What We've Been Told - League Style

News and notes are common, but rumors and speculation around the league have begun, and we tune in on what we've been told.

·          San Francisco 49ers General Manager Terry Donohue has been less than satisfied with the play of the team and some of the decisions of head coach Dennis Erickson in recent weeks. Donohue had a lengthy discussion about the team, its play, and preparation early this week. On a side-note, the 49ers are not going to make a serious effort to resign wide receiver Terrell Owens.


·          Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. has been wavering for weeks as to the future of team President Matt Millen. While having the ability to communicate well with Ford, Millen has failed to field a team that is remotely competitive. The leash is short on Millen, if the team continues to play an embarrassing brand of football, Millen may not make it till the end of the season.


·          Around the league the belief is the Seattle Seahawks will suffer a meltdown. The opposition is catching up to the scheme of defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes' defense and has started to exploit the youth and deficiency within the Seattle defense. Offensively, teams have geared themselves to control running back Shaun Alexander and place the game into the hands of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.


·          In Miami, all quarterback Jay Fiedler has done is win games, too bad the majority of them have been early in the season as the team has struggled late in the season. Fiedler sat out the team's Monday night affair against the San Diego Chargers with a sprained knee (right, Fiedler could have played) and backup Brian Griese started and played well. The Miami coaching staff has tossed the idea of getting Griese into action, as he is looked upon by the organization as an upgrade in the passing game. Head coach Dave Wannstedt knows this Dolphins team must not collapse in the second-half of the season or this will be his last season at the helm in Miami. So, he is placing his hope on Griese providing this Miami team with the presence in the passing game to overcome the conservative and uninspired passing offense. Griese will start again for the Dolphins against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.


·          Gregg Williams, the head coach of the Buffalo Bills remains on the hot-seat, especially after the Bills recent 38-5 flop Sunday night against the Chiefs. Two names that are surfacing for the potential head coach opening in Buffalo are former Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin and current Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.


·          Speaking of the Steelers, long-time head coach Bill Cowher is not on solid ground. Word coming out of Pittsburgh centers on the team's inability to regroup and adjust, not just during the game, but from week to week. Cowher's persistence in utilizing the 3-4 defense has been a figure of much debate, as the team has struggled against the run and has not generated a pass rush to help a secondary that can be exploited. Now, the coach is being watched closely from the men upstairs as quarterback Tommy Maddox continues his inconsistent play behind a patchwork offensive line. As a side-note, Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert was an instrumental figure behind the team not reworking and rewarding Maddox with a new contract following the 2002 season.


·          Around the team in Jacksonville and in some league circles, head coach Jack Del Rio isn't as highly thought of, as he is/was by the Jaguars upon his hire in the off-season. The feeling is Del Rio may say the right things, but is not prepared or ready to be ahead coach in the NFL. His handling of veteran quarterback Mark Brunell turned many heads as Del Rio was been said to be less than respectful to some veteran players on the roster than he inherited from former coach Tom Coughlin.


·          While the Jim Fassel watch continues in New York, his fate is far from determined according to the organization. Almost like clockwork, Fassel's Giants teams will struggle and be left for dead, only to experience a revival and make a charge at a playoff spot.  Again this season, Fassel's crew is expected to be a playoff team, but only making the playoffs will not be good enough in the 2003 season.


·          Cincinnati Bengals running back Corey Dillon, the malcontent he is will not create a stir within the locker room of the team, as he has in the past. Head coach Marvin Lewis has been deemed a pushover in some corner as to his manner of handling internal issues within the team, such as the latest Dillon outburst stating he wanted out of Cincinnati. While Lewis noted to the media Dillon's beef was with the media, he told Dillon his conduct will not be tolerated and will not become a distraction to the team. As the Bengals' resurgence continues, Dillon will either be onboard or will ride time on the pine. Look for the Bengals to deal Dillon in the off-season if the team is comfortable with Rudi Johnson or another back.

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