Dan Campbell

Lions To Add John Dorsey To Front Office

The Lions have a brand new power structure, having recently hired Brad Holmes as general manager and Dan Campbell as head coach. Now, Detroit is adding a more experienced voice to the mix, with Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reporting that the team is expected to hire John Dorsey as a senior personnel executive (Twitter link). Dorsey, 60, had been working as a consultant for the Eagles.

Dorsey, who drew interest from the Texans for their GM post before Houston elected to hire Nick Caserio, has served as general manager for both the Chiefs and Browns. Neither of those tenures ended on a particularly positive note, but that wasn’t due to Dorsey’s abilities as a talent evaluator. His reputation in that area is sterling, and he is largely responsible for the construction of the current iteration of the Browns — who nearly advanced to the AFC Championship Game this year — and for Kansas City’s starry corps of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce.

In addition to his drafting of Mahomes and Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield while serving as a general manager, Dorsey was the Packers’ director of college scouting when Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005. And as a young scout in 1994, he recommended that the Packers sign Kurt Warner as a UDFA.

His eye for quarterback talent is especially important this year, as the Lions are preparing to trade Matthew Stafford and may well turn to the draft for his replacement. Plus, Dorsey’s experience should be an asset to Holmes, who is getting his first shot as a GM after working as the Rams’ director of college scouting for the past eight seasons.

Campbell will also have a major role in personnel decisions, as Justin Rogers of the Detroit News writes. Rather than a traditional HC-GM-owner structure, Holmes, Campbell, and vice president of football operations Mike Disner will report directly to president Rod Wood and owner Sheila Ford Hamp.

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Lions Sign Dan Campbell To Six-Year Deal

The Lions have officially hired Dan Campbell as their new head coach. The former Saints assistant inked a six-year commitment on Wednesday morning (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport), a sign of Detroit’s confidence in the former tight end. 

[RELATED: Lions Hire Brad Holmes As GM]

This is an exciting day for our organization as we introduce Dan Campbell as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions,” Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in a statement. “With more than twenty years of experience as both a coach and player in the National Football League, Dan knows the rigors of professional football and what it takes to be successful. He will help promote the culture we want to establish across our organization, while also bringing with him high energy, a respect for the game and an identity with which everyone can align themselves.”

Campbell was the reported frontrunner for the vacancy, but with Lions couldn’t hire him until the Saints were eliminated from the playoffs. Eric BieniemyMarvin Lewis, Arthur Smith, and Robert Saleh were also considered for the job, but Campbell made a strong impression in his first interview and quickly secured the gig.

The Lions fired Matt Patricia just after Thanksgiving, capping his tenure with a 13-29-1 record. They also canned GM Bob Quinn, who was replaced by former Rams exec Brad Holmes earlier this month.

The Lions haven’t made the playoffs since 2016; they believe the energetic Campbell can turn things around. The 44-year-old has spent the last five years as a Saints assistant. Previous to that, Campbell climbed the coaching ladder, all the way up to the Dolphins’ interim head coaching job in 2015. A few years later, the Dolphins asked Campbell to interview for the permanent post, but he opted to wait for a better fit. Now, Campbell has found the right landing spot — and a six-year commitment — with the Lions.

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2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Exiting the regular season, six teams are searching for new head coaches. That number is up from last season but not quite as high as 2019, though there may well be more vacancies that emerge during the playoffs.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-27-21 (7:05pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Lions To Hire Dan Campbell?

Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell has emerged as the favorite to become the Lions’ next head coach, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Lions can’t make it all official until after the Saints’ season is over, but Campbell seems primed to take over in a matter of weeks.

Meanwhile, the Lions have called off today’s scheduled interview with Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). Bowles was something of a longshot to get the gig, but it’s another indication that the Lions have settled on Campbell.

Campbell interviewed with the Lions on Jan. 11th and instantly made a strong impression on Detroit brass. Along the way, the Lions have also checked in with big-name candidates such as Eric BieniemyMarvin Lewis, Arthur Smith, and Robert Saleh. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell was also considered but, like Bowles, he never had strong odds of getting the permanent post.

The hire would complete Campbell’s rise up the coaching ladder, which began in 2010 with a Dolphins internship. In 2015, he wound up as the Fins’ interim head coach. A few years later, he declined the opportunity to interview for their HC vacancy. Now, it seems like Campbell has found the right fit.

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Lions To Interview Dan Campbell

The Lions are set to interview Saints assistant Dan Campbell in the coming days, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The club has also formally scheduled an interview with Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles

Campbell moved up the coaching ranks soon after retiring in 2021. Starting as a coaching intern with the Dolphins in 2010, he advanced to Miami’s interim head coach in 2015. After impressing in that brief run, he hooked on with the Saints. A few years later, the Dolphins requested an interview, but he had no interest in a South Beach reunion. He did, however, say yes to the Browns, Cardinals, and Packers.

Bowles, who had just 24 wins across four seasons as the Jets’ head coach, reported to be on the Lions’ list a few days ago. Here’s the current list, via PFR’s 2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker:

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Jets, Falcons, Lions To Interview Eric Bieniemy

It’s shaping up to be a busy week for Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He’ll conduct virtual interviews with the Lions and Falcons on Monday afternoon, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Meanwhile, the Jets have officially requested an interview of their own.

Head coaching candidates whose teams are in the playoffs aren’t allowed to interview until after wild-card weekend. But, for Bieniemy, there’s a loophole, thanks to the Chiefs’ first-round bye. The same goes for 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who is also slated to meet with the Lions. The Lions’ latest round of interview requests also includes Saints AHC/TE coach Dan Campbell and Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

Saleh, a Dearborn, Michigan native, may be poised for a homecoming. Still, the Lions have a candidates list in the double digits, so he’ll have lots of competition. Bieniemy, of course, is one of the hottest coaches on the block, and he has the offensive acumen the Lions need to get the most out of their talent.

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Saints’ Dennis Allen, Dan Campbell On Expiring Contracts

Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell are on the last year of their respective deals, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). New Orleans wants to keep both men on board, so the club will have some work to do when its season is over.

Allen flopped as the Raiders’ head coach earlier this decade, but his run with New Orleans has been largely successful. He replaced Rob Ryan during the 2015 season as the team’s interim defensive coordinator and was retained the following offseason. The Saints’ D has made big strides since then, and in 2018, Allen’s unit ranked second in the league against the run and tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks. He scored an interview for the Dolphins’ head coaching gig earlier this month, and while he did not land the job, he has clearly reestablished himself as a top assistant.

Campbell, meanwhile, has quickly moved up the ranks since starting his post-playing career as a coaching intern with the Dolphins in 2010. He served as Miami’s interim head coach in 2015, and he impressed during that brief run. He has been with the Saints since 2016, and while the Dolphins wanted to interview him for their HC vacancy this year, Campbell had no interest in a South Beach reunion. He did, however, have head coaching interviews with the Browns, Cardinals, and Packers, so like Allen, he is clearly a respected figure in coaching circles.

The Saints will take on the Rams in the NFC title game this afternoon, and while it seems as though New Orleans will be able to retain Allen and Campbell in 2019, there is no guarantee they will be in the Big Easy in 2020.

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Coaching Notes: McCarthy, Jets, Saints, Lions, Falcons

Mike McCarthy will be interviewing for the Jets‘ head coaching vacancy today, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). We previously heard that the organization was going to interview the former Packers head coach.

The two sides seem like a logical pairing. Considering McCarthy’s connection with future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the organization would seemingly see him as a fit with rookie Sam Darnold. Meanwhile, McCarthy would surely be attracted by the team’s $100MM+ in cap space.

We heard earlier this week that McCarthy was looking to stay close to his two high-school aged stepchildren in Green Bay. That would be a positive for suitors like the Jets and Browns, and it may explain why McCarthy ultimately wasn’t interested in the Cardinals gig.

Let’s check out some more coaching rumblings from around the NFL…

  • It will be a busy day for Saints coaches. As Albert Breer tweets, assistant head coach Dan Campbell will be meeting with the Packers and CardinalsDennis Allen is interviewing with the Dolphins, and Pete Carmichael will be meeting with Green Bay. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport provides an update (via Twitter) on Patriots linebackers coach (and de facto defensive coordinator) Brian Flores, who will be meeting with the Browns and Broncos today.
  • Lions general manager Bob Quinn made it clear that he isn’t in any rush to find a replacement for former offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. “There’s no timetable,” Quinn said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “We’re just going to get this right. There’s no rush. The way this works in the NFL is you can’t talk to people that are employed by other teams, so there’s a waiting period if teams are still playing. So our candidate pool is pretty wide right now, so we’re going to keep it wide until it narrows down and then we’ll go hire the right guy.” Quinn also noted that the decision will “primarily” be made by head coach Matt Patricia.
  • Similarly, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn won’t be making a decision on a new offensive coordinator in the upcoming days. “I would say there’s nothing to announce today,” Quinn said (via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure). “I’m not going to put like two weeks or a week [on it], but it’s not in the next few days.” Quinn also noted that quarterback Matt Ryan may have a say in the who gets hired. “Well, I think Matt has input because of his familiarity with the offense,” Quinn said. “But as far as going to select people, that’s not part of his influence. … He has a part of it, but not part of who, if that makes sense.” The Falcons fired all three of their coordinators (offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong) earlier this week. The team has reportedly interviewed former Falcons coordinator Mike Mularkey for the offensive position, and they’re also eyeing former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Dan Campbell Not Interested In Dolphins Return

Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell is not interested in returning to the Dolphins, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets. Campbell served as the Dolphins’ interim head coach in 2015 and is still highly respected by team ownership, but he apparently does not want to go back down that road. 

From the sound of it, the Dolphins wanted to speak with Campbell about their vacancy, but they’ll have to concentrate on other candidates instead. That list includes fellow Saints assistant Dennis Allen, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and maybe even current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Campbell, meanwhile, still has a full plate. In addition to prepping for the Saints’ upcoming playoff game, he’ll chat (or has chatted) with the Cardinals, Browns, and Packers.

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Packers, Browns, Cardinals To Interview Dan Campbell

Dan Campbell is a popular man these days. After interviewing Josh McDaniels, the Packers are set to fly to New Orleans on Saturday to meet with the Saints’ assistant head coach/tight ends coach, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. He’s also scheduled to meet with the Browns on Friday and the Cardinals at some point over the weekend. 

Of course, in the midst of all of this, Campbell is preparing for the Saints’ Divisional Round game on Jan. 13. Should the Saints win against their TBD opponent, interested clubs will have to get in where they fit in if they want to go down the road with Campbell.

Also carrying the title of assistant head coach in New Orleans, Campbell was connected to the Colts’ post-McDaniels job search last year and interviewed for the Vikings’ OC job that eventually went to John DeFilippo. Prior to being promoted to the Dolphins’ HC in the wake of Joe Philbin‘s early-season firing three years ago, Campbell had been Miami’s tight ends coach for more than four years.

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