Coaching Notes: Vikings, Browns, Dolphins, Jets

Right after the biggest coaching news of the cycle dropped with the Packers’ hiring of Matt Lafleur, we have a fresh batch of coaching rumors ready.

One of the most prominent coordinator openings is the Vikings’ offensive coordinator position. The team fired John DeFilippo midseason, and promoted Kevin Stefanski to that role. Although many initially thought Stefanski would be back in Minnesota, he is “unlikely to return”, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), who notes the team is “looking for depth of experience.” Robinson writes that former Titans head coach Mike Mularkey is a candidate for the job, and he thinks recently fired Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter is a candidate as well.

Koetter is indeed a candidate for the job, confirms Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. A source told Goessling that Koetter is a strong candidate for the job. Interestingly both Koetter and Mularkey have interviewed for the Falcons’ OC job in recent days. Koetter was Atlanta’s playcaller before landing the job in Tampa Bay. Robinson writes that Koetter has been “presumed across the league to be a lock for the Falcons OC job”, but that Minnesota is “in play” for him as well.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Mike McCarthy has been linked to the Browns job ever since he was fired by Green Bay, but things appear to be cooling off between the two sides. Cleveland “talked with either Mike McCarthy or his reps today, but things are on hold for now while the Browns talk to other candidates”, sources told Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. While it sounds like the Browns have put McCarthy on the back-burner, Demovsky notes he is still “very much in play for the Jets.”
  • Speaking of the Browns, the team completed their interview with interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens today, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. It’s unclear if Kitchens has a real shot at landing the head coaching job, as the back half of this season was his only experience even calling plays after he was promoted from quarterbacks coach, but he received a ton of praise for his work for Baker Mayfield. If he doesn’t get the job it’s highly possible he’s retained as OC by whoever takes over in Cleveland.
  • Pittsburgh’s offensive line coach Mike Munchak has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to leave the Steelers, and a source told Aditi Kinkhabwala of ESPN.com that he turned down an interview request from the Dolphins (Twitter link). Munchak has been very selective over who he’ll talk to in recent years, and it seems like the only way he’ll be on the move this cycle is if he lands the Broncos’ job. Recent reports have him as the “early favorite” for that gig.
  • We heard yesterday that the Jets were looking to set something up with Baylor coach Matt Rhule, and that meeting has apparently already taken place. The Jets “have discussed their head coaching vacancy” with Rhule, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Rhule has been buzzed about in NFL circles in recent years, as he’s done a great job turning around the programs at Temple and Baylor. He was considered for the Colts’ opening last year, but ended up removing his name from consideration.
  • The Dolphins were originally supposed to interview their special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi for their head coaching vacancy today, but the interview has been rescheduled for later in the week, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Rizzi is an outside the box candidate, but numerous former and current Dolphins players have lobbied for him to receive consideration. So far the Dolphins have interviewed Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, and Cowboys’ defensive playcaller Kris Richard in their search to replace Adam Gase. Whoever gets the job in Miami will likely have a new quarterback under center, as the team is expected
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15 comments on “Coaching Notes: Vikings, Browns, Dolphins, Jets

  1. steelerbravenation

    Please Elway hire your boy Gase & leave Munchack right where he is !!!!!!

  2. “Pittsburgh’s offensive line coach Mike Munchak has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to leave the Steelers…” Looks like he wants out of that soap opera clubhouse.

    • TJECK109

      Don’t you think if that’s what he really wanted that he’d be taking any interview he was offered. What a moronic statement

      • Right. Quoting the reporter is a moronic statement. Maybe the moron is the person who thinks they know more than the story being reported. ” if that’s what he really wanted…” Say buh-bye to Mikey. LOL!

    • Worzelmangel

      It seems that the sentence structure is a bit poor. It should say that he is only willing to leave if he finds the perfect opportunity.

  3. Michael Chaney

    I really hope Freddie Kitchens is the guy for the Browns. He was a very creative playcaller and the offense (especially Baker) looked rejuvenated under him. His lack of experience is definitely an issue, but I don’t see any of the candidates as being better than he is. If he gets an experienced assistant or two to round out his staff, I think he’d be fine.

    I know the Browns really like him, but if they like him so much then they should just promote him. They could keep him as the OC for another year or two under a different coach, but if he keeps up his success calling plays then he’ll be gone soon anyway, so they might as well keep him permanently and just give him the job.

    • sufferfortribe

      When looking over the list of people they’re interviewing, most are the same as Freddie — coordinators. Only Caldwell, McCarthy, and Munchak have head coaching experience, I believe. Caldwell and Munchak were underwhelming as head coaches, and McCarthy doesn’t fit at all. In fact, none do.
      I wonder if the search committee has chatted with the team, and Baker in particular, about their feelings when it comes to Kitchens?

      I didn’t include Triple-G in my assessment, because I don’t want to see him and his weak, 30th ranked defense as the next HC.

      • Michael Chaney

        You’re right about most of them only being coordinators, but Freddie has even less experience calling plays than those guys do. But what he did in the few weeks he was the OC, I was really impressed. If they’re really so against losing him, just give him the job now.

        They’ve made a lot of their moves with Baker specifically in mind, so I’m sure he’ll at least have some say. They probably won’t hire someone just because he likes them, but I doubt they’d hire a guy that Baker wouldn’t like either.

  4. RollTribe

    Kitchens wasn’t the QB coach he was the running backs coach and assistant HC

  5. Bubba

    Wow the Browns are finally showing some common sense by cooling off on “ McCant win even with Aaron Rodgers”. Too much talent for them to let him bozo it up.

    • Michael Chaney

      I think the only thing that could get Dabo out of Clemson would be if he could return to Alabama

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