeah' NBA Draft option if Wizards get lottery lucky

The Washington Wizards selected John Wall first overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. Other lottery picks followed in subsequent years. None were point guards. Nobody bothered contemplating such a scenario.

That’s no longer the case.

There is Wall’s uncertain physical status for next season and beyond because of a ruptured Achilles.

Thursday’s mind-blowing performance from Murray State point guard Ja Morant put such contemplation into overdrive.

For many NBA-only fans, the 12th seeded Racers' 83-64 thrashing over no. 5 Marquette in its West Region first-round game marked the initial opportunity to watch the buzz-worthy Morant. He did not disappoint.

Morant, who only trailed Duke phenom Zion Williamson for jaw-dropping highlights this season, dazzled with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists. His next chance to wow comes Saturday against fourth-seeded Florida State.

Imagine the Wizards receive some lottery luck ahead of June’s NBA Draft. Not the overflowing pot of gold kind that means grabbing Williamson first overall, but jumping up above the average options to the second or third selection. Washington (30-43) has a 26.3 percent chance of landing a top 4 selection, according to the draft website Tankathon.

Williamson might be the only player selected ahead of Morant in June in what one NBA executive deems a two-player draft. “Zion makes it feel better than it is. After Zion and Ja, just an average draft,” the executive said.

You’re on the clock. Duke’s RJ Barrett is another top 3 candidate, but Morant gained ground on the wing guard and others all season by averaging 24.0 points, 10.0 assists and multiple viral video moments a game. By June, Morant might be the clear-cut second-best player.

Wall’s recovery timeline keeps the five-time All-Star sideline for the majority if not all of the 2019-20 season. He will eventually return, however. That factor cannot be ignored especially with his 4-year, $170 million supermax contract starting next season. Ideally, the selection compliments Bradley Beal and Wall in the starting lineup.

Wall also turns 29 in July and recovery from such a devastating injury presents significant unknowns.

Tomas Satoransky, Wall's primary backup and the current starter, is a restricted free agent this summer. The Wizards would like him back, but the marketplace might have other ideas.

Time’s up. Turn the selection card in. Take Morant or not?

“Hell, yes!” multiple college basketball sources responded via text.

Others went with a standard roster-building approach.

“I take the best player available and figure it out,” an NBA scout texted.

In other words, hell yeah on Morant.

Another NBA scout received his first extended look at wispy yet athletically super-charged Morant last summer at Chris Paul’s basketball camp. “I thought he was ordinary because he played more off the ball,” the scout said of the 6-foot-3, 174-pound Morant. “But now he’s really, really good. Can pass with either hand.”

The scout offered an NBA comparison: John Wall. “Not as fast as John, but he’s got the same explosive athleticism at the rim.”

The counter-argument, a mild one at that, looks beyond next season.

Playing time ranked high among the reasons why the Wizards sought low-cost backup point guards over the years for Wall. Combo guards aside, if Wall goes 35-38 minutes nightly, why invest significant assets into a 10-13 minute-a-game player.

There’s some debate over whether Morant could play off the ball next to Wall. The sophomore is shooting 33.6 percent on 4.8 three-point attempts per game this season.

Based on the initial reaction from the various sources, nobody cares. Take the talent and figure out the rest. It's unclear what the Wizards have in Wall going forward. Maybe trade one of them down the line. The Wizards only have three healthy players under contract for next season. The 2019 first-round pick could immediately become a high-rotation player.

Such expectations rise if the Wizards jump up in the lottery. Historically there’s no chance they consider a point guard in the lottery with Wall on the roster. Times are different especially if there’s a chance to grab a hell yeah talent like Morant.

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Troy Brown found out he was starting against the Nuggets through Twitter

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Troy Brown found out he was starting against the Nuggets through Twitter

The Wizards' 113-108 loss to the Nuggets Thursday marked Troy Brown's first NBA start. And the Wizards' rookie guard impressed, scoring a career-high 13 points and snagging five rebounds.

How did Brown find out he was starting, you may ask? Through Twitter, of course!

Head coach Scott Brooks told reporters Brown was taking the injured Trevor Ariza's place in the starting five before notifying Brown himself, and like every 19-year old kid, Brown gets his news on Twitter.

And Thursday night, Brown's Twitter timeline brought him some of the biggest news of his basketball career. 

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