Clyde Christensen

Coaching Rumors: Panthers, Packers, Giants

Eric Washington will return as the Panthers‘ defensive coordinator in 2019, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. Head coach Ron Rivera took over defensive play-calling late last season and will continue with those responsibilities next year, but Washington will be back as DC. Carolina is interviewing former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and former Jaguars defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, but neither of those potential hire would affect Washington’s standing on the Panthers’ staff.

Here’s more from the 2019 hiring cycle:

  • The Cardinals will retain special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, tweets Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com. Kliff Kingsbury convinced Rodgers to stay even though he was fielding offers from other clubs, per Darlington. Meanwhile, the Cardinals received permission to interview Packers wide receivers coach David Raih for the same position, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Green Bay wasn’t planning to retain Raih, who coached alongside Kingsbury at Texas A&M in 2013.
  • Former Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers was thought to be following Todd Bowles to the Buccaneers, and while that union may still occur, Rodgers today interviewed for a senior defensive position with the Giants, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. If Rodgers does end up in Tampa Bay, he’ll be the club’s new defensive line coach, but it’s unclear what exactly his role would be with New York. Per RapSheet, the Giants would actually create a new position for Rodgers if he were to come on board.
  • Rodgers’ status with the Buccaneers is still up in the air, but Tampa Bay and new head coach Bruce Arians are well on their way to formulating a staff. In addition to a few hires which were reported yesterday, the Bucs will hire former NFL offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen as quarterbacks coach, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Additionally, former Cardinals defensive backs coaches Kevin Ross and Nick Rapone will join Arians in Tampa Bay. Wide receivers coach Kevin Garver is also making the Arizona-to-Tampa trek, tweets Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com.
  • The Falcons have made of number of small changes to their coaching staff, tweets D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Dave Brock will move from running backs coach to assistant wide receivers coach, while Bernie Parmalee will switch from running backs coach to assistant special teams coach.

Buccaneers Officially Hire Bruce Arians

The Buccaneers-Bruce Arians noise produced the conclusion many expected. The two-time coach of the year is heading to Tampa Bay, as first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Bucs have since confirmed the hire via press release.

Bruce Arians is one of the NFL’s most well-respected coaches over the past two decades and we are excited to have him leading our team,” Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer said in a statement. “Throughout this process, we focused on finding the right coach with a proven ability to elevate our players and lead our team forward. Bruce has played a large role in the development and career success of some of our league’s best players and we look forward to seeing him continue that work here with our franchise.

This will be a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth season, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. And Arians wants to bring some of his former Cardinals assistants with him. Byron Leftwich, Harold Goodwin and Clyde Christensen — an Arians coworker with the Colts — will be brought on board and Todd Bowles has already agreed to become the team’s defensive coordinator. Bowles was Arians’ DC for two seasons with the Cardinals.

Arians-to-Tampa gained steam over the past few days, and it turns out the former Cardinals coach’s retirement was brief. Arians is now going to rejoin former Cards personnel exec Jason Licht with the Bucs and be in charge of determining what can be coaxed from Jameis Winston, whom he’s known since the passer’s high school days.

The Bucs had initial concerns about the 66-year-old Arians’ health, per Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com (Twitter link). This required a physical. But they are satisfied with the results. That, and language in Arians’ Arizona contract — which contained a 2019 option — represent cleared hurdles now, Darlington notes. Of note: Arians is the oldest HC hire in NFL history, surpassing a 64-year-old Dick Vermeil.

Arians interviewed for the Tampa Bay job on Saturday morning and outflanked everyone else on the meeting list in terms of experience. The 2012 and ’14 coach of the year, the first coming when he was the Colts’ OC who took over for a cancer-stricken Chuck Pagano, Arians has guided three teams to the playoffs — that Colts team and two Cardinals squads. Armed with the NFL’s No. 1 offense, Arizona advanced to the 2015 NFC championship game under Arians. They produced a top-10 attack in 2016 as well. After Arians’ retirement, the Cardinals fell off quickly. They hired Kliff Kingsbury today to replace Steve Wilks, who oversaw the team’s descent from 8-8 to 3-13.

Spending the 2018 season as a CBS analyst, Arians initially said the only job he would come out of retirement to take was the Browns’ position. But Cleveland did not reciprocate the interest. Tampa Bay did and was the only team to interview Arians. The sides were believed to have only begun negotiations Tuesday, and they progressed quickly.

Arians will now be tasked with ending the NFC’s longest playoff drought. The Bucs have not qualified for a bracket since 2007, in Jon Gruden‘s penultimate season, and have fired five coaches since that happened.

Licht announced last week that the candidate who won the race to replace Dirk Koetter was going to work with Winston. Despite the quarterback’s off-field issues and interception troubles, he figures to have his best chance at showing he’s a capable starter under Arians. In Arizona, Arians resurrected Carson Palmer‘s career and pushed him to a near-MVP performance in 2015. Arians received his 2014 coach of the year honor for steering the Cards to 11-5 after losing Palmer and Drew Stanton to injuries.

The Bucs also employ Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin on offense, and the team wants to bring back Adam Humphries to retain one of the franchise’s best-ever skill-position groups — one that is more well-rounded than the David Johnson-less contingent Arians had in his final Arizona season.

Bowles has also received interest from the Redskins, interviewing with Washington on Tuesday, but another job with Arians figures to be enticing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, McAdoo, Fins

The Cardinals interviewed two more head coach candidates today, but the search will continue into next week, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports. The Cardinals have met with Steve Wilks and Keith Armstrong twice and will not need to interview current defensive coordinator James Bettcher another time because of his history with the organization. The team will also interview John DeFilippo and Brian Flores next week, per Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

In addition, Somer states that the team could look at giving Jim Schwartz a second interview, but Jurecki did not mention the Eagles defensive coordinator in his tweet. The search is mostly continuing because both the Eagles and Patriots will be playing in their respective conference championships, so depending on how the games shake out, Arizona could resolve their head coaching search by the end of next week.

Finally, Somers importantly notes that former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has recommended Bettcher and Armstrong among this pool of coaches the front office is considering.

Here are more a coaching notes from around the NFL:

  • In more Cardinals coaching staff news, now two former staffers have now left for new opportunities, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In addition to former special teams coordinator Amos Jones moving onto the same position with the Browns, former wide receiver coach Darryl Drake has been hired by the Steelers.
  • Hue Jackson is adding an offensive coordinator to his staff and have interviewed former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for the job. He interviewed with the Browns three days ago and apparently “It went fine”, a Browns source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Anderson adds that the source mentioned that they are “Just not going to rush into anything” after speaking to two candidates as of right now. Cleveland is also interviewing a high profile college coach in LSU’s RB coach Tommy Robinson for the same position on their staff, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The Dolphins announced a slew of coaching moves today. The biggest apart from Dowell Loggains being brought on as offensive coordinator is former OC Clyde Christensen being reassigned as the team’s new director of football and player development. Shawn Jefferson was wide receivers coach, but will now be an assistant head coach working with the offense. They are also are promoting Ben Johnson to WR coach. He got experience with this group of players as an assistant WR coach last season.
  • The Bears have named Brock Olivo as the team’s new assistant special teams coach, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Olivo was the Broncos’ special teams coordinator last year and was with Matt Nagy on the Chiefs’ staff from 2014-16 as an assistant to special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He previously was a former running back for the Lions back in his playing days.
  • The Texans have promoted Anthony Midget to the team’s secondary coach, according to Mark Berman of Fox26 (Twitter link). Berman also notes that they have also hired Danny Barrett as the RB coach and Tracy Smith as an assistant special teams coach.

East Notes: McDaniels, Patriots, Z. Jones

Two of the Giants‘ top choices for their head coaching vacancy, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, are reportedly set to accept jobs elsewhere. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, however, says that Big Blue fans should not count out McDaniels just yet. One team source says the Giants have not been informed that McDaniels is out of the mix, and while it has been reported that McDaniels wants more control over personnel than New York is willing to allow, the team feels it can resolve that issue.

Nonetheless, Vacchiano concedes that Patricia is off the table, and if McDaniels does indeed take the Colts’ job, that leaves the Giants with Pat Shurmur and Steve Wilks as their top remaining targets. But Vacchiano says Shurmur appears to prefer the Cardinals’ gig, and Arizona is apparently prepared to offer it to him. So it appears that things may be coming full circle, with Wilks looking increasingly like New York’s next head coach.

Now let’s take a look at more notes out of the east:

  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) reports that Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady will meet this offseason to clear the air and to resolve whatever tensions exist among themselves. While reports of discord within the organization were likely overblown, Rapoport says there is indeed some tension within the triumvirate, and since Belichick and Brady are not going anywhere until they choose to leave, it makes sense that the three men would want to hash out their issues.
  • Bills WR Zay Jones reportedly played his rookie campaign with a torn labrum, and his father, former NFL linebacker Robert Jones, told Robert Quinn of the Bills Wire that his son will have surgery on Tuesday to repair the injury. Zay Jones finished the 2017 season with 27 catches for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
  • The Dolphins will not retain defensive line coach Terrell Williams, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Williams coached the team’s D-line for the past three seasons, and his unit experienced mixed results in 2017. Jackson adds that former offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen has indeed been reassigned to a new role within the organization, as was expected after Miami hired Dowell Loggains as its new OC earlier this month.

Dolphins Hire Dowell Loggains As Offensive Coordinator

The Dolphins have officially announced that they have hired former Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to the same position. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported the news about two weeks ago (Twitter link). Rapoport added that former offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen will “likely remain with the team and transition to a new role”.

Dowell Loggains (Vertical)

It was originally unknown what role Loggains was interviewing for when he met with team officials on Tuesday, but we now know that head coach Adam Gase wanted to bring in a familiar face to work help run the offense in Miami. The two coaches previously worked together with the Bears when Gase was an offensive coordinator and Loggains was the quarterbacks coach.

While Loggains should have a crucial role in game planning, Gase will still call the team’s plays on Sundays, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

With the Dolphins offensive coordinator role now set, the man who held that post in 2017 is still awaiting what role he will have on the offensive staff next season. The Dolphins could look to further shake things up as the team’s offense was inconsistent to say the least with Jay Cutler at helm in 2017, rather than Ryan Tannehill who sat at the entire regular season recovering from a knee injury he suffered in training camp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Interview Ex-Bears OC Dowell Loggains

Former Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains interviewed for a position with the Dolphins today, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).Dowell Loggains (Vertical)

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune was the first to report that Loggains — who took over for current Miami head coach Adam Gase as Chicago’s offense coordinator in 2016 — could be in line to join the Dolphins staff. Loggains served as the Bears’ quarterbacks coach under Gase before succeeding him, so the two clearly have a working relationship. Miami has yet to announce any coaching staff changes, so it’s unclear how Loggains would fit, but Salguero reported earlier this week that significant alterations are expected along the Dolphins’ offensive staff.

While Gase intends to continue calling offensive plays in 2018, he is seeking assistance in formulating a weekly gameplan, as Salguero wrote today. As such, incumbent offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen could now be in limbo if Loggains is indeed hired.

OL Rumors: Tunsil, Decker, Seahawks

Despite being selected at No. 13 overall, Laremy Tunsil is slotted at a foreign position to him. The Dolphins are currently planning to station the Ole Miss left tackle at left guard, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

A three-year starter with the Rebels exclusively at left tackle, Tunsil told media (including Jackson) he has never played guard but expressed willingness to line up anywhere on the Fins’ front. Branden Albert and Ja’Wuan James remain as the Dolphins’ tackles, leaving Tunsil to join Billy Turner on Miami’s first unit at guard. With Albert, James and Mike Pouncey in the fold, guard has been a troublesome spot for the Dolphins recently.

Pro Football Focus graded the Dolphins as the league’s No. 31 line, ahead of only the injury-ravaged Chargers, with former starting guard Dallas Thomas receiving the site’s worst marks among its starters. PFF graded Miami as the league’s worst run-blocking line last season.

Here’s more on Tunsil and the latest from the respective offensive fronts around the league.

  • New offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen categorized Tunsil as the best lineman in the draft and was stunned he fell to Miami’s draft slot. “The further he dropped, I started feeling myself get a little knot in my stomach. I’m going, ‘Ah, don’t get your hopes up. You know better than to do that. There’s five places to go,'” Christensen told media, including Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “And even when it was one spot away, I was going, ‘Somebody is trading up. Do not let yourself get your hopes up. You’ve done this before. It’s no fun. You’ll be disappointed.’ When it did happen, I couldn’t believe it did happen.”
  • Although some expected the Lions to place Taylor Decker at right tackle considering 2012 first-rounder Riley Reiff has started on the left side for the past three seasons, the Ohio State blocker will begin his Detroit tenure at left tackle, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Jim Caldwell did not specify the team’s plans for its first-rounder, but Decker lined up at that position during Saturday’s minicamp workout. Decker started 28 games at left tackle for the Buckeyes during the 2014-15 seasons but played right tackle as a sophomore. Birkett writes that Reiff’s future in Detroit could be tied to Decker’s ability to handle left tackle. Set to play this season on his fifth-year option, Reiff will be a free agent in 2017. Beyond Reiff, the Lions employ Michael Ola and 2015 seventh-rounder Corey Robinson. However, the team signed Geoff Schwartz to a modest accord in the offseason, and although he’s coming off two injury-prone seasons with the Giants, Schwartz has been a quality player at guard and right tackle when healthy. He may make the most sense to play right tackle if Detroit deems Decker its left tackle.
  • The Seahawks are planning to slide Justin Britt from guard to center, Tom Cable told media — including Liz Mathews of 710 ESPN (Twitter link). Primarily a left tackle in college at Missouri, Britt will have now moved from right tackle to guard to center in his three seasons in the league if this transition sticks. Britt rated as PFF’s seventh-worst full-time guard last season.
  • Seattle’s staff plans to begin Germain Ifedi‘s career at right guard, with the Texas A&M tackle’s next spot potentially being right tackle, according to an Associated Press report. The Raiders’ starting right guard for all 16 games last season, J’Marcus Webb is expected to return to tackle, where he began his NFL career with the Bears.

Dolphins Rumors: Gase, Ajayi, Williams

This offseason, the Dolphins whiffed multiple times on running back targets. The Dolphins saw Lamar Miller depart in free agency, signing a four-year deal with the Texans. Miami then attempted to land restricted free agent C.J. Anderson, but the Broncos ultimately decided to match Anderson’s four-year, $18MM offer sheet from the Fins. And, just days ago, they saw Chris Johnson re-sign with the Cardinals, despite having made the more lucrative offer of the two teams.

What’s the plan now? The only certainty is that rising sophomore Jay Ajayi will play a significant role, coach Adam Gase told reporters on Tuesday morning.

We’re looking to have more than one guy. Jay is going to be a big part of what we’re going to do,” Gase said (Twitter link via Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald).

Here are the highlights from Gase’s chat with reporters:

  • In addition to Ajayi, the Dolphins could add running backs through the draft and the later stages of free agency, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald tweets.
  • When asked about new addition Mario Williams, Gase said “we’re going to see a different guy” than what Williams showed in Buffalo last year (link via Salguero).
  • Gase acknowledged that the Dolphins need more depth at cornerback (link via Beasley), though it’s not easy to find talent at that position.
  • Gase said he was fine with the Eagles trade since it netted them two starting players and will still allow them to grab a third starter at No. 13 overall (Twitter link via James Walker of ESPN.com).
  • Gase said he has a lot of trust in defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Meanwhile, Gase will be heavily involved with play calling on offense (link via Walker). That means offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen might have less control than your average OC. Gase also said that he is very involved in personnel (link via Salguero).
  • When asked if the Dolphins are rebuilding, Gase replied, “I don’t see us as a rebuilding team,” (link via Salguero).

Dolphins Hire Clyde Christensen As OC

JANUARY 20: The Dolphins have made the hiring of Christensen official, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. They’ve also named Bo Hardegree their new quarterbacks coach, according to Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Hardegree worked with Gase as an offensive assistant in both Denver and Chicago.

JANUARY 16: The Dolphins will hire Colts quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen as their new offensive coordinator, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reported just a few hours ago that Christensen was a candidate for the position.Clyde Christensen (Vertical)

[RELATED: Dolphins hire Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator]

Christensen is the latest new face on first-time head coach Adam Gase‘s Miami staff, but his role probably won’t be as large as new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph‘s, for example. While Joseph will likely control all aspects of his defensive unit, Gase – a former offensive coordinator himself – will call the plays for the Dolphins, meaning Christensen will probably take on more of an administrative role.

Nevertheless, Christensen will certainly play a part in reshaping a Miami offense that finished just 22nd in the league in DVOA. As noted, the 59-year-old Christensen most recently acted as the Colts’ QBs coach, but he does have coordinator experience, acting in that capacity for Indianapolis from 2009-11 and with Tampa Bay in 2001. All told, Christensen’s coaching experience (pro and collegiate) dates back to 1979, but the last 14 years have been spent with the Colts.

Along with Christensen, former Chargers OC Frank Reich was also interviewed for the Dolphins vacancy. You can follow all the latest assistant coaching headlines by bookmarking our 2016 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Tracker.

Dolphins Interview Frank Reich, Clyde Christensen

The Dolphins interviewed Frank Reich and Clyde Christensen for their offensive coordinator vacancy, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports tweets.

These are the first two interviews Adam Gase has conducted for this job. Miami hired Vance Joseph this week to run its defense.

Since fired by the Chargers, Reich hasn’t been connected to any coordinator jobs. The injury-plagued Chargers ranked 15th in offensive DVOA this season after slotting in at 11th in 2014. Under Ken Whisenhunt in 2013, the team resided at second in Football Outsiders’ top metric.

Christensen has been on the Colts’ staff since 2002, serving in various offensive capacities, including as OC from 2009-11. The Peyton Manning-led offense helped the Colts glide to 14-0 in ’09, but the franchise began a brief downward spiral after its Super Bowl loss. But the team retained Christensen, who has served as Indianapolis’ quarterbacks coach since 2012.

The Dolphins fired Bill Lazor during their tumultuous 2015 slate.