Greg Roman

AFC Notes: Titans, Roman, Kingsbury

Matt LaFleur‘s defection to Green Bay leaves Tennessee without an offensive coordinator. They have not conducted any known interviews and are operating deliberately. GM Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel have met several times this week discussing what the best course of action should be, so interviews are likely coming soon. Whichever way the Titans go, they will be asking Marcus Mariota to learn a fourth offensive system in his five-year career. Ken Whisenhunt ran the Titans’ offense in 2015, before being fired, then Mike Mularkey took over before giving way to LaFleur. Robinson appears to want to retain some of LaFleur’s concepts, however.

I think if that can happen so that there is some carry-over, some familiarity there, so that not just Marcus but all of our players on offense, the less that we have to put on their plate to learn the different terminology, the different concepts, if there’s carry-over, then I think they can build upon what they’ve kind of gone through the last year,” Robinson said, via Eric Bacharach of The Tennesseean. “So we’ll do our best to try to keep as much continuity as possible carrying over into the offseason and certainly into next season.”

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Eric Berry, Spencer Ware and Malik Hooker are out for today’s ChiefsColts divisional-round game. Berry is still dealing with the heel trouble that has sidetracked his career, and Ware is out with a hamstring malady. Hooker started against the Texans but missed practice this week with a foot ailment.
  • The Ravens’ Greg Roman promotion partially stemmed from ensuring he would not accept another OC role in the AFC East. The Dolphins sought the former Bills offensive coordinator for their OC role, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. HC frontrunner Brian Flores had Roman on his staff list. Another name to pop up on Flores’ early list: Kliff Kingsbury. The now-Cardinals HC appears to have had a path to Miami as Flores’ play-caller, Breer adds (on Twitter). But despite his sub-.500 Texas Tech record, Kingsbury received a much bigger promotion than the Dolphins had in mind.
  • Jets staffer Tyler Tettleton will join the Browns as an offensive quality control coach, per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports (on Twitter). Tettleton was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma for two years during Baker Mayfield‘s tenure in Norman.

Ravens To Promote Greg Roman To OC

The Ravens will promote assistant head coach/tight ends coach Greg Roman to the role of offensive coordinator, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. Coach John Harbaugh confirmed the change to Zrebiec, which will be the first of many on the offensive staff. 

Roman’s promotion takes Marty Mornhinweg out of his role as OC, but Mornhinweg has been asked to stay on board in a different capacity, Zrebiec tweets. More shuffling could take place in the coming days as running backs coach Thomas Hammock is said to be a top candidate for the head coaching job at Northern Illinois.

In 2018, the Ravens’ offensive staff had to reinvent everything on the fly as Lamar Jackson took over for Joe Flacco. Roman played a sizable role in getting the team to adjust and the Ravens believe he is the man to guide them into Jackson’s first full season as a starter.

Roman, who turns 47 this summer, served as the 49ers’ OC from 2011-2014 and the Bill’ OC from 2015-2016. He hooked on with the Ravens in 2017 and nabbed an AHC title before the 2018 season.

The staff’s reorganization and Harbaugh’s role in the shuffling may be a sign that he is staying put. There have been tons of trade rumors surrounding the coach, but the two sides have been discussing an extension over the last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: 2019 QBs, Browns, Jackson

A possible dearth of quarterback talent in the 2019 draft class may have contributed the first-round aggressiveness of teams in recent years. The Bears, Chiefs, Texans, Jets, Bills and Cardinals traded up to land their hopeful quarterbacks of the future the past two drafts, and Albert Breer of SI.com notes some of the impetus behind these moves may be coming from issues teams have with the crop of passers likely set to populate 2019 big boards.

Not right now, there isn’t one (that would go in the first round as it stands),” an AFC college scouting director told Breer. “The kids at Auburn (Jarrett Stidham), Missouri (Drew Lock) and N.C. State (Ryan Finley), by the end of it, could work their way into the conversation. But on the surface, based on current performance, it’d be a no. Now, if they ascend, which they should, those three guys have a chance to get there.”

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com (Insider link) has both Lock (No. 16) and Oregon’s Justin Herbert (No. 18) in his early top 25 for 2019. Issues with Lock’s completion percentage (57.8 percent is the senior-to-be’s career high) and Herbert’s toughness, per Breer, are early concerns for respective first-round hopefuls. While events of recent years show it’s a good bet a quarterback will be taken in the 2019 first round, Breer compares this crop — at this early juncture — to the 2013 group that saw only E.J. Manuel chosen in Round 1 instead of other recent classes that saw the likes of Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston emerge as obvious down-the-line high draft choices in advance of their final college campaigns.

Here’s more on this year’s draft, courtesy of Breer:

  • Breer reports the Browns “loved both” of the Denzel Ward/Bradley Chubb duo, but the team felt the Ohio State cornerback possessed upside potential the N.C. State defensive end didn’t. Ward started just for one season but sat behind Buckeyes cornerbacks that are now in the NFL. Cleveland brass also didn’t view Chubb as a Myles Garrett– or Jadeveon Clowney-like athletic specimen. Plus, Gregg Williams said the team’s need at corner was greater than the one opposite Garrett. Also noting Ward, who went to Nordonia High School in the Cleveland area, pitched his local ties and desire to help a Browns resurgence, Breer writes the Browns did their homework on this difficult decision and did not make an impulse call on draft night.
  • If the Eagles did not trade their first-round pick to the Ravens, they were going to consider eventual Broncos wideout Courtland Sutton at No. 32, per Breer. Sutton visited the Eagles in early April. Philly has Alshon Jeffery, a player to whom Sutton’s been compared, signed long-term and has Nelson Agholor controlled through 2019. However, the defending Super Bowl champions still signed Mike Wallace and Markus Wheaton, the latter a post-draft addition.
  • Ravens brass needed to hear from John Harbaugh the coaching staff was confident the team could win with Lamar Jackson before trading up to take him, and Breer reports Harbaugh, OC Marty Morhinweg, senior offensive assistant Greg Roman and QBs coach James Urban all developed a plan for the rookie before Ozzie Newsome made the trade with the Eagles. Both Mornhinweg and Urban were in their same positions under Andy Reid on the 2010 Eagles, when Michael Vick resurfaced as a top-flight weapon after previously working intermittently in certain packages. Roman’s work adjusting the 2012 49ers’ offense for Colin Kaepernick also played a role here, Breer writes. The Ravens look to be preparing Jackson sets already.
  • The first four rookies to sign their deals all had offset language built into the contracts, Breer tweets. Da’Ron Payne, Josh Rosen, Marcus Davenport and Quenton Nelson saw their teams include offsets in their deals. Offset language provided one of the sticky points in Joey Bosa‘s 2016 holdout, and the Chargers won out. So far, teams are doing the same with their 2018 top picks.

Ravens To Retain Greg Roman

The contract for Ravens assistant Greg Roman expired at the end of the season, leading to speculation that he could hook on with another team as an offensive coordinator. That won’t be the case, however, as Roman has been re-signed to a new deal that will give him the designation of assistant head coach, Alex Marvez of The Sporting News hears. Greg Roman (vertical)

Previously, Roman was with the club as the senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach. Before joining the Ravens in 2017, he served as the offensive coordinator of the 49ers and Bills. With six years of OC experience, he could have waited for play-calling opportunities to arise elsewhere once teams filled their head coaching vacancies. Instead, he’ll stay put, even though OC Marty Mornhinweg will be brought back for 2018.

If the Ravens’ offense sputters in the fall and Mornhinweg gets the axe, Roman will be the leading candidate to put on that headset.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Extra Points: Giants, Cowboys, Seahawks

Inside the NFL, former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is perceived as the most likely candidate to take over the same job with the Giants, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. While that’s far from naming Gettleman as an official candidate for New York position, it’s a sign that the early link established between Gettleman and Big Blue wasn’t misconceived. Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi — whose New York career overlapped with Gettleman’s for a decade — is consulting the club on its GM hunt.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Filling in the for the suspended Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys running back Alfred Morris could now see an increased market next spring thanks to his production through four games as a starter, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes. Morris has certainly impressed — as Archer notes, Morris 307 yards in four contests would put him on pace for a 1,200+ yard campaign. However, Morris turns 29 years old next week, which will theoretically limit his market. A reunion between Morris and Dallas could make sense, opines Archer, as the Cowboys would be wise to protect themselves against another Elliott off-field incident/ban.
  • Before hiring Herm Edwards as their new head coach, Arizona State reached out to Ravens senior offensive assistant/tight ends coach Greg Roman, tweets Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Roman, who has previously served as an offensive coordinator for both the 49ers and Bills, doesn’t have any collegiate coaching experience and has no known ties to the Arizona area, but given that Edwards was their final choice, the Sun Devils clearly didn’t weight either of those factors heavily. Baltimore currently ranks 26th in offensive DVOA, but that’s certainly not an indictment on Roman, who has crafted excellent offensive schemes in his past stops.
  • If Pete Carroll‘s eternal optimism is to be believed, the Seahawks could soon witness the return of two key contributors, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Defensive back DeShawn Shead — currently on the physically unable to perform list — is “really close” to practicing, per Carroll, and may even participate this week. Meanwhile, running back Chris Carson is “unbelievably ahead of schedule” as he returns from a broken leg, Carroll tells Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link), and he could also come back to practice in the next several weeks.
  • Shead’s return could help a secondary that’s already lost cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor for the remainder of the season. Chancellor, though, hasn’t officially been placed on injured reserve yet, and that’s because of the Seahawks‘ dire salary cap situation, tweets Condotta. Seattle has only ~$165K in cap space, per Over the Cap, meaning it doesn’t have the money to pay a player who’d replace Chancellor on the 53-man roster. It’s almost inconceivable that the Seahawks will use a 52-man roster for the rest of the year, so the club will likely attempt to restructure a contract to create more space.

Coaching Notes: Redskins, Rams, Ravens

The Redskins announced that they interviewed Gus Bradley for the defensive coordinator position on Wednesday. The former Jaguars head coach is reportedly Washington’s prime target to take over for the fired Joe Barry. Bradley was a successful D-coordinator in Seattle from 2009-12, during which time he became familiar with then-Seahawks executive and now-Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan.

As is the case with their defensive staff, changes might be on the horizon for the Redskins’ offensive coaches. With coordinator Sean McVay emerging as a serious candidate to grab the reins as Los Angeles’ head coach, the Redskins could turn to ex-Chargers HC Mike McCoy as his replacement, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. McCoy is also a candidate in Denver (where he served as an O-coordinator from 2010-12) and Buffalo, both of which named head coaches Wednesday.

More of the latest coaching-related info:

  • A potential head coaching interview between Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and the Rams is “in limbo,” per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. With the Falcons preparing for a Saturday playoff game against the Seahawks, Shanahan might not have time to meet with the Rams this week, La Canfora adds (Twitter link).
  • Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Greg Roman will sign on with the Ravens‘ coaching staff, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com tweets. The Ravens are sticking with Marty Mornhinweg as OC, so Roman will be there in some kind of assistant role. Cabot notes that the Browns were eying him for an assistant gig.
  • The Jets will hire Dennard Wilson to succeed the fired Joe Danna as their defensive backs coach, according to Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday. Wilson had been with the Rams since 2012, when they hired him as their defensive quality control coach. He became the team’s defensive backs coach in 2015.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Coaching Rumors: Bills, Jags, Raiders, Ravens

Although Anthony Lynn has long been viewed as the favorite to take over as the Bills‘ head coach, team ownership has been extremely impressed by Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Indeed, Buffalo is now in something of a “holding pattern” as Lynn and McDermott interview elsewhere, tweets Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News. Lynn has been linked to every head coaching job that remains open, while McDermott has drawn interest from the Chargers and 49ers in addition to the Bills, as PFR’s 2017 Head Coaching Search Tracker shows.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • The Jaguars will retain defensive coordinator Todd Wash under new head coach Doug Marrone, but nearly every other member of the defensive staff is being let go, reports Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. Defensive assistant Mike Rutenberg is the only other defensive coach who will remain on board. Jacksonville had 24 coaches on staff at the end of the regular season, and that number figures to be reduced, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
  • Ken Norton Jr. will remain the Raiders‘ defensive coordinator, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Head coach Jack Del Rio assumed play-calling duties midway through the 2016 season, and Oakland ultimately finished 23rd in defensive DVOA. While Norton Jr. will stick around, defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson has been fired, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link).
  • Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Greg Roman could potentially join the Ravens staff in some undefined role, per La Canfora (all Twitter links). Baltimore recently announced that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will return for the 2017 campaign, so Roman — who has remained in contact with head coach John Harbaugh — could join the Ravens in a run-game director capacity.
  • The Eagles have fired wide receivers coach Greg Lewis, tweets Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Lewis spent just one season as a coach with Philadelphia (after having spent the 2003-08 seasons with the club as a player). Current Bills WRs coach Sanjay Lal is of “strong interest” to the Eagles, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • The Browns announced that they’ve begun to restructure their defensive staff under new coordinator Gregg Williams, parting ways with defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews, and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik. Cleveland also fired offensive line coach Hal Hunter.

Pep Hamilton Leaving Browns, Joining Michigan

The Browns now have another vacancy on their coaching staff. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that associate head coach Pep Hamilton has accepted a job with Michigan to become their assistant head coach/passing coordinator. Reports from this weekend indicated that Hamilton was considering the role, although head coach Hue Jackson expressed optimism that Hamilton would be sticking around Cleveland.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Michigan was actually eying Greg Roman for the vacancy. Ironically, Rapoport notes that the coach now may be a contender for the vacancy on the Browns staff. Roman started the season as the Bills offensive coordinator, but he was fired in late September following a loss to the Jets.

Pep Hamilton (vertical)Hamilton joined the Browns last offseason following a three-year stint with the Colts. Despite the presence of quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts offense only had one top-10 season during Hamilton’s tenure. The 42-year-old’s offense predictably struggled during his first season in Cleveland, as the team was forced to rely on five different quarterbacks. Besides his duties as associate head coach, Hamilton also served as the Browns quarterbacks coach.

This will be a reunion of sorts for Hamilton and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Hamilton previously served as Harbaugh’s wide receivers coach while the duo was at Stanford. As Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com writes, the Michigan coaching staff had an opening after passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch left to become UCLA’s offensive coordinator. While there are no reports regarding the length or value of Hamilton’s new contract, Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com notes that Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown recently earned a five-year contract worth $1.4MM annually.

The Browns filled one hole on their coaching staff yesterday, as the team hired Gregg Williams as their new defensive coordinator.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching/GM Notes, Pt. 2: Arians, Gase, Wolf

Here is Part 2 of our coaching/GM rumors post. Part 1 can be found here.

  • Despite his health concerns, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians expects to return in 2017, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Schefter tweets that one of Arians’ top assistants, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, is expected to interview for a head coaching job with the Rams, Jaguars, and Bills.
  • As the 49ers get prepared to search for a new head coach and GM, a ghost from the past has reared its ugly head. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Twitter), San Francisco was prepared to hire current Dolphins head coach Adam Gase two years ago. The team informed Gase that he was the choice, but GM Trent Baalke intervened at the last moment and convinced ownership not to hire Gase. The 49ers chose Jim Tomsula instead, and it has been all downhill from there.
  • The Packers are not expected to make major coaching changes–although offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett could get head coaching interviews–but GM Ted Thompson could step aside and become a senior scouting adviser, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. One reason, according to Rapoport, is that Director of Football Operations Eliot Wolf is a highly-coveted football mind, and if he’s not promoted soon, Green Bay could lose him.
  • The Bengals are not expected to fire Marvin Lewis, who is signed through 2017, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. However, Lewis is not expected to get another one-year extension this offseason, which means that another disappointing campaign in 2017 could spell the end of his tenure as Cincinnati’s head coach.
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles will likely be back for a third season, but offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is expected to be fired, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post.
  • The Ravens are expected to part ways with OC Marty Mornhinweg, and assuming they do, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Greg Roman is someone to “keep an eye on.”
  • Browns coaches have “deep concerns” with the direction of the team’s personnel department and are expected to push owner Jimmy Haslam for changes in that regard, according to La Canfora. While head coach Hue Jackson is not planning to request the removal of top football man Sashi Brown, the coaching staff would like a proven, old-school talent evaluator involved in player selection to provide something of a checks-and-balance system to Brown’s analytics-based approach.
  • La Canfora suggests that, if the Lions miss the playoffs this season, GM Bob Quinn could at least think about a coaching change, and his Patriots ties could lead him to consider Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, with whom he established strong relationships during his time in New England. While I personally could imagine Quinn’s being interested in McDaniels, I cannot see Patricia as a legitimate head coaching candidate at this point.