Wednesday, January 6, 2010
NFC North at night
By Kevin Seifert
Let’s catch up after another busy day in the NFC North:
Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will interview Thursday to become Buffalo’s head coach, his sixth opportunity to do so in the past three years. He interviewed with Miami and Atlanta after the 2007 season. Last winter, he spoke with Denver, Detroit and St. Louis.
My AFC East colleague Tim Graham makes the important point that the Bills don’t consider this a token interview because Frazier is black; they’ve already interviewed interim head coach Perry Fewell for the job and therefore aren’t required to interview any further minorities.
My feeling about Frazier remains the same. He won’t blow you away with a sales pitch during an interview, but he is a classy and intense coach who will appeal to teams looking for substance over style. Look for his name to surface in Cleveland if new Browns president Mike Holmgren fires coach Eric Mangini.
Chicago will interview Fewell for its defensive coordinator job next week, after he speaks with the New York Giants. My ESPN Chicago colleague Jeff Dickerson considers Fewell a good fit for the job, and I agree. With Lovie Smith unwilling to change his defensive scheme, he might as well hire someone with extensive experience in the system.
All Green Bay players except safety Derrick Martin (ankle) participated in at least a portion of practice Wednesday. That includes nose tackle Ryan Pickett, who has been inactive for three of the past four games because of a hamstring injury. In Arizona, receiver Anquan Boldin (ankle), cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (toe/knee) and safety Antrel Rolle (thigh) all sat out practice. My NFC West colleague Mike Sando has more on Rodgers-Cromartie here.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he hadn’t heard that Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt was apparently miffed by the way Green Bay approached the two games between the teams this season. And even if he had, McCarthy said: “I am worried about my own football team. His feelings toward my team or my feelings toward his team, it's a non-topic with me.”
Speaking during a conference call with Wisconsin reporters, Whisenhunt clarified his original comments. “The only thing I was chafing about was the approach of my football team and how we handled it. I was disappointed with some of the things we did in the ball game as far as how we played. It was obvious to me that Green Bay was more physical than us. That’s what was very disappointing to me. I could see where [reporters] would think that I was irritated, and I was, but it certainly wasn't at coach McCarthy or the Packers. It was more about how we performed.”
I guess all’s well that ends well.