Bill Musgrave

Bill Musgrave To Return As Broncos’ OC

The Broncos have a lot of work to do this offseason, but their checklist will not include finding a new offensive coordinator. On Tuesday, Broncos coach Vance Joseph told reporters that Bill Musgrave will become the team’s full-time OC (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). This jibes with a report from Monday indicating that Musgrave and defensive coordinator Joe Woods will return.Bill Musgrave (vertical)

[RELATED: Broncos Shake Up Coaching Staff]

Musgrave was elevated to the position during the season after Mike McCoy was fired from the post.The Broncos went 2-4 after Musgrave took over play calling duties, but the hope is that the offense will perform a lot better next year with a different quarterback and other personnel upgrades.

Musgrave was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 before the team declined to offer him a new contract in January. Under Musgrave’s in 2016, the Raiders had the No. 6 ranked offense in the NFL. Last offseason, Musgrave rejected offers from other teams to be an offensive coordinator. His patience may have paid off as he is now the OC for one of the league’s most storied franchises.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Shake Up Coaching Staff

Black Monday did not result in Vance Joseph‘s ouster, but his first staff is splintering as the Broncos begin an effort to re-emerge from a 5-11 season.

The Broncos are gutting their coaching staff, making decisions to fire wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, running backs coach Eric Studesville and special teams coordinator Brock Olivo, Mike Klis of 9News and Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post report (all Twitter links).

DC Joe Woods and OC Bill Musgrave are going to be back, Jhabvala and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport report (Twitter links). The Broncos, though, will be looking for a third ST coach in three years after Olivo’s units struggled with turnovers and the allowing of big plays this season.

Studesville was the Broncos’ longest-tenured assistant and was the team’s interim coach after Josh McDaniels‘ tenure ended late in the 2010 season. Tolbert served as wideouts coach since the ’11 campaign, joining when John Fox‘s tenure began. Studesville declined an interview for the Jets’ OC vacancy last year and was fired despite the Broncos’ rushing attack climbing from the No. 27 to No. 12 between 2016 and ’17. This season marked the first since 2011 the Broncos didn’t have a 1,000-yard receiver.

Rapoport notes (on Twitter) Gary Kubiak‘s expanded front office role likely has meant he’s been involved in the decisions, with John Elway‘s personnel department being one of the NFL’s smallest groups.

AFC Notes: Revis, Thomas, Booker, Bullock

Darrelle Revis is back in the NFL after signing with the Chiefs yesterday. Now we’re learning a little more about what his new contract looks like. The 32-year-old cornerback’s deal is for two seasons and has team incentives that could up the overall value of the agreement, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Rapoport adds that Revis will receive an extra $1.75 MM if he plays in an AFC title game and an additional $1.75 MM if Kansas City wins the Super Bowl. The Jets would not be on the hook for that extra cash. It remains to be seen how effective the former All-Pro will be in his return, but he does add depth to a secondary that’s allowing the fifth most yards through the air so far this season.

  • In order to make room for Revis on the active roster, the Chiefs have waived defensive tackle Cam Thomas, reports Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. The 30-year-old defensive lineman had only played in game this season after appearing in all 16 games from 2013-2015. Releasing Thomas leaves the team without a backup nose tackle as the only backup defensive lineman on the roster are Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Jarvis Jenkins.
  • The Broncos offense has not produced this season, but the running game may change in a shift to running back Devontae Booker according to their new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, reports Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post. “Book’ has really been playing some good football,” interim offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Wednesday. “I think Book deserves more touches. Obviously, we’ll see how the game goes.” Kosmider notes that the second-year back’s workload has been increasing in the past few weeks. Booker missed the first three games of the season recovering from an injury to his wrist. He carried the ball a season-high 14 times this past Sunday. He hadn’t passed single-digit carries this entire year until the team’s game versus the Bengals in Week 11.
  • Bengals kicker Randy Bullock has missed two extra points in two weeks, which has head coach Marvin Lewis publicly noting his weak grip on the kicking job. Lewis was open about Bullock’s struggles when talking to the media yesterday, including Jim Owczarski of Cincinnati.com. “It does affect our patience level,” and later clarifying that “We’re committed to Randy for this week.” However, despite the fact that the team is sticking with Bullock in Week 12, it should be noted that the 27-year-old has only made about 81% of his field goal attempts in his career.

AFC Notes: Bills, Phins, Cutler, Broncos, Jets

Though there weren’t many positives to glean from a 54-24 drubbing by the Chargers, the Bills did receive one bit of good news on Monday. Newly acquired wideout Kelvin Benjamin did not tear his ACL in the loss, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link).

Though the injury could force the physical receiver to miss a few games, he should be able to help the Bills, currently tied with Baltimore for the last playoff spot, contend for a wildcard berth down the stretch.

After letting Robert Woods walk and trading away Sammy Watkins in the offseason, Buffalo pulled off a deadline deal with Carolina for Benjamin, who was expected to serve as Tyrod Taylor‘s top target. That has yet to come to fruition with Benjamin catching four passes in two games and Taylor being benched for the first half vs. Los Angeles.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Dolphins QB Jay Cutler is officially in the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Dolphins are 4-6 and mired in a four-game losing streak, so their showdown with New England could be a make-or-break game for their slim playoff hopes. Matt Moore will assume the starting role should Cutler not be fit for the game.
  • After being placed on injured reserve earlier this month, Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley underwent surgery to repair his injured shin on Monday, NBC Sports’ Scott Blair reports. The cornerback suffered the injury in training camp and aggravated it in Week 3 vs. Washington.
  • The Jets are still holding out hope for the postseason. With that in mind, the team will roll with Josh McCown as the team’s starting quarterback unless injured, reports Newsday’s Calvin Watkins. McCown is on the same page as Bowles and appreciates the vote of confidence.
  • Following the firing of Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, the Broncos promoted Bill Musgrave to the post and named Klint Kubiak quarterbacks coach, according to Schefter. The offensive coordinator in Oakland the last two seasons, Musgrave helped the Raiders produce one of the league’s most potent offenses in 2016. Kubiak, the son of former Broncos head coach and team senior personnel advisor Gary Kubiak, served as wide receivers coach at Kansas in 2015 before joining the Broncos as an assistant in 2016.
  • Remaining with the shakeup in Denver, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes that John Elway should also receive some blame for the team’s downward spiral in 2017. Florio writes: “Despite efforts to blame the players and, as of Monday morning, to blame offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and possibly to blame coach Vance Joseph, responsibility for the six-game losing goes to every layer and level of the organization, and the buck ultimately stops on Elway’s desk.”

Broncos Fire OC Mike McCoy

There’s a big change going down in Denver. The Broncos have fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). To fill his spot, the Broncos are promoting assistant Bill MusgraveMike McCoy (vertical)

The Broncos are now 3-7 following a tough loss to the Bengals on Sunday. Brock Osweiler, who recently took over as starting quarterback, threw for 254 yards with one touchdown and one interception while completing 23 of 42 passes. His so-so day wasn’t enough to power the offense, particularly since the run game never really got going. Devontae Booker finished out as the top rusher with 44 yards off of 14 carries followed by 37 yards from 13 attempts by C.J. Anderson. Their averages of 3.1 and 2.8 yards per carry, respectively, were the latest examples of offensive futility in Denver.

I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out because this is a special organization and a great place to be,” McCoy said in a statement released by the team. “I want to thank Vance [Joseph] for the opportunity he gave me and the entire organization from Mr. B all the way on down. I appreciate the hard work of our players and was proud to work with them along with the rest of our coaching staff. My family and I loved it here, and I’m very thankful for my time with the Denver Broncos.”

Musgrave spent the past two seasons as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator before the team opted against offering him a new contract in January. Under Musgrave’s command in 2016, the Raiders had the No. 6 ranked offense in the NFL. This offseason, he reportedly turned down offensive coordinator jobs elsewhere to join Denver as the quarterbacks coach. Today, his patience paid off.

As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link), McCoy has been fired from NFL jobs twice inside of ten months.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Robinson, Broncos, Bolts, 49ers

A new Rams coaching staff seems ready to give Greg Robinson another chance. Despite being benched late in a woeful third season, the underwhelming tackle remains a “big part” of the Rams’ plans going forward, Sean McVay said.

When you see some of the things he’s able to do, you see the athleticism in space when he’s pulling around and using some of those perimeter schemes that they did offensively last year,” McVay said, via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. “He’s a guy that we’re excited to get around.”

Gonzalez notes a possible course of action prior to McVay’s vote of confidence was simply moving on from Robinson, the No. 2 overall pick in 2014. Cutting Robinson, though, would not make much sense financially given that the team would not save any money — while incurring $6.77MM in dead money — by doing so. McVay did not specify whether he wants Robinson to remain at tackle or move to guard, a topic broached during interim HC John Fassel‘s stewardship. Robinson himself wasn’t eager to make a move to guard when asked about doing so in January.

Robinson committed a league-high 31 penalties between the 2015-16 seasons. The former Auburn tackle is entering the final season of his rookie deal, and the Rams have a fifth-year option decision coming on him soon.

Here’s more from some teams out west.

  • New Broncos quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave turned down offensive coordinator jobs to reunite with Mike McCoy in Denver, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post notes. Musgrave and McCoy each interviewed for the Broncos’ OC job. The pair coached together briefly with the Panthers in the early 2000s and spent the 1995 preseason together as backups to John Elway before the Broncos cut McCoy. Supplanted as the Raiders’ OC after two seasons, Musgrave was only previously connected to the Broncos’ OC job during the hiring period.
  • Elway probably would not have allowed Adam Peters to interview anywhere besides San Francisco, where he’s now the 49ers‘ VP of player personnel. The Broncos GM said (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle) he would have restricted a move elsewhere, but since he was going to help John Lynch as a first-time GM, Elway gave the go-ahead.
  • Despite using him as an evaluator during the 2013 draft process, Elway did not attempt to hire Lynch full-time with the Broncos due to his interest in staying as a television analyst, the Denver GM told Branch.
  • Matt Slauson figures to return for a second Chargers season, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes, before adding that D.J. Fluker‘s future is less certain. Despite the Bolts picking up Fluker’s fifth-year option last year, Tom Telesco is unlikely to bring the converted guard back at the $8.8MM option price. Fluker’s 2017 salary is guaranteed against injury only, so the Chargers could cut him and save that money.
  • Gehlken also expects the newly relocated team to at least restructure King Dunlap‘s contract if not outright release the veteran left tackle. Dunlap, 31, is due to make $5.25MM and take up $8.125MM of Los Angeles’ cap. He’s due a $500K bonus if on the roster by March 18. The Chargers reworked Dunlap’s contract last year, converting $1.2MM of his $4.5MM salary into availability-based bonus payments. He earned back $800K of that $1.2MM last season. It would cost the Bolts $3.25MM in dead money to cut Dunlap.

Latest On Broncos Coaching Staff

The Broncos coaching staff looks a whole lot different than it did 48 hours ago. On Wednesday, the organization announced that they had hired former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as their new head coach. Last night saw two more changes. Former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips joined the Rams while the Broncos were finalizing a deal with new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Defensive backs coach Joe Woods is considered the favorite to be promoted to the defensive coordinator position, although he still has some competition for the gig. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos will also be interviewing Reggie Herring for the opening. Herring spent the past two seasons as the team’s linebackers coach, and he handled some defensive play-calling duties earlier this season. Herring has also served as the linebackers coach for the Texans, Cowboys, and Bears.

As we wrap our head around all of these coaching moves, let’s take a look at some additional changes in Denver…

  • While McCoy seems to be in the driver’s seat for the offensive coordinator gig, Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that the organization still plans on interviewing Bill Musgrave today. The long-time coach spent the past two seasons as the Raiders offensive coordinator.
  • The Broncos have parted ways with tight ends coach Brian Pariani, according to Troy Renck of ABC Denver7 (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post reports that offensive line coach Clancy Barone also won’t be back. Finally, Klis reports (via Twitter) that Joseph notified special teams assistant Tony Coaxum and offensive line assistant Jim Cregg that they also wouldn’t be retained for next season.
  • Joseph acknowledged that Phillips is “one of [his] football dads,” but he also admitted that Woods was “ready to be a coordinator,” as ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold passes along (via Twitter). Wolfe tweets that the Broncos loved Phillips, but the organization saw higher potential in Woods.
  • Jason La Canfora tweets that general manager John Elway was in favor of changes to the Broncos coaching staff even if former head coach Gary Kubiak stuck around. Klis adds (via Twitter) that Joseph wanted “sweeping changes” when it came to his new staff.

Broncos Hire Vance Joseph

The Broncos’ coaching search is over. The Broncos have agreed to a four-year deal with Vance Joseph, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). General manager John Elway has since confirmed the news via Twitter.Vance Joseph (vertical)

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For the last week or so, Joseph has been identified as the frontrunner for the Denver vacancy. From the start, GM John Elway indicated that the team had about “three or four” candidates in mind and Joseph was reportedly in the driver’s seat before he ever interviewed.

Joseph interviewed for Denver’s vacant head coaching position prior to the 2015 season when he was the Bengals’ defensive backs coach. When the Broncos hired Gary Kubiak, the club pushed to hire Joseph as their defensive coordinator, but Cincinnati blocked the move. After that, Joseph moved on to Miami and helped improve the team’s defense from a No. 25 DVOA rank in 2015 to No. 17 this year.

Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub also interviewed for the job. Anthony Lynn was “expected” to interview with Denver, but he never got the chance.

Next up for Denver is rounding out the staff. The Broncos have two offensive coordinator interviews set up for Thursday: Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Denver defensive backs coach Joe Woods will likely be elevated to DC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Meanwhile, in Miami, linebackers coach Matt Burke is likely going to be promoted to DC.

Mike Klis of 9NEWS (on Twitter) first reported the Broncos’ offer to Joseph. Additional details provided by Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Part Ways With OC Bill Musgrave

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will not be returning to the Raiders in 2017, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Musgrave had an expiring contract and the team allowed it to lapse. Now, quarterbacks coach Todd Downing could be an in-house candidate to replace him. Bill Musgrave (vertical)

[RELATED: PFR’s 2017 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Tracker]

Under Musgrave’s command this year, the Raiders had the No. 6 ranked offense in the NFL. He was recently mentioned as a candidate to take over as the Broncos’ head coach in the wake of Gary Kubiak‘s retirement, but it is not clear whether Denver has reached out to him.

As shown in PFR’s Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Tracker, the Raiders are now the second team this offseason to be in search of an offensive coordinator, joining the Jets. Former Chargers coach Mike McCoy is said to be a candidate for the Jets’ gig and it will be interesting to see if the Raiders seek out an interview with him, given his familiarity with the AFC West. Before his four-year Chargers stint, McCoy spent three years with the Broncos. Now that he’s available, Musgrave could also garner consideration from Gang Green.

Musgrave, 49, has now completed two separate stints with the Raiders, though they were nearly two decades apart. In 1997, he was Oakland’s quarterbacks coach. In 2015, he was hired as OC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos HC Gary Kubiak Likely To Step Down

Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak is likely to step down, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, largely due to health concerns. Troy E. Renck of Denver7 confirms the report.

Gary Kubiak (Vertical)

Kubiak, the long-time Texans head coach, was fired by Houston towards the end of the 2013 season, and he enjoyed a successful one-year stint as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator in 2014 before his dream job became available. In January 2015, Kubiak signed a four-year contract to become head coach of the Broncos, and his first year at the helm ended in Super Bowl triumph.

This year, of course, has not gone as well, as Denver’s offense sputtered under the inexperienced hands of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch and the team gradually fell out of playoff contention. But Kubiak’s job was certainly not in jeopardy, even if, as Mike Klis of 9News tweets, several of the Broncos’ offensive coaches were likely to be dismissed.

However, as Schefter writes, the demands of the job have become too risky for Kubiak. The 55-year-old left the Broncos for a week in October and missed a Thursday night game in San Diego for what the team called a “complex migraine condition.” And in his last season as Houston’s head coach, he suffered a mini-stroke during a game and had to be rushed to the hospital.

It remains unclear whether Kubiak’s decision to step down means that he is also retiring for good. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Kubiak is “heavily weighing” retirement, and Schefter’s report concludes by saying that Kubiak’s family wants him to leave coaching and move to their retirement ranch in Texas. But Albert Breer of The MMQB says that Kubiak had “found contentment” as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator in 2014 and was unsure that he wanted the stress of being a head coach again, but he was unable to resist the pull of the Denver job (Twitter links). That suggests, perhaps, that Kubiak would consider returning to the NFL in some other capacity down the road, although the fact that his legacy is now secure as a Super Bowl-winning head coach could make such a return less plausible (for what it’s worth, Klis tweets that Kubiak did not appear to suffer a recent setback and could simply need a “break” from the job).

Klis (Twitter links) names Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis as a logical choice to replace Kubiak, along with Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. But the Denver job is arguably the most desirable one available this offseason, so GM John Elway should have plenty of options.

Kubiak has an 81-75 regular season record as a head coach, a 5-2 postseason record, and one Super Bowl win.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.