Hal Hunter

Raiders Notes: Gannon, Fraley, Marynowitz

Rich Gannon will not be the next Raiders’ quarterbacks coach, as he explained to 95.7 The Game (Twitter link via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). Gannon, now a commentator with CBS Sports, apparently had some level of interest in the position, but “came to his senses” on a flight to Oakland, realizing he couldn’t put in the required time commitment. Gannon, of course, has a long relationship with new Oakland head coach Jon Gruden, as he served as Gruden’s starting quarterback with the Raiders from 1999-2001. The 2002 MVP, Gannon lost to Gruden’s Buccaneers in that year’s Super Bowl. Without Gannon in tow, Oakland may simply choose not to hire a QBs coach, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Here’s more from Oakland:

  • The Raiders are hiring an offensive line coach to replace Mike Tice, and the club has no shortage of candidates. Incumbent Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin — who is also in the running for the Bengals OL job — has interviewed with Oakland. Meanwhile, former Eagles lineman Hank Fraley, former Dolphins coach Jim Turner, and longtime NFL stalwarts Hal Hunter and Frank Smith are also contenders for the position, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • Cowboys running backs Gary Brown is interviewing for the same role with the Raiders today, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Gruden had been expected to target Brown ever since he was linked to the Oakland job, but Dallas reportedly isn’t giving him up without a fight. Whether or not Brown decides to defect to the Bay Area could depend on the content of today’s meeting. Brown, who enjoyed a nine-year career as an NFL running back, first entered the coaching ranks with Cleveland in 2009.
  • Alabama defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley is interviewing to become the Raiders’ new secondary coach, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). Ansley has never coached at the NFL level, but he does offer vast collegiate experience at stops such as Kentucky and Tennessee. Recent reports have indicated Ansley will be Colorado State’s next defensive coordinator, but he could hypothetically pass up that opportunity in order to join the NFL.
  • The Raiders are speaking to Alabama associate athletic director for football Ed Marynowitz about a role in their personnel department, reports Michael Lombardi of the Ringer (Twitter link). Marynowitz previously worked under Chip Kelly in the Eagles’ front office, but was fired along with Kelly in 2015.

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.

Browns Hire Ray Horton, Other Coaches

FRIDAY, 8:49am: The Browns have officially confirmed the hiring of Horton as the team’s defensive coordinator, along with the other moves noted below and a few more. Here’s the full list of coaches and titles announced today by the team:

  • Ray Horton, defensive coordinator
  • Pep Hamilton, associate head coach/offense
  • Al Saunders, offensive assistant/wide receivers
  • Kirby Wilson, running backs/run game coordinator
  • Hal Hunter, offensive line
  • Mark Hudson, assistant offensive line
  • Greg Seamon, tight ends
  • Bob Saunders, offensive quality control
  • Shawn Mennenga, special teams assistant
  • Stan Watson, special teams quality control

WEDNESDAY, 7:32pm: In addition to naming Saunders, Hamilton and Wilson to his offensive staff, Jackson has hired Hal Hunter as his O-line coach, Breer tweets. Hunter had been the Colts’ assistant O-line coach since 2013. He was at the helm of the Chargers’ line from 2006-12.

5:08pm: The Browns’ Hue Jackson-led coaching staff is rounding into form. Jackson has hired Ray Horton as his defensive coordinator, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).

Additionally, the Browns have addressed their offensive staff by hiring Al Saunders as a senior assistant, according to Cabot (Twitter link), Pep Hamilton as assistant head coach/offense and Kirby Wilson as their running game coordinator (Twitter links via ESPN’s Josina Anderson).

The last few days have been a whirlwind for Horton, who appeared likely to join the Browns before a report came out that he was negotiating a contract extension with the Titans – whose defensive he coordinated over Pep Hamilton (vertical)the last two seasons. However, the extension didn’t come to fruition and Horton interviewed with the Browns to become their new D-coordinator on Tuesday. Horton is familiar with Cleveland, having coordinated its defense to a top 10 ranking in 2013. Before that, he worked in the same capacity in Arizona from 2011-12. Horton’s defense in Tennessee finished 12th overall in 2015-16, but the team seemingly marginalized his role in the offseason when it hired Dick LeBeau as an assistant head coach. LeBeau was given “complete control” of the defense, and Horton had to report to him during the season as a result. Horton has already put in requests to bring some of the Titans’ defensive coaches to Cleveland, according to Cabot (Twitter link), as he tries to improve a Browns ‘D’ that finished 27th in the league in 2015-16.

Jackson and Saunders have a working relationship that dates back to the 2009 season, when both were with the Ravens. Saunders was also on Jackson’s staff when Jackson was the Raiders’ head coach in 2011. This is the fourth decade in which Saunders has worked as an offensive assistant at the NFL level. The 68-year-old spent this season on the Dolphins’ staff and has been an offensive coordinator with four different teams. While the Browns will value Saunders’ input, Jackson will call the plays.

Hamilton was the Colts’ O-coordinator from 2013 until this past November, when they fired him after their third-ranked attack in 2014 regressed significantly. Part of his duties in Cleveland will entail working with quarterbacks, tweets Albert Breer of NFL.com. Cabot reports (via Twitter) that he’ll be the Browns’ passing game coordinator. The 41-year-old has plenty of experience in that realm, having coached QBs with the Jets (2004), 49ers (2006) and Bears (2007-09) at the pro level.

Prior to joining the Browns, Wilson worked with running backs for six different NFL organizations since 1997, having spent the last three years in Minnesota. The Vikings attempted to keep Wilson, according to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, but the expiration of his contract enabled him to land a promotion with the Browns.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Rumors: Wilson, DeFilippo, Patricia

2:46pm: The Vikings have denied Wilson permission to become the Browns’ running-game coordinator, ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson reports (on Twitter). Minnesota would have needed to grant Wilson approval to meet with Jackson about this position, and the Vikings halted that overture today.

Earlier updates: As eight teams prepare to extend their seasons, let’s look at one that’s firmly in offseason mode. The Browns appear to be going with Hue Jackson‘s plan to not hire an offensive coordinator and have fired John DeFilippo and several other staffers. They are considering Pep Hamilton and Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson to come aboard as key offensive assistants, however. Here’s the latest from Cleveland.

  • With DeFilippo’s time with the Browns deemed a one-year experiment today by new Jackson, the first-time OC has a chance to join the Rams as their passing-game coordinator, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. A 37-year-old Youngstown, Ohio, native, DeFilippo interviewed for the Rams’ position as well as the 49ers’ head-coaching vacancy recently filled by Chip Kelly. Cabot reports DeFilippo was waiting to hear Jackson’s plans for his offensive staff before making a decision on potentially heading to Los Angeles. Rob Boras ascended to the position of the Rams’ offensive coordinator Friday after serving in that capacity in an interim basis when the team fired Frank Cignetti during the season. Under DeFilippo, the Browns’ passing game, despite being saddled with Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel and missing Josh Gordon, amassed 4,155 yards — fourth-most in franchise history.
  • Jackson ended up with the Cleveland job, but the Browns were also eager to visit with Patriots DC Matt Patricia for a second interview, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter links). The team contacted Patricia to gauge interest, which didn’t seem to be mutual. Had Patricia been more interested in the fluid position, talks may have progressed to a second interview, Rapaport notes.
  • Jackson and former Colts offensive line coach Hal Hunter have engaged in talks about the veteran assistant joining the Browns’ staff, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Hunter, 56, spent the past three seasons as the Colts’ co-offensive line coach before the team announced Thursday that Hunter wouldn’t be retained. After spending more than two decades as a college assistant, Hunter served as the Chargers’ offensive line coach from 2006-11 and offensive coordinator in 2012.

Coach Rumors: Giants, Jags, Titans, Marrone

As the divisional round of the NFL postseason inches closer, the coaching carousel continues to spin for many of the clubs that have been eliminated from Super Bowl contention. Here are the latest coaching-related updates from around the NFL:

  • While there probably won’t be an official announcement until Friday at the earliest, sources expect the Giants to head into 2016 with Mike Sullivan at offensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo at defensive coordinator, and Joe Philbin coming aboard the assistant head coach and QBs coach, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
  • The Jaguars are interviewing Lou Anarumo, who finished 2015 as the Dolphins’ interim defensive coordinator, for their defensive coordinator opening, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets. Jacksonville is taking its time identifying a replacement for Bob Babich, having interviewed Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel earlier this week.
  • Doug Marrone completed his interview for the Titans‘ head coaching position today, and Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com (Twitter link) hears that the former Bills head coach made a good impression.
  • The Chargers have hired former Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson for the same position in San Diego, the team announced today in a press release.
  • In addition to confirming their previously-reported hiring of linebackers coach Jim Herrmann, the Colts have announced that they’ve fired offensive line coach Hal Hunter, per Mike Wells of ESPN.com.