NFL notebook: Monday Night Football coming to playoffs?
If the Los Angeles Chargers beat the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts top the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend, the NFL will have a decision to make.
Jan 6, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; The Los Angeles Chargers offense lines up against the Baltimore Ravens defense in the first quarter in a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at M&T Bank Stadium. The Chargers won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Will the Chargers be allowed to host the AFC Championship Game at their temporary home, the 30,000-seat Dignity Health Sports Park in suburban Carson, Calif., or will the league move the game to a stadium with larger capacity?
CBS Sports reported Friday that the NFL league office will be discussing contingency plans should the fifth-seeded Chargers and sixth-seeded Colts advance. That would give the Chargers home-field advantage in the championship game.
CBS’ Jason La Canfora reported last month that officials had discussed the potential of moving the game to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home of the Rams. That could still be a Plan B, La Canfora said, but if the Rams host the championship game, as well, both games could not be played on Sunday. Instead, one of the conference championship games could be played on Monday night under that scenario, he said.
—The Miami Dolphins appear set to continue the AFC East’s game of musical chairs, as the team has zeroed in on New England Patriots assistant coach Brian Flores for its head-coaching vacancy, multiple outlets reported.
Flores, 37, joined the Patriots in 2004 as a scouting assistant and has been with the franchise since. This is his third season as New England’s linebackers coach and his first as the defensive play-caller. He assumed those duties after defensive coordinator Matt Patricia left to be the head coach in Detroit last offseason.
Miami fired head coach Adam Gase after three seasons following the end of the regular season. Also on Friday, another AFC East team — the New York Jets — introduced Gase as their new head coach.
—Gary Kubiak apparently will not move from the front office to the field to serve as offensive coordinator for new Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“After lengthy discussions, Denver and Kubiak had different ideas on staffing and offensive philosophies,” Schefter tweeted. “Both sides going in different directions.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Denver appears to have turned its attention to Mike Munchak, the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach and former NFL head coach who was a finalist for the head coaching job.
—The man Fangio replaced, former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, will serve as the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, the team announced.
Joseph, the first significant hire for new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, is expected to transition the Cardinals to a 3-4 defense from the 4-3 defense the team ran last season under then-coach Steve Wilks.
Also on Friday, ESPN reported that former Atlanta Falcons OC Steve Sarkisian was “closing in” on the Cardinals OC position. Sarkisian, 44, was fired after two years in Atlanta that reportedly did not meet the standard set during Kyle Shanahan’s tenure.
—Greg Roman will replace Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.
New general manager Eric DeCosta, introduced Friday in the official changing of the guard with retiring GM Ozzie Newsome, made the announcement. Mornhinweg is expected to be offered another role on the offensive staff, and additional changes are expected.
Roman spent last season as the assistant head coach and tight ends coach in Baltimore but has experience working with run-first quarterbacks, which the Ravens have in Lamar Jackson. He was offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers when the team switched in-season from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick. That team lost to the Ravens in the Super Bowl.
—In a technical formality, the Philadelphia Eagles officially declared quarterback Carson Wentz “out” for their Sunday divisional playoff matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
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Wentz sustained a stress injury in his back on Dec. 9 against the Dallas Cowboys and has not played since — sitting out the Eagles’ final three regular-season games and their 16-15 wild-card win over the Chicago Bears last weekend.
The team has not placed Wentz on injured reserve, leading to the need to declare him inactive each week.
—Field Level Media