Adam Schefter is reporting that the Raiders have fired coach Hue Jackson after just one season. Speculation had grown in recent days that new Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie was considering bringing in a handpicked head coach. It's certainly understandable, especially considering the exceptional amount of power Jackson had wielded in recent months.
Jackson had become the de facto GM following the death of Al Davis, and it had been Jackson's curious decision to trade away two high picks for QB Carson Palmer. Under McKenzie, Jackson would have been taking a step backwards within the organization (even if it was called for), and of course the new GM has his own legacy to forge with the organization. Why do so with a coach who outranks you in terms of seniority, and who just got used to calling all the shots?
The Broncos have placed FB Spencer Larsen on IR; Larsen injured his knee against KC in Week 17 and along with FB Austin Sylvester did not dress for Sunday's victory over Pittsburgh. To take Larsen's roster spot and play Saturday should Eric Decker's own knee injury keep him out, the Broncos promoted rookie D'Andre Goodwin from the practice squad.
Denver also added WR Tim Toone to the PS to take the spot vacated by Goodwin's promotion. Toone was 2010's Mr. Irrelevant, as the Lions selected him with the final pick in that year's draft; he most recently was a member of the Bills. He also happens to have a head of hair which makes him look like Michael Bolton, except for the dreadlocks.
A few post-Lard news bits:
Granted, this is something more akin to a 'runner-up' designation, but Von Miller has been named a second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. Miller was beaten out by Terrell Suggs and DeMarcus Ware for first-team honors. Miller has already been named a Pro Bowler, along with fellow defenders Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey. Here is the complete All-Pro roster, plus the associated story on the All-Pro team.
Bailey, Dumervil, Chris Kuper, Britton Colquitt and Matt Prater also received votes.
The Broncos will again be without Brian Dawkins on Sunday, which means Denver is likely to again have Quinton Carter and David Bruton manning the starting safety spots. In slightly better news, FB Spencer Larsen is listed as doubtful after it was said earlier in the week that he would definitely miss the game due to his knee sprain. Bruton and dime corner Jonathan Wilhite are questionable, while Von Miller and Eddie Royal are probable for Sunday.
For Pittsburgh, CB Cortez Allen and RB Mewelde Moore are out as expected (S Ryan Clark is out as well but not on the injury report, presumably because his absence is a coaching decision), while C Maurkice Pouncey is listed as questionable after being limited in practice, despite earlier reports that he will miss the game. Several key Steelers are probable, including QB Ben Roethlisberger, G Doug Legursky (who would start at center if Pouncey cannot), LB James Harrison, LB LaMarr Woodley, DE Brett Keisel, S Troy Polamalu and T Jonathan Scott.
It looks like Josh McDaniels will be interviewing to get his old job back. No, not that one. With Patriots OC Bill O'Brien reportedly heading to Penn State to take over their HC gig, McDaniels received permission from the Rams (who fired HC Steve Spagnuolo earlier in the week) to seek out a new position for himself, and the Pats have subsequently sought the Rams' approval to chat with their former assistant. It'll be interesting to see which way McDaniels goes should he have a choice between going back to New England and joining Scott Pioli and possibly Romeo Crennel in KC.
The Broncos are again without S Brian Dawkins at practice today due to the neck injury referred to two weeks ago as potentially being a career ender. FB Spencer Larsen is also out of action and expected to miss Sunday's game against the Steelers as a result of a knee sprain suffered against Kansas City.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh addressed their injury-plagued running back corps by adding Chad Spann from their practice squad and placing LB Chris Carter on IR to create space for him on the roster. The promotion of Spann was prompted by the season-ending knee injury to Rashard Mendenhall and the strong possibility that Mewelde Moore will be unable to go due to his own knee injury.
Denver has signed LB Brian Iwuh and released S Kyle McCarthy to create a spot for him. Iwuh is an ex-CU Buff who was a top special teams player for the Bears but was unexpectedly released on November 29th at a time Chicago was considering extending his contract. Iwuh is in his sixth NFL season, having spent his first four years with Jacksonville before joining the Bears in 2010, and has been credited with 115 tackles, one sack and three forced fumbles in his career. At the time of his release by the Bears, he was their leading special teams tackle with 14.
Denver has reportedly signed Jeremy Jarmon, Cyril Obiozor and Ramzee Robinson to future contracts. Jarmon had been acquired by the Broncos in exchange for WR Jabar Gaffney in July before failing to make Denver's 53-man roster in September. The 24-year-old DE was originally taken by the Redskins in the third round of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. Obiozor is a third-year LB who has had stints with the Packers, Chargers and Rams, while Robinson is a fourth-year CB who was a seventh-round pick by the Lions in 2007 and has also been a member of the Eagles and Browns.
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