James Campen

Browns Hire Todd Monken, Steve Wilks

The Browns’ coaching staff is officially set. On Monday, the Browns officially announced the hiring of Todd Monken as the new offensive coordinator and Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator. In addition to those hires, the club appointed Mike Priefer as special teams coordinator, Stump Mitchell as the running backs coach/run game coordinator, James Campen as offensive line coach/associate head coach, and Ryan Lindley as quarterbacks coach.

Monken has a reputation for savvy play calling, even though Buccaneers’ offense was inconsistent in 2018. The Bucs didn’t consider him as a potential replacement for head coach Dirk Koetter, but other clubs were eager to talk with him. The Bengals, Packers, and Jets all interviewed him for their head coaching vacancies and several clubs showed keen interest in bringing him on as their new OC. Ultimately, Monken chose the Browns, who offer tremendous potential and a potential star quarterback in Baker Mayfield.

Wilks was one-and-done as the Cardinals’ head coach after the team limped to a 3-13 record. His defense did not perform up to par in Arizona, but he built a reputation for himself as a smart defensive mind in Carolina. In his six seasons with the Panthers (five as defensive backs coach, one as DC), the club finished with a top 10 defense five times.

Coaching Rumors: Contracts, CBA, Broncos, Bears, Rob Ryan, Browns, Packers

We’ve been hearing for the past few months that both the NFL and NFLPA think there are increasingly high odds of a lockout during the next round of CBA negotiations, and we got even more confirmation of that today. The NFL is gearing up for a fight, and with coaches who signed contracts this year, “teams are addressing how much each coach would make — or lose — in the event of a work stoppage” sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Sources told Schefter that “both teams and coaches are confident that there will be some type of disruption, and one of the first signs of it is showing up in the language of coaches’ contracts.” The league is widely seen to have won the last round of negotiations over players, and the players’ union will be looking for a lot more from the league in the next round. Owners might not be willing to budge, and it sounds like a lengthy lockout is a very real possibility in 2021.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • The Broncos are reportedly targeting Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell to join Vic Fangio’s staff, and Donatell might not be the only assistant Chicago loses to Denver. The Broncos are “bringing in Bears OLB coach Brandon Staley” for an interview Monday, according to Mike Klis of 9News Denver (Twitter link). It sounds like Fangio is interested in bringing over as many of his assistants from Chicago as possible.
  • With Chuck Pagano now in charge of the Bears’ defense, the team wasn’t planning on bringing back Staley anyway, according to Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune. A source told Briggs that Rob Ryan, the former Saints defensive coordinator and brother of Rex Ryan, could be brought in to replace Staley. Ryan is a big personality and it would certainly be an entertaining hire if nothing else.
  • Freddie Kitchens has added another member to his inaugural Browns staff. Cleveland is hiring Packers offensive line coach James Campen as their associate head coach and offensive line coach, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN (Twitter link). Campen was the longest tenured coach on the Packers’ staff, and had been there even before Mike McCarthy took over as head coach.

Coaching Notes: Kubiak, Jaguars, 49ers, Packers

Gary Kubiak will not be joining the Broncos, but he’d still be open to other coordinator openings. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the long-time coach “still has an interest in being an offensive coordinator.” Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic echoes the report (via Twitter), saying the Broncos wouldn’t stand in the way of the current executive pursuing another gig.

One team that could have interest in Kubiak is the Jaguars, according to Schefter. Jacksonville has been connected to Darrell Bevell and Todd Monken as they’ve searched for a replacement for Scott Milanovich.

It was believed that Kubiak would be hired as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator on Vic Fangio‘s new staff. However, talks apparently broke down between the two parties, with reports noting that they had “different ideas on staffing and offensive philosophies.”

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

  • Speaking of the Broncos, offensive line coach Sean Kugler interviewed with the Vikings and is set to meet with the Cardinals, reports Mike Klis of 9News (via Twitter). Klis notes that there’s some optimism that he’d ultimately be hired for the Cardinals gig. Kugler’s tenure in Denver could be over, as the team is reportedly eyeing Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak for the position.
  • The 49ers denied the Packers and head Matt LaFleur permission to interview his brother, wide receivers coach Mike LaFleur, according to Schefter (on Twitter). San Francisco also denied the Browns and Vikings requests to interview the younger LaFleur.
  • The Browns are set to interview Packers run game coordinator/offensive line coach James Campen today, reports ESPN’s Rob Demovsky (via Twitter). Green Bay’s longest-tenured assistant coach has been with the organization since 2007, and he was promoted to position of run-game coordinator prior to this season. Campen is under contract for next season, so it’s a bit surprising that Green Bay didn’t deny the Browns’ request to interview the coach.
  • Some assorted coaching hirings and firings: running backs coach Stump Mitchell is returning to the Cardinals (via Alex Marvez of SiriusXM on Twitter), the Packers have fired passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. (via Schefter on Twitter), and the Buccaneers have hired University of Arizona offensive line coach Joe Gilbert for the same position (via TampaBay.com’s Rick Stroud on Twitter).

Packers Notes: McDaniel, Hackett, Zook

The Packers have inquired on 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel in their search for a new offensive coordinator, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. However, San Francisco already denied permission for the Cardinals to interview McDaniel for their OC job, and it’s likely the Niners will do the same if Green Bay officially comes calling. McDaniel, who is extremely familiar with the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offense, served as an offensive assistant for the Falcons from 2015-16 while new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was Atlanta’s quarterbacks coach.

Here’s more from Green Bay:

  • While McDaniel may not be an option for the Packers, he’s not the only option LaFleur are considering. Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is also on Green Bay’s radar, per Tim Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). The Packers could have competition within the NFC North, as Hackett is reportedly also in the mix for the Lions’ open offensive coordinator position. Hackett called plays in Jacksonville for parts of three seasons before being fired in November.
  • The Packers will not retain special teams coordinator Ron Zook, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Zook, a former collegiate head coach at both Florida and Illinois, joined Green Bay in 2014 and took over as the club’s ST coach the following year. 2018 wasn’t a banner year for the Packers’ special teams crew, as the unit ranked 28th in Football Outsiders‘ special teams ratings, including dead last on punt returns. Bengals assistant special teams coach Brayden Coombs could potentially be a candidate to replace Zook, a source tells Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • The Vikings have “vetted” Packers offensive line coach James Campen for the same position, according to Silverstein (Twitter link). Campen finished his playing career in Green Bay and has been a coach there since 2004. At this point, it’s unclear if LaFleur wants to retain Campen, but he’s expected to have offers if he’s not kept on the Packers’ staff. Minnesota also received permission to interview former Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin for their offensive line gig.