Chris Harris (Coach)

Coaching Notes: Bears, DeFilippo, Harris, Browns, Chiefs

The Bears made a staff move Monday that will surely have a lot of people in the NFL universe connecting dots. Chicago has promoted John DeFilippo to be passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, the team announced. He had previously just been QBs coach, and replaces Dave Ragone after he left to be Atlanta’s new OC. Thee promotion is eyebrow-raising because the Bears are reported to be pursuing Carson Wentz, and DeFilippo has an extensive history with the embattled Eagles quarterback.

DeFilippo, of course, was Wentz’s quarterbacks coach for his breakout 2017 season when the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl. He also coached Wentz during his rookie season before the Super Bowl earned him the job of Vikings offensive coordinator. He immediately clashed with Mike Zimmer, and was fired by Minnesota midway through the 2018 season. He was then hired as Jacksonville’s OC for 2019, and was fired after the season when he couldn’t recapture the magic he had previously with Nick Foles. The Bears making this move will do nothing to decrease the chatter about them acquiring Wentz, and now we wait.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • Washington DBs coach Chris Harris was the runner up for the Packers’ DC job that went to Joe Barry and is a name to watch moving forward for other openings, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. As Breer points out, he’s still only 38. Harris spent eight years in the league as a safety from 2005-12, and got his first coaching gig as a defensive quality control coach with the Bears in 2013.
  • DeFilippo isn’t the only coach who got a promotion on Monday, as the Browns announced they were promoting Ben Bloom to be their new defensive run game coordinator. Bloom spent the 2020 season as a general defensive assistant with the team, and clearly impressed. He was previously the linebackers coach of the Cowboys from 2018-19.
  • The Chiefs lost the Super Bowl yesterday, and they’re also losing a staff member. Kansas City running backs coach Deland McCullough is leaving to become an associate head coach at Indiana University, sources told FootballScoop (Twitter link). The news was confirmed in a subsequent tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who notes that McCullough’s ultimate goal is to become a college head coach.
  • The Bears made another recent shuffling of Matt Nagy’s staff, hiring Michael Pitre to be the new running backs coach, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN tweets. Pitre had been the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Oregon State. He’ll replace Charles London, who left Chicago along with Ragone to be the new quarterbacks coach with the Falcons.

Joe Barry, Chris Harris, Ejiro Evero On Packers’ DC Radar

The Packers will soon replace Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator, and some early candidates emerged Sunday night. Green Bay plans to interview or already has met with new Chargers defensive passing-game coordinator Joe Barry, Washington secondary coach Chris Harris and Rams safeties coach Ejiro Evero, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

Matt LaFleur has ties to two of these assistants. Barry, who served as Washington’s defensive coordinator from 2015-20, was with LaFleur in Los Angeles during the 2017 season. The Chargers just hired Barry from L.A., where he spent the past four seasons as the Rams’ linebackers coach. Barry interviewed for the Rams’ DC post last year, one Brandon Staley landed, and committed to follow Staley to the Chargers earlier this month.

Also overlapping with LaFleur in 2017, Evero has been on Sean McVay‘s staff throughout his tenure. He has served as Los Angeles’ safeties coach since McVay’s 2017 arrival. This marks his first known opportunity to interview for a defensive coordinator job. Evero leaving L.A. would continue a mass exodus of Rams coaches and staffers. The young assistant has a brief history with the Packers, having served as a quality control staffer with the franchise in 2016.

Harris was up for the Eagles’ DC position, but Nick Sirianni opted to hire ex-Colts coworker Jonathan Gannon for the post. Harris spent last season as Washington’s DBs coach. The former NFL safety spent the previous four seasons with the Chargers, working as their assistant secondary coach.

The Packers ended Pettine’s three-year DC tenure late this week. The former Browns HC declined an extension last year and saw his contract expire. He was a holdover from Mike McCarthy‘s final Green Bay staff. However LaFleur proceeds with Pettine’s replacement, his staff will now include three coordinators he hired.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles To Interview Chris Harris For DC Job

Nick Sirianni is moving forward with his staff search. The Eagles are set to interview Washington defensive backs coach Chris Harris for their defensive coordinator job, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The elder of the NFL’s two active Chris Harrises has worked as a head DBs coach for one season. Prior to his relocation to Washington in 2020, the former Bears defensive back was the Chargers’ assistant secondary coach for four seasons. Harris, 38, played eight NFL seasons.

Sirianni and Harris’ Chargers tenures overlapped. Prior to the Colts hiring Sirianni as their OC in 2018, he was on the Bolts’ staff with Harris from 2016-17 coaching wide receivers. Harris stuck around through the 2019 slate, overseeing Derwin James‘ versatile All-Pro season in 2018.

The Eagles are looking for a replacement for Jim Schwartz, who announced he would step away after the 2020 season. Schwartz spent the entire Doug Pederson run as Philadelphia’s DC.

A Schwartz-to-Harris switch would make for a major experience downgrade, with the previous Philly DC having coached in the NFL since 1996. But more names will soon emerge in this search — the Eagles’ first such hiring process since 2016.

Redskins Announce 16 Coaching Hires

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera had already brought in new coordinators on both sides of the ball (Scott Turner on offense, Jack Del Rio on defense), and he’s now filled out the rest of his staff. Rivera and Washington announced the following 16 hires earlier today:

  • Pete Hoener, tight ends
  • Jim Hostler, wide receivers
  • Randy Jordan, running backs
  • John Matsko, offensive line
  • Drew Terrell, assistant wide receivers
  • Travelle Wharton, assistant offensive line
  • Ken Zampese, quarterbacks
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs
  • Sam Mills III, defensive line
  • Richard Rodgers, assistant defensive backs
  • Steve Russ, linebackers
  • Brent Vieselmeyer, assistant defensive backs
  • Luke Del Rio, offensive quality control
  • Ben Jacobs, assistant special teams
  • Vincent Rivera, defensive quality control
  • Todd Storm, offensive quality control

Both Hostler and Zampese have both previously served as offensive coordinators. Hostler was the 49ers’ OC for a single season in 2007 under head coach Mike Nolan, but was fired after only one year at the helm. Zampese, meanwhile, was the Bengals’ offensive playcaller in 2016 and part of 2017 before being let go. He’s since coached for the Browns, the AAF’s Atlanta Legends, and the University of Florida.

Unsurprisingly, a number of new Redskins coached worked under Rivera in Carolina, including Hoener, Hostler, Matsko, Terrell, Wharton, Mills, Rodgers, and Russ.

Redskins Nearly Hired Rick Smith

There have been conflicting reports as to whether former Texans GM Rick Smith is ready to return to football, but if this morning’s report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com is accurate, Smith will be back in the league sooner rather than later.

In the wake of Washington’s dismissal of former team president Bruce Allen, owner Dan Snyder thought long and hard about replacing Allen with Smith, per Schefter. Snyder and Smith met in the Bahamas multiple times and discussed their plans for putting the Redskins back on the right track, but Snyder ultimately elected to make a fundamental change to his team’s power structure and run the franchise through his new head coach, Ron Rivera, rather than through a team president.

Sources expected a deal with Smith and the Redskins to get done, but an entirely different dynamic was probably the right way for Snyder to go. The conversations with Washington, though, suggest that Smith is going to return to a prominent position in the NFL in the near future. Smith’s wife passed away of cancer last January, and Smith left the Texans at the end of the 2017 to care for her and his three children.

As we heard when the Rivera hire was reported, the Redskins are expected to wait until after the draft to hire a GM, per Schefter (Twitter link). Snyder believes he has the people in place to get through free agency and the draft, though there will be changes to the front office after the draft is over. Louis Riddick has already been connected to the GM job, and John Keim of ESPN.com says Colts exec Morocco Brown is another name to watch out for. Interestingly, it does not sound as if Smith is a GM candidate for the ‘Skins.

In other Redskins news, Rivera is hiring former Panthers LBs coach Steve Russ to serve in the same capacity in Washington, per Schefter (via Twitter). Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio tweets that Rivera is also bringing on former Chargers assistant DBs coach Chris Harris to be the Redskins’ DBs coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Redskins, Rams, Panthers

The Redskins have interviewed Chargers assistant defensive backs coach Chris Harris and longtime NFL coach Tim Lewis for their vacant secondary coach position, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link) reported last month that new Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn would retain Harris and several other defensive coaches, but the Chargers may simply be allowing Harris — whom Jones says is considered a “rising star” — to pursue a promotion. Lewis, meanwhile, has experience as a coordinator, and has spent time with the Steelers, Giants, Panthers, Seahawks, Falcons, and, most recently, the 49ers.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • Washington had hoped to promote assistant defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant to lead its secondary unit, but after the two sides couldn’t agree to a deal, Pleasant is instead following former Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay to Los Angeles, per Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, who reports that Pleasant will join the Rams in an unspecified role. Another ex-Redskins coach, Shane Waldron (who had worked as offensive quality control assistant) will also depart for Los Angeles and become the Rams’ new tight ends coach, tweets Marvez. Finally, the Rams have also agreed to hire ex-UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Yarber for the same position, writes Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com.
  • The Panthers announced they’ve hired former Stanford RBs coach Lance Taylor as their new wide receivers coach. Taylor served as Carolina’s assistant WRs coach in 2014, working under Ricky Proehl, who resigned from the Panthers’ staff last month, and played for Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula at Alabama. The Panthers also announced the hiring of former Rams defensive quality control coach Jeff Imamura as their new assistant defensive backs coach.
  • The Bills announced they’ve hired John Egorugwu (defensive quality control), Marc Lubik (offensive quality control/assistant QB), Matt Smiley (assistant special teams), and Bill Teerlinck (assistant defensive line). Buffalo also confirmed the previously-reported hiring of former East Carolina wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan to the same role.
  • Mark Uyeyama will not return as the 49ers‘ director of human performance, reports Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Uyeyama was instrumental in developing sports sciences that predated the hiring of Chip Kelly, and had worked under the last five San Francisco head coaches.

Coach Rumors: Ragone, Titans, Manusky, Giants

While the 49ers have been making the most news today in forming their new coaching staff under Chip Kelly, here is the latest from around the league, starting in Chicago.

  • The Bears hired former Texans quarterback and Titans quarterback coach Dave Ragone as their new quarterback coach, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Bears wide receiver coach Mike Groh was also considered for the job, Rich Campbell of Chicago Tribune tweets. The 36-year-old Ragone worked with new Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, Chicago’s previous QBs coach who was promoted last week, with the Titans. Ragone coached the Titans’ quarterbacks in 2013 and instructed their wideouts during the previous two seasons. He spent this past season as an offensive quality control coach in Washington. Prior to that, he began his coaching career guiding Josh McCown with the Hartford Colonels of the now-defunct United Football League.
  • Longtime offensive line coach Russ Grimm will head to Nashville to become the Titans‘ offensive line coach, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports tweets. Grimm hasn’t coached since 2012, which was his final year of a six-season stay with the Cardinals. The 56-year-old Grimm, a Hall of Fame Washington guard, began his coaching career as Washington’s tight ends coach in 1992, a year after retiring before beginning as the team’s line coach in 1997. Grimm crossed paths with Titans HC Mike Mularkey during his time in Pittsburgh (2001-06), where Mularkey served as the offensive coordinator from 2001-03.
  • New Browns DC Ray Horton planned to hire ex-Browns defensive lineman Nick Eason for his defensive staff, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports (on Twitter), but the Titans promoting him from assistant defensive line coach to defensive line coach convinced him to stay in Tennessee.
  • The Giants hired former Eagles outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern to be their linebackers coach, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). McGovern spent 23 years coaching at various colleges in the northeast before teaching the outside backers with the Eagles under Kelly the past three seasons.
  • Washington hired another former player and longtime coach to preside over its outside linebackers, adding Greg Manusky to its staff, Andrew Walker reports on the team’s website. Manusky began his career in Washington, but only coached there in 2001. The 49-year-old former linebacker served as defensive coordinator for the Colts from 2012-15 before being fired earlier this month. He was previously the DC for the 49ers and Chargers for a combined five seasons.
  • Former Panthers and Bears safety Chris Harris will serve as the Chargers‘ assistant defensive backs coach, Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk reports. Harris worked as a quality control coach with the Bears in 2013-14 and played for the Panthers toward the end of current Chargers HC Mike McCoy‘s lengthy stay in Charlotte. Harris replaces Greg Williams, whom the Colts recently hired as their DBs coach.