Jason Michael

Coaching Rumors: Lions, Titans, Tice, Cards

New Lions hire Paul Pasqualoni is expected to take on a “prominent role” on the club’s coaching staff, reports Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Previous reports have indicated that Pasqualoni, who had been working as Boston College’s defensive line coach, could take over as Detroit’s defensive coordinator under Patricia (who figures to call his own defensive plays). The Lions are in need of a new DC after Teryl Austin, the team’s defensive play-caller for the past four seasons, took the same job with Cincinnati. However, Pasqualoni could instead receive an assistant head coach title, per Yates.

Here’s more from the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • Like Patricia, new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel continues to fill out his staff, as Tennessee announced today that it has hired Keith Carter to coach the club’s offensive line and Tony Dews to lead the team’s running backs. Carter, who spent the past three seasons with Atlanta, will now be in charge of a Titans front five that ranked among the league’s best in 2016 but took a significant step backwards a year ago. Dews, meanwhile, has never coached in the pro ranks, but does offer 20 years of collegiate experience, including stops at Arizona, Pitt, Michigan, and — most recently — West Virginia. Tennessee has also retained assistant offensive line coach Mike Sullivan, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News.
  • Mike Tice sounds like’s ready to call it a career. The former Vikings head coach recently told Dan Barrerio of KFAN (Twitter link) that he’s considering retirement because players “no longer want to be coached.” Whether that’s a serious threat or instead indicative of Tice’s inability to connect with today’s millennial players is unclear, but the 59-year-old Tice would be giving up a coaching career that began in 1996. Tice served as Minnesota’s head coach from 2002-05, and had spent the past three seasons as Oakland’s offensive line coach.
  • The Cardinals have hired former Titans quarterbacks coach Jason Michael as their new tight ends coach, as Marvez reports. The Cowboys also had interest in adding Michael to fill their vacant tight ends coach job, but Michael instead chose to head to the desert. Michael was previously Tennessee’s offensive coordinator from 2014-15, but was demoted when Mike Mularkey took over the Titans’ full-time head coach in 2016.
  • The Panthers had become something of a family business after hiring Norv and Scott Turner earlier this year, as the club subsequently boasted four Turners on its staff. However, Norv and Scott are the only members of the family staying on board in Carolina for the 2018 campaign, however, according to Bill Voth of Panthers.com (Twitter link). Assistant quarterbacks coach Cameron Turner is joining the University of Arizona staff, while offensive consultant Ron Turner won’t be with the club (though it’s presently unclear why).
  • The Steelers announced that they’ve hired Blaine Stewart as an offensive assistant. Stewart is the son of former West Virginia coach Bill Stewart, who gave Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin his first coaching assignment at VMI in 1995.

Coaching Rumors: Titans, Lions, Packers

Although at least one report indicated new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel would overhaul the majority of Tennessee’s coaching staff, that’s not necessarily the case, says Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com (all Twitter links). Tight ends coach Arthur Smith, assistant special teams coach Craig Aukerman, and assistant wide receivers coach Luke Steckel will join previously-reported defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend in interviewing with Vrabel during the Senior Bowl. Among the coaches who will part ways with the Titans include offensive line coach and NFL Hall of Famer Russ Grimm (who is retiring), quarterbacks coach Jason Michael, running backs coach Sylvester Croom, defensive assistant Brandon Blaney, and assistant defensive backs coach Steve Jackson.

Here’s more from the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • The Lions are expected to revamp their defensive coaching staff under new head coach Matt Patricia, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). That should come as no surprise given Patricia’s defensive background, and the current Patriots DC spoke with members of the Detroit staff last week to inform them they aren’t part of the club’s 2018 plans, per Birkett. Specifically, Lions linebackers coach Bill Sheridan and defensive backs coach Alan Williams have been fired, reports Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. The Lions, of course, have already lost a number of defensive staffers to other teams, as former defensive coordinator Teryl Austin joined the Bengals while ex-defensive line coach Kris Kocurek landed with the Dolphins.
  • The Packers will continue their staff overhaul under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine by hiring former Bowling Green safeties coach Ryan Downard, likely as a defensive quality control coach, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links). Downard was an assistant under Pettine in Cleveland before heading to BGSU, so there is a level of familiarity between the two. Downard’s addition does not have an effect on the status of incumbent cornerbacks coach Darren Perry, per Silverstein. Meanwhile, La Canfora (via Twitter) has clarified Jason Simmonsrole change with Green Bay, noting that he’s been moved to secondary coach.
  • The Panthers are interviewing Seahawks assistant special teams coach Heath Farwell for the same position, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). If hired, Farwell would work alongside former NFL linebacker Chase Blackburn, who was recently named Carolina’s new special teams coach. Farwell, an ex-NFL ‘backer in his own right, joined the coaching ranks in 2016.
  • The Seahawks have mutually parted ways with senior defensive assistant Travis Jones, the club announced today. Jones had served as Seattle’s defensive line coach from 2013-16 before being bumped to a new role last season. He’s just the latest coach to leave the Seahawks’ staff this month, adding to a growing list that includes OC Darrell Bevell and DC Kris Richard.

Titans Hire Terry Robiskie, Bobby April

WEDNESDAY, 6:20pm: The Titans have officially hired Robiskie, according to Wyatt. They’ve also named Dick LeBeau their assistant head coach/defensive coordinator and Bobby April their special teams coach.

LeBeau’s new role is a slight title change, as he was the Titans’ assistant head coach/defense during the 2015-16 season. Ray Horton was Tennessee’s D-coordinator, but he left Wednesday to join the Browns’ staff. LeBeau was in charge of a Titans defense that finished an impressive 12th overall this past year, a big improvement over its 27th-place ranking in 2014. The 78-year-old has extensive experience working with defensive staffs, having begun his coaching career in the 1970s. He has served under Mularkey in both Buffalo and Tennessee.

April is familiar with both Mularkey and LeBeau, as the three were together with the Bills in 2004. April has been a special teams coach with eight different teams since 1991. He held that position with the Jets during the ’15-16 campaign.

9:49am: Robiskie will indeed be the Titans’ new offensive coordinator, according to Tiffany Blackmon of the NFL Network, who reports that the former Falcons wide receivers coach has accepted the job (Twitter links).

MONDAY, 1:45pm: Speaking to reporters today at a press conference, Mularkey said Robiskie remains in the interview process for the offensive coordinator job (Twitter link via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com).

With multiple outlets reporting that Robiskie will get the job, I expect it’s just a matter of time until we get official word from the team, but Mularkey said he has three candidates for the position, per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (Twitter link).

Mularkey also said today that the offensive coordinator will call the plays for the Titans, tweets Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.

11:02am: With the Titans’ new general manager and permanent head coach set to address the media later today, the team may also be set to announce its new offensive coordinator. According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link), the club is hiring Terry Robiskie to fill that position.Terry Robiskie

[RELATED: Titans name Mike Mularkey permanent head coach]

Robiskie, a longtime NFL assistant, served as the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator from 1989 to 1993, then was the Browns’ OC in 2004. In between those two OC stints, and in the year since then, he has primarily been a wide receivers coach.

Most recently, Robiskie has spent the majority of the last decade in Atlanta, having served as the Falcons’ wide receivers coach since 2008. He and Mike Mularkey worked together in Atlanta for several seasons, with the new Titans head coach having been the Falcons’ offensive coordinator from 2008 to 2011 before heading to Jacksonville.

[RELATED: Titans hire Jon Robinson as general manager]

In Tennessee, Robiskie will be taking over an offense that ranked 30th in the NFL in 2015 with an average of 311.8 yards per contest. The unit, led by Marcus Mariota and Zach Mettenberger, wasn’t particularly productive passing or rushing the ball, ranking 25th in both categories.

That ineffective 2015 unit was led by Jason Michael, who is expected to stay put and become Tennessee’s new quarterbacks coach, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). A Sunday report indicated that Michael would be hired by the Rams as either the tight ends coach or the passing game coordinator, but it appears that’s not the case.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Notes: Roster, Staff, No. 1 Pick

In an afternoon press conference, the Titans introduced their new general manager Jon Robinson, along with new permanent head coach Mike Mularkey. The club didn’t confirm the hiring of Terry Robiskie as offensive coordinator, which was reported earlier in the day, but there were still a handful of notable tidbits to come out of the presser. Let’s round them up….

  • Robinson will have control of the 53-man roster, while Mularkey will have control of the coaching staff, per Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Mularkey indicated that “there will be multiple coaching changes” in the near future, as Jason Wolf of The Tennessean tweets.
  • Former offensive coordinator Jason Michael will become the Titans’ new quarterbacks coach, Mularkey confirmed today (Twitter link via Kuharsky).
  • Discussions regarding the defensive coordinator job are ongoing, with Mularkey declining to comment on whether Ray Horton asked to leave (Twitter link via John Glennon of The Tennessean).
  • According to Titans president and CEO Steve Underwood, the team was turned down by only one candidate for the general manager job (Twitter link via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com). That one candidate was probably Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, whom the Titans reportedly wanted to interview.
  • While Underwood didn’t unequivocally come out and say it, he hinted strongly that controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk had a pretty good idea that the team would be hiring Mularkey before the head coaching search even began, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Underwood cited a “comfort level” that ownership had with Mularkey, tweets McCormick.
  • Robinson suggested that there will be many avenues open to the Titans as they look to improve their roster in the offseason. The team will explore the free agent market for good fits, and will consider all possible options for the No. 1 overall pick, including trading it (Twitter links via McCormick).
  • Running back is a position expected to be addressed this offseason by the Titans, according to McCormick, who says Mularkey seems to favor having a power back (Twitter links).
  • Underwood confirmed today that the NFL has expressed some concern with the Titans’ ownership structure, but not with the owners themselves (Twitter link via Kuharsky).

Coaching Rumors: Chiefs, Eagles, Colts, Rams

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters, including Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star (Twitter links), that offensive coordinator Doug Pederson‘s replacement is already on Kansas City’s coaching staff, and also stated that he doesn’t expect Pederson to take any Chiefs assistants with him to Philadelphia.

A report earlier today indicated that Pederson would like to add Chiefs spread game analyst Brad Childress to his staff in some capacity, but Reid’s statements make it seem like that isn’t likely. This is just my speculation, but given Reid’s comments, I’d guess that Childress would be the leading to candidate to succeed Pederson as Kansas City OC.

Here’s more from the coaching circuit:

  • Former Jets/Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is a likely candidate for the Colts‘ vacant quarterbacks coach job, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). Schottenheimer, who boasts nine years of NFL coordinating experience, spent this past season as Georgia’s OC.
  • It doesn’t sound like Mike Mularkey will retain Titans offensive coordinator Jason Michael, as Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link) reports that Michael is in line to join the Rams‘ coaching staff. Per Kuharsky, Michael would serve as either tight ends coach or passing game coordinator.
  • Longtime secondary coach — and former UNLV defensive coordinator — Tim Hauck will head to the Eagles to work as assistant defensive backs coach, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

Titans Notes: Mularkey, O-Line, Whisenhunt

Earlier today, the Titans became the second NFL team to fire a head coach this season, with Ken Whisenhunt going the way of Joe Philbin, replaced in in the interim by Mike Mularkey. With changes afoot in Tennessee, let’s check out a few of today’s Titans-related updates….

  • While Mularkey holds the title of interim head coach for now, the team’s interim CEO Steve Underwood said today that the former Jaguars head coach will have a chance to audition for the permanent role in Tennessee, and Mularkey wants it, per Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com (Twitter link).
  • According to Underwood, the team would need to see measurable improvement – in wins and losses – in the second half for Mularkey to earn the full-time job (Twitter link via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com).
  • When it comes to hiring a new permanent head coach, Underwood and GM Ruston Webster will be involved and will have a say, according to Underwood himself (Twitter link via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com). However, the CEO added that controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk will have the final say. As Wyatt tweets, Strunk had been considering making a coaching change for multiple weeks.
  • With Whisenhunt out of the picture, Titans offensive coordinator Jason Michael will call plays for the offense, while Arthur Smith will become the team’s new tight ends coach, replacing Mularkey in that role (Twitter links via Wyatt and McCormick).
  • Mularkey said today that the Titans need to make roster changes on the offensive line to help protect Marcus Mariota (Twitter link via McCormick).
  • Whisenhunt, who would like to remain involved in the NFL in some capacity, tells Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter links) that he wasn’t given a reason for his dismissal, or given the option of making changes to his staff in order to remain head coach.