Bruce Arians

Bruce Arians Unlikely To Coach In 2019?

Bruce Arians has been publicly lobbying for the Browns’ job, but the 66-year-old isn’t necessarily expecting to get pulled out of retirement. When asked if he’ll coach in 2019, Arians said, “It’s probably 99-to-1 against,” (Twitter link via Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report.) 

It’s unclear whether Arians is having second thoughts about a return to the sidelines or if he has received word that the Browns are not interested in his services. It’s also possible that Arians, a unique character, is simply having some fun with the rumor mill. As recently as three weeks ago, we heard that Arians would likely be considered in 2019 head coaching searches.

Arians has said that he would only consider coaching if it was for the Browns’ position, one that may not truly be available if they finish out strong under Gregg Williams. The Packers’ head coaching job recently opened up with the firing of Mike McCarthy, but he is rumored to have “very little” interest in that post.

Arians posted a 49-30-1 regular season record with the Cardinals over five seasons. He also guided the Colts to a 9-3 finish over the last three months of the 2012 season when serving as their interim HC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Manning, Hughes, Arians

Following Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was seen on video yelling at official Roy Ellison. The player was restrained by a team employee before being led back to the locker room.

ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the veteran will not face a suspension for the incident, although ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams says Hughes could still be fined. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Ellison has been placed on administrative leave while the NFL continues to review the matter. Hughes accused the umpire of calling him a vulgar name, and Rapoport notes that Ellison was suspended back in 2013 following an incident with Trent Williams.

The 30-year-old Hughes is having another productive season with Buffalo, compiling 31 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles through 12 games.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Bruce Arians is apparently very focused on the Browns head coaching job. According to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss (via Twitter), the 66-year-old has “probably very little” interest in the Packers gig. The two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year winner previously said he would only consider becoming a head coach again if he were hired by Cleveland, where he was an offensive coordinator between 2001 and 2003. After serving as the Cardinals head coach for five seasons, Arians retired at the end of the 2017 campaign.
  • During an appearance on WFAN660, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was non-committal when asked about Eli Manning‘s status heading into next season. “Those are offseason discussions,” he said (via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano on Twitter). “I’m really pleased with how he’s played of late. … I can’t answer that. I’m fond of everything Eli brings to the table.” The 37-year-old Manning has been having a solid season, completing a career-high 67.9-percent of his passes for 3,263 yards, 15 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
  • The Vikings will audition Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell this week, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The 28-year-old has won a pair of Grey Cup MVPs and two CFL Most Outstanding Player awards during his seven seasons in the league. Mitchell also won the Walter Payton Award during his time at Eastern Washington. The Vikings are currently rostering Trevor Siemian and Kyle Sloter behind Kirk Cousins.
  • Former Seahawks and Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner was sentenced to eight years in prison after he pleaded no contest to attempted murder, reports TMZ Sports. The 34-year-old was accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, where he then “allegedly chased her, dragged her and then smothered her in a carpet.” Browner also pleaded no contest to two counts of child endangerment, while the remaining chargers (including robbery, burglary, and false imprisonment) were dropped.

Coaching Rumors: McDaniels, Arians, Marrone

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels seemed to irreparably damage his future head coaching prospects with every team in the league except New England when he infamously jilted the Colts last offseason. But he has already been mentioned as a candidate for the Browns‘ head coaching job, and as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, there will be no shortage in interest in McDaniels when the head coaching carousel starts spinning in 2019. La Canfora does not specifically name any teams who are expected to pursue the 42-year-old, but his sources indicate that McDaniels will be under strong consideration despite the fiasco in Indianapolis.

Now let’s take a look at other rumors concerning current, and possibly future, head coaches:

  • Speaking of the Browns, former Colts and Cardinals HC Bruce Arians recently said he would only consider becoming a head coach again if he were hired by Cleveland, but he walked those comments back shortly thereafter. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Arians was serious the first time and that he will contemplate returning to the sidelines if he can become the Browns’ head coach. Arians indicated that he will not consider overtures from any other clubs, but that if he does land the Cleveland gig, he would keep Freddie Kitchens as offensive coordinator and would consider keeping defensive coordinator Gregg Williams — currently the Browns’ interim HC — as well.
  • It remains to be seen whether Arians’ interest in the Browns is mutual, but La Canfora reports that the team is expected to reach out to Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, who is very much on the NFL’s radar as a legitimate head coaching candidate. We have heard previously that Cleveland GM John Dorsey is a big fan of Campbell.
  • Although the Jaguars are in the midst of a hugely disappointing season, Rapoport says that head coach Doug Marrone is not on the hot seat and is in no danger of losing his job at the moment (video link).
  • Despite unceremonious ousters from Oakland and Cleveland, La Canfora writes that Hue Jackson could become a head coach again as soon as next year. Jackson is back in Cincinnati as special assistant to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, and if Lewis were to retire or transition to an upper-management position, JLC suggests that Jackson could take the reins. Team owner Mike Brown, who does things his own way, is a big fan of Jackson, and league sources say they would not be surprised if Brown goes that route.
  • The Bears‘ defense is excelling in 2018, which means that Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will once again garner significant interest from teams looking for a new HC this offseason, per La Canfora. Fangio has interviewed previously for the head-coaching jobs in Chicago and San Francisco, and the Bears paid him very well to keep him aboard as Matt Nagy‘s DC when they hired Nagy to be their head coach earlier this year. There is a general bias against defensive-oriented coaches these days, but Fangio is regarded as one of the best defensive minds in the game and has a strong reputation for being able to connect with troubled players and to get the most out of his units.

Bruce Arians Likely To Be Considered In 2019 Head Coaching Searches

Bruce Arians is currently retired and working as a CBS commentator, but he’s expected to be considered for a number of head coaching vacancies in 2019, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Arians has already been linked to one open position, as he suggested earlier this month he’d be interested in the Browns’ head coaching gig, going as far as to say it’s the “only” job he’d consider this offseason. Arians later (somewhat confusingly) walked those comments back, saying he was merely trying to pump up Chuck Pagano‘s chances of landing in Cleveland.

The Browns are one team that will definitely be looking for a new head coach next year, but many other clubs could also make a change. If Arians does take another position, the Cardinals — Arians’ former employer — could theoretically attempt to seek draft pick compensation from his new club. Arians still had time left on his contract when he retired in January, so Arizona still holds his rights.

Arians, 66, served as an offensive coordinator for several teams before taking over as the Colts’ interim head coach in 2012. He served in that capacity while Pagano dealt with a cancer diagnosis, leading Indianapolis to nine wins while taking home Coach of the Year honors. Arians subsequently landed in the desert, and posted a 49-30-1 regular season record with the Cardinals over five seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers, Vikes

Though it only began Monday, it might be time to pump the brakes on the Bruce Arians/Browns speculation, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Arians said yesterday the Browns were the only NFL gig for which he’d consider leaving retired life, but the ex-Cardinals coach was primarily attempting to highlight former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano‘s qualifications for the Cleveland job rather than tout himself, per Rapoport. It’s not surprising that Arians would put forth Pagano as a candidate for the Browns, as Arians took over as the Colts’ head coach in 2012 after Pagano was diagnosed with cancer.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • The Ravens don’t have any intention of benching starting quarterback Joe Flacco for first-round rookie Lamar Jackson, but they do want to advance their usage of the Louisville product, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. “He’s getting better as a quarterback, an NFL quarterback, all the time. You know, I love the guy,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson. “I want to see Lamar on the field, too. How to do that? That’s kind of what we’re working through, so that’s what we’ve got to figure out.” Jackson, 21, has rushed 28 times for 139 yards and one touchdown and completed seven-of-twelve passing attempts for 87 yards and another score. Meanwhile, among quarterbacks with at least 250 attempts, starter Joe Flacco ranks 17th in adjusted net yards per attempt and 18th in passer rating.
  • If Le’Veon Bell doesn’t report to the Steelers this season, a potential 2019 transition tag would become all the more valuable, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The contractual bargaining agreement indicates Bell would receive a 20% raise over his 2017 salary, meaning he’d be in line for $14.54MM in 2019. If Bell does report this year, however, that 20% would be applied to his 2018 earnings, meaning the transition tag would be worth only $9-10MM. In all, the transition is somewhat irrelevant, as Pittsburgh would have no interest in matching any offer sheet from a rival club.
  • Former Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has filed a $180MM lawsuit against famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews, alleging that a botched 2016 operation prematurely ended the former’s NFL career, as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com writes. Floyd alleges he was set to undergo a minor knee procedure two years ago, but was instead given a pain blocker that caused significant nerve and muscle damage. Floyd, who has not played in the NFL since the surgery, is currently engaged in settlement discussions with the Vikings, whom Floyd alleges owes him salary.

Bruce Arians Interested In Browns Job

The Browns say they’re open to giving Gregg Williams the full-time head coaching job if things go well in his half-season audition. If things don’t go well, former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians says that he would be interested, adding that it would be “the only job” that he would consider (via Steve Doerschuk of The Canton Repository). 

Arians, 66, retired as the Cardinals’ head coach after the 2017 season. He previously indicated that he is happy in retirement, but he would be willing to don the headset again for a chance to get the Browns on the right track. In 2002, Arians helped push the Browns in the right direction as their offensive coordinator. The Browns were unable to topple the Steelers in the playoffs, but Arians believes that he is the right man for the job as the club looks to take a giant leap forward in 2019.

The Cardinals went 49-30-1 in Arians’ five seasons at the helm. He also did a phenomenal job of guiding the Colts during Chuck Pagano‘s absence in 2012, coaching the club to a 9-3 finish over the last three months of the season.

The supremely confident Arians believes that he is the best man for the job in Cleveland, but if he does not wind up with the gig, he suggests that the Browns should consider Pagano.

For now, the Browns are Williams’ team, and the defensive guru will look to snap the Browns’ four-game losing streak when they take on the Falcons on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Key, Jackson, Kirk, Price, Patriots

Former LSU defensive end and top draft prospect Arden Key has told teams that he has been sober for more than a year, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes.

This is big news from a player who has been speculated to have off-the-field concerns. Key is supposedly being up front with the teams about his issues, which included taking a leave of absence from the Tigers for four months beginning in February 2017 for personal reasons. He will not disclose the reasoning for that absence with the media — which is his right — but is reportedly laying it all out in front of teams.

Rated as one of the top prospects before the start of the 2017 season, Key is now viewed mostly as a potential late-first-round pick, but more likely to go off the board on second day of the draft.

Noted pass rush coach Chuck Smith is a big fan of Key, saying he is a threat to challenge for double-digit sacks the moment he enters the league. His honesty with teams and ability to stay sober for more than a year could put teams more at ease about taking a shot on the talented pass rusher.

Here’s more surrounding the draft:

  • Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk visited with the Steelers on Friday, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Kirk has also visited with the Seahawks and Panthers, a pair of teams in need of a receiver. The Steelers seem set at the position with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster but have not been shy about adding to a loaded receiver position in the past.
  • Former Cardinals head coach and quarterback guru Bruce Arians is a big fan of Louisville product Lamar Jackson, Bob McManaman of AZ Central writes. “I think Lamar puts the time in. He’s going to get better, and he just brings that unique ability to break the game open with his legs. Because he does it. He sits in there and flips it up the field,” Arians said. “He’s been in a pro-style offense. He’s more of a scrambler with designed runs. I don’t think I’d design runs for him. I would just let him, a la Russell Wilson, take what’s there, and whoosh, take off running.” The Cardinals could have interest in Jackson at the No. 15 spot in the upcoming draft.
  • In a panel piece on ESPN, a host of writers tabbed left tackle as the position the team should focus on in the first round if everything were to fall perfectly. With the team owning the 23rd and 31st picks, New England could potentially address the position by taking Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey late in the first round. The tackle is rated by many pundits as the best at the position this year.
  • Ohio State center/guard Billy Price had his NFL Combine medical recheck on Friday, Darren Wolfson of KSTP 5 News reports (Twitter link). He notes the potential first-round pick is expected to receive full clearance soon.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks

New Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks offered James Bettcher the opportunity to stay on as the team’s defensive coordinator, but Bettcher ultimately decided to move on, according to Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link). Bettcher, who interviewed for the Arizona head coaching job, accepted the Giants’ DC job late last night, so he’ll now go to work under new New York head coach Pat Shurmur. The Cardinals, meanwhile, lured former Panthers linebackers coach Al Holcomb to the desert in order to become the club’s next defensive coordinator, although it doesn’t sound as though Arizona will change much of Bettcher’s scheme.

Here’s more from the NFC West, with a focus on staff notes:

  • Wilks has made another addition to the Cardinals‘ coaching staff, as former Giants safeties coach Dave Merritt — New York’s longest-tenured coach — will become Arizona’s secondary coach, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Merritt, 46, had been with the Giants since 2004, and enjoyed a short stint with the crosstown Jets prior to joining the G-Men. He’ll now serve under Holcomb, and will have the opportunity to coach one of the league’s best corners in Patrick Peterson. Finding another defensive back to play opposite Peterson will represent Merritt’s most significant challenge in 2018.
  • Former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians released a statement praising the hire of Wilks, but did allow that he preferred other candidates for the position, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com“We built a strong Cardinals legacy over the last 5 years,” said Arians. “I wish Steve Wilks the best of luck. I’m disappointed that [James Bettcher or Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong] didn’t get the Cardinals position. They are both ready. I truly believe they will be an asset to any football organization. Trust. Loyalty. Respect.” Armstrong, who like Bettcher was an official Arians recommendation, interviewed with Arizona twice before the club chose Wilks.
  • The Rams have hired former UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch as a senior offensive assistant, the team announced today. Fisch, who also served as the Bruins’ interim head coach following the firing of Jim Mora Jr., has served in both served in both the collegiate and pro ranks over the past 20 years. In the NFL, Fisch was the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator from 2013-14, and has also worked for the Texans, Ravens, Broncos, and Seahawks, mostly as a quarterbacks or wide receivers coach. He interviewed for the Falcons’ quarterbacks coach job earlier this year.
  • The Seahawks are making yet another change to their defensive staff, as defensive line coach Dwaine Board will not return to the club in 2018, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Board is a longtime NFL coach, as he first entered the league in 1990 with the 49ers. He’s made other stops in Oakland and Cleveland, and started his second stint with Seattle in 2015.

Bruce Arians Announces Retirement

The Cardinals will be looking for a new coach. Bruce Arians announced he will conclude his five-season tenure in Arizona and retire from the profession.

Michael Bidwill said (via Kent Somers of AZCentral.com, on Twitter) Arians informed him of this decision on Sunday. The search for Arians’ successor will begin immediately.

The 65-year-old Arians has been a coach for more than 40 years and first coached in the NFL in 1989. Only five of those seasons came as an NFL head coach, but Arians spent nine seasons as an offensive coordinator in the league — the last of which (2012) earned him the long-awaited opportunity to lead a team.

In Arizona, Arians steered the Cardinals to two playoff berths. The 2015 season was his unquestioned masterpiece, with the Cardinals gliding to the NFC championship game. He will finish with a record of 49-30-1.

Arians cemented himself as a high-end coaching candidate by winning NFL coach of the year honors leading the 2012 coach while Chuck Pagano underwent cancer treatment. Prior to that season, Arians operated as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator during a period that saw the franchise win its sixth championship (2008) and reach its most recent Super Bowl (in 2010).

Arians coached Carson Palmer during his entire Arizona stint, one that revived his career, and his offense helped Larry Fitzgerald further place himself among the league’s all-time greats at his position. Neither are guaranteed to return in 2018, so this decision could be a seminal one regarding how the Cards’ cornerstone players proceed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bruce Arians Expected To Retire

Ending weeks of speculation, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is expected to retire, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link). Bruce Arians (vertical)

In five seasons with the team, Arians went 49-30-1 and cracked 10 wins with Arizona in each of his first three seasons. In July, Arians said he would like to finish out his contract with the team that ran through 2018 with a team option for 2019.

I hope not,” said Arians when asked if 2017 could be his last season (via ESPN.com). “That’s going to mean I’m not healthy.”

Health concerns have been at the forefront of Arians’ tenure in Arizona. In 2016, he was hospitalized with symptoms of diverticulitis, and in February he had surgery to remove a cancerous piece of his kidney.

Arians gained fame for his work with quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. In 2012, he filled in for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano after he was diagnosed with leukemia and powered the team to an 9-3 mark down the stretch and helped Indy secure a playoff spot. The following year, Arians took the job in Arizona and turned the 5-11 team from 2012 into a 10-win team in his first season. He then advanced to the playoffs in each of the following two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.