Black and Blue all over: Frazier a finalist in STL
Things are starting to get interesting for Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who reportedly is a finalist for St. Louis' open head coaching job even though he has yet to interview formally.
Frazier is scheduled to meet with the Rams' ownership group Tuesday in St. Louis, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That means Frazier has bypassed the first round of interviews and has joined interim head coach Jim Haslett as one of two known finalists for the job.
The move makes sense, considering Rams general manager Billy Devaney interviewed Frazier last year when he was a member of the Atlanta's front-office staff. Frazier was reportedly the runner-up to Mike Smith for the Falcons job.
Considering that Devaney only recently took control of the Rams' front office, it's reasonable to assume Frazier is his top candidate. Haslett was promoted by owner Chip Rosenbloom during the season after the departure of coach Scott Linehan.
Frazier already has interviewed with Denver and Detroit and is believed to be well-regarded by both teams. The Broncos are said to be favoring New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, with Frazier running a close second.
If Frazier gets one of those jobs, the Vikings will be searching for their eighth new defensive coordinator in the past 11 seasons.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune lay out Minnesota's options for upgrading its quarterback situation.
- Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson on his approach: "I would like most of the people to understand that we're trying to do the right thing." Thompson gave a lengthy interview to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which published the Q&A on Sunday.
- Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal also spoke with Thompson at length. Here's one interesting sound bite from Thompson: "We don't hate free agency." Hmmmmm.
- Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette lights up Thompson for a series of mistakes that led to the Packers' 6-10 season: "Nearly everything Thompson touched in 2008 turned to stone. It's imperative that Thompson shake out of his slump if the Packers want to return to prosperity."
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press points out the Lions' only shot at interviewing Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is Sunday. Otherwise, they will have to wait until after the Ravens' season is over. Ryan already has interviews scheduled with St. Louis and the New York Jets on Sunday.
- David Birkett of the Oakland Press details a lawsuit against one of the Lions' coaching candidates. According to the story, Washington secondary coach Jerry Gray and two financial advisors are being sued by former Buffalo player Terrence McGee because of what he alleges is an improper investment.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times has this interesting nugget: New assistant head coach/defensive line Rod Marinelli is the highest-paid assistant on the Bears' staff. That's another example of the authority questions that defensive coordinator Bob Babich will face.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on Marinelli's arrival: "Go ahead and question whether [coach Lovie] Smith's allegiance to defensive coordinator Bob Babich affected the decision to fire three defensive assistants but spare his old pal Babich. Every day that Babich retains his title after a second straight disappointing season on defense will be another day Smith's judgment deserves scrutiny. But it would be ignoring Marinelli's established reputation as a motivator and technician in 10 seasons as an NFL assistant coach in Tampa Bay to chalk up Saturday's hire to cronyism."