PFW Whispers and NFC South Report
Word is former Cardinals offensive coordinator Jerry Sullivan is expected to talk with New Orleans, Miami and Baltimore about being a WR coach.
Sources say Saints head coach Jim Haslett is interested in adding Raiders CB Charles Woodson to his lineup because he likes the edge Woodson brings to a defense.
WeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢re told the only way Saints CB Dale Carter returns to New Orleans next season is if he is willing to play for the league minimum.
We hear that one of the knocks on LSU head coach Nick Saban in Falcons camp was the rumor that he isnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t a team player and likely would demand too much power if he was hired in Atlanta.
With former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Knapp becoming the new FalconsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ offensive coordinator, the rumor that free agent WR Terrell Owens will also end up in Atlanta has picked up instant steam.
Our sources in Seattle say the violation of a team rule that resulted in rookie FS
Ken Hamlin not starting in the SeahawksÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ playoff game in Green Bay is more than just a little concern, considering the off-the-field problems Hamlin experienced in the college ranks at Arkansas.
The Packers are still considering whether power DE Joe Johnson should be brought back in 2004. Johnson is due more than $6 million in base salary, but Green Bay has been pleased with the performance of Aaron Kampman and Chukie Nwokorie since Johnson went on the injured list.
Jan. 12, 2004
The Saints finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row, but donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t expect any sweeping changes this offseason. Sources say head coach Jim Haslett is tired of all the turnover that has occurred on his roster over the last two offseasons, and he hopes to keep the current group together (for the most part) to allow them to grow as a team. Two years ago, the Saints decided to rid their locker room of some problem players and allowed OT Willie Roaf, DT LaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢Roi Glover and RB Ricky Williams to depart. Last offseason, the housecleaning continued with DT Norman Hand, OT Kyle Turley and S Sammy Knight moving on. This year, Haslett doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t believe his roster needs many major changes and is only looking to tweak things here and there. The way we hear it, Haslett has been holed up with other members of the front office since the end of the regular season as they look to evaluate everyone who might be available and really pinpoint the pieces that would be the perfect fit in the SaintsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ playoff puzzle. But the key for Haslett will be not to mess with the core group of players and allow the ballclub a bit more continuity than in the past.
Jan. 12, 2004
The Panthers expect to have most of their team back intact next season, and we hear two of the stars of their run to the postseason likely will be re-signed by March. QB Jake Delhomme went from free-agent acquisition to starting quarterback after the first half of the first game of the season, and sources say the team will make an effort to extend his contract and make sure he is paid at the level of an NFL starter. WR Steve Smith also is expected to ink a deal relatively quickly, although the Smith situation could come with a few more problems than DelhommeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s. Smith has said before that he believes he should be paid on the same level as other top wide receivers, but his production really hasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t been at the same level of the top pass catchers in the game for very long. The Panthers are willing to reward Smith for a stellar season, in which he made 88 catches for 1,110 yards and seven touchdowns, but they arenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t going to be offering him Randy Moss-like money. If Smith demands such a contract, the Panthers will be willing to let him walk if another team is interested in signing him as a restricted free agent.
Jan. 12, 2004
The Falcons surprised everyone by naming Jim Mora as their new head coach, and we hear the decision to go with Mora was pretty much owner Arthur BlankÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s alone. General manager Rich McKay was very high on LSU head coach Nick Saban, but it is believed that McKay had to work hard just to get Blank to agree to interview Saban. After MoraÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s second interview with the team ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â the first time Blank was involved in the meetings with Mora ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â it became clear that Blank was sold on the 49ersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ defensive coordinator. The decision to hire Mora so quickly also marked a change in plan for McKay, who said prior to the teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s first interview with any candidate that the Falcons would let the entire hiring process run its course before making a decision. McKay believed that the job was one worth holding open for a candidate, but it looks as though BlankÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s decision to go with Mora won out. As it is, the hiring hasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t been very popular with the fans and media of the team, with local sports-talk radio shows lighting up with complaints about the team not hiring a minority candidate or giving Saban more of a chance.
Jan. 12, 2004
Sources are calling the decision to hire former Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen to replace Rich McKay as general manager of the team as the last move to sever all ties to the McKay-Tony Dungy era. Allen worked with head coach Jon Gruden when both were in Oakland, and weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢re told the Bucs wanted to bring in someone who understood GrudenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s attitude and lack of patience and was willing to work to make Gruden happy. Allen knows Gruden is a workaholic, and the son of Hall of Famer George Allen has been described as the best possible fit for the job. Although Allen has been given complete control of the team, weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢re told Gruden likely will have the biggest input when it comes to personnel matters. It also looks like the team will continue with its policy of bringing in older players rather than trying to build on the shoulders of youth.
Jan. 12, 2004
Although criticism of head coach Mike Martz and QB Marc Bulger was the hot topic of conversation following the RamsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ wild double-overtime playoff loss to the Panthers, an equally disturbing factor in the crushing defeat was the teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s awful defense against the run. Carolina rushed for 216 yards on 41 carries ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â a high for any opponent during MartzÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s head-coaching tenure in St. Louis ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â as Rams defenders were consistently outfoxed on a variety of running plays and overpowered by the PanthersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ offensive linemen. The performance certainly wonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t help defensive coordinator Lovie Smith in his pursuit of a head-coaching job. As for Bulger, who regressed as the game wore on, our sources believe the widespread proclamations at presstime that he will return to being the backup behind Kurt Warner are premature. Look for the Rams to let the smoke clear this week before launching into a serious analysis of the teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s future.
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