Gus Bradley

Staff Notes: Cowboys, McClay, Saints, Welker

Several teams extended general manager interview requests to Cowboys executive Will McClay this offseason, but as he did last year, McClay resisted those overtures, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. In 2016, McClay — whose official title is senior director of college and pro personnel — turned down an invite from the Lions, who ultimately hired Bob Quinn as GM. McClay wields a strong amount of influence in Dallas, but hasn’t ruled out leaving the club for another vacancy at some point down the line, per Archer.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • The Saints were interested in hiring former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as their linebackers coach if he didn’t secure a defensive coordinator job this year, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Bradley, one of the more respected defensive minds in the league, drew a wide swath of DC interest, as the Redskins, 49ers, and Chargers — who ultimately hired him — all interviewed him for their coordinator position. New Orleans, meanwhile, continues to interview candidates for its LBs coach vacancy.
  • Former NFL receiver Wes Welker is attending the Senior Bowl with the Texans‘ coaching staff, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link), who adds that Welker is considering joining the coaching ranks. Welker, 35, last played in 2015 for the Rams. Last summer, Welker attended Dolphins’ practice sessions in a semi-coaching role, working with the club’s wideouts.
  • Longtime Pete Carroll confidant Rocky Seto is leaving the Seahawks in order to pursue a career in the ministry, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes. Seto, Seattle’s assistant head coach/defense, has coached alongside Carroll dating back to the early 2000s at USC.
  • Ex-Jets defensive backs coach Joe Danna is joining the Jaguars as the club’s assistant secondary coach, per Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Danna spent the past two seasons in New York.

Chargers To Hire Gus Bradley As DC

Former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has agreed to become the Chargers’ defensive coordinator, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Gus Bradley

[RELATED: 2017 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Tracker]

Bradley had been one of the most-coveted coordinators in the league during this year’s hiring cycle, as both the Redskins and the 49ers — in addition to the Chargers — had expressed interest in adding him to their staff. Considered something of a “domino,” as Schefter tweets, Bradley’s hiring in Los Angeles means that Washington and San Francisco will likely move rapidly in their searches for their next DCs.

While other teams are moving onto additional candidates, the Chargers and new head coach Anthony Lynn will land in Bradley the candidate they’ve targeted from the beginning of their search, but the club did have a backup plan. Incumbent defensive backs coach Ron Milus was the Chargers’ second choice, per Schefter (Twitter link) , and would have been hired as DC if Bradley had rebuffed Los Angeles. Instead, Bradley will inherit a Chargers defense that ranked eighth in DVOA under former coordinator John Pagano, and boasts talent — including Joey Bosa, Denzel Perryman, Casey Hayward, and Jason Verrett — at every level.

Bradley, of course, was fired before he could finish out his fourth season as Jacksonville’s head coach. While his time with the Jaguars certainly can’t be considered successful (it’s hard to argue with a 14-48 record), Bradley had seemingly begun to assemble an interesting defense that looked primed for a breakout. And the 50-year-old’s coordinating chops speak for themselves, as Bradley helped develop the Legion of Boom during his days leading the Seattle defense from 2009-12.

While Bradley’s hire will lead to a shakeup of the Chargers’ defense, the Bolts’ offensive staff will largely remain intact after Lynn agreed to retain incumbent OC Ken Whisenhunt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Chargers, 49ers, Bills, Bucs

The NFL is “besides itself” over the Chargers’ choice to exit San Diego in favor of Los Angeles last week, a league source told Adam Schefter of ESPN. “There are a ton of owners very upset that [the Chargers] moved,” said another source, who interestingly added the league hopes Chargers owner Dean Spanos realizes he “bungled” the situation and moves the team back to San Diego. Unsurprisingly, the chances of that happening are rather slim, Schefter notes.

More from LA and several other NFL cities:

  • It looks as though the 49ers are “making a huge offer” to reel in Gus Bradley as their defensive coordinator, tweets Drew Copley of CBS47. That jibes with Sporting News’ Alex Marvez report from earlier Friday that there’s “buzz” regarding a Kyle Shanahan-Bradley ticket in San Francisco and runs contrary to the notion that Bradley would’ve only gone to the Niners had they hired Tom Cable as their head coach.
  • The Bills announced Friday that wide receiver Sammy Watkins underwent foot surgery for the second time and will be unavailable until training camp. Watkins’ foot was an issue throughout the 2016 campaign, as the three-year veteran sat out eight games and played injured during the other eight en route to a 28-catch, 430-yard, two-touchdown showing. Like Watkins, Bills pass rusher Shaq Lawson also had surgery – on his knee. Lawson’s procedure was minor and won’t keep him from participating in offseason activites. The 2016 first-round pick from Clemson missed six games as a rookie after undergoing shoulder surgery and didn’t make a significant impact during his initial 10 NFL contests (13 tackles, two sacks).
  • With $65MM-plus in cap space, the Buccaneers will prioritize re-signing their own soon-to-be free agents before the market opens, general manager Jason Licht revealed Friday (via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times). “We have a track record of rewarding our players that produce, keeping key players that thrive in the system and we have the salary cap flexibility to make it happen,” said Licht. In light of Licht’s statement, Stroud expects the Bucs to make an effort to retain defensive end William Gholston and Jacquies Smith, wide receiver Russell Shepard and cornerback Josh Robinson.
  • Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had surgery to repair “loose bodies” in his left elbow, he informed John Keim of ESPN.com. Kerrigan, who injured his elbow Dec. 19, will need six to eight weeks to recover. The 28-year-old is coming off his second Pro Bowl season, in which he piled up 11 sacks. Kerrigan hasn’t finished with fewer than 7.5 sacks in any of his six seasons.
  • The Chargers will hire Alfredo Roberts as their running backs coach, per Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). He’ll replace Ollie Wilson, who had been with the Chargers for 14 years. Roberts and new Bolts head coach Anthony Lynn will now work together for a third time – the two were previously on the same staffs in Cleveland and Jacksonville.

NFC Coaching Notes: 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Bears, Vikings

Gus Bradley‘s hesitancy surrounding the Chargers’ DC job was believed to have been connected to an opportunity with the 49ers under Tom Cable. But now that Cable withdrew his name from consideration, the Bolts still don’t have a decision from Bradley. However, buzz around league circles points to a Kyle Shanahan-Bradley setup in San Francisco making sense, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets.

This comes after a report indicating Bradley “spurned” the 49ers when asked if he would team with Shanahan. It would help explain Bradley remaining without a job after being coveted by Anthony Lynn in Los Angeles. The 49ers have shown a willingness to target DCs, with the Bears blocking their request for a potential Vic Fangio reunion, due to having a coach in line to accept the job in Shanahan, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes.

Here’s more from the 49ers and the rest of the league during the postseason hiring period.

  • Shanahan will not put up a fight for control over the 49ers’ 53-man roster if hired, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. The would-be first-time HC would be fine working alongside a GM regarding the draft and prospective trades, Maiocco writes, and could meet with GM candidates on second interviews on Tuesday. The Falcons’ OC is expected to meet with the 49ers again on Tuesday.
  • The Seahawks hired Clint Hurtt as their defensive line coach, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. This wraps up an interesting odyssey for the former Bears’ outside linebackers coach. A previous report linked Hurtt to the Jets as their OLBs coach, with that coming after the position instructor turned down an extension with the Bears. Hurtt coached Chicago’s defensive line in 2014.
  • Broncos assistant defensive backs coach Samson Brown will follow Wade Phillips to and become part of the Rams‘ defensive staff, Marvez tweets. The Broncos are bringing Johnnie Lynn aboard to replace him, per Marvez. Lynn worked with new Denver DBs coach Marcus Robertson with the Raiders.
  • Speaking of the Bears, they hired three new assistants: Jeremiah Washburn (offensive line), Curtis Modkins (running backs) and Roy Anderson (assistant secondary). Washburn worked as the Dolphins’ O-line coach in 2016 and oversaw the Lions’ offensive front for the previous three seasons. Modkins served as the 49ers’ OC under Chip Kelly last season and previously as the Bills’ OC.
  • The Bears might lose assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower to the 49ers, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes (on Twitter). He previously worked with Shanahan, doing so in Washington from 2010-13 and in Cleveland in ’14.
  • Vikings assistant Kevin Stefanski will slide from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach, Caplan reports (on Twitter). Although the Vikings promoted Pat Shurmur to full-time OC, they fired QBs coach Scott Turner earlier this month. Stefanski has coached the running backs and tight ends the past three seasons but served as Minnesota’s assistant QBs coach from 2009-13. He’s been with the organization since 2006.

Kyle Shanahan Likely To Become 49ers’ HC

As of Tuesday evening, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan wasn’t a lock to accept the 49ers’ forthcoming offer to become their head coach. However, Shanahan’s now “almost certain” to take the job, reports Mike Silver of NFL.com.

Kyle Shanahan

With Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable having withdrawn from the race this week, Shanahan is the last man standing among the eight candidates the 49ers have interviewed. The rest have accepted head coaching positions elsewhere. Thus, in the unlikely event Shanahan turns San Francisco down, it would send CEO Jed York and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe scrambling to hit the reset button on their search to replace Chip Kelly.

The 49ers are also on the hunt for a new general manager, of course, and lost one candidate when Cable’s Seattle colleague, co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, took himself out of consideration Tuesday. Of the GM possibilities the Niners have considered, Kirchner, fellow Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer and Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard would have preferred to work with Cable, according to Silver. The Chiefs prevented Ballard from talking to the 49ers, though, and awarded him a pay raise as compensation, Silver writes.

Cable has another fan in defensive coordinator-to-be Gus Bradley, who would have gone to San Francisco had it hired Cable. Instead, after Cable dropped out of contention Tuesday, Bradley spurned the 49ers when they asked if he’d be interested in teaming with Shanahan. It appears, then, that Bradley will become the Chargers’ D-coordinator.

Shanahan is currently preparing for Sunday’s NFC championship game between the Falcons and Packers. If Atlanta advances to Super Bowl LI, the 49ers wouldn’t be able to hire him until after Feb. 5. Regardless, he’ll have a second interview with the Niners next week and will discuss GM choices with team brass. Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst remains the favorite, relays Silver, who adds that Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Vikings assistant GM George Paton are also strong contenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bolts, Texans, Fins, Browns

Before the Chargers hired Anthony Lynn as their head coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that he would retain offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt if he got the job. That will indeed be the case, Lynn confirmed Tuesday at his introductory press conference. Whisenhunt, who’s in his second stint with the Chargers, will enter his third season atop the club’s offense. He has a “strong relationship” with quarterback Philip Rivers, notes CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link).

As for the Bolts’ defensive coordinator position, Lynn revealed that he’ll conduct a second interview with Gus Bradley on Tuesday, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. Lynn and Bradley have been connected to one another over the past few weeks, and the ex-Jacksonville head coach is reportedly the front-runner to take over the Chargers’ defense. At the same time, though, Bradley’s waiting to see if San Francisco will vie for his services.

More from the AFC:

  • The Texans are likely to re-sign pending free agent punter Shane Lechler to a one-year deal, reports John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Lechler indicated Monday that he’d like to return for what would be his age-41 season in 2017. “Looking forward to next year,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll have me back. I’m ready to go. I feel good. We’ll see how it goes.” After spending the first 13 years of his career in Oakland, where he earned seven Pro Bowl nods and six first-team All-Pro selections, Lechler joined the Texans in 2013. He’s coming off a season in which he finished sixth in the NFL in yards per punt, ninth in kicks inside the 20 and 16th in net yardage.
  • The Dolphins held an “animated” December meeting in which they discussed moving linebacker Kiko Alonso from the middle to the weak side, but they opted against it so as not to “mess with Kiko’s head,” sources told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Now that the Dolphins’ season is over, they’re again weighing whether to make the switch. If the Dolphins are confident Alonso can play either spot, it would give them flexibility in finding upgrades at the other two linebacker positions, writes Salguero. “We’ll see what other type of players we bring in through free agency and the draft and where Kiko fits in,” said new defensive coordinator Matt Burke. In his first year in Miami, Alonso rebounded from a torn ACL in 2014 with Buffalo and a disastrous 2015 as an Eagle to pile up a Dolphins-leading 115 tackles and two interceptions.
  • The Browns have tabbed Clyde Simmons as their assistant defensive line coach, per Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. He’ll take over for Robert Nunn, whom the Browns fired Tuesday, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com (Twitter links). Simmons, a former defensive end who amassed 121.5 sacks between 1986-2000, worked as the Rams’ assistant D-line coach over the past half-decade. Heading to Cleveland means he’ll remain under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was also previously with the Rams.

Coaching Notes: Bradley, Kelly, Bears, Titans

The Chargers and new head coach Anthony Lynn want Gus Bradley to be their defensive coordinator, reports Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter). It was reported last week that the new Los Angeles franchise was looking at Bradley for the gig, and that interest made more sense following reports that former defensive coordinator John Pagano wouldn’t be returning.

However, Bradley isn’t in a rush to sign a deal. The former Jaguars coach is waiting to see whether the 49ers will hire Seahawks offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable as their head coach. The duo coached together in Seattle from 2011 through 2012, and we can assume that Bradley would be interested in joining Cable’s 49ers staff. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports (via Twitter) that Bradley is a “top choice” for Cable’s hypothetical staff.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Chip Kelly headed into his interview with the Jaguars believing he’d get offered the offensive coordinator position, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). In fact, the former Eagles and 49ers head coach already has some “assistant hires” ready to go. Rapoport notes that there’s a good chance Kelly gets the gig.
  • The Bears have hired Jeremiah Washburn to be their offensive line coach, reports Marvez (via Twitter). Washburn spent last season as the Dolphins assistant offensive line coach, and he also spent time coaching with the Lions and Ravens.
  • The Titans have added a pair of coaches to their staff. Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com reports that the team has added former Temple passing game coordinator Frisman Jackson as their new wide receivers coach. The team has also hired Craig Aukerman to be an assistant special teams coach. Aukerman served as the Chargers special teams coordinator last season.
  • The Browns hired Blake Williams as their linebackers coach and Jerod Kruse as an assistant defensive backs coach, reports Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com (via Twitter). Williams, the son of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, spent last season working under his dad in Los Angeles.
  • The Broncos have added John Benton to their coaching staff as an assistant offensive line coach, reports Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post. Benton has coached in the NFL for 13 years, and he spent last season working for the Jaguars.

Chargers To Interview Gus Bradley For DC Job

The Chargers coaching staff has seen plenty of turnover, and now there’s another name to add to the list of potential additions. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the organization will interview Gus Bradley for the role of defensive coordinator. The former NFL head coach is the “favorite” for the gig.

Gus Bradley (vertical)Bradley has been a relatively popular name since he was fired by the Jaguars in mid-December. The 50-year-old was reportedly atop the Redskins’ list of potential defensive coordinator candidates. Bradley has a natural connection to that organization, as the coach worked under general manager Scot McCloughan when the duo was in Seattle. The Browns also reportedly reached out to Bradley regarding their defensive coordinator vacancy.

Bradley had plenty of success as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, a position he held from 2009 through 2012. However, things didn’t go nearly as well during his head coaching tenure in Jacksonville. In his three-plus seasons with the organization, Bradley compiled a 14-48 record. His .226 winning percent is the second-lowest mark in league history.

The Chargers don’t necessarily have an opening at the position, as defensive coordinator John Pagano is still under contract. However, there seems to be a belief that recently-hired head coach Anthony Lynn will want to hire his own personnel. Bradley and Lynn have been connected throughout the hiring process, and our own Sam Robinson noted that “a Lynn-Bradley ticket was previously thought to be the way the Bills would go.”

For what it’s worth, it appears that the Chargers will be retaining offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Hire Anthony Lynn As Head Coach

In less than a week, the Chargers have a new city and a new head coach. ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the franchise has hired former Bills coach Anthony Lynn. It will be a four-year contract for the new head coach. Lynn entered his Thursday interview as the clear frontrunner for the gig, and reports last night indicated that the organization was finalizing a deal.

The Bills promoted Lynn twice this season, elevating him from running backs coach to OC in September and made him their interim head coach in December. Lynn was viewed as the frontrunner to be the next Bills’ full-time HC earlier during the hiring period, but the organization agreed to a deal with Sean McDermott. Lynn was the only candidate connected to all six teams with vacancies this offseason.

This deal completes a rapid ascent for the 48-year-old Lynn, who served as running backs coach for five different franchises from 2003-16. But the Bills became one of the best ground attacks in football under his guidance this season, and Lynn is in line to have a chance to enhance the Chargers’ offense.

Lynn will consider keeping OC Ken Whisenhunt on offense, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets, and former Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is a prime candidate to become the Bolts’ next DC. Bradley has already interviewed to become the Redskins’ DC but has been connected to Lynn throughout this process. A Lynn-Bradley ticket was previously thought to be the way the Bills would go, but that pairing could be set to work together in Los Angeles.

It’s been quite the eventful 24 hours in a city that had few of those regarding the NFL for around two decades. The Rams named Redskins OC Sean McVay as their next HC — and youngest in NFL history — while the Chargers formally announced they are planning to relocate to L.A. And they’ll now have a coach to help steer that transition, one that wasn’t certain as the franchise interviewed five other candidates to succeed Mike McCoy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.