Coaching up the coaches

It was little more than sour grapes last week when the Dolphins dumped on Cam Cameron for last season's 1-15 disaster in Miami. But the one salient point that came out of that fracas was Cameron's observation that the Ravens are a breeding ground for head coaches.

Fact is, eight former Ravens assistant coaches now serve as head coaches, either in the NFL or college football. Three jumped directly from Baltimore to the top job - Mike Nolan (49ers), Rick Neuheisel (UCLA) and Kirk Ferentz (Iowa). Five more made at least one other stop before moving up - Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Jack Del Rio (Jaguars), Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals), Mike Smith (Falcons) and Eric Mangin i (Jets).


Not bad for a team in its 13th year. It speaks well for the organization Art Modell brought from Cleveland, that Steve Bisciotti purchased, and that GM Ozzie Newsome molded. If Cameron, the offensive coordinator in Baltimore, can develop QB Joe Flacco the way he did Philip Rivers and the Ravens win big, he just might get another chance as a head coach.

Around the league


When the Chiefs agreed to shop Pro Bowl TE Tony Gonzalez around the league before last week's trade deadline, three teams talked about a deal. The Eagles offered a conditional fourth-round pick that could have become a third-round selection, and the Packers offered a third-round pick. The Giants also explored a trade. But Kansas City president Carl Peterson wanted a second-round and a second-day pick, as the Giants got from the Saints for TE Jeremy Shockey. Not surprisingly, no one was willing to give a second for Gonzalez, 32, and he stayed put. ... The Cowboys, meanwhile, threw first-, third- and sixth-round picks at the Lions to get WR Roy Williams (and a seventh-round choice). That's a lot to give up for a possession receiver in his fifth NFL season. The Cowboys believe it was worth it because Williams will take some coverage away from Terrell Owens.

The ship has sunk in Detroit, where QB Jon Kitna (back spasms) has been placed on injured reserve even though he said he could still play and Williams has been traded. Dan Orlovsky gets his second start today in Houston against the Texans. Another bad loss and the Lions might see their streak of 50 consecutive home sellouts at Ford Field end next week against the Redskins. ... With Deltha O'Neal the latest cornerback attempting to replace Asante Samuel (who signed with the Eagles), the Patriots surrendered pass plays of 48, 49 and 59 yards last week to Rivers. Add a 32-yard pass-interference penalty on CB Ellis Hobbs, and that's 188 yards in four plays that led to 17 points for the Chargers.

Whatever happened to the referendum on not allowing players with a concussion back into the same game? The Jaguars sent RB Fred Taylor back into their game in Denver in the second half (two carries) after he suffered a concussion in the first half (one carry). Taylor, who also had a concussion against the Colts in September, was finally persuaded to wear Riddell's new Revolution helmet, which he called "the bucket." ... With RB Joseph Addai (hamstring) out this week, the Colts will lean on Dominic Rhodes again. Behind him is former Morgan State Bear Chad Simpson, who has been on the practice squad. ... Bears kick returner extraordinaire Devin Hester has made a nice move to wide receiver (11 catches the past two games for nine first downs) but hasn't scored off a kick return (13 in his career) this season. Some in Chicago are beginning to think the Bears miss Pro Bowl special teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo, who signed with the Ravens.

Compiled from Sun news services and other NFL beat writers.