Report: Bears to interview Dennis Allen for head coach

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 3:52 AM UTC
By Curtis Crabtree · Original Article
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The Chicago Bears will interview New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen for their head coach opening next week, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football.

The Bears are the first team to express interest in Allen this coaching cycle. The Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Allen for their open position last year before hiring Nick Sirianni. Allen spent three years as head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2012-14. He joined the Saints as a defensive assistant in 2015 before taking over the coordinator role beginning in 2016.

After ranking last in the league in points allowed in 2015 and and second-to-last in 2016, the team made massive improvements under Allen. They’ve been in the top half of the league in points allowed in each of the last five seasons with three years inside the top 10 and two straight seasons inside the top five. New Orleans ranked fifth in points allowed last season and fourth in total yards. They improved to fourth in points allowed and were seventh in total yards this season.

The Bears interviewed Reggie McKenzie on Thursday as part of their search for a new general manager. McKenzie was the G.M. in Oakland in 2014 when Allen was hired as Raiders head coach.

Chicago has already interviewed Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathanial Hackett, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and former Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.

Jon Gruden’s case against the NFL goes to court on February 23

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 3:39 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
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The first battle in former Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the NFL will land in court next month.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a hearing will be held on the motions filed Wednesday by the NFL on February 23, with Judge Nancy Allf presiding.

Between now and then, Gruden’s lawyers will file a response to the motion to dismiss the case entirely and the motion to compel arbitration of his claims.

Judge Allf commenced her law practice in 1983. She was elected to the bench in 2010.

Gruden claims that the NFL deliberately leaked emails he sent to former Washington executive Bruce Allen in order to force Gruden’s ouster. The emails came from a 650,000-document cache that the league regards as confidential and refuses to make available for public inspection.

Frankly, the league can’t have it both ways. Either the documents should be released in full, or whoever leaked just enough of them to bring down Gruden should be accountable.

Bears interview Reggie McKenzie, Byron Leftwich

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 2:34 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
NFL: JAN 16 NFC Wild Card - Eagles at Buccaneers
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The Bears interviewed Reggie McKenzie and Byron Leftwich on Thursday, the team announced.

McKenzie is one of at least 10 candidates for the General Manager job to replace Ryan Pace; Leftwich became the seventh coaching candidate to interview with the team to replace Matt Nagy.

McKenzie boasts 28 years of experience as an NFL executive, including the past three as a senior personnel executive with the Dolphins.

He previously spent 18 seasons with the Packers as a pro personnel assistant (1994-96), pro personnel director (1997-2007) and director of football operations (2008-11). McKenzie left Green Bay in 2012 to become the Raiders’ General Manager.

McKenzie held that job through 2018.

Leftwich is in his third season as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator. He started his coaching career with the Cardinals as an intern in 2016 before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2017.

Leftwich played nine NFL seasons as a quarterback with the Jaguars (2003-06), Falcons (2007), Steelers (2008, 2010, 2012) and Buccaneers (2009).

When Deebo Samuel speaks, Kyle Shanahan listens

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 2:11 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys
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Plenty of running backs, receivers, and tight ends want the ball, and they’re not bashful about saying so. Coaches learn to tune them out and focus on the task at hand.

Some players carry more weight. For 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, receiver Deebo Samuel is one of those players.

Shanahan was asked on Thursday about an NFL Films clip of Samuel asking for the ball, getting it, and scoring a touchdown. Did Samuel’s words have an impact?

“It did there,” Shanahan said. “Someone telling me to get them the ball doesn’t at all mean that I’m going to get them the ball. Sometimes it’s just interesting to hear him, but when he says, ‘Get me the ball,’ you guys watch how he runs, and you know how much he means it. Deebo is as real of a guy as I’ve been around and he has a passion for this game that is making him one of the best players in this league. And the passion he has when he says that, those words carry a little differently to me than other people’s. And I want him to get him the ball on almost every play. I wasn’t quite thinking about it there. We had a quick turnaround, got a turnover and I was sitting there thinking about what direction to go and and I probably would’ve ended up going that direction. But when Deebo looks at you and says that, it wasn’t hard to think about it. It was just find a run to Deebo.”

Samuel and tight end George Kittle have become the two most important pieces of the offense, both good enough to overcome the obvious limitations of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

That’s really the question for Saturday night. Can phenomenal play from Samuel and Kittle overcome a quarterback with a propensity to make a big mistake at the worst time? The answer to that may very well determine the outcome of the game.

Broncos complete interview with Brian Callahan

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 1:29 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp
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The Broncos have completed the eighth interview of their head coaching search, the team announced Thursday.

Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan met with General Manager George Paton and others in the Broncos’ organization.

Callahan, who has 12 years of NFL experience, has spent the past three seasons in his current role.

Before arriving in Cincinnati, Callahan worked as the quarterbacks coach in Detroit in 2016-17 and for the Raiders in 2018. He began his career with the Broncos, where he served in a variety of roles from 2010-15.

Callahan, the son of former Raiders head coach Bill Callahan, has worked with Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow during his career.

Tom Brady isn’t thinking about avenging regular-season loss to Rams

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 1:13 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
NFL: SEP 26 Buccaneers at Rams
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Since Tom Brady arrived in Tampa Bay, the Bucs have gone 0-2 against the Rams in the regular season. They meet for the first time in the postseason on Sunday.

On Thursday, Brady was asked about his team’s ability to “avenge” regular-season losses in the playoffs. He downplayed that subject.

“I think all of these games are little bit independent from one another,” Brady told reporters. “Yeah, we played them earlier in the year, but it’s a very different team we had, and I think a little bit of a different team they had, too, so they are each their own individual type of game. They’re going to require their own individual performance and stuff. I think the point is it doesn’t really matter what happened in [September] when we played them last. It’s really about this game and what we learned from the last game. Any time you know you’re opponent I think that gives you a little bit of understanding of kind of what they do well, things you wish you would’ve done. But it’s a very talented football team [and] one of the great teams in the NFL — really good offense, tremendous defense, really well-coached, great specialists. It’s going to be a very, very difficult game for us.”

Both teams are indeed different from their Week Three meeting. The Rams arguably are better, with running back Cam Akers recovered from a torn Achilles tendon, linebacker Von Miller added via trade, and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. signed as a free agent.

Still, the vibe becomes very different in a single-elimination setting. Case in point, Brady has an 0-4 record against the Saints in two seasons with Tampa. Last January, however, Brady and the Bucs won in New Orleans during the divisional round.

Cardinals dysfunction prompts conflicting reports regarding aftermath of playoff loss

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 12:45 AM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
Arizona Cardinals vs Detroit Lions
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For nine straight seasons as a head coach at Texas Tech and then Arizona, a good-to-great start for coach Kliff Kingsbury became a bad finish.

This year, 10-2 became 1-5 and a one-game exit from the postseason. Three days later, conflicting reports have emerged regarding whether owner Michael Bidwill has met with Kingsbury regarding the disastrous end to a promising season.

Kyle Odegard, who previously worked for the team’s official website, reported on Thursday afternoon that a “tense meeting” occurred on Wednesday between Bidwill, Kingsbury, and G.M. Steve Keim. Odegard added that “shit hit the fan” during the meeting.

Ian Rapoport quickly contradicted that report, claiming that “there has been no meeting.”

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic adds that, while an unnamed source “didn’t hear of this meeting,” Bidwill is “very, very upset” with the manner in which the regular season ended and with the team’s one-game flameout in the postseason.

After an 8-0 start, the Cardinals lost a close Thursday night game against the Packers. Two weeks later, the Cardinals were blown out by the mediocre Panthers. The Cardinals also were outclassed by the lowly Lions, and they lost a Week 18 game against the Seahawks. For Arizona, the division title was on the line. For the Seahawks, nothing was on the line.

The Cardinals lost five straight home games to end the season, and they were outclassed on Monday night against the Rams.

Frankly, the fact that a meeting hasn’t already happened (if Rapoport’s report is accurate) seems very odd. Why wouldn’t a meeting have already occurred, given the manner in which the season ended?

It’s not crazy to wonder whether Bidwill is evaluating and thinking and strategizing before he meets with Kingsbury. When that meeting happens, it’s entirely possible that the poop will hit the propeller.

And that the Cardinals will be looking for a new coach.

Texans interview Josh McCown for head coaching job

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 12:21 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles
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Josh McCown interviewed for the Texans’ head coaching job Thursday, 363 days after initially interviewing for it. The Texans announced the interview.

He also interviewed for the job last year when the Texans were looking for a full-time replacement for Bill O’Brien.

There was talk in league circles last year that David Culley’s hiring was a bridge to McCown becoming the head coach. But McCown never joined Culley’s coaching staff, and Culley lasted only one season on the job.

McCown was on the Texans’ roster at the end of the 2020 season and has never coached in college or pro football. He has previously coached at the high school level, including coaching quarterbacks for his sons’ team at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Texans also have interviewed former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, Florida Atlantic special assistant to the head coach Hines Ward and Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. They have requested an interview with Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.

Rams have no changes to their practice report Thursday

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 21, 2022 - 12:02 AM UTC
By Charean Williams · Original Article
NFL: JAN 02 Rams at Ravens
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The Rams’ practice report Thursday was exactly the same as Wednesday.

Safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) remained out of practice. He will have to progress through the process to have a chance to play Sunday, and time is running out on this week.

Eric Weddle came out of retirement to play 19 snaps in the wild card round with the team’s starting safeties, Rapp and Jordan Fuller, both out against the Cardinals. Fuller is on season-ending injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Terrell Burgess and Nick Scott started for the Rams.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) and running back Buddy Howell (hamstring) also remained out of practice. Whitworth played 30 of 60 snaps against the Cardinals, with Joe Noteboom replacing him.

Receiver Brandon Powell (ribs), linebacker Troy Reeder (ankle) and receiver Ben Skowronek (back) again were limited participants.

NFL fines Dak Prescott $25,000 for comments about officials

Pro Football Talk - NBC Sports
January 20, 2022 - 11:58 PM UTC
By Mike Florio · Original Article
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys
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Apology not accepted.

The NFL has fined Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott $25,000 for the comments he made after Sunday’s playoff loss to the 49ers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Prescott apologized for the remarks on Tuesday, after the NBA Referees Association issued a statement criticizing him for condoning the throwing of objects at game officials.

Initially, Prescott expressed disapproval at the throwing of objects by fans, when he was under the impression that the fans were throwing objects at Cowboys players. Once Prescott was told that the objects were meant for game officials, Prescott changed his tune.

“Credit to them then. Yeah, credit to them. Credit. Credit to them,” Prescott said.

Asked if he was serious, Prescott made it clear he was not joking.

“Yeah, I mean, yeah, if they weren’t at us, and if the fans felt the same way as us, and that’s what they were doing it for, yeah,” Prescott said. “I’m guessing that’s why the refs took off and got out of there so fast. Yeah, I think everybody is upset with the way that this thing played out. As I said, I’m sure a fan would feel the same way that we do.”

Ultimately, the Cowboys should be upset only with themselves. For calling a quarterback draw with 17 seconds left and no timeouts. For running 17 yards, instead of 10 or 12. For not clearing a path for the umpire, who busted his ass to spot the ball quickly. For not getting the ball to the umpire, not the center.

It was a failure of coaching and execution by the Cowboys. The officials did nothing wrong.

Even if they had, there’s no place for throwing objects from the stands, for any reason.

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