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Divisional-round ratings down three percent

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Even with one of the four divisional-round games moved from 1:00 p.m. ET to prime-time, the ratings for the quartet of contests fell behind last year’s numbers.

Sure, it was only a three-percent reduction. But it was a reduction nonetheless.

Via SportsBusiness Daily, the spike from Packers-Cowboys was offset by drops arising from the Steelers-Chiefs, Seahawks-Falcons, and Texans-Patriots. The Saturday night game between Houston and New England was down 10 percent over last year’s Saturday night classic between the Packers and Cardinals.

The next ratings test comes Sunday, when the Packers and the Falcons and the Steelers and the Patriots square off in the conference finals. Last year, the Patriots-Broncos averaged 53.3 million viewers, and Cardinals-Panthers had an average viewership of 45.7 million.

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NFL declines comment on Seahawks’ failure to disclose Richard Sherman injury

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks stands on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

Amazingly, the Seahawks blatantly violated the rules of the NFL’s injury reports by concealing a knee injury to cornerback Richard Sherman. Even more amazingly, coach Pete Carroll freely admitted to it.

Not surprisingly, the NFL is saying nothing about it. Reached by PFT for comment on the situation, the NFL had none.

Actually, that’s a little surprising. In past situations like this, the league has at times acknowledged that it is reviewing the matter. In this case, the league hasn’t even gone that far. (The league took a similar approach when Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele was a surprise scratch on a Thursday night due to an illness that was not previously disclosed by the team.)

One league source expressed outrage over the Sherman situation, pointing out that deliberate failure to comply with injury-reporting rules compromises the integrity of the game in a significant way.

“They flat-out lied week after week to the league and the public,” the source said. “How is that different from any of the Patriots’ ‘-gates’?”

As the NFL prepares to authorize the relocation of the Raiders to Las Vegas, full compliance with the injury-reporting rules becomes paramount to the integrity of and public confidence in professional football. Transparency regarding potential violations becomes even more important, since the public needs to know when teams have been caught cheating when it comes to the injury reports.

Unless, of course, cheating on the injury reports is so widespread that the league doesn’t want the public (or the public servants who work in Congress) to realize that the violations are sufficiently rampant to amount to inherent corruption.

It’s frankly impossible to know whether and to what extent violations have occurred if the NFL’s position is going to be to say “no comment” and move on, hopeful that everyone else will move on, too.

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Raiders promote Trey Scott

NAPA, CA - AUGUST 05:  A detail of a helmet during the Oakland Raiders Training Camp at the Napa Valley Marriott on August 5, 2009 in Napa, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders, who apparently won’t be having to replace director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales this year, may already have an in-house substitute in mind, if/when someone else makes Clinkscales a General Manager.

The team has promoted midwest scout Trey Scott to the position of Assistant Director of Player Personnel. Scott, 28, has spent five prior seasons with the team. Before that, he worked for Washington.

Scott arrived in Oakland with Clinkscales and others in May 2012. Both are names to watch, especially if this year’s playoff berth from the Raiders is a sign of things to come.

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Jason Tarver to interview for Washington DC job

San Francisco 49ers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

Washington continues to add to its search for a defensive coordinator, with a fourth name joining the list.

According to Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, former 49ers linebackers coach Jason Tarver is scheduled to interview.

Former Bills coordinator Rob Ryan met with them today, and they’ve also interviewed former Browns head coach Mike Pettine and former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.

Tarver was defensive coordinator in Oakland from 2012-14, and previously worked for the 49ers as a position coach.

Washington had received permission to talk to Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks, but he got the same promotion in Carolina after Sean McDermott got the Bills head coaching job.

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Richard Sherman had knee injury, Seahawks didn’t report it

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks talks with cornerback Richard Sherman #25 prior to the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

For much of the 2016 season and into this year’s playoffs, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman would get days off practice that the Seahawks would claim on their official injury report were “not injury related.”

Now the Seahawks are admitting that an injury did affect Sherman for much of the season.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said today on 710 ESPN in Seattle that Sherman suffered an MCL injury during the season. Carroll said the injury was affecting Sherman both physically and mentally.

That raises an obvious question: Why did the Seahawks’ injury report repeatedly list Sherman’s days off as “not injury related” when an injury was affecting him physically and mentally? The whole point of the injury report is that the NFL wants teams to be transparent about which players are ailing and which players are healthy. The Seahawks were less than transparent.

Carroll surely believes the Seahawks’ decision not to list Sherman on the injury report was true to the letter of the law, or else he wouldn’t have mentioned it today. And he might be right: Not every bump and bruise has to be listed on the injury report, and if the Seahawks were certain Sherman was going to be able to play through the injury, they may be in the clear as far as the league office is concerned.

Still, it’s odd that Carroll is talking about injuries affecting Sherman now, when the official word from the Seahawks all season was “not injury related.”

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Chip Kelly talking to Jaguars again, and they have a head coach

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 06:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines during their NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on October 6, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tom Coughlin interviewed for the Jaguars head coaching job, didn’t get it, and still ended up employed there.

And Chip Kelly might be following the same path.

After interviewing for the head coaching job that went to Doug Marrone, the former Eagles and 49ers head coach was back at EverBank Field today talking to Jaguars officials, according to Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union.

Kelly as coordinator would be a fascinating idea, and could give Blake Bortles a better chance to succeed. They haven’t officially parted ways with coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, but if Kelly’s hanging around, there are only so many other jobs for him there.

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Report: DeShawn Shead suffered torn ACL

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07:  Defensive back DeShawn Shead #35 of the Seattle Seahawks breaks up a pass intended for Wide receiver Anquan Boldin #80 of the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks safety Deshawn Shead suffered a torn ACL in last weekend’s playoff loss at Atlanta, NFL Network reported.

The report said Shead will have surgery to repair the tear. The Seahawks feared after the game that Shead had torn his ACL but no official diagnosis was made until the team returned to Seattle.

Shead will become a restricted free agent in March.

Shead started all 15 games he played in 2016. He had one interception and a career-best 14 pass breakups.

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Titans add two to coaching staff

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 26: Ryquell Armstead #25 of the Temple Owls celebrates with wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the East Carolina Pirates at Lincoln Financial Field on November 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Titans have hired ex-NFL player Frisman Jackson as their new wide receivers coach and Craig Auckerman as assistant special teams coach.

This is Jackson’s first NFL coaching job. Jackson spent the last two years as wide receivers coach at Temple and previously coached at North Carolina State, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois and Akron. He added the title of passing game coordinator at Temple last season.

Jackson played under Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie with the Browns in the early 2000s.

Auckerman was special teams coordinator with the Chargers last season after serving as assistant special teams coach the previous three seasons with the Chargers. Auckerman has 10 years of NFL coaching experience.

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Julio Jones may be limited, but will be “ready to rock”

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:   Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

It may not be “no concern,” but the Falcons are apparently confident wide receiver Julio Jones is OK.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters that Jones might be limited in practice this week, but would be “ready to rock,” in time to play Sunday against the Packers.

Jones aggravated the foot/toe injury he’s been dragging around the last few weeks, and may not be 100 percent.

But it’s also clear there’s nothing so significant it will keep him off the field against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

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New Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams hires his son

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: A Cleveland Browns helmet rests on the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Browns 29-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns are hiring Blake Williams as their new linebackers coach and Jerod Kruse as assistant defensive backs coach, per multiple reports.

Williams is the son of Gregg Williams, who was hired as the Browns’ defensive coordinator earlier this month. The Browns have made staff changes on both sides of the ball since the end of last season.

Blake Williams worked under his father with both the Saints and Rams. He’s spent the last four seasons coaching in the college ranks, the last two at Southeastern Louisiana.

Kruse will work under DeWayne Walker, who was hired as the secondary coach last week. Kruse also coached at Southeastern Louisiana.

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49ers continuing G.M. interviews with Seattle’s Trent Kirchner

UFC Fighters meet San Francisco 49ers Players Getty Images

The 49ers might be honing in on a head coaching choice (or just picking whoever’s left), but their search for a General Manager is continuing.

Via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the 49ers are interviewing Seahawks personnel man Trent Kirchner today.

They’re presumably clear to also talk to Seattle’s Scott Fitterer today, as he was among the previously reported candidates and the Seahawks’ schedule is clear after this weekend’s loss to the Falcons.

The 49ers have cast a wide net for G.M. candidates, and initially suggested they wanted to fill that position before they hired a head coach. And if the Falcons beat the Packers this week, they’d technically have another two weeks to accomplish that goal, since presumed choice Kyle Shanahan would be held up the way Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was.

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Brady, Ben, Peyton are 14 of the last 16 AFC Super Bowl quarterbacks

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers speak before the game at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

For the 14th time in the last 16 years, the AFC Super Bowl team will be quarterbacked by Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning.

That became certain when Brady’s Patriots and Roethlisberger’s Steelers won this weekend to meet in the AFC Championship Game. Either Brady will start his seventh Super Bowl, adding to his own NFL record, or Roethlisberger will start his fourth. Manning also started four.

The only other quarterback to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl in the last 13 years was Joe Flacco, whose team topped Roethlisberger’s Steelers to win the AFC North in 2012, then beat Manning’s Broncos in the divisional playoffs and Brady’s Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Before that, the last other quarterback to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl was Rich Gannon, whose 2002 Raiders dethroned Brady’s 2001 Patriots as reigning AFC champions.

Sunday will be, incredibly, the 11th time Brady has started in the AFC Championship Game. It will be Roethlisberger’s fifth AFC Championship Game. Manning also started five AFC Championship Games.

Since 2001, the Patriots have advanced to 11 AFC Championship Games, the Steelers six (five with Roethlisberger, one without), the Colts four (three with Manning, one without) and the Broncos three (two with Manning, one without). So counting this year, those four teams will have accounted for 24 AFC Championship Game appearances since the 2001 season, with the other 12 AFC teams accounting for a combined eight AFC Championship Game appearances.

Here’s a list of the starting AFC quarterbacks in the Super Bowl for every season in the 21st Century:

2001: Tom Brady, Patriots.

2002: Rich Gannon, Raiders.

2003: Tom Brady, Patriots.

2004: Tom Brady, Patriots.

2005: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers.

2006: Peyton Manning, Colts.

2007: Tom Brady, Patriots.

2008: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers.

2009: Peyton Manning, Colts.

2010: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers.

2011: Tom Brady, Patriots.

.2012: Joe Flacco, Ravens.

2013: Peyton Manning, Broncos.

2014: Tom Brady, Patriots.

2015: Peyton Manning, Broncos.

2016: Brady or Roethlisberger.

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Report: 49ers “honing in” on Kyle Shanahan

FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2016, file photo, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan walks on the turf before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Atlanta. Shanahan, expected to be one of the top targets for teams looking to replace head coaches, could be available for interviews this week. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, “I'm sure he will be contacted by some teams.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File) AP

Monday brought word that Josh McDaniels will be remaining with the Patriots as their offensive coordinator after pulling his name from consideration for the 49ers head coaching job.

That decision leaves the team with a pair of candidates that they’ve interviewed in Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team is “honing in” on hiring Shanahan as their next coach.

Shanahan interviewed during the Falcons’ bye week and can talk to the 49ers again after the NFC Championship Game. Should the Falcons win, the 49ers would have to wait until the game is over to formally hire Shanahan and they’d be able to make a hire right away if Green Bay goes to the Super Bowl.

Shanahan has had several head coaching interviews over the last couple of years. If he does wind up with the job in Santa Clara, he’ll be a bit behind — quite a bit if the Falcons get to Houston — other teams when it comes to filling out a staff.

That’s an inconvenience, but it may not be a major one for Shanahan given how it has worked out for current boss Dan Quinn, who was hired in Atlanta after the Seahawks lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl two years ago.

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Josh McDaniels withdraws from 49ers coach search

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots looks on prior to the AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

There’s one head coaching vacancy in the NFL right now and it appears it will not be filled by Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

According to multiple reports, McDaniels has pulled his name from consideration for the position. He interviewed during Wild Card weekend and would be eligible to speak to the Niners again after Sunday’s game against the Steelers whether the Patriots win or lose, although any hire would obviously have to wait until after the Super Bowl if the Patriots advance.

Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports reports that McDaniels gave the 49ers job a lot of consideration, but is making a “personal decision” to stay put rather than move across the country at this time. McDaniels has said that he wants another chance to be a head coach and will likely be a candidate for openings again next season.

With McDaniels out of the running, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable are the other candidates who have interviewed with the team without getting another job. The 49ers are also looking for a new General Manager after dispatching Trent Baalke along with Chip Kelly after the end of the season.

UPDATE 11:42 a.m. ET: McDaniels confirmed he’ll be staying put during a Monday conference call.

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Report: Rob Ryan to interview with Redskins

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 18:  Defensive coach Rob Ryan of the Buffalo Bills makes a call after beating the Cleveland Browns 33-13 at New Era Field on December 18, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Rex Ryan’s departure from Buffalo struck a serious blow to his hopes of more head coaching work in the NFL and many have opined that his coaching future in the league would be as a defensive coordinator.

There’s been no sign that Ryan is going to go that route in 2017, but his brother appears to have interest in such a position. Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports that Rob Ryan is scheduled to interview with the Redskins for their defensive coordinator opening this week.

Ryan spent last season in Buffalo with his brother, although their combined efforts didn’t do enough to get the defense where it needed to be. He came to Buffalo after being dismissed as the Saints’ defensive coordinator during the 2015 season and Ryan has also run the defense in Dallas, Cleveland and Oakland over the course of his career.

Washington fired Joe Barry after the season and they interviewed Mike Pettine, who was a longtime Ryan assistant before becoming the Browns head coach, and Gus Bradley for the opening.

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