The NFL notebook …
TEMPE, Ariz. ó Edgerrin James was a big part of many terrific teams as running back for the Indianapolis Colts.
Yet he never made it to the Super Bowl until he was with an Arizona Cardinals franchise that has no history of winning, in a season that saw him benched for the first time in his career.
“Yeah, it’s weird,” he said, laughing. “This has been a weird year.”
James is back in his accustomed role as lead back in a rejuvenated ground game that figures large in the Cardinals’ plans against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“He brings a lot to the table for us that has been seen in the improvement of our running game,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
PRESSURE ON IKE
PITTSBURGH ó Ike Taylor doesn’t get much attention for being the Pittsburgh Steelers’ primary defender against an opponent’s top receiver. Sometimes that’s good, because it means Taylor isn’t getting beaten for many touchdown catches.
Taylor will go against the NFL’s hottest receiver, Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona, in the Super Bowl, and he has two long weeks to think about it. Given Fitzgerald’s outrageous postseason production, this appears to be a bad matchup for any cornerback.
“He has 419 yards in the postseason, and it isn’t over with. He’s breaking some of Jerry Rice’s records,” Taylor said. “From what he’s displaying week in and week out, yeah, he’s one of the best in the world.”
“Fitzgerald’s going to be the talk of the Super Bowl, and that’s going to be a key matchup,” linebacker Larry Foote said. “If Ike can do a great job on him, our chances of winning increase.”
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó Longtime Denver Broncos coach Dan Reeves interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers open offensive coordinator position on Friday.
Reeves met with Niners coach Mike Singletary and general manager Scot McCloughan at the team’s facility as the team to fill the gap created in their coaching staff by Mike Martz’s firing.
Reeves was a head coach for 23 seasons in the NFL with Denver, the New York Giants and Atlanta. But he has been out of coaching since being replaced by Wade Phillips with three games left in the 2003 season with the Falcons.
Reeves, 65, had a 190-165-2 record as a head coach, making the postseason nine times and losing in all four trips he made to the Super Bowl.
LIONSALLEN PARK, Mich. ó For the second time in three years, the Detroit Lions have turned to an ex-St. Louis Rams coach to try to turn around their dismal offense.
New Lions coach Jim Schwartz on Friday hired Scott Linehan as offensive coordinator. The Rams fired Linehan as head coach after the team opened the 2008-09 season 0-4.
GIANTSEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin picked Jack Bicknell Jr., one of his former Boston College players, as the NFL team’s new assistant offensive line coach.
Bicknell was head coach at Louisiana Tech for eight years before coming to Boston College, where he served as assistant head coach and offensive line coach for the past two seasons. Coughlin also succeeded Bicknell’s father as coach of the Big East school in 1991.