Eric Studesville

AFC Notes: Steelers, Haley, Dolphins

Here’s a look at the AFC:

  • Quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner is considered the favorite to take over for Todd Haley as the Steelers‘ new offensive coordinator, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Rapoport notes that Fichtner is close with offensive line coach Mike Munchak as well as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which could give him the leg up. However, no decision has been made yet.
  • Kirby Wilson, the Steelers‘ running backs coach under Mike Tomlin during his first seven seasons with Pittsburgh, is another candidate to replace Haley as OC, Ed Bouchette of the Post Gazette (on Twitter) hears. Interestingly, Munchak’s name has not come up as a OC candidate yet, even though he declined a second interview with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
  • Former Denver assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville is headed to the Dolphins as running backs coach/run game coordinator (Twitter link via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com). Studesville has ties to Dolphins head coach Adam Gase since both men were on the Broncos’ staff together both under Josh McDaniels and John Fox.

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.

Coaching Notes: Wilks, Bears, Chiefs, Cards

Steve Wilks has set up three interviews for this week. The Giants will receive the first opportunity to meet with the Panthers’ DC, with ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson reporting (on Twitter) Wilks will trek to New Jersey to meet with the Dave Gettleman-led group on Tuesday before flying to Arizona to meet with the Cardinals on Wednesday. Following those meetings, the Colts will host Wilks on Thursday, Mike Wells of ESPN.com tweets. These aren’t the only teams interested in securing a sitdown with Wilks. The Lions remain interested in doing so as well, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

The Giants will complete both Wilks’ and Eric Studesville‘s interviews by Wednesday, with the former Broncos running backs coach set for a Wednesday powwow, per ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (Twitter link). This duo will mark the fifth and sixth interviews the Giants will have conducted. After these summits, Big Blue management could be ready to make a decision. With the Eagles still in the playoffs and no Jim Schwartz interview conducted, it could put the Giants to a decision: wait on Schwartz and risk losing some of these aforementioned candidates or hire one of them instead.

Here’s the latest from the coaching circuit.

  • A possible favorite has already emerged to replace Matt Nagy as the Chiefs‘ OC. Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy will be “strongly considered,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The 48-year-old Bienemy served as Colorado’s OC from 2011-12 and has coached the Chiefs’ running backs since Andy Reid‘s arrival in 2013. Bienemy could have a clearer path to this job with former K.C. OC Brad Childress planning to retire.
  • Nagy wants to retain Vic Fangio with the Bears, both Peter Schrager of NFL.com and the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs note (Twitter links). But Fangio has interest elsewhere — from the Bengals and Packers — and could opt to depart Chicago after being passed over for the HC job.
  • Chicago may also look to retain a few assistants who worked under John Fox. Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone is a candidate to stay under Nagy despite the new HC making his NFL name by working with QBs. The Bears respected Ragone’s work with Trubisky, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets, and adds Nagy and Ragone share an agent. Biggs tweets tight ends coach Frank Smith and defensive line coach Jay Rodgers are candidates to stay put as well.
  • The Browns‘ interviews with OC candidates Ken Zampese and Sean Ryan will take place this week. Rapoport reports (via Twitter) Zampese will receive the first meeting, which will occur today, with Ryan’s interview scheduled for Wednesday. A second-generation NFL assistant, Zampese spent the past 15 seasons with the Bengals before his second year as OC ended after just two games. A nine-year Giants staffer who is currently the Texans’ QBs coach, Ryan does not have any history with Hue Jackson like Zampese does.
  • Ron Rivera does not anticipate the Panthers making any staff changes beyond possibly replacing Wilks, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. This would mean OC Mike Shula is in line to return for a sixth season.
  • Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong‘s Cardinals interview is set for Monday in Atlanta, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. Armstrong is allowed to interview under NFL rules despite the Falcons winning in the wild-card round.

Coaching Rumors: Broncos, Giants, Cowboys

The Broncos have made an interesting set of choices in replacing fired offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, as the club announced that Sean Kugler has been hired as offensive line coach-guards/centers, while Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports that Chris Strausser — who spent the 2017 campaign as Denver’s assistant OL coach — will tutor the Broncos’ tackles (Twitter link). It’s a compelling set of hires, as hiring a combination of coaches to lead separate parts of one position unit is something that usually occurs on the defensive side of the ball (safeties/cornerbacks, outside/inside linebackers). Elsewhere on the Denver staff, former interim quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak is considered a candidate to become the the Broncos’ next wide receivers coach, tweets Mike Klis of 9News.

Here’s more on the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Former Broncos assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville was scheduled to interview for the Giants‘ head coaching vacancy over the weekend, but weather-related concerns forced that meeting to be pushed back. Instead, New York will interview Studesville on Tuesday, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Studesville, who had been employed in Denver since 2010, was fired earlier this week. While he’s never been a head coach, the 50-year-old Studesville did serve as an interim HC during the 2010 campaign.
  • While the Raiders reportedly have interest in adding Cowboys running backs Gary Brown to Jon Gruden‘s staff, Dallas wants to keep Brown — who is a coaching free agent — as well, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Brown, who enjoyed a nine-year career as an NFL running back, first entered the coaching ranks with Cleveland in 2009. Oakland has been aggressive in hiring staffers under Gruden, as it’s agreed to bring in Greg Olson as offensive coordinator and Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator.
  • If Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur lands a head coaching gig in the coming weeks, he’s expected to bring Panthers quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey along with him, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Dorsey, 36, has spent his entire post-playing career in Carolina, first as a pro scout and now as QBs coach. He interviewed for the Bills’ offensive coordinator position in 2017, but Buffalo ultimately hired Rick Dennison.
  • The Bengals will interview Baylor wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell for the same position in Cincinnati, according to Marvez (Twitter link). Bicknell coached in the NFL from 2008-16, most recently with the 49ers, and interviewed with Chicago last offseason. Cincinnati, meanwhile, lost WRs coach James Urban to the division-rival Ravens.

Latest On Giants’ Coaching Search

Once thought to be the Giants’ No. 1 candidate, Jim Schwartz looks like he will be a bit behind in Big Blue’s search.

The Eagles’ DC received an interview request, but the sides have yet to schedule said summit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). If nothing transpires by Sunday, the Giants will have to wait until the Eagles are eliminated to meet with Schwartz. Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter) the Giants don’t have a Sunday interview scheduled; he labels Schwartz as being on the back-burner.

While waiting hasn’t been a deal-breaker for some teams in the past, the Giants and Schwartz — attached in rumors for weeks — not conducting an interview before he prepares for Philadelphia’s divisional-round game could cause the team to pivot away from the former Lions boss. The Eagles are not a highly regarded No. 1 seed presently, but in a hotly contested coaching market that’s seen three Giants interviewees also take meetings elsewhere, the team could opt to move forward with other candidates to stave off competitors. Schwartz has met with the Cardinals about their HC vacancy.

Big Blue has already met with Steve Spagnuolo, Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and Pat Shurmur, whom Raanan notes (on Twitter) interviewed Saturday. The Giants still plan to meet with both Eric Studesville and Steve Wilks early next week, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv tweets. The Carolina DC would be eligible to meet with New York’s representatives after the Panthers-Saints game, whether his team wins or loses.

Dave Gettleman, John Mara and assistant GM Kevin Abrams are meeting with the HC candidates, per Vacchiano (on Twitter), who adds co-owner Steve Tisch will meet with candidates as the team moves closer to a final decision.

Coach Rumors: Raiders, Olson, Cards, Fins

If the Raiders (as expected) hire ESPN commentator Jon Gruden as their next head coach, they are expected to lure Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson to be their new offensive coordinator, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Marvez reported yesterday that Olson might be a candidate to join Gruden in Oakland, but now it sounds as though an Olson addition will be a foregone conclusion. Olson, 54, has served as the Raiders’ offensive play-caller before (2013-14), and has also been an OC at several other stops, including Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville, but Gruden is expected to run his own offense once he arrives in Oakland.

Here’s more on the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • The Raiders‘ apparent decision to bring in Gruden could have wide-ranging implications for the club’s coaching staff and front office, but general manager Reggie McKenzie is likely to stay in place for at least more season even if Gruden is hired, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. McKenzie, who is signed through the 2021 draft, may be in danger of losing final authority on personnel decisions, but Gruden is unlikely to take on a GM-type role in Oakland, per Florio. However, if the Raiders do hand over free agent and draft control to Gruden, McKenzie might be able to leave on his own, citing a breach of contract.
  • Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak will indeed interview for the vacant Cardinals head coaching position, and the meeting will take place this weekend, reports Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). Arizona asked for permission to interview Munchak earlier this week, and that request has apparently been granted. Munchak has been a head coach before, as he posted a 22-26 record in three seasons with the Titans. He’s the eighth candidate to be linked to the Cardinals’ search.
  • Former Broncos assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville will have to wait for his interview with the Giants, as weather-related concerns have forced the summit to next week, per Dan Duggan of NJ.com (Twitter link). Studesville, who had been employed in Denver since 2010, was fired earlier this week. While he’s never been a head coach, the 50-year-old Studesville did serve as an interim HC during the 2010 campaign.
  • The Dolphins have hired a familiar face as their new offensive line coach, as they’ve agreed to terms with Jeremiah Washburn to take over the job, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Washburn served as an assistant OL coach in Miami in 2016 before accepting a promotion in Chicago. He’ll now replace staffer Dave DeGuglielmo, who was hired to replace Chris Foerster after the latter was caught using drugs on video.
  • Gruden and the Raiders are expected to target Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown for the same role in Oakland, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Brown, 48, is now a coaching free agent, as his contract in Dallas has expired. The Cowboys made several coaching changes earlier this week, but there’s no word as to whether they’ll pursue Brown again.

Giants To Interview Eric Studesville On Friday

The Giants are set to interview Eric Studesville for their head coaching job on Friday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Studesville was the Broncos’ assistant head coach/running backs coach for the Broncos until Monday when he was fired. Eric Studesville (vertical)

The Giants moved quickly to hire a GM and their head coaching search may be conducted with the same sense of urgency in mind. Dave Gettleman & Co. already have a solid list of candidates after requesting permission to talk to Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia of the Patriots as well as Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

It was previously said that interim head coach/defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo would receive consideration for the full-time post, but it’s not clear if Gettleman views him as a candidate. Recently, Gettleman informed the team’s coaching staff that he will not stand in the way of any of them interviewing for jobs elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Interview Eric Studesville

On Monday, the Broncos let go of running backs coach Eric Studesville but it didn’t take long for teams to come calling. The Giants plan to interview the longtime assistant coach for their head-coaching position, NBC 9 in Denver’s Mike Klis reports (Twitter link). Eric Studesville (vertical)

Klis also notes the Giants put in a request with Denver to interview Studesville before he was let go. He is obviously free to interview with the team now without Denver’s approval.

USA Today’s Lindsay Jones points out (Twitter link) that Studesville served as the Giants running backs coach from 2001-03. While there he overlapped with new general manager Dave Gettleman, who served as pro personnel director.

In 2016, Studesville turned down an interview with the Jets for the offensive coordinator position. The coach has been with the Broncos since 2010 and even served as interim head coach following the firing of Josh McDaniels in 2010. The firing of Studesville did not sit well with C.J. Anderson, who tweeted out his displeasure following the dismissal.

Held in high regard around the league by players and front-office members, Studesville is sure to land on his feet quickly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Shake Up Coaching Staff

Black Monday did not result in Vance Joseph‘s ouster, but his first staff is splintering as the Broncos begin an effort to re-emerge from a 5-11 season.

The Broncos are gutting their coaching staff, making decisions to fire wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, running backs coach Eric Studesville and special teams coordinator Brock Olivo, Mike Klis of 9News and Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post report (all Twitter links).

DC Joe Woods and OC Bill Musgrave are going to be back, Jhabvala and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport report (Twitter links). The Broncos, though, will be looking for a third ST coach in three years after Olivo’s units struggled with turnovers and the allowing of big plays this season.

Studesville was the Broncos’ longest-tenured assistant and was the team’s interim coach after Josh McDaniels‘ tenure ended late in the 2010 season. Tolbert served as wideouts coach since the ’11 campaign, joining when John Fox‘s tenure began. Studesville declined an interview for the Jets’ OC vacancy last year and was fired despite the Broncos’ rushing attack climbing from the No. 27 to No. 12 between 2016 and ’17. This season marked the first since 2011 the Broncos didn’t have a 1,000-yard receiver.

Rapoport notes (on Twitter) Gary Kubiak‘s expanded front office role likely has meant he’s been involved in the decisions, with John Elway‘s personnel department being one of the NFL’s smallest groups.

GM/Staff Notes: 49ers, Colts, Saints, Broncos

The 49ers’ shocking general manager choice, John Lynch, will face a “steep” learning curve as a front office neophyte, ex-Lions GM Matt Millen told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. As was the case with Millen, whom Detroit hired in 2001, Lynch is coming from the broadcasting booth to take the helm of a franchise. It didn’t go well for Millen, under whom Detroit went 31-84 before it fired him in 2008. “You need to be schooled,” said Millen. “You need to be mentored. You need to have somebody you can go to. That’s not easy.” Lynch could have a less difficult time breaking into his new job than Millen, notes Branch, who points out that soon-to-be 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is likely to have 53-man roster control. Assistant GM Tom Gamble will also be around to help Lynch make the transition.

More on the NFL’s front offices and coaching staffs:

  • Newly minted Colts GM Chris Ballard received a five-year contract, according to Mike Chappell of FOX59. Colts vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III was among the candidates Ballard beat out for the role, and owner Jim Irsay revealed Raye nearly got the job, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Irsay assured Raye, who will remain in the Colts’ Ballard-led front office, that someone else will give him a shot as a GM if the Colts orchestrate a turnaround (all Twitter links here).
  • While Ballard reportedly isn’t committed to going forward with Chuck Pagano beyond the 2017 season, he spoke glowingly of the five-year head coaching veteran Monday. “There were no other options. Chuck Pagano is a great coach,” said Ballard (Twitter link via Holder). Upon Ballard’s hiring, Pagano stated Sunday that he’s “extremely excited” to work with the rookie GM (via the Colts’ Twitter account).
  • The Saints have hired Mike Nolan to coach their linebackers, his previous employer, SiriusXM NFL Radio, announced (on Twitter). Nolan coached the Chargers’ linebackers in 2015 and has been a defensive coordinator with seven teams, though he’s best known for an 18-37 run as San Francisco’s head coach from 2005-08.
  • Broncos head coach Vance Joseph has added “assistant head coach” to running backs coach Eric Studesville‘s title, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. Studesville drew interest from the Jets earlier this month in their search for an offensive coordinator, but he elected to stay in Denver, where he has coached RBs since 2010.