Adam Gase

AFC Notes: Steelers, Brown, Jets, Texans

We first heard earlier this week that Steelers receiver Antonio Brown had been involved in some sort of domestic dispute last month. Shortly after details came out, and Brown was accused of having shoved his daughter’s mother to the ground, with the NFL announcing they would investigate. Brown denied any wrongdoing, and today his attorney pushed back even further. Brown’s lawyer forcefully denied Brown did anything wrong, accusing the mother of being in the wrong in the situation regarding Brown’s daughter, and said Brown did not get violent in any way, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN (Twitter link).

The lawyer also elaborated that Brown is now filing for custody of his daughter in court. It’s yet another dramatic chapter in the saga surrounding the Steelers, and while the situation is still very murky as of right now, we’ll almost certainly have more details soon.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Speaking of organizational drama, the Jets have found themselves in a mini controversy of their own. It was reported a few days ago that there was already some tension between new head coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, as the team objected to Williams bringing his son Blake Williams onboard as a coach. While the team eventually relented and added the younger Williams as a defensive assistant, the drama doesn’t end there. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com has a great breakdown of the situation unfolding, as Gase hired his own father-in-law Joe Vitt as an assistant coach as well. Vitt and Williams have a longstanding beef, as both were members of the Saints’ coaching staff during the infamous bountygate scandal. According to Cimini, Vitt testified against Williams during the league’s hearings on the scandal, and accused him of lying. They’ll now be serving on the same staff together again, and it’ll be very interesting to see if the bad blood has been put to rest.
  • Last week, the Texans promoted Tim Kelly to offensive coordinator. Head coach Bill O’Brien has called plays in the past, but O’Brien left the door open for Kelly to call plays during a recent radio interview, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). “There’s no doubt in my mind that Tim Kelly is ready to call plays”, O’Brien said, before adding that it would be “a collaborative effort.” Kelly was previously the team’s tight ends coach.
  • In case you missed it, suspended Patriots and Raiders receivers Josh Gordon and Martavis Bryant may apply for re-instatement in the next couple of months.

AFC East Notes: Brady, Dolphins, Jets

Following the Patriots‘ third Super Bowl title of the decade, they again have their legendary quarterback going into a contract year. Robert Kraft is on board with another Tom Brady extension, but no talks have commenced yet, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Brady has never played into a contract year. While some uncertainty existed around Brady’s place with the Patriots last offseason, Breer adds the key parties are on good terms this year. The 41-year-old quarterback said before Super Bowl LIII he was not going to retire, and an extension would bring down his $27MM cap number. Brady signed team-friendly deals in 2013 and ’16 around the Combine those years.

With the quarterback market finally making big strides over the past year and change, Brady’s demands could justifiably increase. Brady’s historic contributions to the franchise notwithstanding, Bill Belichick may not be wild about a possible $30MM-AAV contract for Brady that runs into future Hall of Famer’s mid-40s, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran offered during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show (video link). Of course, with the Patriots an annual title contender and no heir apparent in place, it would seem unthinkable a Brady pact does not get done this offseason.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Although Ryan Tannehill is not expected to return to the Dolphins, GM Chris Grier said no decision has been made on that front. The Dolphins are expected to trade or release Tannehill, and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweets a photo of the seven-year Dolphin quarterback has been removed from their press room. Grier wants input from Brian Flores and his new staff on the 30-year-old quarterback, but the Dolphins are expected to move on from their six-season starter. With an eye on the 2020 quarterback class, they are not believed to be targeting a high-priced free agent to replace Tannehill, either.
  • Armed with nearly $100MM in cap space and a GM potentially on the hot seat, the Jets make sense as Le’Veon Bell‘s buyer. While one report indicated New York won’t use a bank-breaking approach to land the All-Pro running back, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano notes the Jets are still zeroed in on Bell. The soon-to-be 27-year-old back is still believed to prefer the Colts, per Vacchiano, but Indianapolis may not view him in the same light.
  • Some turmoil has already hit Gregg Williams‘ new team. Mike Maccagnan and Adam Gase initially did not view Blake Williams as a hiring priority for the Jets’ defensive staff, and this irked Blake’s father, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. Gregg Williams was frustrated with Maccagnan and Gase, but the new Gang Green DC won out, with Blake Williams signed on as linebackers coach. Blake upset some Rams staffers during his time as St. Louis assistant, before being fired after the 2013 season, Cimini notes, adding the young coach has developed somewhat of a polarizing reputation.
  • The Jets may have an issue trading Leonard Williams, with a $14.2MM salary due, but Vacchiano points out the general consensus around the NFL is the 2015 top-10 pick has been misused in New York. With the Jets moving to a 4-3 look under Gregg Williams, Leonard Williams is not a lock to be back. Of course, Gregg Williams may view the former 3-4 defensive end as a weapon in his scheme. The Jets are light on surefire front-seven talent, so their new DC might want some capable veterans to stay.

Poll: Which Team Made Best HC Hire?

With the NFL now in the two-week waiting period until its final meaningful game, 30 of the 32 teams are going through offseason motions. And some of those teams are still deciding on coordinators.

Unless another Patriots assistant reneges on an agreement post-Super Bowl, or Zac Taylor makes an 11th-hour decision to remain in Los Angeles rather than taking over in Cincinnati, the eight NFL teams in need of head coaches made their choices.

So, which franchise best positioned itself for long-term success?

The trend being offensive innovation to keep up with some of the ahead-of-the-curve offenses, six of the eight teams hired offensively oriented coaches.

By a substantial margin, the Cardinals won the outside-the-box trophy. After washing out as an NFL quarterback in the mid-2000s, Kliff Kingsbury spent more than a decade as a college coach. The 39-year-old groomed some sought-after NFL talent in Patrick Mahomes, Case Keenum and Davis Webb, while also bringing Baker Mayfield to Texas Tech for a short stay. But he finished his stay in Lubbock, Texas, with a sub-.500 record. The Cards added Vance Joseph and Tom Clements to be his top assistants. Because of their unconventional hire, the Cardinals will be one of the most interesting teams in 2019.

Bruce Arians‘ CBS stay lasting one year will bring one of the more interesting coaches in modern NFL history back to the sideline. Tampa Bay’s new coach is the oldest ever hired, at 66 years old. Arians will be tethered to Jameis Winston, and it does not sound like he has issues with that. Arians hired several former Cardinals assistants to help him attempt to snap the NFC’s longest active playoff drought. Arians led the Cardinals to their best season, record-wise (13-3 in 2015), since the franchise has been in Arizona but is also barely a year removed from retiring.

The Packers and Browns opted for OCs, the former seeing a major difference in Matt LaFleur‘s vision than those of the other coaches that interviewed. Cleveland made the biggest continuity move of this year’s HC-seeking octet,promoting Freddie Kitchens over candidates with more experience.

LaFleur’s Titans offense regressed from Mike Mularkey‘s final unit, with Tennessee ranking 27th in points scored last season. But the 39-year-old coach, who will be working with ex-Jaguars assistant Nathaniel Hackett in overseeing the back end of Aaron Rodgers‘ prime, trained under Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. Kitchens rose from position coach to head coach in less than three months, but Mayfield’s performance in the second half of the season was obviously different from his play under Hue Jackson and Todd Haley.

Taylor and Adam Gase round out the offensively geared hires, the former being perhaps the highest-variance candidate among the non-Kingsbury wing.

Although Taylor was the Dolphins’ interim OC in 2015 and McVay’s quarterbacks coach this season, he spent 2016 running a Cincinnati Bearcats offense that ranked 123rd (out of 128 Division I-FBS teams) with 19.3 points per game for a 4-8 team and was the Rams’ assistant wideouts coach as recently as 2017. Gase led the Dolphins to the playoffs in 2016, but Ryan Tannehill‘s issues staying healthy and living up to his draft slot limited the former Broncos and Bears OC. The Jets saw enough to add the formerly in-demand assistant, who may be ready to bring longtime coworker Dowell Loggains with him to the Big Apple.

Denver and Miami went with defense, with the Broncos having no competition for 2018’s assistant coach of the year and, arguably, this decade’s top DC.

The Dolphins cancelled their Vic Fangio summit, and he will be in charge of elevating a Broncos team that finished with back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since the early 1970s. John Elway‘s plan to reinstall Gary Kubiak as OC also hit a snag, with the longtime friends’ disagreement on staffing leading to the Broncos hiring 49ers QBs coach Rich Scangarello. The Dolphins will become the fifth franchise to hire a Bill Belichick-era Patriots defensive coordinator (or de facto DC, in Brian Flores‘ case), following the Browns (Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini), Jets (Mangini), Chiefs (Crennel) and Lions (Matt Patricia). Flores helped the Patriots to yet another top-10 ranking in points allowed — their 15th in the past 18 seasons — and another Super Bowl berth.

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

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Jets Rumors: Gase, Harbaugh, McCarthy

The Jets’ coaching search technically started with the firing of Todd Bowles on Dec. 30, but they were mulling their options much earlier than that, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears. Although Bowles had a contract through the 2020 season, the Jets started doing their homework in mid-November after an embarrassing 41-10 home loss to the Bills.

Despite their denials, the Jets had early interest in Jim Harbaugh, Vacchiano hears. The Jets did background work on the Michigan head coach, but ultimately concluded that he wasn’t the right fit, possibly due to his desire for too much power, too much money, or a lack of desire to leave Ann Arbor.

Here’s more on how the Jets’ coaching search unfolded, plus other news out of New York/New Jersey:

  • The Jets started asking around about Mike McCarthy after he was fired by the Packers in December, but they were concerned about his sensitivity to criticism and how it might be amplified by the New York press, Vacchiano hears. There were also reports that McCarthy would consider sitting out the 2019 season, which may have given the Jets additional pause. McCarthy’s interview was not bad, per se, but Vacchiano hears that he did not hit it out of the park.
  • Adam Gase, on the other hand, leaped over McCarthy with a strong interview in which he displayed the energetic personality that the Jets wanted. Even though Gase went 23-25 in three years with the Dolphins, the Jets did not forget about his reputation as a hot offensive assistant just three years ago, Vacchiano writes.
  • New Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has agreed to a three-year deal with the club, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Before the Jets hired him, the Redskins made a push to land him as their DC.

Coaching Rumors: Colts, 49ers, Dolphins

The Colts are letting offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo go elsewhere, sources tell Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Even though the Colts’ OL improved greatly in 2018, head coach Frank Reich wants to bring in his own guy, Garafolo hears. DeGuglielmo, who was originally selected by would-be coach Josh McDaniels, is being recommended by Reich to other coaches around the league.

The move comes as a surprise given the results that DeGuglielmo was able to get out of his group last season. However, Reich and DeGuglielmo were not on the same page. You can expect a healthy market for DeGuglielmo’s services and he shouldn’t be unemployed for long.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods will interview with the 49ers on Tuesday, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Woods is not expected to return under new head coach Vic Fangio, but he’s not receiving DC interest from other teams either. In addition to the SF interview, Woods has also spoken with the Redskins and Cardinals about positions on their staff.
  • New Jets coach Adam Gase says he did not ask for control of the 53-man roster (via Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald). He also says that he never requested that power with the Dolphins; rather, it was something offered up to him during negotiations with Miami.
  • Terry Robiskie is expected to become the Jaguars‘ new running backs coach, according to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM (on Twitter). Robiskie has played and coached the position before at the NFL level and the Jags apparently believe that he can get the most out of star rusher Leonard Fournette.

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Gase, Cardinals, Lions

The Jets likely preferred Baylor’s Matt Rhule to Adam Gase, but as previously reported, things fell apart when Rhule refused to allow the Jets to pick his staff for him. The Jets especially wanted to choose his offensive coordinator and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Jets floated Todd Monken to him as an option.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Cardinals asked, but were denied, permission to interview 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel for their offensive coordinator position, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets. McDaniel is tight with head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team was not prepared to lose him, especially to a divisional rival.
  • “It appears” that Steve Sarkisian and Nathaniel Hackett are in the mix for the Lions‘ offensive coordinator vacancy, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. The Lions have been looking for a new OC ever since Jan. 1 when they announced that Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract would not be renewed.
  • Sarkisian has also spoken with the Cardinals about their OC job, Marvez tweets. Sarkisian has been on the market since Dec. 31 when he was fired by Atlanta.
  • Both the Cardinals and Browns have sought permission to interview Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The position(s) he’ll be discussing with those teams are unclear, however.

Jets To Hire Adam Gase As Head Coach

The Jets have agreed to hire former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase for the same position, according to Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Gase will stay in the AFC East, where he led Miami to a 23-25 record from 2015-17. That tenure only included a single postseason appearance, a first-round loss in his rookie campaign. But Gase, 40, earned glowing reports as an offensive coordinator with the Broncos and Bears earlier in his career, as he helped Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler to immensely successful seasons.

Once viewed as something of a “quarterback whisperer,” Gase will now be tasked with continuing the development of 2018 No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold, who showed flashes during his first NFL go-round. He’ll also inherit an interesting offensive corps, with weapons such as receiver Robby Anderson and tight end Christopher Herndon at his disposal. And the Jets, who rank second in projected 2019 cap space with nearly $100MM at their disposal, should be likely to reinforce their roster via free agency.

As PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker shows, the Dolphins had been one of just three teams without a head coach in place. With Gase on board in Miami, only the Bengals and Dolphins have yet to find a new head coach.

Before hiring Gase, the Jets interviewed a number of intriguing candidates:

Kingsbury landed the Cardinals’ head coaching job, while others like Bieniemy, Monken, and Richard each still candidates for either the Cincinnati or Miami position. But of the remaining vacancies, McCarthy was only interested in New York, so he’s now likely to wait until 2020 to find another head coaching gig.

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Packers To Interview Adam Gase

The Packers are expected to interview former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase for their head coaching vacancy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets. That interview is expected to come on Sunday, the same day the team interviews Tennessee’s Matt LaFleur, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky hears (Twitter link). 

Gase, who went 23-25 with the Dolphins in three seasons, wrapped up two interviews this week after meeting with the Cardinals and Jets. The 40-year-old Gase is an innovative offensive mind who rose to fame as the orchestrator of Denver’s dynamic offense during Peyton Manning‘s tenure with the team. In three years as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, the team posted a pair of top-five offenses, including a No. 1-overall ranking in 2013 when Manning set the records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season. That type of offensive mind fits the mold of what the Packers are expected to want in a head coach to pair with Aaron Rodgers.

According to Pro Football Rumors’ head coaching search tracker, Gase will push the Packers’ number of interviews that are scheduled and expected to near double digits. That search includes other offensive minds like Josh McDaniels and Dan Campbell, as well as a host of former head coaches like Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano.

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Coaching Rumors: Gase, Jets, McCarthy

Here’s the latest round of coaching rumors::

  • Mike McCarthy is looking to stay close to his two high-school aged stepchildren in Green Bay, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets. That would explain why McCarthy is looking into opportunities with the Browns and Jets and is potentially not interested in further destinations such as the Cardinals.
  • McCarthy’s interview with the Browns has been rescheduled for next week, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Adam Gase‘s interview with the Jets will take place on Friday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • Hue Jackson to the Vikings is becoming more of a real possibility, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (on Twitter). According to sources, head coach Mike Zimmer could try to hire him if Jackson doesn’t get the Bengals’ head coaching job. Ultimately, however, it will come down to what GM Rick Spielman thinks of Jackson as a candidate.

Jets To Interview Adam Gase

Adam Gase will be conducting two head coach interviews this week. After his Cardinals meeting, Gase will head to the Big Apple to discuss the Jets’ HC vacancy, Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

The recently fired Dolphins coach will meet with the Jets on Friday. He is currently in Arizona for the Cards meeting.

After the Dolphins cut the cord with Gase on Monday, word quickly surfaced other teams were interested in sitting down to discuss the three-year Miami head coach’s qualifications for a quick rebound. While the Broncos and Browns passed on that prospect, the Cardinals and Jets will not. And the 40-year-old coach is in the thick of another coaching carousel.

Gase’s career took off when he enhanced the Peyton Manning-era Broncos offense, leading the 2013 team to an NFL scoring record. An injury-plagued Manning also threw 39 touchdown passes a year later, but the Broncos pivoted toward Gary Kubiak, routing Gase to Chicago. He became the Dolphins’ HC in 2016, but despite rumors he would be safe and get a fourth season leading the Dolphins, Stephen Ross kept front office fixtures Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier, with some job-title reorganization, and axed Gase.

The Jets are also set to interview Mike McCarthy, Eric Bieniemy and Kliff Kingsbury. New York requested summits with Kris Richard, Todd Monken and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, the latter of whom turning down the Jets. But a fourth confirmed interview appears to be in the works.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.