Here are the latest Whispers we're hearing from our sources throughout the NFL:
• After losing Mike McCoy to the Chargers, the Broncos decided to promote quarterbacks coach Adam Gase to offensive coordinator, after reportedly considering Ken Whisenhunt. Gase, like McCoy, got credit for his work with Tim Tebow in 2011, then the dramatic shift to Peyton Manning in 2012. While he did coach wide receivers in Denver from 2009-10, this is a much different offense, but Gase is confident about working with the rest of the personnel. “When you’re coaching a guy like Peyton Manning, you better be able to talk to them, let them know what’s going on,” Gase told PFW on a conference call. “There’s so much interaction on our side of the ball, that you can’t not develop a relationship with these guys.”
• The Dolphins’ pressing O-line situation this offseason is at left tackle, where former No. 1 overall pick OLT Jake Long is entering free agency. We hear, though, that the guard position is not set in stone for 2013 and beyond, either. Veteran Richie Incognito is due $4 million in 2013 — though, the Dolphins have plenty of money under the cap. John Jerry started all 16 games at right guard and was serviceable, but as Joe Philbin continues to mold this team to be his, guard is a position he will look at. The Packers drafted current starters T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton during Philbin’s time there, and that may be a target position for Miami in April.
• Jets TE Jeff Cumberland made strides this season, staying healthy and playing well in place of an oft-injured Dustin Keller. Despite entering 2012 having played in only four games in two NFL seasons, Cumberland had 29 catches for 359 yards and three touchdowns. We had heard the Jets were excited about his potential as a receiver, but his blocking needed to improve. With Keller entering free agency, we’ll see how much the new offensive staff values Cumberland, and if Gang Green will move forward with him as a starting tight end.
• Vikings LB Erin Henderson has said he’d like to return to the team, which could happen, but it wants to upgrade the LB position, especially in terms of coverage in the nickel package. Neither he nor Jasper Brinkley stood out in that role in 2012.
• We hear that Andy Reid likely will take a similar approach to rebuilding the Chiefs to the way he did the Eagles more than a decade ago: in the trenches. Although Reid is said to like what the Chiefs have up front offensively, more depth is needed. And defensively, there could be some turnover up front, even with the 3-4 scheme remaining in place.
• One league observer feels the Giants could let SS Kenny Phillips walk in free agency this offseason because of Phillips’ wear and tear the past three seasons and the money he might be seeking. The Giants typically set a number, and if the player isn’t willing to work with it, the club just moves on.
• There has been a sense that a change in the Cowboys' coaching staff is a good thing, as there were a few times the lines of communication broke down amongst the coaches and players in 2012.
• The Texans have five starters — six if you include nickel corner Brice McCain — who are set to become unrestricted free agents, and we hear the top priority is to re-sign FS Glover Quin. There simply isn’t another safety on the roster that has the type of diverse skill set that Quin does. He is smart, with good leadership skills and the ability to defend both the run and the pass. The Texans will make a push to re-sign him long term, we hear.
• There are varying opinions on Titans owner Bud Adams’ decision to oust COO Mike Reinfeldt. But the fact that Adams chose not to replace him strengthens the perception of some close to the situation who thought Reinfeldt no longer had an active role in the organization. Peyton Manning was never coming to the Titans, but Adams thought Reinfeldt didn’t react accordingly to his wishes — and he was often too much of a listener and not enough of an actions guy — which is a big part of the reason why he is out.
• The thing Jaguars fans must understand about the Gus Bradley hire: He is very talented, but he also had a ton of talent to work with in Seattle. That was a fast, aggressive defense; the Jaguars’ current personnel doesn’t even remotely resemble what he had to work with in Seattle. As owner Shad Khan stressed in Bradley’s introductory press conference, there isn’t a quick turnaround like there was in Indianapolis on the horizon. This roster needs massive overhaul.