Giff Smith

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.

Chargers Hire Ken Whisenhunt As OC

FRIDAY, 5:16pm: The Chargers have officially confirmed Whisenhunt’s return, and announced four other changes to Mike McCoy‘s coaching staff. They are as follows:

  • Craig Aukerman (special teams coordinator)
  • Nick Sirianni (WR coach)
  • Giff Smith (DL coach)
  • Shane Steichen (QB coach)

WEDNESDAY, 2:27pm: The Chargers may not know yet where they’ll be playing in 2016, but they now know who will be running the team’s offense. According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is returning to the Chargers to assume the same role, replacing Frank Reich.Ken Whisenhunt

[RELATED: Chargers fire offensive coordinator Frank Reich]

Whisenhunt previously served as San Diego’s offensive coordinator during the 2013 season, Mike McCoy’s first as the team’s head coach. The Chargers finished that year with a modest 9-7 record, but won a playoff game, and featured an extremely productive offense. After ranking 24th in the NFL in offensive DVOA in 2012, the Chargers placed second under Whisenhunt in 2013, per Football Outsiders.

In 2014, Reich’s first year as offensive coordinator, San Diego fell from second in offensive DVOA to 11th. The team slipped to 15th in 2015, and also went from scoring nearly 25 points per game in 2013 to just 20 this season, despite the fact that Philip Rivers led the NFL in passing completions (437) and attempts (661). Reich was let go by the Chargers a day after the regular season ended.

Whisenhunt, meanwhile, spent most of the last two years in Tennessee as head coach of the Titans. However, after finishing 2-14 in his first year with the club, he led the team to a 1-6 mark this season before receiving his walking papers.

With the Chargers in need of a new offensive coordinator and Whisenhunt looking for a new job, a reunion made too much sense for the two sides to pass up the opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.