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Coordinating job interviews

Crennel, Weis due to talk with Giants

FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots owner Robert Kraft expects both of his team's coordinators, Charlie Weis (offense) and Romeo Crennel (defense) to interview with the New York Giants for their coaching job this week.


Kraft said team president and chief operating officer Andy Wasynczuk was supposed to field the call from the Giants to officially ask permission to speak to the coordinators last night or early today, but as Kraft returned to his annual island vacation after the game, he didn't know if the call had come in.

"They've done a wonderful job with our team and certainly deserve a chance to be head coaches," Kraft said.

A league source said Crennel also is expected to interview with the Atlanta Falcons this week, and there may be other coaching changes in the league the next couple of days. Today is the first day teams can speak to the Patriot assistants, through Friday.

The Patriots would not allow Weis or Crennel to speak about their opportunity after the game. They'll have plenty of time to pursue their job search as coach Bill Belichick has given the Patriots today and tomorrow off, followed by two days of work, and then Thursday through Sunday off.

If the coordinators aren't interviewed this week they cannot speak to the Giants or any other team until after the Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs or until after the Super Bowl.

Neither Weis nor Crennel were considered for jobs after the Patriots' first Super Bowl victory, but Crennel interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers last season during Super Bowl week. Both coordinators have indicated they would like to head their own teams.

The NFL recently instituted a rule that at least one minority candidate has to be interviewed for a head coaching job. The Giants appear to be leaning toward former Jacksonville Jaguars and Boston College coach Tom Coughlin, but with Crennel and Weis both having Giants roots and both coming from a successful program, they are intriguing to senior vice president and general manager Ernie Accorsi and owner Wellington Mara and his son, John.

Accorsi watched last Saturday night's Patriots victory over the Jets to get a head start on evaluating both coordinators. He interviewed Coughlin last week, and also has some college coaches on his short list.

Both coordinators did nothing to hurt their chances in yesterday's 31-0 win over the Bills. Crennel's defense tossed its third shutout of the season, while Weis's offense was close to perfect, putting up 28 first-half points.

"Both of them deserve the chance to better themselves," running back Antowain Smith said. "I'm happy for both of them."

No word from CBS

There was still no official word on when the Patriots would play their first game after the bye week, but all indications are they will host the prime time (8:30) game on CBS Saturday, Jan. 10, against the lowest seed remaining among Baltimore/Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Denver. Kraft said he had not heard when the game would be played, but he hoped the league would deliver the slot they preferred. It would appear the Patriots, being the top seed and in the biggest remaining TV market, will get that nod. The Patriots also have scored large ratings, another feather in their cap when the decision by CBS is made . . . Smith, who gained 74 yards on 15 carries, feels his legs are fresher than they've been all season. "I really didn't get too beat up during the regular season, splitting time with Kevin Faulk," he said. "It's money time right now. We have to go out there and get the job done now. We need a running game. I think now I'm starting to get into a little groove and a little rhythm. My body really isn't that banged up, so I need to go out there and run hard, and make the most yardage out of my opportunities."

Tackling the job

Rodney Harrison had nine tackles and finished with 138, tops on the team. Tedy Bruschi's 10 tackles gave him 137 for the season. Roman Phifer finished third with 130 . . . Inactive for the finale were quarterback Rohan Davey, wide receiver Dedric Ward, running back Mike Cloud, safety Antwan Harris, guard Wilbert Brown, tight end Fred Baxter, defensive lineman Rick Lyle, and defensive end Anthony Pleasant . . . Drew Bledsoe was sacked 49 times for the season, five fewer than last season and 17 more than the Patriots' Tom Brady . . . The Patriots' 2004 opponents: HOME: Buffalo, Miami, New York Jets, Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Seattle, and the AFC South champion (Indianapolis or Tennessee); AWAY: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

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Last game / Dec. 27 vs. Bills
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afc east standings
  W L T Pct. PF PA
Patriots 14 2 0 .875 348 238
Dolphins 9 6 0 .600 288 240
Bills 6 9 0 .400 243 248
Jets 6 10 0 .375 243 279
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