As he does each week, Albert Breer of NFL.com spoke with several executives and scouts around the league, delving into some of the pertinent topics in the NFL heading into Week 8. Let’s dive in…
- The Lions made several changes to their coaching staff this week, including firing their offensive coordinator, but there could be more staff alterations on the horizon, per Breer. Martha Ford, the owner of the club, didn’t play a role in hiring head coach Jim Caldwell, so his status going forward remains unclear. Additionally, if the rest of the coaching staff is terminated after the conclusion of the season, it’s likely that the front office, including GM Martin Mayhew, would be fired as well, adds Breer.
- Peyton Manning is in the middle of the worst season of his career, and some personnel men feel the veteran Broncos quarterback’s play might stagnate even more as the weather gets colder. “I thought it was pretty clear he’s not the same guy, and he’ll probably never be the same guy,” one AFC scout told Breer. “Now, it’s a matter of whether they can function the offense well enough with him. And with that defense, they can,” added the scout, noting the importance of Denver’s run game as an aid to Manning.
- The uproar surrounding Greg Hardy‘s recent behavior is nothing new — as evidenced by his run-ins with the law that caused him to miss nearly all of the 2014 season — and Breer writes that concerns about Hardy’s off-the-field behavior date back to his college days at Ole Miss. Once he entered the league in 2010, Panthers teammates would often have to ensure that Hardy simply made it to practice. As one source noted about the Cowboys defensive end: “You never know what you’re gonna get.”
- Following the NFL’s filing of a brief to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the Tom Brady appeal decision, the court announced that the hearing would take place on February 1 — the Monday of Super Bowl week. The NFLPA, unsurprisingly, finds the decision “alarming” (in the words of union spokesman George Atallah), while the league indicated it would comply with the schedule handed down by the court.
- Noting the gap in appeal between NFL and NCAA head coaching jobs isn’t what it once was, Breer puts together a preliminary list of NFL candidates who might be interested in moving to the college ranks, including the Colts‘ Rob Chudzinski, Bengals OC Hue Jackson, and Bills OC Greg Roman.