George Edwards

Cowboys Hire George Edwards

Former Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards has agreed to join the Cowboys’ coaching staff, as Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram tweets. Edwards will work with the Cowboys’ linebackers, but Hill hears that his role will encompass more than that. 

[RELATED: Cowboys Were Close To Extension With Dak Prescott]

Although head coach Mike Zimmer retained his job as the Vikings head coach, the early offseason saw a significant overhaul of his coaching staff. After offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski left to take on the Browns’ HC position, the Vikings parted ways with Edwards, who had served as their defensive coordinator since 2014.

Edwards, 52, has been in the NFL in some capacity for every season since 1998. He was Washington’s defensive coordinator in 2003, and Buffalo’s from 2010-11. He’s also served as a positional coach with a handful of different stops.

In Dallas, he’ll work under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Given his experience, it seems likely that Edwards will have a higher title attached to his linebackers coach mantle.

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NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Redskins, Peters

Mike McCarthy has hired several notable assistants to his first Cowboys staff, and the ex-Packers coach is considering making another big addition. The Cowboys are interviewing former Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards for a staff position, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. While Dallas hired Mike Nolan as DC, McCarthy and Edwards have a long history in the NFC North. The pair coached against one another for years when McCarthy ran Green Bay’s offense, and Edwards has a history in Dallas. He spent four seasons (1998-2001) as the Cowboys’ linebackers coach — his first NFL gig. Edwards, 53, was believed to be in the mix for the Browns’ DC job, but the team prefers 49ers secondary coach Joe Woods for the post.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • An Amari Cooper long-term deal with the Cowboys has been on the team’s agenda for over a year, and the Pro Bowl wideout has long expressed a desire to stay. But no agreement is imminent, Cooper said (via NFL.com’s Jane Slater, video link). Stephen Jones identified Cooper as the Cowboys’ No. 2 offseason priority, behind Dak Prescott, and Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk expects a deal to be finalized.
  • The neck surgery Leighton Vander Esch underwent this month went well, and Jerry Jones expects the standout linebacker to be ready for OTAs, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes. Although Vander Esch was battling nerve damage and missed much of the second half of this season, this was a minimally invasive procedure. However, Vander Esch’s cervical spinal stenosis condition — diagnosed before he became a 2018 first-rounder — makes future neck surgeries problematic, per Gehlken. So this will be a Cowboys situation to monitor going forward.
  • Former 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina will join Ron Rivera‘s Redskins staff, with Washington announcing he will be added as its assistant D-line coach. A former 17-year NFL veteran, Zgonina broke into coaching midway through the 2010s as an assistant D-line coach. The 49ers let him go after the 2018 season, his second with the franchise.
  • The Eagles are expected to make major changes to their roster, which could be categorized as aging with numerous starters either north of 30 or set to turn 30 this year. One of the moves will be a switch from Jason Peters to Andre Dillard at left tackle, Zach Berman of The Athletic opines (subscription required). Peters is a free agent and has been Philadelphia’s left tackle since the 2009 season but turned 38 on Thursday.

Browns Eyeing George Edwards, Wade Phillips For DC?

The Browns got their new head coach by hiring former Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski away from Minnesota, and they may not be finished raiding the Vikings’ staff. There have been rumblings that Gary Kubiak and/or Klint Kubiak could join Stefanski in Cleveland, and Vikings DC George Edwards could do the same.

We heard on Sunday that Edwards is unlikely to return to Minnesota in 2020, and Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune says a Stefanski-Edwards reunion could happen in Ohio (Twitter link). Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com says Edwards wants to go somewhere he can call plays, which he cannot do with the Vikings since head coach Mike Zimmer handles those responsibilities (Twitter link).

Edwards, 52, has been in the NFL in some capacity every season since 1998. He was the Redskins’ defensive coordinator in 2003, the Bills’ from 2010-11, and he has been the Vikings’ DC since 2014. He’s also served as a positional coach with several different clubs, including the Browns in 2004.

In addition to Edwards, the Browns may also be interested in Wade Phillips, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. We recently heard that Phillips, 72, would not be returning to the Rams in 2020, but his vast experience could be appealing to Stefanski, just as it was to Sean McVay when he became a first-time head coach in 2017.

In 2019, the Rams allowed 22.8 points per game and 339.6 yards per contest, putting them in the middle of the pack in both categories. But Phillips, who has plenty of head coaching experience in addition to his years as a defensive coordinator with multiple clubs, remains a respected defensive mind and would command the type of respect that Cleveland’s locker room could use.

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Vikings DC George Edwards Not Expected To Return

The Vikings will have two new coordinators in 2020. OC Kevin Stefanski left to become the new head coach of the Browns, and DC George Edwards is not expected to return next year, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

There was some speculation toward the end of the year that head coach Mike Zimmer could be on his way out, but that turned out not to be true. He will have a completely retooled staff however, and it isn’t the first time. Minnesota went from Pat Shurmur to John DeFilippo to Stefanski in consecutive years, so 2020 will be their fourth straight season with a new offensive play-caller. There’s been more continuity on defense, but that’s about to change. Edwards had been Zimmer’s defensive coordinator ever since he became the Vikings’ head coach in 2014, so this is a big departure.

Edwards, 52, has been in the NFL in some capacity for every season since 1998. He was Washington’s defensive coordinator in 2003, and Buffalo’s from 2010-11. He’s also served as a positional coach with a handful of different stops. Andrew Zimmer, Mike’s son and the Vikings’ current linebackers coach, could be a candidate for a promotion, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com floated in a tweet.

The contracts for both Zimmer and Vikings GM Rick Spielman expire after next season, so there could be even more change on the horizon. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will also be entering the final year of his deal, and ownership could elect to truly blow things up if the results are underwhelming in 2020.

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Vikings, George Edwards To Part Ways?

Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards is in the final year of his contract and might not return in 2020, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM (on Twitter) hears. Edwards has been in Minnesota since 2014 and, this year, he’s helped orchestrate one of the league’s better defensive units. 

[RELATED: NFL Playoff Scenarios For Week 17]

In previous years, Edwards has been connected to head coaching vacancies, so it’s not clear whether the Vikings are looking to make a change or if its Edwards that wants to go elsewhere. Last offseason, Edwards interviewed for the Buccaneers’ vacancy that ultimately went to Bruce Arians. In 2018, the Bears sat down with Edwards before hiring Matt Nagy.

Before joining the Vikings, Edwards also spent time as the DC for the Bills and Redskins among his many NFL stops. With one game to go in the regular season, the Vikings rank No. 6 in points allowed and No. 14 in total yards allowed.

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Coaching Notes: Packers, Bucs, Broncos

Despite Pat Fitzgerald emphatically proclaiming he was staying at Northwestern following Monday night’s Holiday Bowl win, the Packers are still going to make an attempt to interview him, Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. The Packers were expected to reach out with an interview request, with GM Brian Gutekunst expressing great admiration for the Northwestern coach and Packers president Mark Murphy having hired Fitzgerald when he was at Northwestern, but nothing has transpired yet. The 13-year Wildcats leader said Northwestern was “not going anywhere” and Chicago was “home forever.” Mike McCarthy made more than $8MM last season, according to Silverstein and Owczarski, who suspect the Packers may have to offer at least that — despite Fitzgerald having never coached in the NFL — to entice the 44-year-old college coach. The Packers have thus far requested interviews with Josh McDaniels, Mike Munchak, Dan Campbell, Matt LaFleur and Brian Flores.

Here is the latest from the coaching front on New Year’s Day:

  • The Buccaneers will have a chance to interview Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards. The parties will meet Thursday for a head coach meeting, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Thus far on the coaching carousel, Edwards — the Vikings’ DC for the past five seasons and formerly the Bills’ and Redskins’ DC — has only been connected to Tampa Bay’s vacancy.
  • Gary Kubiak may well be returning to the sideline, in a non-HC capacity. Kubiak stepped down from his role as the Broncos‘ head coach after the 2016 season, citing health concerns, but John Elway said his longtime friend may end up as part of Denver’s 2019 offensive staff. “We’ll see. We’re still in that process,” Elway said. “We still have a lot of things to go over before that, but I think it could be where it is, it could be on the offensive side [as a coach]. We’ll see what that role may be, but Gary will be around.” Kubiak has worked in the Broncos’ front office the past two years. Denver is expected to interview Vic Fangio, Flores and Chuck Pagano (while also set to meet with Rams QBs coach Zac Taylor and Steelers OL coach Mike Munchak). Going defense for a second straight hire would point to Kubiak being in line to take over as offensive coordinator.
  • Dan Quinn‘s Falcons staff continues to undergo changes. The Falcons have parted ways with tight ends coach Wade Harman, multiple sources tell Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Harman had served in this role for four seasons and had been with the Falcons for five, operating as Atlanta’s offensive line coach in 2014.
  • The Bills‘ offensive line coach and run-game coordinator the past two years, Juan Castillo received his walking papers on Tuesday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. Castillo has worked on both sides of the ball, serving as the Eagles’ DC from 2011-12 before shifting back to offense in his roles since.
  • Despite going 4-12, the 49ers will not shake up their staff. Robert Saleh will stay on as San Francisco’s DC, doing so after his unit set NFL records for fewest interceptions (two) in a season and takeaways (seven) in a season. Kyle Shanahan said (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle) his entire staff will be back in 2019.

Bucs Request Interview With George Edwards

The Buccaneers have requested an interview with Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards for their head coaching job, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Serving under Mike Zimmer, Edwards has had a significant role in game planning and has been in the mix for head coaching jobs in the past. 

[RELATED: Bucs Interested In Mike McCarthy?]

Last year, Edwards reportedly did well in his interview with the Bears, though that job ultimately went to offensive specialist Matt Nagy. Given his experience with six different NFL clubs since 1998, Edwards may be due for a step up the ladder. Before joining Zimmer and the Vikings, Zimmer held two DC jobs with the Redskins and Bills and was a linebackers coach for the Cowboys, Browns, and Dolphins.

The Bucs moved on from Dirk Koetter before the end of 2018, ending a run that started with lots of promise and ended with very little in the way of results. Koetter went 9-7 his first year but the Bucs finished 5-11 in each of the last two seasons.

The Buccaneers have also been connected to former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, though he figures to have multiple suitors this offseason.

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Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends HC Candidates

Every year, the Fritz Pollard Alliance releases a list of recommended minority head coaching candidates. This year’s edition is nearly double in size and features the likes of Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard, as Mike Jones of USA Today writes. 

Here’s the complete list of suggested candidates:

  • Keith Armstrong (Falcons special teams coordinator)
  • Teryl Austin (Former Bengals defensive coordinator)
  • Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator)
  • Jim Caldwell (former Lions and Colts head coach)
  • George Edwards (Vikings defensive coordinator)
  • Brian Flores (Patriots linebackers coach)
  • Leslie Frazier (Bills defensive coordinator)
  • Raheem Morris (Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach)
  • Hue Jackson (special assistant to the head coach of the Bengals; former Browns head coach)
  • Kris Richard (Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator)
  • Duce Staley (Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach)

Flores, the de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, figures to be a hot coaching candidate this year. The same goes for Bieniemy, who is helping to guide one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.

Others on this list, such as Jackson and Austin, seem unlikely to garner real consideration for head coaching positions this offseason. The Browns turned the corner after dumping Jackson and appointing Gregg Williams as the team’s interim head coach, which isn’t a great endorsement for the offensive guru. Meanwhile, the Bengals hired Austin in January but fired him earlier this month as his defense was one of the lowest ranked in the NFL.

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Vikings To Bring Back George Edwards As DC

George Edwards will be back with the Vikings next season. Sporting News’ Alex Marvez reports that the team has renewed the defensive coordinator’s contract for 2018. Edwards’ previous deal expired at the end of the 2017 campaign.

George EdwardsThe move isn’t overly surprising, as Edwards led the Vikings to the top defense in the NFL this past season. Minnesota ultimately finished the season having allowed 275.9 yards per game and 15.8 points per contest, both tops in the league. Edwards initially took the gig back in 2014, with the Vikings defense showing slight improvements during each of his seasons at the helm. He previously served as the Redskins and Bills defensive coordinator.

The Bears had previously interviewed Edwards for their head coaching vacancy. While some detractors criticized the coordinator’s lack of play-calling duties, head coach Mike Zimmer was more than supportive of Edwards’ bid for a head coaching gig.

“George does everything,” Zimmer said recently. “He helps with the game plan. He runs a lot of the meetings, the defensive meetings. Him and I really sit down and talk about all the different things that are going on. He studies the game just like he’s calling the game. So he’ll come in and talk to me about second down-and-whatever. ‘They’re doing this,’ or, ‘they’re doing that.’ Really, he does everything other than call the game on Sunday.”

We learned earlier today that the Vikings were planning on interviewing Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for the offensive coordinator opening. Pat Shurmer, the team’s offensive coordinator in 2017, is now the head coach of the Giants.

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North Notes: Bears, Packers, Ravens, Browns

The Bears have concluded their head coaching interview with Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards, the club announced today. Chicago is able to interview Edwards given that Minnesota secured a first-round playoff bye, and he’s one of seven candidates to be linked to the Bears’ vacancy. Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks are all being considered for the job alongside Edwards.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Incumbent cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt is considered the favorite to become the Packers‘ next defensive coordinator, reports Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Green Bay will start its DC search by interviewing three internal candidates: Whitt, safeties coach Darren Perry, and assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss. While all three coaches are currently under contract with the Packers, there’s no guarantee that any or all of them will return in 2018, as Demovsky writes in a separate piece. If Green Bay hires an outside candidate to replace Dom Capers, that new coach could aim to bring in his own assistants.
  • The Ravens will bring back offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinwheg in 2018, but it’s unclear if senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman will return given that his contract has expired, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Roman, a former play-caller for the 49ers and Bills, could potentially draw interest as an offensive coordinator once head coaching vacancies are filled around the league. Meanwhile, Baltimore may potentially hire a quarterbacks coach to work on Joe Flacco‘s mechanics, head coach John Harbaugh told reporters today, including Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Mornhinwheg currently holds the QBs coach title in addition to offensive coordinator.
  • Reports earlier this week indicated the Browns are interested in former Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese, and Cleveland will in fact interview him for their open offensive coordinator position, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). Browns head coach Hue Jackson, who calls his own offensive plays, had not employed an OC during his first two years in Cleveland. Zampese, the Bengals’ quarterbacks coach from 2003-16, lasted only two touchdown-less games as the club’s offensive play-caller in 2017. The Browns are also set to interview Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan for offensive coordinator in the near future.
  • Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley suffered a shattered pelvis during an incident at a bar on New Year’s Eve, but the injury is not expected to affect Haley’s ability to coach during the Divisional Round, reports Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While there certainly could be more to the story, Haley was reportedly shoved while out to dinner with his wife in the Pittsburgh area.