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Ax falls in a hurry for two coaches
By wire services
Published January 2, 2006
Mike Tice couldn't stop the off-the-field embarrassments from piling up in Minnesota. Dom Capers couldn't stop the losses from dragging down Houston.
Tice and Capers became the league's first postseason coaching casualties Sunday in what could be a year of major offseason changes.
Less than an hour after the Vikings beat Chicago 34-10, Minnesota announced that Tice's contract would not be renewed by owner Zygi Wilf.
After Houston lost in San Francisco, the Associated Press reported that Capers would be fired after a 2-14 season, but that general manager Charley Casserly will be retained. The official announcement is expected today.
There are likely to be more.
There were only three new coaches this season and vacancies tend to even out. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, there have been nearly six vacancies a year.
There are now four: Detroit's Steve Mariucci was fired Nov.28 and Dick Vermeil of the Chiefs retired after Sunday's game.
Several others finished the season unsure of their futures.
ESPN reported after Sunday's Rams-Cowboys game that St. Louis coach Mike Martz, who has been out since October with endocarditis, a bacterial infection in a heart valve, will be fired today.
"The things you don't have control over, you don't worry about," Mike Sherman said after his Packers beat Seattle backups 23-17 to finish 4-12. "I have control over my attitude, my perception, how I do things, and you do the very best job you can."
The list of potential successors starts with two successful college coaches with NFL experience: Notre Dame's Charlie Weis and Southern California's Pete Carroll, both of whom got contract extensions at their schools. Kirk Ferentz of Iowa, also a former NFL assistant, is likely to get overtures, as is Oklahoma's Bob Stoops.
Leading candidates among NFL assistants include Gregg Williams, Washington's assistant head coach for defense and a former head coach in Buffalo; defensive coordinators Ron Rivera of Chicago and Tim Lewis of the Giants; and offensive coordinator Brad Childress of Philadelphia.
BILLS: Owner Ralph Wilson promised changes, leaving general manager Tom Donahoe's job in jeopardy. Asked about the job the GM has done, Wilson skirted the topic. "I'm disappointed with the whole season, and I'm going to address it," Wilson said. "I'm not just going to say, "Gee, I hope we get better next year."'
CHARGERS: Quarterback Drew Brees was scheduled to have an MRI exam on his injured right shoulder Sunday, but the team didn't plan to release the results until today. Brees suffered a dislocated throwing shoulder in a 23-7 loss to Denver on Saturday.
RAIDERS: Coach Norv Turner said he would like to know as soon as possible whether he will be fired or asked back to fulfill the final year of his contract, worth about $1.75-million. Turner met with his players before everybody parted ways for the offseason.