Greg Schiano

Patriots DC Greg Schiano Steps Down

This offseason, the Patriots thought they had their new defensive coordinator in Greg Schiano. Now, the search continues. On Thursday, Schiano and head coach Bill Belichick released a joint statement to announce that Schiano is stepping down from the role. 

I have informed Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick that I am stepping down from my position at the Patriots,” Schiano said in the statement. “This is not the result of any one event, but rather a realization that I need to spend more time on my faith and family. I don’t want to look back years from now and wish I had done things differently. Therefore, I am taking time away from the game to recalibrate my priorities.”

Meanwhile, longtime friend Belichick offered words of support.

I respect Coach Schiano greatly and appreciate his contributions to our staff and team,” Belichick said. “He is a friend who we support completely.”

Ironically, Schiano was never formally announced as the Patriots’ new DC. However, it was widely reported that he had accepted the job.

The Patriots have been close to hiring Schiano for key assistant roles in the past, only to see the deal fall apart at the last minute. Once again, this appears to be the case for the former Rutgers and Buccaneers head coach.

The Pats’ last DC, Brian Flores, left the club after the Super Bowl to take over as the Dolphins’ new head coach.

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Patriots To Hire Greg Schiano

The Patriots are set to name Greg Schiano as their new defensive coordinator, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe reports. Once hired, the former Buccaneers head coach will replace former play-caller Brian Flores, who is now the head coach of the Dolphins. 

Schiano will be Bill Belichick’s third defensive coordinator in three seasons, because the Patriots’ DC job has proven to be a major launching pad to head coaching positions. Last year, Matt Patricia parlayed his experience into the Lions’ top job. This time around, Flores moved up the ladder with a five-year fully guaranteed deal to manage one of the Pats’ divisional rivals.

Schiano has longstanding relationship with Belichick, one that has led to a pipeline between the league’s most successful franchise and the Rutgers football program. Defensive backs Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, and Duron Harmon all played for Schiano at RU and the Pats have signed scores of other former Scarlet Knights. On a related note, one can’t help but wonder whether the Schiano hire could push the McCourty brothers to continue playing.

I think Coach Schiano is a great defensive coach and he’s really coached all the positions — line, linebacker, DBs,” Belichick said in 2015. “He’s had a lot of extensive work with defensive backs and I think he does a great job with them. The way he runs his program, runs his defense, teaches and so forth, that’s all a great part of preparing players either in a similar way that we do it or when he was in college prepared them to come into our program with some changes but minimal maybe compared to other teams.”

Schiano’s first made a name for himself at RU, taking the program from a laughing stock to a bowl game contender. Most recently, he served as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator.

When on the banks of the old Raritan in 2006, Schiano’s Scarlet Knights ranked as high as No. 7 in the Associated Press poll.

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Patriots Eyeing Bret Bielema For DC Role?

Following rumors that the Patriots were planning to hire Greg Schiano, many assumed that the long-time Rutgers head coach would become New England’s next defensive coordinator. However, that might not be the case. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes that Bret Bielema “has been telling people that he is going to become the Patriots’ defensive coordinator.”

The Patriots will have an opening at defensive coordinator following Brian Flores‘ forthcoming defection to the Dolphins. Even if Schiano didn’t take on the definitive title of defensive coordinator (similar to Flores), his experience and connection with coach Bill Belichick made it seem like he’d be a natural fit to oversee New England’s defense.

On the flip side, Belichick hasn’t traditionally followed this route. As Volin points out, the organization rarely makes an outside hire when it comes to coordinator positions. For instance, Bill O’Brien and Dean Pees both had to work their way through the organization before they had a chance at a coordinator gig (Pees had to take a job elsewhere for the opportunity).

That’s why Bielema would seemingly make more sense to take over the defensive coordinator role, although it’s worth noting that he hasn’t been with the organization all that long. The 49-year-old previously served as the head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas, and he was hired as a consultant to Belichick earlier this season. There were rumors that Flores could end up taking Bielema to Miami to serve as the Dolphins new defensive coordinator, but the team ended up opting for Packers linebackers coach/run game coordinator Patrick Graham.

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Patriots Likely To Hire Greg Schiano

It sounds like Greg Schiano is on his way back to the Patriots. Schiano is likely to join the Patriots in a top defensive role, sources tell James Palmer and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). 

Once the deal is completed, Schiano will be stepping into the position left open by Brian Flores‘ forthcoming defection to the Dolphins. Flores was the Patriots’ de facto defensive coordinator and Schiano is expected to become the team’s new defensive chief. It remains to be seen whether Schiano will formally be given the DC title, however.

Schiano’s first made a name for himself at Rutgers, taking the program from a laughing stock to a bowl game contender. Most recently, he served as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator. Along the way, Schiano built a close relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and formed a pipeline that led RU players such as Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, and Logan Ryan to New England.

Around this time year, it was rumored that Schiano would be leaving OSU to join the Pats’ staff, but that ultimately did not happen. With that in mind, this could be a fluid situation worth monitoring.

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East Notes: Brady, Flores, Cowboys

The knee injury that Patriots QB Tom Brady has been battling this season is an MCL sprain, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports that Brady sustained the injury when going out for a pass against Tennessee on November 11. However, Brady has no structural damage, and Rapoport says the 41-year-old will head into today’s playoff game as healthy as he has been since the start of the season. He will likely not require any offseason procedures.

Let’s round up a few more east-related rumors:

  • The Dolphins are simply waiting for the Patriots‘ season to end so that they can finalize a deal with New England de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores to become their next head coach, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. No one anticipates this turning into another Josh McDaniels situation, and Flores is fully expected to join Miami. Schefter also says that Miami is already planning its rebuild and is looking to the 2020 crop of rookie QBs, which is expected to include Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
  • Albert Breer of SI.com names Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly as a potential replacement for Flores on New England’s staff, while Mike Reiss of ESPN.com sees former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano — who was rumored to be a candidate for the Pats’ DC job last year following Matt Patricia‘s departure — as a logical choice. Rapoport (video link) agrees with Reiss.
  • Dolphins LB coach Frank Bush is expected to follow Adam Gase to the Jets, and while DL coach Kris Kocurek may do the same, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio says that four to five teams are interested in Kocurek’s services (all Twitter links).
  • Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, whom the Jets reportedly preferred to Gase, confirms that he did not join Gang Green because the team wanted to pick his staff for him. Per Jake Nisse of the New York Post, Rhule said, “[a]t the end of the day, I’m never going to be in an arranged marriage.” 
  • Longtime Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is technically under contract through 2019, but the club could save $7MM against the cap by cutting him, and given the emergence of quality younger options and Lee’s injury history, it is difficult to imagine that Dallas will bring him back under his current deal. Lee, of course, could retire, and Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News says that the 32-year-old will sit down with his family and make a decision on his football future, though Lee did not provide a timeline for that decision.
  • After the Cowboys‘ playoff loss to the Rams last night, which saw defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli‘s unit get thrashed, Marinelli was unwilling to address speculation that he could step into an advisory role while Kris Richard takes over as DC. Per Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, Marinelli said, “[w]hy do people keep asking me the same question? I can’t figure it out? Can somebody tell me why everybody asks me that?”

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Stefanski, Schiano

Former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is a “strong candidate” to become the Jets‘ defensive coordinator under new head coach Adam Gase, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). While it doesn’t sound as though New York has officially reached out to Joseph yet, the connection makes sense, as Joseph served as Gase’s DC in 2016 before landing the top job in Denver. Joseph interviewed for the Bengals’ head coaching job and remains a candidate there, but the Jets clearly present something of a fallback plan.

On the offensive side of the ball, Dowell Loggains — who worked under Gase with both the Bears and Dolphins — is expected to be involved in Gase’s staff, tweets Jeff Darlington of NFL.com. However, Loggains is still technically Miami’s offensive coordinator and will need to get out of his contract, per Rapoport (Twitter link).

Here’s more from the coaching carousel:

  • Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods has drawn interest as a defensive backs coach from both the Redskins and Jaguars, and as many as three teams are eyeing Woods, possibly even as a coordinator, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Denver had not been allowing its assistant coaches take interviews with other teams, but that will change now that new head coach Vic Fangio is in place. Fangio is a defensive coach by trade, so he may take on play-calling now that he’s in Denver. Even if he doesn’t call plays himself, Fangio might want to bring in his own DC, so Woods is certainly in limbo. A longtime defensive backs coach, Woods took over the Broncos defense in 2017.
  • In returning as the Vikingsfull-time offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski inked a two-year deal, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). Stefanski is now signed for longer than head coach Mike Zimmer, whose contract expires after the 2019 campaign. The 36-year-old Stefanski took over as Minnesota’s OC after John DeFilippo was fired, and lead the club’s offense for the final three games of the regular season. Despite that limited track record, Stefanski was a serious candidate for the Browns’ head coaching position, finishing second only to Freddie Kitchens.
  • New Packers head coach Matt LaFleur will likely implement much of his own staff, at least on the offensive side of the ball, but one incumbent Green Bay staffer has already received an offer to stick around. LaFleur wants tight ends coach Brian Angelichio to stay with the Packers, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Angelichio worked with Kyle Shanahan on the 2014 Browns’ staff, meaning he has experience with the Sean McVay/Shanahan/LaFleur offense. He’s been with Green Bay since 2016.
  • Klint Kubiak is receiving “strong consideration” for the Broncos‘ quarterbacks coach job, tweets Klis. Kubiak is the son of Gary Kubiak, the former Denver head coach who was today installed as the club’s offensive coordinator under new head coach Vic Fangio. Klint Kubiak, 31, began his coaching career at Texas A&M before moving to the Vikings in 2013. He joined the Broncos in 2016, serving as an offensive assistant focusing on quarterbacks.
  • In announcing defensive coordinator Greg Schiano‘s departure from Ohio State, head coach Ryan Day said Schiano would be pursuing “options in the NFL” (Twitter link). That’s certainly a vague statement, and doesn’t indicate Schiano has a specific job lined up, but he could be in consideration for DC or position coach gigs around the league. Head coach of the Buccaneers from 2012-13, Schiano was rumored to have generated NFL interest at this time last year, but he ultimately stayed at OSU.

Greg Schiano To Stay At Ohio State

The Patriots no longer need a new offensive coordinator, but there is still the matter of filling the defensive coordinator role. That position won’t be taken by Greg Schiano, who will remain as Ohio State’s DC, according to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter link) has confirmed the news. Greg Schiano (Vertical)

There was some speculation that Schiano could have been a candidate for the DC job or perhaps a different role on the staff. Now that the former Rutgers head coach has been ruled out, linebackers coach Brian Flores stands as the clear favorite to succeed Matt Patricia.

Schiano was said to be generating “a lot of interest” for NFL DC positions this offseason and he figures to be in line for similar opportunities next year. Although he did not find success in his two seasons as the Buccaneers’ head coach, Schiano remains highly respected in coaching circles. Fans at large are not as crazy about him, however, as evidenced by the grass roots movement to keep him from becoming the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

 

 

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Brian Flores, Chad O’Shea Favorites For Patriots’ Coordinator Jobs

As Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia get set to oversee Super Bowl LII units before departing for head-coaching positions, the Patriots are zeroing in on their successors.

Both are expected to be in-house choices. Linebackers coach Brian Flores has been mentioned as the Patriots’ preferred Patricia successor, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirms that’s still the thinking in New England. Florio adds wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, who has been previously mentioned as a possible candidate, is viewed as the frontrunner to take over the 2018 Pats’ offense.

A report from NBC Sports Boston’s Gary Tanguay indicates (Twitter link) the Patriots are planning to interview Ohio State DC Greg Schiano for the DC job, but Florio hears that if Schiano joins the New England staff it will be in a different position.

A possible Schiano route to the Pats’ DC job, per Florio, would then come as a result of Flores being hired as a head coach elsewhere. Considering he was in the mix for the Cardinals’ job for weeks, that could well happen soon.

Florio adds an outside chance exists that assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski succeeds McDaniels, but the belief is he has not been coaching with the team long enough make this ascent. McDaniels has coached the Pats’ QBs and run the offense. Schuplinski was an offensive assistant from 2013-15 before taking over as the assistant quarterbacks coach in 2016.

O’Shea, meanwhile, has been the Patriots’ wideouts coach for the past nine seasons. The 45-year-old assistant’s been a full-time position coach since 2004, when he made his NFL debut as the Chiefs’ assistant special teams coach.

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NFL Teams Eyeing Greg Schiano For DC Jobs

Former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano is generating a “lot of interest” for NFL defensive coordinator positions, according to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports (Twitter link).Greg Schiano (Vertical)

While Schiano spent two years as Tampa Bay’s head coach from 2012-13, the majority of the 51-year-old’s experience has come at the collegiate level. He’s currently the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Ohio State, but he’s perhaps best known for his 11-year run as the head coach at Rutgers. Schiano nearly landed the Tennessee head coaching job last year before seemingly misplaced social media backlash caused the Volunteers to back out of a deal.

Schiano’s reputation and record in the NFL is a mixed bag, to say the least. He posted an overall mark of 11-21 in two season with the Buccaneers, and drew criticism around the league and within the organization for his “autocratic” management style. Schiano was also infamous for sending his defensive players on all-out rushes when opposing offenses were executing game-ending kneel-downs, a controversial strategy that drew ire around the league.

But Schiano does have a solid relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and other members of the New England coaching tree, leading Ben Volin of the Boston Globe to speculate (via Twitter) that Schiano could potentially follow either Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels or defensive coordinator Matt Patricia if either accepts a head coaching position elsewhere.

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University Of Tennessee Eyeing Jon Gruden

The University of Tennessee is interested in hiring ESPN commentator Jon Gruden to fill its head coaching vacancy, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.Jon Gruden (Vertical)

The Volunteers thought they had their new head coach over the weekend, as the university had agreed to terms with former Rutgers/Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. However, Tennessee backed out of the deal following backlash to the Schiano announcement, per Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports, who reports some of the adverse reaction was tied to Schiano’s reported involvement in the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal. (To be clear, Schiano was alleged to have seen Sandusky “doing something” in a shower, but was never charged with a crime or sued, and the rumors are largely viewed as hearsay.)

Tennessee has in fact discussed its head coaching job with Gruden, and are open to a deal that would pay the Super Bowl winning coach $10MM annually, per La Canfora. Gruden has never been a head coach at the collegiate level, but he did work as a graduate assistant for the Volunteers from 1986-87 and his wife is a former Tennessee cheerleader.

Sources tell La Canfora that Gruden may prefer an NFL job, and a reunion involving the Buccaneers could be possible if Tampa Bay fires incumbent Dirk Koetter. Indeed, some Tennessee boosters don’t believe a deal with Gruden is realistic, especially given that the college has pursued Gruden without results in the past. Still, Gruden didn’t rule out a return to coaching when the subject was broached earlier this month.

Gruden isn’t the only coach with NFL ties that appears to be on Tennessee’s radar, as the university has also expressed interest in Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers.

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