Tuesday's NFL Blog: P.M. Update

January 2, 2006 ... In our P.M. Update, take a look at some of the Bengals unrestricted free agents that could join your team this year ... more coaching candidates surfacing ... what you need to know about your team's practice squad players ... and more!

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Everybody in the pool! Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will join the pool of applicants vying for the head coach position in Arizona, and he'll be a candidate for the Falcons' opening as well. Steelers assistant head coach and offensive line coach Russ Grimm will also be interviewed by the Cardinals.

You're unbelievable:  Nate Caminata at our Detroit site certainly captured a key news moment today with this gem. "No one ever accused Lions' president and general manager Matt Millen of being a quitter. They've just asked him to."  Take a look at this feature that gives you the update on the status of a man who somehow keeps coming back despite six years of failure in his position. And when you're done, take a look at who they did fire today in this article at our Lions site.

Unrestricted:  Here are four Bengals starters that will be unrestricted free agents this year:  Tight end Reggie Kelly, LG Eric Steinbach, DE Justin Smith, CB Tory James. And if your favorite team needs a versatile third-down back, Kenny Watson will be hitting the market as well.

Panthers LB Dan Morgan is helped from the field in November,2005 (Craig Jones/Getty Images)
He should have his head examined: Panthers MLB Dan Morgan says that he's been medically cleared to play football again, but if he's released by the Panthers, he might have a harder time finding someone willing to take a risk on him. Morgan's had five concussions and played just two quarters this year before landing on injured reserve with a head injury. He's still under contract with Carolina through 2010, but he's reportedly due a $2 million signing bonus this offseason in addition to his $750,000 base salary. The six-year veteran has never played more than 13 games in a regular season.

Did you know? Once your favorite team's season ends, the eight players on your practice squad become "street" free agents if your team doesn't re-sign them within a week of their last game. So keep an eye on the transactions wire this week to see how many will be signed to a "future" contract for the 2007 season.

Should I stay or should I go?
  Vikings WR Travis Taylor will be an unrestricted free agent this March, and Scout.com subscribers can find out what he's thinking about the prospects of returning to Minnesota or whether he's more likely to land with a new team in 2007. Taylor made 57 catches for 651 yards and 3 touchdowns this year.

Getting the boot: 
Redskins kicker John Hall expects to be cut by the team as they start to make their roster decisions for 2007. The 33 year-old kicker finished both the 2004 and 2006 campaigns on injured reserve and missed roughly half of the team's games over the past three seasons. "The writing's probably on the wall," he said.

Oh, GREAT! Chuck Hixson at our Eagles site is lamenting the appearance of QB Jeff Garcia on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. But head coach Andy Reid isn't sweating it. "I don't worry about that stuff," he said. "A magazine cover doesn't influence what happens on the field." Well, I guess that theory will be tested this weekend. Click here to read the entire article on Garcia. He's really had a terrific run since stepping in for Donovan McNabb.


Coaching candidates:  The Cardinals hoped to get a jump on other NFL clubs, lining up candidates for their head coach vacancy the same day they announced that Dennis Green wouldn't be returning. Get the latest scoop on the coaches the Cardinals have lined up for interviews, as well as some others that James Renwick at our Arizona site believes could get a look.

Crennel watch:  Our Browns site has the latest inside scoop on the status of Browns head coach Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff. Scout.com subscribers can take a look here.

What to do? The Seahawks are mulling over their options of how they plan to cover Dallas wide receivers Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn since cornerbacks Marcus Trufant, Kelly Herndon and Jimmy Williams are all expected to miss the wild card game against the Cowboys on Saturday at Qwest Field. Our Seahawks site brings you up to date on the situation in Seattle.

Chiefs DE Tamba Hali wraps up San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Good news, bad news: Mike Nugent at our Chiefs site provides some early analysis on what's going right and what could be some sore spots for the Chiefs as they enter the playoffs. "The Chiefs are still getting an inconsistent push up the middle defensively," he says. "Most offenses, particularly those with mobile quarterbacks, are taking advantage of the massive rushing lanes opened when Tamba Hali and Jared Allen get upfield and the defensive tackles do not."  Scout.com subscribers can check out the rest of his observations here.

Jets get a break: AFC East rivals New England and New York will clash for the third time this season during the wild card weekend. According to our Jets site, the Patriots will be missing a key player from their defense.

Don't beat around the bush: "One word can be associated with Gibbs at this point: delusional," says John Keim at our Redskins site. Find out what else he had to say about the Redskins head coach after Gibbs' press conference, as well as some thoughts on wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and defensive back Adam Archuleta's future with the team. Scout.com subscribers can read all about it in this article.

Today's Birthdays: Ravens LB Tim Johnson (29), Buccaneers TE Doug Jolley (28)

NFL All-Rookie Team:
Scout.com NFL Experts Randy Taylor and Adam Caplan share their picks for the NFL All-Rookie Team. Link to this story from your respective fan forum communities here at Scout.com and talk about whether or not you agree with their picks or believe someone else was more worthy.

Same teams, different approaches: Chuck Hixson at our Philadelphia site points out that the third matchup between the Giants and the Eagles will feature two coaches that were thrust into the play-calling responsibility for their respective teams well into the season, including New York's Kevin Gilbride who just assumed that role last week before the matchup against the Redskins. Scout.com subscribers can take look at Hixson's analysis of this weekend's playoff game here.

Quotable: ""I'm going for 2,200 (yards) next year. That's the record, right? Eric Dickerson, right? Yeah, I'll get that ... I'm serious." -- NFC rushing champion Frank Gore, who set a franchise record with 1,695 rushing yards for San Francisco this year. Check out this feature on Gore at our 49ers site.

Keeping the faith:
Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks and defensive tackle Warren Sapp aren't giving up on the Raiders. Find out what they had to say to the media about the team and the coaching staff in this Scout.com subscriber feature at our Raiders site.

Draft Pick Projection:  The Vikings have the seventh pick in the NFL Draft, and our Minnesota site is already taking a look at who the team might pick in that slot to fill a need at wide receiver. Check it out here.

Quotable:  "So we've got to take the long route now, but we've got our first game at home, that's the big one. That's always the toughest one to win. If you get that first one, and then it seems like you get some momentum." -- Colts head coach Tony Dungy, whose team enters the playoffs as the No. 3 seed after losing its grip on the No. 1 seed in the final weeks of the season. Scout.com subscribers can listen to his interview on Sirius NFL Radio by clicking here.

Packers QB Brett Favre waives as he leaves the field last Sunday night. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Y'all come back now, ya hear?  The Packers have made it clear to quarterback Brett Favre that they want him to return for the 2007 season, so now it's just a matter of waiting to see what the 37 year-old quarterback wants to do. Find out what the players are saying at this article posted at our Packers site.

No thanks: Giants offensive coordinator John Hufnagel has left the team according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Hufnagel was relieved of play-calling duties prior to last week's win over the Washington Redskins, but it was expected that he would be staying with the team. But Coughlin confirmed that Hufnagel is gone. "He felt it would be better if he left," he said.

Quotable: "It's a chance to sit back and watch the games and scout our opponents and watch them beat themselves up while we rest. It's very important. When you have that extra week to rest, it does wonders for your body. It also gives the coaches an extra week to prepare. You realize you only have two games as opposed to that three-game cycle. The odds are in your favor." -- Ravens WR Derrick Mason on earning a bye week for the playoffs. Scout.com subscribers can check out what the Ravens are saying this week in this article at our Baltimore site.

End of an era: While all the buzz in Pittsburgh is about Bill Cowher's possible retirement, our Steelers site reports that running backs coach Dick Hoak is going to announce his retirement today. What's so special about that? Well, Hoak has been associated with the Steelers as a player or coach for an incredible 45 years. Jim Wexell has reprinted a chapter from his book, "Men of Steel" at our Steelers site today, that focused on Hoak's career with Pittsburgh. It's a really good read, don't miss it.

Playoffs Prep: Saints head coach Sean Payton was on Sirius NFL Radio and talked about his team's bye week and their preparations to host a divisional playoff game once Wild Card weekend sorts out who New Orleans' opponent will be. Scout.com subscribers can listen to his interview at our New Orleans site.


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