December is upon us, and things will tighten up in both the NFL and college football seasons. Tony Pauline dives into his mailbag to address some of your questions on NFL rumors, college football, and NFL Draft news.
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This week’s installment will cover my 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings, what’s going on in Jacksonville, Eric Bienemy, and much more. But first, we begin with a question about Denver head coach Vic Fangio.
NFL Rumors & Draft News: The Tony Pauline Mailbag (12.2.20)
How safe is Vic Fangio? Are there rumors in NFL circles that he could get fired at the end of the season? What does he have to do down the stretch to secure his job for 2021?
I’m told Fangio is safe this year and won’t be fired. It’s been a weird year in Denver between Drew Lock getting injured and last week’s no-QB fiasco.
Do you think that the Jaguars firing GM Doug Caldwell but not head coach Doug Marrone is significant? Or do you still expect them to move on at the end of the NFL season? Are there any rumors about who the Jaguars may be targeting as their next GM and head coach?
No. Multiple people tell me Marrone is gone at the end of the season, but they didn’t want to fire him with just a few weeks remaining in the season.
The timing of Caldwell’s firing was due to the fact that the franchise wants to get a jump start on the GM search. Besides Jacksonville, you’ve got Atlanta, Houston, and Detroit looking for new general managers, and there could be a few more openings before the season ends.
Is there a chance that Jaycee Horn could end up being CB1 off the board thanks to his versatility and what he’s put on film this season?
I like Horn and had him highly rated before the season began. That said, I think he’d be hard-pressed to pass Patrick Surtain II of Alabama for the top spot at the position.
Horn has performed brilliantly at times the past two seasons, but he’s also been a bit streaky, which is a concern.
Have you heard any rumors, or do you anticipate any changes from the NFL as it pertains to outbreak protocols and scheduling of games, particularly as we near the NFL’s postseason?
PFN’s Mike Tanier was the first to break the news that the league could add a Week 18, if necessary, to make up games that are postponed due to outbreaks.
I haven’t heard any rumors, and I don’t expect the league to make any decisions until the last minute, and only if it’s completely necessary. That’s what they’ve done all along, and they’ve done a good job thus far.
What are your thoughts on Coastal Carolina DE Tarron Jackson and Duke DE Chris Rumph? Are there any rumors that they might be second-day picks in the NFL Draft, or are they early third-day picks?
Both are late-round prospects.
Jackson is a solid 4-3 defensive end with growth potential who made my risers list early in the season. He was invited to the Hula Bowl, and Hula week is probably more important this year than any time since the early 1980s.
Rumph has had a terrific season, but he would be well-served going back for his senior season and spending another year in the weight room.
The New York Jets tried to interview Matt Campbell in 2018, and he turned them down. With his star on the rise this year, what are the chances the Jets make another run at him?
They may interview Campbell, but I doubt he would be a serious contender for the job. Campbell is a tremendous college coach, but as I’ve noted several times on PFN, people inside the league feel that he doesn’t project well to the NFL. He’s too “buddy-buddy” with his players, which works well on Saturdays but not Sundays.
Last year, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was a hot name as far as potential head coaches, but he didn’t end up getting one of the open jobs last winter. Have you heard any NFL rumors about why he was passed over last year by teams and if he’s likely to end up a hot candidate again this offseason? If so, what teams might be interested in him?
I’m told that despite recommendations from Andy Reid, Bieniemy did not interview well this past offseason, which is why he did not get a head coaching job. This has happened before, and it’s one of the prime reasons Brian Flores is presently head coach of the Miami Dolphins after the Arizona Cardinals passed over him in 2018.
Right now, the smart money has Bieniemy landing in Houston or possibly Atlanta. Houston, with Deshaun Watson and a lot of other good pieces on the offensive side of the ball, makes too much sense for it not to happen.