NFL Friday Baba Ghanoush: Tim Tebow, Rob Chudzinski, Brian Kelly, Junior Seau and More
Welcome football fans and happy Friday! It is the eve before the Divisional Round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs, where we have four very intriguing games taking place. For the other twenty-four teams, some are already getting prepared for next season, while others are still searching for their coaches and other front office personnel.
We’re going to run through a little bit of everything here today, so without further prolonging, let’s jump right into all the big NFL news, rumors, and story-lines for Friday, 1/11/2013:
Coaching Carousel Continues
Last week, I noted a few of the hirings, firings, and rumors floating about in the realm of NFL coaching. The biggest was Andy Reid becoming the head coach of the Chiefs, as well as the possibility of Oregon’s Chip Kelly coaching in the NFL.
However, despite interviews with multiple teams, including the Browns and Eagles, Kelly has decided to stay at Oregon.
Another coaching rumor that has been in the news is that Alabama’s Nick Saban could return to the NFL. Like Kelly, Saban is staying at Alabama, and even went as far as saying that he’s “closed the door” on coaching in the NFL. You can’t blame Saban, who, after going 15-17 in two years as coach of the Dolphins, has won three of four national championships as Alabama’s head coach, including back-to-back dominating wins.
Saban’s opponent in this year’s college championship was Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, who is also rumored to potentially join the ranks of NFL coaches. Tom Coyne of the Associated Press reports that Kelly interviewed with the Eagles for their vacant coaching job, but no official news of whether or not he will stay at Notre Dame or go to the Eagles has been reported, yet.
The new era in Cleveland continues, with the Browns announcing the hiring of Rob Chudzinski as their head coach. He was the offensive coordinator for the Panthers the past two seasons. Chudzinski has actually been a member of the Browns coaching staff twice before, serving as the team’s tight ends coach in 2004 and as their offensive coordinator from 2007-2008. Aside from who Chudzinski will bring on to his coaching staff, the biggest question in Cleveland is who the quarterback will be—will he want Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, or someone else?
More change is coming in Dallas, where the Cowboys have made a change at defensive coordinator. Ed Werder of ESPN reports that Rob Ryan is out and Monte Kiffin is in. Though Kiffin has worked as a college coach the past few years, his most recent NFL job was as the defensive coordinator of the Buccaneers from 1996-2008, that included a Super Bowl championship in the 2002 season.
Tim Tebow Saga Pushes On
Not only were we pretty certain that Tim Tebow was done with the New York Jets, but the vast majority of people also felt pretty confident he’d be on his way back home to Jacksonville come 2013. You can probably forget about that. New Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell has already put the issue to rest, saying he couldn’t imagine Tebow in Jacksonville, even if he were a free agent right now.
That puts a wrench in Tebow’s NFL career, as his hometown team seemed to be the last logical destination for him. Where will Tebow end up playing in 2013? It’s anyone’s guess now. In fact, there’s a distinct possibility he could be done in the league.
NFL Playoffs: The Divisional Round
Three of the four playoff games this weekend are rematches of regular season games. Be sure to check out the analysis and picks between Tom McFeeley and myself.
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos on Saturday at 4:30 on CBS
The Broncos won the regular season matchup 34-17 in Baltimore. As the Ravens attempt to let Ray Lewis ride into the sunset, Peyton Manning could prove to be an obstacle to arduous to overcome.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers on Saturday at 8 on FOX
The 49ers won the regular season matchup 30-22 at Lambeau Field. These two teams have rich playoff history with one another, and watching Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense vs. Patrick Willis and the 49ers defense will certainly be entertaining.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at 1 on FOX
A red-hot Seahawks team comes to Atlanta to face the NFC’s No. 1 seed. As Matt Ryan and the Falcons try to avoid another one-and-done in the playoffs, their offense could be too potent to stop. How the Seahawks defense tries to continue Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez should be very interesting to see.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots on Sunday at 4:30 on CBS
The Patriots obliterated the Texans 42-14 on Monday Night Football back in December in Foxborough. As the Texans attempt to avenge that loss, will they be able to stop Tom Brady and the high-powered Patriots offense, or will the Patriots once again advance to try to represent the AFC in another Super Bowl?
Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Hall’s Selection Committee has announced the finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame inductees. Among the first-year nominees are Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan. Other notable finalists include Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Art Modell and Bill Parcells.
After the news of Junior Seau’s suicide was reported, I wrote an article about the reports here for NFL Soup and noted the possibility of Seau’s brain containing traces of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This results from multiple concussions and head injuries and can only be found post mortem.
A report on Thursday from ABC News announced that, after scientists analyzed Seau’s brain, he did in fact suffer from the resulting effects of CTE, which include symptoms of dementia such as aggression, confusion and depression.
The article and analysis from the team of scientists is a very interesting read, as well as what former player Bernie Kosar had to say about concussions and the medical treatment he has received as a result from them. I highly recommend checking out both pieces.
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