AFC West: USC

You pick it: AFC West story lines

January, 21, 2009
1/21/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

It's time for this week's "you pick it" feature.

I offer three candidates for the top story in the AFC West from the past week and you hit my mailbag with your thoughts. I will post some of your responses later in the week. Here are the candidates:

The Chiefs stay undecided: Eight days after he was hired as the team's general manager, Scott Pioli still hasn't announced whether coach Herm Edwards will return or not. A decision is expected at any moment, but it was originally expected last week.

Jeremy Bates goes to USC: The Broncos informed Bates, their passing coordinator who had a huge fan in quarterback Jay Cutler, that he was going to be replaced last week. On Monday, Bates opted to go to USC as the Trojans' offensive coordinator.

Cable goes to Senior Bowl as a member of the Raiders but still no word if he's the coach: Tom Cable went to the Senior Bowl as a member of the team and he has helped interview potential assistant coaches. But, as of now, it has not been announced if the interim coach will return to Oakland or if the team will hire another full-time coach.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

It appears two former Denver Broncos offensive assistant coaches are getting college offensive coordinator jobs in a two-day span.

According to a source close to the situation, former Denver receivers coach Jedd Fisch is arriving in the Twin Cities on Tuesday afternoon. Barring any unexpected changes he is expected accept the offer to guide the Golden Gophers' offense.

Fisch interviewed for the Detroit Lions' offensive coordinator job Monday.

Fisch, 32, was let go by new Denver coach Josh McDaniels late last week. He was let go along with passing game coordinator Jeremy Bates. Bates became the offensive coordinator at USC on Monday.

Bates and Fisch were considered among the best young offensive coaches in the NFL. They were let go because McDaniels will run the passing game and he wanted his own influence. He hired Mike McCoy from Carolina to replace Bates.

Fisch is was lauded for the continued development of Denver receiver Brandon Marshall in 2008 and the sudden impact made by second-round pick Eddie Royal.

Minnesota is coached by former Denver assistant Tim Brewster. Former Denver coach Mike Shanahan highly recommended Fisch for the Minnesota job. Now, the only thing keeping him from joining Brewster's staff is a formal offer and Fisch accepting it.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

It didn't take long for Jeremy Bates to bounce back after being let go by the Denver Broncos last week.

ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that Bates will take a position on the offensive staff at USC.
Bates was being pursued by both Detroit and Oakland in the NFL. He is considered one of football's brightest offensive minds.

He called the plays in Denver last season and he was credited for the emergence of quarterback Jay Cutler. However, Bates' Denver tenure was put in jeopardy when the team hired New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to replace the fired Mike Shanahan.

McDaniels will call the plays in Denver so Bates, Denver's passing game coordinator, was expendable. Had Denver hired a defensive-minded coach, Bates likely would have stayed.
Denver gave Bates a three-year contract extension in late 2008 after new University of Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin pursued him as offensive coordinator.

Meanwhile, with Bates out of the picture in Detroit, expect former Denver receivers coach Jedd Fisch to be a candidate for the offensive coordinator's job. Fisch was let go along with Bates last week. He was lauded for working with Denver receiver Brandon Marshall.

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