The ink wasn't dry on Mike Shanahan's honorable discharge before Broncos owner Pat Bowlen set the wheels in motion to find a new coach. The leading candidates: Bob Stoops and three others.
In addition to Stoops, whose Oklahoma Sooners meet Florida in the BCS title game on Thursday, the Broncos have scheduled interviews with:
New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, newly named Tampa Bay defensive coordinator and former secondary coach Raheem Morris and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Spagnuolo will be the first to interview for the Broncos job since Mike Shanahan was fired Tuesday, with a meeting set for Saturday with Broncos officials.
Man, if Stoops leaves, this kid is really going to lose it.
• Leggo My Cassell. Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi says that the Patriots will put the franchise tag on Matt Cassell, preventing him from becoming a free agent. A hedge bet on Tom Brady's health? Or maybe they're planning on a big trade? Oh Belichick, you sly boots, what are you up to? [Pro Football Talk]
• Boston Herald Screws Dawg Pound Pooch. So the Boston Herald wrote that Patriots' executive Scott Piloli had until Thursday (Jan. 1) to accept an offer to take over football operations with the Cleveland Browns. But the deadline has passed, Piloli hasn't made up his mind, and the Browns are still courting him. That's some nice police work there, Lou. [Pro Football Talk]