Danny Crossman

Coaching Notes: Vikings, Fins, Bills, Broncos

When Mike Zimmer signed a Vikings extension in the 2016 offseason, the terms were not disclosed. But the sixth-year Minnesota coach revealed Thursday 2019 is the final year of his contract. While another extension could be on the way, Zimmer is, as of now, a lame-duck leader. The 62-year-old coach said he would not resign nor retire until his contract was up. It’s not unheard of for a coach to venture through a contract year, but it is obviously abnormal. The Vikings have qualified for the playoffs twice in Zimmer’s five years but were one of this season’s most disappointing teams, falling short of January football despite a roster full of extended veterans.

Here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • Elsewhere on the Vikings’ staff, the team is working to re-sign special teams coordinator Mike Preifer, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Minnesota is, however, exploring alternatives in case a re-up is not finalized. Preifer has been Minnesota’s ST coordinator since 2011. Preifer did not sign the rollover option after last season, per ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin (Twitter link), making him a coaching free agent next week.
  • Brian Flores is set to meet with four teams in the coming days, and the Patriots linebackers coach’s first stop appears to be Miami. The Dolphins are making Flores their first interview, which Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets will begin Thursday night and last into Friday. Flores is slated to meet with the Browns, Broncos and Packers as well.
  • Another coach up for the Broncos‘ job, Zac Taylor is not the favorite going into the interview process, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. That could be expected of a 35-year-old position coach, and it could indicate the Broncos are serious about bringing Gary Kubiak back to the sideline as their OC. John Elway said a coaching role for Kubiak was being considered. A Taylor hire would seemingly impede this, but former Broncos running back C.J. Anderson said the similarities between the Rams’ offense and Kubiak’s Denver attack helped him assimilate quickly in Los Angeles. Mike Klis of 9News wonders if this could make a Taylor-Kubiak setup possible, with Klint Kubiak moving up to quarterbacks coach.
  • Flores’ Broncos interview will occur Monday. So will Vic Fangio‘s, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold. Taylor and Mike Munchak will interview for the job on Friday. The Broncos finished their Chuck Pagano meeting Wednesday.
  • The Bills are moving on from two assistants, including special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, per ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak (on Twitter). As ESPN’s Seth Walder notes (via Twitter), Buffalo finished this season with the NFL’s worst special teams efficiency rating. Buffalo also fired wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie, MarvezĀ tweets. Twice an interim head coach, with the Redskins and Browns, Robiskie just completed his 37th season as an NFL coach. He’s been a wideouts coach for five teams; Crossman was a pre-Sean McDermott-era holdover, joining the Bills’ staff as ST coordinator in 2013.
  • Detroit will move on from another offensive assistant, firing Derius Swinton, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Just 33, Swinton has already been an NFL assistant for 10 seasons, serving as the 49ers’ ST coordinator in 2016. Although he helped in that area in Detroit following Joe Marciano‘s midseason firing, his primary role was on offense. The Lions and OC Jim Bob Cooter parted ways this week. Despite serving under Cooter, Swinton was a Matt Patricia hire.

Staff Notes: Tomsula, Callahan, Bills, Broncos

Jim Tomsula was out of football this season after a 5-11 campaign as San Francisco’s head coach in 2015, but it appears he’s about to resurface. The Redskins are targeting Tomsula, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, though he doesn’t specify which position the 48-year-old would take in Washington. It seems likely Tomsula would coach the Redskins’ D-line, though, considering he held that role with the Niners from 2007-14. The Redskins have an opening there thanks to the firing of Robb Akey earlier this month.

More on several coaching staffs:

  • Newly minted Rams head coach Sean McVay has already reeled in one experienced coordinator in defensive chief Wade Phillips, and he could next add one on offense in Bill Callahan, reports Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson (Twitter link). Callahan is currently the Redskins’ offensive line coach – McVay, of course, was their offensive coordinator – and has been a coordinator in both Oakland and Dallas.
  • Along with officially hiring Leslie Frazier as their new defensive coordinator, the Bills announced the additions of Juan Castillo (offensive line coach/run game coordinator) and Bob Babich (linebackers) to their coaching staff Friday. They’ll also retain special teams coach Danny Crossman for a fifth season. Castillo, who spent the past four years with the Ravens, was previously a longtime staff member in Philadelphia – where he became familiar with new Bills head coach Sean McDermott. Babich coached the Chargers’ linebackers this past season, which came after a three-year run as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator.
  • The Broncos have a couple candidates for their special teams coach job in Marwan Maalouf and Derius Swinton II, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links). The Dolphins granted the Broncos permission to interview Maalouf, who’s Miami’s assistant special teams coach. Heading to Denver would mean once again working on the same staff as rookie head coach Vance Joseph, who was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2016. Swinton is currently the 49ers’ special teams coach, but his future there is in doubt with a new head coach on the way. He worked as the Broncos’ assistant special teams coach from 2013-14.
  • The Browns have hired DeWayne Walker to coach their defensive backs, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. Walker was in Jacksonville as its DBs coach over the past four years. In going to Cleveland, he’ll reunite with Browns head coach Hue Jackson and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Walker worked with each of them in previous stops.
  • Chargers defensive line coach Giff Smith, defensive backs coach Ron Milus and assistant DBs coach Chris Harris will remain in place under Anthony Lynn, relays Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). They could end up on the defensive staff of Gus Bradley, who will interview for the Bolts’ D-coordinator job.

Coach Rumors: Bears, Jets, Falcons, 49ers

Two days after after coaching his final game for the Broncos, and one day after formally parting ways with the team, John Fox has an interview lined up with another club, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, who reports that the veteran coach will meet with the Bears. While Mortensen cautions that Fox isn’t a lock for the Chicago opening, he appears to be a strong candidate, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that it’s the job Fox wants.

Per Mortensen, the Bears have been impressed with candidates Todd Bowles, Dan Quinn, Adam Gase, and Teryl Austin, but Bowles is considered a favorite for the Falcons, while the 49ers are reportedly making a push for Gase, and Quinn has a handful of suitors.

With six head coaching positions still available around the NFL, we could see plenty of movement this week, with multiple teams making hires. Here are the latest updates on those vacancies:

  • The Jets and Falcons appear to be emerging as the finalists for Bowles, the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. One source tells Florio that Bowles is “very likely” to land in New York, while another source believes he prefers Atlanta. Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Bowles, who has second interviews scheduled with both clubs, will now meet with the Jets first, rather than the Falcons, which could be a sign that New York is the current frontrunner to hire him. Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com tweets that Bowles will meet with Mike Maccagnan, who has yet to be officially announced as the Jets’ new general manager.
  • As Seth Walder of the New York Daily News details, Seahawks defensive coordinator Quinn has long been viewed as the Jets‘ top choice, but the team is exploring other options, with Quinn potentially tied up for the next several weeks. In Florio’s previously-linked piece, the PFT scribe notes that Quinn’s interest in the Jets may not be as strong as previously believed.
  • Peter King of The MMQB.com agrees that the Jets‘ focus appears to be shifting from Quinn to Bowles, and speculates that the Seahawks DC has another position lined up — perhaps with the Falcons, who seem to be targeting Quinn and Bowles. Weighing in on the other open positions, King says he continues to hear Jack Del Rio over Tony Sparano as the top candidate for the Raiders, and that the 49ers‘ choice may come down to Gase, Vic Fangio, or Jim Tomsula.
  • Despite the fact that Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has said he intends to stay in Baltimore, the Broncos will seek permission to interview him for their head coaching opening, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
  • Washington would like to wrap up its defensive coordinator interviews within the next couple days and make a hire by week’s end, tweets Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com. The club is speaking to Raheem Morris about the position today.
  • New Bills coach Rex Ryan will retain special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (Twitter link).