Wild Card Weekend Notes

We have news and notes on the coaching searches as well as what's going on with other teams this week.

The Coaching Search

Arizona Cardinals - Of the seven or so candidates for their vacant head coaching job (Cam Cameron, Norm Chow, Mike Sherman, Russ Grimm, Jim Caldwell, Ken Whisenhunt, Ron Rivera), it's believed that Rivera has the best shot to win out. League sources have told scout.com that Rivera, who is from the West Coast, has already been calling around to possible coaches to join him wherever he ends up. Rivera, we're told, strongly believes he'll get a head coaching job this year. It's widely believed in league circles that Rivera and Whisenhunt are the top two candidates in the league right now for head coaching openings. Chow is well liked by the front office and is also seen as a viable candidate for the job.

Rivera has ties to VP of football operations Rod Graves from his days with the Chicago Bears.

Atlanta Falcons
- Those familiar with the situation told scout.com Friday evening that the leading candidate for the vacant head coaching job is Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt who is on the short list of just about every team with an opening. Whisenhunt, who played collegiate at Georgia Tech, has done a very good job with QB Ben Roethlisberger and the feeling is that he could handle coaching QB Michael Vick.

Those also in the running are Mike Singletary, Cam Cameron, and Ron Rivera. Cameron is an intriguing possibility because he's done such a good job with QBs Drew Brees and Philip Rivers and the Chargers had arguably the NFL's best offense this season.

Oakland Raiders
- The two early favorites for the job would be Dennis Green who knows owner Al Davis well and Jim Fassel who was once an assistant with the team. It's still not known if Green wants to coach again, however. Arizona sources say that Green wanted out of there and expected to be fired weeks before it actually happened.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could also be a choice is Davis decides to stay in house.

Pittsburgh Steelers
- It's widely believed that Ken Whisenhunt, their offensive coordinator, is the top candidate for the job then offensive line coach Russ Grimm. The team generally would like to stay within the organization but a dark horse here would be Ron Rivera who has an interview set up over the next few days.

Other League Notes

Dallas Cowboys
- A league source told scout.com late Friday evening that there's a strong chance that head coach Bill Parcells will retire after their season is over unless the team goes deep into the playoffs. Parcells, after three bad home losses, is having a hard time fixing the problems on defense and he knows there isn't much more he can do to alleviate them at this point. While many fans and pundits have been speculating that he would leave because of having to deal with WR Terrell Owens, the source points out that it's simply not the case. It's really all about where he sees the team going and what it would take and how long it would to get those problems fixed.

San Francisco 49ers
- It was around this time last year that scout.com wrote that the team was expected to concentrate on offense in free agency and in the draft for 2006. The team signed WR Antonio Bryant and three out of their top four selections in the draft were from the offensive side of the ball. Team sources indicate that the team is likely to do the opposite this year. San Francisco is likely to look to upgrade their secondary, linebackers, and defensive line. One player that could be on their short list in free agency is Baltimore Ravens SLB Adalius Thomas who head coach Mike Nolan knows well from his days as their defensive coordinator. A league source points out that Thomas, who has played almost every position on defense in his career with Baltimore, could be a moving chess piece for Nolan's scheme and could be the playmaker that their defensive has been missing.

Seattle Seahawks
- The talk about the league is that WR D.J. Hackett will receive a lot of interest come March when free agency begins. Hackett is set to become a restricted free agent and is seen around the league as a high upside and ascending player. The team is already paying three of their receivers big money so it's unlikely they would match a very high money offer from another team.

Tennessee Titans
- Now that the smoke has cleared in the departure of GM Floyd Reese, league sources indicate that Reese and head coach Jeff Fisher's frosty relationship was a contributing factor and a power struggle was an issue. Tennessee's drafts over the past few years certainly have been suspect at best and there's a belief in league circles that both were not on the same page on drafting certain players. Both men seemed to have differing opinions on their last two first-round selections QB Vince Young and CBAdam "Pacman" Jones.

One player that team sources say was a constant issue for the two was the playing time of CB Andre Woolfolk who has been buried on the depth chart almost since he was selected in the first round of the 2003 draft.

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