Month: October 2019

AFC Coaching Rumors: Jets, Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins, Browns

Two coaches fired after the 2017 season look to have secured additional interviews about possible 2019 top jobs. Jim Caldwell will interview with the Jets, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. Chuck Pagano is now expected to interview with the Broncos, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Caldwell has already met with the Packers and been connected to the Browns’ wide-ranging search as well.

Here’s the latest from the AFC’s side of the coaching carousel.

  • Another year, another issue with the Jets‘ OC. After John Morton‘s stay in New York featured conflict, apparently Jeremy Bates‘ did as well. A growing frustration sprouted about Bates’ play-calling, something Jets GM Mike Maccagnan became aware of, Vacchiano reports. Bates is now in limbo after Todd Bowles‘ firing, and one agent suggested the Jets would have had to fire their OC if they wanted to land impact free agents on offense. Jermaine Kearse was also not happy with Bates’ work, per Vacchiano. The Jets may have more than one major hire to make in the coming weeks. Bates spent 2017 as New York’s QBs coach before taking over for Morton.
  • The expansive Browns search thus far does not include Josh McDaniels, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com tweets. A Cleveland-area native, McDaniels was part of the Browns’ turbulent 2014 coaching search that ended with Mike Pettine. The Bengals have requested a meeting with McDaniels, but he has not yet accepted. McDaniels can interview this week because of the Patriots’ bye week.
  • The Broncos are monitoring Mike McCarthy, but no interview is as of yet scheduled, Klis tweets. McCarthy has been connected to just about every opening thus far. The 13-year Packers coach may sit this cycle out, unless he sees a perfect fit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
  • Rex Ryan contacting possible assistant coaches about the Dolphins‘ vacancy appears to have been premature. He is not in the running to land the Miami job, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). This would have been Ryan’s third AFC East job. The former Jets and Bills coach has not been mentioned on Black Monday as a candidate for any of the eight openings.
  • The latest Leonard Fournette incident appears to have cost a coach his job. The Jaguars fired running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley on Monday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Jacksonville is retaining Doug Marrone but is looking for a new offensive coordinator, so there will now be another position available. Wheatley just finished his second season as the Jags’ RBs coach.
  • In addition to Wheatley, the Jags are canning three other assistants — defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and defensive line coach Marion Hobby, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Both Fewell and Flaherty spent extensive time with Tom Coughlin on Giants coaching staffs. This was Hobby’s first NFL job.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 12/31/18

New Year’s Eve marks the first day eliminated teams can sign players to reserve/futures contracts. Here is the first wave of those decisions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Falcons, Dirk Koetter Discussing Reunion?

Dirk Koetter may land on his feet soon. The recently fired Buccaneers head coach is the leading candidate to replace Steve Sarkisian as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Koetter preceded Kyle Shanahan in this role, working as Atlanta’s OC from 2012-14, before Mike Smith‘s ouster led Koetter to Tampa. Former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell will interview for the role, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

While Bevell was out of the league this year, Koetter oversaw one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. His head coaching tenure in Tampa did not end the Bucs’ now-11-season playoff drought, but Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick were able to consistently put up yards. Tampa Bay finished third in total offense this season. Two of Koetter’s three Falcons attacks ranked in the top 10; the 2012 team voyaged to the NFC’s No. 1 seed but blew a 17-point lead in the conference title game.

Bevell is expected to interview with the Falcons within the next two days, per Rapoport. The Seahawks fired him after the 2017 season, and other interviews did not lead to a Bevell 2018 landing spot. Whether it’s Koetter, Bevell or another coach, this process should be settled quickly, Ledbetter adds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals, Packers Request To Interview Saints’ Dan Campbell

The 2015 Dolphins’ interim coach, Dan Campbell has spent the past three seasons as the Saints’ tight ends boss. He looks set to re-enter the coaching carousel.

In addition to receiving a Browns interview request, Campbell has heard from the Cardinals and Packers about hopeful meetings, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (on Twitter).

Also carrying the title of assistant head coach in New Orleans, Campbell was connected to the Colts’ post-Josh McDaniels job search last year and interviewed for the Vikings’ OC job that eventually went to John DeFilippo. Prior to being promoted to the Dolphins’ HC in the wake of Joe Philbin‘s early-season firing three years ago, Campbell had been Miami’s tight ends coach for more than four years.

The Cardinals and Packers have been busy with interview requests on the first day of non-playoff-qualifying teams’ offseasons. After already meeting with Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano, Green Bay sent out requests for powwows with Titans OC Matt LaFleur, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, Northwestern HC Pat Fitzgerald and Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, who has not yet decided which interviews he will take. The Broncos, Browns, Dolphins and Packers have sent Flores meeting requests.

Arizona has contacted Rams QBs coach Zac Taylor and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, whom the Jets, Buccaneers and Dolphins have also contacted. The Cardinals interviewed Flores earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos’ HC Search

The Broncos’ John Harbaugh interest appears to have cooled. A potential trade for the Ravens HC is not on the Broncos’ radar, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Neither is a once-discussed reunion with Mike Shanahan, per Denver7’s Troy Renck (Twitter link). Former Denver OC Adam Gase is also out of the picture.

One more candidate John Elway is hoping to meet with emerged Monday afternoon, however, in Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Both the Bengals and Cardinals have already sought summits with the 35-year-old Taylor. Taylor already has a meeting scheduled with the Broncos, per SNY.tv’s Ralph Vacchiano (Twitter link). The Rams’ bye allows for teams to interview Taylor this week.

Denver already sought an audience with New England linebackers coach Brian Flores and has secured meetings with Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak and Bears DC Vic Fangio. Denver’s last such hire, Vance Joseph, obviously didn’t work out. But offensive coaches are in high demand.

Additionally, Gary Kubiak is expected to stay in Denver, 9News’ Mike Klis notes (via Twitter). Kubiak has spent the past two years in Denver’s front office but has been connected to a possible return to offensive coordinating; that could help explain the Broncos’ interest in defensive-minded leaders. Elway confirmed (via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com) a Kubiak return to an offensive staff position is being considered.

Elway told Joseph’s assistants they are still under contract with the Broncos, but given the turnover that usually comes with new HC hires, these aids will be allowed to pursue other jobs, per Klis (on Twitter).

Elway considered a move to bring back Shanahan last year, but Broncos president Joe Ellis played the lead role in scuttling that. The Broncos had been connected to Harbaugh for a bit, even after it became known the Ravens were not going to fire him. He and Kubiak worked together in Baltimore.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Request Matt LaFleur Meeting

Sean McVay‘s influence continues to intrigue teams. The Packers requested a head coach interview with Titans OC Matt LaFleur, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

LaFleur spent the 2017 season as McVay’s OC, though McVay called the Rams’ plays. LaFleur, though, made the move to play-caller this year in Tennessee. He joins Rams QBs coach Zac Taylor and tight ends coach Shane Waldron as current or recent McVay assistants to receive meeting requests.

Just 39, LaFleur wrapped up his first year calling plays, doing so for a team that had trouble keeping Marcus Mariota healthy. The Titans, however, often struggled on offense. They finished the year ranked 27th in points and 25th in total yards. Mariota battled an elbow problem early and only threw 11 touchdown passes this season. The Titans fired Mike Mularkey, in large part, to accelerate Mariota’s development.

But Tennessee also did not feature many passing-game weapons, after the Week 1 loss of Delanie Walker. The Packers have requested interviews with LaFleur and Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak and have also already met with Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins, Jets Seek Kris Richard Meeting

The two AFC East teams with head coaching vacancies have contacted a popular NFC East assistant.

Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard received interview requests from the Jets and Dolphins on Monday, NJ.com’s Darryl Slater and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter report (Twitter links).

During the 2018 hiring period, the Seahawks fired Richard after he’d spent three years as their defensive coordinator. A year later, it looks like he will have an opportunity to make a big move. The Jets and Dolphins, though, must wait to meet with the Dallas assistant. The Cowboys’ first-round playoff game prevents teams from meeting with Richard this week.

Previously the Legion of Boom’s position coach from 2012-14, Richard played a key role in Seattle’s rare run of defensive dominance. He has since overseen Byron Jones‘ breakout season and helped a Dallas secondary seeking safety help for months manage its current situation. Also serving as the Cowboys’ defensive passing game coordinator, the 39-year-old assistant has improved Dallas’ pass-defense DVOA mark as well.

The Jets choosing a defensive coach would continue a long trend. The franchise has not hired an offensively oriented leader since the mid-1990s.

Bengals Request Josh McDaniels Interview

The biggest name in the Bengals’ coaching search has surfaced. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels received an interview request from the Bengals, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

McDaniels joins Rams offensive staffers Zac Taylor and Shane Waldron, along with Bengals OC Bill Lazor and in-house ST coordinator Darrin Simmons. Both Lazor and Simmons have interviews scheduled. It’s not known if the other three will meet with Bengals management for the job.

One of the toughest interview candidates, having repeatedly rebuffed requests or (most recently) backtracking on an agreement to become the Colts’ head coach, McDaniels being connected here is obviously interesting. It’s showing teams are still valuing what he could bring to the table from an offensive standpoint. The longtime New England OC was viewed as potentially radioactive after his decision to spurn Indianapolis.

But the Patriots continually boast one of the NFL’s best offenses. The Bengals could interview McDaniels this week, with the Pats again securing a bye week. Their offense has not been as potent as in years past, with Tom Brady showing slight signs of slippage and Rob Gronkowski not the factor he once was, but McDaniels’ unit still ranks fourth in scoring and fifth in total yardage.