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#pounditSaturday, January 16, 2021


Report: Doug Pederson’s job with Eagles not safe

Doug Pederson

The Philadelphia Eagles had an ugly 2020 season that fittingly ended with a tanking controversy, and now there is talk that they could wind up searching for a new head coach.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on “Sunday NFL Countdown” that Doug Pederson’s status as head coach of the Eagles is “not firm.” Mortensen said he and ESPN colleague Tim McManus were told Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is concerned about the current state of the franchise.

“Pederson could be out if owner Jeffrey Lurie is not confident about Pederson’s vision going forward after the two meet again soon,” Mortensen said. “Lurie’s concerns extend well beyond Carson Wentz.”

This is not the first time this season that we have heard that Pederson is on the hot seat. The coach even acknowledged it early in the year, though a report prior to Week 17 claimed the Eagles are planning to bring him back.

Of course, we still don’t know exactly what happened in that Week 17 game. Pederson benched Jalen Hurts in favor of Nate Sudfeld late in Philly’s loss to Washington. While the Eagles were already eliminated from playoff contention, some felt they were tanking in order to improve their draft position. Players were said to be furious about it and needed to be restrained from going after Pederson.

One Eagles veteran defended Pederson’s decision to play Sudfeld, which could indicate there is a locker room divide. If that is the case and Lurie feels the issues can’t easily be resolved, he could decide to bring in a new head coach.

Jared Goff enjoyed sticking it to Seahawks with revenge win

Jared Goff

The Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks see each other twice per season, and they made it three times this year. Jared Goff sure took pleasure in getting the best end of the series.

Goff came in after John Wolford suffered a neck injury in the first quarter of the NFC Wild Card game between the teams on Saturday. Though he was recently returning from thumb surgery, Goff went 9/19 for 155 yards and a touchdown to help his team get a 30-20 win.

Goff said after the game that he enjoyed getting revenge on Seattle after seeing them celebrate a Week 16 win.

It’s nice for him to see the team turn the tables, especially on the road for the second time in a row against the Seahawks.

Seattle was a major disappointment in the contest. Russell Wilson was just 11/27 for 174 with two touchdowns and an interception.

John Wolford taken to hospital in ambulance with neck injury

John Wolford neck injury

John Wolford was taken to a local hospital due to a neck injury suffered in Saturday’s NFC Wild Card game between his Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks.

Wolford was hit in the head by Jamal Adams on a tackle in the first quarter of the game (video here). The Rams quarterback was examined on the field by the team’s staff and then taken straight to the locker room.

Wolford was later photographed being loaded onto an ambulance. He was on a stretcher and in a neck brace.

Wolford was 3/6 for 29 yards prior to his exiting the game. Jared Goff replaced him at quarterback.

John Wolford exits after taking shot to head from Jamal Adams

John Wolford hit head

John Wolford was taken to the locker room after being hit in the head by Jamal Adams during the first quarter of Saturday’s playoff game.

Wolford rushed on a quarterback run on a 1st-and-10 play in Seahawks territory with the game scoreless. He dived to the ground, but Adams nailed Wolford in the head with his shoulder.

A flag was thrown, but the refs later decided there was no foul on the play because Wolford was a rusher and did not receive the protections of a quarterback.

Wolford went immediately to the locker room for examination. He was termed questionable to return with a neck injury.

Wolford’s exit resulted in Jared Goff entering the game at quarterback for the Rams.

Report: Urban Meyer has begun assembling NFL coaching staff

Urban Meyer

There are continued indications that Urban Meyer is seriously closing in on a head coaching gig in the NFL.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Meyer has already begun assembling a coaching staff for a potential NFL job. Schefter notes that the potential staff includes “some assistants from the college ranks.”

Schefter also says Meyer had another meeting with Jaguars owner Shad Khan Friday night on Khan’s boat. The two sides have had multiple meetings and have been in regular contact.

The Jaguars appear to be the clear frontrunners to land Meyer, and it’s obvious he’s listening. Meyer wouldn’t get this deep in the process if he wasn’t serious, and he definitely wouldn’t start assembling a coaching staff if he didn’t think he might need one.

A second team is said to be considering Meyer, but it seems like the momentum remains with Jacksonville right now.

Report: Urban Meyer claims to have interest from second NFL team

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer’s interest in the Jacksonville Jaguars is not a secret at this point. However, Meyer is claiming in private to have a second interested NFL suitor.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Meyer has said to associates that he has interest from the Los Angeles Chargers. NFL sources are skeptical of this, however, and do not think it likely that Chargers ownership would be willing to grant Meyer the level of control he would seek.

That said, Meyer does have a relationship with the Chargers’ organization, and has attended games as a guest of the team in the past. There have also been other reports indicating that the team’s interest is real.

Meyer doesn’t really need to invent interest from other teams to force the Jaguars to bid against themselves. It’s already clear that he can return on his terms, does not need to, and can make that clear to interested teams and tell them what they have to do to convince him. That said, it still seems pretty clear that Jacksonville is the frontrunner here if he ultimately does decide to take an NFL job.

Eric Bieniemy wants Jets head coach job?

Eric Bieniemy

It seems highly likely that Eric Bieniemy will land a head coaching job this offseason, but it’s not clear which one. WEEI’s Christian Fauria indicated that he knows the answer.

On Friday, Fauria, a former Patriots tight end, told SportsRadio 610 in Houston that the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator wants nothing to do with the Houston Texans job, and instead wants to coach the New York Jets.

“He’s going to be the next head coach of the New York Jets,” Fauria said. “I’m hearing that Eric Bieniemy wants to be and is going to be the next head coach of the New York Jets.”

The Jets being a destination may be something of a surprise. They have not won recently, there are questions about how invested ownership is, and a pair of late wins likely denied themselves the chance to draft Trevor Lawrence. It may be that Bieniemy likes Sam Darnold, or perhaps has ideas on how to work with Justin Fields, another potentially high draft pick.

One thing is certain: Fauria seems right about the Texans being out, with the feeling possibly being mutual.

Report: Texans have not been able to get in touch with Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson has yet to comment publicly on the reports that he is unhappy with the Houston Texans, and apparently the star quarterback has not spoken with the team, either.

New Texans general manager Nick Caserio said at his introductory press conference on Friday that he is looking forward to speaking with Watson “when the time is appropriate.” According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Watson has been ignoring the Texans for several days now.

A report on Thursday claimed Watson is “extremely unhappy” with the Texans owner Cal McNair. McNair supposedly told Watson he would be involved in the process of hiring a new GM and then did not seek his input. McNair said Friday that he met with Watson several times and got a feel for the Pro Bowler’s point of view before interviewing candidates.

As McNair and Caserio were speaking with reporters on Friday, Watson’s agent sent a cryptic tweet that appeared to rip the Texans. The tweet was quickly deleted.

The Texans will obviously try to smooth things over with Watson, as a franchise quarterback is extremely difficult to find. But if the situation doesn’t improve in the near future, there may be legitimate trade discussions.

Tommy Lasorda dies — dead at 93

Tommy Lasorda

The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost one of the most important figures in the history of their franchise, as Tommy Lasorda has died.

The Dodgers said in a statement that Lasorda suffered a cardiac arrest at his home on Thursday night. He was transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The Hall of Famer was 93.

Here is the full statement from the team:

Lasorda returned home earlier this week after spending more than a month in the hospital. He was admitted to the intensive care unit at a hospital in Orange County, Calif., in mid-November.

TMZ sports had reported that Lasorda required sedation and was placed on a ventilator. The former Dodgers manager spent two weeks in the intensive care unit and then began rehab in the hospital.

Lasorda led the Dodgers to World Series wins as their manager in 1981 and 1988. He also pitched for the team in the 1950s.

Jeremy Pruitt’s future at Tennessee in doubt amid ‘serious’ investigation

Jeremy Pruitt

The Tennessee football program has been under investigation for potential recruiting violations and improper benefits, and head coach Jeremy Pruitt could be on his way out at the school as a result.

Tennessee announced earlier this week that the school has hired attorneys Mike Glazier and Kyle Skillman to assist with an internal investigation of the football program. The probe began as far back as November, and ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has reported that the recruitment of offensive tackle Amarius Mims is part of the investigation. Mims, one of the top players in the country for 2021, has signed with Georgia.

The Vols have not extended contracts of assistant coaches and are not making any new hires while the investigation plays out. John Brice of reported this week that Pruitt has interest in hiring assistant coaches Kevin Steele and Rodney Garner away from Auburn, but Pruitt’s own future at Tennessee is “murky” at the moment.

It’s possible the probe could result in more than a slap on the wrist. Dan Patrick reported on his show Friday morning that a source told him the Tennessee investigation is “serious.” Georgia is also said to be in hot water.

While it is too early to draw conclusions, the fact that Tennessee has hired attorneys to conduct an internal investigation may not bode well for Pruitt’s future with the program. If violations were committed, Tennessee could be looking for a way to fire the coach with cause.

Tennessee went 3-7 this season and is 16-19 since Pruitt took over in 2018. Athletic director Phillip Fulmer had an interesting way of showing support for Pruitt prior to the season, but a recruiting scandal could change all that.