Curtis Modkins

Broncos Hire Ex-Giants OC Mike Sullivan

The Broncos have hired former Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan as their new quarterbacks coach, reports Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). The club has also hired former Bears running backs coach Curtis Modkins to the same role in Denver, per Klis.Mike Sullivan (Vertical)

Sullivan is technically still under contract in New York, but given that Big Blue is overhauling its coaching staff, Giants assistants are free to explore other roles. Now hired in Denver, Sullivan would work under Bill Musgrave, who will return as the Broncos’ offensive play-caller after taking over for Mike McCoy at midseason.

Interim Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak is expected to shift to a new position with the team, and head coach Vance Joseph & Co. also reportedly considered former Bengals OC Ken Zampese as a staff addition. Sullivan, 50, sandwiched a stint as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator from 2012-13 between two tenures with the Giants.

Modkins, meanwhile, has served as an NFL coach since 2008 and enjoyed offensive coordinator titles with the Bills (2010-12) and 49ers (2016). He’ll replace former assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville, who was fired earlier this week, but he wasn’t the only candidate for the position. The Broncos also interviewed Raiders running backs coach Bernie Parmalee, per Klis (Twitter link).

One other Broncos staff housekeeping note: assistant to to the head coach Phil Rauscher is interviewing to become the Redskins’ assistant offensive line coach, tweets Klis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Coaching Notes: 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Bears, Vikings

Gus Bradley‘s hesitancy surrounding the Chargers’ DC job was believed to have been connected to an opportunity with the 49ers under Tom Cable. But now that Cable withdrew his name from consideration, the Bolts still don’t have a decision from Bradley. However, buzz around league circles points to a Kyle Shanahan-Bradley setup in San Francisco making sense, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets.

This comes after a report indicating Bradley “spurned” the 49ers when asked if he would team with Shanahan. It would help explain Bradley remaining without a job after being coveted by Anthony Lynn in Los Angeles. The 49ers have shown a willingness to target DCs, with the Bears blocking their request for a potential Vic Fangio reunion, due to having a coach in line to accept the job in Shanahan, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes.

Here’s more from the 49ers and the rest of the league during the postseason hiring period.

  • Shanahan will not put up a fight for control over the 49ers’ 53-man roster if hired, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. The would-be first-time HC would be fine working alongside a GM regarding the draft and prospective trades, Maiocco writes, and could meet with GM candidates on second interviews on Tuesday. The Falcons’ OC is expected to meet with the 49ers again on Tuesday.
  • The Seahawks hired Clint Hurtt as their defensive line coach, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. This wraps up an interesting odyssey for the former Bears’ outside linebackers coach. A previous report linked Hurtt to the Jets as their OLBs coach, with that coming after the position instructor turned down an extension with the Bears. Hurtt coached Chicago’s defensive line in 2014.
  • Broncos assistant defensive backs coach Samson Brown will follow Wade Phillips to and become part of the Rams‘ defensive staff, Marvez tweets. The Broncos are bringing Johnnie Lynn aboard to replace him, per Marvez. Lynn worked with new Denver DBs coach Marcus Robertson with the Raiders.
  • Speaking of the Bears, they hired three new assistants: Jeremiah Washburn (offensive line), Curtis Modkins (running backs) and Roy Anderson (assistant secondary). Washburn worked as the Dolphins’ O-line coach in 2016 and oversaw the Lions’ offensive front for the previous three seasons. Modkins served as the 49ers’ OC under Chip Kelly last season and previously as the Bills’ OC.
  • The Bears might lose assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower to the 49ers, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes (on Twitter). He previously worked with Shanahan, doing so in Washington from 2010-13 and in Cleveland in ’14.
  • Vikings assistant Kevin Stefanski will slide from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach, Caplan reports (on Twitter). Although the Vikings promoted Pat Shurmur to full-time OC, they fired QBs coach Scott Turner earlier this month. Stefanski has coached the running backs and tight ends the past three seasons but served as Minnesota’s assistant QBs coach from 2009-13. He’s been with the organization since 2006.

Coaching Notes: 49ers, Rams, Bears, Bills

The fact that Kyle Shanahan is the only head coaching possibility remaining in the 49ers’ once-deep pool of candidates gives him significant leverage, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Along with helping the 49ers pick their next general manager, which he’ll do next week, Shanahan is expected to become the highest-paid rookie head coach of all-time, according to Florio. Moreover, Shanahan – not his GM – will likely have final say over the roster and draft in San Francisco.

One problem the 49ers have encountered during their head coaching search is the amount of influence that CEO Jed York’s right-hand man, Paraag Marathe, has over football matters, relays Florio. While it won’t bother Shanahan enough to avoid taking the job, Marathe’s presence could become an issue down the line, Florio suggests.

In the improbable event Shanahan turns the Niners down, it would be catastrophic for a franchise whose reputation has been in serious decline since it parted with Jim Harbaugh a couple years ago, observes CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. The 49ers have fired their post-Harbaugh head coaches, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, after one season apiece and a combined 7-25 record. And those two were not coveted around the NFL when the 49ers hired them. Rather, the team had to settle in each case, and things could get even worse this year if Shanahan stays in Atlanta and San Fran has to go back to the drawing board as February approaches.

In other coaching news…

  • The possibility of longtime NFL assistant Aaron Kromer serving as Rams head coach Sean McVay‘s offensive coordinator is “getting stronger,” tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. McVay wants someone with an O-line background to fill the role, and Kromer has plenty of experience in that regard. He has overseen the lines in Oakland, New Orleans and Buffalo, and has also been an offensive coordinator in Chicago.
  • The Bears will hire Curtis Modkins as their running backs coach, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). He’ll replace Stan Drayton, who left after Chicago’s season ended to take a job at the University of Texas. Modkins, who was the aforementioned Chip Kelly‘s offensive coordinator in San Francisco in 2016, has also coached running backs in Kansas City, Arizona and Detroit.
  • The Bills have named Kelly Skipper their running backs coach, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Skipper previously held those roles in Oakland and Jacksonville, two places where he worked under then-offensive coordinator Greg Olson. The connection is notable because Olson is the only known candidate for the Bills’ O-coordinator job.

49ers To Hire Curtis Modkins As OC

Shortly after word broke that Bills assistant head coach Anthony Lynn was withdrawing his name from consideration for the 49ers’ offensive coordinator position, San Francisco has apparently found its man for the job. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Niners are hiring Lions running backs coach Curtis Modkins to be their offensive coordinator.Curtis Modkins

[RELATED: 49ers considering Jason Tarver, Don Martindale for defensive coordinator job]

With Lynn no longer in the running for the job, Modkins and former Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day were the only two known candidates for Chip Kelly and the Niners. According to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Day is now set to become the new quarterbacks coach in San Francisco.

While Day has worked with Kelly previously, Modkins and the new 49ers head coach don’t appear to have overlapped at all during their coaching careers. Before becoming the Lions’ running backs coach in 2013, Modkins served as the Bills’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach. He also worked for the Cardinals and Chiefs as their respective running backs coaches after making the leap from the NCAA ranks in 2008.

Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert each made eight starts for the 49ers in 2015, and the team’s offense struggled to get much going under either quarterback. For the season, San Francisco finished 31st in the NFL with just 303.8 yards per game. The running game, with ranked 21st, was slightly more effective than the passing game (29th), but it wasn’t a productive year for Geep Chryst‘s unit. Chryst was let go by the team earlier this week.

In San Francisco, Kelly will continue to call offensive plays, as he did in Philadelphia, while Modkins and his staff will “set [the] stage” during those game-day play calls during the week, tweets Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.

In addition to bringing in a new offensive coordinator, Kelly and the 49ers are also set to name a new special teams coordinator, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, who reports that Derius Swinton is expected to take over the role. Swinton has been a part of John Fox‘s staffs for the last few years, serving as a special teams assistant in Denver before joining the Bears last year as Chicago’s assistant special teams coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Modkins, 49ers, Chargers, LA

The 49ers are looking for a new offensive coordinator after firing Geep Chryst earlier tonight name to keep an eye on is Lions run game coordinator Curtis Modkins, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Modkins does have OC experience — he worked under Chan Gailey with the Bills from 2010-12 — but he didn’t call plays during that time. With Chip Kelly leading the staff in San Francisco, Modkins wouldn’t call the 49ers’ plays, either.

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

  • Unsurprisingly, the Chargers have applied to trademark the phrases “Los Angeles Chargers” and “LA Chargers” in advance of their expected move to Inglewood, reports Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times. Talks between the Chargers and the Rams reportedly began yesterday, and the NFL is apparently pushing Chargers management to accept the move to Los Angeles.
  • The Chargers also worked out CFL receiver Eric Rogers, tweets Field Yates of ESPN. Rogers has now auditioned for or visited half the teams in the NFL, per Yates, so he should be able to find a contract heading into 2016.
  • In a detailed piece for CBSSports.com, Joel Corry looks at what lies ahead for the recently-eliminated Seahawks. Not only will the club have to decide on the fate of running back Marshawn Lynch, but Seattle will need to negotiate its salary cap knowing full well that quarterback Russell Wilson‘s cap number is about to jump to than $18MM. With the team needing help along both the offensive and defensive lines, personnel changes could be coming to Seattle.