Brian Callahan

Raiders To Hire Brian Callahan As QBs Coach

The Raiders will hire former Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan for the same role in Oakland, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link).Brian Callahan (vertical)

Callahan has been a hot name in NFL coaching circles over the past few weeks, as he interviewed for the Titans’ offensive coordinator vacancy and the Jets’ quarterbacks coach position. He was also linked to a job with the Giants, but never officially met with the club. Despite that level of interest, Detroit somewhat surprisingly allowed Callahan to seek employment elsewhere.

Callahan, the son of Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan, first entered the NFL with the Broncos 2010. He rose Denver’s ranks to become the club’s quarterbacks coach in 2015, then took the same job with the Lions the next year. Along with Detroit offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, Callahan helped Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford post two of the best seasons of his career from 2016-17.

Although Callahan has now landed in Oakland, he wasn’t the only candidate for the Raiders QBs job. Former NFL quarterback and current Louisiana Tech quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay also interviewed for the gig on Thursday, per Breer (Twitter link). Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon was originally thought to be a candidate to take the position, as well, but he declined to interview.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Rumors: Shurmur, Callahan, Staff

Pat Shurmur will be calling plays for the Giants in his first season as head coach, Dave Gettleman said this week from the Senior Bowl (via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, on Twitter). This will mark the second time Shumur’s gone this route. He called plays for the 2011 Browns, but the offense ranked 29th. Additionally, Shurmur is not guaranteed to hire an offensive coordinator, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. While Shurmur did not hire a non-play-calling OC in his first year with the Browns, he did bring Brad Childress aboard in 2012. Shurmur also functioned as a game plan-centric OC with the Eagles under Chip Kelly from 2013-15, indicating he may value the job.

Here’s the latest from Giants headquarters:

  • While he might not hire an OC, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes Shurmur could opt to give an assistant a dual role of OC and quarterbacks coach. The Giants have recently dismissed Lions QBs coach Brian Callahan on their radar for this potential position, Vacchiano reports. Callahan is an in-demand name, however. He interviewed for the Titans’ OC job and is slated to meet with the Raiders and Jets about the respective teams’ QBs-coaching jobs.
  • Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is set to interview for Shurmur’s old post next week, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes rumblings emerged of Shurmur bringing Stefanski to New York with him. Breer tabs Stefanski as a rising star, and the 35-year-old Vikings staffer worked as their assistant QBs coach from 2009-13 before taking over as head QBs instructor this past season. He may have a decision to make soon since the Vikings’ offensive staff has splintered following their NFC title game loss.
  • Harold Goodwin looks set to lose his Cardinals OC job. Reports circulated indicating Mike McCoy will join Steve Wilks‘ staff, but Goodwin could have a landing spot in New York. Vacchiano notes Goodwin could be a candidate for both the Giants’ or Jets‘ offensive line coaching jobs, illustrating the Todd Bowles/Goodwin Arizona connection as a possible Jets pipeline. With Gettleman pointing out how far Big Blue has to go to repair its front, this will be a pivotal hire.
  • The Giants did make some additional assistant hires on Thursday, organizing their defensive position groups’ hierarchies. Gary Emanuel will preside over the Giants’ defensive line, Bill McGovern will stay on to coach linebackers and Lou Anarumo will oversee the defensive backs, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. Anthony Blevins will also become the Giants’ assistant special teams coach after serving in that role with the Cardinals last season, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). McGovern coached Big Blue’s ‘backers under Ben McAdoo for the past two years. Emanuel coached the Colts’ D-line during all six of Chuck Pagano‘s years in Indianapolis, and Anarumo instructed the Dolphins’ DBs during the same time period. Anarumo also served as Miami’s interim defensive coordinator for part of 2015.
  • James Bettcher has only worked with 3-4 defenses, and the Giants have played a 4-3 look for ages. But Vacchiano doesn’t think it would mark that big of an adjustment. He writes that Olivier Vernon may be a good fit as a stand-up outside rusher. Damon Harrison would make sense as a 3-4 nose, given that he played there with the Jets. Vacchiano adds that the Giants may have to overhaul their linebacking corps to make that switch — which isn’t certain yet — work.

AFC Coaching Notes: Browns, Reid, Callahan

Hue Jackson will be taking on a CEO-style approach this season and shed light on why he thought Todd Haley‘s experience was sufficient to unseat him as Browns play-caller. Jackson confirmed Thursday that Haley will call plays, just as he did in Pittsburgh.

This is something I’ve always dreamed of transitioning into,” Jackson said (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com) of an arrangement where he will oversee the offense while an OC calls plays. “For the first two years I didn’t think there was somebody out there that could do it better than myself. I’ve said that from Day 1, I just don’t think that’s fair.

… We’re in a different phase of this process here in Cleveland and we’re well set up to move forward on offense where I can feel comfortable saying, ‘Hue, you need to be more of the CEO head coach. Let your role really on game day be about the football team, not just the team on offense.”’

Jackson, who called Browns plays the past two seasons and did so without an offensive coordinator, said Haley became his top OC choice once the Steelers did not renew his contract. While the third-year head coach said Haley will run the show come game day, with Jackson’s recommendations, he will be hands-on with the quarterback the Browns select in the draft. They are widely expected to pick a quarterback at No. 1 overall

I probably will. That part of me isn’t going to change,” Jackson said of working with a rookie quarterback. “I’m just not the primary play-caller and not the driver of the offensive football team. My expertise is on the offensive side, but again, I just hired one of the best of the best in the league.”

Here’s the latest from AFC staffs.

  • Brian Callahan‘s received interest from the Titans and Jets since he and the Lions parted ways, with the former scheduling an OC interview that took place Wednesday. However, the Raiders are in the mix for Callahan now too. Callahan will interview for Oakland’s quarterbacks coach position, Jason Wolf of The Tennesseean reports. The Jets view him as a fit for their QBs job as well and are interviewing him for that role. So, the former Broncos and Lions assistant has options.
  • As Jackson transitions away from play-calling responsibilities in Cleveland, Andy Reid will pivot back to them in Kansas City. The sixth-year Chiefs HC will call plays in 2018, he said Thursday (via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star). This could be expected since Reid lost Matt Nagy, who called plays for the Chiefs late in the season, to Chicago. New OC Eric Bieniemy has never called NFL plays before, and Reid maintained play-calling duties during the start of Nagy and Doug Pederson‘s tenures before ceding those reins toward the end of their respective runs. Reid revealed he called plays in Week 17, which was Patrick Mahomes‘ NFL debut, despite a run of success for Nagy late in the season. That interruption could be notable since Mahomes could well be K.C.’s starter in 2018.
  • Josh McDaniels‘ second interview with the Colts will take place on Friday, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). McDaniels, who will take over as the Colts’ head coach after the Super Bowl, will sit down with owner Jim Irsay and GM Chris Ballard to make plans for the offseason. Per league rules, McDaniels cannot formally be named as Indianapolis’ new HC until after the Patriots’ season is over, so the “second interview” is the only way the two parties can meet in person.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Titans Interviewing Brian Callahan

Former Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan has an interview scheduled with the Titans for their offensive coordinator job, a source tells Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Jets are also interviewing him for a job on their staff and Raanan wouldn’t rule him out for the Giants’ staff as well. Brian Callahan (vertical)

This week, the Titans informed previous OC Terry Robiskie that he will not be a part of Mike Vrabel‘s new staff. Previously, it was reported that Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day would become the Titans’ next OC, but he opted to remain with the Buckeyes. The Titans have now whiffed on their No. 1 choice for both coordinator spots as James Bettcher has agreed to become the Giants’ DC.

Callahan is well-regarded around the league, so it was a surprise this year when the Lions elected to let him go. In his two seasons as Detroit’s QBs coach, Matthew Stafford averaged 4,386.5 yards per season and a 65.5% completion rate with 26.5 touchdowns and ten interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Cardinals, Lions, Packers

New Cardinals hire Steve Wilks will be bringing in some of new faces to the coaching staff. One of the biggest changes will be at defensive coordinator as he appears to be poised to bring his former Panthers colleague Al Holcomb to lead the defense. This means that former defensive coordinator James Bettcher will be on the way out, according to Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

Jurecki does make sure to note that Bettcher will “land on his feet” with another organization that he’s actively looking for other opportunities around the league. These next few weeks will be a quick change for Bettcher, who was in the final group to be considered for the Cardinals vacant head coaching job.

Here’s more coaching stories to follow:

  • While Wilks will be making multiple changes to the Cardinals coaching staff, that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a complete overhaul. The new first-time head coach is likely to keep some members from Bruce Arians‘ staff on board for next season, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While many new coaches like to make their imprint on the organization through bringing in new coaches onto the team, there’s also something to be said for trying to keep some of the same voices that players have been hearing from throughout the past few years.
  • The Lions will be letting go of their quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan, sources tell Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). As I noted before, it’s not unusual for new head coaches to turnover their staff, but Breer adds that this move is a little surprising because Callahan is well-regarded around the league and will have a number of teams looking to bring him in for 2018. It’s been rumored that he could be a potential candidate for the Titans vacant offensive coordinator gig.
  • Meanwhile, the Seahawks have made a decision on who their next quarterbacks coach will be. The team has officially promoted Dave Canales from wide receivers coach to working with Seattle’s signal callers next year, a source tells Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Canales has been on Pete Carroll‘s staff since 2010 and was previously promoted to the WR coach position back in 2015. Although, this move doesn’t necessarily signal that the Seahawks will move on from former QB coach Carl Smith. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times hears that Smith could be shifted to a different role (Twitter link).
  • The Packers have added a new coach from the college ranks. Mike McCarthy has hired Ryan Downward from Bowling Green to help work on the team’s defensive staff. Downward worked as Bowling Green’s safeties coach for the past two seasons and previously worked for new Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine back when he coached in Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Patriots, Falcons, Raiders

Both Patriots coordinators — Josh McDaniels (offense) and Matt Patricia (defense) — are expected to accept head coaching jobs this offseason, but they may not be the only top assistants to leave New England in the coming weeks. Special teams coordinator Joe Judge is also working on an expiring contract, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who adds Judge could follow either McDaniels or Patricia to Indianapolis or Detroit, respectively. The Patriots have finished as a top-eight special teams unit in DVOA in each of Judge’s seven seasons at the helm.

Here’s more from the coaching carousel:

  • If former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard doesn’t land another DC job, it “wouldn’t be a surprise” to see him land with the Falcons, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com opines. The connection makes sense, as Richard preceded Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn as Seattle’s defensive play-caller, and also played alongside current Falcons DC Marquand Manuel. Richard likely wouldn’t become defensive coordinator in Atlanta, so he could hypothetically wait to see if he garners interest around the league before taking a lesser position with the Falcons.
  • Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day is reportedly new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel‘s top choice to become Tennessee’s next OC, but Vrabel also has interest in Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan, tweets Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com. Callahan has drawn coordinator interest around the league before, and could also be on the Jets’ radar as they seek to fill their OC vacancy. However, Detroit and new head coach Matt Patricia want to keep Callahan in place with the Lions.
  • The Raiders interviewed former Texas A&M (and current Arizona) head coach Kevin Sumlin, but it’s unclear which role Jon Gruden had in mind for the longtime NCAA coach. While Alex Marvez of the Sporting News recently reported Oakland met with Sumlin regarding its wide receivers coach job, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com indicates (via Twitter) Sumlin interviewed for offensive coordinator. The Raiders ultimately hired Edgar Bennett and Greg Olson for those respective gigs.
  • Before accepting a new position with the Giants, special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey interviewed with the Browns, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Cleveland ultimately selected former Cardinals ST coach Amos Jones over McGaughey, who’s also coordinated special teams units for the Jets and 49ers.
  • Scott McCurley — who coached inside linebackers for the Packers in 2017 but was fired at season’s end — is now back with Green Bay, but could possibly be working under a new title, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Additionally, the Packers have reassigned special teams assistant Jason Simmons to a defensive position, while former Colts staffer Maurice Drayton will replace Simmons’ ST duties.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Dolphins, Landry, Pats

John Morton‘s firing may have come as a surprise to many, especially given that the Jets’ 2017 offense performed much better under Morton than most could have hoped. However, there may have been more to the dismissal, as Connor Hughes of NJ.com reports Morton and New York head coach Todd Bowles “clashed” throughout the season. Per Hughes, Bowles often made suggestions to Morton that were ignored, while other assistants on the Jets’ staff also took issue with Morton’s style. Meanwhile, Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan could emerge as a candidate to replace Morton, as the Jets wanted to hire Callahan a year ago, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), adding that Callahan has garnered offensive coordinator interest in each of the past two offseasons.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Jarvis Landry says that while he and the Dolphins have exchanged contract figures, the negotiations between the two sides have been “disrespectful,” as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Per Landry, the Dolphins made an extension offer in December, but haven’t responded to a counteroffer made by the slot receiver and his agent. It’s possible that Landry is seeking a Davante Adams-esque contract, which could mean a $14MM annual salary and more than $30MM in guarantees. Earlier today, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald outlined several of the Dolphins’ concerns regarding talks with Landry.
  • The Dolphins have hired former Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek for the same position in South Beach, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. In Miami, Kocurek will not only reunite with star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but defensive coordinator Matt Burke, who worked with Kocurek in Detroit from 2009-13. Kocurek, whose possible defection to Miami was first reported by Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com, will replace ex-Dolphins DL coach Terrell Williams, whose contract was not renewed. The Lions have now lost several assistants from the defensive side of the ball, including coordinator Teryl Austin, who took the same role with the Bengals.
  • Running back Rex Burkhead will be available when the Patriots face the Jaguars in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). While Burkhead hasn’t been on the field since mid-December while dealing with a knee injury, he was apparently “close” to suiting up when New England faced Tennessee in the Divisional Round. Burkhead managed 264 yards rushing and 254 yards receiving during the regular season, but those numbers belie the fact that his role grew as the season progressed.

NFC Notes: Rams, Buccaneers, Lions, Giants

While Rams head coach Sean McVay is considered to be one of the brightest young minds in the business, some league executives believes it will take several seasons before his skills are reflected on the field.

“That’s a big bite at [30 years old],” one executive said (via Yahoo’s Charles Robinson on Twitter). “Recent coaches who have been that young, they clearly weren’t ready for it – situations that seemed to come down to experience issues and maturity issues [with the coaches]. I don’t know [McVay] well enough to say whether that would be a concern. It’s just a lot for anyone, even the most experienced coaches.”

As Robinson notes, McVay has done an admirable job of surrounding himself with an experienced veteran staff. Longtime coaches Wade Phillips and Joe Barry should help McVay get acclimated to his new role.

Let’s take a look at some other notes coming out of the NFC…

  • Robinson tweets that there were rumblings that the Rams would let “[Jeff] Fisher guys,” including wideout Kenny Britt and cornerback Trumaine Johnson, hit free agency. However, Robinson notes that the mindset may have changed following the hiring of McVay as head coach and Phillips as defensive coordinator.
  • About two weeks ago, the Buccaneers signed running back Blake Sims to a reserve/futures contract. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter) that the league disapproved the player’s original two-year contract. The team ultimately inked the running back to a three-year contract, and Auman notes that the change is purely “semantics.”
  • Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan is a “future coordinator to watch,” tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. The reporter adds that the organization has blocked Callahan from taking at least one interview with another team. Prior to his tenure in Detroit, Callahan spent six years with the Broncos.
  • Giants defensive end Owa Odighizuwa is entering a “do-or-die offseason,” writes Dan Duggan of NJ.com. The former third-rounder still hasn’t established himself as a reliable rotation player, compiling only six tackles in 18 career games. The 24-year-old understands that he’ll have to work ever harder if he wants to stick around. “It’s real important for me,” Odighizuwa said. “That’s how I’m approaching it, that it’s kind of do-or-die in terms of my preparation and getting ready. You have to exhaust all of your resources into training properly and getting ready for the year. Really pouring everything you have into preparation.” Odighizuwa has two years remaining on his contract, but the Giants would only be left with $370K in dead cap if they cut the defensive end loose.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Bears, Guion

The Lions and Bears each formally announced additions to their coaching staff today, with Detroit naming a new quarterbacks coach and Chicago confirming a new wide receivers coach.

As previously reported, the Lions’ new QBs coach is Brian Callahan, who spent the last six seasons with the Broncos, and has previously worked with Detroit offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. In 2015, Callahan was an offensive assistant in Denver, playing a part in coaching the club’s QBs.

As for the Bears, their new wide receivers coach is Curtis Johnson, who had been Tulane’s head coach for the past four seasons after serving as the WRs coach for the Saints from 2006 to 2011. Joining Johnson in Chicago is Ben McDaniels, whose hiring was also reported last Friday. Josh McDaniels‘ brother officially joins the Bears as an offensive assistant.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), Letroy Guion‘s new contract with the Packers features a modest $500K signing bonus. Silverstein adds that the deal includes “$1.5MM more later,” though it’s not clear if that refers to a signing bonus or his 2016 salary. Friday reports indicated the three-year pact is worth a total of $11.25MM.
  • Having locked up two key defensive players – Mike Daniels and Guion – who would have been eligible for free agency this winter, the Packers‘ next priority may be a special-teamer, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who examines kicker Mason Crosby‘s impending free agency.
  • Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com explores the possibility of cornerback Tracy Porter re-signing with the Bears for the 2016 season after a strong 2015 campaign.

NFC Notes: Forte, Packers, Falcons, Lions

Green Bay could be a destination for running back Matt Forte despite the organization being one of the league’s most hesitant to sign outside veteran help. A source told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that former Bears teammate Julius Peppers is already discussing a reunion with Forte with the Packers. Eddie Lacy will enter his contract year in 2016, and longtime backup James Starks looms as an unrestricted free agent.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Falcons are leaning toward bringing Roddy White back for his 12th season with the team, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Although White slumped through his worst season as a starter, catching 43 passes for 506 yards in 16 games, Atlanta looks to increase the veteran’s slot usage. Using Larry Fitzgerald as an example, Dan Quinn told media (including Ledbetter) White, who is nearly two years older than Fitzgerald despite entering the NFL a year later, is at his best on in-breaking routes.
  • In other Falcons news, general manager Thomas Dimitroff told Ledbetter he wished he’d have kept Todd McClure after the longtime Atlanta center expressed desire to play in 2013, but the team opted to go younger at the spot in the form of Peter Konz. The Falcons’ starting center from 2000-2012, McClure instead chose to retire after the ’12 season after the team handed his job to Konz, who started for two years and was released in September 2015 after recovering from a torn ACL.
  • The Lions hired Broncos offensive quality control coach Brian Callahan to be their quarterbacks coach, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Callahan formerly worked with current Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter in Denver. The son of Bill Callahan, Brian Callahan worked with the Broncos for six seasons.