Chan Gailey

Dolphins OC Chan Gailey Resigns

Chan Gailey will not return to the Dolphins, per a club announcement. The offensive coordinator has resigned, ending his second tenure with the franchise. 

I want to thank Chan for all of his hard work and dedication in what was a unique year,” Head Coach Brian Flores said. “He played an important role on the staff and in the development of our young roster. I wish him all the best.”

Flores will move on to his third offensive coordinator in his third year has the Dolphins’ head coach. He sacked Chad O’Shea after 2019. This time around, Gailey was widely criticized for his inability to develop Tua Tagovailoa. Sunday’s disastrous performance didn’t help Gailey’s case as the rookie tossed three interceptions in the loss to Buffalo. The Dolphins of course took a big step forward in 2020, but that was more due to the progression of the defense than the offense.

It’s not immediately clear if Gailey — who turned 69 on Tuesday — will continue coaching. He’s been an NFL lifer, first breaking into the league as the Broncos’ tight ends coach all the way back in 1985. It might not surprise you to learn a lot of the criticism has centered around his old-school ways. Still, he’s held a number of big time jobs, including when he was head coach of the Bills from 2010-12. He was also the head coach of the Cowboys from 1998-99, and spent 2015-16 as the Jets’ OC. He retired after that 2016 season, and spent the next few years out of football before Flores brought him back.

Flores obviously isn’t going anywhere, but as a defensive coach, he now has a big decision ahead of him. Cycling through coordinators like this isn’t ideal, and the team needs to decide whether Tagovailoa is the long-term answer or if they need to start from scratch.

Andrew Ortenberg contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins GM Chris Grier: Tua Tagovailoa Is Starting QB

One of this offseason’s most intriguing storylines may have just been nipped in the bud. Speaking at his end of season media availability, Dolphins GM Chris Grier declared Tua Tagovailoa the starting quarterback moving forward, via Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald.

“Tua we’re very happy with,” Grier said. “He’s our starting quarterback.” While Grier didn’t really hedge much, it’s worth pointing out that he did decline to answer whether the team would consider drafting a quarterback with the third overall pick, saying he wasn’t going to get into draft strategy. It’s difficult to parse this kind of coach and front office-speak, but Grier’s declaration did sound more definitive than when the Cardinals said Josh Rosen was “the guy” before promptly drafting Kyler Murray.

It sounds like the plan right now is to surround Tagovailoa with better weapons, and that will start with upgrading the receiving corp. “We’re very happy with that and looking forward to watching him progress here over the next offseason and going into next year,” Grier continued. Head coach Brian Flores also spoke to the media and said he expected his entire coaching staff back next year, including polarizing offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

There had been an erroneous report Monday that Gailey was being let go. Flores also didn’t say whether he wanted Ryan Fitzpatrick back with the team in 2021, stating that he needed to evaluate the whole roster first. If the team really is intent on running it back with Tagovailoa, keeping Fitzpatrick would likely prove to be too much of a distraction.

Tagovailoa, of course, found himself benched for Fitzpatrick a couple of times, including in the team’s crucial Week 16 game against the Raiders when Fitzpatrick led a miracle comeback. Had Fitzpatrick not caught COVID-19, he almost certainly would’ve been inserted into their Week 17 loss to the Bills, which knocked them out of the playoffs, where Tagovailoa melted down.
Tagovailoa didn’t play all that poorly by rookie quarterback standards, but he didn’t show nearly as many flashes as Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert, and he often held onto the ball too long and took unnecessary sacks. His struggles with inefficiency led some to question whether or not the Dolphins, with their massive haul of draft picks, would consider starting from scratch with a new passer in this deep quarterback draft.
As of right now it doesn’t seem like they have any plans to do so, although it wouldn’t be too shocking if it turned out Grier and Flores were just playing media games. Tagovailoa finished his rookie season averaging 6.3 yards per attempt with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in nine starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Hire Chan Gailey As OC

One day after firing Chad O’Shea, the Dolphins are bringing in a familiar face to fill their offensive coordinator vacancy. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Miami will hire Chan Gailey as its new OC. Gailey served in that same capacity with the Dolphins from 2000-01.

It’s something of a curious move, given that the Dolphins seemed to be finding their groove under O’Shea. Although the overall offensive numbers look bleak — the team finished 27th in the NFL in total offense, last in rushing offense, and 25th in scoring offense in 2019 — they did rank in the top-10 in passing offense and top-15 in scoring offense after Ryan Fitzpatrick took over the starting QB job on a full-time basis beginning in Week 6.

However, as Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com writes, O’Shea’s system was frequently described as complex — which makes sense given the amount of time he spent in the Patriots’ organization — and with a number of young players on the roster and a rookie signal-caller likely coming in, head coach Brian Flores perhaps wanted something a little more digestible. Gailey’s spread offense could fit the bill.

Plus, it’s not as though Fitzpatrick is unfamiliar with Gailey’s system. Gailey was Fitzpatrick’s OC with the Jets from 2015-16 and his head coach with the Bills from 2010-12. And as Wolfe says, the team wants Fitzpatrick back in 2020 for the final year of his two-year deal and to bridge the gap to the young QB it will presumably select in the upcoming draft.

Gailey, 67, is a familiar name to NFL fans. He has served as the offensive coordinator for four different teams (the Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs, and Jets) and as the head coach of two (the Cowboys and Bills). He is just 34-48 as a head coach, including an 0-2 mark in the playoffs, and he has not been successful at every stop, but he obviously has the respect of Flores and will attempt to mold Miami’s young offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets OC Chan Gailey Retires

The Jets announced that offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has retired. The Jets also announced that five coaches will not return: quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, running backs coach Marcel Shipp, defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, outside linebackers coach Mark Collins, and defensive backs coach Joe Danna. Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, apparently, will be retained. Chan Gailey (vertical)

I’m grateful to Chan for joining our coaching staff and enjoyed working with him,” coach Todd Bowles said in the statement. “The respect that I have for him as a person and a coach only increased during our time together.”

It seems possible that Gailey would have been forced out even if he did not retire this offseason. The soon-t0-be 65-year-old oversaw an offense that had the second-worst offensive DVOA in the NFL this year. However, in 2015, Gailey’s offense that amassed a franchise-record 5,925 yards and scored 387 points, the most in a Jets season since 1998. There was lots of frustration over Gailey’s play-calling this year, but the team’s shortcomings under center probably played a bigger role.

The Jets are expected to target Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and former Chargers coach Mike McCoy as OC options, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com and Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching/GM Notes, Pt. 2: Arians, Gase, Wolf

Here is Part 2 of our coaching/GM rumors post. Part 1 can be found here.

  • Despite his health concerns, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians expects to return in 2017, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Schefter tweets that one of Arians’ top assistants, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, is expected to interview for a head coaching job with the Rams, Jaguars, and Bills.
  • As the 49ers get prepared to search for a new head coach and GM, a ghost from the past has reared its ugly head. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Twitter), San Francisco was prepared to hire current Dolphins head coach Adam Gase two years ago. The team informed Gase that he was the choice, but GM Trent Baalke intervened at the last moment and convinced ownership not to hire Gase. The 49ers chose Jim Tomsula instead, and it has been all downhill from there.
  • The Packers are not expected to make major coaching changes–although offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett could get head coaching interviews–but GM Ted Thompson could step aside and become a senior scouting adviser, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. One reason, according to Rapoport, is that Director of Football Operations Eliot Wolf is a highly-coveted football mind, and if he’s not promoted soon, Green Bay could lose him.
  • The Bengals are not expected to fire Marvin Lewis, who is signed through 2017, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. However, Lewis is not expected to get another one-year extension this offseason, which means that another disappointing campaign in 2017 could spell the end of his tenure as Cincinnati’s head coach.
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles will likely be back for a third season, but offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is expected to be fired, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post.
  • The Ravens are expected to part ways with OC Marty Mornhinweg, and assuming they do, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Greg Roman is someone to “keep an eye on.”
  • Browns coaches have “deep concerns” with the direction of the team’s personnel department and are expected to push owner Jimmy Haslam for changes in that regard, according to La Canfora. While head coach Hue Jackson is not planning to request the removal of top football man Sashi Brown, the coaching staff would like a proven, old-school talent evaluator involved in player selection to provide something of a checks-and-balance system to Brown’s analytics-based approach.
  • La Canfora suggests that, if the Lions miss the playoffs this season, GM Bob Quinn could at least think about a coaching change, and his Patriots ties could lead him to consider Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, with whom he established strong relationships during his time in New England. While I personally could imagine Quinn’s being interested in McDaniels, I cannot see Patricia as a legitimate head coaching candidate at this point.

Growing Sense That Todd Bowles Is Safe

Second-year Jets head coach Todd Bowles, widely thought to be on the hot seat as a result of his club’s disappointing 2016 campaign, has a good chance of righting the ship in 2017, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini reports that sources familiar with owner Woody Johnson‘s thinking say that Johnson remains a Bowles supporter and is not planning to cut him loose.

Todd Bowles

The reason, Cimini writes, is that Johnson feels he would be punishing Bowles–and GM Mike Maccagnan, both of whom were hired in January 2015–for the sins of previous regimes. Although the duo nearly lifted Gang Green to the playoffs last season with considerable help from veteran free agents, that performance was something of an illusion, as the core of the team was weak, and that weakness has manifested itself in a big way this year. As Cimini observes, only five current starters remain from the 2008 to 2014 drafts: Muhammad Wilkerson, Brian Winters, Quincy Enunwa, Calvin Pryor, and Sheldon Richardson. It is difficult to hold a new head coach and GM responsible for that poor level of inherited talent, and Johnson is therefore expected to give Bowles and Maccagnan a little extra rope (Maccagnan and Bowles are equals and report to Johnson directly, so Maccagnan has no say in Bowles’ fate).

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is apparently thinking along the same lines as Cimini, tweeting that there is a growing sense that Bowles’ job is safe.

Of course, Johnson is an impulsive owner who is capable of changing his mind at the drop of a hat. But whether or not Bowles keeps his job, Cimini does expect there to be at least one major change in the coaching staff, and that change would likely be the ouster of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reiterates the notion that Bowles is safe (Twitter link), but Rapoport is expecting a significant roster overhaul, with several big-money veterans jettisoned from the club. Players who fit that description include Ryan Fitzpatrick (whose contract will expire at the end of 2016 anyway), Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, and Nick Mangold. With respect to Mangold, Cimini reports that his ankle injury is pretty significant and at least one source close to the 33-year-old would not be surprised if he decided to call it a career.

But Johnson may not even be the one operating the Jets when all these decisions need to be made. As Rapoport writes in a separate piece, Johnson is a leading contender to be the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom under President-elect Donald Trump, and if that were to happen, Johnson would likely not be running the team on a day-to-day basis. In addition, Johnson would almost certainly resign from NFL committees on which he currently serves (the NFL’s Media Committee, Finance Committee, and Business Ventures Committee).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Colts, Jets, Patriots, Bills

Although the Colts are now thin at linebacker following D’Qwell Jackson‘s four-game suspension, Indianapolis is unlikely to forge a reunion with free agent Nate Irving, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Irving, whom Indy released in September, worked out for the Colts in last month, but is still looking for a contract. Instead, Indianapolis is likely to hand reserve ‘backer Edwin Jackson more playing time.

Here’s more from the AFC:

Sam Robinson and Zach Links contributed to this post.

East Notes: Jets, Bennett, D-Jax

Let’s take a look at some notes from around the league as Week 10 gets underway in full force:

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com does not believe Jets head coach Todd Bowles will be fired at season’s end, but that does not mean that there will be no changes to the coaching staff. Cimini writes that offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, for instance, will almost certainly be on the hot seat.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that, prior to signing his mega-deal this past offseason, Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson sat down with Bowles to discuss his past disciplinary issues. During that meeting, Wilkerson vowed to behave and assured Bowles that he understood the responsibility that comes along with such a lucrative contract, which makes last week’s letdown all the more disturbing (Twitter links). Wilkerson’s 2016 numbers are already down, and a floundering Jets team cannot afford for him to be a disappointment both on and off the field.
  • Bryce Petty will be getting the start for the Jets today, largely because Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s knee is not quite game-ready. However, Fitzpatrick is serving as Petty’s backup today, while Christian Hackenberg is inactive. That decision shows just how raw Hackenberg really is; as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets, it is clear that the Jets view an injured Fitzpatrick as a better option than a healthy Hackenberg.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that, when the Patriots acquired tight end Martellus Bennett this offseason, the two sides explored a scenario that would have added a year on to Bennett’s existing contract. However, no agreement was reached, and Bennett will consequently become part of New England’s large free agent class at season’s end.
  • DeSean Jackson is out this week with a rotator cuff injury, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Redskins wideout is likely to miss at least next week’s game as well. Rapoport’s source says that Jackson’s prognosis is “not good.”
  • Earlier today, we examined the quarterback dilemmas of the Jets and Cowboys.

Jets Notes: Wilkerson, Hackenberg, Fitzpatrick

Jets players hope to see Muhammad Wilkerson soon, but they shouldn’t count on it, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. “He’s the leader of the D-line,” linebacker David Harris said.

Actually, he’s one of the leaders of the defense. He’s a tremendous talent. He’s one of the best D-ends in the league, hands down. I hope he’s here.”

However, Wilkerson would hurt his leverage for a long-term deal if he were to show up before July 15, his deadline to sign the franchise tag tender. Furthermore, he’s still rehabbing his surgically repaired broken leg and it’s not necessarily guaranteed that he’ll be with his teammates in July. Some people believe that the Pro Bowl defensive end could consider not reporting to training camp, which would put some additional tension between the player and the team.

Here’s more on Gang Green:

  • Many view Jets rookie Christian Hackenberg as a developmental quarterback, but offensive coordinator Chan Gailey says the Penn State product could be closer NFL-ready than you might expect. “He retained a great deal from the pro style of offense that [former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien] had,” Gailey said, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. “He’s ahead in that respect, but he’s behind in seeing what’s going to happen to him defensively in the NFL.”
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick and the team’s receivers are missing out on valuable time to grow together, Manish Mehta of the Daily News writes. Last year, Fitzpatrick’s chemistry with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker made everyone wonder about the damage they could do if they all had a full offseason to work with each other. Now, Mehta feels that the Jets are hurting their cause by not having a deal done with the veteran.
  • Recently, Decker expressed his desire to see Fitzpatrick back with the team ASAP. Marshall, meanwhile, said that the team will “be OK” with Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, and Hackenberg.

Extra Points: Gailey, Chargers, Steelers, Gordon

Chan Gailey had been out of the NFL for two seasons when newly-hired Jets coach Todd Bowles offered him the offensive coordinator gig. At 63-year-olds, Gailey didn’t even hesitate to accept the job. Why didn’t he need time to consider the position?

“There’s one big reason, and it’s a personal reason,” Gailey told ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. “I want to win a championship.”

After nearly two decades in the league and four Super Bowl appearances (three with the Broncos, one with the Steelers), Gailey had yet to win a championship.

Let’s take a look at some more assorted notes from around the league as we wrap up this Wednesday evening…

  • In an interesting piece for FOX Sports, Alex Marvez explores why – unlike their offensive and defensive counterparts – special teams coordinators hardly ever receive consideration for NFL head coaching jobs.
  • Former Chargers safety Jimmy Wilson was the notable name to clear waivers today, tweets Michael Gehlken the San Diego Union-Tribune. The 29-year-old is now free to sign anywhere.
  • Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste worked out for the Steelers today, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The 25-year-old was the Saints’ second-round pick in 2014.
  • Embattled Browns wideout Josh Gordon is eligible to apply for reinstatement on February 3rd, and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports (via Twitter) that the receiver has been doing “outstanding” during his yearlong suspension.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.