Jack Del Rio

Redskins Rumors: Snyder, Rivera, Kerrigan

Although since-fired team president Bruce Allen took most of the heat for the Redskins’ personnel decisions during the 2010s, Dan Snyder has continued to play a role in the franchise’s football operations. Allen was also believed to be on the side of drafting Dwayne Haskins, but John Keim and Jason Reid of ESPN.com write Snyder appeared to lead that charge — even though the owner once criticized for his big-ticket moves has contributed less input on that front in recent years. Some in Washington’s building placed a third-round grade on Haskins, per Keim and Reid. Haskins was viewed as a first-round pick for most of the pre-draft process. While Ron Rivera is expected to have more control over Redskins personnel matters than Jay Gruden, sources informed the ESPN duo they still expect Snyder to be involved.

Here is the latest out of Washington:

  • New defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio confirmed the Redskins will shift back to a 4-3 base defense, Les Carpenter of the Washington Post notes. Both Rivera and Del Rio have used 4-3 bases for most of their respective careers, so this should come as no surprise. However, Snyder is believed to have made this a point of emphasis, per Keim and Reid. The Redskins have not deployed a 4-3 base defense in 11 seasons, though with teams’ increased nickel usage, transitions in front-seven schemes are not as significant as they once were. This will make Washington’s starting lineup interesting, however, with the team having three talented interior defenders — Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and 2019 sack leader Matt Ioannidis — up front.
  • Ryan Kerrigan just completed a down year, registering a career-low 5.5 sacks and missing the first two games of his career. The productive Redskins edge defender is going into a contract year, but Keim tweets Kerrigan and previous Redskins management had engaged in extension talks in 2019. Kerrigan, 31, would like to stay with Washington on a third contract.
  • Rather than retirement, Alex Smith will continue his efforts to return to the field. The Redskins quarterback has missed the past 22 games because of a gruesome leg injury that required numerous surgeries. “I still have dreams of getting back to where I was and getting back out there,” Smith said, via NBC Sports Washington’s Ethan Cadeaux. “This has been a crazy ride with a lot of unforeseen turns, but without a doubt, that’s still my goal.” Smith, 35, is set to count $21.4MM against Washington’s cap this season. No cap savings can come of a Smith release until 2021.

Redskins To Hire Jack Del Rio

Ron Rivera‘s staff is already starting to take shape. On Wednesday, the Redskins agreed to hire Jack Del Rio as their defensive coordinator (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). 

Del Rio, 56, was either a head coach or defensive coordinator in every NFL season from 2002-17. However, he’s been out of coaching since the end of the 2017 season, when he was canned as the Raiders’ head coach.

JDR’s Raiders posted a 12-4 record in 2016 en route to their first playoff berth in 14 years, but that campaign was sandwiched by two losing seasons. All in all, he went 25-23 as the Raiders’ HC and his defenses were spotty at best.

Before all of that, he was responsible for the Broncos’ defense from 2012-2014, a run that included two top 5 finishes. He also served as the Jaguars’ head coach for nine years. Del Rio took the Jaguars to the playoffs twice, including a 2007 season in which they toppled the Steelers in the playoffs before running into the Patriots in the divisional round.

JDR will have his work cut out for him in D.C. Last year, the Redskins finished 27th in points allowed and yards. On the plus side, they have lots young talent and some cap room to work with as they retool the defense.

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Redskins Hire Ron Rivera As HC

The Redskins didn’t let him get away. Washington will hire former Panthers HC Ron Rivera as its next head coach and will give him a five-year contract, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). The hire will be announced tomorrow.

Washington fired former head coach Jay Gruden in October, which allowed owner Dan Snyder to get a jump on the hiring process. That may have been crucial, because when Rivera was let go by Carolina earlier this month, he immediately became one of the most qualified coaching candidates on the market, and he would have had other suitors, like the division-rival Cowboys and Giants. But Snyder, who perhaps realized that his silver tuna acquisition of Mike Tomlin was never going to happen, acted quickly to bring Rivera to Washington and keep him there.

Rivera, who played linebacker for the Bears from 1984-92 and who was a part of Chicago’s Super Bowl XX victory, became the team’s quality control coach in 1997. He paid his dues and moved up the coaching ranks, ultimately becoming the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2004. But it was his stint as the Chargers’ defensive coordinator from 2008-10 that solidified him as one of the best defensive minds in the game, and he parlayed that status into a head coaching gig with the Panthers in 2011.

The Panthers never captured the Lombardi Trophy with Rivera, but he did get them to Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 season, and he earned Coach of the Year honors that year. Including playoffs, Carolina went 79-67-1 with Rivera at the helm.

Although Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins may never be Cam Newton, Rivera obviously feels comfortable enough with the Ohio State product to accept the Washington job. Indeed, many believed it would be difficult for the Redskins to attract a top HC candidate, so it’s a good sign for Washington fans that Rivera apparently believes in the direction the team is heading. And now that Bruce Allen is out of the building and Rivera is in, perhaps the team can bring in a top exec as well (though Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that the team may not complete its front office changes until after the draft).

As far as Rivera’s staff is concerned, there has been speculation linking his former defensive coordinator in Carolina, Steve Wilks, to the same job in Washington. Though Wilks is currently under contract with the Browns — and therefore in limbo — John Keim of ESPN.com says he will not be coming to Washington (Twitter link). Indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Rivera is targeting former Jaguars and Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator, which could make for a very strong staff in the nation’s capital. Schefter says Del Rio is the leading candidate for the job.

Joe Person of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that Eric Washington and Sam Mills III could be other names to watch for the DC job, and La Canfora says Rivera is likely to retain offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.

The hire has been well-received, and given the way Snyder handled the Rivera hire and the Allen dismissal, perhaps Redskins fans can feel a bit of optimism heading into the new year.

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ESPN Hires Jack Del Rio

Jack Del Rio won’t be coaching in 2019. The former Raiders head coach and longtime defensive coordinator has accepted a new job as an analyst for ESPN, per a press release from the network. 

Del Rio was ousted by the Raiders late in 2017 to make room for Jon Gruden. Since then, he’s been in the mix for a few high profile DC gigs. Soon after he was canned by Oakland, the Giants were said to be giving him real consideration. Then, this past February, he nearly became the Bengals’ new DC before things went bust. Even though he’s still a viable coaching candidate, Del Rio will be taking at least a year off before considering new opportunities.

This excites me about being able to learn about myself and the media business,” Del Rio said during a phone interview. “I’m not going to be afraid of having an opinion and something to offer.”

Del Rio, 55, was either a head coach or defensive coordinator every season from 2002-17. While his Broncos defenses (two top-five units) were better than his Raiders crews — 22nd, 20th and 20th in points allowed, respectively — Del Rio did guide the Silver and Black to their first playoff berth in 14 seasons.

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Latest On Bengals, Jack Del Rio

The Bengals and Jack Del Rio have been discussing the team’s defensive coordinator position, but it sounds like the two sides won’t be joining up, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). After further conversation, the two sides determined that it’s not a “perfect fit,” which indicates that JDR will not be the hire in Cincinnati. 

Del Rio was believed to be the Bengals’ top choice for DC, but both sides had reservations, according to Rapoport. Most of the team’s key staff is in place – Bill Callahan will be the OC and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons is staying put – but they’re putting a pin in the DC position for now.

As Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) notes, Del Rio is still getting paid by the Raiders for another two years, so he can afford to wait for the right job. His contract may or may not include offset language, which could be a factor in his decision.

Del Rio, 55, was either a head coach or defensive coordinator every season from 2002-17. Following his 2002 season as John Fox‘s DC in Carolina, Jacksonville hired Del Rio as HC. He caught on with Fox again as the Broncos’ DC from 2012-14 before the Raiders hired him in 2015. While his Broncos defenses (two top-five units) were better than his Raiders crews — 22nd, 20th and 20th in points allowed, respectively — Del Rio did guide the Silver and Black to their first playoff berth in 14 seasons.

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Bengals Eyeing Jack Del Rio For DC

Zac Taylor will have a late start assembling his first Bengals coaching staff, but some key decisions are being made.

Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, who interviewed for the job Taylor now has, will be retained, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Jack Del Rio is likely to interview for the defensive coordinator position, per Pelissero. The former Raiders and Jaguars head coach is believed to be the Bengals’ top DC choice, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Del Rio has been connected to Cincinnati for multiple weeks. After being fired to clear Jon Gruden‘s way back to Oakland, Del Rio did not coach during the 2018 season. Cincinnati was interested in Dennis Allen, but New Orleans retained him. Longtime Packers DC Dom Capers is also on the Bengals’ radar.

Del Rio, 55, was either a head coach or defensive coordinator every season from 2002-17. Following his 2002 season as John Fox‘s DC in Carolina, Jacksonville hired Del Rio as HC. He caught on with Fox again as the Broncos’ DC from 2012-14 before the Raiders hired him in 2015. While his Broncos defenses (two top-five units) were better than his Raiders crews — 22nd, 20th and 20th in points allowed, respectively — Del Rio did guide the Silver and Black to their first playoff berth in 14 seasons.

The Bengals fired DC Teryl Austin in November. He is now with the Steelers. If Del Rio is hired, he will be the franchise’s third defensive coordinator in three seasons. Austin replaced Paul Guenther, the Raiders’ current DC, last year.

Taylor has already named Gruden’s most recent quarterbacks coach, Brian Callahan, as his offensive coordinator. Del Rio did not work with Callahan, who was a Gruden hire. Simmons will move into his 17th season with the Bengals. A Marvin Lewis appointee during his first offseason in Cincinnati, Simmons coached the Bengals’ special teams units in all 16 Lewis seasons.

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Coaching Rumors: Cowboys, Gruden, Bengals

The Cowboys‘ offensive coordinator position is now vacant after the team parted ways with Scott Linehan several days ago, and we learned that tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier may be the favorite to replace Linehan. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggests that Dallas could look to promote quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore — whom Rapoport described as “fast-rising” and “impressive” — to the OC job (Twitter link). If that happens, RapSheet suggests that the team could add another one of its former QBs to the coaching staff by hiring Jon Kitna, most recently the offensive coordinator for the AAF’s San Diego Fleet, as the new quarterbacks coach.

As Jerry Jones mulls the coaching credentials of his former signal-callers, let’s take a look at other coaching rumors from around the league:

  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes that the Redskins‘ failed pursuit of Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams does not bode well for head coach Jay Gruden‘s future in Washington. La Canfora writes that owner Dan Snyder put the “full-court press” on Bowles, and if Bowles had said he would only join the Redskins as a head coach, Snyder may have gone for it. Gruden will return in 2019, but if he does not lead the Redskins to a playoff berth, La Canfora would not be surprised if Snyder reaches out to Bowles and Williams again, perhaps to discuss a head coaching position.
  • If the Patriots prevail in today’s AFC Championship Game, the Dolphins will meet with New England de facto defensive coordinator and future Miami head coach Brian Flores during the week before the Super Bowl to discuss staffing and other issues, per Rapoport (via Twitter). The Fins can formally commit to Flores as their next HC at that time.
  • The Bengals have been very hands-off with their presumptive new head coach, Zac Taylor, but Rapoport (video link) says that is only because the team is closely adhering to league rules regarding coaching hires (Taylor, of course, is the Rams’ quarterbacks coach, and the Rams’ season isn’t over yet). Rapoport says Cincinnati still fully intends to hire Taylor, and he names Jack Del Rio as a potential defensive coordinator on Taylor’s new staff. La Canfora agrees that Del Rio is a DC target, and he adds John Fox as another possibility. Both JLC and RapSheet say that Raiders QB coach Brian Callahan is a top choice for offensive coordinator.
  • Former Cardinals tight ends coach Jason Michael will join the Colts in the same capacity, a source tells Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter). Michael served as the Titans’ offensive coordinator from 2014-15 and was the team’s QB coach from 2016-17.

Jack Del Rio Frontrunner For Giants’ DC Job?

Fired less than a year after signing a lengthy extension, Jack Del Rio looks to have an offer to get right back into high-profile coaching.

Pat Shurmur is interested in the former Raiders head coach to run his defense once he lands with the Giants, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reports. Del Rio is a leading candidate for a position that, as of now, has no other known external candidates. Mortensen describes Shurmur as having Del Rio high on his prospective candidate list.

The Giants are expected to hire Shurmur as their next head coach but still plan to interview him a second time, Mortensen reports.

Any Del Rio deal would be offset against his Raiders contract, which will average $6MM annually for the next three years, per Mortensen.

While there are no known external candidates, interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo interviewed for the Giants’ HC post and has worked with Shurmur in the past. Shurmur served as Spagnuolo’s offensive coordinator in St. Louis from 2009-10. The Giants and Shurmur both think highly of the longtime DC, Tom Rock of Newsday notes.

While the Giants have lost several of their assistants to jobs elsewhere, much of the team’s defensive staff remains on board. Although, Shurmur could certainly have names in mind to replace the incumbents.

Del Rio’s Raiders defenses weren’t particularly imposing, but he fielded multiple top-five units with the Broncos (in 2012 and ’14). And both of Del Rio’s playoff teams in Jacksonville (2005 and ’07) fielded top-10 scoring defenses before the Jags began to deteriorate in his later years.

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Jack Del Rio Out In Oakland

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was informed after the team’s Week 17 loss to the Chargers that he would not be retained, the coach told reporters including the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken (Twitter link). Jack Del Rio (vertical)

In his postgame press conference, the coach told reporters he was notified “two minutes ago” by Raiders owner Mark Davis of his decision. Del Rio said, “He told me he loved me and appreciated all that I did to get this program going to right direction, but that he felt he needed a change.” Del Rio expressed gratitude for the opportunity Davis gave him when he hired him in 2015.

Following a breakout 2016 campaign that saw the Raiders go 12-4, Oakland entered 2017 as potential Super Bowl contenders with a loaded offense and a solid defense. Things didn’t go according to plan and the Raiders scuffled to a 6-10 mark.

The firing comes on the heels of the Raiders’ reported pursuit of the team’s former head coach Jon Gruden. Reports claim the Raiders could offer the ESPN analyst an ownership stake in the team to take over as head coach.

In his three seasons as head coach, Del Rio amassed a 25-23 mark and advanced to the postseason in 2016 for the first time since the team lost the Super Bowl in 2002.

With young stars Derek Carr and Amari Cooper on offense and a game-changing talent on defense in Khalil Mack, the Raiders head-coaching job is arguably the top gig that will become available this offseason.

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Raiders To Pursue Jon Gruden

Now that the Buccaneers are expected to retain Dirk Koetter as their head coach in 2018 (though Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks that Tampa Bay could easily reverse course in that regard), the Raiders are upping the ante in their pursuit of Jon Gruden. Gruden, of course, previously served as head coach of Tampa Bay and Oakland, though his name has been more heavily connected to the Buccaneers in recent weeks.

Jon Gruden (vertical)

But ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Raiders are preparing to pursue Gruden with an offer so strong that it could include an ownership stake in the team. Schefter adds that Gruden, currently an ESPN analyst, will be tempted to accept the offer, though he would prefer to wait until the regular season concludes and Oakland formally makes a decision on current head coach Jack Del Rio.

There are complications to a potential reunion. For instance, if Raiders owner Mark Davis does indeed offer Gruden an ownership stake, the contract would need to be approved by all 32 owners and the league finance committee, and such approval could be difficult to attain, as ownership would not want to set a precedent. Furthermore, Del Rio and Gruden are represented by the same agent, Bob LaMonte.

Nonetheless, one has to figure that if the Raiders want Gruden, and Gruden wants them, the two sides will find a way to make it happen. After all, Gruden never wanted to leave the Raiders to begin with, and though Oakland has struggled this season, there are a lot of factors that make its head coaching job an enviable one. Plus, although Gruden has been frequently discussed as a highly-coveted head coaching candidate in past years, this is the first year that he has made calls around the league in an effort to piece together a potential staff.

Interestingly, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) names current CBS analyst (and former Raiders QB) Rich Gannon as someone that Gruden has contacted as a potential quarterbacks coach.

Gruden declined to specifically comment on the Raiders’ position.

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