Jets fire coach Todd Bowles after 4 seasons with no playoffs


NEW YORK (AP) — Todd Bowles’ tenure with the New York Jets began four years ago with plenty of promise. It ended with too many losses and no playoff appearances.

The team announced the long-expected decision that it moved on from Bowles on Sunday night, a few hours after the Jets wrapped up their season with a 38-3 loss at New England.

“I would like to thank coach Bowles for his dedication to the New York Jets for the last four years,” Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. “After carefully evaluating the situation, I have concluded that this is the right direction for the organization to take. I would like to wish Todd, Taneka and their family only the best.”

Bowles, 54, was hired in January 2015 after New York fired Rex Ryan. The Jets got off to a solid start under Bowles, who guided them to a 10-6 record. But they fell a win shy of the playoffs in his first season after losing a win-and-in game against Ryan’s Bills. Still, many expected the Jets to take the next step under Bowles.

It never happened.

There was some uncertainty surrounding general manager Mike Maccagnan’s job status, but it appears he will remain in his role and help lead the Jets’ search for a new coach.

New York went 4-12 this year after going 5-11 in each of the last two seasons, and Bowles’ in-game management became a focus of heavy criticism. The stoic coach also never endeared himself to frustrated fans who often mistook Bowles’ lack of public emotion for an absence of passion.

Bowles was on the hot seat last season, but the team stuck together and he and Maccagnan were given two-year extensions last December by Johnson.

The Jets entered this season with their focus on developing rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall draft pick in April, and Johnson did not set a playoff mandate for Bowles or Maccagnan. But the former USC star threw a league-leading 14 interceptions before straining his right foot against Miami on Nov. 4 and sitting out three games.

There were glimmers of promise when Darnold returned from the foot injury, with the rookie throwing for 931 yards and six touchdowns with just one interception — and looking very much a quarterback who can lead the team into the future.

Darnold will have to do that with a new coach, though

It appeared Bowles’ fate was sealed when the Jets were blown out by AFC East-rival Buffalo 41-10 on Nov. 11. But Johnson chose to have Bowles finish the season, something New York has traditionally done with its head coaches. The Jets haven’t had an in-season coaching change since 1976, when Lou Holtz resigned with one game remaining and was replaced by Mike Holovak.

Still, Bowles was headed to an inevitable ending with the Jets — but never allowed the outside speculation and rumors affect his day-to-day approach with his players.

Several players praised Bowles for how he handled himself through everything, and often insisted the team’s failing weren’t the coach’s fault. Still, when asked last week of his assessment of his performance, Bowles pointed the finger only at himself.

“The record says it all,” Bowles said.

The Jets’ next coach will likely be working with a revamped roster, with the team expected to have more than $100 million in salary cap space in the offseason. The goal will be to surround Darnold with as much talent as possible while the franchise builds for the future.

Maccagnan has also been heavily criticized for his spotty track record in the draft and lack of overall roster depth at key spots, but will get a chance to continue shaping the team.

“You have to go get players, man,” safety Jamal Adams said after the game. “You have to get big-time players. It’s simple. You look at the Saints. You look at the Rams. You look at the Chicago Bears. You look at all those teams. You have to go get players.”

Maccagnan was hired by the Jets a day before they brought on Bowles, and the two appeared to have a mostly solid working relationship. But the makeup of the roster has left something to be desired — and Maccagnan didn’t have the ultimate say in the hiring of Bowles, something he will likely have this time around.

Recent first-rounders Adams, Leonard Williams and Darron Lee are starters, along with Darnold, but only 12 of the 22 players drafted from 2015-17 under Maccagnan remain on the roster. The bulk of the crop from those draft classes should be major depth pieces now, namely wide receivers Devin Smith (second round, 2015), ArDarius Stewart (third round, 2017) and Chad Hansen (fourth, 2017), and linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (third round, 2015).

Maccagnan’s biggest draft blunder came in 2016, when he took quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round despite most NFL scouts considering the former Penn State star a major project. Hackenberg never developed, was traded to Oakland in May and is now in the Alliance of American Football after stops with two other NFL teams.

As a result of the lackluster drafts, the Jets will need to make a big-time splash in free agency during the offseason.

Bowles came to the Jets as a highly sought candidate after leading Arizona’s aggressive-style defense for two seasons and winning the first AP Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2014. He beat out five other candidates, including current Atlanta coach Dan Quinn and Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone.

It marked a homecoming for Bowles, a native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, who also served as the Jets’ defensive backs coach under Al Groh during the 2000 season. Bowles played eight NFL seasons as a defensive back before working his way through the coaching ranks as an assistant. He went 2-1 as Miami’s interim head coach in 2011.

Bowles was the Jets’ sixth straight defense-focused head coach and fifth since Woody Johnson took over the Jets in 2000, joining Ryan, Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards, Groh and Bill Parcells.

New York could opt to go with an offense-minded coach this time around, especially with Darnold the face of the franchise and the team’s inability in recent years to develop young quarterbacks.

The franchise is also starving for a Super Bowl appearance, something it hasn’t had since 1969.


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Ravens win AFC North, Eagles, Colts get wild cards



Week 13

The playoff chase went down to the final minutes of the season Sunday, when Baltimore squeezed in as AFC North winner, and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia got some help to secure an NFC wild card.

Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt

That left Pittsburgh and Minnesota out.

Kansas City (12-4) grabbed the AFC’s top seed, followed by New England (11-5), Houston (11-5) and Baltimore (10-6). The Chargers (12-4) own the first wild card and will play at the Ravens next Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. The Colts (10-6) romped past the Titans 33-17 at Tennessee and have the other wild card. They travel to Houston on Saturday afternoon.

DeAndre Hopkins, Myles Jack

The Saints (13-3) have the top seed in the NFC, and the Rams (12-4) got the No. 2 spot when they beat San Francisco. Chicago (12-4), whose win at Minnesota knocked out the Vikings and put the Eagles into the postseason, is seeded third and gets Philadelphia (9-7) next Sunday at 4:40 p.m.

Dallas (10-6) is the fourth seed and will play Seattle (10-6) on Saturday night.

C.J. Mosley intercepted a fourth-down pass by Baker Mayfield to preserve the Ravens’ 26-24 win as Baltimore rushed for a season-best 296 yards. A year ago, Baltimore missed the playoffs by losing its finale at home to the Bengals, who rallied with a last-minute touchdown.

“If you want to write a book about this season, probably no one would believe it,” coach John Harbaugh said.

Steelers players remained on the field after they edged Cincinnati 16-13 and watched the drama from Baltimore on the videoboard. But their archrival Browns couldn’t help them against the equally hated Ravens, and Pittsburgh (9-6-1) is out.

“It just sucks,” Steelers guard David DeCastro said. “How hard we work, how much effort we put in. To go from 7-2-1 to where we are now is heartbreaking.”

Nick Foles, who led the Eagles to the Super Bowl title over the Patriots in Minneapolis last February, guided them to a resounding 24-0 victory at Washington. Then the Bears helped out at Minnesota with a 24-10 win even though they had nothing to play for, being set as the NFC’s third seed.

“We’re not sneaking in. We’re here to do some damage,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said.

Earlier, the Texans rallied from losing their first three games to win the AFC South and become the No 3 seed.

Houston easily handled Jacksonville 20-3 Sunday as Deshaun Watson threw for 234 yards and ran for a touchdown, and DeAndre Hopkins had 147 yards receiving.

The Texans finished last in the division in 2017. They and the Bears have done the worst-to-first turnaround this season, making it 15 of the past 16 seasons that has occurred in the league.

“It’s do or die now, so you’ve got to put everything on the line now,” Watson said. “Prepare harder than you did before and anything can happen at this point. The tournament is wide open and it’s my first playoff, so I’m just excited to get in and see how things go.”

New England, meanwhile, will get a week off in early January for the 13th time since 2001, most in the NFL during that span. The Patriots routed the Jets 38-3, and because they defeated Houston during the season, they get the bye.

“Eleven and five is nothing to be sad about,” Tom Brady said. “We fought pretty hard and put ourselves in good position.”


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Kartje: In wide open Super Bowl race, Rams and Chargers are serious contenders


LOS ANGELES – Two Januarys ago, after a disastrous debut season for the NFL in Los Angeles, there were no delusions of Super Bowl grandeur to be found in the Southland. The Rams were an unwatchable mess, still feeling the prolonged hangover of the Jeff Fisher era. The Chargers were an unwanted enigma, with nine wins in their last two seasons.

Both had just fired their coaches. After more than two decades without the NFL, a single season had made Los Angeles a league-wide punchline.

Sign up ( )  for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here ( ) .No one is laughing now. As the NFL postseason begin next weekend, the Rams and Chargers are now indisputably two of the league’s most dangerous playoff teams, each with designs on hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

For the Chargers, that pursuit begins next week in Baltimore. For the Rams, a week off awaits before a divisional round matchup at home against either the Bears, Seahawks or Cowboys.

For either, a Super Bowl victory would forever shift the city’s sports paradigm. And if they happen to both make it that far, well … there’s no telling what might happen here.

Of course, it’s a long road for both until that point. But at their best, both have certainly looked the part of serious Super Bowl contenders. The Rams didn’t lose a single contest until November, while the Chargers have won close game after close game, in every possible fashion, exorcising demons that once haunted them whenever the spotlight beckoned. Only once this season did either team lose consecutive games.

Neither, though, has looked all that convincing down the season’s final stretch. Over the past month, a Rams offense that once paced the league stalled at the worst possible time, before running over two inferior opponents to close out the season. The Chargers squandered their chances at home-field advantage with an ill-timed sequence of miscues against the Ravens and Broncos, as they briefly reverted back to their mistake-prone ways.

Both L.A. teams are potentially as vulnerable as they are vicious. Which, in these particular playoffs, means they should fit right in.

The road to this Super Bowl is as wide open as its been in recent memory. There are no overwhelming favorites and no obvious write-offs. The Chiefs and Saints will be the betting favorites, and it’s hard to argue with either. But there’s a compelling case to be made that just about anyone can win it all. In the same way, there’s just as much reason to believe any of the team’s in this year’s field could fall apart.

The Chiefs have an historic offense – and a quarterback that threw 50 touchdowns in his first season a starter – but they also boast one of the worst defenses to make the playoffs in years. The Bears have the league’s stingiest defense, but an offense that often forgets how to score without its defense’s help. And then, there’s the Eagles, whose Super Bowl hangover nearly lasted through December, before lifting just in time for them to round into postseason form and slip into the last wild card spot.

Recent history tells us that circumstance is as crucial as anything this time of year. Home-field advantage makes a gargantuan difference. Not since 2013 has a Super Bowl participant had to win a playoff game on the road before the Big Game. It’s why the Patriots, who won the AFC East for the 10th straight season in spite of their obvious mediocrity, can’t be ruled out.

The odds are stacked even further against wild card teams, who have only made the Super Bowl 10 times since the system was implemented nearly 50 years ago. Over the past decade, only one wild card (the 2010 Packers) has managed to run the table.

But this season, that history may not apply. These are no ordinary wild cards. The Colts won nine of 10 to finish out the season. The Eagles won five of six and have the hottest quarterback in the NFL – and last year’s Super Bowl MVP – at the helm. The Seahawks have Russell Wilson, a grinding run game and the league’s best turnover margin. And the Chargers were one defensive stop of the Broncos away from securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Chargers rookie safety Derwin James and his teammates will be looking to redeem themselves in next week’s rematch with the Baltimore Ravens, the team that handed the Chargers a humbling loss on Dec. 22. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Any of those four could jump-start a run next weekend, but the most difficult road may belong to the Chargers, who just a week ago were shut down by Ravens’ stalwart defense. Even with a victory on the road in Baltimore, assuming the Texans defeated the Colts, the Chargers would then have to travel back to Kansas City, where they staged a thrilling comeback victory ( )  this month. Before that Thursday night, they hadn’t beat the Chiefs since Dec. 2013.

The Rams may also find themselves matched up with an opponent that recently took them to the woodshed. If the Bears can beat the Eagles next Sunday, they’ll again face the Rams, who they held to just six points earlier this month ( ) . This time, at least, that game would be played at home, and a victory, barring an upset, would likely send them to New Orleans, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Two years ago, those aspirations were no more than a pipe dream. But now, with a wide-open postseason ahead, L.A.’s pair of NFL teams find themselves in the thick of a Super Bowl race, with one, simple directive.

“Just find a way to win,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. “Nobody cares how. Just find a way to advance.”

A first look at the playoff matchups:

Indianapolis Colts (10-6) at Houston Texans (11-5)

When: 1:35 p.m., Saturday

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

The Colts win if … Indy’s offensive line can give Andrew Luck enough time to make plays downfield. Luck went five games without taking a sack earlier this season.

The Texans win if … Houston can force turnovers on defense and eliminate them on offense. The Texans are tied for 2nd in the NFL in turnover differential; the Colts were 15th.

Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

When: 5:15 p.m., Saturday

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

The Seahawks win if … They can stay on schedule and establish the run game. Seattle is built to wear teams down with long drives, but the challenge with the Cowboys is how similarly they’re built.

The Cowboys win if … Dak Prescott can continue to be an efficient passer. Since Week 10, Prescott is completing over 73 percent of his passes. The Cowboys are 6-1 during that stretch.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) at Chicago Bears (11-5)

When: 1:40 p.m., Sunday

Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

The Eagles win if … They can force the Bears offense into long third-down situations. Mitch Trubisky is one of the worst downfield passers in the NFL this season.

The Bears win if … Nick Foles is consistently pressured inside the pocket. Foles has been impressive recently, but pressure has always been his Achilles heel.

Culled from:
December 30, 2018 at 9:28 pm
Author     : gqlshare

NFL Insiders predict the best rookie class of 2018 — High Velocity Sport

News, sports

NFL Insiders predict the best rookie class of 2018 The New York Giants stuck to their plan and drafted Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall. Will it pay off with immediate impact? Over the next week, our panel of ESPN NFL Insiders will break down the 2018 draft class, starting with their picks for […]

coltss.jpegNFL Insiders predict the best rookie class of 2018

The New York Giants stuck to their plan and drafted Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall. Will it pay off with immediate impact?

Over the next week, our panel of ESPN NFL Insiders will break down the 2018 draftclass, starting with their picks for which team will get the most from their rookies.

Which team’s rookie class will be the most impactful in 2018?

Matt Bowen, NFL writer: Chicago Bears. It starts with linebacker Roquan Smith. He’s a blue-chip talent with the speed and natural instincts to find the ball. Great fit for Vic Fangio’s defense. Up front, Iowa center/offensive guard James Daniels has the athleticism and pro-ready technique to compete for a starting job. And wide receiverAnthony Miller should find a role as a slot target for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The quicks are there and so is the playmaking ability.

Dan Graziano, national NFL writer: Cleveland Browns. Is there any team that needs an impact from its rookie class more than the one that’s 1-31 over the last two seasons? We don’t know when No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield will take over as the starter, but it’s a safe bet it’ll happen at some point this season. They’ll give No. 4 pick Denzel Wardsignificant opportunity right away as a starting cornerback. And second-rounders Nick Chubb and Austin Corbett should help the run game. Opportunities abound in Cleveland, for rookies and everyone else.

Mina Kimes, senior writer: Denver Broncos. I’m a big fan of the Cowboys’ draft class as well, but I think Denver’s first three picks — defensive end Bradley Chubb, wide receiverCourtland Sutton, and running back Royce Freeman — could all become immediate contributors. Sutton, a big-bodied receiver from SMU, stands out as a potential red-zone threat for Case Keenum.

Mike Sando, senior NFL writer: New England Patriots. Other teams’ rookies will play more snaps and earn greater honors. As for impact? New England could emerge with a starting left tackle (Isaiah Wynn), a rotational running back (Sony Michel) and perhaps aDanny Amendola-replacement (Braxton Berrios) on a championship-caliber team.

Aaron Schatz, editor-in-chief of Football Outsiders: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s opportunity on the depth chart. Vita Vea slides right into the starting defensive line next to Gerald McCoy. Ronald Jones II should slide right into the starting running back spot. And given the weakness at cornerback and the age of their No. 1 CB Brent Grimes, who turns 35 in July, second-rounders M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis could play a larger role than expected early.

coltsKevin Seifert, national NFL writer: Indianapolis Colts. It won’t be as flashy as some other classes, but the addition of two guards and two defensive linemen among the first 64 picks will significantly enhance the Colts’ long-standing trench weakness. GuardQuenton Nelson, especially, will give the Colts a much better chance of keeping their most prized asset — quarterback Andrew Luck — upright.

Field Yates, NFL Insider: New York Giants. Here’s the bottom line: a single player can dramatically impact the perception of a team’s collective draft class. Along those lines, no player is better equipped to contribute immediately — factored in his own ability plus the opportunity ahead — than Saquon Barkley. Beyond that, second-rounder Will Hernandez projects as a Day 1 starter. Should Barkley produce (and I expect a massive rookie season), it will be a positive reflection on the offensive line, as well.

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South Carolina Volunteer Officer Shoots Motorist

Crime, international News, sports

A South Carolina volunteer officer has raised concerns about his duty after shooting at a Black motorist during a traffic stop.

According to Post And Courier, an unnamed volunteer police officer fired his gun on Saturday night March 24, during a ride along with an officer of the Florence police department.

In firing his gun he injured the motorist for which investigators have no explanation why.

However, volunteer officers have raised a question of concern in the community.

Volunteer officers or constables do not receive the same law enforcement training at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Even so, some of them are allowed to carry guns and make arrests. Even though the state certifies them, the courses they take are offered by technical colleges.

Learning about the incident in his district, caused state representative Terry Alexander to question the role of constables.

“I’m still trying to get an understanding of their authority, their training…and who has oversight over what they’re doing,” explained Alexander. “The city officer wasn’t in harm’s way, so why did the constable shoot?”

That’s the answer that everyone wants to know now. It’s the answer that the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating as well as the Florence Police Department.

The victim was taken to a local hospital where his condition is unknown. Although Thom Berry, a spokesperson from the State Law Enforcement Division, has said the man is expected to live.

The Latest:

(Source: Post And Courier)

(Photo Credit: ThinkStock Images)

Wembley deal ‘could take eight to 12 weeks’, says Fulham owner Khan

International Finance, sports

Wembley deal ‘could take eight to 12 weeks’, says Fulham owner Khan

Shahid Khan bought NFL franchise Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011

Fulham owner Shahid Khan says he hopes a deal to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association will be completed in eight to 12 weeks.

Khan, who also owns NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars, has made an offerthought to be worth £900m.

It is understood he would pay £600m for the stadium and the FA will continue to run the £300m-valued Club Wembley hospitality business.

“This offer makes a lot of sense for us,” he told BBC Sport.

“When I say us, I’m talking about the Jaguars, NFL, Wembley, and I think it also makes a lot of sense for the FA and the English football team.

“I’m pretty confident – that’s why we’re putting our name, our reputation on the line to get it done.”

Khan said England games would remain at Wembley and he would retain the stadium’s name.

BBC Sport understands selling Wembley would allow the FA to make a major investment into football at grassroots level.

Pakistan-born Khan has a current net worth of $7.2bn (£5.2bn) and is the 217th richest person in the world, according to the 2018 Forbes rich list.

He said he understands fans’ concerns over his offer for the 90,000-seat stadium, which is the largest in the United Kingdom.

“I think they have to understand the value and the attraction for myself,” Khan added.

“We’ll leave the tradition and the stadium itself. Even though this is a new stadium, it does need upgrades.

“Under this arrangement the FA retains the right, the revenue, and that is really the most positive part of Wembley for the FA. So they will be retaining it and obviously we want it to be there.”

The 67-year-old added that the deal would make lead to “more meaningful discussions” over a permanent NFL franchise in London.

“NFL has been playing in London since 2007,” he said. “Until now, NFL doesn’t have a stadium solution or have a home. And it can’t work with a Premier League club, because of the schedule. It does work very well with Wembley, so I think it makes it closer.”

According to the FA’s latest financial results, it still owes £113m to public bodies such as Sport England, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, plus the London Development Agency, which helped pay to build the stadium, which cost £757m and opened in 2007.

In January, the FA said it would finish paying for the ground by the end of 2024.

In a statement, Sport England said it had invested £120m of National Lottery money into the development of Wembley and it looked forward to “hearing more detail about how such a deal would work and whether it would benefit grassroots sport”.

‘It could be a positive move’ – reaction to Khan offer

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman: “This process is at an early stage and it’s ultimately a decision for the FA. But Wembley is the historic home of English football and holds a very special place in the hearts of fans up and down the country and I’m sure the FA will want to strongly consider the views of these supporters before deciding what to do next.”

Labour Shadow Sports Minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan: “The FA should not rush into any deal to sell and any deal must guarantee that England continue to play at Wembley as well as around the country; that major tournaments, cup finals and play-offs for multiple sports are still held at Wembley; and that ticket prices for England games are frozen for 10 years. The FA needs to guarantee that profits of the sale will be put into grassroots football to ensure that future generations will benefit.”

Hodgson would be ‘disappointed’ if England stopped playing at Wembley

Crystal Palace boss and former England manager and Roy Hodgson:“I am a massive supporter of Wembley as the national stadium and England playing there but I also have great faith in the FA that they won’t be making decisions lightly. If they think that is a good deal, a deal that will bring in money that they can spend in a better way, then I would be behind that.”

Former England captain and BBC Sport presenter Gary Lineker on Twitter: “If the money goes towards grassroots football, most importantly on pitches, artificial and otherwise, for youngsters to play then it could be a positive move.”

Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal, who guided Sheffield Wednesday to the 2016 Championship play-off final:“I think they are monuments and we can’t sell them in my opinion. If you sell Wembley you can sell Big Ben and Buckingham Palace? We can’t sell monuments, it is culture, and you can’t sell culture.”

Chairman of Matchroom Sports and former Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn: “Unless there’s a very good reason why it shouldn’t be sold, frankly the laws of commerce take over. It’s he who has most will win. I would be saddened but I would be realistic enough to say it’s life in the current system.”

Soccer News

via BBC Sport – Football

April 26, 2018 at 12:15PM

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