Brayden Coombs

Jaguars Interview Brayden Coombs For ST Coordinator

The Jaguars have a sudden vacancy at special teams coordinator, and they’re considering candidates from outside the organization to fill the role. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter) that former Lions special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs is interviewing for the same job in Jacksonville.

[RELATED: Jaguars ST Coordinator Brian Schneider Stepping Away]

Coombs has a few connections to the Jaguars organization. He’s the son of current Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, who worked alongside current Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer during their time with the Buckeyes. Coombs also worked under current Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell when the latter was the Lions interim head coach; Coombs was fired from that position after going rogue on a fake punt, an action that predictably drew the ire of Bevell.

Other than that hiccup with the Lions, Coombs has rocketed up the coaching ranks in recent years. Only 34 years old, Coombs spent more than 10 years with the Bengals before moving to Detroit in 2020.

The Jaguars have an opening at special teams coordinator after Brian Schneider stepped away from the position last week. Former Chargers special teams ace Carlos Polk is currently the Jaguars assistant ST coach, and there’s a good probability that the Jaguars are considering him for the job, as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Fire ST Coordinator Brayden Coombs

The Lions have fired special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs, per a team announcement. Michael Rothstein of writes that special teams assistant Marquice Williams will take over the coordinator position for the final two games of the season.

Coombs, 34, began his coaching career as an intern with the Bengals in 2009. He served as Cincinnati’s assistant special teams coach from 2012-19, and his units were generally quite successful. The 2019 Bengals special teams unit was ranked first by Football Outsiders and fifth by Pro Football Focus, which prompted Detroit to hire Coombs as its ST coordinator back in January.

But a source told Rothstein that Coombs did not mesh with the culture that the organization is trying to create. In the Lions’ loss to the Titans yesterday, Coombs called for an unsuccessful fake punt without the knowledge of anyone else, including coaches and some players on the field. While Coombs’ abilities as a coordinator are clearly strong, the team apparently felt that his unilateral decision was emblematic of his overall approach. As Rothstein says, the team had been considering making a move for some time, and the fake punt was simply the last straw.

In related news, the Lions recently hired Chris Spielman to serve as a special assistant to chairman and president & CEO. Spielman, a franchise icon who played linebacker for the Lions from 1988-95, will be a key voice in the general manager and head coach hires that Detroit will soon be making, and he spoke at length about the vision that principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp has in terms of the club’s direction and culture.

As Justin Rogers of the Detroit News observes, Spielman — the brother of Vikings GM Rick Spielman — and team president Rod Wood used the word “culture” 22 times in 36 minutes at Spielman’s introductory press conference last week. Organizational sources tell Rogers that Coombs’ departure is a reflection of his “me-first” attitude that undermines that culture (Twitter links).

The Lions’ GM search is well underway, with the club having interviewed or planning to interview several internal options and a host of high-profile candidates like Louis RiddickThomas Dimitroff, and Scott Pioli. The team’s head coaching interviews will obviously start in earnest at season’s end, and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is rumored to be Detroit’s top choice.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Hire Brayden Coombs As ST Coordinator

The Lions announced that they have hired Brayden Coombs as the team’s new special teams coordinator. The team announced last week that they had parted ways with former coordinator John Bonamego.

Coombs, 33, had spent the past decade with the Bengals organization, including the past seven as the assistant special teams coordinator. During his time in Cincinnati, Coombs also served as an offensive assistant, quality control coach, defensive quality control coach, and offensive quality control coach.

While serving as a special teams coach, the Bengals have ranked as one of the top systems in the league. As Justin Rogers of the Detroit News points out on Twitter, the 2019 Bengals special teams unit was ranked first by Football Outsiders and fifth by Pro Football Focus.

Coombs’ contract with Cincy expired, allowing him to seek another gig. Darrin Simmons will return for his 19th season as the Bengals special teams coordinator in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Notes: Taylor, Turner, Casey, Martin

New Bengals head coach Zac Taylor will call his own offensive plays, as he told reporters at his introductory press conference on Tuesday (Twitter link via Richard Skinner of WKRC-TV). Taylor was hired on the strength of his offensive acumen, so it’s no surprise that he’ll direct Cincinnati’s offense, leaving new offensive coordinator Brian Callahan to serve in a game-planning role. Taylor, for what it’s worth, doesn’t boast much play-calling experience: he led the Dolphins’ offense for a half-season in 2015, and coordinated the University of Cincinnati’s offense the following year. Under former coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals’ offense ranked 17th in scoring, 19th in DVOA, and 26th in yardage in 2018.

Here’s more from the Queen City:

  • Taylor will hire Texas A&M offensive line coach Jim Turner for the same role, reports Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Turner has worked with Taylor at three different stops, so there’s obvious familiarity between the two. He’d be replacing Frank Pollack, with whom the Bengals parted ways despite his excellent efforts in 2018. Turner, notably, was Miami’s offensive line coach during the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito bullying scandal, and was eventually fired in 2014 after an independent report indicated he participated in harassment of players. He was also suspended by Texas A&M in 2016 after using sexually-charged presentation slides during a women’s football clinic.
  • Former Texans tight end and current University of Houston tight ends coach James Casey will join the Bengals in the same role, while Ben Martin — who had recently been hired as an assistant offensive line coach at Brown — will take over as Cincinnati’s assistant OL coach, per Field Yates of (Twitter link). Casey is only 34 years old, and was still playing as recently as 2015. He joined Houston as an offensive assistant in 2016 and became tight ends coach the following year. Martin, meanwhile, worked at Texas A&M with Taylor.
  • Among the Bengals coaches who are expected to be retained under Taylor are Alex Van Pelt (quarterbacks), Dan Pitcher (assistant quarterbacks), Bob Bicknell (wide receivers), Robert Livingston (secondary), Daronte Jones (secondary), and Brayden Coombs (assistant secondary), per Dehner. Coombs, notably, was thought to be a candidate for the Packers’ special teams coordinator position, but he’ll instead remain in Cincinnati.

Packers Notes: McDaniel, Hackett, Zook

The Packers have inquired on 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel in their search for a new offensive coordinator, tweets Tom Pelissero of However, San Francisco already denied permission for the Cardinals to interview McDaniel for their OC job, and it’s likely the Niners will do the same if Green Bay officially comes calling. McDaniel, who is extremely familiar with the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offense, served as an offensive assistant for the Falcons from 2015-16 while new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was Atlanta’s quarterbacks coach.

Here’s more from Green Bay:

  • While McDaniel may not be an option for the Packers, he’s not the only option LaFleur are considering. Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is also on Green Bay’s radar, per Tim Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). The Packers could have competition within the NFC North, as Hackett is reportedly also in the mix for the Lions’ open offensive coordinator position. Hackett called plays in Jacksonville for parts of three seasons before being fired in November.
  • The Packers will not retain special teams coordinator Ron Zook, according to Rob Demovsky of (Twitter links). Zook, a former collegiate head coach at both Florida and Illinois, joined Green Bay in 2014 and took over as the club’s ST coach the following year. 2018 wasn’t a banner year for the Packers’ special teams crew, as the unit ranked 28th in Football Outsiders‘ special teams ratings, including dead last on punt returns. Bengals assistant special teams coach Brayden Coombs could potentially be a candidate to replace Zook, a source tells Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • The Vikings have “vetted” Packers offensive line coach James Campen for the same position, according to Silverstein (Twitter link). Campen finished his playing career in Green Bay and has been a coach there since 2004. At this point, it’s unclear if LaFleur wants to retain Campen, but he’s expected to have offers if he’s not kept on the Packers’ staff. Minnesota also received permission to interview former Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin for their offensive line gig.