Farewell to Kiffin, Linehan?

Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- Curtains for Kiffin? End of the line for Linehan?

There’s a chance that Lane Kiffin of the Oakland Raiders and Scott Linehan of the St. Louis Rams will be fired from their coaching posts today, with both teams heading into their off weeks.

But these type of firings aren’t nearly as common as you might think. According to the NFL Network’s Adam Schefter, since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, only five coaches have been fired during the regular season before they got a chance to coach five games.

Mike Shanahan was one, dumped by Al Davis in 1989 after his team lost three of four games -- just like Kiffin’s team -- and the other four are Buffalo’s Kay Stephenson in 1985, Seattle’s Jack Patera in 1982, Indianapolis’ Howard Schnellenberger in 1974 and Philadelphia’s Jerry Williams in 1971.



There are questionable hits. There are sketchy hits. Then, there are hits like the one New York Jets safety Eric Smith put on Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin on the goal line, knocking him out with the most egregious helmet-to-helmet collision imaginable.

The next hit will be the one to Smith’s wallet.

Get used to it


A week after Miami scored four touchdowns against New England off direct snaps to running back Ronnie Brown, another NFL team dusted off the old play. On fourth down against Houston, Jacksonville went with a direct snap to Montell Owens, who ran 41 yards for a touchdown.

The Dolphins call their play “Wildcat.” Judging by how much we’ll see it around the league this season, we might want to call it “Copycat.”

Not so bad after all

So much for speculation that Brett Favre and Jets receiver Laveranues Coles haven’t been clicking. Yes, Coles missed most of training camp. And yes, he’s extremely close with quarterback Chad Pennington, dumped by New York in favor of the Green Bay legend.

But after catching three of Favre’s career-high six touchdowns Sunday, Coles has to be a Brett backer.

Putting it in perspective

Even though he accounted for 12 of his team’s points in Tampa Bay’s 30-21 victory over Green Bay, it could never be described as a good day for Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant. It came four days after the death of his infant son.

Doing the work of five men


San Francisco quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan has been sacked 19 times in four games. That’s more than the 2007 season totals of Favre, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Derek Anderson and Trent Edwards combined.

Handle with care

Is Aaron Rodgers more like heirloom Rodgers? That was the talk before the season, that, despite his skills, the Green Bay quarterback was so fragile that he couldn’t possibly make it through the season.

Any quarterback looks breakable when compared to Favre, the dean of durability, but there were real concerns that Rodgers might not be able to handle the rigors of a full season.

That’s why Packers fans have to be holding their breath today, after Rodgers briefly left Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay with a sore shoulder. He wasn’t hit on the play in question, and in fact had just thrown a 48-yard touchdown pass.

After the game, Rodgers said he thinks he might have separated the shoulder when he was tackled after scrambling for a gain in the third quarter.

Rodgers turned in his worst performance of the season as he had three passes intercepted to offset his two touchdown passes. Sunday’s game, coming on the heels of a loss to Dallas, was Rodgers’ chance to show he could bounce back well from adversity.

Now, with the Atlanta Falcons and NFL sack leader John Abraham coming to town, Rodgers can prove he’s the man for the Packers.


Or their Ming vase.