Month: January 2021

Lions Hire Aaron Glenn As DC

After a false start, Detroit has sealed the deal. The Lions have agreed to hire Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn as their defensive coordinator (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). 

[RELATED: Lions Hire Dan Campbell]

Glenn’s stock has skyrocketed in recent years. The longtime NFL cornerback was even considered for the Jets’ head coaching vacancy, before Robert Saleh came away with the job. The Bengals also tried to interview him for their DC role back in 2019, before they were blocked by the Saints.

Glenn entered the league as a first-round pick of the Jets and went on to enjoy 15 years in the league. He stayed in the game after his retirement in 2008 with scouting role before launching his coaching career with the Browns in 2014.

Saints head coach Sean Payton has spoken highly of Glenn, so it’s no surprise to see him move up the ladder. With offensively-minded head coach Dan Campbell at the helm, Glenn figures to have ample control over the other side of the ball.

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Steelers To Sign Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins has a new home. On Thursday, the Steelers agreed to sign the quarterback to a one-year deal, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Steelers Interviewed Hue Jackson For OC Job]

The Steelers met with the former first-round in the morning and quickly decided to bring him on board. It’s likely a minimum-salary deal for Haskins — or something close to it — so this is about as low-risk as it gets. Haskins was horrendous in Washington, but he was the No. 15 overall pick less than two years ago.

Haskins dazzled evaluators with his arm strength coming out of Ohio State. The cannon is still there, though his decision making — both on and off the field — was questioned in Washington. Head coach Ron Rivera released Haskins after a terrible Week 16 showing. Just one week prior to that, Haskins was photographed maskless at a birthday party.

Now, Haskins has a chance at NFL redemption. He won’t be starting, but he will have an opportunity to learn from one of the best in Ben Roethlisberger.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Hire Joe Cullen As DC

The Jaguars have hired Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen as their new defensive coordinator, according to ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley and Dan Graziano (on Twitter). Cullen, who once served as Jacksonville’s DL coach, was Urban Meyer‘s No. 1 choice for the DC vacancy.

[RELATED: Jaguars Hire Trent Baalke As GM]

Cullen comes from the Wink Martindale coaching tree with experience spanning the league. Previous stops for Cullen also included the Buccaneers, Browns, and Lions. He also donned the headset for Indiana and Richmond at the college level.

The Jaguars’ new-look regime is coming together quickly. On Thursday morning, they officially hired ex-49ers czar Trent Baalke as their general manager. Now, they’ve got Cullen to manage Meyer’s defense. Scott Linehan and Raheem Morris were also considered for DC, though Morris has since accepted the same role with the Rams.

The Ravens, meanwhile, will have to fill multiple spots on their defensive staff. In addition to Cullen, they need replacements for linebackers coach Mike Macdonald and defensive backs coach Jesse Minter who left for UMich and Vanderbilt, respectively.

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Eagles To Hire Nick Sirianni As Head Coach

The Eagles have found their new head coach. On Thursday, the Birds agreed to hire Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

Sirianni is a logical candidate for the Eagles, who are looking to get Carson Wentz get back on track. Sirianni spent three seasons as a Chiefs assistant, five seasons with the Chargers, and the past three with the Colts. After working with Philip Rivers in 2020, the 39-year-old will try to work his magic with Wentz and understudy Jalen Hurts.

Under Sirianni’s watch, Rivers completed 68% of his throws for 4,169 yards with 24 touchdowns against eleven interceptions. The Colts went on to make the playoffs, though they fell to the Bills in the Wild Card round.

Sirianni isn’t just a quarterback specialist — he’s coached multiple positions with a proven track record of cultivating young talent. Wide receivers Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and Zach Pascal all excelled under his watch. Sirianni also figures to hit it off with Wentz, since his ex-boss Frank Reich got the best out of the QB when he was in Philly.

Sirianni beat out a number of well-established candidates and rumored named for the job, as shown in PFR’s 2021 Head Coaching Search Tracker:

  • Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator
  • Todd Bowles, Buccaneers defensive coordinator
  • Joe Brady, Panthers offensive coordinator
  • Mike Kafka, Chiefs quarterbacks coach
  • Jerod Mayo, Patriots inside linebackers coach
  • Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator
  • Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma head coach
  • Robert Saleh, 49ers defensive coordinator
  • Arthur Smith, Titans offensive coordinator
  • Brandon Staley, Rams defensive coordinator
  • Duce Staley, Eagles running backs coach

McDaniels, who famously spurned the Colts a few years ago, was believed to be the other finalist.

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Coaching Rumors: 49ers, Chargers, Jaguars, Eagles

The 49ers‘ staff is starting to come together, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes. Chris Foerster has been bumped up to primary offensive line coach while Rich Scangarello will return as the quarterbacks coach. Scangarello served as SF’s QBs coach in 2017 and 2018 before the Broncos tapped him as their OC in 2019. After a rough time in Denver and one year in Philly, he’s headed back to the Bay Area.

Here’s a look at the latest coach and coordinator news:

  • The Chargers will interview Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon for their defensive coordinator job, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Gannon is also being considered by the Bears for their DC role.
  • Meanwhile, new Chargers coach Brandon Staley is bringing Rams assistant Joe Barry along for the ride as his defensive passing game coordinator and linebackers coach (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • The Jaguars have requested an interview with Colts quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady for their offensive coordinator job, as Pelissero tweets.
  • The Eagles are interested in interviewing Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel, according to Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Fassel, the son of ex-Giants head coach Jim Fassel, spent eight years as the Rams’ ST coordinator. He also served as the Rams’ interim head coach for the final three games of 2016.

Steelers Interviewed Hue Jackson For OC Job

The Steelers interviewed former Browns head coach Hue Jackson earlier this week for their offensive coordinator vacancy (Twitter link via Dianna Russini of ESPN.com). However, it doesn’t seem that Jackson will get the job, since quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has been ticketed for a promotion.

[RELATED: Steelers To Promote Matt Canada To OC]

At one point in time, Jackson was regarded as one of the NFL’s top offensive gurus. Then, he went 3-36-1 record across two-and-a-half tumultuous seasons with the Browns and his stock plummeted. The Browns placed much of the blame on Jackson’s shoulders. Jackson, naturally, sees things differently. Jackson has been out of the NFL picture ever since, save for a brief return to the Bengals as an assistant to Marvin Lewis in late 2018.

While his work as a dual head coach/OC with the Browns was ineffective, Jackson did lead the Bengals to a No. 2 ranking in offensive DVOA in 2015, his last season as strictly an offensive play-caller. Jackson won’t make his comeback in Pittsburgh, but other teams could still consider the veteran coach in this cycle.

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Dwayne Haskins To Visit Steelers

Former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins will meet with the Steelers on Thursday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The former first-round pick could provide quarterback depth and upside for Pittsburgh on a low-cost, low-risk deal. 

The Panthers also kicked the tires on Haskins recently, though that meeting ended without a deal. No one’s expecting greatness from Haskins — at least, not immediately — but he would likely come on a minimum-salary contract.

Before his late-season release, Haskins averaged 6.3 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. After getting dumped by Washington, Haskins mutually parted ways with agent David Mulugheta. He’s since caught on with Goal Line Football agency and his new reps are searching for his best fit.

Washington had high hopes for Haskins in 2019. Ultimately, his Week 16 performance in 2020 was the final straw. Starting in place of Alex Smith, Haskins completed just 50% of his throws for 154 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was leapfrogged by Taylor Heinicke and responded poorly, prompting head coach Ron Rivera to show him the door.

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Chargers Interview Renaldo Hill For DC

The Chargers interviewed Broncos defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill for their defensive coordinator position, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, Staley. Hill has history with new head coach Brandon Staley after working with him in 2019.

Hill, a former NFL safety, has managed the Broncos’ defensive backs for the past two seasons. He began his coaching career at Wyoming in 2012, before breaking into the pros as the Dolphins’ assistant DBs coach in 2018. Hill has long been considered a “rising star” in the coaching ranks — the Chargers DC job would represent a slingshot up the ladder.

Earlier this week, Staley brought over another former Broncos colleague in Frank Smith. Smith, who spent 2020 as the Raiders’ tight ends coach, will serve as the Bolts’ offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Meanwhile, the Chargers were said to be targeting Kevin O’Connell for their OC vacancy, but they’ll have to look elsewhere after the Rams blocked the interview.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Hire Trent Baalke As GM

Now, it’s official. On Thursday, the Jaguars formally hired Trent Baalke as their new general manager.

Trent Baalke has had success at virtually every level of football, notably so as a GM who shrewdly and quickly built an NFL conference championship organization and team,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “Trent thoroughly knows the NFL and the dynamics of today’s game, has an exceptional eye for talent, and I know will have excellent chemistry with head coach Urban Meyer as they begin their mission to bring a consistent winner to our fans in Jacksonville.”

Baalke, 56, served as the Niners’ GM from 2011-2016. Roughly one year ago today, the Jaguars brought him in as their director of player personnel. Nine months later, he was bumped up to the interim GM role when David Caldwell was fired. Now, he has the full-time position where he’ll lead the Jaguars’ latest reboot alongside Meyer.

The Niners secured 35 Pro Bowl selections and made a Super Bowl appearance during Baalke’s six-year run with the team. Things cooled off near the end, however, following Jim Harbaugh‘s departure. The 49ers missed the playoffs in Harbaugh’s last season, and Baalke’s replacement hires — Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly — were one-and-dones.

Before hiring Baalke, the Jaguars also considered the likes of Jerry Reese, Rick SmithLouis RiddickTerry Fontenot, and Ray Farmer.

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Mark Ingram Clears Waivers

Ravens running back Mark Ingram is now a full-fledged free agent. After going unclaimed on waivers, Ingram is free to sign with any team, including those in the playoffs.

[RELATED: Ravens To Explore Extension For Lamar Jackson]

Per league rules, Ingram would have been barred from taking the field for any playoff team that claimed him this week. However, after passing through the waiver wire, he’s postseason-eligible. The Bills, for example, sign Ingram today and have him on the field for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs.

The Ravens made Ingram a healthy scratch in each of their playoff games this year. Once they were eliminated, they released Ingram to save $5MM against the 2021 cap and allow him to catch on elsewhere. The Ravens could have waited until mid-February or March to do the same thing, but they wanted to give Ingram and other players like Robert Griffin III an opportunity to win a championship.

Ingram, 31, finished out with just 72 carries for 299 yards in nine games. It was the worst season of his career, but he did still manage 4.2 yards per tote. The Bills, who have lacked consistency on the ground, could use someone like that. And, for what it’s worth, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh believes that he still has gas left in the tank.

He’ll still play, I guarantee you,” Harbaugh said (via AL.com). “Mark and I had this conversation. He has plenty of football left. He’s going to contribute next year and beyond in the [NFL]…He’s a very good player, a very physical back. I remember when we played him the last time we played the Saints, and you see a guy on tape, and then he ran up our sideline and hit a couple guys on the sideline and popped up. And I looked at him, I was like, ‘This guy is physical, man. This guy is a tank.’ And he also had great feet. I was really impressed with him. Then we got him here, and I got to see it close up.”

Meanwhile, the Ravens will build their running game around J.K. Dobbins, who averaged an eye-popping 6.0 yards per carry in his rookie season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.