George Warhop

Coaching Rumors: Pack, Vikes, Jets, Cards

Incumbent special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi was a strong candidate to take over as the Dolphins‘ head coach, but now that he appears to have lost out to Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores, Rizzi is being allowed to take interviews with other clubs, according to Tom Pelissero of (Twitter link). While Miami would prefer to retain him, Rizzi has already been contacted by by the Vikings and Packers, per Pelissero. Rizzi, who’s been with the Dolphins in 2010, would replace Ron Zook (fired) in Green Bay or Mike Priefer (hired by the Browns) in Minnesota.

Here’s more from the coaching carousel:

  • The Jets have signed special teams coordinator Brant Boyer to an extension, a source tells Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Boyer had been signed only through 2019, and rival NFL teams had already begun to express interest in case Boyer wasn’t retained by new head coach Adam Gase. A longtime NFL linebacker, Boyer joined Gang Green in 2016, and last season coached a unit which ranked first in Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA. Return man Andre Roberts earned first-team All-Pro honors under Boyer’s direction, while kicker Jason Myers received a Pro Bowl nod.
  • Former Broncos offensive line coach Sean Kugler drew plenty of interest around the NFL after being released from his contract, but the Cardinals were able to lock him down. Arizona announced that’s it hired Kugler as OL coach, Brian Natkin as his assistant, David Raih as receivers coach, and retained Steve Heiden as tight ends coach. Kugler received an early look from the Buccaneers (and early reports even indicated he joined Tampa’s staff), while the Bills, Vikings, Browns, and Jets also checked in, tweets Ian Rapoport of
  • The Buccaneers have hired Todd McNair as their new running backs coach, reports Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times. McNair hadn’t coached since 2010, when USC opted not to renew his contract, perhaps due to his involvement in the Reggie Bush scandal. He nearly became the Cardinals’ RBs coach under Bruce Arians in 2013, and he’ll now have the chance to work under Arians in Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Bucs named ex-Cardinals linebackers coach Larry Foote to the same position, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).
  • George Warhop has joined the Jaguars‘ staff as the club’s new offensive line coach, while Tim Walton will coach Jacksonville’s defensive backs, tweets Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. Warhop has coached NFL front fives since 1996, and spent the past five seasons in Jacksonville. Walton, meanwhile, served as the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2013 before moving on to the Giants’ DBs gig.
  • The Broncos and new head coach Vic Fangio are expected to retain linebackers coach Reggie Herring and defensive line coach Bill Kollar, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links). Additionally, Denver has been denying interview requests for running backs Curtis Modkins, an indication that he’ll also return in 2019.

Extra Points: Harrison, Replay, Bucs, Beasley

James Harrison‘s recent drug-testing mixup may have triggered more dissent between the NFL and NFLPA. The Steelers linebacker informed DeMaurice Smith of a drug-testing agent categorizing the taping of a test as an act that could ensure a positive result. The NFL’s explanation of the ban on taping drug tests was to maintain the process’ integrity, however, Smith’s response to Harrison — which he posted on his Instagram account (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk) — refutes that.

Despite what the player was told, and what has been reported, our drug policy regarding specimen collection rules does not specifically prohibit the video taping of a drug test,” Smith wrote. “There are rules in place, however, that prohibit a player from carrying any item other than his collection cup into the restroom when providing a specimen. Additionally, some states may have rules limiting a person’s ability to videotape another person without their consent. If drug collectors desire to change the collection rules, they may not do so on their own as happened in this case. They need to obtain approval from both the NFL and the NFLPA before making any such changes.”

The veteran linebacker appears to be at the center of another controversy and the latest source of conflict between the league and its players’ union.

  • The competition committee will consider a proposal that will expand the use of replay, Jarrett Bell of USA Today reports. Although penalties won’t be up for review, referees under this concept would be permitted to speak with league representatives in New York similar to last season’s playoffs format. The rule will need 24 approval votes at the owners’ meetings Tuesday in Charlotte.
  • Another proposal on the table for the most recent set of meetings comes from the Redskins, who would prefer a late-summer format where teams did not have to perform two stages of roster cuts. Washington’s proposal would allow all 90 players to stay on the roster until the early-September cutdown to 53 is required instead of the initial trim to 75, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports. That passing would flood the waiver wire and free agent market with more than 1,200 players in one weekend.
  • Although Vic Beasley will play a Bruce Irvin-like role with the Falcons after relocating from defensive end to linebacker, he’s still expected to return to a three-point stance on passing downs, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Atlanta’s coaches left the decision up to the 2015 first-rounder, though if it was their preference Beasley move to linebacker, this may have been a choice in name only.
  • Buccaneers offensive line coach George Warhop did not consider the team to have deployed a good offensive line last season. Although the Bucs employed now-retired Logan Mankins and potentially promising Day 2 pick Ali Marpet, the team allowed an NFL-high 124 quarterback hits. “Too many quarterback hits, regardless. I don’t care whose fault it is,” Warhop said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “We all have a hand in that. It’s one of our points of emphasis this year. First meeting, ‘Hey, listen, guys. Everybody’s telling me what a great job you did. I thought we were just average, really.” Pro Football Focus graded tackles Donovan Smith and Gosder Cherilus as two bottom-tier performers at the position, but now-healthy Demar Dotson and newly signed J.R. Sweezy should bring some much-needed reinforcements to the group.
  • Robert MathisColts contract expires after this season, but’s Kevin Bowen expects that if the former All-Pro can perform like he did during his age-34 slate in 2015 and is willing to work with the Colts financially, there’s a path for another Mathis contract for 2017. Mathis, Trent Cole and Erik Walden‘s contracts expire after this season, leaving Indianapolis bereft of pass-rushers after 2016. As part of an extension signed during Mathis’ PED suspension in Sept. 2014, the 35-year-old outside linebacker is due a non-guaranteed $5MM this season.

Draft Rumors: Bosa, Jones, Elliott, Jack

About seven Cowboys coaches were in Columbus, Ohio, recently to work out top Buckeyes prospects, including Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jones,’s Adam Schefter tweets.

Owners of the fourth pick in the draft, the Cowboys’ selection window resides in the neighborhood where Bosa currently is expected to go off the board, with the team in need of running back help as well.

Here are some other draft items as we advance further into the month where prospects dominate the NFL news cycle.

  • Also involved in Ohio State scouting, the Ravens put a full-court press on Buckeyes talents Wednesday, assessing their stock in multiple cities. They visited with Bosa in Baltimore and worked out Braxton Miller and Michael Thomas in Columbus,’s Albert Breer tweets. The Ravens, who pick at No. 6, also interviewed Myles Jack and Vernon Hargreaves n Baltimore.
  • The Bengals recently worked out Jones, Rand Getlin of tweets. He’ll also visit with the Cardinals and Bills, per Schefter of (on Twitter).
  • The Texans are meeting with Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison in Florida today, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Packers are bringing in BYU wide receiver Mitch Mathews, according to Tony Pauline of (on Twitter). Mathews, he adds, is the type of receiver that the Packers like to target in the late rounds.
  • The Buccaneers worked out Southern Utah cornerback LeShaun Sims on campus last month, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop went to Nebraska to work out offensive tackle Alex Lewis last month, Auman tweets.
  • The Saints worked out Western Kentucky tight end Tyler Higbee this week, according to Nick Underhill of The New Orleans Advocate (on Twitter).
  • Western Carolina wide receiver Karnorris Benson worked out for the Falcons on Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report