Derek Carr’s struggles mirror Raiders woes past 2 years

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Derek Carr’s career was on a clear upward trajectory his first three seasons before a broken leg in the second-to-last game in 2016 ended his season, and any hopes the Oakland Raiders had of competing in the playoffs that year.

The leg took a few months to heal, but Carr hasn’t been the same quarterback since, even with the coaching change that brought Jon Gruden to Oakland.

While the Raiders (1-5) head into their bye week with a litany of problems from a lack of a pass rush to a broken-down offensive line to a spotty secondary, Carr’s struggles this season are near the top of the list.

Gruden returned to coaching in part for the chance to coach Carr and was being counted on to get the best out of the quarterback the Raiders rewarded with a $125 million contract less than 16 months ago. That marriage hasn’t translated to results as of yet as Carr leads the NFL with 10 turnovers and has been unable to generate enough big plays for the Raiders.

“The results, they need to improve,” Gruden said. “I know that. He’s the strength of this football team. We’re going to get him to play better. He’s on my watch. I said it when I got here: If he doesn’t play better, I’ve failed. This guy is a good player that can be great. We’ve got to protect him better so we can really see what he can do. We’ve got to protect him better, obviously. If we do that, I think he’ll showcase what he can do.”

Carr has shown flashes this year. He completed 29 of 32 passes in a loss at Denver last month, threw for 437 yards and four TDs in an overtime win over Cleveland, and has made several throws that harken back to his better days in 2015 and ’16.

But there have been far too many problems to overshadow those successes as Carr tries to figure out how to run Gruden’s offense. He threw three interceptions in a season-opening loss against the Rams and then was possibly too cautious against the Broncos. He then threw key first-down interceptions in the end zone that contributed to losses at Miami and the Chargers as he showed a willingness to be more aggressive.

Carr hit rock-bottom last week in a loss in London to the Seahawks when he was unable to do anything behind a line that had rookies at both tackle spots, including an injured Kolton Miller on the left side, and a third-stringer for most of the day at left guard.

Carr was sacked six times and threw just one pass more than 10 yards downfield. He finished the day 23 for 32 for 142 yards, with 140 of those yards coming after the catch as he threw mostly at or behind the line of scrimmage, adding to the frustration.

“This being my fifth year, you want it now,” Carr said. “You want everything now. I know our fans want it now. Our players, our team, our coaches want it now and trust me, we are trying to do it now. But we’ve got to take this bye week, look at what we can do to play better right off of this bye week. What can we do to win that game and that’s where our mindset has to be.”

Carr’s career is almost back to where it started when he entered the NFL as a second-round pick. He lost his first 10 games as a rookie before starting to make big strides in the second year. The Raiders won seven games in 2015 as Carr developed into a potent passer with help from coordinator Bill Musgrave. Carr then broke through with 12 wins in 2016 thanks to seven fourth-quarter comebacks.

But his broken leg on Christmas Eve against the Colts cost Oakland a chance at a division title and led to a lopsided first-round playoff loss. Carr regressed last year after the Raiders fired Musgrave and replaced him with Todd Downing, and there has been only slight improvement this season under Gruden.

In 21 games since breaking his leg, Carr has won seven times with 29 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. That compares to 15 wins in the previous 21 games, when he had 38 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Carr’s biggest success came in his second season under Musgrave, the only time he’s remained in the same system in consecutive years.

“He’s on his fourth coordinator now in his time in the league and I think it’s a comfort level in the system,” said offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who ran Oakland’s offense in Carr’s rookie season in 2014. “I’ll say that. And it’s a matter of sometimes pressing. But, for us right now, certainly trying to get him to calm down and play in a more relaxed type of mode so that he doesn’t feel like he has to press to make plays. When you look at some of the turnovers he’s had this year, he’s been pressing, trying to make a play. Again, we like that part of about him and he’s a competitive guy, he wants to make every play. Just making better decisions moving forward.”

___

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Tiger commits to Torrey Pines, Riviera events

Tiger commits to Torrey Pines, Riviera events

Tiger commits to Torrey Pines, Riviera events

It’s official. Tiger Woods will make his 2019 PGA Tour debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at his beloved Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

Woods has also committed to the Feb. 14-17 Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, where he serves as tournament host.

“Kicking off this season on the west coast at @FarmersInsOpen and my TGRF’s @GenesisOpen,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Can’t wait!”

In addition to his seven Farmers Open titles, Woods also won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — the most recent of his 14 major championships. He tied for 23rd last year in his first official PGA Tour event following fusion surgery on his back.

His 2019 entry had been expected, but the tournament received official word from the tour headquarters Wednesday morning.

“It’s fantastic, exciting,” tournament director Peter Ripa told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Players have choices for where they want to play, and for Tiger to choose San Diego … we’re going to be the center of the sports universe next week.”

Woods, 43, is No. 12 in the official world golf rankings. He last played at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas from Nov. 29-Dec. 2, finishing 17th in the 18-man field.

The Farmers field also includes defending champion Jason Day, world No. 1 and reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose, 2017 winner Jon Rahm, San Diegan Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman and Jordan Speith.

Woods won his first PGA Tour event at Riviera in 1992 while playing on a sponsor’s exemption as an amateur. His TGR Live manages the event and proceeds from the tournament benefit his TGR Foundation.

“I’m looking forward to being back in Los Angeles for the Genesis Open,” Woods said in a statement. “It’s always great to be able to play at Riviera and I am very proud of the impact the Genesis Open has been able to make on education through my foundation.”

Woods missed the cut at Riviera CC in 2018, one of only two missed cuts in 19 events.

–Field Level Media

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Bills sign LB Alexander, OL Sirles to extensions

Bills sign LB Alexander, OL Sirles to extensions

The

Bills sign LB Alexander, OL Sirles to extensions

The Buffalo Bills signed veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles to one-year contract extensions on Wednesday.

Alexander, 35, played in all 16 games in 2018 and registered 6.5 sacks, 74 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a career-high two interceptions. He was set to become a free agent.

He originally signed with the Bills in 2016 after nine seasons with the Washington Redskins (2007-12), Arizona Cardinals (2013-14) and Oakland Raiders (2015). Buffalo re-signed him to a two-year, $9 million deal in March 2017.

Undrafted out of Cal in 2005, Alexander has been an incredible success story. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and again in 2016, when he was named the game’s Defensive MVP.

Earlier this month, the team captain expressed his desire to remain with the Bills.

“Obviously, I’m invested,” he told the media. “I’ve been here three years, I’m invested in the community. I’m invested in this team and this organization. I would like to be able to continue to play here and be able to retire here.”

Sirles, 27, joined the Bills as a free agent in Week 5 of the season and played in 12 games (five starts) across the offensive line.

A Nebraska product, Sirles entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He saw limited action that season with the then-San Diego Chargers, then played 28 games over two seasons in Minnesota before joining the Bills. The Carolina Panthers released him from injured reserve earlier in the season.

Sirles tweeted a picture of himself with his contract in hand, and captioned it: “God is so good! The dream continues. Thank you @buffalobills time to get back to work!”

–Field Level Media

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Falcons DE McKinley back home after mental evaluation

Falcons DE McKinley back home after mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley

Falcons DE McKinley back home after mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley was back home in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday after being taken for a mental evaluation Tuesday by Los Angeles police.

“There is no reason to believe that this was anything serious,” team spokesman Brian Cearns told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s back home in Oakland with his family.”

Police were called to a Los Angeles hotel by a friend who was concerned about McKinley’s well-being. The 23-year-old player was not arrested, as police encouraged him to seek help and he complied.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn addressed the situation Tuesday.

“Any time a situation occurs that is or could be related to mental health issues we take it very seriously,” Quinn said in a statement. “We will do everything we possibly can to support and assist Takk, as our players’ mental and physical well-being are always our top priority.”

McKinley was the No. 26 overall pick by the Falcons in the 2017 NFL Draft. The UCLA product agreed to a four-year, $10.2 million contract with the Falcons that included a $5.6 million signing bonus, according to Spotrac.

In 31 games over two seasons, he has recorded 42 tackles, 13 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

–Field Level Media

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Jets put defense in Williams’ hands

Jets put defense in Williams' hands

The New York Jets officially

Jets put defense in Williams’ hands

The New York Jets officially named Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Williams spent the last two seasons in Cleveland, serving as defensive coordinator before taking over as interim head coach in midseason last year when the Browns fired Hue Jackson.

The Jets also confirmed that new head coach Adam Gase is retaining special teams coordinator Brant Boyer.

The well-traveled Williams, 60, returns to the AFC East for the first time since he was head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2001-03.

Williams was let go by the Browns last week after the team chose Freddie Kitchens as its next head coach. He went 5-3 while guiding Cleveland.

In 17 years as a defensive coordinator, Williams has called plays for six teams and is well known for his aggressive, attacking 4-3 schemes.

His units have ranked 11th or better in yards and points in the same season six times, though not since 2010 with the New Orleans Saints. He was infamously at the center of the Bountygate scandal in New Orleans, which led to a one-year suspension in 2012.

The Jets’ defense has ranked 22nd or worse in points allowed in three straight seasons and 25th in yards allowed each of the last two years.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Jaguars to hire DeFilippo as OC

Report: Jaguars to hire DeFilippo as OC

The Jacksonville Jaguars have chosen John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator,

Report: Jaguars to hire DeFilippo as OC

The Jacksonville Jaguars have chosen John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“Doug Marrone took his time with such a key hire, but when the deal gets done, he’ll have his guy,” Rapoport tweeted Wednesday morning.

Marrone, the Jaguars head coach, also interviewed former NFL head coach Mike McCoy for the job, according to reports on Tuesday.

DeFilippo, 40, spent 2015 with the Cleveland Browns as offensive coordinator, then was the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia in 2016-17. The Minnesota Vikings hired DeFilippo as offensive coordinator just days after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, then fired him after a 21-7 loss to Seattle in Week 14.

Early in his career, he was in charge of offensive quality control with the New York Giants, working under head coach Tom Coughlin, who now is the Jaguars’ vice president of football operations.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Broncos close to hiring Scangarello as OC

Report: Broncos close to hiring Scangarello as OC

Report: Broncos close to hiring Scangarello as OC

The Denver Broncos are close to hiring San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello as their offensive coordinator, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.

Scangarello interviewed with new head coach Vic Fangio on Tuesday and returned for more talks Wednesday.

“Sources say his interview with Vic Fangio and others went well. The expectation, barring a snag in talks, is that he becomes the new #Broncos offensive coordinator,” Rapoport tweeted.

Scangarello, 46, has never been a coordinator at the NFL level, but he held the OC position in the college ranks at Wagner in 2016 and at Northern Arizona from 2012-14.

He was the quarterbacks coach on coach Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers staff the past two seasons. He earned praise for his work with rookie quarterback Nick Mullens and second-year signal-caller C.J. Beathard after starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 3.

Scangarello’s lengthy resume also includes stints as an offensive quality control coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2009 and the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Bills sign LB Alexander to one-year extension

Bills sign LB Alexander to one-year extension

The Buffalo

Bills sign LB Alexander to one-year extension

The Buffalo Bills signed veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander to a one-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Alexander, 35, played in all 16 games in 2018 and registered 6.5 sacks, 74 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a career-high two interceptions. He was set to become a free agent.

He originally signed with the Bills in 2016 after nine seasons with the Washington Redskins (2007-12), Arizona Cardinals (2013-14) and Oakland Raiders (2015). Buffalo re-signed him to a two-year, $9 million deal in March 2017.

Undrafted out of Cal in 2005, Alexander has been an incredible success story. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and again in 2016, when he was named the game’s Defensive MVP.

Earlier this month, the team captain expressed his desire to remain with the Bills.

“Obviously, I’m invested,” he told the media. “I’ve been here three years, I’m invested in the community. I’m invested in this team and this organization. I would like to be able to continue to play here and be able to retire here.”

–Field Level Media

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Tiger to open season next week at Torrey Pines

Tiger to open season next week at Torrey Pines

Tiger to open season next week at Torrey Pines

It’s official. Tiger Woods will make his 2019 PGA Tour debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at his beloved Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

In addition to his seven Farmers Open titles, Woods also won the 2008 U.S. Open there — the most recent of his 14 major championships.

His entry had been expected, but the tournament received official word from the tour headquarters Wednesday morning.

“It’s fantastic, exciting,” tournament director Peter Ripa told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Players have choices for where they want to play, and for Tiger to choose San Diego … we’re going to be the center of the sports universe next week.”

Woods, 43, is No. 12 in the official world golf rankings. He last played at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas from Nov. 29-Dec. 2, finishing 17th in the 18-man field.

The Farmers field also includes defending champion Jason Day, world No. 1 and reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose, 2017 winner Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman and Jordan Speith.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks DE Clark: ‘I got no elbows’

Seahawks DE Clark: 'I got no elbows'

Seahawks

Seahawks DE Clark: ‘I got no elbows’

Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark said he played the final three games of the 2018 season at 60 percent due to torn ulnar collateral ligaments in his elbows.

“I wouldn’t lie to you guys. I played the whole season at 60 percent,” Clark wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “Trust me I hit it well. Two torn UCL’s in one season. Both against the Minnesota Vikings.”

Clark was first on the injury report with an elbow injury in Week 2. The Seahawks played the Vikings in the preseason and again Dec. 10.

He said via Twitter on Tuesday, “I ain’t have no elbows mane.”

There was little sign of a slowdown from Clark, a player head coach Pete Carroll said last month would not be let out of Seattle as he approaches free agency in March.

“He is a Seahawk,” Carroll said on ESPN 710 Seattle. “He ain’t going anywhere. We aren’t losing him.”

Meeting with reporters later Monday, Carroll added, “We’ve got to figure [Clark’s contract situation] out somehow. It’s a big issue.”

Clark, a 2015 second-round pick, is having a career season in the final year of his rookie deal. He has career highs of 13 sacks and 25 QB hits.

The 25-year-old told reporters in October there’s no place he’d rather be than Seattle. Those comments came two days after Clark’s agent told ESPN his client was in no hurry to sign an extension, as the defensive end planned to maximize his earnings on his next contract. As part of the patient approach, Clark has an insurance policy to guard against injury.

If the two sides are unable to reach a long-term deal before spring, the Seahawks will likely use the franchise tag on Clark, which would give him a one-year salary around $19 million. The sides would then have until mid-July to hammer out a long-term extension, or else have Clark play the 2019 season on the tag.

Clark has made about $3.7 million total over four years on his rookie contract.

–Field Level Media

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49ers’ Buckner replaces Eagles’ Cox in Pro Bowl

49ers' Buckner replaces Eagles' Cox in Pro Bowl

49ers’ Buckner replaces Eagles’ Cox in Pro Bowl

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is Pro Bowl-bound for the first time in his three-year NFL career.

Buckner was selected to take the place of Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who is out due to a right foot injury that limited him Sunday in the Eagles’ 20-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints in a divisional playoff game.

A 24-year-old Hawaii native, Buckner finished this season with a career-high 12 sacks plus 67 tackles and three passes defensed. He started all 16 games for the 49ers, and he has missed just one start in his pro career. Buckner has 21 career sacks.

The 49ers selected Buckner with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Oregon, where he was the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Buckner joins two San Francisco teammates, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and tight end George Kittle, in the all-star game to be played Jan. 27 at Orlando, Fla.

Cox, 28, had been elected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth year in a row in his seventh NFL season. Starting every game for the defending Super Bowl champions, he notched 10.5 sacks, 46 tackles, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. He had five tackles (one for a loss) in two playoff games this month.

A Mississippi State product, the Eagles made Cox the 12th overall selection in the 2012 draft. He has 44.5 career sacks.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Falcons DE McKinley sent for mental evaluation

Report: Falcons DE McKinley sent for mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons

Report: Falcons DE McKinley sent for mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley was undergoing a mental evaluation Tuesday after being detained by police in Los Angeles, according to TMZ Sports.

He reportedly was involved in an undisclosed incident at a hotel, and a friend who was with McKinley became worried and called the police.

TMZ reported McKinley was not arrested. Instead, police encouraged him to seek help, and he agreed and went with police.

“We were recently made aware of the situation involving Takk in Los Angeles earlier today,” head coach Dan Quinn said in a statement. “Any time a situation occurs that is or could be related to mental health issues we take it very seriously. We will do everything we possibly can to support and assist Takk, as our players’ mental and physical well-being are always our top priority.”

McKinley, 23, was the No. 26 overall pick by the Falcons in the 2017 NFL Draft. A UCLA product, he agreed to a four-year, $10.2 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, which included a $5.6 million signing bonus, according to Spotrac.

In 31 games over two seasons, he has recorded 42 tackles, 13 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen missed several games this season as he dealt with a mental health issue.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles’ Jenkins added to NFC Pro Bowl roster

Eagles' Jenkins added to NFC Pro Bowl roster

Eagles’ Jenkins added to NFC Pro Bowl roster

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, replacing New York Giants safety Landon Collins, who will miss the game after undergoing shoulder surgery.

It will be the third Pro Bowl appearance as a member of the Eagles for Jenkins, 31, after a season in which he had 97 tackles, a sack, an interception and three forced fumbles.

Jenkins will join Eagles tight end Zach Ertz in the Jan. 27 game at Orlando, Fla. Philadelphia guard Brandon Brooks and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox were also named to the NFC team but are being replaced because of injuries.

Jenkins, in his 10th season out of Ohio State, has 17 career interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and six touchdowns.

Collins, 25, in his fourth season out of Alabama, had 67 tackles in 12 games and a forced fumble. He has eight career interceptions, three forced fumbles and a touchdown.

Other Giants players who will participate in the Pro Bowl include running back Saquon Barkley, linebacker Olivier Vernon and kicker Aldrick Rosas.

The defending champion Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs after a loss Sunday at New Orleans. In two playoff games, Jenkins recorded 15 tackles.

–Field Level Media

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Broncos hire Bears’ Donatell as DC

Broncos hire Bears' Donatell as DC

The Denver Broncos agreed Tuesday to hire former

Broncos hire Bears’ Donatell as DC

The Denver Broncos agreed Tuesday to hire former Chicago Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell as defensive coordinator, the team announced.

Donatell has been one of new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio’s top assistants since 2011 in San Francisco. He also had two previous tenures in Denver as the secondary coach, from 1995-99 as part of two Super Bowl-winning teams and a one-year stint in 2010.

“Ed’s been an integral part of top-10 defenses for six of the last eight seasons in two different places, and he’s a great fit to be our defensive coordinator,” Fangio said in a statement. “Having worked very closely with him for a number of years, Ed has a strong understanding of the entire defense from the front end to the back end with the defensive backs being his specialty.”

Donatell, who turns 62 in February, interviewed for the Bears’ coordinator position after Fangio left for Denver, but that job went to Chuck Pagano. The Bears wanted him back as DBs coach, but Donatell was free to leave as his contract expired.

In Denver, he will have the coordinator title for the fourth time in his career, though Fangio plans to call plays on Sundays. Donatell was last a coordinator with Washington in 2008, after previous stints running defenses in Green Bay (2000-03) and Atlanta (2004-06).

The Broncos announced earlier Tuesday they have hired former Bears outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley for the same position in Denver, after he spent two years under Fangio in Chicago.

Per 9News Denver, the Broncos are continuing to interview San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello on Tuesday for their opening at offensive coordinator, after beginning the process Monday.

There have been no other reported candidates for the offensive coordinator position. Gary Kubiak was expected to fill the role before philosophical differences disrupted the plan, and he has since been hired by the Minnesota Vikings.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Broncos hiring Bears’ Donatell as DC

Reports: Broncos hiring Bears' Donatell as DC

The Denver Broncos agreed Tuesday to hire

Reports: Broncos hiring Bears’ Donatell as DC

The Denver Broncos agreed Tuesday to hire former Chicago Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell as defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports.

Donatell has been one of new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio’s top assistants since 2011 in San Francisco. He also had two previous tenures in Denver as the secondary coach, from 1995-99 as part of two Super Bowl-winning teams and a one-year stint in 2010.

Donatell, who turns 62 in February, interviewed for the Bears’ coordinator position after Fangio left for Denver, but that job went to Chuck Pagano. The Bears wanted him back as DBs coach, but Donatell was free to leave as his contract expired.

In Denver, he will have the coordinator title for the fourth time in his career, though Fangio plans to call plays on Sundays. Donatell was last a coordinator with Washington in 2008, after previous stints running defenses in Green Bay (2000-03) and Atlanta (2004-06).

The Broncos announced earlier Tuesday they have hired former Bears outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley for the same position in Denver, after he spent two years under Fangio in Chicago.

Per 9News Denver, the Broncos are continuing to interview San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello on Tuesday for their opening at offensive coordinator, after beginning the process Monday.

There have been no other reported candidates for the offensive coordinator position. Gary Kubiak was expected to fill the role before philosophical differences disrupted the plan, and he has since been hired by the Minnesota Vikings.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers weighing options for QB Newton

Panthers weighing options for QB Newton

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper

Panthers weighing options for QB Newton

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has not ruled out the possibility that quarterback Cam Newton might miss the 2019 season as he recovers from a right shoulder injury.

Tepper spoke Tuesday with reporters at Bank of America Stadium about the state of the Panthers, who finished their regular season at 7-9. Newton missed the final two games of the season because of a sore shoulder, which was surgically repaired two years ago.

A reporter asked Tepper to compare Newton’s injury situation with that of Andrew Luck, who sat out the 2017 season because of a shoulder injury and came back strong this season.

“If you told me he took a year off and could recover and be fully recovered and everything else, and that’s what it took, an extra year, why wouldn’t you do (that)?” Tepper said. “Now, we would have to do other things, right? We’d have to go out and get another quarterback. If you could find me some more cap space, I’d appreciate that.”

Newton, who will turn 30 in May, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection who has passed for 182 touchdowns and rushed for 58 more in his first eight seasons with Carolina. In 14 starts last season, he passed for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing for 488 yards and four scores.

If Newton opts for another surgery or simply decides to rest his arm, the Panthers could choose from several veteran quarterbacks to help fill the void. Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick could be among the options.

“Hopefully, Cam’s shoulder is fantastic, right?” Tepper said. “And we’re hunky dory, all fantastic. If it’s not, you may need more cap space. You may need to go out and find somebody. If you don’t, you guys are going to be writing what a dope we are here. … You want to put yourself as best you can in a position to win, and I’m talking for the long term.”

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys LB Vander Esch replacing Kuechly in Pro Bowl

Cowboys LB Vander Esch replacing Kuechly in Pro Bowl

Cowboys LB Vander Esch replacing Kuechly in Pro Bowl

Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is headed to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, the Cowboys announced Tuesday.

Vander Esch, who turns 22 in February, set a Cowboys rookie record — by the team’s measurement — with 176 tackles despite starting just 11 games. (The NFL officially credited Vander Esch with 140.) He filled in for injured linebacker Sean Lee and then kept the starting job when Lee returned, chipping in two interceptions and seven passes defensed.

Drafted 19th overall last April, Vander Esch becomes the seventh rookie from the 2018 class to earn a Pro Bowl selection, joining running backs Saquon Barkley and Phillip Lindsay, guard Quenton Nelson, cornerback Denzel Ward, safety Derwin James and punter Michael Dickson.

Kuechly was not known to be dealing with an injury, but the NFL does not hold players to high standards to skip the Pro Bowl, which will be Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla. The 27-year-old missed just one practice all season, a veteran rest day leading up to Week 16.

–Field Level Media

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Colts part ways with OL coach DeGuglielmo

Colts part ways with OL coach DeGuglielmo

Colts part ways with OL coach DeGuglielmo

The Indianapolis Colts parted ways with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, the team announced Tuesday, despite his unit being one of the best in football this past season.

The team also announced assistant offensive line coach Bobby Johnson is leaving to take the lead job for the Buffalo Bills.

The Colts allowed an NFL-low 18 sacks and graded out second in pass blocking and fourth in run blocking by Football Outsiders, but DeGuglielmo is out after just one year because head coach Frank Reich wants to hire his own guy, NFL Network reported.

Indianapolis gave up a league-high 56 sacks in 2017.

DeGuglielmo was the only offensive coach hired last year by Josh McDaniels before the Patriots’ offensive coordinator changed his mind at the 11th hour to pass on the Colts’ head-coaching post. The Colts went on to hire Reich, who led the team to the playoffs as a wild card in his first season, in large part because of the revamped O-line.

Further, there were reports that Reich and DeGuglielmo weren’t on the same page. However, NFL Network reports Reich is recommending DeGuglielmo to others.

DeGuglielmo has been an assistant coach for 13 years, including previous stops in Miami, New England and with the New York Giants, the latter two resulting in Super Bowl titles.

Johnson will be in his second stint in Buffalo, after serving as assistant offensive line coach from 2010-11.

Whomever Reich hires in Indianapolis will inherit a group of young linemen led by All-Pro rookie left guard Quenton Nelson, rookie right tackle Braden Smith and former first-round center Ryan Kelly.

The Colts were ousted from the playoffs by the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys retain OL coach Colombo full-time

Cowboys retain OL coach Colombo full-time

The Dallas Cowboys will

Cowboys retain OL coach Colombo full-time

The Dallas Cowboys will keep Marc Colombo as their offensive line coach full-time, the team announced Tuesday, after he impressed during the second half of the 2018 season.

The Athletic reports the Cowboys gave Colombo, whose deal had expired, a three-year contract.

Colombo took over for Paul Alexander — who was fired just seven games into his first year with the Cowboys — at the end of October, and the line improved despite nagging injuries to left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin, as well as the absence of center Travis Frederick. Hudson Houck, a former Dallas O-line coach who returned in an advisory role after Alexander’s firing, told The Athletic he will not return to the team.

Some speculated the Cowboys could have a tough time retaining Colombo if the Miami Dolphins’ expected next head coach, current New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, wanted to hire him. Flores and Colombo were teammates at Boston College from 1999-2001.

Colombo, 40, played offensive tackle for the Cowboys from 2005-10 as part of a 10-year NFL career. He joined the Cowboys’ staff as an assistant in 2015 and was promoted to assistant offensive line coach in 2016.

–Field Level Media

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Browns reportedly add CFL head coach to staff

Browns reportedly add CFL head coach to staff

The Cleveland

Browns reportedly add CFL head coach to staff

The Cleveland Browns officially announced on Monday a list of assistant coaches to work with new head coach Freddie Kitchens, but they apparently have another name to add.

According to multiple reports Tuesday night, Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones is leaving his position and will join the Cleveland staff.

Davis Sanchez of Canadian sports network TSN said Jones will serve as senior defensive specialist.

Jones and Kitchens have a relationship that dates back more than 20 years. Jones, a Tennessee native, was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 1997, which was Kitchens’ final season at quarterback for the Crimson Tide.

Jones, 51, began coaching in the Canadian Football League in 2002 and was a part of four Grey Cup-winning teams. He was the CFL Coach of the Year in 2018.

The Browns have not confirmed Jones’ hiring, but they did confirm the following members of Kitchens’ staff on Monday: Todd Monken, offensive coordinator; Steve Wilks, defensive coordinator; Mike Priefer, special teams coordinator; James Campen, offensive line/associate head coach; Jody Wright, special assistant to the head coach; Ryan Lindley, quarterbacks; Stump Mitchell, running backs/run-game coordinator; and Jim Dray and Tyler Tettleton, offensive quality control.

The team is also reportedly interviewing former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Al Holcomb for a spot on Kitchens’ staff.

Holcomb, 48, spent five years as the Carolina Panthers’ linebackers coach before getting his first coordinator job last year.

–Field Level Media

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McIlroy commits to Farmers Insurance Open for first time

McIlroy commits to Farmers Insurance Open for first time

McIlroy commits to Farmers Insurance Open for first time

Rory McIlroy will tee it up at Torrey Pines next week at the Farmers Insurance Open, tournament organizers announced Tuesday.

This will be the first appearance in the San Diego-area event for the world No. 8 player, who noted his focus in 2019 will be on the PGA Tour. McIlroy recently finished in a three-way tie for fourth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, which also was a new event for the Northern Ireland native. While at Kapalua, McIlroy told reported he wanted to play once more before the Genesis Open in Southern California in mid-February.

The 29-year-old McIlroy has won 14 PGA Tour titles including four majors. His most recent victory was at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla., last March.

McIlroy joins a field that includes defending champion Jason Day, FedExCup champ Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Tiger Woods, who has played the event 17 times and won seven of them, has yet to commit to the Jan. 24-27 event.

The commitment deadline for the event is Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

–Field Level Media

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