Friday, January 12, 2007
BY ARTHUR STAPLE
Newsday Staff Writer
January 12, 2007
Tom Coughlin began his staff house-cleaning yesterday, firing defensive coordinator Tim Lewis. No replacement was named.
Lewis, 42, presided over the 25th-ranked defense in the NFL, down from 24th in 2005 and 13th in 2004, his first season with the team. Injuries were a major issue throughout Lewis' tenure. The Giants lost Michael Strahan for a total of 16 games, and in 2005 were without a slew of linebackers.
But Lewis' Cover-2 scheme didn't provide enough good pass defense the past two years, even with a pair of Pro Bowl ends in 2005. The Giants were 27th against the pass in 2005 and 28th this season.
"Different things happened," said linebacker LaVar Arrington, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon Oct. 23 just as he was starting to grasp the system better. "When you have a successful team, they usually feed off one another. Whatever their strengths are, you play to it. You make sure you lean toward your strengths, knowing what your weaknesses are. We just have to find that balance. And whenever you have a team as talented as the Giants that doesn't accomplish enough, somebody has to take the rap for it. Sometimes it's the players, sometimes it's coaches."
The Giants might have an interest in Dolphins defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who was Coughlin's coordinator with the Jaguars from 1999-2001. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Capers turned down requests to be interviewed for the defensive coordinator jobs with the Falcons and Cowboys after he interviewed for the Dolphins' vacant head-coaching job.
Lewis also interviewed for that job, and he was a popular candidate last January, interviewing for five head-coaching slots. He was the Steelers' defensive coordinator from 2000-2003 after five seasons as their secondary coach.
Of the defensive assistants on the Giants' staff, line coach Mike Waufle has the best chance of being retained, having improved his group greatly during his three seasons. Linebackers coach Bill Sheridan also is popular, though his unit has been ravaged by injuries.
Ok so we knew this would happen, even if it wasn't all Lewis' fault because of the injuries. The cover-2 scheme wasn't working with the personnel here. Dom Capers isn't a bad coach either. Our intel informs us Capers is one of the candidates to replace Lewis. He's had his share of successes as well as failures. the Question is: what makes Coughlin think that Capers would do well here? Is Dom the guy he really wanted three years ago when he got the Job? Capers was still coaching the Houston Texans then, his second expansion franchise.
Many People are apt to say that The NFL just keeps recycling Old Coaches, not giving enough chances to new blood.
But look at what happens when college coaches try to make a jump to the Pros. How many have had even short term sucess?
Huizenga's plane makes stop at Republic Airport so Dolphins can talk to young offensive coordinator-see my end notes
BY TOM ROCK
Newsday Staff Writer
January 11, 2007
The Dolphins spoke with Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer about their vacant head-coaching position yesterday, the first of what could be many nibbles at the son of Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who is an up-and-comer in the eyes of many NFL insiders.
Shortly after the private 737 owned by Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga spent the morning at Newark Airport, where the Dolphins spoke with Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, the plane flew to Farmingdale's Republic Airport for an on-board, tarmac-bound meeting with Schottenheimer, according to a Dolphins official who requested anonymity.
According to flight reports, Huizenga's plane was at Republic for approximately 2 1/2 hours before flying to Detroit and a meeting with Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Over the weekend, the plane also went to Costa Rica, where USC coach Pete Carroll was vacationing.
The search to replace Nick Saban is far from narrow, with more than a dozen coaches expected to meet with Dolphins ownership and management for pre-interviews in the coming days. After that, the group will be whittled down to three or four for more in-depth interviews in Miami, according to the Dolphins official.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum yesterday confirmed the Dolphins' interest in Schottenheimer and said the Jets have a "short list" of contingency candidates if they need to replace Schottenheimer - or any coach or player, for that matter. Running backs coach Jimmy Raye was offensive coordinator for five NFL teams, and wide receivers coach Noel Mazzone had that job at three colleges, but the Jets are just as likely to look outside the organization.
"If that situation were to present itself, we would consider in-house people and other coaches that would be available," Tannenbaum said. "It is like any other search. You want to get the best person that you can."
If Schottenheimer leaves, it would mean a fourth different offensive coordinator for the Jets in four years.
Schottenheimer is considered by many to have the makings of an NFL head coach, including a gregarious personality and a mind for the game. His limitation is lack of experience, but the Jets have shown that taking a chance on a young, developing coach can produce results.
Like Eric Mangini before he took the top Jets job last winter, Schottenheimer has only one year of experience as a coordinator. But in that year he impressed many around the league with his innovative no-huddle system based on the West Coast offense and loaded with shifts and misdirection.
The Jets' offense was ranked 25th in the NFL in yardage and 18th in scoring. Those are hardly staggering numbers, but Schottenheimer matched the system to his personnel very well, playing to strengths (Chad Pennington's intelligence) and sidestepping weaknesses (no feature running back). They used short passes to receivers as "extended handoffs" and tinkered with combinations of receivers, tight ends and running backs.
Schottenheimer, 33, was his father's quarterbacks coach for the Chargers from 2002-05 and for the Redskins in 2001. Under his guidance, two quarterbacks have won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award: Drew Brees in 2004 and Pennington in 2006. The Dolphins may hope to sprinkle some of that comeback magic on Daunte Culpepper for 2007.
When Saban bolted for Alabama last week, Mangini was asked about the possibility of members of his staff interviewing for the job at a division rival. His own such move is a main source of the tension between him and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
"It's part of the nature of the NFL," he said. "People change and move on, and through success, opportunities are created. Sometimes those opportunities are at different places. That's just the nature of the business."
The Dolphins might wind up passing on Schottenheimer, but the first branch of the Mangini coaching tree could be springing forth in the very near future.
And my Slant: This Kid is the reason Why Pennington is the comback player of the year. From the moment i saw him operate at Jets camp last summer, I knew he was the real deal, like his Dad. Infact when the Jets Offense had a miscue he made them run a lap while he foamed at the mouth(also just like daddy)! It would be a big loss for the Jets if he left.
Well, at least it's not the Pussycat Lounge, another hot spot. This comes from Perez Hilton.com. This happened before the New Year, so it's old news but still interesting given Matt's track record. Still does make you wonder about that newborn he's got. I'll also bet Paris Hilton had something to do with this hook up because she was partying with Matt last year.
Britney Spears has been noticeably missing in action the past week.
Now, PerezHilton.com has all the details on where she's been and what star she was seen getting her groove on with at a club on Friday night.
This is good!!!
Sources reveal exclusively to PerezHilton.com that Britney has been spending some time in Scottsdale, Arizona, a town known for its many spas and retreats.
Spears has frequented Scottsdale in the past, most recently escaping there in 2005 with FedEx during her first pregnancy.
Britney has been unwinding with her family and on Friday night she really let loose!
The newly single pop star was spotted at Scottsdale hotspot Jackrabbit Lounge.
The awful hair extensions were gone and the chic blonde bob was back!
Plus....Spears was totally macking it with none other than Matt Leinart!
Britney came sans large entourage. Just two girlfriends and a big burly bodyguard.
However, her attention was focused on Matt all night long!
The quarterback, previously linked with Paris Hilton, plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
And Friday night he was playing Britney Spears!
Sources tell us that the pair were flirting hardcore on the patio area all night long, bumping and grinding and whispering in each others' ears.
Could a love match be in the air???
But before Britney gets too comfortable in Scottsdale, she is heading to Las Vegas, where Spears will ring in the new year at Pure in Caesar's Palace.
New year, new man? Big comeback?
We hope so!
The Oakland Raiders offensive line was terrible. But as I've stated before, it wasn't because they're bad players, it was the way they were asked to block.
This photo -- of the Raiders in white against the SF 49ers -- is a textbook example of the problem. Here, all of the linemen are retreating, and thus giving space for the Niners pass-rushers to force themselves and manuever. This is a pass pocket that will fold quickly.
What they should do is almost run block and fire out early. This way shown is too old.
What's Arizona Cardinals QB Matt Leinart doing now during the team's offseason? He's signing autographs at the Poloroid booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Domain Barnyard -- not the person's real name -- snapped this photo.
Regardless of what he does, it's clear that the Green Bay Packers enjoy Quarterback Brett Farve. I think he's going to come back for one more year. I have no inside information on that, just plain gut feeling. Remember, he's still got the gas in the tank, and the problems were not really his in the making.