Jason Garrett

NFC Notes: Manning, Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Redskins

Plenty of people criticized the Giants’ decision to take Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. While Barkley has been electric, many people thought the opportunity to take one of this year’s class of quarterback prospects was too good to pass up. Eli Manning has struggled mightily this year, and the Giants now have no clear succession plan. Despite not drafting a quarterback early this year, New York “believed that somehow, some way, they’d find their heir apparent somewhere down the line”, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Now that they might have to find that heir apparent earlier than expected, Vacchiano went through all the Giants’ options to find a quarterback of the future, including a trade before the deadline this year, free agency, and the draft. They have fourth round rookie Kyle Lauletta on the roster, and Vacchiano writes they must “absolutely take a look at him in a game this year.” One way or another, it looks like Manning’s days as the Giants’ starter are numbered.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • There’s been growing frustration with Jason Garrett as coach of the Cowboys, especially after his decision to punt the ball away on 4th & 1 in overtime last week. While owner Jerry Jones and his son Stephen have insisted, Garret’s job isn’t in danger, “there’s been buzz in league circles indicating that the Joneses may eventually set their sights on Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley”, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.
  • Aaron Rodgers recently suffered a setback with his injured knee, but is looking to avoid going back to the bulky brace he had to wear initially, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. Rodgers re-injured the knee on a hit he took early in the Packers’ loss to the Lions last week. The game against Detroit was his first game without the large brace that made it harder for him to move around.
  • Josh Norman was benched to start the second half of the Redskins’ loss to the Saints on Monday night, and it apparently wasn’t about his play. “It was definitely something between Gruden and Norman that got a little heated and definitely not because of him getting beat in coverage”, according to John Keim of ESPN (Twitter link). Apparently Norman and coach Jay Gruden got into an altercation at halftime, and this will be an interesting situation to monitor going forward.

Josh Gordon Fallout: Browns, Pats, Cowboys

While Josh Gordon reportedly went through an MRI that didn’t reveal substantial hamstring trouble, he did suffer an injury while filming a promotional video Friday night, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports. The Browns lost patience with Gordon not because of an injury, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com but because of his off-field issues. The latest in that long line of incidents appears to have taken place in the Cleveland area Friday night. Gordon misled the Browns by saying he was participating in a photo shoot for his clothing line at the team’s facility, when in actuality he was doing drills for a hype video, Jackson reports.

Gordon participated in the filming of this video for up to 90 minutes, per Jackson, who adds a 40-yard dash was involved. But the final shoot was called off after he grabbed his hamstring while doing drills. This occurred just before midnight Friday. Gordon then missed a team meeting Saturday morning and after arriving 10 minutes late went into the training room, Jackson adds. He did participate in the portion of the Browns’ Saturday-morning workout open to the media, Cabot reports, running myriad routes, further complicating this saga. For what it’s worth, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson (via Elaine Benes GIF) expresses the prevailing league sentiment on Gordon’s recent injury (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest fallout from this major September trade:

  • The Patriots did this because they are “desperate” for another playmaker on offense, Robinson notes. Both Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels have become “acutely aware” the team lacks a viable deep threat, Robinson writes. New England has made 28 transactions at wide receiver since the start of this league year, the headliner being a trade of Brandin Cooks to the Rams for a first-round pick — which became a player (offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn) who can’t contribute until at least 2019. The Jaguars muzzled the Pats’ attack for much of the teams’ AFC championship game rematch Sunday.
  • Robinson also debunks the notion the Cowboys were pursuing Gordon. Both Robinson and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill (Twitter link) report the Cowboys had “no interest” in the 27-year-old receiver. Although Dallas is thinner at wide receiver (in terms of reliable producers) than just about any franchise, the team was not exploring a Gordon deal — contrary to a previous report that indicated it was. Perhaps brief conversations involved Gordon, per Clarence Hill of The Athletic (on Twitter), but the front office didn’t approach Jason Garrett about that prospect.
  • The 49ers did not bid what the Patriots did for Gordon, Kyle Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (on Twitter). John Lynch confirmed the 49ers’ interest in Gordon, but the Browns — as they have with many trades in recent years — chose a Patriots offer instead.
  • Gordon is not believed to be doing especially well financially, per Cabot, who reports the wideout who is making $790K this season “owes people money.” Gordon’s involved in a child-support battle with the mother of his 3-year-old daughter and has not received much NFL money since the 2013 season. Cabot wondered if this turn of events was a way for Gordon to get to free agency early, but after the subsequent trade to the Patriots, he’s still attached to that 2012 rookie contract. She argued, prior to the trade, for the Browns to exercise more patience here unless a much better offer came along. But they cut the cord for a fifth-round pick.
  • Gordon’s contract being non-guaranteed breaks the Patriots’ payments down into $46K increments, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes. The Pats can cut Gordon free of any dead-money charges. A second-round RFA tender in 2019 would cost about $3MM, but Volin argues the team might be better served to give Gordon an original-round tender since the Patriots would still receive a second-round pick in return from a team that signs Gordon to an offer sheet (because he was a second-round pick). The low-end tender should be worth approximately $2MM in 2019.

Poll: Who Will Be The First Coach To Get Fired This Season?

It’s a new year for every coach in the NFL, but not every coach will survive the year. Already, there’s speculation about which coaches could be on the hot seat in 2018. Some coaches with shaky job security may include:

  • Hue Jackson, Browns: Jackson is the oddsmaker’s favorite to lose his job first. After compiling a 1-31 record in his two seasons at the helm in Cleveland, it’s hard to argue with the professionals. Jackson certainly has more talent to work with thanks to the arrivals of running back Carlos Hyde, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and a vastly improved secondary, but along with that comes raised expectations. When also considering that Jackson is a holdover from the previous regime and not necessarily the preferred choice of new GM John Dorsey, it’s quite possible that Jackson could be ousted with another bad start.
  • Adam Gase, Dolphins: When Gase was hired in 2016, he was the league’s youngest head coach at the age of 38. He earned a playoff appearance in his first year on the sidelines, but last year turned ugly after quarterback Ryan Tannehill was lost for the season and replaced by Jay Cutler. Tannehill’s return should help matters, but it’s fair to wonder whether this team has improved much at all after losing Ndamukong Suh on the other side of the ball. The Dolphins’ early schedule may also hurt Gase as they open against the Titans, Jets, Raiders, and Patriots. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Dolphins split those games, like they did in 2017, but it’s also conceivable that they could open the year 0-4. As you can probably guess, an 0-4 start is historically difficult to climb out from. Of the 117 teams that have started 0-4 in the 16-game era, the ’92 Chargers are the ones to have reached the postseason with with an 11-win campaign. The 2004 Bills and the 2017 Chargers both rallied to win nine games, but neither club reached the playoffs.
  • Marvin Lewis, Bengals: The Lewis saga took some weird twists and turns last season. In the midst of a second-straight season without a playoff appearance, there was speculation about Lewis’ job security. Then, in December, we started hearing rumblings that Lewis might leave the Bengals to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Ultimately, Lewis was signed to a two-year extension to, theoretically, keep him under contract for his 16th and 17th seasons in Cincinnati. Lewis has avoided lame duck status for 2018, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll survive the year if the Bengals falter.
  • Vance Joseph, Broncos: Joseph was nearly axed after the 2017 season before John Elway ultimately decided to retain him. The Broncos’ defense is still jam-packed with talent and they have a capable quarterback in Case Keenum, so anything short of a playoff appearance will be a disappointment in Denver. This will be Joseph’s second season at the helm in Denver, but it’s clear that he is under pressure it win.
  • Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers: Koetter was already believed to be on the hot seat but he was placed squarely behind the 8-ball last week when quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games of the season. Even if the Bucs come out of September unscathed, they’ll be up against an overall schedule that is the fourth-toughest in the NFL, based on the combined win percentage of opponents in 2017.

The list goes on from there. Jay Gruden (Redskins), Todd Bowles (Jets), Bill O’Brien (Texans), Jason Garrett (Cowboys), John Harbaugh (Ravens), and Ron Rivera (Panthers) could also be in varying degrees of jeopardy with disappointing seasons. We’d be surprised to see a quick hook for Garrett, Harbaugh, or Rivera no matter what happens, but you may feel differently.

Click below to make your pick for who will be the first to get the axe. Then, you can head to the comment section to back up your choice.

[RELATED: The Average Age Of NFL Head Coaches In 2018]

Cowboys Want To Keep Linehan, Marinelli

There will be some coaching changes in Dallas, but it sounds like the main coaches will be staying in place. In a radio interview on Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the team wants to retain offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for 2018 (link via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News). Scott Linehan

Starting this week, the team will evaluate the futures of assistants such as running backs coach Gary Brown, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who are on expiring deals. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker have already been fired, according to Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).

Both Marinelli and Linehand signed extensions with the team last March. The length of Marinelli’s contract is unknown, but we do know that Linehan is under contract through 2019.

Meanwhile, Jones says that he has given no consideration to replacing Jason Garrett as head coach.

It’s not even a thought for me,” Jones said. “I do like the fact that we’ve invested, if you will. We’ve got several years of Jason evolving in this profession in the NFL. There’s no question the familiarity with teams that we’re playing, especially in our division, is a big plus. You pay a big price when you make a change at the head coach. You pay some price when you make a change at any position coach situation. On the other hand, freshness we’re talking about, new ideas, nothing set in stone, that’s a plus too. But I think that Jason’s in a good spot. We’re in a good spot with Jason. He certainly has the mentality of doing things differently, again not just to be doing them differently, but basically recognizing that we’ve got some things we do need to do differently. We’ll make that happen through our assistant coaches.”

While several jobs are up in the air, there is one confirmed vacancy on the Cowboys’ staff following the retirement of tight ends coach Steve Loney.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jerry Jones “Feels Good” About Jason Garrett

The Cowboys 2017 season was one of major ups and downs. Though, in the end, America’s team will not be in the postseason after losing to the Seahawks at home on Sunday afternoon. However, that doesn’t mean that owner Jerry Jones has soured on his head coach. Jones made sure to give Jason Garrett a vote of confidence during his postgame comments, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com.

Jason Garrett (Vertical)

“Just so we’re clear about it, I do understand frustration right after you lose a game that has as much meaningfulness as this ballgame, but I get to look at a lot of different things and have been around a lot of head coaches and coordinators,” Jones said. “I feel good about our head coach.”

Garrett, 51, has been the head coach of the Cowboys since 2010, accumulating a record of 67-55 during his tenure. But on the other hand, he only has two playoff appearances to show for his efforts. In addition, Garrett has not led the team past the divisional round, despite being the number one overall seed in the NFC last year.

However, Garrett was without his star running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games during the stretch run of the season. So while the loss does hurt, especially considering that the team had rallied for three straight wins in the weeks prior, the team is still young and returns many of its key players in 2018.

It would seem like Jones is intent on keeping Garrett at the helm for at least another year, but the pressure will be on if the Cowboys continue to underperform with him at the controls.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jerry Jones Says Jason Garrett’s Job Is Safe

Mired in a season-defining swoon since Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension went into effect, the Cowboys are on the verge of slinking out of the NFC race. It would mark the fifth time in Jason Garrett‘s seven seasons the team missed the playoffs.

But Jerry Jones did not mince words when asked about his head coach’s job security. The owner said the HC spot is not being evaluated despite the three consecutive blowout losses — two of those on national television.

Again, I don’t step out of the dressing room and evaluate the coaching position at all,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). “Candidly, and I don’t even want to say it so that somebody might repeat it. Absolutely not.”

Jones had a closed-door meeting with the team after its 28-6 loss to the Chargers

Garrett is the longest-tenured coach in Jones’ 28-year tenure running the franchise, having taken over during the 2010 season. He’s 63-52 in charge of the Cowboys. Wade Phillips received 3 1/2 seasons despite two of those ending in the playoffs. Jimmy Johnson coached five, although that run would have obviously been extended based solely on the team’s on-field performance.

Garrett’s teams, though, have won more playoff games (two) than any Cowboys coach since Barry Switzer. And they finished with fewer than eight wins in a season just once, the 2015 slate when Tony Romo went down, under Garrett’s guidance.

While Garrett’s status could certainly change if this run of routs persists, the eighth-year Dallas coach looks to be safe from a late-season firing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Tyrod, Cowboys, Jets, Redskins

Andrew Luck‘s record-setting contract extension won’t affect Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor‘s next deal, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Rather, the Luck pact will only impact signal-callers who could end up in position to become the highest-paid player in the NFL – as Luck is for the moment. Taylor – who’s set to make $3MM this season – doesn’t qualify, contends Florio, who expects the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder to either land an accord in the $15MM annual range between now and next offseason or get the franchise tag over the winter. That puts the soon-to-be 27-year-old in company with Kirk Cousins, not Luck.

More from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • If Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t sign off on the release of suspended linebacker Rolando McClain, it will further demonstrate that seventh-year head coach Jason Garrett has no real authority, argues Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. McClain is just one of several players with off-field issues Jones’ Cowboys have employed during Garrett’s tenure, which undermines the coach’s statements about “character” and playing “the right way,” notes Engel. Prior to the NFL slapping him with a 10-game suspension Friday for a violation of its substance abuse policy, McClain angered the Cowboys’ coaches by skipping OTAs, according to Engel. And now the Garrett-led staff has a chance to send a message by giving McClain his walking papers, though Jones would have to OK it. Cutting McClain, who missed four games last season because of a suspension, would save Dallas $2.63MM against the cap and leave it with $750K in dead money.
  • After signing with the Jets in free agency, defensive tackle Steve McLendon has a difficult task ahead of him in replacing elite run-stuffer and offseason departure Damon Harrison, but the longtime Steeler doesn’t see it that way. “He went somewhere else. I came here. So it’s not like I’m taking over for anybody,” McLendon told Darryl Slater of NJ.com. The 30-year-old McLendon also explained to Slater how he and Harrison differ as players, saying, “He was like the traditional nose tackle, do it all. Big, strong, explosive. I’m not as big as him. My game is built off quickness and strength.” Indeed, the 350-pound Harrison has 40 pounds on McLendon, who regards himself as a D-tackle. The Jets did deploy McLendon at nose tackle during spring practices, though that was just one of a handful of D-line spots at which they used him, per Slater.
  • Rich Tandler of RealRedskins.com highlights three under-the-radar storylines the Redskins will deal with in training camp, pointing out that they face uncertainty along both lines and at cornerback.

Extra Points: Coaches, Bell, Boykin

Here’s the latest from around the NFL:

  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports examined the job security of each NFL head coach entering the season. In La Canfora’s estimation, Rex Ryan (Bills), Gus Bradley (Jaguars), Jim Caldwell (Lions), Mike McCoy (Chargers), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Bill O’Brien (Texans) and Jason Garrett (Cowboys) are the least secure coaches going into this year. Of that group, two (Lewis and O’Brien) were at the helm of playoff teams last season. Ryan has only been in Buffalo for a year, making him the shortest-tenured member of the septet.
  • Free agent running back Joique Bell told SiriusXM NFL Radio (audio link) on Friday that a few teams are interested in signing him. Bell added that he hopes to join his next team in July. The 29-year-old, who stated last week that he has “two or three offers on the table,” has been on the market since the Lions cut him in February.
  • One of Bell’s fellow free agents, cornerback Brandon Boykin, surprisingly can’t find work this offseason. One possible reason is a report that he has a degenerative hip problem – a rumor that Boykin blames Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake for starting. Lake had a chance Thursday to walk back comments he made last week about Boykin’s hip, but he opted against doing so, as Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “I made some comments that I had at fantasy camp and I’m not going to go back on that,” said Lake. “I wish Boykin all the best; he helped us when we needed him, and I wish him the best in his career.”

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Bills, Henry, Ford

Here’s the latest from around the league, beginning with two Southern California training camp teams who aren’t jumping at the chance to reconvene for joint practices.

  • Despite the teams now training near Los Angeles, Cowboys and Rams aren’t planning to partake in another training camp scrimmage due to the brawl that occurred last year when the teams had joint practices in Oxnard, Calif., Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The Rams will be training at UC-Irvine this year, but Jason Garrett hasn’t engaged in any discussions on bringing the teams together again.
  • The Bills expect clarity on Percy Harvin‘s health status in the ensuing two weeks, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports. Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan are open to the UFA returning despite Buffalo’s $6.9MM left in cap space. Harvin, whose troublesome hip issues ended up sidelining him for the season last November, would have to compete with newly signed Leonard Hankerson and players like Olympic long jump hopeful Marquise Goodwin for the Bills’ No. 3 receiver spot, however, and do so having missed 36 games over the past four seasons.
  • An NFC personnel man rates Arkansas’ Hunter Henry as the most complete tight end to be available in the draft in a long time, Mark Eckel of NJ.com reports. The unidentified evaluator sees Henry as a fit with the Jets, whose tight ends caught just eight passes last season after Jace Amaro missed the year with an injury. “I never liked Amaro,” the personnel man told Eckel. “(Hunter) is tons better than Amaro. Where do I see him going? That’s a tough question. (No. 20) might be a little soon, but he’s a first rounder. He’s definitely a first-rounder.”
  • Dee Ford figures to have a bigger role with the Chiefs in his third season. How much bigger will likely be determined by Justin Houston‘s health. John Dorsey and Andy Reid saw flashes of brilliance, per Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, with Reid saying one of last season’s takeaways was finding out that Ford was “a pretty good football player.” The player who would be opposite Ford in a Houston-less look, Tamba Hali, believes the third-year player — who has been mostly buried behind Houston and Hali in his two seasons — needs to develop further mentally. “If I had to speak for him, I would like for him to take the next step in being a professional … basically (the reason) why they drafted him here is to take over the (starting) role. The season’s too long for me to focus on being a starter or a backup,” Hali said. “I think he’s in the position where he can kind of take the torch and go forward. That’s really mental; physically, the kid is gifted and he has it. But mentally we have to just make sure that he understands why we’re in this building and what needs to be done while we’re here.”
  • Former Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody has been handed a nine-month sentence in his animal cruelty case, as Pat Warren of CBS Baltimore writes. Cody was found guilty of negligence in the death of his canary mastiff who was starved to death. However, he was not found guilty of felony animal abuse because the court did not find his actions intentional, according to his lawyer. PETA issued a statement following the sentencing and implored the NFL to do more to combat animal abuse amongst its players.

Zach Links contributed to this report

NFC East Notes: Robinson, Weddle, Giants

Here’s the latest from the NFC East as Week 2 of free agency concludes.

  • Patrick Robinson and Alfred Morris are scheduled to meet with Cowboys position coaches tonight and Monday after arriving in Dallas today. The former Chargers cornerback and Washington running back, however, spent time on the phone with Jason Garrett before he left for the NFL Owners’ Meetings in South Florida, Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones told media, including David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “Jason’s spent some good time on the phone with them,” Jones said. “So have we. Obviously, we tried to get them in there before we left but in their particular cases it didn’t work out that way.”
  • Jones told media, including Moore, Eric Weddle was interested in joining the Cowboys, but the team wasn’t ready to go where the Ravens were financially to secure the 31-year-old safety’s services. Interested in coming to Dallas partially due to special teams coach Rich Bisaccia having been on the Chargers’ staff in 2011-12, Weddle ended up landing in Baltimore for four years and $26MM. Both Bisaccia and Garrett contacted Weddle during free agency, however, Moore reports.
  • John Mara and his top front office assistants thought the Giants had a realistic shot of signing two of the three high-priced players on Big Blue’s list of durable, in-their-prime free agents, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com reports. The cap-rich Giants instead landed their preferred defensive trio of Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins in hopes of fixing their last-ranked defense. Mara did concede that troika proved to be pricier than anticipated. “The three guys were a little more expensive than I thought they were going to be, but they are all young, they are all healthy and they fulfill needs,” Mara told media, including Raanan. Jenkins has missed four games in four seasons, while Vernon suited up for every Dolphins contest since 2012. Harrison played and started in each Jets contest since 2013. The Giants were the most injured team in the NFL in each of the past three seasons, per Raanan.
  • After allocating more money to this year’s class of free agents than they did in the previous four seasons combined, the Giants expect to dial it back significantly next spring, Mara told media, including Raanan (Twitter link). “I certainly don’t see us being this aggressive next year,” Mara said.