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Lineman, DB are ailing for Falcons



Published: Fri, January 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Atlanta hopes Todd Weiner and Kevin Mathis are healthy for Sunday.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Offensive tackle Todd Weiner and cornerback Kevin Mathis sat out practice for the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday because of ailing ankles, leaving them questionable for the NFC championship game.

While coach Jim Mora said both players "were a lot better," they skipped practice for the second day in a row. The coach is hopeful both will be able to practice today.

The Falcons leave Saturday for Philadelphia, where they'll meet the Eagles for the NFC title on Sunday.

Weiner has started all but one game at right tackle for Atlanta over the past three seasons. Mathis started 13 games this season, but Jason Webster probably will get the nod at right cornerback against the Eagles.

Backup defensive end Travis Hall also was listed as questionable, missing his second straight practice with a chest injury.

Colts promote Caldwell

Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell was promoted Thursday to assistant head coach.

Caldwell was the coach at Wake Forest from 1993-2000 and was on Colts coach Tony Dungy's staff at Tampa Bay in 2001. He came to Indianapolis with Dungy the next season.

"Jim is one of the foremost coaches I have been associated with during my career," Dungy said. "On more than one occasion he has drawn interest from other teams, but Jim always elected to remain in our program. It is easy to see his influence on our quarterbacks in the level of their play, in the quality of their mechanics and in their production on the field."

Caldwell, who played defensive back at Iowa, also was an assistant at Southern Illinois, Northwestern, Colorado, Louisville and Penn State. He will continue coaching Colts quarterbacks.

Vikings select Loney coordinator

The Minnesota Vikings made Steve Loney their new offensive coordinator Thursday, a day after the Miami Dolphins lured Scott Linehan away with a three-year contract.

The 52-year-old Loney also will retain his position as offensive line coach, the team said.

"We are happy to be able to keep some continuity on our offensive staff by promoting Steve Loney," Vikings coach Mike Tice said in a statement.

"He has proven himself during his coaching career and has been key to our success here during the previous three seasons."

Loney was offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota in 1998-99 and at his alma mater, Iowa State, from 1995-97 and 2000-01. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Iowa State in 1974.

He inherits an offense that's been one of the league's best. The Vikings ranked second in the NFL in 2002, first in 2003 and fourth in 2004 in total yardage.

Linehan left after deciding the job security the Dolphins offered was too good to pass up. Tice is under contract only through next season, and Vikings owner Red McCombs has the team on the market.

Terms of Loney's deal were not disclosed.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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