Monday Night Buzz at the Senior Bowl

As is the case every year from the Senior Bowl, NFL coaching news is at the forefront. The Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions all have coaching interests moving in and out. The New England Patriots have identified a priority and the St. Louis Rams are already setting their NFL Draft boards.

Cleveland Browns

As first reported by last week, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson's contract has expired and he could be a candidate for job openings with the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers. Davidson interviewed with both teams over the past weekend and while Cleveland has interest in him coming back, Davidson is looking to move on.

Sources say that Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn't decided yet whether he will be replacing the coaches that are still under contract with the team. The offensive line job is still being filled by Steve Loney but it's still uncertain whether or not he'll remain with the team.

Dallas Cowboys

With head coach Bill Parcells announcing his retirement from coaching on Monday, the speculation here in Mobile is that he'll wind up being a general manager with another team before he ends his career totally in the NFL.

As for potential replacements for Parcells?

Owner Jerry Jones loves big names so Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz would certainly be one and it's no secret that Martz wants to coach again. With Dallas, he could just concentrate on coaching and not having to deal with personnel decisions which wasn't a strength for him from his days with the St. Louis Rams.

If Jones stays in house, assistant head coach/offensive line/running game Tony Sparano could probably be the only candidate. He had head coaching experience in college at the division II level.

New England Patriots

A league source told Monday that the team has already showed strong interest in re-signing P Todd Sauerbrun who is coming off of a huge performance in the AFC Championship game.

St. Louis Rams

According to a source within the organization, their draft-day priorities will include defensive tackle, defensive end, wide receiver, and linebacker, although not necessarily in that order.

Spending another first-round pick on a defensive tackle would be a hard pill to swallow for St. Louis, which has spent three first-round picks on defensive tackles over the last six years: Damione Lewis, Ryan Pickett, and Jimmy Kennedy. However, Lewis and Pickett are no longer there, Kennedy has yet to live up to his potential and La'Roi Glover, the starter opposite Kennedy, is aging quickly.

"Kennedy is doing better, now," the source acknowledged. "Glover is getting older. He's an 11-year veteran, so we could use another young body in there."

The team is also thin at defensive end - literally. The Rams deploy a bevy of speed rushers but lack a player with the girth necessary to hold up at the point of attack. They were also hurt when Tony Hargrove, a 2006 draft selection, went AWOL last season, forcing the Rams to trade him to the Bills.

"Our guys are all 260-lb. pass rushers. We need to get some people with a little more size," the source said.

Wide receiver is expected to be another area of need although on paper it may not look that way. Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald are both pending unrestricted free agents. Curtis, if the Rams aren't able re-sign him before the start of free agency on March 2, should receive plenty of attention. As another league source pointed out here in Mobile, while Curtis didn't have anywhere near the production in the 2006 season than he did in 2005, it's a down year for receivers so he still could garner plenty of interest. McDonald, although No.4 on the depth chart, has good speed and could fill a larger role for another team because of his speed.

The Rams do not want to create a financial divide in their locker room and so will let other teams overpay for Curtis or McDonald if it comes down to a bidding war.

"I think Curtis is going to make almost as much money as Holt," the team source said. "If that happens, the Rams are not going to pay him even if they can afford to, because then Torry and Isaac are going to be looking around wondering why they are getting paid the same as these guys playing behind them."

St. Louis could draft a receiver if Curtis and McDonald both leave, with the source openly wondering about what Ted Ginn Jr. could do in the Rams' potent offense. There is also a chance that the team could re-sign Curtis and McDonald and cut Bruce, who is getting up there in age. At this point, that still seems unlikely.

"Bruce is the face of the franchise, the only guy that's leftover from the Los Angeles days," the source said. "The two guys you will never see playing for another team are Bruce and Orlando Pace. Those guys will be Rams their entire careers."

The final area of need, then, is at linebacker. The team is set at two positions, with Will Witherspoon in the middle and Pisa Tinoisamoa on the outside, but third starter Brandon Chillar will be replaced.

"He's just a guy," the source said of Chillar.

Look for a busy off-season in St. Louis as the Rams continue their metamorphosis from Mike Martz' free-styling, finesse style of play to Scott Linehan's more physical and disciplined methodologies.

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