Where Did Andy Reids Assistants Wind Up?

Where Did Andy Reids Assistants Wind Up?

While we await the Eagles’ formal introduction of Chip
Kelly’s new coaching staff, in particular the naming of a defensive
coordinator, many of the assistants who served Philadelphia under Andy Reid are
already finding work. Marty Mornhinweg, Todd Bowles, and Bobby April have all
managed to land on their feet since the band broke up.

In fact, Juan Castillo will even be on the sidelines for the
Baltimore Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII less than two weeks from today.

John Harbaugh, a colleague of Castillo’s for many years with
the Eagles, hired the former offensive line coach to be a consultant leading up
to the big game, and he will join the staff in a full-time capacity as the club’s
running game coordinator once the season ends. We’re not exactly sure what a
running game coordinator is, but Castillo turned down other offers – including Reid
– to take the job in Baltimore.

It’s good to see Castillo wind up with a gig, and spurn Andy
in the process, after the impossible situation he was put in during his last
two years with the Birds. While he’s taken a step or two down the ladder in the
process, he still appears to be a better situation than several of the other
departed coaches.

Todd Bowles

Bowles landed quite possibly the cushiest job of the bunch
having been named defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, the
12th-ranked unit in the NFL this season. Apparently running Philly’s defense
into the ground after taking over at coordinator for Castillo after six games
didn’t hurt his stock too much – although to be fair to Bowles, something was
obviously amiss behind the scenes.

Marty Mornhingweg

Marty was named offensive coordinator of the New York Jets,
where he’ll have his work cut out for him. Assuming the organization doesn’t
move on from Mark Sanchez, who has guarantees built into his contract,
Mornhinweg is tasked with restoring a quarterback that has a career 71.6 passer
rating over four seasons. There are also rumors it’s a potential destination
for Michael Vick, so good luck with all of that.

Bobby April

Hailed as a special teams guru upon his arrival, the Eagles’
third unit never looked very strong under April at any point during his
three-year tenure. Now he packs up his act and heads to the Oakland Raiders, a
team whose two best players are often special teamers – the punter and place
kicker.

Jim Washburn

Lucky for Wash, the Detroit Lions still want to utilize the
wide-9, and his son happens to be on the staff there. Nothing beats a little
nepotism! Word is the disgraced defensive line coach will join the team as an
assistant, though he is not there to replace anybody on the current staff, so
he should at least have a vast reduction of power.

Howard Mudd

The long-time offensive line coach has presumably gone back
into retirement after Reid lured him away two years ago, so we’ve probably seen
the last of him.

Doug Pederson

After playing under Reid in Green Bay and Philly, Pederson
joined the Eagles’ staff in 2009, spending the past couple seasons as
quarterbacks coach. He followed Andy to Kansas City, where he becomes the
offensive coordinator. That’s a big step up for Pederson, although Reid will
reportedly call the plays for the Chiefs.

Duce Staley

As you can see, the Eagles mostly allowed their coaches to
depart whether they were under contract or not, but there was one notable
exception. Reid wanted to take coaching intern and former Bird Staley to KC,
but the front office blocked the move, and now Duce is expected to stay on as
running backs coach. They must really like something they see, enough to
replace Ted Williams, who had been the running backs coach since ’97. Williams will switch to tight ends coach to accommodate (h/t KonfusedKendrick).

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Maikel Franco's benching continues as Howie Kendrick readies to play 3rd base in minors

Maikel Franco's benching continues as Howie Kendrick readies to play 3rd base in minors

The benching of Maikel Franco lasted for a second day Wednesday.

When will it end?

"It's a day-to-day thing," Pete Mackanin said. "No specific plan."

Franco is hitting just .221 with a .281 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage.

Mackanin first benched his third baseman/cleanup hitter on Tuesday. At the time, the manager said he was trying to take some heat off the slumping Franco and let him clear his mind, but the overriding reason for the benching is simple: Mackanin is looking for Franco to make the fundamental adjustments in his swing that will lead to more production.

"At this level you've got to produce," Mackanin said Tuesday. "You want to play, you've got to hit and they have to understand that. Nobody is here on scholarship.

"As much as he works in the cage and on the field in batting practice and does it right, when he gets in the game his head is still flying and his bat is coming out of the zone.

"I can't teach you to keep your head in there. I can tell you to do it, but you have to do it on your own and he's got to figure it out. … If you make outs the same way over and over, it's not going to change."

Franco on Wednesday said he understands the benching. He is disappointed in his production.

"Yes, I'm disappointed," he said. "I know I can produce better and help the team more. Nobody wants to be in this situation, hitting .220. The only thing to do is try to get better.

"I think any good hitter hitting .220 is going to be disappointed. I will not stop working and doing what I have to to get better."

Typically, a manager, especially one such as Mackanin, whose strength is communication, would speak to a player and lay out the reasons for an extended benching.

But Mackanin has chosen to let the lineup card do the talking on this one. He'd like to speak with Franco about the situation, but wants the player to come to him.

It doesn't sound like that's going to happen.

"They understand and I understand, you know?" Franco said. "I'm not the guy to go into the manager's office and say, 'Why am I not in the lineup?' I want to play. He knows what he's doing and I know what I'm capable of doing. Every single day when I come in, I'm 100 percent mentally ready to be in the lineup and I'm ready to play. If I'm not in the lineup, I have to get relaxed and just try to do everything I can to make an adjustment so when I'm in the lineup, I'll do my job."

Andres Blanco played third base in place of Franco on Tuesday and Wednesday. If Franco doesn't improve when he gets back in the lineup — whenever that may be — there could soon be another player in the mix at third base.

Howie Kendrick began a minor-league rehab assignment at Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night. He played left field in that game. Mackanin said the rehab stint would last four games and that Kendrick would also play first and third base.

Do the math on that one.

Franco can be optioned to the minors so that could also be a possibility if his problems persist.

NHL Notes: Penguins, Senators have chance at history in Game 7

NHL Notes: Penguins, Senators have chance at history in Game 7

PITTSBURGH -- Craig Anderson is a realist, the byproduct of 15 years playing the most demanding position in the NHL.

The Ottawa goaltender would like to chalk his 45-save masterpiece in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh up to his own brilliance. He knows that's not exactly the case.

"I think you need to be a little bit lucky to be good at times," Anderson said.

Ottawa has relied on a bit of both during its deepest playoff run in a decade and Anderson helped force Game 7 Thursday night. Yet here the Senators are, alive and still skating with a chance to eliminate the deeper, more experienced and more explosive Stanley Cup champions.

So much for the series being over after the Penguins destroyed Ottawa 7-0 in Game 5.

"I think, if you believe you're beaten, you're done already," Anderson said. "If you believe that you can win, there's always a chance."

All the Senators have to do to reach the Stanley Cup Final for just the second time in franchise history is take down one of the league's marquee franchises on the road in a building where they were beaten by a touchdown last time out.

No pressure or anything. Really. The Senators weren't supposed to be here. Then again, in a way neither were the Penguins. No team has repeated in nearly two decades and at times during the season and even during the playoffs this group was too beat up. Too tired from last spring's Cup run. The bullseye on their backs too big.

Yet they've survived behind the brilliance of stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, coach Mike Sullivan's impeccable decisions and a resiliency that has them one game from being the first Cup champion to return to the finals since Detroit in 2009.

Those Red Wings, by the way, fell to the Penguins in seven games. There have been several Game 7s for Pittsburgh in the interim on both sides of the ledger, though the Penguins are 2-0 in Game 7s under Sullivan. They edged Tampa Bay in Game 7 of last year's East finals and clinically disposed of Presidents' Trophy winner Washington in Game 7 of the second round earlier this month (see full story).

Predators: Goalie Rinne on smothering run
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Knocking the smile off Pekka Rinne's face right now is nearly impossible.

The longest-tenured player with the Nashville Predators, the 34-year-old goaltender finally will play in his first Stanley Cup Final in his ninth full NHL season.

"As a player, I feel like I've had a fairly long career and never had this opportunity," Rinne said. "So very fortunate and really appreciate this opportunity. I guess as a player you just enjoy being in this position. Enjoy the chance that you get, and you put your body on the line every night and give everything you have."

Teammates call the 6-foot-5 Finn the backbone of the Predators, and he's probably the best goalie in the world at the moment. He handles the puck like an extra defenseman. He foils the dump-and-chase efforts of opponents. And, oh, is he good in front of the net, aggressive with forwards in the crease, seeing seemingly everything and occasionally making saves with a Dominik Hasek-like contortion.

Not only is Rinne a playoff-best 12-4, his .945 save percentage ranks third all-time for a single postseason behind a pair of Conn Smythe Trophy winners in Jean-Sebastien Giguere for Anaheim in 2003 and Jonathan Quick for Los Angeles in 2012, according to HockeyReference.com. Rinne's 1.70 goals-against average is 10th all-time for one postseason.

"What he does every night, you can't put into words," Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban said (see full story).

Blues: Sydor returns to Blues as assistant
ST. LOUIS -- Darryl Sydor has returned to the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach under mentor Mike Yeo.

Sydor agreed to a three-year deal Wednesday.

The 45-year-old Sydor finished his 18-year NHL playing career with the Blues in 2009-10, then broke into coaching as Yeo's assistant the next season with the American Hockey League's Houston Aeros. Sydor went with Yeo to Minnesota and spent five years with the Wild before working as an assistant last season with the Blues' then-Chicago affiliate in the AHL.

Sydor was a defenseman for Los Angeles, Dallas, Columbus, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, winning Stanley Cup titles with Dallas and Tampa Bay.

Coyotes: Cunningham hired as pro scout
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have hired Craig Cunningham as a pro scout and say he will assist with player development.

General manager John Chayka announced the two-year contract Wednesday that allows Cunningham to remain in hockey.

Cunningham collapsed on the ice with a cardiac disturbance prior to a game Nov. 19 while playing for the American Hockey League's Tucson Roadrunners and required emergency life-saving care. He had part of his left leg amputated and saw his playing career end.

But the 26-year-old who was captain of the Roadrunners last season says he's excited to start the next chapter of his hockey career in the Coyotes' front office. Chayka called Cunningham a "smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game" that he believes will translate to his new job.