Derius Swinton

Coaching Rumors: Eagles, Patriots, Lions

Let’s take a quick spin on the NFL’s coaching carousel:

  • The Eagles are set to hire University of North Carolina offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer as their new wide receivers coach, according to Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice. Brewer will take over for Mike Groh, who was recently named Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator. Brewer, who also served as the Tarheels’ receivers coach, offers an extensive collegiate résumé, as he’s made stops at Mississippi, Oklahoma State, and Marshall, among others. However, Brewer has never coached at the NFL level. He’ll now lead an Eagles receiving group that includes Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins, whom Brewer coached in college.
  • Former Arizona State head coach Todd Graham attended the scouting combine with the Patriots‘ staff, and it’s possible he’ll join New England as a consultant, tweets Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com. The Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick often enjoy close relationships with current and former collegiate head coaches — former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, notably, previously worked as something of an informal advisor for New England. Graham, for his part, was fired by Arizona State following the 2017 campaign, but he’s also led teams at Rice, Tulsa, and Pittsburgh. The 53-year-old has a career record of 95-61.
  • The Lions announced that they’ve hired Derius Swinton as an offensive assistant. Swinton, 32, has coached in the NFL since 2009, although he’s spent his entire career on special teams, not offense. Swinton led the 49ers’ special teams unit under Chip Kelly in 2016, and spent this past season as an assistant with the Bears.

North Notes: Peterson, T. Taylor, Steelers

We learned yesterday that at least a few GMs are concerned about how much Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has left and whether or not he’d be willing to accept a contract commensurate with a running back on the downside of his career. The Giants are one team that Peterson has indicated he would like to play for if he does not remain in Minnesota, but as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, Big Blue has expressed no interest in acquiring the former league MVP (although the Giants have not indicated that they are uninterested either, Peterson just does not appear to fit from a schematic standpoint). Of course, the more teams that drop out of the Peterson race, or decline to enter the race at all, the more likely it is that he will stay with the Vikings on a lesser salary.

Now for more notes from the league’s north divisions:

  • Speaking of Peterson, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune lays out a list of teams that the long-time Vikings star is most likely to play for next season, and the Buccaneers are at the top of the list.
  • The Lions signed tight end Cole Wick as a UDFA last offseason, and he managed to stick on the team’s 53-man roster, catching two passes in sporadic playing time over six regular-season games before spending the final two months on IR. But as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes, Wick could find himself with a more significant role in 2017, as he and Eric Ebron are the only tight ends under contract who played a down for Detroit last year.
  • The Bears are expected to hire Derius Swinton as the club’s assistant special teams coach, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Swinton previously served in that capacity with Chicago in 2015 but became the 49ers’ special teams coordinator last season.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the chances of the Browns‘ acquiring Tyrod Taylor increased when the club hired his former Bills quarterbacks coach, David Lee, two weeks ago. However, Cabot believes Cleveland would still prefer to swing a trade for Patriots backup signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo. If they cannot land Garoppolo, the Browns will look to Taylor, Mike Glennon, etc., but even if they acquire one of those players, Cabot believes the team should still draft UNC’s Mitch Trubisky with the No. 1 overall selection.
  • The Steelers have a lot of question marks at the wide receiver position beyond Antonio Brown, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Indeed, Martavis Bryant needs to be reinstated by the league following his season-long suspension, Markus Wheaton will probably be let go in free agency, and Sammie Coates was dogged by injuries to his finger and groin and could be facing knee surgery. As such, Dulac believes the team could spend at least one early-round selection on a wideout. John Ross and JuJu Smith-Schuster are two prospects who could be available when the Steelers are on the clock for the first time.

NFC Coaching Notes: McVay, Vikings, Eagles

Sean McVay becoming the first 30-year-old ever hired to coach an NFL team will come with the expected responsibility of calling plays. The new Rams coach will take on that task presumably since he made himself an attractive candidate by doing so in Washington.

There is not a chance I would let anyone call the plays, at least at first,” McVay told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “It’s something I really want to do and feel comfortable doing.”

King described the Redskins’ setup as McVay calling the plays but Jay Gruden having final say over the game plan. In Los Angeles, McVay will take on both responsibilities for an offense coming off a season during which it averaged just 262.7 yards per game — more than 40 fewer than every other team. The McVay-led Washington attack finished third at 403.4 per game.

Here’s more from the NFC coaching circuit.

  • The Vikings hired UCLA offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu as their running backs coach, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. The 53-year-old uncle of Troy Polamalu, Kennedy served as OC for both USC and UCLA during this decade but previously worked as an NFL running backs instructor. He coached the Browns’ and Jaguars’ backs from 2004-09. Minnesota also interviewed running backs coaches Marcel Shipp and Skip Peete for this position, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Caplan adds previous Vikings RBs coach Kevin Stefanski will likely transition to another coaching position with the team next season. A Vikings coach since 2006, Stefanski served as the team’s tight ends coach during the 2013 and ’14 seasons.
  • Former Rams wide receivers coach Mike Groh is expected to interview with the Eagles to coach their wideouts, Tim McManus of ESPN.com reports. The 45-year-old Groh also served as Los Angeles’ passing-game coordinator. The son of former Jets coach Al Groh, Mike Groh spent the previous three seasons instructing the Bears’ wide receivers.
  • Former 49ers special teams coach Derius Swinton is expected to log another interview this week, doing so with the Saints. After meeting with the Broncos, Swinton will likely meet with the Saints this week, Nick Underhill of The Advocate reports. Just 31, Swinton served as an assistant special teams coach for the Rams, Chiefs, Broncos and Bears from 2009-15 prior to taking over San Francisco’s specialty units.

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.

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.