Falcons, Jaguars seeking win for different reasons

Conversations about Atlanta’s Dan Quinn and Jacksonville’s Gus Bradley were a lot different a couple of months ago.

The Falcons started the season 5-0, and the first-year coach looked like he would get the team back to the playoffs after a two-year absence. The Jaguars lost five of their first six games, couldn’t get out of their own way and were surrounded by speculation about Bradley’s future.

The talk has changed dramatically since. Now, the good friends and former Seattle assistants need a win for different reasons when Jacksonville hosts Atlanta on Sunday.

The Falcons (6-7) have dropped six in a row, seven of eight and are on the verge of being eliminated from wild-card contention in the NFC.

“We got off to a hot start, that’s for sure, and we have struggled really the last two months and haven’t played the way that we’re capable of,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing. On the offensive side of the ball … we’ve got to find a way of scoring more touchdowns and protecting the ball a little bit better.”

The Jaguars (5-8), meanwhile, have found some rhythm offensively, set several franchise records and have an outside shot at winning the muddled AFC South. Jacksonville is one game behind division co-leaders Indianapolis and Houston, and can catch one of them with a victory Sunday.

“I just know that we’re not first, so we need to take care of our business and win out and get some help,” Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis said. “Games in November and December haven’t been meaningful around here since like ’07, so it feels good to be in that position.”

Quinn and Bradley were in the same spot, Seattle, in 2009 and 2010.

Bradley was the Seahawks defensive coordinator, and Quinn was the defensive line coach. Together, they helped build Seattle into one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses.

Quinn left after two seasons and returned to college to become Florida’s defensive coordinator. But when the Jaguars hired Bradley in 2013, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll asked Quinn to return. Quinn did and helped guide the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl victory.

Quinn and Bradley talk and text often, congratulating each other on wins and talking philosophies and “better ways to do things,” Quinn said.

“It’s just a great connection for me and one that I have great regard and great respect for,” he added. “I really do.”

Their former boss, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, will be watching their first matchup closely from afar.

“That’s great. I think that’s awesome,” Carroll said. “We watch them really intently.”

• • •

Here are some other things to know about Atlanta and Jacksonville, who are playing for the sixth time:

JAMMING JONES: Jaguars cornerback Davon House has done a decent job covering some of the league’s top receivers this season, including Miami’s Jarvis Landry, New England’s Julian Edelman, Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton, and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins. The 6-foot-3 Julio Jones, who leads the NFL with 109 receptions, could provide a tougher challenge. “Davon House is starting to understand who he is, what his strengths are and what areas he needs to work on,” Bradley said. “I’ve seen that the last probably two or three weeks it’s really been evident. When you’ve got that, then you’ve got a great chance for taking the bar higher.”

STREAK BUSTERS: Jacksonville has broken several losing streaks this season, which could bode well for the Falcons. Tampa Bay and Tennessee snapped 11-game home skids against the Jags, and San Diego ended a six-game losing streak in Jacksonville last month.

IN AND OUT: Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny will return after missing one game with a broken right hand. He will play with it heavily wrapped. The Jags will be without leading rusher T.J. Yeldon, who sprained a ligament in his left knee last week. Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is expected to make his first start of the season.

HOME/ROAD FINALE: This marks Atlanta’s final road trip of the season and the team’s third straight game away from home. The Jaguars, meanwhile, play their final two games on the road, so this is their home finale.

AVOIDING HISTORY: The Falcons need to win two of their final three games to avoid becoming the first team in NFL history to finish with a losing record after starting 5-0.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Tampa Bay Rowdies sign forward Tom Heinemann

The Tampa Bay Rowdies have added one of the most impressive goal scorers in the North American Soccer League with the addition of Tom Heinemann. The forward has signed a two-year contract, with a club option for the 2018 season. Per club and league policy, further contract details are not disclosed.

Heinemann is fresh off an appearance in the NASL’s Championship Final, where he scored two goals for Ottawa Fury FC in a 3-2 loss to the New York Cosmos. He also scored twice on Minnesota United FC in the semifinal round of The Championship, tallying four postseason goals in two games.

“I value Tom Heinemann very highly and I’ve been tracking his game for a while now,” Tampa Bay Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I believe he’s a very good player and he’s scored plenty of goals, which is obviously required for a striker, but even if he’s not scoring, he brings a lot to the show. He holds the ball up well, he’s big and he always puts in a lot of work for his team.”

In the last two seasons, Heinemann has played in more than 50 matches for Ottawa, scoring 18 goals, including 12 in 2015.

“My family and I are very excited to be joining the Tampa Bay Rowdies next season,” commented Heinemann. “I’m happy to be joining an organization with a rich tradition of winning and giving back to the community. I would like to thank Bill Edwards, Stuart Campbell and Perry Van Der Beck for this opportunity, as well as my agent Eddie Rock and Libero Sports. I look forward to meeting the fans in Tampa Bay and getting started on a successful 2016 season. COYR!”

The 28-year old forward is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and began his professional career with the Charleston Battery in 2009. Heinemann played for the Carolina RailHawks in 2010, scoring six goals in 12 matches for the NASL side before moving on to Major League Soccer.

Heinemann played for the Columbus Crew from 2011 to 2012, before making his way to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2013.

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WaPo Drops the Mic on “He or She”

The Washington Post has updated its style guide: “e-mail” is now “email”, “Web sites” are now “websites”, and perhaps most significantly, “they/them/their” will now be used as gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronouns, instead of defaulting to “he/him/his” or recasting to make a sentence plural (e.g. “Readers will have their own opinions” will now be the more precise “Each reader will have their own opinion.”). Post copy editor (and proprietor of The Slot) Bill Walsh notes “I suspect that the singular they will go largely unnoticed even by those who oppose it on principle. We’ve used it before, if inadvertently, and I’ve never heard a complaint.”

Multi-talented, second-generation bluesman, Chris Thomas King, returns to the Side Door tonight

So happy to welcome back Chris Thomas King for his third visit to the Side Door Cabaret tonight (12-9). Chris’ sets are rich and varied – he’s a singer, a musician, a story-teller and a natural performer. If you haven’t seen him, don’t miss this chance.

There are still some tickets available, so follow this link for online sales, 0r come to our box office tonight before the 7:30 p.m. show.

Here’s a some info about Chris from his IMDB page:

Chris+Thomas+KingGrammy Award-winning blues artist, producer, composer and actor Chris Thomas King was born in 1962. His father, Tabby Thomas is a well-respected blues musician and owner of the famed Baton Rouge blues club Tabby’s Blues Box and Heritage Hall.

He grew up among the finest blues musicians in the genre at his father’s blues club and began touring with artists like Buddy Guy and B. B. King in his teens. His music was not only influenced by the blues, but by early hip-hop and country music, styles he fuses to create his own unique sound.

He writes, arranges, sings and plays all instruments on most of his recordings and produces them as well in his New Orleans recording studio. Chris is the most successful blues musician of his generation having sold more than ten million records in the United States.

As an entrepreneur, Chris took control of his master recordings in the early 1900s, founding the New Orleans record company 21st Century Blues Records to promote a more authentic image and sound than was promoted at most corporate record labels at the time. He coined and trademarked the phrase “21st. Century Blues” in 1993.

He owns and manages his own recording studio, 21st. Century Blues Studios, where he produces not only his own music but music for motion pictures.

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New York Times calls for more gun regulation in first Page 1 editorial in 95 years

The New York Times is using space on its front page to call for greater gun regulation in the wake of recent deadly mass shootings.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. says the newspaper is running its first Page 1 editorial since 1920 on Saturday to “deliver a strong and visible statement of frustration and anguish about our country’s inability to come to terms with the scourge of guns.”

The Times’ editorial suggests drastically reducing the number of firearms and even “eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.”

The editorial comes after three people were fatally shot at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last week and 14 people were killed in a shooting Wednesday at a social services center in San Bernardino, California.

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