NFP Friday Buzz

*Publicly, the Cardinals brass is backing quarterback Kevin Kolb. But privately, the word out of Phoenix is Kolb is just an interception or two away from being benched. He has not given the coaches the consistency and confidence they are looking for from him.

*Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is coming off a five interception performance and has faced some criticism from the likes of Joe Theismann, but that does not believe the team’s commitment to him is wavering. In fact, those in the know wouldn’t be surprised to see Romo sign a contract extension soon that makes him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league. Romo’s deal is up after the 2013 season, and the Cowboys have no doubt they want to lock him up long term. It’s possible contract talks already have quietly taken place.

*Chris Johnson had a breakout game statistically last week for the Titans against the Texans, but that doesn’t mean he’s back to the old Chris Johnson. NFL men who have been watching him closely said he still is not showing the kind of burst and speed that have been his trademark. They say Johnson looks out of sync and appears to have lost confidence in his offensive line.

*Browns owner Jimmy Haslam already has people making discreet inquiries to find out who the best front office men in the league are. It’s no secret Haslam is likely to clean house in the offseason, and in the event he does, he wants to be prepared to move quickly to hire the best available people.

*The Dolphins might not be winning, but they have impressed opponents around the league by playing sound, ball control football and by getting the most out of their players. Other teams are saying they have a lot of solid players, but the lack of playmakers is preventing them from winning the close games. One Dolphins insider put it in perspective: “Could we use Chad Johnson and a few other castoffs right now to close out games? Absolutely. However, having a drama-free, blue collar locker room was a bigger priority over keeping some talented guys who could take away from the culture that Coach Philbin is trying to build.”*

*Doctors in New York a couple of weeks ago told former Packers safety Nick Collins the party is over and that he should retire after his spinal fusion surgery. People close to Collins say he appears to be resigned to doing so. But he has yet to file retirement papers.

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