Bates a possibility in Chicago

If Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has any say about the Bears' next offensive coordinator -- and with the investment that Chicago has made in him, he will -- then it very well could be USC's offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. Cutler and Bates worked together in Denver and were so close that, after the Broncos fired Mike Shanahan, the quarterback told the team that he only would stay if Bates stayed. But Bates went off to USC, Cutler went off to Chicago and each has struggled this season.

USC scored 30 or more points in only two of its nine Pac-10 games and Cutler is tied with Matthew Stafford for the NFL lead in interceptions with 20. Now multiple sources around the league believe that the two men are destined to work together again. For starters, USC is expected to allow Bates to leave for Chicago if the Bears will hire him. Cutler would vouch for Bates the second the Bears asked. Some have speculated that either Charlie Weis or Mike Martz could be the Bears' next offensive coordinator. But the more informed opinion is that it will be Bates.

For the time being, Chicago still has its offensive coordinator, Ron Turner, but changes are expected to the Bears' offensive staff. And changes that sweep out Chicago's offensive coaches easily could wind up ushering in Bates.

Kicking troubles for the Redskins

One day after Washington's Shaun Suisham missed a 23-yard field goal that could have helped seal a victory over New Orleans, the Redskins began making plans to try out other kickers.

Amongst the kickers scheduled to work out for the Redskins early this week are Graham Gano, who spent last summer with the Baltimore Ravens and this season in the UFL. Gano worked out last week for the New York Giants and was scheduled to do so for the Atlanta Falcons, who wound up signing Matt Bryant. But Gano is not expected to be the only kicker the Redskins try out.

Suisham missed two field goals, including a 39 yarder, in a one-point loss to Dallas earlier this season.