Redskins

Seattle hires Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator

Seattle hires Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle moved quickly Thursday to fill its vacant defensive coordinator position by hiring Dan Quinn away from Florida to replace Gus Bradley, who left to become the head coach in Jacksonville.

The Seahawks made the hiring official just hours after Bradley was hired by the Jaguars. It will be a nearly seamless transition for the Seahawks.

``Dan Quinn is an excellent teacher who is familiar with our system and allows us to maintain continuity,'' Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said in a statement. ``Dan did a great job for us in 2010 and I'm pleased to get him back.''

Quinn returns to Seattle after spending the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Florida and getting his first experience in that role. There is plenty of familiarity for Quinn with the staff and personnel in Seattle. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the Seahawks defensive line coach. He was first hired in that role by Jim Mora for the 2009 season then was retained by Carroll in his first season as Seattle's head coach.

Despite being away for two seasons, Quinn will see a few familiar faces on Seattle's defense when he returns. Starting defensive linemen Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons were all with Quinn in 2010, along with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

Quinn will take over a defense that was lauded for much of the season and finished as the top scoring defense in the NFL, giving up 15 points per game.

Yet Seattle struggled to hold on in late-game situations, including the Seahawks' 30-28 loss to Atlanta in the divisional playoffs. Seattle rallied from being down by 20 to start the fourth quarter to take a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds left. Atlanta then hit two quick passes and got into field goal range, where Matt Bryant's 49-yarder proved to be the winner.

It was the fourth time this season the Seahawks surrendered points in the final 30 seconds of regulation that either lost them the game or sent it to overtime.

In his two seasons at Florida, Quinn's units were among the best in college football. The Gators ranked eighth nationally in total defense in 2011 and fifth in 2012. The Gators allowed just 286.7 yards and 14.5 points per game last season.

Quinn previously worked in the NFL as a defensive line coach in San Francisco, Miami and with the New York Jets.

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Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

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NBC Sports Washington

Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.

Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.

“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”

The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”

“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”

Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.

“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.

 

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Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

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NBCSW

Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

Dwight Howard may play in the Wizards' regular-season opener on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, but the team will not know until the day of the game and likely won't announce the decision either way until head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media about two hours before tipoff.

Howard only has three practices under his belt but has made significant progress throughout this week after missing all five of the team's preseason games due to a strain in his piriformis muscle.

Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard has looked good in those three practices but has a lot of missed time to make up for.

"I think he's definitely winded at times, but that's part of it," Brooks said.

Brooks added that Howard is not getting the same lift when jumping that he's used to. Howard, 32, is used to playing above the rim and his vertical leap is an important part of his game.

The Wizards play their first two games at home, the second on Saturday against the Raptors. They then embark on a Western Conference road trip beginning with the Blazers on Monday.

Brooks said Howard will "definitely" make that trip with the team, which gives a good indication of how close he is to returning to game action. When Howard is ready to play will be left up to the team's medical staff.

If Howard does miss time, the Wizards are expected to rely on his backup Ian Mahinmi as the starting center. Jason Smith would then become the No. 2 center on the depth chart, though they could use forwards like Markieff Morris or Jeff Green at the five-spot.

Howard signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.

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