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Source: Bills to interview Oregon's Chip Kelly

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Source: Bills to interview Oregon's Chip Kelly

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Oregon coach Chip Kelly won't have much time to rest after the Fiesta Bowl.

On Friday, Kelly has an interview scheduled with the Buffalo Bills for their coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the coach's plans confirmed late Wednesday night.

The interview will take place in Arizona, a day after the fifth-ranked Ducks play Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills and Kelly haven't revealed the meeting will take place.

USA Today first reported that Kelly was scheduled to interview with Buffalo.

Bills newly promoted president Russ Brandon and front-office brain trust have been in Arizona since Tuesday conducting their coaching search. According to the Bills' website, the team interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Wednesday, a day after meeting with former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired Monday.

In four years at Oregon, Kelly has a 45-7 record, and is known for his up-tempo offense that has transformed the Ducks into a national power. He is regarded as one of college football's prime candidates for an NFL coaching job this offseason.

Kelly also has been linked as a candidate for the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.

According to several reports, Browns CEO Joe Banner is already in Arizona and also intends to interview Kelly.

Kelly has been deflecting questions about his future all week. He did so again Wednesday when he was asked if he expects to be contacted by NFL teams in the days ahead.

``I don't expect anything,'' Kelly said. ``I said this a million times. I'm never surprised by anything. I do not know what the future holds. I do know we have a football game tomorrow night and I'm going to be there.''

The Bills are in the midst of their fifth coaching search since 2001 after Chan Gailey was fired Monday following three consecutive losing seasons.

Though it's unclear how many more candidates they have lined up, the Bills aren't done conducting their search out west after meeting with Kelly.

A second person familiar with Mike McCoy's schedule said the Broncos' offensive coordinator is set to interview with the Bills in Denver this weekend. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not revealed their list of candidates.

As the AFC's top seed, the Broncos have this weekend off before opening the playoffs the following week. They've allotted time for teams interested in McCoy to interview him in Denver this weekend.

Horton has already interviewed twice with the Cardinals, and once with the Browns, before revealing to reporters at the Cardinals' facility that he was set to meet with the Bills.

``I'm excited about the opportunity here, and the fantastic interview I had with Cleveland last night, and am going to try to knock Buffalo's socks off,'' Horton said.

Horton and Whisenhunt not only coached with the Cardinals, but they also previously coached in Pittsburgh.

That makes them both quite familiar with Bills assistant general manager Doug Whaley, who is a member of the team's search committee. Whaley, who is being groomed as GM Buddy Nix's successor, spent nine seasons working as a Steelers scout before joining the Bills three years ago. He is a Pittsburgh native, as well, and played his college ball at Pitt.

Whaley, on Tuesday, spoke highly of both Whisenhunt and Horton.

``We go way back. We've won some Super Bowls together, so I have high regard for their coaching acumen,'' he said. ``I don't think it will make a decision on if they're going to be our coach, but I can shed some insight on how they performed when I was with them and as persons.''

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AP College Football Writer John Marshall in Scottsdale, Ariz., and AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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What lessons the rest of the NFL should, and shouldn’t, take from the league’s top rushing teams

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USA Today Sports Images

What lessons the rest of the NFL should, and shouldn’t, take from the league’s top rushing teams

A glance at the NFL over the final two months of the season gave an interesting glimpse where the league was headed. 

The Ravens, the NFL’s best offense, were a predominantly rushing team. They rushed for a league record 3,296 yards in the regular season and were the league’s top regular season team. 

The Titans rode running back Derrick Henry all season, which led to him finishing as the league’s leading rusher. Over the final nine games he rushed for an average of 24.6 carries per game, including 30 or more carries in three of the team’s final four games. 

And most recently, the 49ers won the NFC in dominating fashion over the Packers with just eight passing attempts and 42 rushing attempts. 

With a handful of the league’s best rushing teams advancing in the playoffs, there appeared to be a change in the way teams attacked defenses in the NFL.

But those stats have been a bit misleading for the crowd that wants to establish the run for the sake of establishing a ground attack. What the Ravens and Titans did was make rushing the football more efficient than any other team in the league. 

Baltimore rushed for 5.5 yards per carry in the regular season, half-a-yard more than any other team in the league. They were only one of three teams to surpass the five yard-mark — one other team was the Titans. 

When compared to passing stats across the league, however, none of the qualified quarterbacks had worse than a six-yard average when passing the ball. Speaking strictly from the numbers, passing is still more advantageous than rushing the ball, no matter what teams that advanced far in the playoffs accomplished. 

What the Ravens and Titans do have, however, are two athletes that are unique in the NFL. Lamar Jackson was the league’s best rushing quarterback of all time and Henry led the league in total rushing yards. 

So the Ravens and Titans didn’t reinvent the wheel and show the NFL the ground game was more effective, but instead showed the league to lean into the special talents that both teams had. 

While the Titans were clearly better when Henry had his best days on the ground, there’s not a direct relationship to more Henry touches equaling a better day for the Titans. 

When the Ravens fell behind 14-0 to the Titans, Henry had just seven rushes for 28 yards on the ground. Down the stretch, he rushed 23 more times for 167 yards — a 7.26 yard average. Essentially, the Titans used Henry most effectively when they had already scored the winning points. 

The same can be said for the 49ers in the NFC Championship, who barely used Jimmy Garoppolo's arm. But when Raheem Mostert averages more than seven yards per carry, it’s difficult to get away from the run. 

So while it might seem that simply running the ball got teams to the playoffs, and championship games, it was the fact that they were able to run the ball more efficiently than other teams across the league. Rushing attempts weren’t the reason those teams won, but how they used those rushing attempts instead.

And when Jackson and Henry are leading the charge, it’s hard not to give them the ball.

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DC United acquires midefielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United

DC United acquires midefielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United

One week after paying a record-breaking transfer fee to acquire Edison Flores, DC United added another midfielder to the roster in the form of Julian Gressel. 

DC United acquired Gressel from Atlanta United via transfer Tuesday for $650,000 in 2020 Target Allocation Money (TAM) and $100,000 in TAM for 2021. Additional compensation could be owed to Atlanta based on performance incentives. 

Gressel was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and has led the league in assists since debuting with Atlanta in 2017. Over his first 98 career appearances, he's recorded 32 assists to go along with 15 career goals. 

"[Gressel] has impressed throughout his time in MLS and has been a major component to Atlanta’s success in the league since 2017," DC GM and VP of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper said in a statement. "Last year, he led Atlanta in assists and chances created while also scoring eight goals so we’re looking forward to adding his impressive goal creating ability and eye for goal to our roster in 2020 and beyond."

Gressel was the 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year after scoring five goals and recorded nine assists in his first 32 appearances as a pro. 

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