Coaches' clocks running

The season is just two months old and already the firing line is working overtime. Coaches fired so far: Scott Linehan (Rams), Lane Kiffin (Raiders) and, last week, Mike Nolan (49ers).

On deck:


* Rod Marinelli, Lions: Unless Detroit can beat the Vikings on Dec. 7 at home, he has an excellent chance to achieve 0-16 infamy. Really.

* Brad Childress, Vikings: He whiffed on personnel decisions, and the owner wanted a playoff team to help get a new stadium. Look for a new coach instead.


* Romeo Crennel, Browns: Not much has gone right in his fourth year of great expectations. Unless Cleveland has a super second half, he's likely out, and even that might not save him.

* Herm Edwards, Chiefs: He has a ton of rookies and can't be expected to win. But he is tied to general manager Carl Peterson, whose time is probably up after 20 unfulfilled years. New GM equals new coach.

* Wade Phillips, Cowboys: Despite a 17-7 record in Dallas, Phillips oversees a vastly overrated team (especially on defense) for an owner who thinks he's in a fantasy league. Phillips might survive with at least one playoff win, but anything less opens the door for Jason Garrett.

Around the league

Barring a collapse by San Francisco, interim coach Mike Singletary should retain the job as Nolan's successor. But there already is speculation - wishful thinking, perhaps - that outgoing Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, a former assistant under Bill Walsh, might take over as GM and resuscitate the team. It would probably suit Holmgren, except for the fact that he promised his wife he would take a year off after leaving Seattle. He called his departure from the Seahawks a "sabbatical," with the idea of returning to the league in 2010.

The Bears have been running direct-snap plays to Devin Hester for more than a year but haven't used the Wildcat offense in a game yet. That's fine by quarterback Kyle Orton, who had this observation on lining up as a wide receiver: "You are going to get guys to line up and start hitting the quarterback when he lines up out there. You just put a linebacker on the quarterback and punish him." Offensive coordinator Ron Turner's advice to Orton: Run out of bounds.

How bad are things in New England? With Tom Brady at quarterback last season, the Patriots gave up 21 sacks. This year with Matt Cassel, they've already been tagged for 26 in six games. Three players in their offensive line - LT Matt Light, LG Logan Mankins and C Dan Koppen - are Pro Bowl selections. And, oh, by the way, they might be down to their fourth running back today against the Rams. ... If the Colts are going to beat the Titans tomorrow night, they'll have to clean up their penalties. After being flagged for 12 (worth 110 yards) in a big loss at Green Bay last week, the Colts have been guilty of 46 for 347 yards this season.

The 5-2 Buccaneers might be poised to make their move in the NFC South. Starting with today's game in Dallas, they'll face not-so-menacing QBs Brad Johnson (Cowboys), Tyler Thigpen or Quinn Gray (Chiefs), Gus Frerotte (Vikings) and Dan Orlovsky (Lions) the next four games. Tampa Bay already has 12 interceptions. ... The Giants, meanwhile, stare into the teeth of their schedule. At 5-1, they've faced just one team with a winning record so far. Next are nine straight games against teams at .500 or better, starting today at Pittsburgh.


Compiled from Sun news services and NFL beat writers.