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NFC Whispers

Trade of McNabb not inconceivable

Posted Jan. 16, 2010 @ 8:53 p.m. ET
By PFW staff

• Don't rule out a trade of QB Donovan McNabb. In a free-agent market devoid of starter-quality talent at the position and with the Eagles wanting to turn things over to Kevin Kolb soon, Andy Reid could go back on his postseason statement that McNabb is his quarterback for 2010.

• One of the other veterans who might be a casualty in Washington is WR Antwaan Randle El. Second-year WRs Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly showed improvements by season's end, and Randle El has a high contract for a player who might not project to be a starter in Mike Shanahan's offense. He also has struggled returning punts and appears to be an odd man out.

• We hear Perry Fewell's decision to take the Giants' defensive coordinator job and spurn, among other teams, the Bears was an easy one for Fewell when he looked at the situation in New York. Despite an underachieving defense last season, the Giants have more defensive talent, and Tom Coughlin would appear to have more security, two years removed from a Super Bowl title, than Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

• The only way Daunte Culpepper returns to Detroit, we hear, is if the veteran quarterback can't find a better opportunity where he possibly could compete to start in 2010. Culpepper didn't like the way things were handled late in the season when he felt he should be starting over Drew Stanton after Matthew Stafford went down. GM Martin Mayhew said Culpepper could return, but the odds right now appear low.

• The Vikings have an offseason decision ahead of them at safety. Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson have been inconsistent, making them a couple of question marks on an otherwise strong defense. Opponents recognized the weakness and repeatedly attempted to attack it late in the season. Williams hasn't played up to his free-agent contract to date, though a neck injury spoiled much of his season in 2008.

• Our Bears sources can certainly understand the team's decision to spare WR coach Darryl Drake in the recent housecleaning of offensive coaches. "He deserved to stay," said one source. "The arrow is pointing up with every one of the Bears' receivers. The only question is why it took so long to get (Devin) Aromashodu into the mix, but that might not have been Drake's call."

• We had been led to believe that Packers fifth-round rookie Quinn Johnson was probably on his way to becoming the team's No. 1 fullback. But word is the pecking order might have changed after the way Korey Hall blocked, despite having a bad elbow, in the wild-card loss in Arizona.

• The Buccaneers' decision not to retain WR coach Richard Mann could affect the team's offseason dealings with WR Antonio Bryant, we hear. Bryant, who will become an unrestricted free agent in March, credited Mann for helping him get his career back on track after he sat out the entire 2007 season, and he could be more inclined to sign with a different team now that Mann has departed.

• The Falcons had been operating with the same coaching staff since head coach Mike Smith took over the job early in 2008, before the team decided not to retain assistant head coach and secondary coach Emmitt Thomas earlier this week. An insider in Atlanta said it wouldn't be surprising if more tinkering with the defensive assistants took place in the coming weeks.

• One of the least surprising coaching changes of the offseason was the Panthers' decision to fire special-teams coach Danny Crossman. Head coach John Fox stuck by Crossman through some shaky times in past years, but he finally decided a fresh voice on special teams was necessary. Carolina ranked 31st in kickoff-return average and 26th in net punting average in 2009. The Panthers also finished 29th in opponent punt-return average and ranked 30th in opponent kickoff-return average.

• Our Cardinals insiders believe that one of the team's under-the-radar key contributors has been FB Dan Kreider, whose solid blocking was one of the big reasons behind Arizona's 156-yard rushing output in its wild-card win over the Packers. "When he was out with a shoulder injury the last two (regular-season) games, the rushing numbers were down," said one team insider of Kreider. "He got better as the season wore on, and 'Beanie' (RB Chris Wells) really runs well behind a fullback."

• While the Niners have never been more dependent on RB Frank Gore, we hear it's a much different story with 2009 third-round draft pick Glen Coffee, who produced a very positive buzz early in the season before tailing off significantly once the season began. "A lot of eyebrows were raised when he said in the preseason that the NFL wasn't any different than the SEC," one team insider said of Coffee. "I think he got a real wake-up call once the season started."

Jim Mora said publicly that he was not bitter about getting the unexpected heave-ho in Seattle. Privately, though, we hear he's harboring some hard feelings. "How can he not be?" said one team insider. "His once-in-a-lifetime dream just turned into a total nightmare."

• Word out of Rams Park is that the odds are about "60-40" that veteran DE Leonard Little will call it a career. There is also a possibility, however, that Little, an unrestricted free agent, could sign with Carolina. Little lives in Charlotte and would be reunited with former Rams D-line coach Brian Baker.

AFC Whispers


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