Monday's NFL Blog: Early Edition

January 15, 2007 ... Hey New England, just please go away ... McNair's bitter taste ... an interesting look at expansion teams in the NFL ... Jerry Jones gets fired up ... why Packers fans shouldn't worry ... and more in today's NFL Blog!

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You're Hired!  At our Cardinals site, you can read my report on Arizona's hiring of former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. As I mention in the article, "The Cardinals now have Matt Leinart as their quarterback of the future, so Whisenhunt's experience in grooming [Ben] Roethlisberger -- who was Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004 and finished third in the league in passer rating in 2005 -- certainly helped raise his odds of landing the opportunity in Arizona." Read all about it here.

Quotable:  ""I didn't want to watch it. I didn't see the hold or anything. I was just waiting around, and I saw the ball in the air. And I kept following the ball, and it was unbelievable. What a great ending." -- Bears quarterback Rex Grossman on the kick in overtime that won the game for Chicago. Read the Bears' players' locker room comments in this subscribers feature at our Bears site.

Still growing up... It's been eight years since the Browns re-launched their franchise in Cleveland. So Frank Derry at our Browns site takes a look at how Cleveland compares to other expansion teams as a measurement of their progress since starting over in the NFL. This is an interesting piece, especially for fans of the eight other teams that joined the league since the mid-1960s -- the Dolphins, Jaguars, Texans, Bengals, Panthers, Seahawks, Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons. It'll also appeal to NFL history buffs. Visit our Browns site and take a look.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts after San Diego wins a replay challenge (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Please go away... Alain Poupart at our Dolphins site made a simple, straightforward plea today. In "Please Go Away, Patriots" he laments New England's return to the AFC Championship game. "On the day after they upset the top-seeded San Diego Chargers to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the fourth time in six seasons, the New England Patriots once again are being lauded for their brilliance and playoff savvy," he says. "Tom Brady again is Mr. Clutch and Bill Belichick again is Mr. Genius. The Pats are one more thing: an annoyingly lucky team that seems that always get breaks." subscribers can read his full commentary here.

Stop this crap!
  At our Cowboys site, they're reporting that owner Jerry Jones fired that line at a pair of radio show hosts this week when they pushed him on the future of Bill Parcells and Terrell Owens live during his weekly show. Find out more about how they pushed his buttons and his response here.

The right move? Nick Athan at our Chiefs site reviews the team's decision to extend tight end Tony Gonzalez's contract explains why it was the right decision for Kansas City. "Some people are still questioning this move," he says. "After all, Gonzalez will be playing in his 11th season, and how productive can he this side of 30? I can tell you with zero hesitation – extremely productive." subscribers can read his analysis of the situation here.

Yuck... After his team's loss to the Colts on Saturday, Ravens quarterback Steve McNair said, "This is a bitter taste." He also talks about the momentum shifting interception by Colts rookie safety Antoine Bethea. "On the squeeze play, Todd [Heap] actually beat his man and once he went to the left, I just reacted and didn't see the guy on the backside. The backside guy made a hell of a play," he said. "We didn't make the play and that's something in the playoffs you cannot do regardless of them making good plays or not." subscribers can read the transcript of his remarks to the media.

Packers QB Brett Favre (Getty Images/Doug Pensinger)
Gasp! Fear not, Packers fans. Todd Korth from our Green Bay site says that the mini-frenzy that hit the media when it was leaked that quarterback Brett Favre didn't renew his local golf and country club membership is much ado about nothing. Find out why right here. And guess what? If Favre doesn't retire this year, we get to go through all of this again next year at this time. Mark your calendars accordingly.

New approach, same results:  Our Broncos site is reporting that Denver changed their defensive scheme a bit this year, relying less on blitzes and more on the front four to apply the pressure. But once again the team finished in the middle of the league (16th) with 35 sacks. Get the inside slant on the Broncos and the decisions they are facing this offseason here.

The top three: Our Vikings site has collected input from a number of NFC beat writers regarding the top three personnel needs of their respective teams that they follow. You know what your team's needs are. Find out which NFC teams may be competing for some of the same players in free agency and in the draft in this subscribers feature.

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