League Insider Notes: Week 15

Adam Caplan takes a look at some of the head coaching candidates that league insiders are talking about. And he'll tell you what's really going on with the Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel's contract. And then check out his player notes, including one on a collegiate prospect who is rising fast on draft boards.

League Notes

Baltimore Ravens - According to various league sources, defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is believed to be one of the hottest head coaching candidates being talked about in league circles as of late. Ryan is known as one of the most innovative defensive minds in the league and isn't shy about moving players around in his scheme.

Cincinnati Bengals - If defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan isn't retained for next season, a team insider believes veteran defensive coach Donnie Henderson will take over the job. Henderson was hired as a consultant to the team earlier this year. Henderson only lasted one season as the Detroit Lions defensive coordinator (2006), but he has worked with head coach Marvin Lewis in the past and has a good understanding of Cincinnati's defensive scheme.

Cleveland Browns - Despite rumors to the contrary, Scout.com has confirmed the team has not discussed a contract extension with head coach Romeo Crennel. The veteran coach is signed through the 2009 season at $2 million per season.

Dallas Cowboys - The team signed starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff to a five-year extension on Friday. A league source told Scout.com that the third-year pro's deal includes more guaranteed money than former Dallas defensive end Kenyon Coleman agreed to with the New York Jets in his five-year deal earlier this year. Coleman's deal included about $6 million worth of guarantees.

Indianapolis Colts - When it comes to minority head coaching candidates, one that should get strong consideration is defensive coordinator Ron Meeks. This year has quite possibly been his toughest challenge due to the season-ending injuries to defensive tackle Anthony McFarland and defensive end Dwight Freeney, and various injuries to key starters at outside linebacker and in the secondary. Yet the defense has taken on a physical element which probably hasn't been seen before.

Minnesota Vikings - Rookie RB Adrian Peterson will be switching knee braces in preparation for Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears. The brace Peterson had worn since he suffered a partially torn LCL in his right knee four weeks ago weighs around three pounds. Peterson is expected to wear a less cumbersome and lighter brace in the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - An interesting rumor floating around as of late is defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, whose contract is up after this season, joining the Oakland Raiders coaching staff to work under his son Lane, the Oakland head coach.

Tennessee Titans - League sources believe that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will be one of the top head coaching candidates for 2008. Teams are not permitted to talk perspective coaches until after the regular season is over. But while there aren't many openings to be expected next year, Schwartz should get interviews for ones that are vacant.

College Player Note

According to two NFL sources, University of Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco has moved well up draft boards as of late and could go as high as the second round. Scouts compare his demeanor, arm strength, and talent to that of Cleveland Browns quarterback Derek Anderson. Both are tall, strong-armed passers. Flacco has more athleticism than Anderson according to sources.

Flacco is expected to play in the East-West Shrine Game next month in Houston, Texas but he was not invited to the Senior Bowl.

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