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Black ex-coaches say NFL's Rooney Rule is broken

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Black ex-coaches say NFL's Rooney Rule is broken

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Three black former NFL head coaches say the league needs to rethink its Rooney Rule for promoting minority hiring after 15 top vacancies - eight head coaching jobs and seven general manager positions - were all filled by white candidates since the regular season ended a month ago.

``I know the concept is good and something we need to do,'' said Tony Dungy, who was with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2006 season when he became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl. ``Obviously, it's not working the way it should.''

The Rooney Rule, implemented in 2003, was named for Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, who steadfastly pushed the league to require every team to interview at least one minority candidate every time there is a coaching or general manager opening.

Before the rule went into effect, the NFL had had only six minority head coaches in more than 80 years. Since it has been in place, 12 have been hired.

But none were hired this year to replace the two black coaches who were fired - Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Lovie Smith in Chicago - and the one fired black GM, Rod Graves in Arizona.

Herm Edwards, former coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs and now an ESPN analyst, has called for not only revising the rule but perhaps even changing its name.

``When you use the Rooney Rule and not correctly, you put a little bit of a bad mark on Mr. Rooney's name, and that is not good,'' Edwards said Wednesday. ``If it keeps going this way, we might need to take his name off the rule. It is not being used in the right manner that Mr. Rooney meant it to be.''

Robert Gulliver, the NFL's executive vice president of human resources, said that the hiring results were ``disappointing'' and that he expects to make revisions in the rule.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group of minority coaches and front-office, scouting and game-day NFL officials, wants the Rooney Rule expanded to apply to coordinators, assistant head coaches and club president positions.

Unlike Dungy and Edwards, Jim Caldwell is still coaching, albeit as an assistant. Not only that, his team, the Baltimore Ravens, will play the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's Super Bowl. But he wasn't even invited to interview for one of the eight vacant coaching jobs, though having a team in the playoffs can be a hindrance to such opportunities.

Fired as the Colts' coach following the 2011 season, Caldwell joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach. When head coach John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in December, Caldwell was promoted. With his guidance, Baltimore's offense responded.

Caldwell is no stranger to the Super Bowl, having led the Colts there three years ago after replacing the retired Dungy. It was only after Peyton Manning was sidelined for the 2011 season that Caldwell was fired.

``It has been a great rule and it has worked in the past,'' he said. ``Just like anything else, you have to, after a certain period of time, revisit it and take a look and see if it needs a little tweaking. I think it does in this particular case.''

Caldwell added: ``That's one of the reasons that the Rooney Rule was put in place, because you're trying to avoid those situations, if possible. We're at that stage where guys like Lovie Smith, who didn't get an opportunity, who had won and been very successful previously ... obviously, there's some concern there, and that's why I think the rule is going to be revisited.''

Dungy said he believes the entire system is broken. He cited 21 head coaching jobs changing in a three-year span, which he said indicates owners are making the wrong hires regardless of race.

Edwards said he wonders whether minority candidates get interviewed only to satisfy the rule, even though they have no chance of getting the job. He and Dungy noted that the last black head coach hiring - other than coaches promoted from within, like Leslie Frazier, Raheem Morris, Mike Singletary, Hue Jackson and Crennel - was Mike Tomlin by Pittsburgh, in 2007.

There are currently four minority head coaches: Tomlin, Frazier in Minnesota, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Ron Rivera in Carolina. Minority general managers include Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome, Detroit's Martin Mayhew, Houston's Rick Smith, the New York Giants' Jerry Reese and Oakland's Reggie McKenzie.

``I am not saying you have to hire a minority candidate. No one is saying that,'' Edwards said. ``I am saying you can't be blinded. It can't be, `Who is the guy to interview to get this out of the way?'''

``The problem I have is you don't really abide by the Rooney Rule the correct way,'' he said.

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Preview and prediction for Week 3: Ravens at Jaguars

Preview and prediction for Week 3: Ravens at Jaguars

What: Ravens (2-0) at Jaguars (0-2)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville

Five questions you should ask:

1. Can the Ravens get their rushing attack going?

Jacksonville ranks 25th in run defense, and Melvin Gordon of the Chargers ran for 102 yards against the Jaguars last week. If Justin Forsett and Terrance West can’t combine for at least 100 yards, it will raise more concerns about the state of the Ravens’ running game.

RELATED: Dumervil one of 3 questionable for Ravens

2. Can the Ravens’ secondary control Jaguars receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson?

Both Hurns and Robinson caught a touchdown pass last year in Baltimore, when the Jaguars beat the Ravens. Expect Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to test Ravens’ corners Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright, looking to strike with some big plays.

3. Will Jaguars running back Chris Ivory be a problem for the Ravens?

After missing the first two games with an undisclosed illness, Ivory is expected back against the Ravens. A 1,000-yard rusher with the Jets last season, Ivory is a physical runner who the Ravens will have to gang tackle.

4. Will the Ravens’ offense have another sluggish start?

The Ravens don’t have a first quarter touchdown yet this season. It hasn’t stopped them from going 2-0, but another slow start, especially on the road, could lead to a deficit from which they don’t escape. Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and quarterback Joe Flacco both want to see the offense start faster.

5. Do the Ravens keep banking wins in September, before the schedule gets tougher?

The Ravens haven’t been 3-0 since 2009. No matter how favorable the schedule has been, there’s nothing wrong with stacking wins early. The Jaguars figure to be desperate, and road wins in the NFL are rarely easy. The Ravens may need their best game so far to leave Jacksonville with a win.

Prediction

The Jaguars are more desperate, but I think the Ravens are the better team. I see Justin Tucker winning a close game with a late field goal.

Ravens 23, Jaguars 20 

MORE RAVENS: Fantasy Football: Updated Week 3 rankings

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Ravens Week 3 Injury Report: Dumervil questionable, did not practice Friday

Ravens Week 3 Injury Report: Dumervil questionable, did not practice Friday

Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil did not practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Jacksonville.

Dumervil missed much of training camp and the first two games after recovering from offseason foot surgery, but he returned to practice on a limited basis earlier this week.  

On the Ravens' official injury report for the game, rookie running back Kenneth Dixon (knee) is out. In addition to Dumervil, guard John Urschel (shoulder) and tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) are questionable.

RELATED: RAVENS LOOKING TO PUT 2015 LOSS TO JAGS BEHIND THEM

Stanley, though, was a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday and he said earlier this week that he intends to play on Sunday. Urschel practiced fully all week but has been inactive in both games thus far.

Dumervil said earlier this week that he hoped to play Sunday.

Before this season, Dumervil had missed just one game in three seasons with the Ravens. The Ravens have struggled to get pressure off the edge in the first two games. Four of the team's five sacks through two games have been recorded by defensive linemen.

One notable absence at Friday's light walk-through practice was starting center Jeremy Zuttah. Coach John Harbaugh did not elaborate on his absence except to say it was not injury-related. Zuttah has struggled at times this year, and Urschel or Ryan Jensen could be options to play center.

Dixon, who suffered a knee injury in the third preseason game, has not returned to practice but was seen running sprints on a far field on Friday. Earlier this week, coach John Harbaugh said Dixon "seems to be on schedule" to return, without giving a specific timeframe.

For Jacksonville, starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum has been declared out with a concussion, as has backup tight end Ben Koyack (knee). Five Jaguars are listed as questionable: cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring), safety Tashaun Gipson (hamstring), running back Chris Ivory (general medical),  center Brandon Linder (knee) and defensive end Jared Odrick (tricep).

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