North Notes: Bears, Steelers, Browns

The Bears intend to bring in competition for much-maligned kicker Cody Parkey, according to general manager Ryan Pace (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune). “We need more production out of that position,” said Pace. “It will be an emphasis of focus for us.” Parkey, of course, had a game-winning kick blocked in the final seconds of Chicago’s Wild Card round loss to the Eagles, but his results during the regular season were also unspectacular. Signed to a four-year, $15MM contract last March, Parkey proceeded to finish third-to-last in the NFL with a 76.7% field goal conversion rate. Football Outsiders‘ special teams metrics, meanwhile, ranked the Bears 29th in field goals and extra points. Chicago, which handed Parkey $9MM in full guarantees, would incur more than $5MM in dead money by cutting the 26-year-old.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Bengals head coach-to-be Zac Taylor is “very interested” in having Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan join his new staff in Cincinnati, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The only problem? Callahan is still under contract in Washington, so the Redskins would need to permit the move. The Bengals parted ways with OL coach Frank Pollack earlier this week, so they’re looking for a new coach to lead their front five. Taylor played quarterback under Callahan at Nebraska, so the two certainly have a familiarity.
  • The Steelers have hired North Carolina State tight ends/fullbacks/special teams coach Eddie Faulkner as their new running backs coach, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Faulkner coached current Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels as recently as 2017, and he’ll now have the opportunity to lead both Samuels and James Conner next season. He’ll replace James Saxon, who left to take the same position with the Cardinals.
  • After losing former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Broncos, the Bears are overhauling their defensive staff under new play-caller Chuck Pagano. Safeties coach Roy Anderson and linebackers coach Glenn Pires will not be retained, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune and Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter links). Pagano surely wants to formulate his own staff, but Anderson had worked with Pagano in both Baltimore and Indianapolis, so his departure is relatively surprising.
  • Broncos’ offensive tackles coach Chris Strausser is generating interest from the Browns, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. Strausser, who handled Denver’s tackles while Sean Kugler (who recently left for the Cardinals) managed the club’s interior offensive line, is likely being allowed to pursue other opportunities now that Fangio is in place. Cleveland recently hired ex-Packers offensive line coach James Campen for the same role.
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11 comments on “North Notes: Bears, Steelers, Browns

  1. tsolid

    James Saxon “didn’t leave”. His contract wasn’t renewed. So, unofficially fired.

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    • bravesfan88
      bravesfan88

      I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure most teams don’t have an OT coach and an OL coach. Typically each team just has one coach for the offensive line. .

      Either way though, each team seemingly has a ridiculous number of specialized assistant coaches..I can’t exactly remember the number each team is allowed, but I do recall their being a limit. Also, in college, I think it was last season, they just increased the number, allowing each coaching staff to hire one more extra assistant..

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    • crosseyedlemon

      Back when the AFL started up a HC would have maybe 4 or 5 assistance and a team trainer. That was it. OCs did not exist as QBs were expected to call the plays. Now you have teams with about 20 assistants and yet players have the tackling skills of grade schoolers. It’s absurd.

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    • Djones246890

      Yup. When a team does well, the head coach gets all the glory, but in a sport like football, he might barely ever even converse with some of the players.

      It’s usually the special coaches that players are closest with. A perfect example is Buddy Ryan and the Bears’ defense from the Super Bowl team. Most of them didn’t even like Ditka.

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      • crosseyedlemon

        I think the proliferation of coaching assistants is basically a mirror of government bureaucracy in general. Inflated staff numbers allows the top people plausible deniability and a way to cover their a$$es when there is a major screwup. The guy on the low rung of the ladder gets tossed to the wolves.

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  2. bravesfan88
    bravesfan88

    So, basically Alabama and Saban was able to start grooming some other school’s future OC, DC, or HC..lol It’s gotten absurdly ridiculous how other schools are picking off Bama’s assistants left and right year after year. I think this year it has been what, something like 5 assistant coaches that’s been plucked from Saban’s staff!?!…lol

    NCAA is launching a new reality soap opera feat. Bama’s coaching staff called As the Tide Turns..haha..

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    • afsooner02

      Not the first to lose a ton of assistants, won’t be the last. Part of the game.

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    • profhambone2
      profhambone2

      Remember that the college football machines are really the minor league clubs for the NFL of which the tab seems to be picked up by the taxpayer unlike baseball which funds itself. Kind of like the tab Las Vegas is putting out to get the rotten Raiderettes until the rotten ones decide to move back to Cali in about 5-10 years of declining interest……There is no great enthusiasm here for the Gruden losers even in a place that is the last in education of the 50 states……

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  3. No way should the Redskins allow Bill Callahan to leave. He managed to keep a crowd of bus stop free agents blocking to the tune of a 1000 yard season for Adrian Peterson. Two quarterbacks went down for the season but only one of those can be blamed on the offensive line. I believe it was a running back who missed his block on one of them.

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    • crosseyedlemon

      I guess it’s too late to bring Jim Hanifan out of retirement but how about Dan Dierdorf as a replacement for Bill. I’ve always been curious as to what Dan would be like as an OL coach.

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