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DK Metcalf posts career high in receiving yards as Seattle Seahawks soar in Philadelphia



There’s something about Russell Wilson playing in primetime.

And there’s something about DK Metcalf playing in Philadelphia.

The Wilson-to-Metcalf combination — plus another strong performance from the Seattle Seahawks‘ resurgent defense — was enough for a 23-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Metcalf caught 10 passes for a career-high 177 yards while doing most of his damage against All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay. That topped his 160-yard performance at the same stadium in January, when he set an NFL rookie postseason record in Seattle’s wild-card win over the Eagles.

Monday night’s victory gives Seattle (8-3) a one-game lead in the NFC West over the Los Angeles Rams, and it gives the Seahawks seven straight wins over Philadelphia (including playoffs) dating back to 2011.

It also continues Wilson’s dominance under the lights. He’s now 29-8-1 in primetime games (defined as starting at 7 p.m. ET or later) for a .776 winning percentage. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that’s the best by any starting quarterback since 1950 with at least 20 starts. Steve Young (.767, 23-7) is second.

Wilson improved to 10-2 on Monday Night Football for an .833 winning percentage that is also first in MNF history.

Wilson completed 22 of 31 attempts for 230 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers. It was his second-straight game without an interception or lost fumble after the worst turnover funk of his career.

The Seahawks’ defense that was getting gashed at a historic rate over the first half of the season turned in its second straight strong performance. It forced three-and-outs on the Eagles’ first five possessions, sacked Carson Wentz six times and held Philadelphia to nine points until a late Hail Mary.

Metcalf sealed Seattle’s win by recovering the ensuing onside kick.

He topped 1,000 yards for the season Monday night and became the faster in Seahawks history (11th game) to hit that milestone.

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Woody Johnson to resume principal owner duties with New York Jets



FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets have a new coach and a new way of doing business.

On the day they introduced Robert Saleh as head coach, the Jets announced a reorganization of their power structure. It will be headed by chairman Woody Johnson, who flew back to the United States on Thursday after a completing a three-year term as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Johnson will resume his duties as the principal owner “quite soon,” according Christopher Johnson, who ran the franchise during his older brother’s absence. Christopher will become the vice chairman and will maintain a prominent role in the day-to-day operations.

Instead of reporting directly to ownership, as the two previous coaches did, Saleh will work directly with general manager Joe Douglas. This means greater power for Douglas, who spearheaded the coaching search and still will report to ownership.

Christopher Johnson said the new setup is “a clean and simple way to do things.” One aspect of the dynamic is unusual in that Saleh hasn’t met Woody Johnson, who has owned the team since 2000. Woody Johnson, who lived in London, wasn’t directly involved in the coaching search.

“I haven’t had a conversation with Woody yet,” Saleh said during a virtual news conference. “[I’m] really excited to get the opportunity in the near future.”

Saleh said he’s “not concerned at all” about his lack of familiarity with his boss, adding that he expects it to be “a collaborative effort.”

Woody Johnson will have the final say on all decisions, according to Christopher Johnson, who expects “a fair amount of continuity” because of a strong working relationship with his brother.

While serving overseas, Woody Johnson was the subject of U.S. government investigation that concluded he made racist and sexist remarks. Johnson issued a denial.

In four seasons with Christopher Johnson as the acting owner, the Jets went 18-46, finishing in last place in the division three times.

Clearly, Saleh is walking into a massive challenge, but he was upbeat and confident during his introduction to the media.

“Get used to the mantra: All gas, no brake,” said Saleh, who signed a five-year contract.

Saleh, who spent the past four seasons as the San Francisco 49ers‘ defensive coordinator, said he won’t call the defensive plays. That will allow him to be a CEO-type coach, a departure from the previous staff — a welcome change from the organization’s point of view. Former coach Adam Gase called the offensive plays and focused mainly on that side of the ball.

Saleh will entrust the defensive playcalling to newly hired coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, mostly recently the Atlanta Falcons‘ interim defensive coordinator.

Former 49ers passing-game coach Mike LaFleur will be the offensive coordinator, Saleh confirmed.

The biggest question facing Saleh is the future of quarterback Sam Darnold. Repeating Douglas’ public stance on Darnold, Saleh praised the former first-round draft pick, but he stopped short of committing to him as the starter.

Saleh said he’s still evaluating the roster. With the second pick in this April’s draft, the Jets could opt for a quarterback. He wasn’t about to tip their hand.

“He’s got unbelievable arm talent,” Saleh said of Darnold, the NFL’s lowest-rated passer in 2020. “There’s a reason why he was the No. 3 pick in the [2018] draft. He’s fearless in the pocket. He’s got a natural throwing motion. He’s mobile. He’s extremely intelligent. He’s tough as nails. His reputation in the locker room is unquestioned.

“You can see all those qualities on tape and around the building by the way people speak about him.”

Ultimately, the decision belongs to Douglas, who has the final say on the roster.

The prevailing theme in the news conference was Saleh’s leadership and ability to connect with players, something the Jets felt was lacking under Gase.

“When we met him,” Christopher Johnson said of Saleh, “we knew we had our coach.”

Saleh, trying to rebuild the culture, already has reached out to every player via text. He said there’s “a lot of talent on this roster” — he gushed about defensive tackle Quinnen Williams — yet he acknowledged there’s a lot of work to be done.

“It will take time,” he said, “but everything we do will be designed to win championships in the future.”

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Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, 59, retires from NFL again



MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings will soon begin searching for their sixth offensive coordinator since 2014.

Gary Kubiak, who has been with the franchise since 2019 and spent last season as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday after 36 seasons as a coach and player.

“I’ve been on a football field for most of my life, and now I look forward to stepping away from the game and enjoying more time with my family and friends,” Kubiak said in a statement. “I offer my sincere thanks to the owners and fans of the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers for giving me opportunities to be a part of this great game and for treating me and my family so well over the years.

“I’ll miss the competition, the planning, game days and being part of a team. But, more than anything, I’ll cherish the friendships I’ve made along the way with players, coaches and staff. I love the game of football and will forever be its biggest fan.”

This is the second time Kubiak has announced his retirement from football in the last four years. Citing health concerns following the 2016 season, Kubiak retired as the head coach of the Broncos one year after leading Denver to a championship in Super Bowl 50. He is the only person in NFL history to have played in the Super Bowl and later won it as a head coach with the same team.

Kubiak returned to the Broncos six months after retiring in 2017 and worked with the scouting staff as a senior personnel adviser for two seasons. He was hired by Vikings coach Mike Zimmer in 2019 to preside over the offense as an adviser and assistant head coach while Kevin Stefanski called plays as the offensive coordinator. Once Stefanski was hired as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Kubiak took over coordinator duties.

“Gary did a tremendous job with us at the Vikings over the past two seasons,” Zimmer said. “I have a great deal of respect for him as a coach and as a person, and I’m glad I was able to coach with him. He has had one heck of an NFL career as a player, assistant coach and head coach, and I am really happy for Gary and his wife Rhonda as they head off to their ranch. We will all miss Gary at the Vikings organization and wish him the very best.”

In one season as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator, the Vikings finished fourth in total offense and 11th in scoring under Kubiak with quarterback Kirk Cousins rebounding from throwing 10 interceptions in his first six games to finishing a 7-9 campaign with a career-high 35 touchdowns.

Running back Dalvin Cook earned MVP consideration while rushing for a career-high 1,557 yards and 17 total touchdowns while Justin Jefferson broke the franchise’s record for catches and receiving yards as a rookie and is second all-time with 1,400 receiving yards in his first NFL season.

According to several league sources, the Vikings are considering promoting from within to fill the offensive coordinator opening. Kubiak’s son, Klint, arrived with his father in 2019 as the Vikings’ quarterbacks coach and could be in line to take over his father’s post. Klint Kubiak, 33, has never called plays in the NFL.

Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani were also brought in with Gary Kubiak in 2019.

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Atlanta Falcons lure Dean Pees out of retirement to be defensive coordinator, source says



Dean Pees is coming out of retirement to join Arthur Smith’s coaching staff with the Atlanta Falcons as the team’s new defensive coordinator, a source confirmed to ESPN on Friday.

NFL Network was the first to report the move.

Pees’ second retirement last just more than a year after he walked away from the Tennessee Titans following the 2020 season.

He has 47 years of coaching experience, including 16 NFL seasons.

Pees, 71, retired for the first time after the 2018 season when he left after six seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Six weeks later, he was hired by Mike Vrabel as the Titans’ defensive coordinator.

The veteran coach is one of eight defensive coordinators in NFL history to coach in a Super Bowl with two different teams. He was part of a Super Bowl-winning staff for both the Ravens and New England Patriots.

Pees, known for elaborate schemes and his ability to confuse quarterbacks, broke into the NFL as a linebackers coach with the Patriots in 2004.

The Falcons on Thursday also hired Marquice Williams as special teams coordinator, a source confirmed to ESPN.

ESPN’s Turron Davenport contributed to this report.

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