*Jason Babin’s release in Philadelphia wasn’t so much about Babin’s ability as much as it was about where the Eagles are as an organization. Ownership and management, from what we’ve been told, want Andy Reid to start using more young players so the team can get a good feel going into 2013. Getting rid of Babin was the only way defensive line coach Jim Washburn was going to play Vinny Curry more. The rebuilding project in Philadelphia starts now.
*Rolondo McClain’s hints that he soon will be leaving Oakland had personnel men all across the league watching tape of the Raiders defense—and not liking what they’ve seen from McClain. As the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, McClain was highly regarded for his physical style, instincts and play speed. But scouts aren’t seeing that now. They say he has not attacked blocks well, plays slow, is exposed in space and is marginal in coverage. One questioned if McClain might be going through the motions. “Looks like he’s lost his edge,” he said.
*The word around the NFL is former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo is getting some play as a potential general manager or consultant and is likely to get back in the game in 2013. The Bears’ success this year reflects well on him, as Angelo constructed the roster, hired Lovie Smith and most of the front office. What’s more, he oversaw a team that had sustained success.
*The firing of Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer caught some by surprise only because it happened with five weeks remaining in the season. Some suspected it might happen about a month ago, but it’s late in the season for a change. The buzz from Tennessee is head coach Mike Munchak hopes that new coordinator Dwight Loggains will be able to tailor the offense more around the personnel, and specifically quarterback Jake Locker. There is a feeling Locker was not allowed to play to his strengths.
*Some of the players and coaches who have to play the 49ers in coming weeks were sorry to see Alex Smith demoted. One top pro personnel man described it like this: “Alex has a ceiling, a limitation, but he's serviceable. He won’t lose games but can’t win by himself like the special ones do. He limits how far they can go.” Because Colin Kaepernick is somewhat of an unknown, the Niners will have an advantage until defensive coordinators can identify and exploit his yet to be discovered shortcomings.
*It’s no secret around the league that Dolphins left tackle Jake Long is not having a great season in his contract year. This could affect his future in Miami. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland did publicly say he wants Long “around for a long time,” but several personnel people around the league who are evaluating free agents are speculating Long will not have his contract extended. In addition to Long’s play, another interesting factor is Joe Philbin has a history of not being afraid to develop young offensive linemen. This will be an interesting one to watch.