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Tag:Wade Phillips
Posted on: December 31, 2010 9:29 am
 

Report: Texans to keep Kubiak, hire Wade as DC

Posted by Will Brinson

Because of the late-season swoon suffered by the Texans and their current 5-10 record, it's been commonly presumed that Gary Kubiak is on the hot seat in Houston. In fact, some fans have even been protesting his presence.    

Now, however, reports are coming out of Texas that indicate Kubiak may get another year with the organization and may get the help of an old Houstonian, Wade Phillips. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network said earlier in the week he was hearing "rumblings" of a Phillips-Kubiak pairing.

Now, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Texans owner Bob McNair wants Kubiak to hire a big-name defensive coordinator with a proven track record." Although, for what it's worth, McClain does caveat Kubiak's job safety by pointing out that the Texans need only to avoid a "blowout loss in Jacksonville" to keep McNair from having an "11th hour change of heart" and firing Kubiak.

Whether or not you think Wade's a good head coach, it's difficult to argue with his success as a defensive coordinator -- as McClain notes, the last four times Phillips' took a job as a DC, it was with a team that had a losing record and they were in the playoffs the next year.

McNair reportedly believes that the Texans offense is "in good hands" with Kubiak, but the defense, which was abysmal in 2010, needs an overhaul and a veteran playcaller.

Phillips, presumably, would provide that, and considering the season he had with Dallas in 2010 (a 1-7 start), it stands to reason he'd be more than willing to return to Houston (where he played in college, coached as a graduate assistant and began his pro coaching career) to try and wipe away the bad memories that people have of his latest head coaching stint.

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Posted on: December 31, 2010 9:27 am
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Posted on: December 17, 2010 2:59 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 3:39 pm
 

NFL Honorable Mentions: 2010's top stories

CBSSports.com is counting down the top 10 stories in all of sports of 2010. Here are the top 10 stories from the NFL that just barely missed the cut.


10. The Breakout Backs
Honorables
It was a swing year in fantasy football, as the over-valued running back position turned out a pair of new stars in the AFC: undrafted Arian Foster for the Texans and former Broncos seventh-round pick Peyton Hillis. Both players have well over 1,000 yards rushing and rank first and second in touchdown runs (entering Week 15, Foster has 13 and Hillis has 11).

Foster and Hillis share two things in common: a) both got their opportunity because their team’s second-round rookie running back got hurt prior to the season (the Texans lost Ben Tate to an ankle injury and the Browns lost Montario Hardesty to a knee) and b) both have an ideal skill set for their team’s system. Foster, a powerful yet fluid one-cut runner who thrives downhill, is tailored for Houston’s zone-blocking scheme. Hillis, a thundering steamroller who plays strictly north and south, was made for a power scheme.

Another running back who was undrafted and has blossomed unexpectedly in 2010 is New England’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The third-year pro is tied with Hillis for second in the league in rushing touchdowns and needs a little over 200 yards in the final three weeks to reach the millennial mark.

While we’re at it, there’s another Patriots running back who was undrafted and meets “breakout” status for 2010: Danny Woodhead (insert obligatory mention about his 5’7” size here). Woodhead, who was released in the preseason by the Jets, has done a masterful job filling the third down role of Kevin Faulk.  -- Andy Benoit


9. The Slowing Carousel



Labor negotiations have slowed the degree to which coaches have been canned in 2010. Yes, that's a terrifying thought, considering the number of gigs at risk this late in the season coupled with the coaches already fired so far this year. (John Fox and Marvin Lewis are the two most obvious "winners" when it comes to uncertain labor issues helping a coach keep a "good" job.)

In fact, the tides might have turned enough to warrant saying both gentlemen are in a worse position because of the labor strife -- they have to coach out abysmal underachievers and, sadly, hope to find some (ahem) luck at the top of the draft.

It won't matter for that pair of lame ducks, though, because their contracts are running out. On the other end of the spectrum are Wade Phillips, Brad Childress and Josh McDaniels; three coaches whose performance was so putrid that it warranted a midseason change.

Of course, neither of the first two were surprising. In fact, the only shocker involved with Wade and Chilly getting canned was the success that Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier had afterwards.

Actually, check that -- it's also surprising that McDaniels would hire the same guy who operated the video camera during SpyGate! Which, perhaps, makes it less surprising that Pat Bowlen was less willing to sit around and wait for his newly-minted head coach to mature and suddenly found himself paying not just Mike Shanahan, McD, Eric Studesville but someone else next year. This is outrageously ironic given the lack of success that Mike Singletary (the quintessential interim coach) had in 2010, guiding the 49ers to a sub-.500 record (it seems like a fair guess at this point) in the weakest of the weak divisions, the NFC West.

Singletary said as late as Week 15 that he didn't worry about a) early season performance or b) his job security, and, well, that may say all you need to understand about why he won't land a head coaching job again.

Of course, Lovie Smith is casually guiding his team to a playoff berth and himself towards a blatantly misguided extension from Jerry Angelo, so maybe this would be a good year to take a step back and evaluate whether or not it's worth really judging a particular coach until 2011 gets nearer.

Rest assured, that's exactly what a number of owners will do. -- Will Brinson


8. Revis and the Jets

In this day and age of video games and fantasy football, it takes a special kind of greatness for a cornerback to become THE story in the NFL for an entire summer. Darrelle Revis has this special kind of greatness. As the first true shutdown corner football has seen since Deion Sanders, Revis has been by far the most important player on Rex Ryan’s vaunted defense. Without him, the Jets don’t make their run to the AFC Championship in January ’10, and they don’t enter September ’10 as one of the league’s leading Super Bowl contenders. So it’s no wonder that Revis’ contract holdout captured the headlines this past summer.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Revis was holding out for a New York market team that happened to be featured on the über-popular HBO reality series Hard Knocks. The Jets training camp became a top 10 story in and of itself simply because we’ve never seen such transparency and personality from an NFL club. And we’ve never seen such star power or controversial new talent. The Jets are developing Mark Sanchez, the game’s first Mexican-American franchise quarterback, before our very eyes. They signed top Q-rating veterans and future Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor. And, they unapologetically acquired gifted but questionable stars Braylon Edwards (in ’09), Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie.

All of this goes against the typical nature of the conservative NFL. But this, along with the aforementioned Super Bowl aspirations (which stemmed largely from the boastful Jets themselves, is why Jets regular season games landed in a featured television slot 10 times in 2010, including six in primetime. -- Andy Benoit


7. Looming Lockout

The NFL is the most popular sport in this land. This much is obvious. It doesn’t take a genius to come up with that conclusion, not when advertisers have to spend $20 million per 30-second spot in the Super Bowl (that might be a slight exaggeration) and not when the NFL ratings continue to climb every Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night.

So, would the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association really be dumb enough to shut down the 2011 season, even partially? Wouldn’t commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith realize that a lockout could potentially kill – or, at the very least, assault – the momentum of popularity? Wouldn’t they realize that sending the 2011 season to whatever dimension the 1994 World Series exists now would be a terrible, terrible move?  

Of course, they do. But the allure of money to be made and money to be spent keeps the two sides far apart. As the expiration of the CBA comes ever closer in March, the pressure will increase. Goodell said the other day that he thought a deal could be worked out by the end of the postseason, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they go into the spring and summer without a new agreement in place. 

It’d be short-sighted, and it’d be stupid. But it’s also very possible.  

Anybody up to watch a good game of soccer?  -- Josh Katzowitz


6. So Many Second Chances

No, we're not talking about Antonio Cromartie, thanks for asking.



And yeah, maybe that's inappropriate.

But what's the old line? "Shame on me for expecting you to hang out in a terrible situation the first time and shame on you for expecting me to believe that you would legitimately stop putting yourself in terrible situations after getting in trouble the fifth or sixth* time?"

Maybe that's paraphrasing things a bit, but there are only so many chances one individual is afforded, and it seems, all asterisk jokes aside, that Ben Roethlisberger -- in trouble twice -- has maximized his chances. (The motorcycle thing doesn't count in the scope of what we're asked to judge here.)

On the front, Roethlisberger is the classic case of why the personal conduct policy is absolutely necessary -- a young man, wealthy beyond his means, cutting loose above and beyond his scope of responsible behavior in a town that doesn't understand how to handle him. Allegedly.

There's plenty of reason for people to find disgust with him, but it's about second chances here, people.

Is the world supposed to be annoyed with someone who can't fully summon their talent because they're too busy doing whatever they do in Milledgeville, Georgia? Absolutely.

Should the general public become disgusted when whatever behavior a certain talent was involved in leads to legal allegations in the same town? Naturally.

But is it only fair if the same youthful talent -- who heretofore had only developed as a person ON the field -- somehow finds a different, perhaps more mature path and ends up getting judged differently?

Hell yes it is. Hate on second chances all you want, but the eerily parallel dichotomy between Roethlisberger and Vick at least warrant giving pause to the fact that sometimes second chances are only afforded when we want them to be. -- Will Brinson


Haynesworth 5. Coup De Faill

Face it, part of the reason you watch sports is to see the inevitable downfall. It’s why Tigers Woods was so compelling, why you watched Larry Holmes dominate Muhammad Ali, why you followed Michael Jordan when he played minor league baseball. And you watch NFL football (partially) to see the same thing.

Which is why the decline of Albert Haynesworth this year was so noteworthy, why the Vince Young blowup continues to make news, why a backup WR in Randy Moss continues to attract attention.

The downfall of Haynesworth has been the biggest train-wreck of the season. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan deactivated him for four games before deciding to suspend him the rest of the season. Haynesworth has been out of shape, he’s been insubordinate and now he’s out of a job. Thankfully, he can fall back on those tens of millions of dollars.

Young’s downfall was sudden, as quick as it took to walk out of a locker room full of teammates, but depending on Bud Adams’ inclination, he unbelievably might return to the team (surely, coach Jeff Fisher wouldn’t be around any longer if that’s the case). Meanwhile, Moss believes he’ll still get paid big bucks next year, despite a season in which he’s played for three teams and has had his least productive year ever.  

All of it has made for great viewing. -- Josh Katzowitz


4. The McNabb Trade

D. McNabb's five-year deal doesn't seem all that great today (US Presswire).

There are a million different angles a person can take in describing the significance of the Easter Day McNabb trade. For starters, the trade meant the dismissal of the decade-long face of one of the NFL’s most preeminent franchises. Few athletes have ever been as polarizing in a town as McNabb was in The City of Brotherly Love. And no athlete has ever been so polarizing simply by going about his business. McNabb never exhibited a controversial personality, yet his career in Philly was littered with controversy. It required a world of class for McNabb to take it all in stride for 11 years. That classiness was appreciated and returned by the usually-ornery Philly faithful, who gave their former quarterback a standing ovation when he returned to town as a member of the hated Redskins in October.

That’s another key facet of this story: McNabb wasn’t just traded – he was traded to a division rival. Never before had a franchise quarterback been dealt within the division.

To be brutally honest, the trade has become a symbol of why the Eagles, counting this year, have eight more playoff appearances than the Redskins since 2000. The Eagles have always parted with veterans a year too soon rather than a year too late. We thought McNabb was an exception to this rule, but sure enough, he has just another testament to it (14 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, completion percentage of 60.0 through Week 14). The 34-year-old was tossed to the bench in mid-December, becoming the latest aging Pro Bowler to come to Washington only to fizzle out.

The Eagles were only comfortable dismissing McNabb because they had their signalcaller of the future already on the roster. Of course, little did they know that signalcaller would be not Kevin Kolb, but Michael Vick, the Comeback Player, MVP candidate and headline story of 2010. -- Andy Benoit


3. The Old Croc Slinger

It was the story everyone loved to pretend to hate: Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre. Did you get sick of him? Maybe on the surface. But deep down, you were never sick enough to ignore him. And that’s why he stayed in the news.

Favre’s 2010 essentially began and ended in pain. He suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the NFC Championship loss to the Saints and, 11 months later, had his consecutive starts streak end at 297 thanks to a bad shoulder. In between the ankle and shoulder was a thigh, elbow and foot injury. Each injury brought about an additional slew of reports, 99.9 percent of them speculative.

It’s the very concept of speculation that has become the defining characteristic of Favre’s public image. There was speculation about whether he’ll retire or come back. (Once again, 2010 gave us plenty of those stories, too. Remember Favre’s “this is it” texts to teammates during the summer? The workouts at Oak Grove high school? The Brad Childress visits to Mississippi? The more fruitful Jared Allen-Ryan Longwell-Steve Hutchinson surprise visit at the last minute?) There was speculation about his relationship with Brad Childress (it was poor, at best). And, for the first time since his substance abuse issues in the 90s, there was speculation about Favre’s character and private life.

The Jenn Sterger ordeal never took on the life of Tiger Woods’ scandal, but that was only because Favre, for the first time in his career, wasn’t willing to publicly address a topic in his patented stream-of-conscious manner. In the end, Favre admitted to placing calls to Sterger but denied sending lewd photos. The NFL investigated but, with the year winding down, the story seems to be fading away. Oddly enough, it helped Favre that, by the time the Sterger story came out, people had grown tired of hearing his name in the news.



People may have been tired of Favre, but they weren’t sick of him. It’s doubtful that he’ll be part of the top 10 NFL stories of 2011, but it's not inconceivable. The year ahead will still carry speculation about a possible comeback (don’t count on Favre biting this time), speculation about what Favre will do next (a lot of people will say broadcasting, but Favre’s never had that kind of persona) and, perhaps most intriguing of all, speculation about when Favre will return to Lambeau Field to make amends with the fans and accept his number being retired. -- Andy Benoit


2. Injury Du Generation

This space perhaps should have been dedicated solely to Steelers LB James Harrison and James Harrison alone. He’s racked up $125,000 in fines this year after illegal hits on Browns WR Mohammad Massaquoi, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and Saints QB Drew Brees. He’s also been quoted as saying he’s not trying to injure players, but instead, he’s only trying to hurt them (or was it, he’s trying not to hurt them, but to injure them instead?).  

Either way, it seems like concussions in the NFL have risen (there’s really no way to tell if this is true; only that the diagnosis of concussions might have risen), and in actuality, it seems like every player in the NFL this season has suffered at least one concussion. Even after the Dunta Robinson/DeSean Jackson collision forced the NFL to announce that it was going to enforce the penalties against illegal hits, the concussions have continued.  

But that’s not the scariest part of this whole scenario. The scariest part is what an examination of Chris Henry’s brain found in June. Though he played in the league only five years before he died last season, his brain showed signs of significant brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.  

While it’s great that people like Chris Nowinski are making a concerted effort to educate the public about the dangers of concussions and continued head injuries, nothing is likely to change. The players don’t want rules-makers messing with the game, they don’t want to change their tackling technique, they just want to hit people and hit people hard. Many fans agree. Which, of course, is easy to do when you’re not the one who is getting smashed on the field every week.

This problem, I fear, will continue until the end of time.  -- Josh Katzowitz


1. First-Place Second Chance



There's a reasonable argument that Michael Vick's current situation is the most compelling redemptive story we've seen in sports.

Ever.

And yeah, I'm sorry that it requires the age-old tripe that is the one-line semi-paragraph to describe what Vick did, but, well, he tortured dogs and somehow returned to the good graces of America. Or at least the majority of America and/or those that buy their Nissans from Woodbury, New Jersey.



That's less than half a joke. Take a step back and look at what Michael Vick did, compare it to what any "sports villain" has done in the past 50 years (versus their redemptive story, natch) and, pretty please, find a comparable. Josh Hamilton is the closest thing there is and even he dealt with sins beyond the level of self-indulgence. That's not to say that we should applaud someone who manages to jerry-rig an engine to drive a broken car more than we should applaud someone who happens to repair the tires on a four-wheel flat.

It's just that if you're going to gauge a level of success by figuring out where someone ends relative to where they started and award bonus points for where they went in between (which, folks, unless you've stopped paying attention for the last several hundred years, is the "American Dream"), then it's very, very difficult to root against Michael Vick.

And also why he was nearly the most compelling story of 2010. -- Will Brinson

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Posted on: November 26, 2010 9:29 pm
 

For the gambler in you

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Just because it’s Thanksgiving weekend, that doesn’t mean we can forget about this week’s Bodog prop bets. Assuming you’re not still in a tryptophan coma by the time the 1 p.m. games start Sunday, here’s what you can consider.

What will happen to Brett Favre by the end of the 2010 NFL regular season?

Remain a member of the Vikings 1/2

Retire 7/4

Get released 5/1

I assume the question is referring to whether Favre will complete the season with Minnesota and NOT what he’ll do once the season is finished (because I think, for sure, he’ll retire after the Vikings miss the playoffs). But I also think Favre will stay put for better or for worse until that final game. Another interesting question: will he remain the starter the rest of the way?

Rusty Smith – Total passing yards Week 12 vs. Houston


Over/Under  200.5

Jeez, this is impossible to answer. The Texans pass defense is horrendous, and it’s allowing 301.0 passing yards per game, the worst in the NFL. But Smith is a completely unknown quantity, his 62-yard performance in the last 18 minutes of the game last week notwithstanding. I kind of think you have to go under.

Will the winner of the NFC West have seven wins or less?   
     
Yes +200

No -260

No. The Seahawks (5-5) have three winnable games: the Panthers, the 49ers and the Rams. St. Louis (4-6) has four winnable games: the Broncos, the Cardinals, the 49ers, the Seahawks. One of these two squads will get hot and finish 8-8.

What will Brad Childress be doing by August 1, 2011?

Member of an NFL coaching staff  4/5

Member of a NCAA coaching staff 9/2

None of the above  1/1

I just wish one of the bets was, “Playing fantasy football with Wade Phillips: 20/1”


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Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:55 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Biggest and best insults

Jeff Fisher and V. Young aren't exactly getting along these days (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Part of the reason we all follow sports is for all the insult material. I insult your team. You insult his team. You all insult my intelligence. There’s nothing better than a solid day of watching football and insulting all your buddies and having them insult you right back.

Unless it’s watching other people insult each other. Which happens ALL the time in the NFL. I’m not necessarily talking about players woofing at each other on the field, though that obviously has its place on any top-ten insults list. But I’m talking about the crowd insulting a player, a team insulting one of its own or a player insulting a coach in front of the rest of his teammates (psst, this last one might have occurred this past week).

So, let’s explore the best of what the NFL has to offer as far as metaphorically slapping people in the face. And if you choose to ignore this story, your mother wears Army boots.

10. Jonathan Stewart to Panthers offensive line: We’ll start it off relatively mild. After Stewart rushed for 30 yards on 14 carries vs. the Rams in Week 7, he complained about how his offensive line wasn’t opening enough holes. Sure, Stewart has a rushing average of 3.0, but unless Mike Goodson (220 combined yards in the past two games, 12 yards MORE than Stewart’s season total) is rushing behind a different offensive line, I’m not buying Stewart’s argument.

9. Thirty one NFL teams to Marc Mariani: The rookie, drafted in the seventh round this year as the No. 222 overall pick has been a breakout performer for the Titans. Listen, just because he played at Montana doesn’t mean he can’t hang in the NFL. Look at his stats as a punt returner. He’s third in the NFL with a 17.1 yards per punt average and his 87-yard TD return Sunday was his second score of the year.

8. Carson Palmer to Chad Ochocinco: Palmer has found a new play toy with Terrell Owens – who’s got 12 more catches and four more TDs than Ochocinco. Partially, it’s because Ochocinco, at times, doesn’t run the most technically-proficient routes. Of course, Owens gives up on plays some of the time, but there’s little question Owens has been much more effective this season. And Palmer knows it.

7. John Fox to his bosses/fanbase: I’m not sure this qualifies as an insult because I’m not sure exactly what’s going on in Fox’s head. But here’s what I know: he won’t be back as coach in Carolina next year and he decided not to use backup QB Tony Pike and started Brian St. Pierre last week instead, although St. Pierre was a stay-at-home dad the week before. Pike, a rookie, probably wouldn’t have done much better, but this was an odd move.

B. St. Pierre made his first career start last week, even though he was a stay-at-home dad the week before (US Presswire). 6. San Francisco’s Week 2 MNF crowd to Alex Smith: When you call for David Carr to replace your starting quarterback, Candlestick Park crowd, you insult EVERYONE.

5. Michael Vick to dog lovers everywhere: This is an interesting dynamic. If you’re a dog lover, is it impossible to root for Vick? I love dogs, but I think Vick has paid his debt to society and he shouldn’t be scorned for the rest of his life. I also have friends who would like to see Vick ripped limb by limb by one of his former pets, and they always will hope for that moment. Is it me, or do people make a bigger stink about Vick than they do about, say, Ravens WR Donte Stallworth who pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and then served only 24 days in jail?

4. Dallas Cowboys to Wade Phillips: Weird how, as soon as Jerry Jones pick-slips Phillips, Dallas suddenly plays some of its finest football of the season. Interim coach Jason Garrett probably should get a tiny bit of credit, but why suddenly are the Cowboys on a two-game winning streak? Probably because they all hated Phillips and wanted him to fail and fail hard (I kid, I kid).

3. Terrell Owens to Donovan McNabb: It’s beyond me why Owens would feel it necessary to comment on McNabb’s new contract with the Redskins, asking how the new deal could be justified while Washington and McNabb were taking a beating by the Eagles. McNabb came back and basically asked why a guy playing on a 2-7 (now 2-8) team was criticizing anybody. And it was a good point. A better point: why do we listen to Owens at all when he talks this kind of trash?

2. Vince Young to Jeff Fisher: Just one paraphrased quote when Young departed the Titans locker room Sunday while Fisher was giving his postgame talk said it all. “I’m not walking out on my teammates; I’m walking out on you.” The repercussions of that statement will be felt by Fisher and Young for years to come.

1. NFL owners/players to NFL fans: This one hasn’t happened yet, but it’s been hanging over the entire season like a low-lying storm cloud that’s ready to unleash hell at some point soon. Of course, I mean the impending owner lockout, which would stop all work in the NFL. I have a hard time believing the owners and players won’t work something out before the start of the 2011 season, but it’s entirely possible they could give you the biggest insult of all: no football.

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Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:58 am
 

Hot Routes 11.23.10: Wade Phillips is Tom Landry?

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Wade Phillips is probably a bitter dude right now -- not only did his team totally give up on him, but the guy (Jason Garrett) that Jerry Jones hired to help Wade seemingly feigned offensive incompetence for the entire time Wade was in charge, only to "discover" his genius after taking over the team. Anyway, Wade's not going out like that, yo. He said he'd take a defensive coordinator position in the future and also pointed out that he "went out with the same winning percentage as Tom Landry." 
Posted on: November 19, 2010 7:31 pm
 

Jerry Jones might be scheming

Jerry Jones might want to circumvent the Rooney Rule (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might be making plans to try to circumvent the Rooney Rule, the imperative that states an NFL team hiring a head coach must interview a minority candidate.

Although Dallas only has won a single game since Jones fired Wade Phillips and replaced him with Jason Garrett, Jones might want to keep Garrett – who was once considered a rising star among assistant coaches – and replace the “interim coach” tag with, um, the, “real coach” tag.

Jones made an appearance on KRLD today, and he said (via the Dallas Morning News) , "There are some extenuating circumstances involved here. On my decision, how we'll make it, I'll have to present that to the league. So we'll see how that goes but I can't give you any type of answer to that because I'm not sure I'm through working the process."

Unless the assistant coach has a clause in his deal that makes him the coach-in-waiting – a clause Pro Football Talk says Garrett does not have – Jones will have to interview a minority. No way around it.

But Jones already has gotten his way around the Rule one other time. In 2003, when he wanted to give the job to Bill Parcells, he interviewed Dennis Green by phone. The NFL said that was fine, but since then, the league has mandated the minority candidate actually be interviewed in person .

Jones, I’m sure, will try to figure something else out if he wants to give the job to Garrett. I don’t know, does Skype count as an in-person interview?

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Posted on: November 16, 2010 4:45 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 4:55 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Potential head coaches



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With Wade Phillips getting the pink slip last week and with much discussion about the job security of Minnesota’s Brad Childress, it’s become obvious that it’s that time of the year when fans debate the merits of firing the coach of their favorite teams. That obviously equals bad times for coaches like Marvin Lewis, John Fox, Gary Kubiak, Norv Turner, Josh McDaniels and Mike Singletary.

Since Phillips is gone and Childress might as well be gone, let’s dive into the intriguing possibilities of who will be available – some long-time assistants who hunger for their first shot at a head coaching job, some former head coaches who wouldn’t mind getting back into the business and maybe a college coach or two who want to test himself at the pro level.

Many of the following likely will get interviews after the season when the current coaches who can’t work themselves off the hot seat clean out their offices. Until then, let’s speculate on who might be available.

10. Dick LeBeau: I know, I know. He’s probably not going anywhere, and his three-season stint as the Bengals coach wasn’t so good (12-33). But LeBeau has been such an innovator on defense, I’d like to see the Steelers defensive coordinator get another shot at running a team. It’s not going to happen, because he’s 73 years old, but there would be a ton of smiling faces around the league if he got another chance.

9. Rob Ryan: We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?

8. Mike Zimmer:
He arguably performed his best coaching job of his career last year when, despite the death of his wife and of Bengals WR Chris Henry, the defensive coordinator led Cincinnati’s defense to the No. 4 ranking in the NFL. For as long as the Bengals have tried to improve their defense, Zimmer finally was the one to make it happen. Cincinnati’s defense ranks 15th this season, but his players respect him and his coaching style. At some point, you’d think a team will take a chance on him.

7. Jon Gruden/Bill Cowher: Yes, they’ve both got lucrative analyst deals with ESPN and CBS, respectively, and both seem to do a pretty nice job (although Gruden spends a little too much time being a little too positive on his Monday Night Football gig). It’s hard to tell if Cowher is serious about getting back into coaching, but it wouldn’t be hard to believe Gruden wanting to jump at the chance (those are the whispers you hear, at least). He just seems hard-wired for the long hours, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he were to return. For Cowher, it’d probably have to be the perfect job. And I’m not sure that kind of job will appear in the offseason.

6. Marty Mornhinweg: The 5-27 mark he recorded while coaching the Lions is pretty difficult to swallow. But one of the biggest achievements this season made by Mornhinweg – the Eagles offensive coordinator – has been the transformation of QB Michael Vick from a playmaker with brilliant talents to a complete quarterback that’s nearly unstoppable with his legs and his arm. The Eagles rank second in points scored and third in yards per game, and much of that is a credit to Mornhinweg.

5. Cam Cameron: It’s a testament to Cameron that the Ravens, previously known as a strong defense that couldn’t score points, are now known as a high-powered offense that has a more difficult time stopping opponents. Cameron has weapons (QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice, a plethora of receivers), and he knows how to use them. It might not happen for a few more years, but Cameron deserves another chance (if a prospective owner can overlook the 1-15 season he had while running the Dolphins).

4. Perry Fewell: He had a taste of head coaching last season after the Bills fired Dick Jauron and made Fewell the interim. He led Buffalo to a 3-4 record – looking back on it, it was almost miraculous – but he and the rest of the coaching staff were fired anyway. Now, he’s the Giants defensive coordinator , and not surprisingly, they’re the No. 1 defense in the NFL in yards allowed.

3. John Fox:
He doesn’t have much longer in his current role, as the head coach in Carolina, and despite the team’s putridicity (?) this season, he remains a well-respected figure in the league. Why, you ask? Well, he led the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII, two seasons after a George Seifert-led Panthers squad went 1-15. Overall, he’s 72-65 as the coach in Carolina, and you can be sure Fox will have a job somewhere in the NFL. And quite possibly as a head coach.

2. Jim Harbaugh: If the Stanford head coach still wants an NFL job, he will have an excellent shot to get one. The brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Jim – a 14-year NFL QB who made the Pro Bowl in 1995 – has done wonders in Palo Alto. The previous two coaches before Harbaugh went a combined 16-40, and in the past two seasons, the Cardinal has gone a combined 17-6. He already interviewed for the Jets job that Rex Ryan eventually won two years ago, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he beats out somebody else for a head coaching position.

1. Leslie Frazier: How long will it take before Frazier – perhaps the most respected assistant coach in the league - finally lands the head coaching position he so obviously wants? Well, considering his office is just down the hallway from Childress’, it would make sense for Minnesota to hire its current defensive coordinator when it fires Childress. For a defense that hadn’t been good in more than a decade before Frazier took over, he’s transformed the unit and made himself indispensible. No doubt about it, he should be a head coach.

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