Breer’s Latest: Coaches, Bears, Whaley

As usual, Albert Breer of the NFL Network touches upon several notable topics in his weekly notes piece for, leading off with a look at the Falcons and head coach Mike Smith. Unapologetic about the fact that his team could sneak into the playoffs with a 7-9 record, Smith was also adamant that he doesn’t feel as if he’s coaching for his job as the season winds down. Still, one has to imagine, given how available the NFC South crown has been for the taking this season, that if the Falcons lose one of their final two games and miss out on a playoff berth, the team will have to think long and hard about making changes.

Here’s more from Breer:

  • Suggesting that perhaps the adversarial relationship between Robert Griffin III and Jay Gruden in Washington has been overblown, Breer writes that the head coach simply wants the former second overall pick to earn his playing time, just like everyone else on the roster.
  • One veteran NFL executive predicted to Breer earlier this year that Bears head coach Marc Trestman would have trouble navigating off-field frustrations in Chicago, since he “doesn’t have the ability to control the locker room.” Considering all that’s happened since then – from the blowout losses to the Aaron Kromer incident to Jay Cutler‘s benching – it’ll be hard for the Bears to bring back Trestman next season, and general manager Phil Emery‘s job isn’t safe either, writes Breer.
  • A source told Breer earlier this week that the University of Michigan is “very much in the game” for Jim Harbaugh.
  • GM Doug Whaley may be on the hot seat if the Bills fail to make the playoffs after giving up their 2015 first-round pick to win now, but Whaley can point to his construction of an elite defensive unit if and when he makes a case to keep his job, says Breer.
  • Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly will likely consider making the leap to the NFL in January, or at least weigh the idea more seriously than he has in the last two years, according to Breer, who indicates that Kelly is frustrated with the school’s administration. The 49ers could be connected to Kelly since owner Jed York is a Notre Dame alum, but defensive line coach Jim Tomsula still appears to be the favorite to take over for Harbaugh.
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