Arthur Smith

Extra Points: Ravens, Jags, Titans, Seahawks

The Ravens auditioned free agent quarterback Ryan Nassib on Wednesday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Nassib, a former fourth-round pick, spent four years as Eli Manning‘s backup in New York, but attempted only 10 total passes during that time. After hitting free agency last spring, Nassib initially signed with the Saints, but was quickly released. Another one-year deal, this time with the Jaguars, ended in the same fashion, and Nassib spent the majority of the 2017 campaign unsigned. Baltimore, meanwhile, only has two quarterbacks under contract for 2018: starter Joe Flacco, and former undrafted free agent Josh Woodrum, who signed a futures deal earlier this month.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Although the Jaguars exceed nearly everyone’s expectations by advancing to the AFC Championship Game, they could still do a bit of salary cap work this offseason to trim their 2018 obligations, as Mike Kaye of First Coast News writes. Perhaps the most obvious cap casualty is expected to be running back Chris Ivory, who managed 112 carries behind Leonard Fournette last season. While Ivory is scheduled to count for nearly $7MM next year, Jacksonville could release him and save $3.25MM. Wide receiver Allen Hurns ($7MM cap charge) is another candidate to be cut, but Kaye notes that Hurns’ status as a team leader could lead the Jaguars to approach him with a reworked contract.
  • The Titans have formally announced another wave of coaching hires, and although some of the moves had already been reported, a few hires on new head coach Mike Vrabel‘s staff had yet to be noted. Former assistant special teams coach Craig Aukerman has been promoted to the full-time role, while Tennessee has opted to retain tight ends coach Arthur Smith. Furthermore, the Titans have hired former Dolphins defensive line coach Terrell Williams for the same position, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Williams had led Miami’s front four since 2015, and will now work with a Tennessee unit that ranked among the top half of the NFL in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate.
  • The Seahawks have hired Jethro Franklin as their new assistant defensive line coach, as Marvez details. Franklin spent one season (1989) as a player for Seattle, but has worked as a coach since 1991. Boasting a plethora of collegiate and NFL experience, Franklin has served as the defensive line coach for Green Bay, Tampa Bay, and, most recently, Oakland. He won’t be the primary D-line coach with the Seahawks, but he’ll undoubtedly be an asset to Seattle defensive line coach Clint Hurtt.

Coaching Rumors: Titans, Lions, Packers

Although at least one report indicated new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel would overhaul the majority of Tennessee’s coaching staff, that’s not necessarily the case, says Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com (all Twitter links). Tight ends coach Arthur Smith, assistant special teams coach Craig Aukerman, and assistant wide receivers coach Luke Steckel will join previously-reported defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend in interviewing with Vrabel during the Senior Bowl. Among the coaches who will part ways with the Titans include offensive line coach and NFL Hall of Famer Russ Grimm (who is retiring), quarterbacks coach Jason Michael, running backs coach Sylvester Croom, defensive assistant Brandon Blaney, and assistant defensive backs coach Steve Jackson.

Here’s more from the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • The Lions are expected to revamp their defensive coaching staff under new head coach Matt Patricia, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). That should come as no surprise given Patricia’s defensive background, and the current Patriots DC spoke with members of the Detroit staff last week to inform them they aren’t part of the club’s 2018 plans, per Birkett. Specifically, Lions linebackers coach Bill Sheridan and defensive backs coach Alan Williams have been fired, reports Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. The Lions, of course, have already lost a number of defensive staffers to other teams, as former defensive coordinator Teryl Austin joined the Bengals while ex-defensive line coach Kris Kocurek landed with the Dolphins.
  • The Packers will continue their staff overhaul under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine by hiring former Bowling Green safeties coach Ryan Downard, likely as a defensive quality control coach, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links). Downard was an assistant under Pettine in Cleveland before heading to BGSU, so there is a level of familiarity between the two. Downard’s addition does not have an effect on the status of incumbent cornerbacks coach Darren Perry, per Silverstein. Meanwhile, La Canfora (via Twitter) has clarified Jason Simmonsrole change with Green Bay, noting that he’s been moved to secondary coach.
  • The Panthers are interviewing Seahawks assistant special teams coach Heath Farwell for the same position, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). If hired, Farwell would work alongside former NFL linebacker Chase Blackburn, who was recently named Carolina’s new special teams coach. Farwell, an ex-NFL ‘backer in his own right, joined the coaching ranks in 2016.
  • The Seahawks have mutually parted ways with senior defensive assistant Travis Jones, the club announced today. Jones had served as Seattle’s defensive line coach from 2013-16 before being bumped to a new role last season. He’s just the latest coach to leave the Seahawks’ staff this month, adding to a growing list that includes OC Darrell Bevell and DC Kris Richard.

Titans Notes: Mularkey, O-Line, Whisenhunt

Earlier today, the Titans became the second NFL team to fire a head coach this season, with Ken Whisenhunt going the way of Joe Philbin, replaced in in the interim by Mike Mularkey. With changes afoot in Tennessee, let’s check out a few of today’s Titans-related updates….

  • While Mularkey holds the title of interim head coach for now, the team’s interim CEO Steve Underwood said today that the former Jaguars head coach will have a chance to audition for the permanent role in Tennessee, and Mularkey wants it, per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (Twitter link).
  • According to Underwood, the team would need to see measurable improvement – in wins and losses – in the second half for Mularkey to earn the full-time job (Twitter link via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com).
  • When it comes to hiring a new permanent head coach, Underwood and GM Ruston Webster will be involved and will have a say, according to Underwood himself (Twitter link via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com). However, the CEO added that controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk will have the final say. As Wyatt tweets, Strunk had been considering making a coaching change for multiple weeks.
  • With Whisenhunt out of the picture, Titans offensive coordinator Jason Michael will call plays for the offense, while Arthur Smith will become the team’s new tight ends coach, replacing Mularkey in that role (Twitter links via Wyatt and McCormick).
  • Mularkey said today that the Titans need to make roster changes on the offensive line to help protect Marcus Mariota (Twitter link via McCormick).
  • Whisenhunt, who would like to remain involved in the NFL in some capacity, tells Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter links) that he wasn’t given a reason for his dismissal, or given the option of making changes to his staff in order to remain head coach.