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Ravens' Ryan, Iowa's Ferentz on Baltimore's list of candidates

Baltimore is launching the head-coaching search that many thought it would be engaging in last off-season.

Ideas were formulated then, and they can be executed now.

"There is a Hall of Fame coach out there," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said Monday. "It's our job to find him."

Two names on the Ravens' list to replace Brian Billick, who was fired on Monday, will be Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz.

Baltimore's defensive coaching staff would rejoice if Ryan were the selection; many would get to remain in their jobs. Ryan's players love working for and under him. But Ryan, a finalist for San Diego's coaching job that went to Norv Turner, also could wind up interviewing for the Falcons' coaching vacancy.

The Ravens always have admired and respected Ferentz. He has strong ties with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty and director of college scouting Eric DeCosta.

But Ferentz also has strong ties to Iowa and has been unwilling to leave before, especially while his son was in college.

San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary has worked in Baltimore before and knows the Ravens' front office and players. It is expected that he would, at the very least, get an interview.

And Baltimore could opt to ask permission to interview two highly coveted offensive coordinators, Jason Garrett in Dallas and Josh McDaniels in New England.

"We're going to be talking to a lot of people," Newsome said.

Either way, the Ravens will be embarking on a process to find the the Hall of Fame coach that Bisciotti craves. It will not be any easier than firing Billick. But Billick does get a consolation prize.

Last off-season, he was given a four-year extention worth about $20 million. Billick now will be paid about $15 million over the next three years.

Billick's assistants also will be paid, though none knows where he will be working. Each signed a two-year extension at this time last year. Each has one year remaining. Bisciotti said Monday that each of his assistant coaches is "welcome to go look for other jobs." He believes 80 percent will work in the NFL, either with Baltimore or another team. Another 20 percent could take a year of paid leave.

Tuna's helpers

Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Bill Parcells is raiding Dallas.

He started Monday and might not stop until the Dolphins have a new front office and coaching staff.

After all is said and done, Parcells could conceivably get his general manager, head coach, defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator out of Dallas.

Parcells would like to hire Dallas vice president of of college and pro scouting, Jeff Ireland, as Miami's general manager. Ireland was scheduled to arrive in Miami on Monday night and his hiring could be announced at any time. Many around the league consider it a foregone conclusion that Ireland will get the job and many believe the agreement is already reached. The question is when the Cowboys would be willing to let him out of his contract, which might not be until after the 2008 draft.

But Parcells also is eyeing other Cowboys. Some believe Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano is a leading candidate to become the Dolphins next head coach. Sparano has won wherever he has been, whether it was at New Haven from 1984-'87, Boston University from 1988-'93 and then in the NFL with Washington in 2001, Jacksonville in 2002 and Dallas starting in 2003. He also could be a candidate in Atlanta.

Parcells also could interview Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who worked with him in Dallas. Haley is thought to be on Parcells' short list of head-coaching candidates.

There seems to be even less doubt that Parcells new defensive coordinator could wind up being Dallas secondary coach Todd Bowles, a former Washington Redskins defensive back.

The 44-year-old Bowles got passed over last off-season to become Dallas' defensive coordinator in favor of Brian Stewart, who worked with Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips in San Diego. Parcells hired Bowles to coach in Dallas in 2005. Before coaching in Dallas, Bowles coached for the New York Jets in 2000, and the Cleveland Browns from 2001-'04.

Bowles' issue could be that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones blocks him from going to Miami. Jones prevented the New Orleans Saints from interviewing Sparano, and he could opt to do the same with Bowles.

Parcells also is expected to consider Browns running backs coach Anthony Lynn as his offensive coordinator. Like Haley, the 39-year-old Lynn worked with Parcells for two seasons in Dallas in 2005-'06.

Thus, each of these men who now work in Dallas, or used to work in Dallas, could wind up reunited with Parcells in Miami.

Arms race

Derek Anderson emerged as a star, a proven quarterback, a bonafide signal-caller in a league struggling to find more. But he might not be Cleveland's starter next season.

Anderson is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, at which point he is expected to draw considerable interest from other teams. It has to. Within the Cleveland organization, there is a feeling that rookie quarterback Brady Quinn is more mobile than Anderson, has a better presence than Anderson, throws as hard as Anderson, and has an undeniable charisma.

Quinn also impressed in the limited time he received during Cleveland's season-ending win over San Francisco.

If Quinn turns out to be as good as the Browns believe he is, Cleveland is going to be forced to consider trade proposals for Anderson. Plus, Cleveland demonstrated this season it is on the verge of being a playoff team; it also is without a first-round pick in 2008. If another team is willing to surrender a first- and third-round pick for Anderson, the feeling of some within Cleveland is that the organization will have to debate the merits of it.

Not McBiting

For all the speculation regarding quarterback Donovan McNabb's future in Philadelphia, it would be a monumental upset to see the Eagles trade him.

Even if teams such as the Bears, Vikings and Ravens pursued McNabb, the Eagles now have no intention of trading him.

The Eagles remember how back in the early 1990s, Broncos fans called for the team to trade John Elway; from that point on, the Hall of Fame quarterback won two Super Bowls.

There were similar calls in Green Bay after Brett Favre flamed out at the end of the 2005 season; Favre rebounded to have perhaps his finest season in the NFL this year.

The Eagles believe McNabb can and will do what Elway and Favre did. Other teams might inquire about McNabb's availability. But it is going to be exceedingly difficult – if not impossible -- for anyone to pry him loose.

Feeling a draft

Miami holds the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, St. Louis No. 2. But the intrigue comes at No. 3, where four teams –- Atlanta, Oakland, Kansas City and the New York Jets -- finished the season with identical 4-12 marks.

Oddly enough, Atlanta's, Oakland's and Kansas City's opponents each finished with 132-124 records. The Jets' opponents finished 134-122 –- blame New England –- and so New York lost one tiebreaker and was slotted in to the No. 6 spot in the draft.

Because Kansas City finished third in the AFC West and Oakland fourth, the tie was broken on the basis that the Chiefs' 3-11 record in common games was better than the Raiders' 2-12. Thus, Oakland and Atlanta will flip a coin for the third position. If Atlanta wins the flip, the Falcons will draft third, the Raiders fourth, and the Chiefs fifth. If the Raiders win the coin flip, they will draft third, and the Falcons and Chiefs will flip a coin to determine the fourth and fifth positions.

Knowing the Falcons' luck from this season, they almost can be counted on to pick fifth.

It's a similar story later in the draft. Though Buffalo and Denver had the same strength-of-schedule, their tie for the 11th and 12th positions was broken by the conference tie-breaker. Since the Broncos defeated the Bills in head-to-head competition, Buffalo is given priority in the draft order and will select in the 11th position, with Denver in the 12th position.

Though Chicago and Detroit had the same strength-of-schedule, their tie for the 14th and 15th positions was broken by the divisional tie-breaker. Since the Lions defeated the Bears twice in head-to-head competition, Chicago is given priority in the draft order and will select in the 14th position, with Detroit in the 15th position.

  • -- Subject to playoffs

    -- Subject to coin flip

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