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Tag:Norv Turner
Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:08 am
Edited on: January 8, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Latest coaching rumors, news

It's Black Monday and that means seats are heating. (Getty Images)
By Eye on Football Staff

Throughout the day on Monday (and now Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday!) week news and rumors will be flying about job security of various NFL coaches. Bookmark this page to stay updated constantly.

SUNDAY
1:10 p.m. ET
SATURDAY
9:20 p.m. ET
3 p.m. ET
  • Although Ray Horton realizes that Jeff Fisher has to be the No. 1 choice for the Rams job, the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that if Fisher takes the Miami job, St. Louis will give a second look to Horton, the Cardinals defensive coordinator. Apparently, Horton's initial five-hour interview went very well. "When it was over they called my agent and said they were blown away by him, and he couldn't have been any better," Horton said.
  • According to Rapid Reporter Ron Clements, the Rams have received permission to interview Tennessee VP of football operations Lake Dawson and Titans VP of player personnel Ruston Webster for the vacant GM job. Both worked with Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.
  • CBSSports.com's Clark Judge speculates that Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac might be fired soon. According to Judge, four candidates have already lined up interviews to replace him -- Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morris, Mel Tucker and Mike Singletary.
12 p.m. ET
  • The Chiefs reportedly have decided to remove the interim tag for coach Romeo Crennel, meaning the job is all his. It seems like general manager Scott Pioli wanted Crennel to have the job all along.
  • It didn't take long for the Patriots to hire their next offensive coordinator to replace Bill O'Brien. It's their old offensive coordinator of course as Josh McDaniels will take over O'Brien's spot for 2012 AND will begin work immediately, helping New England in this postseason.
  • According to NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, the Dolphins have permission from the Falcons to interview offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. Jacksonville already has shown interest in Mularkey.
FRIDAY
11:20 p.m. ET

12:13 p.m. ET

  • Ray Horton, the Cardinals defensive coordinator, is set to interview with the Rams for their head coaching position soon.

9:03 a.m. ET

THURSDAY

4:15 p.m. ET
  • Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin has been a busy man lately, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Philben was in Kansas City on Wednesday, and by this weekend, he'll interview for the Dolphins head coaching job as well.
1:20 p.m. ET
  • Although he and general manager A.J. Smith kept their job, Chargers coach Norv Turner fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after just one season. Interesting, because, three days ago, Turner said he thought Manusky had done a good job this year.

9:00 a.m. ET
  • Raheem Morris was spotted dining with Redskins brass, and Washington could be interested in hiring Morris as a defensive coach. The only problem with that scenario is that Buccaneers were the worst team in the league in points allowed this season.
  • Yahoo Sports' Michael Silver has written that the Jeff Fisher sweepstakes has become a two-way race between the Dolphins and the Rams. Fisher was scheduled to interview with St. Louis today.
  • NFL.com's Albert Breer is saying that Jay (not Jon!) Gruden is the favorite to land the head coaching job in Jacksonville. The Bengals offensive coordinator, however, can't interview until Cincinnati is out of the playoffs. Until then, it sounds like the Jaguars will continue to interview every hot offensive coordinator they can find.
WEDNESDAY

8:20 p.m. ET
  • According to multiple reports, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will interview for the Penn State job on Thursday. Though his interview with the school has been reported and then denied previously, it seems like O'Brien might have a real shot at landing this position, especially since it appears he's not a candidate for any current open NFL head coaching jobs.

5:58 p.m. ET
  • The Rams have requested permission from the Ravens to interview director of player personnel Eric DeCosta for the St. Louis general manager spot, according to PFT. DeCosta is seen as the possible successor to Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. St. Louis also has received permission from the Falcons to interview director of player personnel Les Snead.

10:53 a.m. ET
TUESDAY

6:06 p.m. ET
  • Jeff Fisher's the hottest name on the coaching circuit and he officially visited Miami -- even flying there on a helicopter! -- to talk to owner Stephen Ross about the Dolphins gig.
2:40 p.m. ET
2:20 p.m. ET
10:19 a.m. ET
MONDAY
6:00 p.m. ET
  • Colts owner Jim Irsay calls firing Bill and Chris Polian a tough decision, and adds that "it's not outside the realm of possibility" that Jim Caldwell returns as head coach. When asked if Peyton Manning will play again he responded, "I don't."
4:28 p.m. ET
  • The Rams will interview Jeff Fisher this week for their vacant coaching job. If they land Fisher, then they would try to find a general manager.

4:03 p.m. ET
3:44 p.m. ET
  • According to the Buffalo News, Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards has been fired and replaced by Dave Wannstedt.

2:42 p.m. ET
  • According to the Chicago Tribune, Bears special teams coach Dave Toub will interview for the Dolphins job.

1:59 p.m. ET
  • A report from the New York Daily News says that Brian Schottenheimer will interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Because the Jets offense was just so awesome this year, apparently.
1:22 p.m. ET
  • Although there were reports that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was the prime coaching target for Penn State, it sounds like O'Brien won't be headed to Happy Valley after all.
12:45 p.m. ET
  • During his last regular-season news conference, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said he's "moving forward" with his day-to-day work. Caldwell also said he met with owner Jim Irsay on Sunday night and with executives Bill and Chris Polian on Monday morning. Obviously, at this moment, Caldwell is still employed. Which led Indy Star reporter Phillip B. Wilson to tweet, "Colts fans, to be honest, I have no idea what's going on ... maybe team won't announce changes for another day or two, IDK."
11:56 a.m. ET
  • An interesting set of tweets from UniversalDraft.com's Chris Kouffman: "<s>@</s>ArmandoSalguero with a stunning revelation that Carl Peterson was told to have dinner w/ Jon Gruden and allowed to offer Gruden the job ... which included total control over football operations, ability to hire and fire whomever he wanted...and Gruden TURNED IT DOWN. Yikes."
  • The Dolphins release a statement saying they're gearing up for their coaching search.
11:32 a.m. ET
10:37 a.m. ET
  • We have our first victim on Black Monday! Steve Spagnuolo, as expected, was fired by the St. Louis on Monday. Spags was 10-38 in three years with the Rams but should be a hot name for defensive coordinator positions.
  • You want to talk about a coach in demand? How about Jeff Fisher. Mike Freeman writes that the two jobs that intrigue him the most are Indianapolis and Tampa Bay.
9:39 a.m. ET
  • Speaking of the Jets, their public relations staff announced that BOTH general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan will be at Monday's press conference. That's not "normal" and it could mean that people's jobs are in trouble.
  • Despite a disappointing season in which the Jets didn't make the playoffs, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine -- whose reputation has largely remained intact this year -- has reportedly drawn interest from the Dolphins.

9:07 a.m ET

  • CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reports that the Bucs spent all evening gathering intel on Raheem Morris from players. Ownership is starting to believe that though they don't want to fire Morris, they might have to fire Morris.

Previously:

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:47 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 1:09 pm
 

Casserly: 'Strong sentiment' for Caldwell return

Caldwell appreciates the Colts trying to save his gig. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

There's a lot of chatter about potential coaching changes around the NFL, with Black Monday looming in less than 24 hours. Jim Caldwell of the Colts, Norv Turner of the Chargers, Andy Reid of the Eagles and Steve Spanguolo of the Rams are all considered on the proverbial hot seat.

The Giants Tom Coughlin is much-maligned in New York too, but CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported on Sunday that Coughlin's gig is safe ("he will be back") regardless of whether or not the Giants make the playoffs this season.

Casserly also broke down the status for the other guys -- Reid is the safest of the bunch by far.

"I expect Andy Reid to be back as head coach of the Eagles next year," Casserly reported on The NFL Today. "As far as defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, as of yesterday, no decision had been made. However, it is Andy Reid's total decision."

That could make for an interesting in-house argument in Philly. So could Caldwell's status as head coach, according to Casserly.

"There's strong sentiment in the building to bring him back because of how hard the Colts have played this year," Casserly told James Brown.


That's pretty shocking. The Colts have won two games in a row and are looking for three against Jacksonville but even the late-season run seemed like a classic case of too little, too late. Apparently Caldwell's still got a shot at saving his gig, which would be ironic, considering he'd probably have to lose out on Andrew Luck to do so.

Not having a shot? Spags and Norv, according to Casserly.

"I do not expect [Turner] to be back as head coach [of the Chargers], however, I look for him to get many opportunities as an offensive coordinator in the league," Casserly said.

One of those spots could be with the Jets, as we noted earlier when talking about Rex Ryan's candle-lighting that Norv's a candidate to replace Brian Schottenheimer, depending on how the dominos Sunday.

Spags is in a similar boat, Casserly reported, as he'll be out as head coach and chased by several teams as a coordinator.

"In St. Louis, expect changes to be made and Steve Spagnuolo to be out as head coach," Casserly said Sunday. "However, he will be a highly sought-after defensive coordinator next year."

To sum up: heads are going to roll in the offseason (just like every year). The question is just how many.


Follow all the Week 17 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games:
DET-GB | TEN-HOU | IND-JAC | NYJ-MIA | CHI-MIN | BUF-NE | CAR-NO | WAS-PHI | SF-STL

4 p.m. ET games:
TB-ATL | BAL-CIN | PIT-CLE | SEA-ARI | KC-DEN | SD-OAK


Posted on: January 1, 2012 9:55 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 11:31 am
 

Report: Fisher spotted at Bucs hotel in Atlanta

FisherBy Josh Katzowitz

Jeff Fisher certainly has been getting around lately.

Last week, the former Titans coach was in Detroit to catch the Lions-Chargers matchup (Fisher’s son is a defensive assistant under Jim Schwartz), and before the game, Fisher was seen on the field talking to Norv Turner, likely in his last days as the San Diego head coach. The weird thing about that: Fisher has been mentioned prominently as a potential replacement for Turner.

Now, we have word (via the Tampa Bay Times) that Fisher was spotted at the Buccaneers team hotel in Atlanta on Saturday.

Although another of Fisher’s sons is a walk-on at Auburn, which beat Virginia in the Chik-Fil-A bowl on Saturday night, you have to wonder if the Buccaneers -- most likely looking to fire Raheem Morris after nine-straight losses -- spoke to Fisher about their potential future opening.

As the Times writes, Fisher would be considered one of Tampa Bay’s biggest targets if the team fires Morris.

And luckily for the rest of the NFL coaches on the hot seat, Fisher doesn’t have any more sons around the league that he can visit that would coincide with talking to another NFL team. Especially since Fisher apparently is willing to listen to anyone.

UPDATE: According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Fisher and the Buccaneers did NOT meet this weekend and that his appearance at the hotel was purely coincidental.

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Posted on: December 31, 2011 3:23 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 17

By Josh Katzowitz

Each week, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by Bovada for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Will the winner of the Giants vs. Cowboys game win their opening playoff game?   
    
Yes 5/7

No 6/5

Thanks to the handy help of our post-Week 16 playoff picture, we can tell you that the Giants-Cowboys winner will end up as the No. 4 seed. That means the victor will play either the Lions or the Falcons in the wild card round. If Detroit beats the Packers, the Lions would travel to the New Meadowlands or Cowboys Stadium, but if they lose to Green Bay and the Falcons beat the Buccaneers, it’d be Atlanta with the No. 5 seed. I favor the Falcons to be the No. 5 seed, and I’d favor the Giants, but not the Cowboys, to beat them. But if the Lions come through, I think they’d beat either squad.

All of that means I have no idea. But I guess I’d go “no,” if for no other reason than this is a game it just feels like the Cowboys and Giants would lose.

How many head coaches will be fired between Sunday, January 1st and the 1st Playoff game kicks off?

Over 3 (-140)

Under 3 (EVEN)

Well, Jack Del Rio, Tony Sparano and Todd Haley are already gone. Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morris and Norv Turner are soon to be (probably). I think Jim Caldwell will survive. As will Andy Reid. I guess the best way to approach this bet is to avoid it, because I don’t see more or less than three coaches getting axed.

Who will finish the 2012 regular season with more TD passes? (Note: Both quarterbacks are tied with 20 touchdowns)      

Cam Newton (CAR) QB 7/5       

Andy Dalton (CIN) QB 8/5       

Tie 7/4       

Newton faces the Saints, one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Dalton faces the Ravens, one of the best overall defenses in the NFL. Newton likely will spend much of his day throwing the ball because the Saints probably will jump out to a big lead. Dalton could be involved in a run-oriented, defensive game. Thus, go with Newton to throw more touchdown passes than Dalton.

Which team will win the Number 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft?  

Indianapolis Colts 1/3

St. Louis Rams 2/1

The Rams play the 49ers, and St. Louis almost assuredly will lose. The Colts play host to the Jaguars, where Indianapolis, riding that two-game unbeaten streak, very well could win. I think the Rams take the No. 1 pick for next year and then trade it for a boatload of draft picks.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 17 preview, coach carousel

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Our last weekly preview of the season is also the last one of 2011 (is the "see you next year!" joke ever funny?). We hope you enjoyed it this year and if you've got anything you'd like to see improved/changed/worked on whatever, let us know.

In the meantime, we break down the all the big games from Week 17 and wonder if the Bengals can beat the Ravens, who this game means the most for, how much Anquan Boldin's loss hurts Baltimore and who's to blame for the Jets debacle, the chances of the Raiders and Broncos making the playoffs and whether or not Tim Tebow should be the Broncos starter going forward.

Then we take a look at what coaches are on the hot seat, who's likely to be fired on Monday, plus much, much more.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Did Bill Cowher already interview for the SD job?

Turner

By Josh Katzowitz

Now that the Chargers have been knocked out of the playoff picture officially after the Lions dominated them on Saturday, we can almost surely expect to see the front office fire coach Norv Turner.

That’s especially true after a report surfaced last week that said that in order for Turner and San Diego general manager A.J. Smith to save their jobs, the Chargers needed to win the final two games of the season.

Week 16 recap
That obviously didn’t happen, so now, the discussion has turned to who could replace Turner. And while our CBS colleague Bill Cowher continues to say he’s not interested in leaving the world of TV (even Dan Marino, in answering a question about the open Dolphins job, said he didn’t think Cowher’s mindset was in returning to coaching), the New York Post has reported that Cowher already interviewed in San Diego.

“I was told this week by an in-the-know source with intimate knowledge of the San Diego sports scene that Cowher already had ‘an interview’ with high-ranking people inside the Chargers organization who were gauging his interest and that he expressed his interest in the job should Norv Turner be fired,” wrote Mark Cannizzaro in the Post.

That report, though, is at odds with what the San Diego Union Tribune is writing. Reported Kevin Acee: “Two Chargers sources said unequivocally and vehemently on Saturday that the Chargers have not talked to Cowher.”

Making matters more complicated was the fact that former Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who figures to be a popular coaching choice this offseason (including, perhaps, with the Chargers), was in Detroit and talking with Turner before the game (Fisher’s son is a defensive assistant for the Lions).

Owner Dean Spanos told the Union-Trib that he’d wait until next week to make a decision on Turner.

Look, chances are Cowher won’t be the one to replace him, because it’s unlikely Cowher will return to the game this season (if ever).

Yet, even though Cowher recently told Sports Illustrated this, “People don't understand. I'm not coaching. I'm enjoying life more right now than I ever have,” his name won’t evaporate from coaching searches anytime soon. Even if he really is intent on not ever returning.




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Posted on: December 24, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Slightly condensed version this week as it's the holidays. No podcast, no picture of the week and only eight questions. Blame Mrs. Brinson if you're so inclined. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter.

The Greatest Rookie Season Ever?

That's right. The greatest rookie season ever is precisely what Cam Newton's going to wrap up in Week 17 against the Saints a game of no real consequence when it comes to his legacy as the best rookie in NFL history.

There should be no argument that Cam's season, even without the final week, goes down as the greatest season by a rookie quarterback in history. He has the record for most passing yards in a season (again, with a week to go) by a rookie. He has the record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie. He has the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season by any quarterback.

Of the seven rookie quarterbacks with 3,000 passing yards, Newton doesn't have the most passing touchdowns, but he doesn't have the most interceptions either. There shouldn't be any question that his rookie year is the greatest by any quarterback.

As far as other rookies go, you could argue for Eric Dickerson (more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns in 1983), Dick Lane (14 interceptions, two pick sixes for Night Train in 1952), Randy Moss (17 touchdowns and 1,313 receiving yards in 1998) or Lawrence Taylor (9.5 sacks -- before they were even counted -- in 1981) if you want.

But none of those guys dealt with the complexities of running an offense. None of those guys dealt with a lockout-shortened offseason. None of those guys performed the way they did under the intense scrutiny of 2011 Twitteratiland. None of those guys carried the expectations of the No. 1 overall pick who was supposed to save a franchise ... or cost a GM his job simply because no one was sure how good they'd be. None of those guys inspired the fierce debate that Newton did leading up to being drafted.

Cam's rejuvenated a franchise that was dead in the water and he might be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL right now. It's been a marvel to watch him perform and it's insane to think that there was a debate as to whether or not the Panthers should take him.

Winners

Matthew Stafford: The Lions are in the playoffs. That's worthy of "winner inclusion" all by itself. But the Lions were secretly facing a pretty bad situation, with the white-hot Chargers and the very good Packers over the next two weeks. 9-7 and getting snuck out of the playoffs wasn't out of the question at all. Until Stafford got his surgical precision on and shredded the San Diego secondary, going 29 of 36 with 373 yards and three touchdowns. Stafford's next up for the "is he or isn't he elite" debate.

Pete Prisco
: Yes, my CBSSports.com colleague and former life coach (Pete doesn't know it, but I fired him when he suggested I not wear socks with my loafers). Prisco's the only guy that I know of who refused to budge off his negative stance of Tebow during the Broncos winning streak. There might be an argument that Pete's stubborn and you might be inclined to call him a "hater" but with the way that Tebow egged on Saturday, there are going to be a LOT of people ripping him over the next week. And Prisco's the only one of those people who's stood his ground the whole time.

Kevin Kolb:
The Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday and that means Kolb avoided his worst possible nightmare. That would be "John Skelton marching Arizona to an improbable postseason run and the team deciding to bail on Kolb's albatross of a contract." Instead, Arizona now plays out the string and regroups for 2012, likely with Kolb as the starting quarterback for at least another year.

Matt Forte
: What's that, you say? Forte didn't play on Saturday. Oh, I know that. I also know that if the Vikings hadn't handed Adrian Peterson a monster contract before the 2011 season, things would be awkward right about now. Over the past month, the Bears have collapsed without Forte and Jay Cutler, meaning he's beefed up his leverage as an important player for the franchise and, with the Peterson injury, justified his rationale for wanting a new contract.

Jerome Simpson: Did you see his touchdown catch?

Turner's time might be up in San Diego. (US Presswire)

Losers

Norv Turner: A lot of credit goes to the Lions for the way they played on Saturday. Detroit is a very good team and a formidable opponent. But how can the Chargers not show up, especially knowing that the Broncos lost and that they were either a Bengals/Jets pair of losses or a Broncos loss in Week 17 away from making the playoffs? That's still not "controlling your own destiny" but out of everyone who was gifted an early Christmas present during the early games on Sunday, Turner and the Chargers were probably the luckiest. A 24-0 halftime deficit in the most critical game of the season isn't going to inspire any Spanos family members to keep their pink slips tucked away.

Jason Garrett
: No one's going to blame him for losing to Philly. That's what happens with Stephen McGee under center. But holy cow does Garrett have the hardest decision -- and the most scrutiny -- of his short career coming up over the next week. The Giants and Cowboys will play in Week 17, with a trip to the postseason and a division championship on the line. Tony Romo will almost certainly play, but will he be effective? Can Garrett gameplan in order to play to Romo's injury? Will he cough up a shot at the postseason? These are the ways we will judge him after next week's game. And by "we" I obviously mean "Jerry Jones and his potentially angry family."

Adrian Peterson
: AP's leg injury on Sunday was so brutal that I even feel like a jerk putting him in the "losers" section. But if you saw the horrific nature of Peterson's injury, you know precisely why he's not feeling like a winner right now. The Vikings announced after the game that it was a sprained knee but -- all due respect to Minnesota -- that's just not believable at all. The multiple reports that it's a torn ACL (and potentially worse) make a lot more sense. It's just sad that Peterson could miss significant time because he was playing in a meaningless game for a three-win team.

Rex Ryan: Ryan spent all week running his mouth about the New York-New York rivalry and when push came to shove, his guy Mark Sanchez fumbled on the Giants goal line and threw a "pass" to an offensive lineman that resulted in a safety in a devastating loss on Saturday. The Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie combo got torched by Victor Cruz (that's his name, right?) and Brandon Jacobs got to say "It's time to shut up, fat boy." That's just embarrassing. Oh, right, and the Jets lost control of their own destiny with respect to the playoffs. It wouldn't be nearly as mortifying if Ryan hadn't run his mouth all week.

Pipedreams: Just like San Diego, the Eagles were very much a longshot to make the playoffs. But I'm telling you, there was a chance. Then the Giants killed that chance (adding to their winner-y-ness) with a win over the Jets. That means Week 17 is no longer a dream scenario for fans of long shots, because both early-season favorites are now removed from any chance of a postseason berth. You don't have to root for the Eagles or Chargers. In fact, you can root against them. But if you don't like ridiculous storylines and clowning around with playoff predictors then we're not friends.

The Big Questions

 
The new Tebow narrative could be awkward. (AP)

1. What's the new Tim Tebow narrative?
No, but it's on life support (and Prisco wants to pull the plug!). Look, Tebow can still win against Kansas City in Week 17, or even lose as long as the Chargers beat the Raiders. But think about how quickly this narrative could be absolutely flipped on its head: if Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced, beats Tebow in Week 17 because Tebow can't win late, and the Raiders beat the Chargers and make the playoffs, the Broncos new narrative will be as chokers. No, really, it will. And that is nuts when you consider where we were just two weeks ago.

2. Why does Leslie Frazier keep playing guys who are hurt?
NO CLUE. But this is a story that's flown under the radar for the past few weeks and it culminated with AP's injury against Washington, as well as the concussion that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder suffered on Saturday. The Vikings are 3-12 after winning on Christmas Eve, but they didn't even need Peterson or Ponder to put up points -- it was all Joe Webb against the Redskins. Of course, winning, at this point, should be secondary. Frazier's top priority should be the health of his franchise quarterback and running back. Instead, these guys keep getting trotted out with injuries late in a lost season. That's not the sort of thing that keeps a job safe for long.

3. Did Raheem Morris get fired on Saturday?

Almost certainly. The Panthers went out and walloped Tampa Bay 48-16 in Charlotte, meaning that the Bucs lost their eighth game in a row.  Worse than the losses is the way they've happened: over the last four games, the Buccaneers have been outscored 158-64. They've given up 40 points to the Panthers and Jaguars and have topped 20 points just once since their trip to London in late October when things really started to unravel. It's an embarrassing collapse down the stretch and it's hard to blame the Glazer family and GM Mark Dominik when (not if) they fire Morris.

4. Anyone else getting fired?
Gotta think that Turner's done in San Diego now and that Romeo Crennel's the only interim hanging around. I can't buy that Jim Caldwell's saving his job so I'd add him to the list too. But I think any questions about Chan Gailey can now be reserved for a while, given the way he dismantled the Broncos on Sunday.

5.  Why should Tom Brady be worried?
Because his offensive lineman are dropping like flies. And while the Patriots are going to continue being good because that's what the Patriots do, there's absolutely cause for concern in New England if Logan Mankins and Matt Light are hurt for any length of time. As you may be aware, this isn't a team predicated on playing any sort of defense, and if they can't protect Tom Brady, there's little chance of them advancing in the postseason.

5. How mad are the 49ers?
Furious. And it doesn't matter that they won, because they gave up a rushing touchdown to Marshawn Lynch. They might hold the record for most games without one, but you know they wanted to make it the entire season. They did not.

6. Am I going to have to watch Matt Flynn on Christmas night?
Not as much as you might have feared. The 49ers won against the Seahawks on Saturday, and that means Green Bay hasn't clinched the top seed yet. Which means that Aaron Rodgers will stay in the game against the Bears for the entire game, barring an absolute Packers blowout.

7. Was Simpson's catch the play of the year?
Yup, it sure was. Maybe not the "play of the century" or anything insane like people are saying, but it was an absolutely bananas catch and it deserves incredible props. Watch -- it's going to be the type of thing you talk with your relatives about on Christmas. That's the way you can truly judge the greatness of a play.

8. Should Ben Roethlisberger play next week?
No. There's just no need. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice handled the Browns just fine in Week 16, and Charlie Batch/Rashard Mendenhall can do the same in Week 17. Rest the guy, run the ball, cross your fingers that Cincy can summon the strength to beat the Ravens on the road and let Roethlisberger rest.

GIF O' THE WEEK

I mean duh. Did you notice I liked it?



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Posted on: December 24, 2011 11:32 am
 

Report: V-Jax would be out in less important game

The Bolts need Jackson bad enough that he'll likely play through injury. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

In the middle of the week, Vincent Jackson suddenly appeared on the Chargers injury report with a groin injury. It was concerning, but there never appeared to be an issue with the wide receiver actually playing.

Until Sunday anyway; Adam Caplan of the Sideline View reports that Jackson is actually a lot more hindered by his groin injury than people believe. According to Caplan, had this been "another game of lesser importance, he probably would be listed as doubtful or out." Caplan notes that Jackson still wants to "test his injury in warmups" before deciding whether or not he'll play.

What makes Jackson's status interesting is the timing of the games on Sunday as it relates to the playoff race. San Diego doesn't play until 4:15, while Denver and Oakland suit up at 1:00 p.m. ET Saturday.

Should the Broncos win and the Raiders lose, Denver would clinch the AFC West. If that happens San Diego could only make the playoffs via the wild card and would need the Jets and Bengals to both lose at least once over the next two weeks.

So a Denver win and an Oakland loss means that the Chargers aren't quite as alive as they were after last week and we could potentially see Jackson on the sidelines.

Even if V-Jax does play, there's a pretty good chance he serves as a decoy of sorts, and Norv Turner and Philip Rivers will run the offense through Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd.


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