Vic Fangio to the Panthers? Conference Championship Injury Updates, and Other NFL Bullets
On the first Saturday without football in some time, I think I will spend a significant amount of time in the horizontal position today. However, I have four stories coming out today at Noon, 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00 that will take a deep look at a path to victory for each team playing in tomorrow’s conference championship games. In the meantime, let’s briefly talk about some news coming out of Carolina that has me pretty intrigued. Could Vic Fangio be heading to the Panthers?
- ESPN NFL insider Josina Anderson reported last night that there is momentum building towards Vic Fangio becoming Frank Reich’s defensive coordinator in Carolina.
- If Reich could land Fangio as his DC, that would be a heck of a get. Fangio’s time in Denver didn’t go as planned, but he’s widely regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. Of course, as Bears fans, we know that well.
- Regardless of how we feel about the Panthers’ decision not to hire Steve Wilks, Reich, in a vacuum, got a raw deal in Indianapolis, and it was only a matter of time before he was coaching again. Unfortunately, two things he never had in Indy were a long-term answer at quarterback and a decent defensive coordinator. If the Panthers could land Fangio, he might have both next season.
- Four head coaching gigs remain with the Panthers’ job in the books. Late this week, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans became the hottest name on the market. NFL insiders named Ryan the top candidate for the Denver job and Houston job.
- I think the Eagles will beat the 49ers tomorrow, and the Texans will hire Ryans on Monday. Ian Rapoport cites mutual interest between the Texans and the former Houston linebacker. Rapoport also believes that Ryans would choose the Texans over the Broncos if offered both:
- If Ryans is hired in Houston, that leaves three more head coaching jobs to sort out. Arizona, Denver, and Indianapolis. I think that Indianapolis ultimately hires Jeff Saturday. It’s Irsay’s team, and that’s what he wanted from the start. The Cardinals will circle back to Ejiro Evero, Brian Flores, and Aaron Glenn. That’s three defensive coordinators up for the job in Arizona, a 180 from the Kingsbury era.
- I think Ejiro Evero will get one of the jobs, probably the Denver job, leaving Brian Flores and Aaron Glenn as probable candidates for the Arizona job. I might not be 100 percent on, but I feel like I’m not far off at this point as the coaching carousel comes into focus a bit.
- Let’s talk about the injury reports for tomorrow’s conference title games.
- Patrick Mahomes was a full participant all week and will have no injury designation on the injury report. Zero surprise there, honestly. The Chiefs have Mecole Hardman (pelvis), Justin Watson (illness), and Travis Kelce (back) listed as questionable for tomorrow’s AFC Championship.
- Zac Taylor confirmed this week that Jonah Williams and Alex Cappa would miss Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Williams and Cappa are the only two Bengals with injury designations on the injury report right now.
- The 49ers have running back Elijah Mitchell (groin) and cornerback Ambry Thomas (ankle) listed as questionable. In addition, Christian McCaffrey (calf), Charles Omenihu (oblique), Deebo Samuel (ankle), and Trent Williams (not injury-related – resting player) were all listed as full participants in Friday’s practice.
- As for the Eagles, they have no injury designations on their Friday injury report. Lane Johnson was a full participant on Friday and is expected to play tomorrow.
- That’s what we like to hear:
- Happy Larmer Day, to those who observe: