Darius Slayton

Position Coaches: Gilbride, Flaherty, Lupoi, Tolbert

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is beginning to fill out the position coaching spots in Carolina. Kevin M. Gilbride will be in charge of the team’s tight ends and Pat Flaherty is expected to be named the team’s offensive line coach, per Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. Gilbride has extensive experience as a tight ends coach, serving in the position with the Giants from 2014-17 and with the Bears from 2018 until he was fired last month.

The Panthers will be the fifth NFL organization to hire Flaherty as an offensive line coach. Flaherty worked as the offensive line coach from 2004-2015 with the Giants followed by a one-year stint with the 49ers, a two-year stint with the Jaguars, and a a short period with the Dolphins in 2019. While Flaherty brings a long line of experience, he was fired in Miami prior to the end of training camp after struggling to implement the team’s scheme.

  • The Falcons have named Browns defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi as the team’s defensive line coach and run game coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Lupoi was a collegiate defensive lineman at Cal, where he began his coaching career in 2008. After a stint with the University of Washington as the defensive line coach, he joined the staff at Alabama, eventually becoming the team’s defensive coordinator in 2018. Lupoi moved to the professional coaching ranks for the first time when he joined Freddie Kitchens‘ staff prior to this season.
  • Giants new head coach Joe Judge will not be making changes to the entire coaching staff. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, reports that Judge is expected to retain wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. While New York struggled in many areas this season, the receiving corp showed impressive depth. Tolbert was credited with helping late-round pick, Darius Slayton, become a legitimate receiving option.

Giants WR Golden Tate Out With Concussion

Giants wide receiver Golden Tate will not practice today and is out for New York’s upcoming matchup against the Packers while he deals with a concussion, according to Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post. Tate sustained a concussion in last week’s 19-14 loss to the Bears on a touchdown reception and has been in the league’s protocol since.

Tate, signed this offseason by the Giants, has hauled in 36 receptions for 450 yards and 4 touchdowns over seven games this season. With Tate out and tight end Evan Ingram dealing with an injury of his own, expect New York to rely heavily on running back Saquon Barkley against the Packers.

According to the Giants depth chart, Cody Latimer is next in line to take Tate’s starting spot, but Darius Slayton started in place of Sterling Shepard while he was out with a concussion of his own. Regardless, this season’s revolving door of receivers has not made adjusting to the NFL any easier for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who has struggled mightily since a strong start to the season.

 

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Haskins, Giants

As other teams continue to finalize pivotal extensions, work remains for the Cowboys on this front. Contract talks are ongoing for Dallas’ standout trio — Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper — entering the team’s first preseason game, and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes none of these contracts is particularly close to being done. Nevertheless, Jerry Jones remains confident.

You just know like so many things it’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Jones said of the extensions. “There literally is no concern on my part at all about any timeframe. That’ll happen. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. Think about it a minute. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. That always happens when it’s good for both (sides).”

Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones has mentioned possible team-friendly discounts for these players, due to the financial opportunities that come with playing with this particular franchise, and added the team not does not intend to set positional markets. (For what it’s worth, the Cowboys set the guard market last summer with Zack Martin.) Elliott, however, remains a holdout — with two days remaining until the Aug. 6 date that will determine whether the running back is a UFA or an RFA in 2020 — and Prescott does not sound receptive to a Cowboys-friendly deal.

Going from the Cowboys’ off-field matters to some of their rivals’ on-field setups, here is the NFC East’s latest:

  • Although Colt McCoy spent the offseason rehabbing a broken leg, he emerged as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback on their first depth chart. It is not certain he will take the snaps in Week 1, but J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington indicates camp work thus far has revealed this competition has become a two-man battle between McCoy and Case Keenum. It should be expected Dwayne Haskins takes over at some point this season, but Finlay notes the first-round pick has not looked ready yet. Haskins sits as Washington’s QB3 on the first depth chart.
  • Despite Dexter Lawrence tipping the scales north of 340 pounds, the Giants are playing him as a five-technique defensive end, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. This will accommodate the 318-pound Dalvin Tomlinson, who moved from end to tackle after Damon Harrison was traded midseason. Tomlinson is indeed operating as Big Blue’s first-string nose. Lawrence played the nose spot at Clemson but has impressed the Giants with his pass-rushing ability this offseason. The mammoth defensive lineman registered 1.5 sacks last season but collected 6.5 as a freshman in 2016. Either way, New York will boast a physically imposing defensive front.
  • Darius Slayton‘s encouraging offseason has not yet translated to camp, with the rookie wide receiver joining some higher-profile Giants wideouts in being unavailable. Slayton has missed 10 consecutive practices because of a hamstring injury, Dunleavy notes. For the non-Giants-following sect, Sterling Shepard broke his thumb, Corey Coleman tore his ACL and Golden Tate received a four-game suspension since camp began.

East Rumors: Witten, Mills, Patriots, Giants

With minicamps having concluded, we are now in NFL’s true offseason. However, teams use this downtime to size up their rosters and determine which, if any, moves need to be made. Here is how some of the East franchises’ rosters look going into the break:

  • At first, Jason Witten‘s unretirement was believed to be centered around a part-time on-field role and for off-field leadership. But after the Cowboys‘ offseason program, Todd Archer of ESPN.com insists the 37-year-old tight end will play far more than the 25-snap role loosely pegged for the one-year ESPNer upon his return. Witten caught at least 60 passes from 2004-17, so it can be expected the Cowboys want to see him provide Dak Prescott with as much of a short- and mid-range option as he can handle in his comeback year. Backup Blake Jarwin (27 catches, 307 yards in 2018) did grade as Pro Football Focus’ No. 25 tight end last season, so it’s logical the team will use him plenty.
  • The Dolphins‘ initial hope was to slot former Bills starter Jordan Mills at the right tackle spot Ja’Wuan James‘ departure vacated, but that has not gone so well. Mills did not fare well during much of Miami’s minicamp, according to ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe, who writes Mills (48 starts as Buffalo’s right tackle since 2016) was “regularly exposed” during workouts. While it’s hard to tell how linemen are performing until the pads come on, and this Mills update runs counter to a report indicating right tackle was his job to lose. But Wolfe adds Jesse Davis replaced Mills during some practice sessions. The Dolphins would save $2MM by releasing Mills, who has started 82 games in six seasons.
  • Despite not his nomadic stretch since his Chargers days, Dontrelle Inman fared well as a Colts supporting-caster last season. He graded as one of the best part-time wideouts in the league, per Football Outsiders. But Jeff Howe and Nick Underhill of The Athletic leave the 30-year-old receiver off their Patriots‘ 53-man roster projection (subscription required), even in predicting Demaryius Thomas starts the season on the PUP list. The duo only have four true wideouts (Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Maurice Harris, Phillip Dorsett) making the Pats’ roster, with Matthew Slater long used as a pure special-teamer. The Pats guaranteed Inman $300K.
  • The first post-Odell Beckham Jr. Giants receiving corps features clear-cut starters in Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, but a Day 3 rookie may have an outside shot at being New York’s WR3. While Corey Coleman stands as Big Blue’s current No. 3 wideout, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes fifth-round pick Darius Slayton (Auburn) has a decent chance to supplant him. Pat Shurmur called Slayton the team’s most improved player this offseason, and Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com added the team seeks a downfield threat to team with Tate and Shepard. Slayton averaged at least 19 yards per catch in each of his three Auburn seasons.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/13/19

We’ll keep track of today’s lower round draft pick signings here:

  • The Lions inked fourth-round defensive end Austin Bryant, sixth-round running back Ty Johnson, seventh-round tight end Isaac Nauta, and seventh-round defensive tackle P.J. Johnson. Bryant, a Clemson product, is a pass rush specialist who routinely used his length to get to the quarterback. He put himself on the map with 8.5 sacks as a junior and followed that up with another eight sacks as a senior. There are questions about whether his pass-rush ability is enough to offset his deficiencies against the run, but the Lions were more than happy to take a chance on him in the fourth round.
  • The Colts signed fourth-round safety Khari Willis and fifth-round defensive back Marvell Tell III. Willis was one of Michigan’s top high school players as a running back, but found his calling in the secondary at Michigan State. Tell, meanwhile, made three interceptions as USC’s starting free safety last year.
  • The Giants signed a pair of fifth-round picks: wide receiver Darius Slayton and linebacker Ryan Connelly. The Giants still have a lot of work ahead for them in signing their draft class, including first-round picks Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence.