Alex Van Pelt

Bengals Hire Alex Van Pelt As QB Coach

Marvin Lewis continues to add new faces to his staff. The team has agreed to hire Alex Van Pelt to be their quarterbacks coach for next season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Van Pelt worked most recently in the same position for the Packers, but was not retained after his contract expired this past season.

Alex Van Pelt (Vertical)

Schefter adds in the same tweet that the the Bengals have also brought on Daronte Jones to coach the secondary and Matt Raich as a defensive assistant.

We have also learned that the Bengals have decided to keep Dan Pitcher as an assistant QB coach, per Jim Owczarski of the Enquirer (Twitter link). He worked with the team’s wideouts last year. Owczarski also notes that Robert Couch is being retainted in his current role as the Bengals assistant offensive line coach.

Van Pelt is clearly the the most notable hire of this group as he’s worked in he NFL in a variety of capacities since 2006. He held his previous job in Green Bay for four seasons before the team opted to go in a different direction after they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

As the quarterbacks coach for the Packers, Van Pelt had the pleasure of working with Aaron Rodgers for many years, but will get a new challenge trying to help Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton elevate his play with the hopes of securing his first playoff victory in 2018.

Since surprisingly retaining Lewis as head coach after the regular season, the Bengals have shaken up their coaching staff by adding Teryl Austin as its new defensive coordinator and former Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack to replace longtime Bengals staffer Paul Alexander.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Notes: Davidson, Van Pelt, Staff

The Bengals are attempting to hire a new offensive line coach for the first time in more than two decades after firing Paul Alexander, and the sheer amount of candidates means the club’s interview process is being extended, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). As staffs around the league continue to be altered, more experienced OL coaches are becoming available, so Cincinnati’s plan to have a new hire in place quickly has been consequently changed. In-limbo Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin has reportedly interviewed for the position.

Here’s more from the Queen City:

  • Goodwin isn’t the only candidate to fill the Bengals’ offensive line coach position, as former Broncos OL coach Jeff Davidson has also interviewed for the job, reports Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Davidson, who was fired by Denver last week, has been an NFL coach since 1995 and worked for a variety of teams. He also offers past play-calling experience, as he served as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator from 2007-10. Aside from Goodwin and Davidson, Utah OL coach Jim Harding is also reportedly a candidate to land in Cincinnati.
  • Former Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt is under consideration for a job with the Bengals, per Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). While it’s unclear exactly which position Van Pelt would fill, it’s fair to assume he’d take over at QBs coach for Cincinnati. Like Davidson, Van Pelt has been an OC before, as he called plays for the Bills in 2009. The Bengals are in need of a new quarterbacks coach given that Bill Lazor — who formerly held that title — is now being retained as their full-time offensive coordinator.
  • The Bengals have promoted assistant secondary coach Robert Livingston to the primary role, according to Owczarski (Twitter links). Livingston, who’s coached in Cincinnati for the past three seasons, originally started as a scout, which should come in handy given that the Bengals use their coaching staff to scout more than any team in the league. Given that former secondary coach Kevin Coyle wasn’t retained, Cincinnati is still on the hunt for another defensive backs coach to work alongside Livingston, per Owczarski.

Packers Shake Up Coaching Staff

The Packers have decided to make dramatic changes in their coaching staff, the team has announced. Among the bigger news released today was that defensive coordinator Dom Capers officially been fired. It was already reported that the longtime coach was going to be let go a few days ago, but the news just confirmed by team officials today. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and linebackers coach Scott McCurley were also officially relieved of their duties.

“I want to thank each of these men and their families for all that they gave to the Packers during their time here,” head coach Mike McCarthy added. “We enjoyed a lot of success together and they directly contributed to our accomplishments. These are difficult personal decisions and we hope for the best for their families moving forward.”

Tom Pellisero of NFL.com has also reported that current offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett will be reassigned to another post and that the Packers will allow quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt‘s contract to expire this offseason (Twitter link). It should be noted that both of these reported decisions are still awaiting confirmation from the team.

Edgar Bennett (Vertical)

Bennett had been on the Packers staff for awhile, serving in many roles, including the team’s player development, running backs, wide receivers coach since he joined the organization in 2001. He had been promoted to offensive coordinator at the start of the 2015 season. His role change will allow the team to hire an offensive coordinator from outside the organization.

Van Pelt was hired as the team’s running backs coach in 2012 was promoted to handle the team’s quarterbacks in 2014.

Both coaches have had the benefit of working with All-pro signal caller Aaron Rodgers over the past few years. But the offense showed significant flaws when Rodgers went down with injuries for a much of the 2017 season. Today’s news essentially confirms the speculation that the Packers could drastically alter their coaching staff in the weeks ahead since they missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Hire Greg Olson As QBs Coach

Greg Olson seemed like a lock to become the Bills’ next offensive coordinator, but they’re going to have to look elsewhere. Olson is on his way to the Rams to serve as their quarterbacks coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

Greg Olson (Vertical)

In Los Angeles, Olson will reunite with newly minted head coach Sean McVay. The two previously worked together in Tampa Bay and will now exert heavy influence over the development of young signal-caller Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft. Olson has plenty of experience tutoring quarterbacks as both a position coach and coordinator. He has been part of several staffs, including the Rams’ (2006-07), since his NFL coaching career began in 2001.

Olson was most recently a coordinator in Jacksonville, where QB Blake Bortles hasn’t quite panned out since going third overall in 2014. Thanks in part to that, Olson lost his job with the Jaguars last October.

In rejecting the Bills for the Rams, Olson turned down “much more” money, per Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Staying in close proximity to his family was a motivating factor, Carucci adds (Twitter links).

When Brad Childress exited the race for the Bills’ O-coordinator role Tuesday, it appeared Olson would land the job. The Bills even hired one of Olson’s previous offensive assistants, running backs coach Kelly Skipper, on Wednesday. But it turns out he’ll serve under someone else in Buffalo. That could be Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. Van Pelt was a longtime backup QB with the Bills and had a stint as their OC in 2009.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Announce Coaching Changes

12:05pm: McCarthy confirmed at his press conference that Clements will call the offensive plays for the Packers in 2015, tweets Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

11:58am: The Packers have confirmed a handful of previously reported coaching changes, announcing today in a press release that the team has made changes on both sides of the ball, and named a pair of new special teams assistants as well. The new titles on Mike McCarthy‘s staff are as follows:

  • Tom Clements: Associate head coach/offense
  • Edgar Bennett: Offensive coordinator
  • Alex Van Pelt: Quarterbacks and wide receivers coach
  • Mike Solari: Assistant offensive line coach
  • Jerry Montgomery: Defensive front assistant
  • Ron Zook: Special teams coordinator
  • Jason Simmons: Assistant special teams coach

While the press release doesn’t mention anything about the Packers’ offensive play calls, McCarthy is expected to hand over the reins on play-calling to Clements as part of his promotion. Clements had previously been Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, while McCarthy called the plays, and now it appears that Bennett will be the OC while Clements calls plays.

McCarthy will speak to local reporters at the top of the hour to confirm the changes.

Extra Points: NFLPA, Mayo, Van Pelt, Raiders

The NFL Players Association has formally filed a grievance against the league challenging the NFL’s new personal conduct policy, which was adopted in December despite the NFLPA’s objections, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The union contends that it didn’t have an opportunity to collectively bargain many key points of the new policy, arguing that the policy violates the CBA and that it was adopted “without the consent, and over the objections, of the NFLPA.”

While we wait to see what comes of the union’s grievance, let’s round up several items from across the NFL….

  • Injured Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has been prioritizing his rehabilitation after a season-ending knee injury, and fully intends to get back on the field in 2015, but he has also developed an interest in coaching during his time spent on injured reserve, writes Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can,” Mayo said. “If I do choose to go down that road, hopefully I can apply some of these principles that I’ve learned from coach [Bill] Belichick in my coaching career.”
  • While a previous report revealed the Packers turned down the Rams’ request to speak to Alex Van Pelt about their offensive coordinator job, St. Louis wasn’t the only team rebuffed by Green Bay. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Jaguars and Bears were also denied permission to interview Van Pelt.
  • The Raiders have officially confirmed a handful of new additions to Jack Del Rio’s staff, announcing in a press release that they’ve hired Todd Downing (QB coach), Marcus Robertson (DB coach), Sal Sunseri (LB coach), and Mike Tice (OL coach).
  • The Jets also announced several new assistants in addition to their new coordinators. According to the team, Mike Caldwell (assistant HC/ILB coach), Mark Collins (OLB coach), Joe Danna (DB/S coach), and Karl Dorrell (WR coach) are among the new arrivals.
  • Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey isn’t phased by the fact that 2015 could be a make-or-break season for him and head coach Joe Philbin, suggesting that he approaches every season as if it’s make-or-break, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • The Texans have made some front office changes, promoting Jon Carr to director of college scouting and hiring Matt Jansen to the new position of college scouting coordinator, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links).
  • We learned yesterday that Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett met with the Dolphins at the Senior Bowl, but Miami is far from the only team to interview Lockett. The wideout, who is generating plenty of buzz in Mobile, tells James Walker of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that he spoke to 28 NFL teams this week.

Coach Notes: Browns, Ravens, Rams, Austin

Six of the seven teams changing head coaches this offseason have officially hired replacements, and the Falcons appear fully prepared to wait for Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. However, while there may not be much drama left among the league’s head coaching searches, there’s still plenty of intrigue in the coordinator searches, as a number of noteworthy coaches continue to look for jobs. Here’s a round-up of the latest updates:

  • The Browns have canceled their offensive coordinator interview with Raiders senior offensive assistant Al Saunders, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (on Twitter). The meeting hasn’t been rescheduled, and no reason was given for the cancellation, so it’s not clear why it will no longer happen.
  • In addition to not interviewing Saunders, the Browns also won’t speak to former Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). A Tuesday report had suggested Mornhinweg was expected to talk to the club about the job.
  • While Mornhinweg apparently won’t interview with the Browns, he has drawn interest from the Ravens, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Baltimore hired Marc Trestman as its new offensive coordinator yesterday, so Mornhinweg would be a candidate for the team’s quarterbacks coach job.
  • The Rams have been denied permission to speak to two of their offensive coordinator candidates, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who reports that the Colts blocked the Rams from talking to Rob Chudzinski, while the Packers thwarted St. Louis’ efforts to talk to Alex Van Pelt. The Rams still hope to interview Adam Gase, who is in Chicago today to speak to the Bears.
  • While Teryl Austin could still technically end up becoming the Falcons‘ new head coach, it sure looks like the Lions defensive coordinator will be returning to Detroit, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press details.
  • The Broncos will hope for a change of heart from the Bengals on secondary coach Vance Joseph, whom Denver targeted as its top defensive coordinator target, but with Cincinnati refusing to release Joseph from his contract, the Broncos are moving forward on other candidates, tweets Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.
  • Mike Smith has been the Raiders‘ top target for defensive coordinator since Jack Del Rio was named head coach, tweets Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune. If an established coach like Smith lands Oakland’s DC job, he’ll have more autonomy than a younger coach would — Del Rio would be more involved on D in that case, says McDonald.

OC Notes: Rams, Ravens, Gase, Bears

Many teams still have openings for their offensive coordinator position, writes Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). With seven openings still needed to be filled, he notes that there will be a lot of competition for the top candidates.

Of the seven jobs Zrebiec believes still need to be filled, he has not counted the Falcons, who filled their position last night despite not having a head coach, and the Jets, who have been strongly linked to Chan Gailey (via Twitter).

For a full list of all coordinator hirings and firings check out our Offensive/Devensive Coordinator Tracker.

Here are some notes about potential offensive coordinator hires:

  • The Rams have requested permission to speak with Colts assistant coach Rob Chudzinski regarding their offensive coordinator opening, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
  • The Rams have also sought permission to interview Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt for the OC opening, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter).
  • The Ravens are currently interested in a number of candidates, and a list of possibilities has been compiled by Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. The guy he puts as the front runner right now is former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who has led record breaking offenses in Denver with Peyton Manning.
  • Gase is expected to eventually land with either the Ravens or Jaguars, reports Rapoport (via Twitter). He will interview with the Ravens soon.
  • The Bears have asked for permission to interview Lions quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter for their open offensive coordinator position, reports Rapoport (via Twitter). Unfortunately for them, the Lions have denied permission.

Browns Hire Mike Pettine As Head Coach

4:44pm: Pettine agreed to a five-year contract with the Browns, according to team CEO Joe Banner (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal).

3:12pm: The last NFL team without a coach has finally found its man. The Browns have hired Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as their new head coach, with a press conference scheduled for this afternoon, according to the team (Twitter link). Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported (via Twitter) that the Browns had reached an agreement with Pettine.

Long after every other head coaching position in the NFL had been filled, the Browns continued to interview candidates and consider potential options to succeed Rob Chudzinski. Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels were among the names the Browns were said to be eyeing before hiring Pettine.

Pettine, who spent four years as the defensive coordinator with the Jets before heading to Buffalo last year, turned the Bills’ D into a top-five unit, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA, a significant turnaround after the team ranked 27th in 2012.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter), Pettine will bring Bills linebacker coach Jim O’Neil to Cleveland to be his defensive coordinator, assuming Buffalo is willing to let him out of his contract. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets that Pettine had identified Alex Van Pelt as a top candidate for Cleveland’s offensive coordinator opening, but Van Pelt will remain with the Packers as the team’s QB coach (Twitter links).