- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2008

STORY OF THE WEEK

LINEHAN FIRST TO BE FIRED

The Redskins‘ victory over previously undefeated Dallas aside, Monday’s big news was hardly surprising — the St. Louis Rams pulled the plug on coach Scott Linehan following an 0-4 start to his third season.

Linehan fired his final shot last week, benching Marc Bulger in favor of Trent Green, who was 17-for-32 for 236 yards and one interception (which was returned for a touchdown). Linehan also played the role of desperate gambler, going for it on fourth down four times (making one).

Former New Orleans coach Jim Haslett, St. Louis’ defensive coordinator, was named interim coach. The guess here is that even if approached, offensive coordinator Al Saunders wanted nothing to do with the interim tag. Linehan was 11-25 as Rams coach, a job he got in part because Gregg Williams wasn’t interested.

Whoever inherits the Rams this offseason — and the guess is a new general manager first, a new coach second — will encounter a mess.

The Rams have been outscored 147-43 this season.

In an offseason where as many as seven head coaching jobs could be open, St. Louis ownership is going to have a tough time luring a viable candidate (in addition to a proven talent evaluator) to help rebuild a franchise that reached the Super Bowl twice in the last decade.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Redskins’ victory over previously undefeated Dallas aside, a team that wins for the first time in 11 months deserves credit, especially when it’s starting a different quarterback for the fourth consecutive week, and the win comes against an unbeaten division rival.

Larry Johnson, two weeks after voicing his displeasure with basically everything at Arrowhead Stadium, rushed 28 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

The Chiefs entered with 12 consecutive losses, a franchise-record streak that started last October.

“It seemed like 10 years,” left guard Brian Waters said. “It’s a sigh off relief to be able to have a little bit of joy in your life.”

FIVE THINGS LEARNED IN WEEK 4

1. Jason Campbell is close to being a marquee quarterback. Sure he was good in home wins over New Orleans and Arizona but those are games in which starters are supposed to shine — at home against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year. But by going 20-for-31 with two touchdowns at Dallas, he has emerged on the national radar.

2. Denver’s defense is officially awful. The Broncos could make excuses after giving up 14, 38 and 32 points — they won each game. But they can’t after losing to the previously 0-3 Chiefs — a team that was winless and last in the league offensively. But in a 33-19 win over Denver, the Chiefs outrushed the Broncos 213-94.

3. Green Bay is in trouble if Aaron Rodgers is out. In the Packers’ 30-21 loss at Tampa Bay, Rodgers sustained a shoulder injury that was the culmination of three hits. A third-quarter scramble led to a sprained shoulder, coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. The two backups: rookies Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn.

4. Buffalo isn’t quite for real just yet. The Bills are 4-0 for the first time since 1992 and travel to Arizona (2-2) before a bye week. But the fact they struggled against the Rams (trailing 14-13 late in the third quarter) shows the Bills aren’t ready to be taken seriously. That comes in two weeks when they play San Diego.

5. Brett Favre has clicked with Laveranues Coles. When Favre arrived at Jets camp, it was assumed Jericho Cotchery would become his favorite target. Coles, though, has begun making an impact. In the 56-35 win over Arizona, Coles caught eight passes for 105 yards and three touchdowns.

NEXT MAN UP

Here’s a list of big injuries from Week 4.

WR Anquan Boldin, Arizona (neck): Was injured late in the Cardinals’ loss to the New York Jets and was carried off the field on a stretcher. X-rays were negative, but it isn’t known whether Boldin will play next week.

WR Cliff Russell, Denver (neck): Like Boldin, Russell was immobilized on the field after spraining his neck. He was taken to a hospital before accompanying the Broncos home on the team charter.

QB Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (elbow): Palmer sat out the Bengals’ loss to Cleveland and was replaced by Ryan Fitzgerald.

QB Gus Frerotte, Minnesota (non-throwing hand): In his second start for Vikings, he split open his hand after being hit and received stitches.

OTs Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah, Carolina (concussion, right ankle): The Panthers lost both starting tackles in the opening three quarters, and neither returned.

CB Rashean Mathis, Jacksonville (shin): Already without two defensive starters, Mathis exited in the second quarter and his replacement, Will James, was beaten for a touchdown pass.

NUMBERS GAME

6 Touchdown passes thrown by Brett Favre on Sunday, his single-game career high. It fell one short of the league record shared by five players: Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Kapp.

HOT SEAT

Whose performance Sunday puts them in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons next week:

ANDY REID

The Eagles fell to 2-2 with a loss to the mediocre Bears on Sunday night and now host the hot Redskins (3-1). Philadelphia can’t afford to fall further behind the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys. Reid has to devise a plan that might have to work without a full-strength Brian Westbrook.

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