Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach Updates: Pep, Shanahan, Trestman

Although previous reports indicated that Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton wouldn’t take any interviews this week due to logistical concerns, Hamilton actually did find the time to speak with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie after Indianapolis’ victory on Sunday night, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the meeting wasn’t a formal interview, but McKenzie was very impressed with Hamilton, and Oakland believes the 40-year-old OC could play a significant role in the development of quarterback Derek Carr (TwitLonger link via Josina Anderson of ESPN). Let’s look at some more notes on head coaching vacancies around the league:

  • The Bills have requested permission to interview Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for their head coaching position, per Schefter (Twitter link). Shanahan, 35, has called plays for the Texans and Washington in addition to Cleveland, and although he’s been linked to the 49ers vacancy this offseason, this is the first official interest displayed by another club.
  • In their search to find a new offensive coordinator, the Buccaneers have interviewed former Bears head coach Marc Trestman, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Trestman, of course, would have some familiarity with Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown, who started five games for Chicago in 2013. The Bucs have also met with Greg Roman and Dirk Koetter, two in-limbo play-callers, as they look for their new OC.
  • The Falcons have interviewed special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong for their head coaching job, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The interview, which satisfies the Rooney Rule, could pave the way for Atlanta to hire Rex Ryan after his interview on Tuesday, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who adds that the hiring process could pick up this week.
  • Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is one of the most popular head coaching candidates available, and he’ll meet with four teams this week, tweets Rapoport. He’ll do one interview per day starting on Wednesday, starting with the Jets, and finishing the week with the Falcons, 49ers, and Bears. Per Anderson (via TwitLonger), Bowles is open to working with a team that “needs development on either side of the ball,” but wants a strong front office and a few key pieces that he can work with.
  • Doug Marrone is considered the favorite to land the Jets HC job, but according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), his interview with New York did not go well. This report comes on the heels of Marrone’s assistant head coach from his time at Syracuse calling him “self-centered, selfish, [and] greedy” (link via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News).
  • Despite rumors to the contrary, La Canfora says (Twitter link) that UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. does not have an interview scheduled with the Jets. Speculation has arisen that Mora Jr. is looking to make a return to the NFL, but it sounds like nothing is planned with Gang Green at this time.

East Notes: Jets, Fitzgerald, Phillips

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that all signs are pointing to Doug Marrone as the next head coach of the Jets. La Canfora notes that many of the candidates that New York is interviewing for its general manager position have strong ties to Marrone, including top candidate Mike Maccagnan. Maccagnan once signed Marrone to quarterback the London Monarchs of the now extinct World League of American Football in 1991, and the two men have developed a close personal relationship since then.

Other GM candidates like Rick Mueller, Bill Kuharich, and Ryan Pace also have ties to Marrone. Jets owner Woody Johnson would like to announce his new GM and head coach no later than the end of this week, and some believe the Jets could be the first team to do so. At the moment, the smart money appears to be on a Maccagnan/Marrone pairing in New York.

Now for some more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News believes that if the Jets end up hiring Marrone, “Jets fans will have every right to believe the thing was fixed fight from the beginning.” The “thing,” of course, is Marrone’s opting out of his contract with the Bills. If he is subsequently hired by New York, it will appear as though he had a back-door agreement with Charley Casserly, who is acting as Johnson’s primary adviser in the hiring process (Twitter link to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who described in a full-length piece how Marrone alienated members of the Bills administration during his two years in Buffalo).
  • After being snubbed by Bill Polian, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Bills owner Terry Pegula is still interested in hiring a “football czar” as he focuses in the short term on finding a new head coach.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes that, even though the Larry Fitzgerald-to-the-Patriots rumors have swirled for the past several seasons, those rumblings might have some legs this offseason.
  • Rich Tandler of CSN Washington.com notes that Wade Phillips‘ age (68) has some wondering if Washington should opt for a younger candidate to fill its vacant defensive coordinator position, but Tandler believes Phillips’ recent pedigree suggests that his age should not be a major consideration.
  • We learned earlier today that the Raiders have requested permission to interview Cowboys‘ passing game coordinator Scott Linehan, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter) that Dallas is also in danger of losing defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. The contracts of both men expire at the end of this season, and Rapoport tweets that Marinelli may be wooed by the Buccaneers if talks with the Cowboys do not progress.
  • Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram adds (via Twitter) that the Cowboys also stand to lose offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, whose contract is also set to expire at season’s end.
  • Mark Eckel of NJ.com provides a list of five candidates the Eagles should consider in filling their GM position.

NFC Coaching, GM Notes: Bears, Bucs, Eagles

The Bears have tried to hire young assistant coaches time and time again, and as much as they hope the next one might be the best, they could just end up with another Marc Trestman, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. Rather than go after Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, or Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Haugh believes the Bears should go in a different direction.

He suggests the team seriously consider Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard, who worked as a scout for the Bears for over a decade. Haugh thinks that it makes sense to pair him with Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who had one of the best units in the league for years with the Bears before moving to Kansas City.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • The Buccaneers are interviewing Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter for their open offensive coordinator job, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter). Schefter reports that there is mutual interest between the two parties.
  • The Eagles have changed up their organizational structure, Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com looks at the relationship between owner Jeffrey Lurie, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, and head coach Chip Kelly, and how those relationships have evolved over the past week.
  • Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer also wrote about Kelly’s power grab against Roseman. Even though it resulted in promotions for both, Kelly clearly grabbed the upper hand in the Eagles’ organization in terms of executing his own vision for the team.
  • Washington requested permission to speak with Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz for the team’s own defensive coordinator opening, but the Bills denied Washington’s request, reports Schefter (via Twitter).

Coach Updates: Cowher, Quinn, Jets, Raiders

Shortly after Doug Marrone opted out of his contract with the Bills, former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher was mentioned as a potential target for Buffalo, but appearing today on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Cowher took himself out of the running for the Bills’ job or any other head coaching openings.

“I’m in a really good place. I really enjoy my job at CBS,” Cowher said. “You’re not going to see me on the sidelines. I enjoy it, you miss it, but not enough to get back.”

Here are a few more coaching-related tidbits that have trickled in since our last round-up:

  • Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has a jam-packed schedule today and tomorrow, according to Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Schefter reports that Quinn interviewed for the Jets‘ head coaching job this morning, and will speak to the Bears tonight, the Falcons tomorrow morning, and the Bills tomorrow night.
  • In addition to interviewing Quinn, the Jets also completed their interview with Seahawks assistant Tom Cable today, tweets Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur interviewed with the Raiders today, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). Shurmur is the second candidate to interview with the club, following Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
  • While the 49ers and Falcons were able to schedule interviews with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels within this week’s allotted window, the Bills were not, says Peter King of TheMMQB.com (via Twitter). That doesn’t mean Buffalo couldn’t try to speak to McDaniels later on, but the team may not want to wait.
  • A pair of potential candidates cited early in the process for the two Bay Area teams have yet to set up interviews — Bill Williamson of ESPN.com tweets that the Raiders haven’t requested permission to speak to Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio yet, while Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says (via Twitter) that the 49ers have yet to set anything up with Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
  • The Buccaneers interviewed current 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman for Tampa Bay’s OC position today, reports Alex Marvez of FOX Sports.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) hears that Vic Fangio‘s interview for the 49ers‘ head coaching position lasted more than six hours and was “very impressive.”
  • Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com have the details on the coaching recommendations made by the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Saints

The Buccaneers had been hoping to interview Titans tight ends coach Mike Mularkey for their open offensive coordinator job, but that won’t happen, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rapoport tweets that Tampa Bay has been denied permission to speak to Mularkey.

NFL teams aren’t allowed to block assistant coaches from interviewing for – or accepting – a job as a head coach, but that rule doesn’t apply to other jobs, including coordinator positions. In this case, the Buccaneers’ job would qualify as a promotion for Mularkey, but the Titans are within their rights to deny the Bucs the opportunity to talk to him.

Here’s more from around the NFC South:

  • The Falcons will interview Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for their head coaching opening today, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, by way of his colleague Vaughn McClure (Twitter link).
  • Rex Ryan has also scheduled his interview with the Falcons — it’ll happen on Tuesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While Ryan could be a good fit in Atlanta, some observers believe the ex-Jets coach is talking to NFL teams in order to squeeze more money out of ESPN, says Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link).
  • Examining the reserve/futures contracts signed by the Saints, Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune points out that kicker Dustin Hopkins inked the longest deal, a three-year pact that keeps him under team control through 2017.
  • Saints defensive backs Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Corey White had somewhat frustrating 2014 seasons in New Orleans, and aren’t quite sure what the team has in store for them in 2015, writes Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.

Bucs Sign Seven Players To Futures Deals

The Buccaneers have officially signed seven players to reserve/futures contracts for the 2015 season, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Three of those agreements had been previously reported, while five of the seven players come from off Tampa Bay’s practice squad. Here’s the full list:

Of the players that finished the season on the team’s practice squad, defensive back Varmah Sonie, quarterback Mike Kafka, linebacker Denicos Allen, and linebacker Ka’Lial Glaud have not been signed to new deals. Meanwhile, Auman says that the club still intends to sign former Nevada punter Chase Tenpenny to a futures contract, as had been reported last month.

New Year’s Roundup: Jets, Coaches, Colston

The Jets are moving very quickly in their search for a new GM, tweets Brian Costello of the New York Post. The team interviewed Browns personnel executive Bill Kuharich in New Jersey this morning and is currently interviewing Seahawks director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner. Citing a league source, Costello also tweets that New York plans to interview Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnan and Eagles director of pro personnel Rick Mueller on Sunday or Monday. Costello reiterates (via Twitter) that the Jets would like to hire a GM before making a decision on a new head coach, but they of course must stay active in the head coaching market lest they lose a top candidate to another club. According to another tweet from Costello, one of the most significant questions the Jets are asking GM candidates is what coaches they would like to work with.

As much of the country fixates on the Sugar Bowl, let’s take a look at a few other notes from around the league:

  • John Mullin of CSNChicago.com notes a couple of early patterns in the Bears‘ search for a new head coach and GM, pointing out that the early coaching candidates “have a preponderance of winning in their immediate pasts” and that the team is not concerned whether their new coach has more of an offensive or defensive pedigree.
  • Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times examines the most important early decisions the Bears‘ new GM must make, which include determinations on the respective futures of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall and how to handle the looming free agency of Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte, both of whom are entering the final year of their current contracts.
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Washington, seeking to fill its newly-vacant defensive coordinator position, is setting up interviews with 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, 49ers DB coach Ed Donatell, and Chargers linebackers coach Joe Barry.
  • Andrew Kulp of CSNPhilly.com looks at some of the Eagles‘ potential cap casualties, including James Casey, Trent Cole, and Cary Williams.
  • With a new mega-deal in his near future, Cowboys star wideout Dez Bryant is focused on Sunday’s playoff game against the Lions, not his next contract, writes Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today. Byrant said, “I’m just going to keep working. I can’t worry about the contract.”
  • Saints wide receiver Marques Colston knows his future in New Orleans is up in the air, and Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes that, although Colston would like to stay with the only team he has ever known, he may be released or asked to take a pay cut with two years remaining on his current contract. If asked to take a reduction in pay, Colston said his relationship with Drew Brees and Sean Payton would play a role in his decision.
  • Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 tweets that the Buccaneers are expected to request an interview with Titans tight ends coach Mike Mularkey for their vacant offensive coordinator position.


NFC South Notes: Bucs, Trestman, Draft

The Buccaneers had a disastrous 2014, but with the New Year hope they will be able to turn things around quickly. Among their top priorities are landing an improvement at quarterback and finding an offensive coordinator to replace Jeff Tedford, who missed the season after having a heart procedure in August, according to the Associated Press in USA Today.

  • Buccaneers current quarterback Josh McCown has pushed for the team to hire Marc Trestman as the offensive coordinator, reports Conor Orr of NFL.com. He mentioned his affinity for Trestman to the media, according to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. “I think Marc is an outstanding coach and an outstanding person and he has a great sense of offensive football, especially quarterback play,” said McCown. “I just know that, for me personally, I played my best football in my career under him. So obviously I have good things to say. But I’ve been around a bunch of different guys over the course of my career, and he was probably the most detailed with game plans and things like that. I really felt like he was on top of it.’’
  • Today the Oregon Ducks will play the Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl, and the Buccaneers will be watching that game closely according to Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune. The Buccaneers top need is quarterback, and they are expected to draft one with the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Their options will likely be either Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston, the past two Heisman Trophy winners. General manager Jason Licht will be in attendance for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and will probably be watching his team’s franchise quarterback one way or the other.
  • The Falcons also have had a close eye on bowl games since missing the playoffs, with general manager Thomas Dimitroff and assistant general manager Scott Pioli in attendance for the Peach Bowl between TCU and Ole Miss on New Year’s Eve, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • The Saints have 11 players set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, according to Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com. Woodbery writes that none of the 11 will have huge markets for themselves, except maybe Mark Ingram if another NFL team is in desperate need of a starting running back.

Minor Moves: Wednesday

Playoff teams and non-playoff teams both continue to make roster moves this week, and we’ll round up today’s minor transactions below. Here’s the latest:

  • The Jaguars signed wide receiver Arrelious Benn to a two-year deal, a league source tells Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Meanwhile, Dan Duggan of NJ.com reports (via Twitter) that the team also signed safety Jeremy Deering.
  • Long snapper Brandon Hartson inked a futures contract with the Chiefs, according to agent Brian McLaughlin (via Twitter). Kansas City has been busy locking up players for 2015, announcing 14 reserve deals yesterday.
  • Per Oliver Thomas of PatriotsObserver.com (via Twitter), the Patriots signed three players to reserve/futures contracts today: Defensive tackle Antonio Johnson, linebacker Rufus Johnson, and running back Dion Lewis. Since New England’s season isn’t over, the team can’t yet lock up any players from its practice squad to futures deals.
  • The Saints have added another player on a reserve/futures contract, signing veteran safety Kenny Phillips today, tweets Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune. A former first-round pick, Phillips worked out for New Orleans in November.

Earlier updates:

  • Cornerback Roc Carmichael and guard Antoine McClain inked reserve/futures deals with the Cardinals, per Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link). Carmichael has spent time with the Eagles over the last two seasons, while McClain finished the 2014 campaign on the Bears’ practice squad.
  • The Panthers signed guard Tyronne Green to a futures contract for 2015, the team announced today (Twitter link). Green most recently spent time with the Cowboys, having been cut by the team in July.
  • The Bengals have placed wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher on the injured reserve list due to a concussion, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). While losing Sanzenbacher, who caught just nine balls this season, isn’t a significant blow for Cincinnati, the team hopes A.J. Green won’t miss this weekend’s game with a similar ailment. With the newly-opened spot on the 53-man roster, the Bengals promoted wideout Cobi Hamilton from the practice squad.
  • Offensive tackle Joe Long, the brother of Rams tackle Jake Long, has been added to the Lions‘ taxi squad, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Detroit had been carrying just nine players on its unit, so no corresponding move was required to make room for Long.
  • The Buccaneers have signed former Northern Colorado quarterback Seth Lobato to a reserve/futures contract for 2015, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.

Coach Updates: Raiders, Ryan, 49ers, Bucs

As they search for a new head coach, the Raiders have requested permission to interview Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Anderson (via Twitter), the Raiders are genuinely intrigued by Hamilton, having heard good things about him. Because Indianapolis has a game this weekend, Hamilton won’t be able to speak to Oakland until next week at the earliest, assuming he has interest in the job.

Here are a few more coaching-related notes from around the NFL:

  • Reports have suggested that Rex Ryan has no interest in accepting a coordinator job this offseason, but that doesn’t mean that teams won’t try. According to Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post, the Dolphins made an offer to the former Jets head coach to become Miami’s next defensive coordinator. Per Fortenbaugh, the offer was for multiple years and was worth approximately $8MM in total.
  • A league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that “a perception exists that Rex has been politicking too aggressively” for the Falcons‘ head coaching vacancy, which could rub owner Arthur Blank the wrong way. Ryan is scheduled to interview for the position.
  • Multiple Shanahans appear to be in the mix for the 49ers‘ head coaching job — Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com indicated that Niners GM Trent Baalke spoke to Mike Shanahan on Tuesday, while Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted earlier this week that Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is a candidate for San Francisco. It’s not clear if the team has set up an interview with either coach yet.
  • The 49ers got their interview process underway yesterday, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was the first candidate to sit down with the team, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. As we heard last night, Seahawks DC Dan Quinn interviewed later in the day.
  • Rick Stroud of the Tampa Tribune identifies 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg as likely candidates for the Buccaneers‘ OC job, with the team expected to request interviews for both. Like Dirk Koetter of the Falcons, whose name surfaced yesterday, those coordinators work for teams that recently parted ways with their head coaches. According to Stroud, the Bucs may also pursue ex-Bears head coach Marc Trestman.