Anthony Weaver

Ravens Hire Anthony Weaver

After spending the 2020 season as the Texans’ defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver will migrate to a familiar location. Nineteen years after drafting Weaver in the second round, the Ravens hired him as their defensive line coach and run-game coordinator.

Weaver spent the past five seasons with Houston, serving first as the Texans’ D-line coach before a 2020 promotion to succeed Romeo Crennel as DC. The 40-year-old assistant received interest elsewhere but is now on Baltimore’s staff, joining Rob Ryan among former coordinators set to work under Don Martindale next season.

The Jaguars interviewed Weaver for their D-coordinator position, but the Urban Meyer-led team’s decision to hire Joe Cullen ended up helping Weaver land another job. Cullen served as Baltimore’s D-line coach for the past five seasons.

Weaver’s Texans defense did not fare well this past season, ranking 30th in DVOA. The former NFL D-linemen, however, has been an NFL assistant since 2012 and has a history with the Ravens. He operated as a starter for four seasons in Baltimore, from 2002-05, before signing with the Texans. It will be the Ravens who provide him an opportunity to bounce back.

As a former Ravens draft pick who made significant contributions while playing here, he understands the culture of our organization and the standard to which Baltimore defense is held,” John Harbaugh said of Weaver.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Interview Texans DC Anthony Weaver

Urban Meyer is continuing to flesh out his inaugural staff in Jacksonville. Former Cowboys OC Scott Linehan is reportedly the favorite to be offensive coordinator, while former Texas head coach Charlie Strong will be joining as linebackers coach and assistant head coach.

We heard earlier today they’d be interviewing Raheem Morris for defensive coordinator, and now we have word of another candidate on that side of the ball. The Jags will interview current Texans defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver, a source told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. It’s unclear as of right now whether Weaver, who also coaches Houston’s defensive line, is interviewing to be coordinator or for a lesser role.

His first season as a coordinator this past year didn’t go too well, as Bill O’Brien was fired after just a handful of games and the defense played terribly. The Texans gave up 416.8 yards per game, the third-worst mark in the league. Weaver was previously the Texans’ D-line coach from 2016-19, and the team thought highly enough of him this past offseason to promote him to DC.

Prior to that the 40-year-old former second-round draft pick of the Ravens coached the defensive lines of the Browns and Bills. He was a graduate assistant at Florida in 2010 in Meyer’s last year coaching the Gators, so there’s an obvious connection there.

Jaguars Hire Urban Meyer As Head Coach

After a several-day waiting period, the Jaguars-Urban Meyer deal is finalized. The former national championship-winning Florida and Ohio State coach agreed to terms with Jacksonville.

Long the frontrunner for this position, Meyer spent the past few days closely connected to his first-ever NFL foray. He ultimately decided to accept the Jaguars’ offer. The team has announced the hire.

I’m ready to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Meyer said. “Jacksonville has an enthusiastic fanbase, and the fans deserve a winning team. With upcoming opportunities in the NFL Draft, and strong support from ownership, the Jaguars are well-positioned to become competitive.

“I’ve analyzed this decision from every angle — the time is right in Jacksonville, and the time is right for me to return to coaching. I’m excited about the future of this organization and our long term prospect for success.”

Meyer, 56, won three national championships while in Gainesville and Columbus — in 2006, 2008 and 2014 — and helped develop Alex Smith into a No. 1 overall pick while at Utah. Meyer was a college coach from 1986-2018, coaching briefly at the high school level in the mid-’80s. This will be a new challenge for the well-regarded coach, who has appeared on the NFL radar during past hiring periods.

Factoring in his previous stops at Utah and Bowling Green, Meyer has a lifetime 187-32 record in the college ranks. With Ohio State alone, he went 83-9 across seven seasons. He will almost certainly have the chance to coach Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence to start his NFL run. Working as a Fox analyst since stepping down as Ohio State’s HC, Meyer rated Lawrence as his No. 1 quarterback — over Buckeye passer Justin Fields — entering this season (video link). Lawrence has been expected to go No. 1 overall for a long time now, and the Jaguars’ 1-15 season locked them into the 2021 top slot.

Conflicting reports emerged about Meyer’s salary demands, with one putting them in the $12MM range. Given the Jags’ interest in Meyer, it is likely he will be one of the NFL’s highest-paid head coaches. The lengthy delay between the Jaguars’ interview with their preferred candidate and his acceptance, however, did reportedly frustrate the team. Meyer has stepped away from coaching on multiple occasions, doing so more than once at Florida, so it will be interesting to see how long he will stick around in Jacksonville.

It will also be interesting to see how Meyer and owner Shad Khan coexist. Khan took on a greater say in personnel matters last year and confirmed he will remain heavily involved in roster decisions going forward. Considering the franchise’s strong interest in Meyer, he will almost certainly have a significant say in personnel matters as well. The Jaguars have yet to hire a GM, but the to-be-determined executive will now walk into a situation featuring two high-profile power brokers.

Meyer has been linked to multiple assistants already, including former Texas HC Charlie Strong and Texans DC Anthony Weaver, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and Fox 26’s Mark Berman (Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Texans, Titans, Bucs, Terrell

Bill O’Brien‘s final weeks with the Texans were trying, with the team going 0-4 and the former head coach-GM’s near-universally panned DeAndre Hopkins trade benefitting the Cardinals early. But the since-fired HC also was involved in some internal turmoil, with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reporting O’Brien engaged in heated disputes with J.J. Watt and first-year defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver at a recent practice (Twitter link). O’Brien also verbally sparred with other staffers in his final weeks, per Wilson. That can be expected given the Texans’ start, but the Watt argument may have been a tipping point. The dispute with Watt — arguably the defining player in Texans history — resulted in O’Brien losing the team, in the view of one source (via ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini). The O’Brien-Watt argument took place days before the Texans’ loss to the Steelers.

Here is the latest from the South divisions, moving first to more Titans news:

  • At least three separate Titans offsite workouts took place last week over a multiday period, veteran NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky notes. A group that included Ryan Tannehill was spotted working out Sept. 30 at Montgomery Bell Academy, an area high school, while Kuharsky reports a different group — comprised of defensive backs — worked out at a park near Belmont University that day. Multiple workouts took place at the park near Belmont, per Kuharsky, who adds that Mike Vrabel said during an Oct. 1 Zoom call he told players not to conduct offsite workouts. The NFL is now investigating the Titans for this, and punishment for the coronavirus-stricken team could be severe. Tight end MyCole Pruitt, one of the Titans’ positive testers, was not at the offsite workouts, per Titaninsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter).
  • Prior to the Titans being barred from their headquarters, the NFL showed images of players and staffers walking around the team’s facility without masks, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Aside from players during workouts, team personnel are required to wear masks inside team facilities. Twenty-three Titans players and staffers have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Good news for the Falcons on the virus front. First-round cornerback A.J. Terrell returned to practice this week, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets. Terrell missed Atlanta’s past two games after being placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list just before the Falcons’ Week 3 game.
  • For the sect of non-Chris Godwin fantasy managers who might have missed this (and the narrower swath of LeSean McCoy deep-league GMs), both Buccaneers will miss Thursday night’s game against the Bears. The Bucs declared Godwin and Shady out. This marks Godwin’s third missed game this season; he is battling a hamstring injury. Mike Evans, however, will play, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Evans was a game-time decision because of an ankle injury.
  • Eli Apple is set to miss more time. After successfully rehabbing one hamstring injury, the Panthers cornerback has encountered another. Matt Rhule said the recent acquisition pulled his other hamstring, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Apple missed Carolina’s first three games because of his initial hamstring injury. He has played just six snaps (all on special teams) this season.

Texans Fire HC/GM Bill O’Brien

Well we certainly didn’t see this one coming. The Texans have fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

The Texans of course are 0-4, but it’s still a pretty shocking development since there hadn’t been any recent reports that O’Brien’s job was in imminent danger. Schefter noted in a follow-up tweet that a source told him Romeo Crennel is the likely interim head coach. O’Brien clearly wasn’t expecting to get canned, as we heard just yesterday that he was taking over offensive play-calling duties and taking a more active role in the game-planning.

The Texans are a trainwreck at the moment, as not only are they winless but they’re also without their first and second-round picks in next year’s draft due to trades O’Brien made. O’Brien had recently clashed with prominent players at practice and executive Jack Easterby is now in charge of the organization for the time being, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets.

O’Brien now becomes the first head coach fired during the 2020 season, beating out contenders like Adam Gase and Dan Quinn for the honor. GM Brian Gaine was fired back in June of 2019, and O’Brien has been in complete control of the team ever since. He was formally named the general manager back in January.

The former Penn State coach and Patriots offensive coordinator made a slew of controversial moves, most notably trading away superstar DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals this offseason for relatively little in return. The Texans have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, but things are pretty bleak outside of him due to the lack of draft capital.

It’s been a rapid collapse for Houston after they advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year and had a huge lead over the Chiefs in the first half. O’Brien became the head coach in 2014 and while he’s earned a lot of the criticism he’s gotten, he did lead the team to the playoffs in four of his six full seasons.

The Texans started with an absolutely brutal schedule of the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers in their first three games, and are running out of time to turn things around. Crennel has been with the team in varying capacities since 2014 as well. He’ll take over a team with some real talent, and he has head coaching experience. He coached the Browns from 2005-08, and was more recently the Chiefs’ head coach from 2011-12.

As for their next full time head coach, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is sure to get consideration. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets to keep an eye on current defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver, writing that the “team loves him and he’s seen as a serious contender for a HC job this offseason.” Meanwhile Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Easterby is on a “very long-term contract,” and notes that he is close with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as well as Pats exec Nick Caserio, who the Texans originally wanted to be their GM last year. Easterby is going to be heavily involved in the ensuing search process alongside owner Cal McNair, according to multiple reports.

McDaniels’ name is brought up annually in head coaching searches, and it sounds like that will be the case once again here. A handful of reporters immediately began speculating on Twitter that there could be interest in Dabo Swinney, Watson’s former coach at Clemson. That was all just spitballing and nothing sourced, but it’s fun to think about nonetheless. Watson isn’t the only connection there, as Albert Breer of SI.com tweets he’s been told Easterby is also “very friendly” with Swinney.

As for O’Brien, it’s anyone’s guess what his next move will be. Today ends a tumultuous era of Texans football, and it’ll be very interesting to see if Watson can lead the team out of the hole they currently find themselves in.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Were Interested In Texans DC Anthony Weaver

The Texans made a move at defensive coordinator this offseason, sidelining longtime veteran coach Romeo Crennel in favor of Anthony Weaver. Now we have more context on that decision, via Sarah Bishop of ESPN.com.

According to Bishop the move was made at least partially out of necessity, as the Titans were showing interest in Weaver for their defensive coordinator vacancy. Tennessee’s defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired after the season. Houston later announced that they’d keep Crennel on staff, but his title was given to Weaver to help prevent him from getting poached. This isn’t the first time the Texans have gone through this exact situation, and funnily enough it happened with current Titans coach Mike Vrabel just a few years ago.

Vrabel was an assistant in Houston under Bill O’Brien when the team had Crennel step down to make room for Vrabel to become defensive coordinator in 2017. After Vrabel was then hired away by Tennessee the following season, Crennel was given his old job back. Weaver spent a handful of years in the NFL in the early 2000’s after entering the league as a second-round pick in 2002. He’s spent the past four years as O’Brien’s defensive line coach.

Texans Hire Anthony Weaver As DC

The Texans are making a change at defensive coordinator. Anthony Weaver has been promoted from defensive line coach to take over for Romeo Crennel, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

Crennel was said to be considering retirement. It’s not immediately clear whether the 72-year-old will walk away from the game or return to the team in some sort of advisory capacity. The former Browns and Chiefs head coach served as defensive coordinator from 2014-16 and returned to that role in 2018, after Mike Vrabel became the Titans’ HC. All in all, he’s spent 38 years as an NFL coach.

The Texans ranked 19th in defensive DVOA in 2019 and just fired outside linebackers coach John Pagano. Crennel’s defense is coming off a brutal divisional-round showing, when the Chiefs erased a 24-point deficit by halftime in a 51-31 rout.

Weaver, 39, played with the Texans for three seasons in the 2000s and has coached in Houston for the past four years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Romeo Crennel Contemplating Retirement

A two-stint defensive coordinator for the Texans, Romeo Crennel has not committed to staying in his role for the 2020 season. The longtime coach is considering retirement, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Crennel, 72, has played key roles on all six Bill O’Brien Houston staffs. The former Browns and Chiefs head coach has served as defensive coordinator from 2014-16 and returned to that role in 2018, after Mike Vrabel became the Titans’ HC.

Should Crennel step down after 38 years as an NFL coach, Texans defensive line coach Anthony Weaver is viewed as a top in-house replacement candidate, Wilson adds. Weaver, 39, played with the Texans for three seasons in the 2000s and has coached in Houston for the past four years.

Although Crennel served as HC in Cleveland from 2005-08 and spent the 2012 season as the full-time HC in Kansas City, he may still be best known for his work as defensive coordinator for the Patriots’ first three Super Bowl championship teams. He has coached in the NFL since 1981, beginning as the Giants’ special teams coach and staying in New York until 1992. Working under Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, Crennel has won five Super Bowls as an assistant.

The Texans ranked 19th in defensive DVOA this season and just fired outside linebackers coach John Pagano. Crennel’s defense is coming off a brutal divisional-round showing, when the Chiefs erased a 24-point deficit by halftime in a 51-31 rout. After finally deploying J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney for a full season together in 2018, the Texans traded Clowney and again saw Watt miss extensive time due to injury. Houston ranked seventh in DVOA last season, rebounding from a down year under Vrabel.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Colts, Texans, Falcons

The quarterback situations on the Colts, Jaguars and Saints represent key news as the eight South-division teams venture to the Combine. But plenty of other news came out of some South teams’ headquarters on Friday. Here’s the latest:

  • Bobby Johnson interviewed for the Raiders’ HC job, although it might not have been the most on-the-level meeting since a Jon Gruden deal was reportedly already agreed upon. But the former Raiders tight ends coach now has a gig elsewhere. The Colts hired Johnson as their assistant offensive line coach, Alex Marvez of Sporting News reports. Johnson spent the past three seasons on Jack Del Rio‘s staff as Oakland’s TEs coach and spent time on the Jags’ and Bills’ staffs prior to that. Johnson will be working under Dave DeGuglielmo, who was caught in a tough spot when he agreed to terms with Indianapolis when Josh McDaniels was still set to become head coach. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) Johnson also interviewed to be the Cowboys‘ O-line coach.
  • The Texans also made a move to fortify their staff by agreeing to an extension with defensive line coach Anthony Weaver. Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets Weaver’s deal will now have two additional years tacked onto it, so it will run through the 2020 season. Weaver’s been Houston’s D-line coach since 2016. Previously, he served in the same position for the Bills (2013) and Browns (2014-15).
  • Although the Texans are expected to re-sign Shane Lechler, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports they worked out punter Taylor Symmank. The specialist has kept busy over the past several months with workouts, also auditioning for the Jaguars, Vikings, Chiefs, Titans and Bills since September 2017. A Texas Tech product, Symmank went to camp with the Vikings last summer.
  • The Falcons worked out former Buccaneers center Ben Gottschalk, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). Gottschalk started a game for the 2016 Bucs but has only played in two contests. The Bucs cut the former UDFA out of SMU just after the 2017 draft.
  • The Jaguars enjoyed a busy Friday, cutting Chris Ivory and extending their power structure.

Coach Notes: Giants, Texans, Bills, Titans

There aren’t many offensive or defensive coordinator jobs still available, as our tracker shows, but teams continue to tweak their coaching staffs in preparation for the 2016 season, interviewing and hiring position coaches and other assistants. Here are a few of Thursday’s updates on that front:

  • First-time head coach Ben McAdoo appears to be considering an assistant with head coaching experience for his staff. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Giants interviewed former Niners head coach Mike Singletary today for their linebackers coach job.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Giants interviewed Packers assistant Mike Solari on Wednesday for their offensive line coach position, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. According to Marvez, Solari is a “strong candidate” to be added to McAdoo’s staff.
  • As expected, the Texans have hired former Ravens and Texans defensive lineman Anthony Weaver as their defensive line coach, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Weaver, who last played for Houston in 2008, will replace Paul Pasqualoni.
  • According to Marvez (via Twitter), the Bills are making Pat Meyer their assistant offensive line coach.
  • Marvez also reports (via Twitter) that the Titans have promoted Nick Eason from defensive line assistant to defensive line coach.
  • The Bengals announced three coaching moves today (via Twitter), re-assigning Robert Livingston as assistant defensive backs coach and adding Robert Couch and Dan Pitcher to their offensive staff.