Orlin Wagner, File, Associated Press
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.

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.


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.

Nugent is the first Bengals kicker, chosen for his comeback from a major knee injury. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his kicking leg during a game at Indianapolis on Nov. 14 last season, but has returned as good as ever.

Nugent was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts in a 20-19 loss to Houston on Sunday. He's the league's most accurate field goal kicker so far this season, making 25 of 27. One of them was blocked.

The hardest part for Nugent was trying to recover from reconstructive surgery during the NFL's lockout, which prohibited him from working out at Paul Brown Stadium or having any contact with the coaches and training staff.

"It was tough because when you tear your ACL, you lose your quad (muscles), which is the first thing that stops doing anything," Nugent said. "It's basically the whole offseason getting your quad back to where it was before. It was tough at times because I felt like I was a level behind everyone else."

Although he's overcome a lot, Nugent isn't ready to call it his most satisfying season.

"Not yet," he said. "If the season was over, I would be able to answer that. It's not how you start but how you finish."

PURSUIT OF PERFECTION: Romeo Crennel has a pretty good idea what it must feel like in Green Bay these days, with the Packers riding a 19-game winning streak. The Kansas City Chiefs interim coach was the defensive coordinator in New England during its 21-game streak in 2003-04.

Crennel, whose team will try to end Green Bay's run on Sunday, said that he sees similarities between those Patriots and the current Packers, and it all starts with the quarterback.

New England had Tom Brady. Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers.

"Right now Aaron, I think he's the top-rated quarterback in the NFL," Crennel said, "touchdown passes, quarterback rating and all those things. They're very similar."

Crennel said the other similarity that jumps out at him is the team's confidence.

The Patriots went to practice each day focused on getting better, and when it came time for the kickoff, they walked onto the field knowing that they were better than the other team.

"As you win more, you gain more confidence, and everybody on your team begins to prepare better and play better," Crennel said, "and I think that's happening with the Packers. That whole team has confidence, and they have good players that allow them to do a good job."

ALL-FUNDAMENTALS TEAMS: USA Football's annual All-Fundamentals team has been released, with 26 NFL players chosen as the most fundamentally sound for youngster to emulate. More than 3 million American children ages 6 to 14 play organized tackle football, placing it among the country's most popular youth sports.

USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and has compiled a team for three years.

Baltimore nose tackle Haloti Ngata is the only player chosen to all three teams, while Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers was chosen the quarterback for the second straight year.

Joining Ngata on the defense are Kansas City end Tamba Hali, Chicago end Julius Peppers, San Francisco tackle Justin Smith, Dallas linebacker Sean Lee, San Francisco linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes, Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson, New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins and San Diego safety Eric Weddle.

On offense, along with Rodgers, it's Houston running back Arian Foster, Seattle fullback Michael Robinson, Denver receiver Eric Decker, Green Bay receiver Donal Driver, Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller, New York Jets center Nick Mangold, New York Giants guard David Diehl, New Orleans guard Carl Nicks, Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas, and Carolina tackle Jordan Gross.

On special teams, it's Chicago returner Devin Hester, Minnesota long snapper Cullen Loeffler, Jacksonville placekicker Josh Scobee, and Oakland punter Shane Lechler.

USA Football's All-Fundamentals Team recognizes NFL players who have been employing proper technique, particularly when blocking and tackling, fostering better on-field performance and safety benefits. Each player chosen will receive a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice.

AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner in New York and Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia, and Sports Writers Joseph White in Washington, Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., and Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this story.