New: ESPN reports that the Buffalo Bills have requested and received permission to interview OC Sean Payton for their fresh head coaching vacancy.
Also new: Chiefs' O-line coach Mike Solari another assistant on our watch list, may have a greater agenda; ESPN's Chris Mortensen claims Solari may be the dark horse candidate for the Raiders job.
-- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes unnamed sources who suggest Dolphins OC Scott Lineham and Bears DC Ron Rivera made the strongest impressions during the Rams first round of interviews. Cowboys DC Mike Zimmer has also interviewed for the job.
-- The deadline for juniors to declare for April's NFL draft is Sunday. While a whopping 51 underclassmen had declared as of yesterday four high profile players, Virginia LB Ahmad Brooks, Texas RT Justin Blalock, LSU FS LaRon Landry and Fresno St. C Kyle Young continue to straddle the fence. All are certain first day picks, if not first round picks, at postions of need for Dallas.
Update: Ahmad Brooks has announced he will return to Virginia for his senior season.
-- The Cowboys will send third string QB Drew Henson to play in Europe this spring. This is a necessary move for Henson, who looked lost in camp last summer and needs some work to jump start his career. Henson, who has roughly ten games of college and pro experience combined, said he welcomes the chance to get back on the field.
-- If Bill Parcells wants to shop for an offensive line assistant, his options just improved. New Green Bay HC Mike McCarthy dismissed six assistants today, including long-time offensive line coach Larry Beightol.
Beightol built some of the NFL's best pass protecting lines in Green Bay from 1999 through 2005. He's not the easiest fit, having a reputation for being abrasive, mercurial and a contrarian. He was one of the few assistants who challenged former HC Mike Sherman's gameplans, so it's not clear that he could coexist with an egomaniac like Parcells.
On the other hand, he's also one of the most innovative line coaches in the game. Ask Marco Rivera if Beightol knows his stuff. Rivera went to Pro Bowls from 2002 through 2004 under Beightol.