Chargers hire Mike McCoy as head coach

975081.jpg

Chargers hire Mike McCoy as head coach

SAN DIEGO -- Mike McCoy's interview with San Diego went so well that both sides felt he was a perfect fit to become the Chargers' new coach. McCoy had one thing to do, though, before accepting the Chargers' offer, so it was a good thing Chargers President Dean Spanos' private plane was at his disposal. "There was no doubt in my mind when I got back on that plane to go back home," said McCoy, the former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator who was introduced Tuesday as Chargers' new coach. "They wanted to keep me here last night. But I said, I've got to talk to my wife about this before. If I made the decision without talking to my wife, I might get in a little trouble.'" So McCoy flew back to Denver to talk it over with wife Kellie. McCoy, his wife and their two children were back on the same plane Tuesday morning, flying back to San Diego to take the job. "Without a doubt we knew this was the place we wanted to be," said McCoy, who signed a four-year contract. McCoy replaces Norv Turner, who was fired along with general manager A.J. Smith after the Chargers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season. The move comes three days after the top-seeded Broncos were eliminated from the playoffs in a double-overtime home loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The 40-year-old McCoy is the same age as Tom Telesco, who was hired as general manager last week. He interviewed after the Chargers already had talked to Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, fired head coaches Lovie Smith and Ken Whisenhunt, and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. "Once he came in and once we saw how good he was, we just felt we had to have him now," Telesco said of McCoy. "We had to get it done or we'd lose him." "He was polished, prepared, had great questions, which I think is big, too, that he had a lot of questions for us," Telesco said. "It's a partnership between the GM and the head coach, through and through. We spend more time with each other during the season than we do with our own family so it's got to be a tight relationship. When he came in, after a little bit of time you could tell he was the right guy for us. We went after him hard." San Diego was scheduled to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Wednesday. Telesco, previously the Colts' vice president of football operations, called Arians on Tuesday morning and told him the Chargers had hired McCoy. "It was a tough phone call," Telesco said. "I have so much respect for Bruce. He's an excellent football coach. He's going to be a great head coach in this league. I was honest with him. I said, There's different situations, different fits, and right now, this is a fit for Mike McCoy.' He understood." McCoy inherits a team that hasn't won a playoff game since after the 2008 season. He thanked all the coaches and players he's worked with over the years for helping him get to this point. He also said he knew just a few minutes into his interview that San Diego was the right place. "They all laughed at me when I walked in yesterday with this big ol' bag with all these books and binders and everything," McCoy said. "Well, that's my life's work. We've got a detailed plan that Tom and I are going to put together. ... There's going to be some change. There's a reason for change. And change is good sometimes in organizations. We've just got to make the most of the opportunity we have moving forward." The Broncos have won consecutive AFC West titles. McCoy tutored quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow in 2011, and had Peyton Manning behind center in 2012. McCoy, who interviewed with the Miami Dolphins last year after retooling Denver's offense to the read-option for Tebow at midstream in 2011, burnished his head coaching credentials this season while blending the power formations the Broncos used in leading the league in rushing last year with Tebow and some of the spread formations that Manning ran in Indianapolis. "I think he's going to be a great head coach. Very detail-oriented, knows the game, relates with players very well," Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. "Peyton does a lot but Mike is very good at what he does and he did a great job this year, so a lot of credit needs to go to him, also," Stokley said. "I think that's what you need to be a head coach -- you need to be flexible. You need to do whatever you think is the best for your team to win and you know that's what he's done. You saw that last year. Not a lot of offensive coordinators in the NFL like running that kind of offense, but that's what he did and it was successful." McCoy said he was "a bit stubborn" after Tebow was made the starter in 2011, but then realized he needed to change the offense. "You take advantage of what your players do best," McCoy said. With the Chargers, McCoy will work with Philip Rivers, who struggled this season in large part because he was under siege behind a shaky offensive line. Rivers was sacked 49 times and committed 22 turnovers, giving him 47 turnovers in two seasons. "You go through the disappointment from the season and losing your coach to now having a new GM, new coach, and you get excited and ready to go for this 2013 season," Rivers said. "Once I found out that we were bringing him in on Monday, I was hoping he wasn't going to leave again. I'm excited that was the case and I'm looking forward to getting started." Denver swept the Chargers in 2012, including an epic 35-24 victory at San Diego on Oct. 15 when Manning calmly led the Broncos back from a 24-0 halftime deficit. McCoy was a walk-on quarterback at Long Beach State under coach George Allen. After the 49ers dropped football, he transferred to Utah. He signed with the Broncos as a free agent and spent his rookie season on Green Bay's practice squad. He had stops in NFL Europe and with San Francisco, Philadelphia and in the CFL. He began his pro coaching career with Carolina before moving to the Broncos in 2009. McCoy said he learned about detail and preparation from Allen, who coached the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. "He was not a big yeller and screamer, he just expected you to go out there and do your job and execute the system the way it was supposed to be executed," McCoy said. McCoy said he planned to hire an offensive coordinator to call plays. Turner called his own plays. McCoy was non-committal about defensive coordinator John Pagano, saying he planned to evaluate the entire staff. 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Zach Eflin's strong start nullified as Phillies give up late lead in loss to Giants

Zach Eflin's strong start nullified as Phillies give up late lead in loss to Giants

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO – Coming into AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, was not an easy assignment for the sputtering Phillies on Friday night.
 
The Giants were on fire. They had won 11 of their previous 12 games to go 20 games over .500 and open a six-game lead in the National League West. They were 22-13 at home and were playing in front of their 444th straight sellout crowd.
 
On top of it all, the Phillies would be sending a rookie to the mound for his third big-league start.
 
But Zach Eflin ended up delivering a strong start for the Phillies – he left after six innings with a one-run lead – one that secured his place in the rotation for now.
 
In the end, the Phillies suffered a 5-4 loss to the high-flying Giants because the bullpen couldn’t protect a one-run lead in the seventh inning and the bats couldn’t do enough to capitalize on eight base runners in the final two innings (see Instant Replay).
 
“That’s what the game boiled down to,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
The loss was the Phils’ 27th in the last 34 games, dropping them to 31-44.
 
If there was a positive for the Phils it was that they continued to swing the bats well after breaking out for 38 hits and 22 runs the previous three games in Minnesota. The Phils had 10 hits, one more than the Giants, and six of them were for extra bases. They could have used one of those extra-base hits against the Giants’ bullpen in the eighth or ninth inning, but it never came.
 
At least it never came with runners on base.
 
Maikel Franco tripled to open the eighth and the Phils loaded the bases with one out. They scored twice in the inning on a base hit and a walk, but didn’t get the big hit they needed. Ditto for the ninth inning. San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla loaded the bases with two outs on a walk, a single and a hit batsman.
 
The Phils’ last gasp came down to rookie Tyler Goeddel. He tapped a ball up toward third base that had the look of a game-tying infield hit. The play at first base was bang-bang. It was reviewed. Goeddel was out by inches. Ballgame.
 
“I thought I beat it,” Goeddel said. “Watching the replay, I guess I didn’t.”
 
The Phillies stranded 11 men in all.
 
Leaving men on base wasn’t the Phils’ only problem. Freddy Galvis got picked off first base with a man on second and two outs in the second.
 
The defense was shoddy. Ryan Howard started at first base and made two errors, one of which led to an unearned run in the first inning. That run eventually proved pivotal.
 
In the pivotal seventh inning, centerfielder Odubel Herrera failed to make a diving catch on a sinking liner by pinch-hitter Buster Posey. The ball hit Herrera’s glove.
 
“I thought he could have caught it,” Mackanin said. “It was huge.”
 
Posey’s hit put runners on first and second with no outs. The Giants rallied for four runs in the frame to come back from a 2-1 deficit and take a 5-2 lead.
 
Interestingly, Mackanin bypassed struggling veteran David Hernandez with a one-run lead in the seventh and went with Severino Gonzalez, who started the season in Double A.
 
“I had Hernandez [available] but he hasn’t been pitching well lately,” Mackanin said. “Severino is pitching better.”
 
Gonzalez gave up a leadoff hit. Giants manager Bruce Bochy sent up lefty-hitting Jarrett Parker. Mackanin countered with lefty reliever Elvis Araujo. Bochy yanked Parker for Posey, the All-Star catcher who was getting a night off. Posey delivered. Araujo then retired just one of the next three lefty hitters, a stretch that culminated with lefty-hitting Brandon Belt smacking a three-run double to put the Giants ahead. They scored another run before the inning was over. It proved important as the Phillies closed the gap late.
 
“Bochy took a gamble using two players at once, including his only other catcher,” Mackanin said. “I didn't think he would use Posey that early. But that wasn’t the game. The game boiled down to us not capitalizing on our base runners the last two innings.”

If the environment seemed difficult for the Phillies on Friday night, it will be even more so on Saturday when they have to face Madison Bumgarner and his minuscule 1.85 ERA. 

Best of MLB: Adam Lind's 3-run homer gives Mariners walk-off win

Best of MLB: Adam Lind's 3-run homer gives Mariners walk-off win

SEATTLE -- Adam Lind hit a game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning off St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal, and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Friday night to snap a six-game losing streak.

The Mariners opened the ninth with a double by Kyle Seager and a walk to Dae-Ho Lee. Lind reached down and drove a 1-1 pitch out to right field for his fourth career walk-off home run. It was the third home run allowed this season by Rosenthal (2-3) and his third blown save.

St. Louis had scored three times in the eighth inning without the help of a base hit. Seattle reliever Joaquin Benoit issued three walks and a hit batter and Kyle Seager's error on Matt Holliday's hard ground ball allowed two runs to score (see full recap).

Tomas, Diamondbacks rally for win over Rockies
DENVER -- Yasmany Tomas homered twice and drove in four runs, Michael Bourn had a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 10-9 on Friday night.

Jean Segura had three hits and scored the winning run for the Diamondbacks, who have won seven of their last eight.

Tomas' solo shot with one out in the ninth off Carlos Estevez (1-5) tied the game. Segura doubled one out later and Bourn singled him home with a sharp liner to left.

Estevez also got the loss in Arizona's 7-6 win Thursday night.

Tomas hit a three-run homer in Arizona's six-run seventh for his third career multihomer game.

Josh Collmenter (1-0) pitched to one batter in the eighth and Brad Ziegler worked a shaky ninth for his 16th save (see full recap).

Contreras helps Cubs snap 4-game skid
MIAMI -- Rookie Willson Contreras homered and drove in three runs to help the Chicago Cubs break their longest losing streak of the season at four games by beating the Miami Marlins 5-4 Friday night.

Contreras hit a two-run homer in the Cubs' four-run first inning. His RBI single in the seventh put the team with the best record in the majors ahead to stay. He's batting .412 with eight RBIs after seven games in the big leagues.

While Contreras again excelled as a reinforcement for the injury-hampered NL Central leaders, they endured another setback when second baseman Ben Zobrist left the game after he was hit by a pitch on the left ankle.

Four pitchers held the Marlins to two hits, including Justin Bour's grand slam (see full recap).

Flyers do their homework, trade down to draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov

Flyers do their homework, trade down to draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Were it not for the Russian drug scandal involving its under-18 World Junior squad this year, chances are, German Rubtsov would have been a top-10 NHL draft prospect.

The entire U-18 team was banned by WADA for testing positive for meldonium, a performance enhancer, at this year’s championships in Grand Forks.

Which is why Rubtsov fell in Friday’s draft at First Niagara Center as the Flyers traded down four picks to No. 22 to pluck a kid who was supposedly their best two-way centerman (see story).

“We were caught taking a not-allowed substance and weren’t allowed to go into the tournament,” the 6-foot-1, 174-pound forward said. “Obviously, a disappointment but it is over and I look to the future.

“None of us knew. We had a little glass of juice and tablets and [were] told in the morning to take this because it is good for your health. The coaching staff gave it to us.”

General manager Ron Hextall said the Flyers did extra homework on him because of the scandal.

“We dug deep here in terms of his character,” Hextall said. “I dug deeper than I’ve ever dug. More research on this kid than I’ve ever done. Really good character and team guy.”

Rubtsov, who turns 18 on Monday, does not speak English and used Flyers scout Ken Hoodikoff as his interpreter. Hoodikoff spent much time with Rubtsov this past year.

“We had lots of contact, more than any other team,” Rubtsov said. “Not worried I didn’t go higher. I was hoping to be drafted by the Flyers. I like Philadelphia. All year they kept an eye on me and talked to me. They put a big effort in.”

Rubtsov’s agent is Mark Gandler, who also represents Ivan Provorov. Gandler wants him playing somewhere in North America this season but that could be a long shot.

“He’s got a contract [with Vityaz],” Hextall said. “We’re prepared he’s going to the KHL this year. Not a lot of chance of him coming over here.”

Hextall said even if Rubtsov did come here, he would not be ready, even for the Phantoms.

“I’d like to try to play at the NHL level,” Rubtsov said. “If not, I’ll play wherever they tell me.”

European observers believe were it not for the scandal, Rubtsov might have been a top-10 pick.

“The Russian factor and him not being at the Under-18 was a big platform for him and there were multiple reasons [for sliding down],” Hextall said.

By trading down from No. 18 with Winnipeg, the Flyers missed out on drafting highly-touted Kieffer Bellows, a pure goal scorer.

The club needs goal-scoring wingers. Rubtsov is projected as a solid, all-around centerman.

Scouts say Rubtsov has considerable defensive awareness for such a young age. He likens himself to Evgeni Malkin and does not come from a hockey family background.

“I need to work on my quickness in every which way,” Rubtsov said. “I am a two-way player and pride myself on my hard work.”

Hextall emphasized his speed.

“He’s a really good hockey player, he brings speed,” Hextall said. “He’s got good size. Still 17. Really, really smart and plays the game the right way but pushes the pace.”