Extra Points: Coaches, Officials, Hackenberg

As several coaches are set for their final games guiding their respective teams, SI.com’s Greg Bedard tabs suitable successors, the most interesting being a potential Nick Saban return to the NFL as Chuck Pagano‘s replacement with the Colts.

Andrew Luck‘s presence and Indianapolis’ small-town feel would be draws for the Alabama architect, per Bedard, while Jim Irsay‘s visible stature wouldn’t.

Bedard also lists several retreads as viable second-chance options for franchises, connecting Josh McDaniels with the Giants, Todd Haley with the Dolphins and current UCLA coach Jim Mora with the 49ers.

McDaniels-to-New York would be an interesting fit, given Eli Manning‘s forward strides in second-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo‘s offense and the Patriots current OC’s play-calling penchant.

Here are some other notes from around the league with Week 15 set to commence.

  • Christian Hackenberg‘s disappointing season ordinarily may have relegated the Penn State quarterback to the second round, should the junior decide to declare for the draft. But sources told ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen that the 20-year-old Hackenberg, who had his best season as a freshman in 2013 under Bill O’Brien, will have a floor of wherever the Texans select in the first round. Houston’s first-round spot could drop into the low 20s if the Texans make the playoffs or rise toward the top 10 if the team falters.
  • The NFL’s change in postseason officiating procedure, which will give officials more freedom to confer with the league, could have a negative impact, former head of officiating Mike Pereira tells Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. “Basically, what it looks like is that the league office is making decisions on who possibly wins or loses the game,” Pereira said. “You could go back to the old theory of the conspiracy of the Raiders, that the league didn’t like [former owner] Al Davis and all the stuff that went along with it. All of a sudden, decisions that were being made on the field or in the stadium, all of a sudden are being made in the league office.” The new policy is designed to allow the league to help coordinate with officials on clock operation, penalty yardage and administrative issues.
  • The NFLPA sent a proposal to the league last month calling for neutral arbitration in personal conduct appellate hearings, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports. Under this proposal, Roger Goodell would remain responsible for levying initial rulings, as he’s permitted to do under Article 46 of the CBA, but a three-person panel would decide the players’ ultimate punishment during the appeals process. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said the league has been discussing solutions along this line for months, although the league has yet to respond to this proposal.
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