PFW news on the Colts, Steelers, Cardinals, Panthers and Chiefs.
The Way We Hear It
When the Colts announced at the end of the 2007 season that assistant head coach/quarterbacks Jim Caldwell would succeed Tony Dungy as head coach when Dungy decided to retire, the prevailing thought was that Caldwell would lead the club in a manner similar to his predecessor. Now, after a few weeks on the job with which to examine him, it’s clear that Caldwell’s not exactly a carbon copy of Dungy. Most glaringly, he’s demonstrated his willingness to part with coaches he deems not worthy of retention. Dungy was intensely loyal to his staff — loyal to a fault, some contend. Yet shortly after his appointment as Colts skipper, Caldwell opted against allowing special-teams coach Russ Purnell to renew his contract. Additionally, defensive coordinator Ron Meeks “resigned.” Although Meeks, now defensive coordinator in Carolina, has remained mum on the matter, widespread speculation suggests that, for all intents and purposes, he was fired.
STEELERS: Steelers LOLB LaMarr Woodley’s transition from a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme to star 3-4 outside linebacker in a span of two seasons has been nothing short of impressive. Woodley has also been able to hold up in coverage — part of the outside linebacker’s job that often goes forgotten until it’s not done well. “This year I’ve covered receivers, I’ve covered tight ends, and I’ve covered backs out of the backfield,” Woodley said in the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIII. “That’s just something that we have to do, and when you know you have to do it, you just do it. You don’t think about it, just do it. When you think about it, that’s when you get beat.”
CARDINALS: Rookie RB Tim Hightower hardly set the world on fire after replacing Edgerrin James as a starter, but Cardinals RB coach Maurice Carthon still believes he has the potential to be a solid every-down back. “I think his arrow is still on the upswing,” Carthon told PFW at the Super Bowl in Tampa. “Naturally, I have a different opinion of him because I went to his school and worked him out and really liked him. Having a veteran running back like Edgerrin James as a mentor is huge. I remember as a player how much Rodney Hampton and O.J. Anderson helped me. Tim can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he’s smart. I think he’ll get only better.”
PANTHERS: The Panthers just signed DT Damione Lewis to a new contract last offseason, but the team may address his deal again before free agency begins in late February, we hear. Lewis is due a $2.5 million roster bonus and has a cap figure $6.8 million for 2009. He had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, which is expected to keep him out until at least July, after having injured it in a Dec. 21 loss to the Giants. The Panthers want to make upgrades at defensive tackle, and Lewis should expect some competition in training camp, if he’s healthy and still with the team.
CHIEFS: Although there has been talk about the Chiefs switching to a 3-4 defensive alignment with the arrival of GM Scott Pioli, it’s unlikely that the unit’s current personnel will allow K.C. to make that change. The team lacks a true space-eating nose tackle up front, and it doesn’t have four starting-caliber linebackers on its roster. A move to the 3-4 probably would require a complete overhaul of the defense, which seems to be a long shot.
For more NFL news and daily fantasy football advice, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.