Lions Want McDaniels
The Lions' main focus is on hiring a head coach now that Rod Marinelli has been fired.
Candidates include Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Redskins secondary coach Jerry Gray.
"I think a coach has to be a strong leader," team president Tom Lewand said. "(GM) Martin (Mayhew) put it a good way (Monday): A coach has to have a unique ability to get you to do the things you don't want to do. The great ones have done that.
"You have to have a coach who is a good communicator. I think you have to have a coach who respects the personnel process, the scouting process, and how things fit together. I think you have to have a coach that is smart.
"The coaches these days have a lot of demands on them. They've got a lot of different moving pieces. They have to be able to think on their toes. They have to be able to see the big picture.
"And finally, I think you want people who have had success in challenges they've set out to do, whether it's certainly in coaching, but in other endeavors, too. Successful people tend to have been successful along the way in meeting challenges."
Broncos Want Him Too
Broncos owner Pat Bowlen will kick off the search for the Broncos' next head coach when he travels to meet with Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels this weekend.
Denver also is scheduled to meet with Bucs defensive assistant Raheem Morris on Wednesday. McDaniels and Morris are both 32 years old. Morris currently is slated to replace Monte Kiffin as Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett have also been linked to interest from Denver.
Last Time He Was There...
Quarterback Kurt Warner feels rejuvenated by the Cardinals first playoff appearance in 10 years. Well, sort of.
"The playoffs? It makes me feel about five years younger," Warner said. "O.K., maybe two years younger."
Saturday's game against the Falcons is the Cardinals' first home playoff game since 1947 and their first playoff game since 1998. Warner hasn't been in the post-season since the 2001 season, when the Rams lost in the Super Bowl to the Patriots.
Since then, Warner has been benched four times: once by the Rams, once by the Giants and twice by the Cardinals.
At 37, he's contemplating retirement. Warner is in the final year of a three-contract, and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has talked with the team about an extension. Those discussions went nowhere but are expected to resume in the off-season.
Bartelstein has said Warner wants to continue playing, and Warner said this week he will make that decision after the season is over.
"It's been a whole bunch of fun for me this year, but I don't know what I'm going to do at this point," he said. "I'm sure I'll talk to the organization, see what their plans are, then talk to my wife and kids.
"It's easy to say I want to keep playing, but I want to make sure I make the right decision for me."
Meanwhile, Warner is stressing to his teammates that playoff opportunities are guaranteed to no one. That point was driven home to him in the seven years that passed after his last playoff appearance.
"I think I was dreaming a little bit driving in the other day, about the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl," Warner said, "and just to have that possibility is exciting. It makes it easier to come to work and put in the extra time, because there's no better feeling like this in football."
Edwards Laments Weather
Last Sunday's 13-0 loss will mostly be remembered for the wind that blew all game at a steady 35 mph, supplemented by gusts of 50 mph that bent the goalposts. The Bills and Patriots combined for 33 passes, seventh fewest in a Bills game.
"It's tougher on the receivers," said QB Trent Edwards, who was 14 of 25 for 128 yards. "You don't know where the ball is going to be in terms of what the wind is going to do."
Still, Edwards' 56.0 completion percentage gave him a season percentage of 65.51, second best in club history behind Kelly Holcomb's 67.39 set in 2005.
Jackson's Career Day
RB Fred Jackson was among the few bright spots in Sunday's dismal season finale, which marked an 11th consecutive loss to the Patriots. Starting for an injured Marshawn Lynch (shoulder), Jackson set career highs for carries (27) and yards (136). Lynch (47) and Jackson (37) were the NFL's No. 1 running back receiving duo with 84.
"It's not the way you want to end your season," Jackson said. "We came out, we fought hard. A lot of guys, we have nothing to put our heads down about. We'll keep our heads up, and this gives us something (to think about) going into the offseason."
Not In This Division
The Bills were 0-6 against the AFC East. It's just the second time they went winless in their division. In 1976, they were 0-8 when the division still included the Colts. For Buffalo, it's a big drop-off from a year ago when they were 4-2 against the Jets, Dolphins and Patriots.
"We're an underachieving football team, that's what we are," SS Donte Whitner said.
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