Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Sifting through a transformational Tuesday
By Mike Sando
The NFL's busiest time of year -- known as the offseason -- will transform every NFC West team in significant ways.
The moves made Tuesday continued a transformation that began with the San Francisco 49ers replacing Mike Singletary with Jim Harbaugh.
We've seen the Arizona Cardinals fire their defensive coordinator. We've seen the Cleveland Browns hire St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as their head coach. We've seen the Rams replace Shurmur with Josh McDaniels. We've seen the Seattle Seahawks fire offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, hire Tom Cable as offensive line coach and remake other staff positions.
And it's still only January.
Five quick thoughts on matters lingering from Tuesday:
- McDaniels and the money. Reported issues over money, whatever they were, did not doom the deal. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicated the sides had been $200,000 apart, and that McDaniels had separately sought $2 million per season from Minnesota. The settlement McDaniels worked out with the Denver Broncos removed him from their books, meaning there would be no salary offset for McDaniels' next employer. If the Broncos were still paying McDaniels, the Rams could have paid a modest wage to him and Denver would have been responsible for the difference between what the Rams were paying and what the Broncos still owed.
- Seattle's involvement a bit murky. The Seahawks' hiring of Cable to coach their offensive line supports suspicions that McDaniels was never a serious candidate in Seattle. Whether McDaniels was using Seattle for leverage with the Rams is tough to know. But it's illogical on multiple fronts to think Seattle would have hired both Cable and McDaniels, or that the team turned to Cable only after missing out on McDaniels. That isn't how business gets done. The deal with Cable was surely in the works longer than the few hours that McDaniels emerged as a candidate.
- Cable might have affected Bates. Let's stick with the idea that Seattle had its mind set on Cable for some time. This would make sense because the Seahawks lost their offensive line coach, Alex Gibbs, before the season. They had plenty of time to consider replacements. Cable and Gibbs worked together in Atlanta, so there would be some carryover. Cable and Bates never worked together. Adding Cable, who brings a strong personality and his own ideas, would have affected Bates. Could they have coexisted? How would Bates' strong personality and old-school demeanor fit with a line coach who allegedly punched out an underling in Oakland?
- Robert Gallery-to-Seattle makes sense. The Seahawks need help at guard. Cable coached a pretty good one, Robert Gallery, in Oakland. Gallery can become a free agent after this season. Gallery was known to like Cable. Signing Gallery would make sense for Seattle and it could be easier with Cable on staff.
- Arizona's inactivity is conspicuous. The Cardinals need a defensive coordinator. They are not, by all accounts, interviewing candidates at this time. That suggests they're waiting for a candidate from a team still in the playoffs. Coach Ken Whisenhunt's connections to Pittsburgh suggest the Steelers might be that team. Hiring the right coordinator is what matters. The timing is a secondary issue. But if this process doesn't go well for Whisenhunt, it's a significant setback for him and for the team.
- Who replaces Bates? The Seahawks interviewed Minnesota Vikings assistant Darrell Bevell as a potential quarterbacks coach. Reports suggest Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave could land in Cleveland with Shurmur. Cable's hiring suggests the Seahawks will continue to favor zone blocking tactics. The Seahawks pretty much have to hire around Cable, it seems. Might Cable, as assistant head coach/offensive line, serve as a sort of running game coordinator? So many questions, so few answers. But it's early.
On a side note, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Browns quarterbacks coach Carl Smith could be a candidate for an unspecified job with the Seahawks.