Let’s check out what is going on around the league this morning…
From StarTribune.com: Adrian Peterson sat at his locker stall for 10 minutes in full uniform as his teammates scurried around him. The Vikings running back did nothing to hide his anger and disappointment. “I’m sick right now,” he said. “I’m very disappointed. I really feel like I lost this game. We were in position to win the game, and I gave it away.”
Peterson’s fumble in OT Monday night — his seventh fumble of the season — gave the Bears field position and ultimately the win when Jay Cutler hit WR Devin Aromashodu for a 39-yard TD pass. This has me wondering how much we’ll see of Chester Taylor next week in the Vikings’ season finale against the Giants and in the postseason. Peterson now has put the ball on the ground 20 times in less than three years of work in the NFL — a number that would put the majority of running backs on the street. Is it time to give Taylor, who’s becoming a prominent feature for the Vikings on third downs, more touches in the game plan? We can’t question A.P.’s talent, but how much leeway do you give to your team’s superstars and high draft picks when they can’t be accountable in terms of ball security?
From Pewterreport.com: Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber indicated that he plans to retire if Raheem Morris does not return as Tampa Bay’s head coach in 2010. There has been some speculation that the Bucs might replace the 33-year-old Morris, who has gone 3-12 in his first year as head coach, with former Pittsburgh head coach Bill Cowher. “He’s done well,” Barber said of Morris. “He’s had a perfect storm of madness he’s had to deal with. Some of it was self-inflicted because he let go two coordinators. He decided on the three quarterback changes, too. But to me, they were all the right moves. When you are young and inexperienced and you have to deal with certain situations, you have to go with your gut. He’s a gut-feel guy. He’s not going to ever change. I think the players in this locker room respect that.”
The reports of Cowher to Tampa surfaced on Sunday morning, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that one of the Bucs’ veteran players is standing up for his young coach. But we have to understand why Barber — who isn’t a top level cornerback in the league anymore — is using the “retirement card” with the media. Barber has been with Morris since he first came on the Tampa staff in 2002, and a new coach such as Cowher isn’t going to have the same loyalty when it comes to roster moves in 2010 — where Barber could be on the chopping block. You’ll see this from aging veterans across the NFL who stand up for coaches, as they lean on them to stay in the league. Barber’s production is down, and Morris is his meal ticket in Tampa.
From NYDailyNews.com: True to form, Chad Ochocinco started a war of words with the Jets yesterday, calling out Darrelle Revis and putting the cornerback on notice in a Twitter posting that read: “I’m coming to the big apple to give NY what they’ve never seen, an escape inmate gone wild on Revis island … try and cover me.” Revis, who held the Colts’ Reggie Wayne to three receptions and 33 yards on Sunday before Wayne was pulled in the third quarter, has become a leading candidate for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award after shutting down elite receivers all season. But that hasn’t stopped Ochocinco from running his mouth, er, keyboard.
We shouldn’t be surprised by another tweet from Ochocinco (whose Twitter posts have become a part of my weekly entertainment in covering the league), but does anyone think he can produce against Revis? The crown for “best cornerback” in the league often gets thrown around with names like Revis, the Packers’ Charles Woodson, the Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha and the Broncos’ Champ Bailey in the mix. But when you look at the players Revis has completely taken out of the game — Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Mike Sims-Walker, etc. – he takes the prize. Something to think about for Chad, who, like the others, will most likely get shut down Sunday night in front of a national audience.
From SunTimes.com: If there are coaching changes, even upper-management changes, at Halas Hall, what will that mean for the quarterback who is here to lead the way? The Bears have not had a great quarterback since ancient times, so everyone knows the expectations. When (Jay) Cutler scrambled early and plowed over Vikings cornerback Madieu Williams — not a scrawny DB at 6-1, 203, by the way — and kept going for five more yards, it was shades of Bobby Douglass. And as erratic as Douglass could be with his arm, he won the hearts of many old-time fans by running like a fullback. Cutler seems to have the fans with him. Plays like his blow-up of Williams help. And as Cutler said after the game, ‘We were calling a lot of the same stuff we have all year.’ If true, possibilities lurk. But it’s as if the fans have to be with Cutler. Indeed, what else have they got?
Winning the fans over on one night was good for Cutler’s image in Chicago, but let’s not forget about the 26 interceptions he’s thrown this season and the Bears’ 6-9 record heading into Week 17. Outside of Cutler, everyone on the Chicago roster and in the front office is expendable, and someone is going to have to take the fall for a season that is still a major disappointment — especially after the trade that brought in Cutler. But who goes? My bet is still on offensive coordinator Ron Turner. Head coach Lovie Smith may have saved his own job last night, but Turner might be the guy who takes the blame for those 26 interceptions.
From Cleveland.com: New Browns president Mike Holmgren will meet with Eric Mangini next week and then decide soon thereafter whether or not to fire a coach who’s on a hot streak. ”I haven’t made a decision on Eric,” Holmgren said during Monday’s conference call. “I met with Eric when I was there and have talked to him on the phone a couple of times about football issues. It’d be really unfair [to decide right now]. He’s finishing his first season and the team is doing well. They’re clearly responding to him. I’m arriving back there on Monday. Eric and I will meet next week, and then we’ll come to some sort of decision.”
Holmgren hasn’t given a vote of confidence to Mangini, nor has he publicly stated that he will search for a new head coach. But with sources telling us that Randy Mueller is the GM that Holmgren has targeted, it will be interesting to see what Mangini’s fate is come next week. We’ve heard that the players have grown tired of Mangini’s practices, his methods and his overall control of the team — something that Holmgren will have to take into account before he makes a move. Don’t read too much into the late-season surge by the Browns because Holmgren was brought in for a reason — to clean house.
From NewsTribune.com: That (Matt) Hasselbeck may be viewed as one of the more lethal reasons is alarming. He has been to three Pro Bowls, led the team to a Super Bowl, and has been so consistent and reliable as a player and leader over the years, he’s become almost sacrosanct. But in the past few games he’s been dreadful. Four interceptions against Tampa Bay helped the 1-12 Bucs deliver a 24-7 upset at Qwest Field. Four more interceptions at Lambeau Field on Sunday added to the 48-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Is he done? He’s 34, it’s his 11th season and he’s making mistakes that make him look like the struggling kid he was in 2001.
Hasselbeck’s fate for the 2010 season will likely lie in the hands of whomever the Seahawks hire as their new general manager. He has an injury history, he’s been inconsistent this season, and with a chance for the Seahawks to land a rookie QB — such as Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen — what do they do with their veteran QB? Jim Mora Jr. is likely to be back next season as the head coach, but for a team that already passed on Mark Sanchez in this year’s draft, do they go ahead and miss out on another opportunity to bring in a rookie QB? Hasselbeck could be one of many changes for Seattle this offseason.
From WNDU.com: The Buffalo Bills have contacted (Charlie) Weis to see if he is interested, WIVB in Buffalo reports, and according to their source, Weis is interested. The Bills fired Dick Jauron after nine games this season and are currently 5-10.Weis had tremendous success as offensive coordinator at New England and was a finalist for the Bills’ head coaching job in 2004 before coming to Notre Dame a year later. The report says it is not known if there’s been a formal interview between Weis and the Bills yet. How’s this for a scenario: The Bills will draft somewhere in the top 10 and they need a quarterback. Perhaps Charlie goes to Buffalo and selects Jimmy Clausen in the first round, or maybe he trades for Brady Quinn.
Owner Ralph Wilson has not been quiet when it comes to finding a new head coach for the Buffalo Bills, and it’s obvious that he prefers to hire an offensive head coach, but is Weis the right call? The Bills are a disaster right now at QB, but they also have offensive line issues, will likely be without WR Terrell Owens next season and have an undersized defense that fits the personnel for a Tampa 2 scheme. Hiring Weis would provide some buzz, but his system needs a polished, game-ready QB to win. Inserting a rookie will only lead to another season of watching from home in January.
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