The Bell has rung. As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets, Le’Veon Bell has arrived at the Jets‘ facility in advance of tomorrow’s mandatory minicamp. There was never a chance that Bell would fail to show up for minicamp, but given the drama that has followed him from Pittsburgh to New York, it’s still noteworthy, if for no other reason than to see how he will interact with new head coach Adam Gase.
Now for several more items from the AFC East:
Speaking at Jim Kelly‘s annual charity golf tournament this morning, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes that a new stadium is essential to the stability of a franchise (via Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic). With respect to the Bills specifically, Goodell made it very clear that team ownership will need to address the club’s stadium situation at some point in the near future to keep the Bills in Buffalo. Goodell has made similar remarks in the past, but the article — which includes more of Goodell’s comments — are well worth a read for Bills fans, as it also details the unique challenges that ownership faces in meeting Goodell’s demands.
Brian Flores is making a strong first impression with the Dolphins, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. A number of players are less than keen on the old-school mentality and the demanding nature of the new coaching staff, but others are enjoying it, and Flores himself has drawn rave reviews. Players have lauded the rookie head coach both publicly and privately, which is a bit more meaningful for Flores than it might be for another HC. The Dolphins are in full rebuild mode, so Flores will be judged not necessarily on wins and losses — at least not for a year or two — but on how his players respond to him and compete for him.
In the same piece linked above, Jackson notes that the Dolphins are taking a wait-and-see approach with several players entering the final years of their contracts like RB Kenyan Drake and WR Jakeem Grant.
Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes the Jets, who set a league spending record by doling out $137MM in total guarantees in free agency thus far, are very interested in trading down from their No. 3 overall pick to accumulate more draft capital. Despite its high-spending ways, New York still has a number of holes to fill, and with his QB of the future already in tow, GM Mike Maccagnan — who is under a ton of pressure this year — may look to add picks so that he can address those holes in the draft. After all, the Jets have only six picks in the draft at present, the third-fewest in the league.
Now for more from the AFC East:
In the same piece linked above, Cimini writes that the Jets will look to shop linebacker Darron Lee during the draft. Lee is expendable now that C.J. Mosley is in the fold, and even if New York does not find any takers, Cimini does not think the club will cut Lee immediately. He suggests that the Jets could hold on to Lee in the hopes that another team suddenly finds itself in need of a young LB with a first-round pedigree, and he points out that New York was able to deal another disappointing first-round pick, Calvin Pyror, in a June trade several years ago.
The Patriots recently re-signed punter Ryan Allen to a one-year deal, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the club actually had a multiyear offer on the table. Allen, though, preferred the shorter option because he did not like the money he was being offered on the open market, and he wanted a chance to increase his worth on a prove-it deal. Reiss says, however, that New England could be more inclined to bring in competition for Allen, just as it did last season.
Reiss observes that cornerback Jason McCourty, who recently signed a two-year, $10MM pact to remain with the Patriots, did receive interest from several other clubs. McCourty had made it clear that he wanted to return to New England, so while he appreciated the opportunity to hit the open market at the start of free agency for the first time in his career, he is happy with how things turned out.
New Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has, predictably, refuted the talk that his team is tanking in 2019, and he would not concede that the club is embarking on a multiyear rebuild, either. As Grant Gordon of NFL.com writes, Flores told the NFL Network’s Judy Battista, “I think every team’s rebuilding. That’s this league. Every team rebuilds every year because no team is the same every year. I can tell you, we’re going to go try, gonna go out there and try to win every game. I think the foundation is there, and we’ll just, you know, like every other team we’re building.”
Following a long run with the Patriots as cornerbacks and defensive backs coach, Josh Boyer will join new head coach Brian Flores in Miami, the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride writes.
Boyer joined New England in 2006 as a defensive assistant after serving as defensive coordinator at the South Dakota School of Mines. After spending three seasons as an assistant, he assumed defensive backs coach duties, and served in a similar position from 2009 to 2018. With the Patriots, Boyer won three Super Bowls.
He will become defensive backs coach in Miami while also serving as the defensive pass game coordinator.
Boyer becomes the latest member of the Patriots coaching staff to exit the team following the AFC powerhouse’s 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. He joins Chad O’Shea (receivers coach) and Jerry Schuplinski (assistant quarterbacks coach) to follow former Patriots defensive coordinator Flores to Miami. Defensive line coach Brendan Daly also departed the staff, taking a similar role with the Chiefs.
Here’s more from the league’s coaching scene:
Raiders defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley is joining theUniversity of Tennessee staff in a similar role, NBC Sports’ Scott Bair writes. Ansley will reunite with head coach Jeremy Pruitt, who he served with while with the University of Alabama. Last year was Ansley’s first in the NFL, and the Raiders reportedly were happy with the job he did with the team’s young defensive backs.
Recently retired offensive lineman Matt Slauson turned down a coaching job with the Colts, SiriusXM’s Alex Marvez tweets. Marvez notes Slauson said he wants to spend more time with his family following his nine-year run in the NFL but left open the possibility of entering the coaching ranks at a later date. In 2018, the right guard made five starts with Indianapolis.
Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle has resurfaced as the head coach of the Atlanta Legends of the AAF, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. He originally joined the team expecting to be the defensive coordinator but assumed head coaching duties after former NFL head coach Brad Childress abruptly resigned. Miami’s defensive coordinator for four seasons, Coyle last appeared in the NFL as the Bengals’ defensive backs coach from 2016-17.
The Dolphins believe that Brian Flores is the right man to turn their franchise around and they showed their confidence in him in the form of a unique contract. Flores’ deal is a fully guaranteed five-year pact, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
For the most part, this year’s other head coaching hires inked four-year contract with a team option for a fifth-year. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Dolphins felt compelled to go the extra mile in order to secure their top candidate. In addition to the Dolphins, the Browns, Broncos, and Packers also considered the former Patriots de facto defensive coordinator.
The Patriots ranked 21st in yards allowed but seventh in scoring this past season, and they’ve only had one non-top-10 scoring defense in the past 13 seasons. Of those 13 years, Flores was with the organization for eight.
The Dolphins have their new head coach. After the Super Bowl, Brian Flores‘ agent finalized terms on a contract to make the Patriots’ defensive guru the new head coach in Miami (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
Terms of the deal are not yet known, but the industry standard is a four-year deal with a fifth-year team option, so that’s likely the structure of Flores’ pact. At 4pm ET/3pm CT on Monday, the Dolphins will introduce their new coach to the public.
The Dolphins agreed to hire Flores nearly a month ago, but league rules prohibit teams from hiring coaches who are still active with their clubs during the playoffs. Last year, the Colts were burned by a gentleman’s agreement with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, but the Dolphins were comfortable enough with Flores to move forward without a signed deal.
Once the Super Bowl ends, the Dolphins are planning on announcing Brian Flores as their new head coach. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the Patriots linebackers coach will fly to Miami on Monday morning (on owner Stephen Ross‘s private jet, no less), and the two sides will then presumably finalize a contract and announce the hiring (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter).
As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com points out, this is especially notable following last year’s fiasco between Josh McDaniels and the Colts. Following the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to the Eagles, McDaniels visited New England’s team facility, and it was subsequently reported that the offensive coordinator would instead by sticking in New England.
Naturally, the Dolphins don’t want to find themselves in a similar scenario, and Florio suggests that Miami would be wise to assure that Flores doesn’t even get on the Patriots plane back to Massachusetts. Of course, nothing has suggested that Flores will renege on his presumed deal, but you also can’t blame the Dolphins organization for being a bit wary.
Flores has seen some success in New England, and he most recently served as the team’s de facto defensive coordinator (although he didn’t hold that official title). The Patriots ranked 21st in yards allowed but seventh in scoring this past season, and they’ve only had one non-top-10 scoring defense in the past 13 seasons (Flores has been with the organization for eight of those campaigns). As our own Zach Links pointed out, the Dolphins are hoping Flores will restore order on the defensive side of the ball after having moved on from the offensively-minded Adam Gase.
February 1st, 2019 at 10:04pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
While Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has played a large role in hiring Miami’s coaches in the past, that wasn’t the case this time around. Ross identified and hired Adam Gase on his own, but had nothing to do with bringing in new coach-in-waiting Brian Flores, sources told Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. Instead, it was new GM Chris Grier who is solely responsible for hiring Flores, Salguero writes.
Salguero writes that Grier and Flores are longtime friends, and that now ex-Dolphins coaches told him it was “no secret within the organization that Grier was focused on Flores as the favorite to be Miami’s new coach even before interviews began.” Flores, the current Patriots’ defensive play-caller, and Grier both started as scouts in their respective organizations and Salguero writes that their paths crossed frequently, sparking a friendship. Miami is reportedly all-in on tanking in the 2019 season, and it’ll be very interesting to see how Flores fares.
Here’s more from around the league:
While the contract Odell Beckham Jr. signed this offseason “became the new financial benchmark for wide receivers”, it “didn’t dramatically reset the market as some, including myself, anticipated”, opines former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry. In his piece, which is worth a read, Corry breaks down this offseason’s wide receiver market, and he thinks 2019 will be the year the market is truly reset. Corry writes that Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, and Amari Cooper will likely all land new deals this offseason.
Speaking of wide receivers, commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Josh Gordon during his annual Super Bowl press conference. Goodell said ““right now the focus is what can we do to help Josh (Gordon) to get to that place (where he can play football)”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Goodell’s comments suggest that Gordon, who stepped away from the Patriots earlier this season, could eventually play in the league again even though Goodell slapped him with an indefinite ban. It won’t come easily, but it appears Gordon’s NFL career isn’t dead yet, just on life support.
A few pipelines have led to the Broncos this offseason. Following’s Ed Donatell Chicago-to-Denver move alongside Vic Fangio, another 49ers staffer will take a key job on the Broncos’ staff, joining new OC Rich Scangarello. T.C. McCartney, an offensive assistant with San Francisco, will become Denver’s new quarterbacks coach, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. McCartney interviewed on Tuesday, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link), and represents a unique addition to the Broncos’ staff. The 29-year-old assistant is the grandson of former Colorado Buffaloes head coach Bill McCartney. It will be T.C. McCartney’s first NFL time as an NFL position coach.
But the latest pipeline to lead to the Denver staff is the most interesting. The Broncos will hire another former Wagner College assistant, with Rob Calabrese set to become a Broncos offensive assistant, per Klis. Scangarello and Calabrese worked together at the Division I-FCS, Staten Island, N.Y., program in 2016, with Calabrese succeeding Scangarello as Wagner’s OC and serving in that capacity for the past two seasons. (Fun fact: former Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is an assistant at Wagner.)
Here is the latest from coaching staffs around the league:
Although Jim Tomsula‘s Redskins contract had expired, the parties look to have worked out another agreement. Tomsula will return as Washington’s defensive line coach, the team announced Tuesday. This will be the former 49ers HC’s third season instructing Redskins defensive linemen.
Washington did some staff rearranging Tuesday, shifting Kevin O’Connell to OC and Matt Cavanaugh to an advisory role. Ken Zampese met with the Redskins about O’Connell’s old QBs coach job, per Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link). The Browns fired Zampese from his quarterbacks coach post after one season, which included overseeing the development of Baker Mayfield. He previously served as the Bengals’ OC. Prior to that promotion, Zampese worked as Cincinnati’s QBs coach from 2013-15, the first of those years overlapping with Jay Gruden‘s Cincy tenure.
The five teams that coveted former Dolphins special teams coach Darren Rizzi — the Bills, Jets, Lions, Packers and Vikings — are no longer in the running for Rizzi, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets. But two other teams are interested. Rizzi and incoming Dolphins HC Brian Flores met recently and decided to part ways, per Salguero (on Twitter).
Former Dolphins DC Matt Burke will land on the Eagles‘ staff, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Burke succeeded Vance Joseph as Miami’s DC and held the job for two seasons, both of which ending with the Fins being among the worst at preventing points.
Patriots assistant Brian Flores will have his second interview with the Dolphins on Wednesday night, a league source tells Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). The interview, in all likelihood, will be a discussion about the future rather than a true interview. Flores has already been tapped as the team’s next head coach, but the hire cannot be formally made until after the Super Bowl.
In 2018, the Patriots ranked 21st in yards allowed but seventh in scoring. The Pats have only had one non-top-10 scoring defense in the past 13 seasons and Flores has been a part of their past eight defensive coaching staffs. After moving on from the offensively-minded Adam Gase, the Dolphins believe that Flores will help restore order on the other side of the ball.
With the NFL now in the two-week waiting period until its final meaningful game, 30 of the 32 teams are going through offseason motions. And some of those teams are still deciding on coordinators.
Unless another Patriots assistant reneges on an agreement post-Super Bowl, or Zac Taylor makes an 11th-hour decision to remain in Los Angeles rather than taking over in Cincinnati, the eight NFL teams in need of head coaches made their choices.
So, which franchise best positioned itself for long-term success?
The trend being offensive innovation to keep up with some of the ahead-of-the-curve offenses, six of the eight teams hired offensively oriented coaches.
By a substantial margin, the Cardinals won the outside-the-box trophy. After washing out as an NFL quarterback in the mid-2000s, Kliff Kingsbury spent more than a decade as a college coach. The 39-year-old groomed some sought-after NFL talent in Patrick Mahomes, Case Keenum and Davis Webb, while also bringing Baker Mayfield to Texas Tech for a short stay. But he finished his stay in Lubbock, Texas, with a sub-.500 record. The Cards addedVance Josephand Tom Clements to be his top assistants. Because of their unconventional hire, the Cardinals will be one of the most interesting teams in 2019.
Bruce Arians‘ CBS stay lasting one year will bring one of the more interesting coaches in modern NFL history back to the sideline. Tampa Bay’s new coach is the oldest ever hired, at 66 years old. Arians will be tethered toJameis Winston, and it does not sound like he has issues with that. Arians hired several former Cardinals assistants to help him attempt to snap the NFC’s longest active playoff drought. Arians led the Cardinals to their best season, record-wise (13-3 in 2015), since the franchise has been in Arizona but is also barely a year removed from retiring.
The Packers and Browns opted for OCs, the former seeing a major difference inMatt LaFleur‘s vision than those of the other coaches that interviewed. Cleveland made the biggest continuity move of this year’s HC-seeking octet,promoting Freddie Kitchens over candidates with more experience.
LaFleur’s Titans offense regressed from Mike Mularkey‘s final unit, with Tennessee ranking 27th in points scored last season. But the 39-year-old coach, who will be working with ex-Jaguars assistant Nathaniel Hackett in overseeing the back end of Aaron Rodgers‘ prime, trained under Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. Kitchens rose from position coach to head coach in less than three months, but Mayfield’s performance in the second half of the season was obviously different from his play under Hue Jackson and Todd Haley.
Taylor and Adam Gase round out the offensively geared hires, the former being perhaps the highest-variance candidate among the non-Kingsbury wing.
Although Taylor was the Dolphins’ interim OC in 2015 and McVay’s quarterbacks coach this season, he spent 2016 running a Cincinnati Bearcats offense that ranked 123rd (out of 128 Division I-FBS teams) with 19.3 points per game for a 4-8 team and was the Rams’ assistant wideouts coach as recently as 2017. Gase led the Dolphins to the playoffs in 2016, but Ryan Tannehill‘s issues staying healthy and living up to his draft slot limited the former Broncos and Bears OC. The Jets saw enough to add the formerly in-demand assistant, who may be ready to bring longtime coworker Dowell Loggainswith him to the Big Apple.
Denver and Miami went with defense, with the Broncos having no competition for 2018’s assistant coach of the year and, arguably, this decade’s top DC.
The Dolphins cancelled their Vic Fangio summit, and he will be in charge of elevating a Broncos team that finished with back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since the early 1970s. John Elway‘s plan to reinstall Gary Kubiak as OCalso hit a snag, with the longtime friends’ disagreement on staffing leading to the Broncos hiring 49ers QBs coach Rich Scangarello. The Dolphins will become the fifth franchise to hire a Bill Belichick-era Patriotsdefensive coordinator (or de facto DC, in Brian Flores‘ case), following the Browns (Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini), Jets (Mangini), Chiefs (Crennel) and Lions (Matt Patricia). Flores helped the Patriots to yet another top-10 ranking in points allowed — their 15th in the past 18 seasons — and another Super Bowl berth.
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