TORONTO - Say this about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’re not leaving any stone unturned in their search for a new head coach.
Wade Phillips and the Houston Texans were still celebrating their wild-card win over the Cincinnati Bengals when word began to spread that their defensive co-ordinator was going to be among a list of at least five men with head-coaching experience in the NFL who would be interviewed to replace Raheem Morris.
“I’m gratified somebody noticed,” Phillips told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “I don’t want to leave Houston, but I want to be a head coach. We’ll talk and see how much interest (the Bucs) have in me.”
Others on the list include former Green Bay and Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman and Tennessee defensive co-ordinator Jerry Gray, who have already been interviewed. ESPN reported Sunday that Tampa will interview former Minnesota head coach Brad Childress on Monday and that Cincinnati defensive co-ordinator Mike Zimmer and Marty Schottenheimer may be possible candidates.
LANDING THE BIG ONE
It appears the Miami Dolphins have given up in its pursuit of former Tennesee head coach Jeff Fisher because they are convinced he is going to wind up with the St. Louis Rams.
Late Sunday night, Miami’s fears seemed to be playing out as Fisher was reportedly on the verge of making it official with the Rams.
He interviewed with both teams but the presence of a potential top-flight quarterback in Sam Bradford and possession of the No. 2 pick overall in this year’s draft tipped the scales in the Rams favour.
EX-BILLS COACHES WANTED
Phillips isn’t the only ex-Bills head coach who is making news these days.
Like Phillips’ Texans, Gregg Williams’ New Orleans Saints are still very much alive in the playoffs and, like Phillips, his services are reportedly wanted elsewhere.
Williams, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is expected to join good friend and the expected head coach of the St. Louis Rams’ Fisher.
Williams, who is the defensive co-ordinator with the Saints, has a contract with the team that will end with the conclusion of the Saints season. The Saints advanced to an NFC semifinal game in San Francisco with Saturday’s win over Detroit.
RAIDER NATION WAITS
In Oakland, they’ve got a new GM with the power to make all the football decisions, but so far, he has yet to officially announce whether he will bring back incumbent head coach Hue Jackson.
Reggie McKenzie is the new GM who holds Jackson’s future with the team in his hands. Fortunately for Jackson, both men are represented by the same agent, which should benefit his future with the club.
BIG DAY FOR PEYTON
Peyton Manning has a potentially huge payday in his future. The Indianapolis Colts have to deliver a $28-million cheque to the franchise quarterback, who did not play this year after complications from neck surgery, by early March or else one of the best quarterbacks of this generation is a free agent.
The complication is that the Colts also possess the first overall pick in a draft that possesses two potential franchise-type quarterbacks, as much as something like that can be measured without playing a single down of NFL football.
But if the Colts decide to use the pick on Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, would it be that surprising to see them pass on the $28-million on March 8 and let Manning walk?
This past weekend there was talk via Sports Illustrated’s Peter King who reported that Manning might be willing to push the March 8 deadline back in order to give the team more time to assess his health before laying out such a huge sum.
Others such as CBS Sports’ Charley Casserly, believe it’s not in Manning’s interest to do something like that.
One way or the other, Manning’s future is going to be a huge topic of discussion this March.