Derek Dooley

Coaching Notes: Kitchens, 49ers, Bucs

Freddie Kitchens will see his role expand in New York. The Giants are promoting the former Browns HC from tight ends coach to senior offensive assistant, according to ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). Earlier this month, we heard the Giants may be eyeing more responsibility for Kitchens. Derek Dooley, who received interest from other teams, will take over as the Giants’ tight ends coach, Raanan adds. Previously the Mizzou offensive coordinator, Dooley joined Joe Judge‘s staff last year. The Giants used Kitchens as their interim play-caller while Jason Garrett battled COVID-19 last season and will lean on him more in 2021.

Here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • To replace Antwaan Randle El on their coaching staff, the Buccaneers will also turn to a recently retired quarterback. Thad Lewis will rise from intern to offensive assistant on Bruce Arians‘ staff, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Randle El left to become the Lions’ wide receivers coach. Lewis bounced around the NFL for nearly eight years; he was most recently with the Ravens in 2017.
  • A day after hiring Jay Valai as cornerbacks coach, the Eagles will lose him. Alabama will instead hire Valai, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg (on Twitter). Announced as one of the Eagles’ hires earlier this week, Valai will join former Texans HC Bill O’Brien at Alabama. Valai will replace Karl Scott as the Crimson Tide’s cornerbacks coach. Scott joined the Vikings’ staff this week.
  • Hired recently after a one-year stint as Lions DC, Cory Undlin will serve as the 49ers‘ secondary coach and defensive passing-game specialist. Fellow former DC James Bettcher will be a senior defensive assistant and the team’s run-game overseer on that side of the ball. The 49ers are promoting Darryl Tapp to assistant defensive line coach and hiring former wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and Klay Kubiak as quality control assistants. Klay is one of Gary Kubiak‘s sons. Even after Gary’s retirement, there are still three Kubiaks in the NFL — Klay and brothers Klint (the new Vikings OC) and Klein (a Cowboys scout). Hankerson also has a history with Kyle Shanahan, having played with Washington from 2011-13.
  • The Bengals hired Justin Hill as running backs coach. Hill will come to Cincinnati from the college ranks, having spent the past six seasons as Tulsa’s running backs coach. This will be his first NFL job. The Bengals are also promoting former NFL wideout Troy Walters to receivers coach. Walters served as Cincy’s assistant wideouts coach last season, working under Bob Bicknell.
  • Robert Saleh made an interesting hire recently. The new Jets HC added Steve Scarnecchia as his chief of staff, per Brian Costello of the New York Daily News. The son of longtime Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, Steve spent the past six years as the Falcons’ assistant to the head coach. Steve Scarnecchia was part of both the Patriots’ Spygate scandal, working in the team’s video department from 2001-04, and was the Broncos staffer whose filming of a 49ers walkthrough in 2010 led to Josh McDaniels‘ firing in Denver. The younger Scarnecchia will accompany new Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich in moving from Atlanta to New York.

Giants To Hire Freddie Kitchens

Freddie Kitchens has landed a new job. The former Browns head coach is expected to join the Giants as their new tight ends coach, according to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Kitchens was one-and-done as the Browns’ head coach in 2019. Under his watch, the Browns limped to a 6-10 finish. But, before that, Kitchens made a major impression in the league for his work on the Browns’ offensive coaching staff. When he took over as OC in 2018, the Baker Mayfield-led attack started to click in a major way and Kitchens was widely credited for getting Cleveland on track.

Kitchens won’t be considered for head coaching vacancies anytime soon, but he remains a well-regarded offensive coach. In New York, he’ll reunite with new head coach Joe Judge – the two men overlapped at Mississippi State.

As the Giants’ tight end coach, Kitchens will be responsible for the development of Ole Miss product Evan Engram. Engram, a 2017 first-round pick, has missed 13 games over the past two seasons, but he’s impressed while on the field. In an injury-shortened eight-game season, Engram finished 2019 with 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns.

New York is also adding Mizzou offensive coordinator Derek Dooley to its offensive staff, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Dooley worked as the Cowboys’ wide receivers coach from 2013-17 before returning to the collegiate ranks. He had previously served as the head coach for Louisiana Tech and Tennessee.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Staff Notes: Fins, Cowboys, Texans, Chiefs

Having interviewed for the Giants’ HC position earlier this week, Eric Studesville will make a trip to Miami. With the Giants zeroing in others for their top coaching job, Studesville is set to interview with the Dolphins for a position on their offensive staff, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets.

This comes on the same day a running backs coach vacancy opened up with the Dolphins, who are relieving Danny Barrett of his duties overseeing the team’s backfield, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). Salguero adds Studesville could be a candidate for the running backs job but possibly something else. Adam Gase tried to hire Studesville as RBs coach in 2016, but the Broncos blocked the move, Salguero reports.

Studesville coached the Broncos’ running backs for the past eight seasons and was listed as a Denver assistant head coach prior to being fired after this season. Studesville has coached NFL backfields since 1997 and instructed the Bears’, Giants’ and Bills’ running backs from 1997-2009. Barrett coached in college and in the CFL prior to leading the Fins’ backfield the past two seasons. Gase worked with Studesville for a longer period of time, however. The two spent five seasons together on Broncos staffs.

Here’s the latest from the assistant carousel.

  • Elsewhere in the RBs-coaching game, the Chiefs are interviewing USC running backs coach Deland McCullough for the job Eric Bieniemy vacated when he received a promotion to OC, per Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). McCullough has coached the Trojans’ backs for one season but is better known for helping Indiana ball-carriers from 2011-16. Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard thrived under McCullough’s tutelage in Bloomington.
  • Gary Brown‘s become a coveted assistant over the past two weeks. The Cowboys want to retain him, and the Raiders were interested prior to hiring their next RBs instructor as well. The Texans are now in the mix, with Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting Brown has offers to coach in Houston and Dallas. Brown is a coaching free agent; he led the Cowboys’ RBs from 2013-17. The Texans fired running backs coach Charles London last week.
  • Miles Austin interviewed for the Cowboys’ wide receivers coach position, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports. The Cowboys saw previous WRs coach Derek Dooley join Missouri’s coaching staff as OC. Austin’s worked in Dallas’ scouting department the past two seasons since retiring.
  • The Browns hired a new wideouts coach in Adam Henry, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s a three-year deal for Henry, who was previously the Giants’ receivers coach. Henry coached Big Blue’s wideouts the past two seasons.
  • The Bengals hired former Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack, Hill reports. Pollack coached Dallas’ O-line from 2015-17. He’ll replace Paul Alexander, whom the Bengals fired after more than two decades on staff. Alexander could make this a swap, with Hill reporting he interviewed Thursday to become Cowboys offensive line coach.
  • Cowboys tight ends coach Steve Loney is retiring, Hill reports. The 65-year-old assistant worked with five NFL teams and served as OC for Iowa State and Minnesota during the late 1990s and early ’00s.

NFC Coaching Notes: Nagy, Cowboys, Cards

As the wild-card round looms, here’s the latest from the NFC side of the coaching carousel.

  • Chiefs OC Matt Nagy will have a quick turnaround after Saturday’s first-round game. He’s set for interviews with the Bears and Colts on Sunday for those franchises’ respective HC jobs, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. These are the only two teams to which the 39-year-old OC has been connected. He’s finishing out his second season as Kansas City’s OC. Doug Pederson served in that role for three seasons prior to leaving for Philadelphia.
  • The Cardinals have cast a wide net in their search to replace Bruce Arians, and they are meeting with two members of the Patriots’ defensive staff today. DC Matt Patricia and linebackers coach Brian Flores are meeting with Cards representatives in New England, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). While Flores has only been linked to the Cardinals, Patricia is a candidate for the Giants’ and Lions’ HC jobs.
  • The Cowboys continue to make staff changes as the week winds down. After QBs coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker were dismissed earlier this week, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reports (on Twitter) the team is now moving on from wide receivers coach Derek Dooley and tight ends coach Steve Loney. While coordinators Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli are expected to be back in 2018, many position coaching vacancies exist in Dallas.
  • With Joe Philbin reported to be heading back to Green Bay, he will be set to oversee new Packers wide receivers coach Jim Hostler. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets Hostler will move from the position of Colts wideouts coach to the same job with the Packers, and if the Philbin hire ends up happening, both coaches will be moving from Indianapolis to Green Bay. Hostler’s most notable NFL job came in 2007 when he was the 49ers’ OC.