Interim jobs are quite a challenge

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Dec. 16 2011 10:06 p.m. MST

FILE - In this May 19, 2010 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel watches workouts during football mini-camp at the NFL football team's practice facility in Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City Chiefs fired coach Todd Haley on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, with the team he led to the AFC West title less than a year ago stuck at the bottom of the division following a series of devastating injuries and discouraging blowouts. Crennel was named the interim coach.

Orlin Wagner, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

Interim coaches Mel Tucker in Jacksonville, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Todd Bowles in Miami have their work cut out for them as they have taken over struggling teams.

At least they've not having to do it for 12 weeks.

Jim Haslett was given that dubious task in 2008 with the St. Louis Rams after Scott Linehan was fired. The Rams were 0-4 at the time and didn't fare much better under Haslett, going 2-10 to finish 2-14.

"To be honest with you, in hindsight I probably wouldn't have done it," said Haslett, now the defensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins. "I was called a 2 o'clock in the morning and asked to take over the job. We had just lost the game. Knowing we didn't have a really good football team — we struggled in a lot of areas — if I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn't have done it. But everybody thinks they can turn the team around, and obviously you want an opportunity to be a head coach.

"It's kind of short-lived. It's a hard adjustment to make because the players know what the situation is. ... It's not easy."

The experience certainly did no favors for Haslett in his hopes of finding another NFL head coaching gig. He spent 2009 as head coach of the Florida Tuskers of the UFL before joining the Redskins last year. He also coached the New Orleans Saints. In 2000, Haslett was NFL Coach of the Year. In 2005, the season spent on the road because of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints went 3-13 and he was fired.

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BEATING THE RYANS: The Philadelphia Eagles already made Rob Ryan eat his words. Rex Ryan is being a little more careful than his twin brother heading into the New York Jets' game at Philadelphia on Sunday.

"I'm going to say this," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "I'm not calling out the Eagles' offense by any stretch the way my brother did. I think he probably regrets that."

Before the season, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan vowed his team would "beat their butts" when they played Philadelphia. The Eagles routed the Cowboys 34-7 on Oct. 30.

"They probably have as much talent as any team in this league," Rex Ryan said. "Michael Vick's the No. 1 guy, that's what jumps out. Nobody has him, there's only one Michael Vick in this league. Dynamic playmaker, can make all the throws, strong arm and obviously the way he can move is second to nobody in this league. He's the first guy, and then you got (LeSean) McCoy. Every time he touches it, it looks like a punt return. Obviously he is a tremendous player. Then you've got DeSean Jackson, they've got plenty of weapons.

"But you know what? We've got plenty of weapons on our defense, so this is going to be a great matchup."

Having success against Dallas doesn't mean the Eagles will have their way against the Jets, even if the Ryan twins have similar defensive philosophies.

"They share ideas, I'm sure," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "And they do some of the same things. But they both have their own little wrinkle to the defense, it's not the same thing, and it's not exactly the same as their father's. And then some of that is they work, and they're both very good coaches, with the personnel that they have and trying to exploit the strengths of players that they have on their rosters."

The Jets (8-5) are looking for their fourth straight win and trying to solidify their playoff spot in the AFC. The underachieving Eagles (5-8) are hanging on to slim hopes in the NFC East.

BENGALS PICK KICKER FOR COURAGE: For the first time, a kicker has won the Bengals' award for courage.

The team voted Mike Nugent the winner of the annual Ed Block Courage Award. Each team chooses one player for the honor each season. Rarely do place kickers get it; Detroit's Jason Hanson was the only one in the league last year.

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