Between The Hash Marks

Buffalo head coach Gregg Williams is working on borrowed time with the Bills. Information funneled to this column suggests Tom Donahoe, the President and General Manager of the team intends to jettison Williams when the season concludes.

Inconsistency and a lack of overall performance on the field are the primary reasons noted. We know from other discussions regarding the team that Williams is not Donahoe's ‘guy', which will simplify a change.

The longer the Cincinnati Bengals remain in contention for the AFC North division crown, the longer the wait will be for rookie quarterback Carson Palmer to hit the field. Playing competitive football, the Bengals could ultimately be the best overall team in what is regarded as a weak division. Playing at home for the majority of the upcoming month, November could be make or break time for the upstart Bengals.

It is unfortunate that Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Marc Trestman has caught the brunt of controversy and finger pointing from members of the Raiders family. An off-season purge is expected in Oakland, which may include Trestman, from what we are hearing. Another faction within the organization, coming from the locker room noted to this column recently the problem isn't Trestman, it's about certain players, the supposed leaders of this team that are pointing fingers at others, as their play has diminished. (Yes, this is in reference to the starting quarterback and receivers) But, after watching endless hours of tape on the Raiders, the following issues standout: the receivers have shown limited ability to create separation from the defensive backs, the quarterback has not had the help of a running game to force the opposition to play honestly, opposing defenses are pressing the receivers and jumping their routes, and the quarterback may not have the solid protection as had in the past, but numerous errors in the decision making process has created much of the problem in Oakland. It certainly has not helped that the team has not had a vertical threat the stretch the field for most of the season.

Coming from San Diego, the stance of the organization has not changed following the Chargers 26-20 victory on Sunday over the Cleveland Browns. The front office believes this team in much better than the 1-5 record they are sporting and will keep a close eye on the team. While the locker room is a happier place this week, our ears on the scene tell us the team is guardedly optimistic they have turned the corner. As one played cites to this column, "All of us in this locker room are giving everything we have, that may not have been totally the case all season, we are encouraged by some events over the past couple weeks." One event specifically we have reported upon is head coach Marty Schottenheimer has been somewhat receptive to thoughts from the team, something rarely seen from him.

Right now, the Dolphins are leaning towards starting backup quarterback Brian Griese on Monday night against the Chargers. Griese has been practicing well in place of starter Jay Fiedler, who is nursing a sprained knee. Fiedler has stated he will play Monday night, but the team at this time is leaning towards sitting Fiedler down for the game to let the knee heal.

Following another embarrassing loss, Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci openly considered sitting down second-year quarterback Joey Harrington, replacing him with Mike McMahon. This thought quickly changed following an extensive meeting with the second-year player and after Mariucci had time to evaluate the situation and game-film from Sunday's loss. We hear Harrington's confidence is at all all-time low, but his spirit has not been broken and wants the ball. He realizes he is making far too many mistakes, but the horrible inconsistency on the offensive side of the ball is far from being the direct fault of the young quarterback. Basically, Harrington has struggled, but after film breakdown, again the Lions wide receivers are running routes incorrectly, breaking off routes and not have not shown the ability with consistency to make the correct adjustments, the offensive line that has not played well and a lack of a running game all are issues with Mariucci. In the end, look for increased maximum protection packages and less sight-adjustments between the quarterback and receivers in the upcoming weeks.

In Dallas, the masses are excited about the team's 5-1 start, all except head coach Bill Parcells. This week, Parcells has been all over his offensive line about blown assignments in the Cowboys wins over the Lions and a lack of aggression and attention to detail in more than one recent practice. This team may be 5-1, but Parcells is already scripting the plans to get more size on both the offensive and defensive line in the off-season.

The 'Bus' is back and this move appears to be one the players in the locker room have wanted since the beginning of the season. With an offensive line that resembles a MASH unit, a quarterback that has struggled, and a defense, which has been terribly inconsistent, getting veteran running back Jerome Bettis back in the starting lineup may provide a spark to the team. From what we have been told, players in the locker room and well as some on the coaching staff believe the team has become too predictable since Bettis was on the pine with injuries last season and into his demotion this season. Bettis provides the team the ability to move the chains on the ground with his physical running style, which is appreciated in Pittsburgh, by players and fans alike. The power rushing attack is expected to relieve some pressure off quarterback Tommy Maddox, give the team a diversified look when backup running back Amos Zereoue enters the game, and most importantly, getting a Steelers defense off the field that is suspect.

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