Antonio Pierce

Extra Points: Lewis, XFL, Manziel

When Arizona State announced they were hiring former Jets and Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, the decision was met with a lot of ridicule. Nobody’s laughing now though, as Edwards has done a near-universally praised job turning around the program the last couple of years. Edwards has emphasized that he’s running the program like an NFL team, and he’s hired a bunch of ex-NFL guys to fill out his staff. Apparently, a few of those guys might be eyeing a return to the league. Former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who serves as an advisor to ASU, is going to be in “serious consideration” for an NFL head coaching job next cycle, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter video link).

Lewis was fired by the Bengals following last season after 16 years at the helm in Cincinnati. He was never able to win a playoff game but he completely changed the Bengals’ culture for the better and turned them into a consistent winner, making the playoffs seven times and winning the AFC North four times. Lewis caught a lot of flak toward the end of his tenure in Cincy when things got stale, but the Bengals’ 0-6 start in 2019 sure makes him look a lot better by comparison. It’ll be very interesting to see if he starts getting interviews as Garafolo predicts.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Lewis isn’t the only one on ASU’s staff who might get poached. Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce is “going to be a coach in the NFL sometime very soon,” Garafolo says. Pierce spent ten years as a linebacker in the league, most notably with the Giants. The former pro bowler, who last played in 2009, won Super Bowl XLII with New York. Garafolo also highlights former NFL receiver and Arizona State alum, Derek Hagan, as someone who could make the jump to the NFL soon. He currently serves as an analyst for the Sun Devils.
  • The XFL draft was held recently, and Johnny Manziel wasn’t one of the names called. That’s quite foolish from the league’s perspective, opines Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Florio notes that Manziel has expressed interest in playing in the upstart league, but XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said the league’s interest “remains to be seen” a few months ago and hasn’t provided an update since. “The sooner they add him to a team, the sooner the XFL will build the buzz that it sorely is lacking,” Florio writes. It’s hard to argue with Florio on this one. Manziel played briefly in the AAF, but hasn’t gotten any known interest from an NFL team in quite some time. He’s already burned a bridge with the CFL, so getting added to Vince McMahon’s league would seem to be his last option for the moment.
  • Recently released Buccaneers linebacker Devante Bond has been suspended four games, a source told Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine reports that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Bond was just cut a few days ago, and it’s highly possible the Bucs knew this was coming when they decided to part ways. Bond was drafted by Tampa in the sixth-round out of Oklahoma back in 2016, and missed his entire rookie season due to a hamstring injury. He’s started six games the past two seasons.

Coaching Rumors: Moore, Dolphins, Steelers

Kellen Moore is, in fact, expected to call the Cowboys‘ plays next season, Jason Garrett said. The 29-year-old OC has yet to begin his second season as an NFL coach, but the Cowboys wanted change (without looking outside their staff to seek it).

I think it’s a great opportunity for our team and our players,” Jerry Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He has a great staff on the offensive side with him and they all have some great ideas. We have Jason sitting there as a safety net. I think it’s an ideal time to stretch out.

“I said to everybody, ‘I want those new ideas. I want them thought through far. And if they are not being implemented call me.’ But let’s get in there and do the kinds of things to get the most out of a very talented roster. Kellen has the skill, and the right attitude, and style to make this work.”

Garrett was coaching Moore as recently as the 2017 season, but the 10th-year Dallas coach said he will surround Moore with experience to help this major transition. Tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier, a longtime college OC, is expected to take on a larger role.

The coaching circuit brought some news post-Super Bowl LIII. Here is the latest:

  • Another Patriots assistant will be following Brian Flores to Miami. The Dolphins are expected to name Jerry Schuplinski as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). Schuplinski served as New England’s assistant QBs coach for the past three seasons and has been a Pats staffer for six years. The Patriots gave Schuplinski his first NFL job; prior to that, he was an assistant at Division III program Case Western Reserve for six years.
  • Dennis Allen‘s new Saints contract is a three-year agreement, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. The former Raiders HC has been the Saints’ DC since the 2015 season. His unit has gone from one of the worst in NFL history, in ’15, to one of the top groups in the league.
  • Steelers DC Keith Butler will assume more responsibility next season. The team will not replace Joey Porter as outside linebackers coach, instead having Butler directly oversee that position in addition to his defensive coordinator duties, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Butler, who will enter his fifth year as Pittsburgh’s DC after being the team’s linebackers coach for 12 years, joins OC Randy Fichtner in doubling as a position coach. Fichtner still coaches the Steelers’ quarterbacks.
  • The Giants will hire one of Rutgers’ assistant coaches, Henry Baker, as assistant defensive backs coach, James Kratch and Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com report. This is interesting because Baker accepted a job with the Scarlet Knights for the 2019 season, and it was to be his second stint at Rutgers. This will be Baker’s first NFL job, though he did receive minority coaching internships with the Lions and Giants during recent offseasons. Baker will replace Deshea Townsend, who is now with the Bears. Football Scoop first reported the hire.
  • A former Giants great, Antonio Pierce spent the 2018 season on Herm Edwards‘ Arizona State staff. The Chiefs, however, were interested in prying Pierce away and making him their linebackers coach, per Marvez (on Twitter). But Pierce, who just wrapped up his first season as a college coach, opted to stay with the Sun Devils.