NFL head-coaching search roundup


NFL head-coaching search roundup

While most fans seemed content with Phil Emery's decision to fire Lovie Smith, while many of Smith's players expressed outrage at Halas Hall upon hearing the news.
So where did legendary Bears coach Mike Ditka, who is no stranger himself to being shown the door in Chicago, stand on the issue? Dikta told WMVP-AM on Monday that the Bears firing Lovie Smith was "stupid," and that Smith is "a very good coach."
Whether or not Ditka is correct on his first opinion -- that Smith did not deserve to be fired -- reports surfacing early in seven teams' coaching hunt shows that Ditka is right about his second statement, and that Smith won't be unemployed for long.
There has been no confirmation on any one team being linked with Smith, but a separate report from Monday said four teams have reached out to the former Chicago coach about their head coaching vacancies.
Those teams include: Arizona, Buffalo, Cleveland, Kansas City, Philadelphia and San Diego. One reason for the interest could be teams fulfilling the Rooney Rule, stating that a team must interview at least one minority before filling a head-coaching vacancy.
The Bears have been linked to a handful of coaches, including Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements, Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong, Mike Sullivan, Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and Cowboys special teams coach Joe Decamillis, all confirmed by Adam Schefter and's Ian Rapoport.
Jim Miller joined David Kaplan in a phone interview after Smith was fired on Monday, and tossed out a few names who may be in consideration for the job. Miller also made his case for Jon Gruden to come to Chicago.
Here's a quick (and unofficial) round-up of where the other six teams in search of a new head coach are looking...
The Cardinals have had the most public spotlight on their coaching search, as Andy Reid is expected to interview today for the position. Ken Whisenhunt was fired after the Cardinals went 5-11. Reports have differed on how close Reid is to accepting the position, though current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton will interview for a second time for the job. Whoever gets the job in Arizona, one of his main goals would be to fix the 63.5 million man in quarterback Kevin Kolb. The Cardinals also fired general manager Rod Graves. Mike McCoy is also interviewing in Denver for the position, per Adam Schefter.
Schefter also tweeted that Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone will interview with the Browns for their head coaching position...another college coach, Oregon's Chip Kelly, has been a hot rumor all season long, but nothing firm has come on his interest with his Ducks playing tomorrow in the Fiesta Bowl tomorrow...the Browns also, per Jason LaCanfora on Twitter, interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton
Andy Reid is meeting with the Cardinals tonight, but before he does that he will meet with Kansas City brass about the Chiefs open head coach position. Kansas City was reportedly interested in Falcons defensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who signed an extension in Atlanta earlier this week.
Things have been quiet in San Diego, but there is speculation that Jon Gruden may land the Chargers' open position, but Rapoport says Gruden has not scheduled any interviews...Bruce Arians, who coached the Colts in Chuck Pagano's absence, is an option, and Ken Whisenhunt is reportedly interested in the position, too.
The Eagles, who fired Andy Reid after 14 seasons, apparently liked what they saw from the NFC top-seeded Falcons this year. They will reportedly interview defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coach Keith Armstrong. They wanted to interview defensive coordinator Dirk Koetter before he signed an extension to stay in Atlanta...Oregon coach Chip Kelly is another real option here, and has been connected to Philadelphia for quite some time...Penn State's Bill O'Brien and Syracuse's Doug Marrone are also potential candidates
The Bills have been connected to Lovie Smith in the past few days, but no official word has come out on an interview...Buffalo has met with Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired in Arizona...the Bills are also planning to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and, per Schefter, Doug Marrone will interview for the position as well.

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 8

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 8

We're living in a bizarre age of fantasy football.

Each week we're questioning whether or not we should start players such as DeAndre Hopkins and Todd Gurley. At the same time, we're making room in our lineups for Jacquizz Rodgers, Ty Montgomery and Terrelle Pryor.

Down is up and up is down.

If you have any questions, hit us up on @CSNFantasy and tune in to our weekly Fantasy Fix Facebook Live show every Thursday.

Let's get right into the Week 8 Start/Sit and as always, Liam Neeson has a message for you:


Devontae Booker, RB, DEN (vs. SD) - With the news that C.J. Anderson is likely done for the season with a torn meniscus, Booker has turned into a must-own/must-start running back. The rookie out of Utah is averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per carry in limited time, and now moves into the starting role in Gary Kubiak's running back friendly offense which ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing attempts per game. Booker is a no-brainer this weekend against a Chargers defense which has allowed the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in 2016. (Scott Krinch)

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, NYJ (@ CLE) - I'll get criticism for this prediction, but Fitzpatrick should be a firm QB1 in Week 8. The Browns are always on the fantasy radar as a friendly opponent for quarterbacks, which is the team Fitzpatrick draws on Sunday. Cleveland hasn't allowed less than two passing touchdowns in any game this season, and have given up three scores to opposing signal callers four out of the last five weeks. This is a layup for Fitzpatrick owners. (Krinch)

Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, GB (@ ATL) - Fantasy players were given an early stocking stuffer when Montgomery was granted running back eligibility in the majority of leagues. It doesn't matter which position you want to insert Montgomery in, he just needs to be in your lineup at all costs. With 20 receptions on 25 targets and 12 carries for 66 yards in his last two games, Montgomery is turning into one of the league's most valuable fantasy commodities. The Packers opponent this weekend, the Falcons, have allowed the second-most receptions to running backs. Look for Montgomery to take advantage in that area. (Krinch)

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Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI (vs. MIN) - Jay Cutler's thumb has mysteriously healed and it's time for Jeffery to become a Top 10 wide receiver, right? Not exactly. I like Jeffery's outlook for the remainder of the season, but for this week and this week only, I'm staying clear of him. The Vikings defense presents a major mismatch for the Bears offense, and Jeffery will be in for a long night against a Vikings which ranks No. 2 against opposing wide receivers. (Krinch)

Matthew Stafford, QB, DET (@ HOU) - Stafford is having an MVP-caliber season and in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career so I know I'll get a lot of flack for benching him. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Stafford fan and think he's one of the best fantasy bargains in 2016. I just expect him to be more of a game manager against a stingy Texans secondary. Look for Stafford to keep the turnovers at a minimum and for the Lions to establish a ground attack, limiting Stafford's fantasy value for this week. (Krinch)

Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR (vs. ARI) - The forgotten man in most fantasy circles — despite routinely finishing each season as a Top 20 running back — is going to keep that label this weekend. The Cardinals front seven has been a nightmare for opposing running backs, and I expect it to be no different on Sunday. If the Cardinals get up big — a very good possibility — it's going to be a game of catch-up for the Panthers offense which will limit Stewart's touches. (Krinch)

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Anytime Nikola Mirotic is on an island defensively in a crucial moment of a game, there’s a general sense of nervousness and doubt that’s palpable inside the United Center.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when Mirotic defended Boston Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown well enough to force a travel in the final minute of the Bulls’ 105-99 win Thursday night.

With the Celtics down two, Brown started his drive from the top of the key and pivoted back to his right. When he rose up for a jumper or pass, Mirotic was right in his face and Brown, a talented rookie playing in his second NBA game, didn’t know where to go.

He came back down with the ball still in his hands for a traveling violation, and the stage was set for Dwyane Wade’s closing heroics.

Wade, the closer was set up by Mirotic, the stopper—well, let’s not go that far just yet.

“I tried just to play good defense, to make him drive the ball because we want him to shoot a contested shot,” Mirotic said. “It was big-time defense. We needed that one. After that, Dwyane Wade has huge stop and made that 3. It’s a team job, team defense. I was just trying to be a part of that. I’m very happy about the game.”

In all fairness, Brown is a rookie and the Bulls would rather not see Mirotic in a one-on-one situation late in games defensively. But it appears as if Fred Hoiberg will give him the opportunities to close games so Mirotic will find himself in instances where he’ll have to make plays on both ends.

Hoiberg called it the defensive play of the game, and agreed with the assessment of Mirotic being an underrated defensive rebounder despite his struggles on that end of the floor.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It just goes to show you even when your shot isn’t falling, you can still have a positive impact,” Hoiberg said. “I loved his attack. He was getting in the paint and got some offensive rebound tip-ins as well so just overall solid game.”

Although Hoiberg had to make the decision to insert Taj Gibson as a starter at power forward over Mirotic, it’s not hard to see scenarios like Thursday where both are together to close games—Mirotic will be needed to spread the floor for Wade and Jimmy Butler to create shots in one-on-one situations.

Mirotic missed five of his six 3-point shots but was flawless inside the line, scoring 15 with nine rebounds.

“To be honest, I didn’t feel very comfortable with my 3-point shot,” said Mirotic, although Hoiberg said Mirotic’s attempts were good looks. “I tried to find a way to score, make an impact on the game---rebound the ball, play unselfish. My goal was to play good defense because I know that’s the next step.”

Getting over the idea of losing a starting job many believed would’ve been his given the composition of the roster seems to be behind Mirotic, who was a starter last season before acute appendicitis forced him out of action before the All-Star break.

“It doesn’t feel right to be honest. But no disappointment. It is what it is,” Mirotic said. “I want to not think and be focused and play my game. Now that I come from the bench, it’s like, ‘All right, figure out how you’re going to do that, how you’re going to help your team and play well.’”

Gibson and Mirotic were the only Bulls to shoot over 50 percent, as Gibson’s strong preseason play carried over to the opener. Make no mistake, if the Bulls are to exceed modest expectations, Mirotic will have to step up, as his production is no longer a luxury.

“It’s going to be a long season. But I told Fred it’s no problem,” Mirotic said. “I respect your decision. Taj is an amazing player. He’s playing so good. He’s in great shape. He deserves to be the starter. He has played a lot of years here. So I respect that. I’m cool with that. What I want to do is play my game, improve this year, make my team win more games. That’s all I can do.”