Harold Goodwin

Coaching Notes: Kaczor, Redskins, Panthers, Goodwin

The Redskins announced yesterday that they’ve hired Nate Kaczor as their new special teams coordinator. The long-time coach had interviewed with the organization earlier this week.

“We are excited to have Nate join our staff. We have had the opportunity to face his special teams play during his time at Tampa Bay and respected competing against him,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “He is a competitor and we have noticed and admired the intensity his units have played with through the course of his time as a special teams coordinator and assistant coach in the NFL.”

Kaczor had spent the past three seasons in the same role with the Buccaneers, and he previously served as the Titans’ special teams coordinator. He also had a stint as an assistant with the Jaguars. Prior to his tenure in the NFL, Kaczor spent 17 years in the NCAA, with jobs at Idaho and Nebraska-Kearney.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Panthers owner David Tepper told reports that he didn’t want to “make rash decision[s]” on the status of head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Marty Hurney (via Joe Person of The Athletic on Twitter). Ultimately, the owner judge the duo throughout the entire 2018 season (not just the stretch run), and this led to him retaining the pair for the 2019 season.
  • Buccaneers assistant head coach Harold Goodwin wasn’t happy that Steve Wilks lost his job with the Cardinals, noting that his friend never got a chance to succeed. “That hurt a little bit,” Goodwin told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “He’s a friend of mine. We worked together back in the day with the Bears. It’s hard to build something from the ground up with one year. It’s like, ‘Hey, I want you to start this Fortune 500 company, but you’ve got one year.’ That’s impossible. And that’s what he was tasked with.”
  • Goodwin also grumbled about the lack of minority hires around the NFL, noting that teams really don’t take the Rooney Rule seriously. “Every time I went in to interview, ‘You don’t call plays.’ Well, I did call plays in the preseason,” Goodwin said. “Are we looking for play-callers or are we looking for leaders? Leaders of men, who can help build an organization from the ground up on the football side…The next excuse was, ‘Well, we don’t like your staff.’ A lot of my staff is still coaching. Some guys are coordinators in the NFL now that have had a lot of success that were on my list.”
  • We learned yesterday that the Cardinals added another name to their offensive coordinator search, as former Browns head coach Hue Jackson is scheduled to interview for the gig.

Buccaneers Officially Hire Bruce Arians

The Buccaneers-Bruce Arians noise produced the conclusion many expected. The two-time coach of the year is heading to Tampa Bay, as first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Bucs have since confirmed the hire via press release.

Bruce Arians is one of the NFL’s most well-respected coaches over the past two decades and we are excited to have him leading our team,” Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer said in a statement. “Throughout this process, we focused on finding the right coach with a proven ability to elevate our players and lead our team forward. Bruce has played a large role in the development and career success of some of our league’s best players and we look forward to seeing him continue that work here with our franchise.

This will be a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth season, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. And Arians wants to bring some of his former Cardinals assistants with him. Byron Leftwich, Harold Goodwin and Clyde Christensen — an Arians coworker with the Colts — will be brought on board and Todd Bowles has already agreed to become the team’s defensive coordinator. Bowles was Arians’ DC for two seasons with the Cardinals.

Arians-to-Tampa gained steam over the past few days, and it turns out the former Cardinals coach’s retirement was brief. Arians is now going to rejoin former Cards personnel exec Jason Licht with the Bucs and be in charge of determining what can be coaxed from Jameis Winston, whom he’s known since the passer’s high school days.

The Bucs had initial concerns about the 66-year-old Arians’ health, per Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com (Twitter link). This required a physical. But they are satisfied with the results. That, and language in Arians’ Arizona contract — which contained a 2019 option — represent cleared hurdles now, Darlington notes. Of note: Arians is the oldest HC hire in NFL history, surpassing a 64-year-old Dick Vermeil.

Arians interviewed for the Tampa Bay job on Saturday morning and outflanked everyone else on the meeting list in terms of experience. The 2012 and ’14 coach of the year, the first coming when he was the Colts’ OC who took over for a cancer-stricken Chuck Pagano, Arians has guided three teams to the playoffs — that Colts team and two Cardinals squads. Armed with the NFL’s No. 1 offense, Arizona advanced to the 2015 NFC championship game under Arians. They produced a top-10 attack in 2016 as well. After Arians’ retirement, the Cardinals fell off quickly. They hired Kliff Kingsbury today to replace Steve Wilks, who oversaw the team’s descent from 8-8 to 3-13.

Spending the 2018 season as a CBS analyst, Arians initially said the only job he would come out of retirement to take was the Browns’ position. But Cleveland did not reciprocate the interest. Tampa Bay did and was the only team to interview Arians. The sides were believed to have only begun negotiations Tuesday, and they progressed quickly.

Arians will now be tasked with ending the NFC’s longest playoff drought. The Bucs have not qualified for a bracket since 2007, in Jon Gruden‘s penultimate season, and have fired five coaches since that happened.

Licht announced last week that the candidate who won the race to replace Dirk Koetter was going to work with Winston. Despite the quarterback’s off-field issues and interception troubles, he figures to have his best chance at showing he’s a capable starter under Arians. In Arizona, Arians resurrected Carson Palmer‘s career and pushed him to a near-MVP performance in 2015. Arians received his 2014 coach of the year honor for steering the Cards to 11-5 after losing Palmer and Drew Stanton to injuries.

The Bucs also employ Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin on offense, and the team wants to bring back Adam Humphries to retain one of the franchise’s best-ever skill-position groups — one that is more well-rounded than the David Johnson-less contingent Arians had in his final Arizona season.

Bowles has also received interest from the Redskins, interviewing with Washington on Tuesday, but another job with Arians figures to be enticing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bowles, Leftwich, Goodwin To Join Bucs’ Staff

Bruce Arians is moving fast on his way to Tampa Bay. And Cardinals fans will recognize much of the Buccaneers’ new coaching staff.

Todd Bowles will join Arians in Tampa and serve as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Byron Leftwich and Harold Goodwin have pledged to follow Arians to south Florida as well.

Leftwich will serve as Tampa Bay’s passing-game coordinator, and Goodwin will come aboard as the run-game overseer, Breer notes. Like Bowles, both worked under Arians in Arizona. Leftwich received his full-time coaching start under Arians and moved up to Cardinals OC under Steve Wilks. The Cardinals, following a season that ended with No. 32 rankings in points and yards, fired him at season’s end, however, paving a path to Tampa.

Bowles met with Washington about an unspecified role Tuesday, but he will rejoin Arians. The former NFL defensive back-turned-Jets HC made his best case for that New York job by leading the Cardinals’ defense in 2013-14. They were a top-seven unit in each season, helping the Cards to back-to-back 10-win campaigns. Matters did not go too well for Bowles in New York (with a less talented roster), but he will be tasked with repairing a Bucs defense that has been among the league’s worst in recent years.

Tampa Bay has ranked in the bottom fourth of the NFL in total defense in each of the past four years, its low point coming with a last-place finish in 2017. It will be interesting to see if Bowles implements the 3-4 scheme he used in Arizona and New York. The Bucs have used a 4-3 base set for years. Though, these changes are less significant than they were in years past, with teams in sub sets more often than base looks.

Goodwin did not coach in 2018. He served as the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator during Arians’ five-year tenure, though Arians was the point man running that attack. The Cards in that time coaxed an All-Pro emergence from Division I-FCS-produced third-rounder David Johnson. He will take over a Bucs rushing attack that lagged behind its explosive pass offense in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ex-Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin On Vikings’ Radar?

Former Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin could be a candidate to take over as the Vikings’ new offensive line coach, according to Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Twitter link). Minnesota, sadly, must search for a new line coach after incumbent Tony Sparano unexpectedly passed away on Sunday morning.

While the Vikings have yet to officially reach out to Goodwin, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and ex-Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians have both put in a good word on Goodwin’s behalf, per Goessling. Goodwin worked under Tomlin as Pittsburgh’s quality control coach from 2007-11, and served as Arizona’s offensive coordinator (but not play-caller) under Arians.

After Arians retired in January, Goodwin — unlike Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcherwasn’t offered a chance to interview for Arizona’s top job. Instead, he interviewed for offensive line jobs with the Bengals and Raiders, and was also mentioned as a possible candidate for the Giants’ offensive coordinator position, but did not land a new role. In recent seasons, Goodwin has interviewed for head coaching positions with the Rams, Bills, and Jaguars.

Following Sparano’s passing, assistant offensive line coach Andrew Janocko is leading the Vikings’ front five for the time being.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Brown, Giants

The Redskins‘ decision to re-sign Mason Foster to a two-year deal last week won’t preclude the club from pursuing a new contract with fellow linebacker Zach Brown, sources tell John Keim of ESPN.com, who recently reported Washington has opened negotiations with Brown. Indeed, despite reports that the Redskins had opened talks with a “lowball offer,” they’re still conversing with the 28-year-old Brown, tweets J.P. Finlay of NBC Washington. Per Keim, Brown could potentially looking for a top-of-the-market linebacker pact, which could require $10MM annually and nearly $20MM in guarantees. However, Brown was only able to garner a one-year, $2.5MM deal last season when he was younger and coming off an arguably more productive campaign.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • While the Redskins are engaged in talks to bring back Brown, the team may not be interested in a reunion with offensive lineman Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao, according to Rich Tandler of NBC Washington. Long and Lauvao split time at guard in 2017, but neither earned positive grades from Pro Football Focus. If Washington does opt to re-sign one of its two free agent lineman, Long could speculatively have the advantage given that he’s three years younger than Lauvao. However, Tandler expects the Redskins to instead bring in a free agent or a draft pick to compete with former fourth-round pick Arie Kouandjio, who started six games a season ago.
  • The Giants are searching for a new offensive coordinator under new head coach Pat Shurmur, and while former Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin has been mentioned as a candidate for the position, there’s a possibility he could hired as a combination offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Goodwin held the same dual role in Arizona, and given that New York hasn’t yet hired an OL coach to replace Mike Solari, Goodwin could potentially join the G-Men in a similar capacity. Other contenders for the Giants’ offensive coordinator include Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski and Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley.
  • Although the Giants still need an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, the club’s coaching staff is mostly set, as Vacchanio writes. Shurmur has filled most of the team’s vacancies and retained a number of incumbent coaches, including coaching assistant Chris Pridy, reports Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.

Coaching Rumors: Giants, Texans, Chiefs

New Giants head coach Pat Shurmur will call his own offensive plays in New York but still plans to hire an offensive coordinator, and Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is a “strong candidate” for the position, sources tell Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Stefanski, of course, worked under Shurmur in Minnesota, and is now a candidate to take over Shurmur’s old role with the Vikings (where he’d presumably get the opportunity to call games). Minnesota, however, is also considering former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell and Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan for its coordinator job, so if Stefanski isn’t promoted, he could conceivably bolt for New York. Meanwhile, Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley is a “name to watch” for the Giants’ OC position, while ex-Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin could also “be in the mix,” per Vacchiano.

Here’s more on the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • Former Raiders and Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano will join the Texans as a linebackers coach, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Specifically, Pagano is now a senior defensive assistant who will coach outside linebackers, while Bobby King — already on Houston’s staff — will coach inside ‘backers, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). Pagano, the brother of former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, spent five years as the Chargers’ DC before landing with the Raiders in 2017. When Oakland fired Ken Norton Jr. midway through last season, Pagano stepped in as the club’s defensive coordinator.
  • The Chiefs will promote offensive quality coach Mike Kafka to quarterbacks coach, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. Kafka, 30, originally entered the league as a 2010 fourth-round of Andy Reid‘s Eagles and went to play for six other clubs before hanging up his cleats. He coached at Northwestern (his alma mater) before joining Kansas City’s staff in 2017. Reid’s coaching tree is obviously impressive, and the past two men to serve as quarterbacks coach under his employ — Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy — are now head coaches with the Eagles and Bears, respectively.
  • The Titans also have a new quarterbacks coach: former Texans offensive assistant Pat O’Hara, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who adds ex-Texans defensive assistant Shane Bowen is now Tennessee’s outside linebackers coach. O’Hara interviewed for the Bears’ quarterbacks coach job earlier this year, but Chicago ended up retaining Dave Ragone for the role. Meanwhile, new Titans assistant coach Kerry Coombs will indeed lead defensive backs in Tennessee, meaning he’ll coach the same position group that he did at Ohio State, tweets Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel offered incumbent secondary coach Deshea Townsend a job as Coombs’ assistant (read: a demotion), but Townsend will instead leave the club.
  • The Panthers have hired Air Force defensive coordinator Steve Russ as their new linebackers coach, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Russ will replace Al Holcomb, who followed Steve Wilks to Arizona earlier this week to become the Cardinals’ new defensive coordinator. Although he enjoyed a four-year pro career, the 45-year-old Russ has never coached at the NFL level. He’s been at Air Force since 2012, and previously spent time at Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Ohio. Carolina has also added former Seahawks assistant special teams coach Heath Farwell for the same role, reports Omar Ruiz of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Giants Rumors: Shurmur, Callahan, Staff

Pat Shurmur will be calling plays for the Giants in his first season as head coach, Dave Gettleman said this week from the Senior Bowl (via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, on Twitter). This will mark the second time Shumur’s gone this route. He called plays for the 2011 Browns, but the offense ranked 29th. Additionally, Shurmur is not guaranteed to hire an offensive coordinator, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. While Shurmur did not hire a non-play-calling OC in his first year with the Browns, he did bring Brad Childress aboard in 2012. Shurmur also functioned as a game plan-centric OC with the Eagles under Chip Kelly from 2013-15, indicating he may value the job.

Here’s the latest from Giants headquarters:

  • While he might not hire an OC, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes Shurmur could opt to give an assistant a dual role of OC and quarterbacks coach. The Giants have recently dismissed Lions QBs coach Brian Callahan on their radar for this potential position, Vacchiano reports. Callahan is an in-demand name, however. He interviewed for the Titans’ OC job and is slated to meet with the Raiders and Jets about the respective teams’ QBs-coaching jobs.
  • Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is set to interview for Shurmur’s old post next week, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes rumblings emerged of Shurmur bringing Stefanski to New York with him. Breer tabs Stefanski as a rising star, and the 35-year-old Vikings staffer worked as their assistant QBs coach from 2009-13 before taking over as head QBs instructor this past season. He may have a decision to make soon since the Vikings’ offensive staff has splintered following their NFC title game loss.
  • Harold Goodwin looks set to lose his Cardinals OC job. Reports circulated indicating Mike McCoy will join Steve Wilks‘ staff, but Goodwin could have a landing spot in New York. Vacchiano notes Goodwin could be a candidate for both the Giants’ or Jets‘ offensive line coaching jobs, illustrating the Todd Bowles/Goodwin Arizona connection as a possible Jets pipeline. With Gettleman pointing out how far Big Blue has to go to repair its front, this will be a pivotal hire.
  • The Giants did make some additional assistant hires on Thursday, organizing their defensive position groups’ hierarchies. Gary Emanuel will preside over the Giants’ defensive line, Bill McGovern will stay on to coach linebackers and Lou Anarumo will oversee the defensive backs, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. Anthony Blevins will also become the Giants’ assistant special teams coach after serving in that role with the Cardinals last season, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). McGovern coached Big Blue’s ‘backers under Ben McAdoo for the past two years. Emanuel coached the Colts’ D-line during all six of Chuck Pagano‘s years in Indianapolis, and Anarumo instructed the Dolphins’ DBs during the same time period. Anarumo also served as Miami’s interim defensive coordinator for part of 2015.
  • James Bettcher has only worked with 3-4 defenses, and the Giants have played a 4-3 look for ages. But Vacchiano doesn’t think it would mark that big of an adjustment. He writes that Olivier Vernon may be a good fit as a stand-up outside rusher. Damon Harrison would make sense as a 3-4 nose, given that he played there with the Jets. Vacchiano adds that the Giants may have to overhaul their linebacking corps to make that switch — which isn’t certain yet — work.

Coaching Rumors: Colts, Nagy, Packers

The latest coaching rumors from around the NFL:

  • The Colts never offered their head coaching job to Matt Nagy, Mike Wells of ESPN.com tweets. This week, the former Chiefs OC accepted the Bears’ HC position. There were some rumblings that he also had an offer on the table from Indy, but that is apparently not the case.
  • The Packers hired Frank Cignetti as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentintel (on Twitter). The well-traveled Cignetti spent the last two years as the Giants’ QBs coach. Before that, he served as the Rams’ QBs coach for two years and as the Rams’ offensive coordinator for one year.
  • Cardinals offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin has interviewed recently with the Bengals and Raiders for their OL coach positions, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic tweets. It seems unlikely that Goodwin will return to Arizona in his current role following the retirement of head coach Bruce Arians.
  • To keep up with the latest on every head coaching search, consult PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker. For the latest on offensive and defensive coordinators, check out PFR’s Coordinator Tracker.

Coaching Rumors: Fangio, Rams, Broncos

Free agent coach Vic Fangio is an extremely popular man at the moment — as PFR’s 2018 Coordinator Tracker indicates, Fangio is a candidate to return to the Bears or join the division rival Packers, and he could certainly be linked to more jobs as other head coaching vacancies are filled. But hiring Fangio won’t come cheap, as he was reportedly among the NFL’s highest-paid defensive coordinators last season with a salary in excess of $2MM, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The average DC, per Biggs, earns closer to $1.5MM annually, so any club that wants to add Fangio will likely need to pony up.

Here’s more from the coaching front:

  • The Rams have promoted assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor to quarterbacks coach, the club announced today. Taylor will replace Greg Olson, who left Los Angeles to become the Raiders’ next offensive coordinator under new head coach Jon Gruden. Taylor has previous play-calling experience, having served as the OC for both the University of Cincinnati and the Dolphins. But he won’t be leading the offense with the Rams, who also employ head coach Sean McVay and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. Instead, Taylor will help guide former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff as he enters his third NFL campaign.
  • The Broncos have a new special teams coordinator in Tom McMahon, tweets former NFL punter Pat McAfee. McMahon, who’s coached in the NFL for more than a decade, comes to Denver from Indianapolis, where he helped the Colts rank eighth in special teams DVOA. The Broncos, on the other hand, ranked 30th in ST DVOA under former coordinator Brock Olivo.
  • Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin has set up assistant coaching interviews with multiple AFC teams, reports Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM (Twitter link). While Arizona defensive coordinator James Bettcher was given a head coaching interview after Bruce Arians retired, Goodwin wasn’t afforded the same opportunity. Goodwin has interviewed for four head coaching positions over the past two seasons.
  • While the final decision to fire former offensive coordinator Mike Shula was ultimately left to Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Rivera “kept the lines of communication” open with interim general manager Marty Hurney during the process, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

NFC West Notes: Cards, Bettcher, Seahawks

While the Cardinals will interview incumbent defensive coordinator James Bettcher as they seek to replace head coach Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin is unlikely to be granted a meeting, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Unlike Bettcher, Goodwin has actually interviewed for other NFL vacancies in the past, as he met with the Buccaneers, Bills, Jaguars, and Rams since 2016. Bettcher, meanwhile, will meet with Arizona’s decision-makers on Wednesday, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett said he is committed to continuing his career in 2018 and hopes he’ll remain with the Seahawks, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Bennett, 32, is signed for three more years at affordable rates, and Seattle would only create ~$2MM by releasing him this offseason. Additionally, Bennett graded as the No. 38 edge defender among 108 qualifiers a season ago, per Pro Football Focus, meaning he’s more than worth his salary. Seattle may be without Cliff Avril (retirement) and Sheldon Richardson (free agency) in 2018, making Bennett’s presence all the more crucial.
  • The Seahawks have already begun exploring kicker upgrades, and former Jaguar Jason Myers is among the options on Seattle’s radar, per Condotta (Twitter link). Given that the Seahawks are narrowing in on street free agents (players who were cut before the 2017 regular season concluded), their options are certainly limited. But Myers, who was released by Jacksonville in October, could represent improvement over incumbent Blair Walsh, who missed eight field goals last year. Myers, meanwhile, owns a career field goal percentage of 81%.
  • Tight end Jermaine Gresham suffered a torn Achilles in the Cardinals‘ regular season finale, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link). Given the timeline of Gresham’s injury, he may not be ready to start the 2018 campaign. But Arizona would incur $2MM in dead money by releasing Gresham, who inked a four-year extension last spring. Gresham, 29, managed only 33 receptions and 322 yards last year, his third consecutive season with fewer than 400 yards receiving.