Feb 3, 2011
There isn’t much going on for the Fantasy Guru Daily today, but there are a few interesting tidbits that need to be put out there. Most notably, two teams made coordinator hires, and one came from perhaps the last place you would expect. Oh, and will Tebowmania start in Week One 2011?
Eagles make shocking defensive hire… The assumption all along here (and from everywhere else) was that the Eagles waited so long to hire their new defensive coordinator because they were waiting to interview the many qualified candidates coaching in the Super Bowl. Boy, were we wrong. Instead, Philadelphia promoted offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator, making yet another shocking move in a long string of shocking Andy Reid moves. What’s funny is there appears to be no true way of evaluating this move from an X’s and O’s standpoint. Castillo has never coached defense on the professional level, but assures that he is “a defensive guy.” For our purposes, the more intriguing hire is that of legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd to replace Castillo. Mudd headed up the Colts’ big uglies for over a decade before retiring after Super Bowl XLIV, but the Eagles convinced him to come back and work on the same staff as good friend Jim Washburn. What’s interesting is Mudd is a true innovator of zone blocking in a pass-heavy scheme, while the Eagles have incorporated a lot of man elements in the recent past.
Bengals hire Gruden as offensive coordinator… True enough, but we don’t mean Jon. Instead, Cincinnati brings in Jon’s brother Jay Gruden to head its offense in 2011. Gruden hasn’t coached in the NFL since being an offensive assistant for his brother in Tampa Bay from 2002 to 2008, but he spent the last year as the head coach of the UFL’s Florida Tuskers (now Virginia Destroyers). Gruden will be called on to improve an offense that struggled immensely under Bob Bratkowski, whom the Bengals fired just days ago. It will now be up to Gruden to repair any tension between the team and QB Carson Palmer, RB Cedric Benson, and WR Chad Ochocinco. Not an easy task.
Elway hints at QB competition in Denver… New Broncos’ vice president of football operations John Elway isn’t exactly buying into “Tim Tebow magic” just yet. Elway told the Denver Post that not only is there no guarantee that Kyle Orton will be traded, but that there could be an open competition between Orton and Tebow for the team’s starting QB job in 2011. Orton has hinted that he would like to be moved if he isn’t going to start, and given the way he played this year we agree with him. But the Broncos are rebuilding, and they have got to know if Tebow can play QB at the NFL level. It’s an interesting predicament, because a lot of teams (Minnesota, San Francisco, and others come to mind) would be interested in Orton’s services.
LaDainian Tomlinson expects to be back in New York… LT is under contract for another season, and it’s hard to argue that he didn’t play well in 2010, given his role. So Tomlinson “fully expects” to be back in a Jet uniform next season. Right now, it definitely makes sense for the Jets to bring him back, but you wonder if they’ll reduce his role even more to give more touches to Shonn Greene. Also remember that Joe McKnight will be entering his second season, as well.
- The Falcons and coach Mike Smith have agreed to a three-year contract extension, with terms undisclosed. Given Smith’s success in Atlanta thus far, this should come as no surprise.
- The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that Bear QB Jay Cutler did in fact receive a pain-killer injection at halftime of the NFC Championship Game loss to Green Bay, but doctors warned that his MCL tear was too severe to play on. Cutler has been criticized for watching the second half from the sidelines despite the injury.
- Patriot coach Bill Belichick was named the 2010 AP NFL Coach of the Year, the third time he’s won the award. Given that the Patriots made a significant offensive shift in the middle of the season and still finished 14-2, that should come as no surprise.
- Joe Dolan