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West Ham 'readying £120,000-a-week contract offer for Declan Rice'

West Ham ‘readying £120,000-a-week contract offer for star man Declan Rice’ as they look to tie up his future and fend off Chelsea interest before the January transfer window

  • Declan Rice has long been linked with a big-money move to Chelsea
  • But the midfielder will be offered a new lucrative deal to stay at West Ham 
  • Rice is key for club and country and the Hammers are desperate to keep him
  • Though Rice’s contract runs until 2024, he will be offered a one-year extension 

West Ham are reportedly preparing a big-money contract offer to star man Declan Rice in the coming weeks as they look to tie down the 21-year-old with Chelsea still interested in his signature. 

Rice has become West Ham’s most important player and was again integral as the Hammers held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in the Premier League. 

A regular for both club and country in the centre of the park, Rice has attracted interest from boyhood club Chelsea but according to the Daily Star, West Ham are set to offer Rice a new deal which would double his £60,000-a-week wages. 

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is set to be offered a new contract, according to reports 

Rice could see his weekly salary double to £120,000 and his deal extended by a year 

The report details that though Rice’s current contract runs until 2024, the Hammers will offer a one-year extension to fend off interest from the Blues before the transfer window re-opens in January.   

Rice was linked with a £60million move to Stamford Bridge in the summer but a move never materialised. 

West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold are committed to keeping Rice at the club, having already raised his salary from £3,000-a-week to £60,000-a-week in the first two years of his five year deal. 

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea were interested in a summer deal but a move did not materialise

Chelsea invested heavily in the summer window, spending £222m on new players, but did not strengthen in central midfield.  

Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are the current regulars in Frank Lampard’s side, after Ross Barkley was allowed to leave on loan to Aston Villa. 

Rice is also best friends with Chelsea attacking midfielder Mason Mount, who is also a team-mate with England.  

The 21-year-old is best friends with Chelsea midfielder and England team-mate Mason Mount 

Rice has already made over 100 Premier League appearances for West Ham at the age of 21, scoring three goals. 

He has established himself as an integral part of West Ham’s midfield and last season was named their Young Player of the Year for the third season running. 

He has also registered 11 caps for England, having switched allegiance from the Republic of Ireland in 2019.  




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England Women cancel Tuesday's friendly against Germany due to positive coronavirus test

England Women have cancelled Tuesday’s friendly in Germany following a positive coronavirus test among the team’s backroom staff.

The fixture, which was due to take place behind closed doors at the Brita-Arena in Wiesbaden, was to be England’s first competitive fixture since the SheBelieves Cup in March.

  • Lionesses training match: What did we learn?
  • Injury forces Russo out of England Women squad

Phil Neville and the squad met up for a training camp at St George’s Park this week are were set to fly to Germany on Sunday but those plans have been shelved at the last minute.

The rest of the camp has now been cancelled and England’s players will return to their respective clubs.

The current COVID-19 protocol in Germany requires that any individual who tests positive whilst in the country must self-isolate for 14 days and the FA said they “cannot take the risk that this may happen to a player or member of England staff”.

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In a statement, the FA’s chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “This has been a difficult but necessary decision. Nothing is more important than the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and colleagues under our care.

“We are very grateful to the DFB for their cooperation and understanding and look forward to the possibility of a future fixture in healthier and safer times.”

As hosts of the delayed 2021 European Championships, which will now take place in July 2022, England have not had any qualifying games to play.

England have been set a target of winning the World Cup or European Championship by 2024 and have been keen to return to competitive action. They are due to take on Norway in a friendly at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane on December 1.

On the cancellation, Neville said: “While we all wanted to play Tuesday’s game, this was absolutely the right course of action. I thank Germany’s staff for their understanding and our FA colleagues for their support.

“I know the fans were hoping to see us play again but I am sure they will understand the decision. We have still had a good week of training and are looking forward to getting together next month before our match against Norway in Sheffield.”

Neville’s side disappointed at the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year, beating only Japan and losing to hosts USA and Spain.

Training games: 𝙖𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 competitive, 𝙖𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 fun. 😤 pic.twitter.com/3IgA06Ax5r

The team played an intra-squad training match on Friday, during which Chelsea’s Fran Kirby had to be taken off on a golf cart just before half-time after a tackle on Georgia Stanway.

England’s last meeting with Germany was a 2-1 defeat last November, with Klara Buhl scoring the winner in the final minute for the visitors in front of a record crowd of nearly 80,000 at Wembley.

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Frank Lampard ‘confused and frustrated’ after VAR ignored Chelsea penalty claim against Harry Maguire


Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said he was frustrated and confused that his team were denied a penalty in Saturday’s 0-0 Premier League draw at Manchester United.

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was grabbed by his United counterpart Harry Maguire when challenging for a header in the first half but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) dismissed the London club’s penalty claims after reviewing the incident.

“I thought it was a clear penalty. I couldn’t see it at the time from where I was standing and those ones are hard calls for the referee. It’s why we brought VAR into the game, but VAR was very quick to dismiss it,” Lampard told reporters.

“They should have taken time and advised the referee to look at the monitor. If he watches the monitor, he has to give the penalty, so it’s confusing. There’s a frustration because the rules seemed to be moving in the right direction.

“The referees were looking at the monitor a bit more at the start of the season. The person on the pitch should always take first responsibility and that was given back to them with the monitor.”

The result extended United’s wait for a first league win at Old Trafford this season and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his team were missing the energy of fans, who are not allowed to watch matches in stadiums amid the Covid-19 crisis.

But the Norwegian was encouraged by the debut of new signing Edinson Cavani, who joined United earlier this month.

“He showed in glimpses what he can do. He’ll give us a presence in the box. He’s an experienced centre forward and the more we get the ball into him in and around the box we’ll get goals from him,” Solskjaer said.

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Arsenal vs Leicester prediction: How will Premier League fixture play out tonight?


Arsenal host Leicester City on Sunday night, with both teams aiming to break into the top four of the Premier League.

The Foxes almost managed it last season before a late loss of form, and injuries are hampering their chances of consistency in 2020/21, too.

A big win at Man City has been followed up by successive league defeats, but Leicester did win in the Europa League in midweek.

FA Cup winners Arsenal also took a European victory, and they’ll be hoping to edge ahead of their rivals with a win here.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the match.

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When is the match?

The game kicks off at 7:15pm GMT on Sunday, 25 October at the Emirates Stadium.

Where can I watch it?

The match will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office on a pay-per-view basis. This can be bought through the Sky Sports Box Office app – available on a NowTV box, smart stick or on PC, Mac or mobile device.

What is the team news?

Arsenal have the same long-term absentees as recently in Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Gabriel Martinelli. Dani Ceballos and Willian are the doubts.

For Leicester the big worry is Jamie Vardy and his ongoing calf issues. Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu and Wilf Ndidi are unavailable for the foreseeable future.

Predicted line-ups

ARS: Leno; Luiz, Magalhaes, Tierney; Bellerin, Thomas, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

LEI: Schmeichel; Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Justin; Mendy; Ayoze, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho.

Odds

Arsenal – 28/29

Draw – 39/14

Leicester – 3/1

Prediction

Much might hinge on the fitness levels of Leicester pair Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, with the latter returning to scoring form in midweek. If neither are at 100 per cent, Arsenal should have enough firepower of their own even without Willian to edge the win. Arsenal 2-1 Leicester

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Koeman's VAR rant leads Spanish papers after El Clasico defeat

‘Koeman explodes!’: Furious Barcelona boss put under the microscope by Spanish press over his VAR rant after Clasico loss… but Real’s win is hailed with cheerleaders boasting ‘Madrid always return’

  • Barcelona suffered defeat against rivals Real Madrid in El Clasico on Saturday 
  • A controversial penalty awarded against the hosts saw Ronald Koeman angered 
  • The Barcelona said after the final whistle that VAR is always against his side  
  • Sergio Ramos converted from the spot kick with Real running out 3-1 victors 

Ronald Koeman’s fury with the referee and VAR after Barcelona’s El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid has featured heavily in the Spanish papers this morning.

The Nou Camp boss was left angered after Clement Lenglet’s tug on Sergio Ramos’ shirt was deemed to be worth of a penalty in the pulsating clash. 

Ramos’ cool spot-kick, combined with strikes from Federico Valverde and Luka Modric, saw Real shake off two straight losses and stun their arch rivals once again.

Spanish papers focused on Ronald Koeman’s rant about VAR after Barcelona’s El Clasico loss

Koeman was irked after a penalty was awarded against his team in the defeat to Real Madrid

The decision from the officials, which was rubber-stamped with a lengthy VAR check at the pitchside monitor, was controversial and stirred opinion. 

With the score at 1-1, Lenglet was caught in the footage holding onto Ramos inside the box, although the Real captain fell to the turf in theatrical fashion.

The front page of Mundo Deportivo has been emblazoned with the headline ‘Koeman explodes’ after the Dutchman’s withering post-match comments.

The headline on the front page of Mundo Deportivo is ‘Koeman explodes’ after his comments

Ansu Fati (middle) had netted the leveller although his close range effort was just a consolation

He believes that the technology is against his team and pointed out the discrepancies when checks weren’t used in clashes earlier this season.

‘Every decision goes against us,’ Koeman told Barca TV. ‘In five games there have been none in our favour. There was the [Lionel] Messi penalty against Sevilla that was not given and the red card against Getafe. 

‘Today’s penalty is just something that happens in the area.’ 

AS, meanwhile, have lavished praise on the performance from the reigning champions in Catalonia. 

AS believe that Real ‘always return’ after Zinedine Zidane’s side recovered from a difficult week

Luka Modric kept his composure in second half stoppage time to beat Neto and seal the result

An early strike from Valverde handed Real the perfect start in the typically-heated derby, although Ansu Fati’s leveller after just eight minutes threatened to shift the momentum. 

But Ramos and Modric delivered for Real to ensure they bounced back in style following a tough week. 

The publication proclaimed that ‘Madrid always return’ and signalled a welcome comeback to form for the team after a poor week. 

Pressure mounted on Zinedine Zidane after his side collapsed to the two defeats, once again fuelling speculation that he could be replaced this season despite his impressive trophy tally.

LaLiga newcomers Cadiz emerged as shock victors at the Bernabeu last weekend after Anthony Lozano’s first half goal, and Shakhtar Donetsk – despite having been ravaged by Covid-19 cases – piled on the misery in midweek.

Marca claim Real have waved away fears of a crisis after downing their fellow title challengers

Real already hold a six-point advantage over their famous foes after their Nou Camp triumph

The Ukrainian outfit led by three goals at the break, and efforts from Modric and Vinicius Jr proved to be mere consolations. 

On Sunday, Marca opted to run with a similar theme to AS, and believed Real waved away fears of a potential crisis at the club with their impressive showing. 

The result means that Zidane’s men already hold a six-point advantage over their old foes.




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Luiz moans players are getting too much protection from refs and VAR

‘Sometimes you can hurt someone but you must say “I’m sorry” and keep going’: David Luiz moans that players are getting too much protection from referees and VAR and insists ‘we have to protect’ contact in football – despite Virgil van Dijk’s awful injury

  • David Luiz is adamant that players do not need more protection from referees
  • Virgil van Dijk has been sidelined in long-term after a tackle from Jordan Pickford
  • The Brazil international says players know whether there is intent to cause hurt 

David Luiz is adamant football should remain a contact sport and players do not need more protection from referees, rules or VAR.

The Arsenal defender was talking at the end of a week when his Liverpool counterpart Virgil van Dijk was ruled out for a lengthy period following a challenge by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford last weekend.

Luiz lines up in Sunday’s late kick off against Leicester ready to risk injury as part of the perils of his profession.

David Luiz is adamant football should remain a contact sport and players don’t need protection

His comments follow Virgil van Dijk’s injury after a horror challenge from Jordan Pickford

‘It’s a game with contact,’ he said. ‘This is football and it’s always going to be like that.’

While he was not directly referring to the Van Dijk incident, the Brazil international says players know whether or not there is intent to cause hurt.

He added: ‘When a player goes to try to make someone bad, or do something bad, we can see. It’s part of our job and sometimes we are unlucky with some balls and you can get injured ourselves or hurt someone but you must say “I’m sorry”, be humble, and keep going. If you really mean that, everybody will see.

‘But the most important thing is we have to protect football. Football is made to make people happy, to play football like that, but also to understand some contact exists and that it’s part of the game.’

There have been several controversial incidents surrounding VAR in the Premier League

The former Chelsea star and his Arsenal team-mates have been criticised for some erratic defending in the past few seasons, but they went into the weekend with the second best defensive record in the top flight this season, behind top of the table Aston Villa.

That is some feat in a season when it has rained goals – and they have already played tough away fixtures at Liverpool and Manchester City.

Luiz said how the improvement is down to manager Mikel Arteta’s tactics. He explained: ‘We have a great mentality with Mikel in this way. When we have the ball, we try to enjoy ourselves as much as possible and when we don’t have the ball we try to regain it.

Luiz said how the improvement of Arsenal’s defence is down to Mikel Arteta’s tactics

‘The first defenders are the strikers — They have to do their job, pressing in the right way, and this makes things much easier for us.

‘It’s not just about defending the last line with the keepers it’s about the whole team working together with fight and commitment.

‘We are working hard, we understand what Mikel wants from us, and we know how we want to play and we have the right mentality and attitude. We want to achieve.’




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Liverpool preparing to pay initial £20m in deal for Schalke defender Ozan Kabak

Liverpool have opened talks with Schalke over the potential signing of Ozan Kabak.

The 20-year-old has been at the Bundesliga outfit for just over a year after signing from Stuttgart for £13m, and was said to be worth in the region of £40m before the recent pandemic changes matters.

The Turkey international is seen as one of the best defensive prospects in Germany having moved to the country at the age of four, having represented various international age levels since he was 13.

Although an initial fee of £20m might be enough – a further £10m could be needed in instalments.

The Mirror have reported that Klopp is a fan of Kabak, and he could be brought in as soon as January with Virgil van Dijk not expected to play again until the 2021/22 season.

An initial fee of £20m could be added to by £10m of instalments, despite the previous valuation of £40m.

Klopp said of his star defender this week: “I can understand people are interested in that.

“Virgil was here, he’s OK. But about when the surgery will happen and stuff like this, I don’t think it makes sense that we give pretty much a time schedule every day.

“But it will be fine and will happen in an appropriate time. So, that’s it pretty much – he is as good as possible.”

Before adding: “We don’t even want to know it, to be honest. It will take time, that’s clear.

“In the end, it’s really like this: all people are different and so we should not limit that by saying ‘for him it was that long, for him it was that long’.

“I think it makes sense from a specific moment in the recovery, in the rehab time, that it becomes individual because then everybody copes differently with it and each body. That’s why [there is] no need for [a timeframe].”

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What if the Patriots didn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo to 49ers? An alternate history of Jimmy G and Tom Brady

When the Patriots used a second-round draft pick on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2014 NFL draft, everyone thought they had lined up a then 36-year-old Tom Brady’s successor. But in the middle of Brady’s third MVP season in 2017, that no longer become the plan when Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers for another second-round pick in 2018.

Almost three Halloweens later, Garoppolo is the starting QB for reigning NFC champion San Francisco, while Brady is trying to dethrone that team as the new starting QB for Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, New England, after netting fourth-round QB Jarrett Stidham in the trickle-down picks from the Garoppolo deal, is trying to stay in the AFC playoff hunt with Cam Newton.

With Garoppolo since 2017, the 49ers got a talent made to execute Kyle Shanahan’s offense with fine success. With Brady from 2017-19, the Patriots got to two more Super Bowls and won a sixth.

MORE: Why did Tom Brady leave the Patriots?

As Garoppolo was a pending free agent in 2018 and Brady’s then stellar play made the Patriots continue to commit to him, they really couldn’t afford to pay two quarterbacks at a high level and had to make the move with the 49ers in order to get something in return.

But let’s say the Patriots found a way to retain Garoppolo, either replacing Brady when his performance started going south in ’18 or grooming Garoppolo for full-time duty in ’19. In that scenario, the 49ers would have needed to go in a different direction at QB, while Garoppolo, not Stidham or Newton, would be starting for the Patriots in 2020.

There’s also the possibility no other team would have made the Garoppolo trade in ’17 and the Patriots simply let him walk in ’18 free agency, in which case a third team would be employing the services of Garoppolo now.

Here’s a look at four alternate timelines had the 49ers-Patriots Garoppolo trade had happened in real history:

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What if … the 49ers didn’t trade for Jimmy Garoppolo?

This one is easy. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, before Garoppolo became available for reasonable compensation from the Patriots, had their eyes on one quarterback above the rest for 2018: Kirk Cousins.

Shanahan got great play from Cousins when he was Washington’s offensive coordinator and Cousins would have been a natural fit again in his scheme. In fact, until the Vikings extended Cousins through his age 34 season in 2022 this offseason, there was still talk of looking at Cousins in 2021 free agency, when the 49ers had their first reasonable out from Garoppolo’s contract.

If Cousins ended up in San Francisco, then Minnesota would be in a much different place at QB. The Vikings signed Cousins over their own three unsigned QBs, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. But they were also attached to another free agent, AJ McCarron. In retrospect, with no Cousins available, sticking with Bridgewater might have been the best plan, but then again, without his two years with the Saints, Bridgewater doesn’t go back to being the solid starter he is now with the Panthers.

The Vikings have had one shaky first season from Cousins followed by the most efficient season of his career, which helped them get back to the playoffs in 2019. This year, he’s back to being a mistake-prone gunslinger. Still, he was a much better choice for the Vikings vs. McCarron, who bounced from the Bills to the Raiders to the Texans as a backup.

Digging a little deeper, had the Vikings not signed any of those non-Cousins options, they had the No. 30 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Two spots later at No. 32, the Ravens traded back up into the first round to take Lamar Jackson. Imagine if the 2019 MVP was wearing a different kind of purple, running around with Dalvin Cook.

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What if … the Patriots didn’t trade Garoppolo and re-signed him?

There was a small chance the Patriots could have finagled a contract to keep Garoppolo as a high-end backup behind Brady, given the two quarterbacks shared (and still share) the same agent. The 49ers ended up giving Garoppolo a ridiculously lucrative five-year, $137.5 million deal after coveting him so much they traded for him. In the open market in 2018, he still could have been compensated at that level long-term by another team.

The only way the Patriots could have kept Brady and Garoppolo would have been committing a combined $45 million against the salary cap in 2018 — $22 million in Brady’s salary, $23 million with a Garoppolo franchise tag. In that case, they would have needed to get creative with some restructures and releases to make that work as a short-term splurge, knowing for sure they were set up to transition from Brady to Garoppolo in 2019.

The Patriots would have broken up with Brady before he had his roughest season in New England since 2013, or the year before they expended a second-round pick on Garoppolo. Garoppolo would be well locked in with his original team, likely signed for even longer than he is now, through 2023. 

As for Brady, he would have entered free agency a year earlier. In 2019, Nick Foles (Jaguars) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Dolphins) were the only two QBs of note signed to be starters, leaving the Eagles and the Buccaneers, respectively. Brady still might be playing in Florida now, but for either Jacksonville or Miami, had this scenario played out.

But if Garoppolo would have been franchise-tagged in an obvous move to roll with him 2019, then the Buccaneers might have thought twice about picking up James Winston’s fifth-year option in April 2018 for that year, which ended up being the first under Bruce Arians. So there’s also chance Brady would already have been in Year 2 with Tampa Bay, too.

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What if … the Patriots didn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo and didn’t re-sign him?

Remember, the Patriots drafted Stidham in 2019 because they ended up flipping the Garoppolo second-rounder for an extra fourth-rounder last year, among other picks. In this scenario, they probably still stick with Brady like they did through last season.

In the 2018 draft, the Patriots did take a quarterback without Garoppolo behind Brady, but it was a seventh-rounder, Danny Etling of LSU, who ended up with the Falcons last season and is now on the Seahawks’ practice squad. But moving Garoppolo without the same compensation might have made them more aggressive about going after Brady’s new successor in the 2019 draft. 

Would the Patriots have traded up from No. 32, where they picked as Super Bowl champions, to get Dwayne Haskins, who went No. 15 to Washington? Or, would they have stayed put and taken Drew Lock, who went No. 42 to the Broncos, instead of disappointing (so far) wide receiver N’Keal Harry? Both seem like strong alterative possibilities, especially the latter with Lock as a Garoppolo-like second-round pick.

So had the 49ers had their choice between Garoppolo and Cousins in free agency, we already know they would have gone Cousins. The Vikings would have been in play for Garoppolo, for sure, but it’s more likely the Broncos, who signed Keenum instead, would have turned their attention to Garoppolo in John Elway’s search for a franchise passer vs. more of a bridge type, which Keenum was.

Lock in New England and Garoppolo in Minnesota or Denver in 2020? It definitely could have happened.

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What if … the Patriots traded Tom Brady to the 49ers and re-signed Garoppolo?

OK, we’re somewhat joking here. But Lynch himself has joked at how he actually inquired about whether Belichick would trade Brady to the 49ers instead of Garoppolo at the 2017 deadline.

In this scenario, Brady would be the aging hometown boy in San Francisco and Garoppolo would be in New England. Cousins still goes to the Vikings and everything else is the same, except for Tampa Bay needing to go a different route at QB post Jameis Winston, maybe even keeping Winston. Maybe it’s the 49ers who go one-for-two in Super Bowls instead of the Patriots. Or the Patriots win two with Garoppolo, and he’s seen as the ultimate genius move for Belichick in replacing Brady..

Regardless, the Patriots’ decision to trade Garoppolo to the 49ers created some interesting ripple effects from 2018 to now. Had it not gone down, it would have been a whole lot more intriguing to see what both teams — and a few others — would have done.

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Will the Cowboys fire Mike McCarthy in Year 1? Jerry Jones could be forced by rumors, more losses

The Cowboys are 2-4 under new head coach Mike McCarthy. Don’t expect the season-ending injury to quarterback Dak Prescott or McCarthy’s big contract to keep him immune from being fired by Jerry Jones after his first season in Dallas — or worse, during it.

The speculation has been sparked by a bombshell report earlier this week by Jane Slater, a locked-in Cowboys correspondent for NFL Network, citing the team’s players aren’t either happy with or buying into McCarthy’s coaching style. 

Since Slater’s scoop, McCarthy has gone from having a built-in free pass to being firmly on the hot seat to be a one-and-done coach. Although Jones was patient with McCarthy’s predecessor, Jason Garrett, giving him nine and a half seasons, this situation is much different.

Jones had a strong, long rapport with Garrett, loving him since he was Troy Aikman’s backup QB during the Cowboys’ early 1990s glory years. In the end, Garrett posted an 85-67 record and had only one losing season, 2015, when injuries led to a 4-12 mark. He also was a likable, organized and smart coach, despite the big playoff results (only three trips) not being there.

IYER: Dak Prescott’s injury gives Cowboys even more reason to work out contract

McCarthy did go 125-77-2 in 13 years in Green Bay, with 10 playoff wins, including Super Bowl 45, which the Packers won at the Cowboys’ stadium. But in the end of his Packers’ tenure, there was a sense the team was underachieving with many reports of a tenuous relationship between McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay unceremoniously fired McCarthy in the middle of the 2018 season and he spent a year away from the NFL in 2019. The Packers are now up to 17-4 with McCarthy’s young replacement, Matt LaFleur.

When Jones had to finally make his move on Garrett to try to break the Cowboys out of yo-yoing and mediocrity, there was a feeling he might lure a bigger-time winning coach, a big college name, a young offensive-minded hotshot, or a combination of all three (see Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley). Instead, Jones quickly, to the shock of many, settled on the fading McCarthy, 10 years removed from his ring.

As another former Packers Super Bowl-winning coach, Vince Lombardi, might say, “the ring is the thing.” There’s no doubt Jones, with his team in a 24-year Super Bowl drought, envisioned McCarthy finding glory again with a chance of scenery. But when you go for a marriage of convenience, nay coincidence, there’s a good chance for a divorce.

The problem is, other than McCarthy wisely retaining young offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, he hasn’t inspired much confidence that he still has it in motivating players, despite saying he worked to adapt better to the modern NFL in his time away. The defense that used to bend without breaking is in shambles with Mike Nolan as coordinator. When the team was rallying early in the season, it was evident that it was more around Prescott and less about McCarthy.

Then Prescott didn’t play in Week 6, and there came the listless, lifeless debacle, a Monday melodrama playing out in prime time in a 38-10 home loss to the Cardinals. That didn’t look like a team pushing to step up and help the “next man up,” Andy Dalton. There were big mental and physical lapses. They were lackadaisical when they should have been laser-focused to fully turn the corner from a 1-3 start.

Jones, according to multiple reports, gave McCarthy a five-year, $30 million deal, or the exact value of Garrett’s final contract with the Cowboys. Jones saw Garrett’s deal through its expiration in 2019 and simply didn’t extend him.

When the Cowboys got clipped by the Eagles in the end to lose the weak NFC East and not make the playoffs, Jones was searching for better results, not a regression that would have the same thing happen again, even with the Eagles stumbling more out of the gate.

Despite no Prescott, despite a wave of offensive line injuries, with the level of the Dallas’ offensive talent in relation to Philadelphia, New York and Washington, Jones should expect his team to take back the division, still in first place going into Week 7. 

The game at Washington is a must-win with the Eagles positioned to take over the top spot in the division with a Cowboys loss. Consider the Cowboys have beaten Washington three straight times, in seven of the past eight meetings and nine of the past of 11, all under Garrett. For all the Cowboys’ issues with the Eagles, they at least have owned Washington of late. McCarthy cannot start the losing to WFT again.

This latest matchup for McCarthy is critical coming off that Cardinals embarrassment to save face and the season. Because after that the Cowboys could be limping into a Sunday night matchup at the Eagles in Week 8. The mighty Steelers visit Dallas in Week 9 and a trip to the Ravens looms to begin December.

There’s a real possibility the Cowboys could be 2-7 or 3-6, which is totally unacceptable under McCarthy, even with Dalton. Then consider the Cowboys have a bye week before hosting the Vikings in Week 11, followed quickly by Thanksgiving vs. Washington in Week 12.

Although saying bye to McCarthy during the bye would seem to be a drastic overreaction by Jones, if the players don’t get more motivation and the team keeps going through the motions with its performances, it is now a strong possibility. Three or more games under .500 after midseason might confirm falling out of contention sooner than expected, with the Eagles improving and getting healthier fast.

If McCarthy and the Cowboys show a little better in the short term and the Eagles stay within reach, the next critical point for McCarthy’s job security will be after Christmas. The Cowboys host the 49ers in Week 15 on Dec. 20, a week before their home rematch with the Eagles. The goal, like with late last season, is making that a de facto NFC East title game again.

The bottom line is the Cowboys are now under heavier pressure to turn things around, not less with Prescott. Anything less than the playoffs should not be acceptable to Jones. The Falcons and Texans already will be on the lookout for new coaches in 2021, as likely the Lions, too. It’s unlikely that top candidates such as Eric Bieniemy will go another year without being hired. Also, for a redo, Jones can think about that young offensive hotshot, whether it’s the well-liked Kellen Moore, only 32, or Panthers rising superstar Joe Brady, only 31, before someone else steals them, a la the Saints and Sean Payton.

Jones went inside the box with his hire and it’s rolling toward being more disastrous than imagined. The clock is ticking for McCarthy to get it right, or Jones will gladly eat his money and get a better man for the most-demanding sideline job in the NFL.

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Rugby

Garry Ringrose: Ireland centre facing spell out with broken jaw

Ireland centre Garry Ringrose will be out for up to six weeks after breaking his jaw in Saturday’s 50-17 Six Nations victory over Italy, coach Andy Farrell confirmed.

Ringrose suffered the injury after his face came in contact with Edoardo Padovani’s knee when he tried to charge down the Italy winger’s clearance during the first half of the contest in an empty Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The 25-year-old will miss Ireland’s final Six Nations game against France next week, where a bonus-point victory in Paris will guarantee them the title.

  • Ireland go top, but may regret late concession
  • Six Nations: Ireland 50-17 Italy recap

“Garry Ringrose has broken his jaw so bad news for us all,” said Farrell.

“He’s been so good for us the last 10 days, he has been absolutely fantastic with his leadership and he was a big part of the reason why we got what we wanted out of today.

“He was unfortunate with his thumb injury earlier in the Six Nations and has come back and had a setback like that which will keep him out for four to six weeks, so we’re gutted for Garry.”

Ringrose could potentially be ruled out of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Cup campaign which starts in November.

Ireland are scheduled to face Wales on November 13, England on November 21, and Georgia eight days later.

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