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AFC Whispers

Tomlinson expected to return to Jets

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Posted Jan. 30, 2011 @ 6:12 p.m. ET
By PFW staff

Following are some whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC:

LaDainian Tomlinson is a better receiver than Shonn Greene and is not owed a lot of money next season, so expect the future Hall of Fame running back to return to the Jets in 2011. Greene is likely to take control of the starting job, and 2010 rookie Joe McKnight should see his playing time increase, but the team still values the intangibles L.T. brings, especially at a low cost.

• The Patriots' personnel and scouting staffs didn't make themselves as visible as some other teams at the Senior Bowl, but they were spotted talking to University of Miami WR Leonard Hankerson. Hankerson could satisfy the Patriots' need for a wideout who can create separation and make big plays, as he was considered one of the top receivers in Mobile. He should be available with one of the Patriots' second- or third-round picks.

• Titans executive vice president Steve Underwood, asked if the club's new head coach would have less control over personnel matters than predecessor Jeff Fisher, elaborated on the decision-making process between the coach and front office. "Our personnel process here during Jeff's tenure is a collaborative process," he said. "It has always been a collaborative process. Jeff was never in full control of personnel decisions here. I'm not sure how that (rumor that Fisher had full control) got started, but it was never true. He and (general manager Mike Reinfeldt) worked together every single day — preseason, during the season — working on personnel decisions, and I'm expecting that that is a process that will continue going forward, which is a joint, collaborative effort between our general manager and head coach."

• Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt said the team will hire a head coach, then fill its defensive coordinator vacancy. "I would think the head coach comes first," he said. "I think it's very important to give him input in his staff. He needs to choose those people he's comfortable with, the systems they run, what types of defense, what types of things they want to do with the team."

• If DT D'Anthony Smith can come in and make an impact following the Achilles injury that ended his rookie season before it began, the Jaguars' depth at defensive tackle, which is already viewed as one of the club's strengths, would be that much greater. Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu are rising stars, and Leger Douzable was a pleasant surprise in Jacksonville last season. Adding Smith to the mix would give the Jags the luxury of spelling Knighton and Alualu a bit more, which should only increase their effectiveness.

• We're hearing that the Chargers chose special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia to replace Steve Crosby because of Bisaccia's ability to develop players. Despite having minimal talent to work with in Tampa, Bisaccia was able to consistently get solid production from the club's special-teams unit in his nine seasons there. This track record was appealing to San Diego, which knows that its special teams won't be as stacked with talent in 2011 as it was in years past.

• The Broncos are hoping to find some consistency with new defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who is the franchise's sixth defensive coordinator in as many years. We hear the organization blames a lack of continuity for some of the team's defensive struggles and hopes Allen's defense becomes one that the Broncos' players can get familiar and comfortable with for the foreseeable future.

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