Chris Kuper

Coaching Notes: Jags, Fins, Ravens, Broncos

In the aftermath of this offseason’s head coaching searches across the NFL, Greg A. Bedard of SI.com asked three executives from successful franchises their thoughts on this year’s hirings. One opined that the league’s owners “have absolutely no idea what they’re doing” and that “most of these places are screwed up.” He also blasted the Jaguars’ decision to elevate Doug Marrone from interim head coach to the full-time position. “Look at Jacksonville. They keep Marrone—I mean, he was an assistant head coach on that team the past two years [8–24], was he not?—and say he’s by far the best candidate,” he stated. “After speaking to (Josh) McDaniels, (Kyle) Shanahan and Mike Smith? Are you kidding?”

Marrone coached the final two games of the Jaguars’ season, during which they went 1-1, after the firing of Gus Bradley. Before joining Jacksonville’s staff in 2015, Marrone worked as the Bills’ head coach and went 15-17 in two years. The club finished 9-7 on his watch in 2014, but Marrone then elected to opt out of his contract.

Now for the latest staff changes:

  • The Dolphins have named Frank Bush their assistant head coach/linebackers coach and promoted Chris Kuper from quality control coach to offensive line assistant, per Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel. Additionally, the team has designated special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi an associate head coach, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The 54-year-old Bush will take over Miami’s linebackers from Matt Burke, who’s now the defensive coordinator. Bush spent the past four seasons coaching the Rams’ LBs.
  • The Ravens have announced the hiring of Joe D’Allessandris as their offensive line coach. He’ll replace Juan Castillo, who went to Buffalo. D’Allessandris oversaw the Chargers’ O-line from 2013-15.
  • The Broncos will name Johnnie Lynn their assistant defensive backs coach, a league source told Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Lynn is familiar with the Broncos’ new head coach, Vance Joseph, as the two worked together in San Francisco from 2006-10. More recently, Lynn was with the Raiders from 2012-14.

Dolphins Finalize Coaching Staff

The Dolphins have finalized Adam Gase‘s coaching staff for the 2016 season, announcing today in a press release that a number of assistants have been added or retained. The team had previously confirmed the hires of Clyde Christensen as offensive coordinator and Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator, among others, so today’s announcement doesn’t feature any major changes, but a few key roles have been filled.Lou Anarumo

[RELATED: Dolphins hire Adam Gase as head coach]

Here’s a breakdown of some of the noteworthy additions, promotions, or assignments announced today:

  • Danny Barrett, running backs coach
  • Ben Johnson, assistant wide receivers coach
  • Chris Kuper, offensive quality control
  • Lou Anarumo, defensive backs coach
  • Terrell Williams, defensive line coach
  • Charlie Bullen, assistant linebackers coach
  • Rusty McKinney, defensive quality control
  • Darren Rizzi, assistant head coach/special teams
  • Marwan Maalouf, assistant special teams
  • Dave Puloka, head strength and conditioning coach

Anarumo is perhaps the most interesting name on the list, since he finished the season as the Dolphins’ interim defensive coordinator after taking over for Kevin Coyle last October. Anarumo interviewed for the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator job earlier this month, but ultimately returned to Miami in the same role that he held for the club prior to his promotion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Browns, 49ers, Dolphins, Singletary

Browns coach Hue Jackson was seeking a defensive coordinator who was familiar with the division, making Ray Horton the perfect fit. As Tom Withers of the Associated Press writes, the 55-year-old has spent time on the coaching staff for the Steelers and Bengals.

“He knows this division,” Jackson said. “He was raised in this division. He played in this division. He understands what needs to be done to get our defense back to where it needs to be. I wanted somebody that knew the lay of the land and understood the division, understands the culture here and understands the change that we need to make and someone who can lead our young players and develop players to get better.”

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

  • The 49ers have hired former Buccaneers linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson for the same position, tweets Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole notes that Nickerson will be coaching the inside linebackers, while Jason Tarver will handle the outside linebackers.
  • The Dolphins have hired former Broncos offensive lineman Chris Kuper as their new offensive quality control coach, tweets ESPN’s Adam Caplan.
  • Former 49ers coach Mike Singletary has interviewed for several assistant gigs, but the 57-year-old told CSNBayArea.com that he’s seeking a job with more responsibility. “I didn’t want to be a linebacker coach again,” he said. “I’ve been studying my tail off since I left San Francisco to become a coordinator at the very least, and hopefully become a head coach. When that didn’t happen, I began to work that much more, visiting coaches and learning everything I could possibly learn, primarily on offense.”

Cap Work Remaining For Broncos

Until rosters are cut down to 53 players, teams are required to be under the $133MM salary cap with their top 51 salaries. In the wake of an aggressive offseason which included signing big-ticket free agents Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos’ top 51 costs $132MM, meaning John Elway and Co. have some bookkeeping to do between now and the end of training camp, explains ESPN’s Jeff Legwold.

Key points:

  • The team is trying to lock up free agents-to-be Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas long-term.
  • Including rollover, the team has about $4.6MM of workable cap space.
  • “Quarterback Peyton Manning has the team’s highest cap figure, at $17.5 million and the Broncos have the biggest cap gap of any position between starter and backup with No. 2 Brock Osweiler, still on his rookie deal, coming in at $959,094 against the cap.”
  • The team has seven tight ends on the roster, five of which — including Thomas, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen — are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in 2015.
  • “Dead money” hits include Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($2.1MM), Chris Kuper ($1.83MM) and Willis McGahee ($500k).
  • Terrance Knighton‘s representatives were seeking a renegotiation of his contract which calls for him to make $2.75MM in 2014 before the big defensive lineman hits free agency, but the team did not acquiesce.
  • Kicker Matt Prater and punter Britton Colquitt will cost a combined $7.4MM against the cap this season.

Chris Kuper To Retire

Veteran Broncos guard Chris Kuper will retire, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Kuper, 31, was a fifth-round-pick in 2006, and has spent all eight of his NFL seasons in Denver. He became a full-time starter in 2007, and remained a mainstay on the offensive line until he dislocated his ankle late in 2011. He would have been entering the final season of a five-year, $25.5MM deal he signed in June 2010.

Although Louis Vasquez is now firmly entrenched at right guard, Kuper’s announcement adds more intrigue to a Broncos offseason that is already in flux. Left guard Zane Beadles is a free agent, and left tackle Ryan Clady will be returning from a torn ACL. The Broncos offense also faces a decision on running back Knowshon Moreno, and the likely defection of receiver Eric Decker.