Jason Tarver

Coaching Rumors: Ravens, Lions, Steelers

Dean Pees‘ retirement from the Ravens didn’t last long as he became the Titans’ defensive coordinator less than a month later. The about-face took Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti by surprise.

I’m a little shocked,” Bisciotti said (via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). “He’s 68 years old. It’s hard to give it up, I guess.”

Bisciotti didn’t come right out and say it, but it sounds like Pees went to the Titans in part because they were willing to employ his son, Matt Pees, as a quality control coach.

I wish Dean all the luck,” Bisciotti said. “I understand he got his son in; I think that was a big point of his. We have a nepotism rule that may have prohibited that from happening in the last few years.”

Here’s more from the coaching world:

  • Following Carnell Lake‘s resignation from the position of Steelers secondary coach, Pittsburgh’s brass reached into the college ranks to fill the post. UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will leave Los Angeles to become the Steelers’ new DBs boss, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Bradley is a Pennsylvania native who spent 33 seasons on Joe Paterno’s staff — from 1979-2011. He coached the Bruins’ defense for the past three years. The 61-year-old Bradley will be on an NFL sideline for the first time come 2018.
  • In addition to formally announcing former Boston College defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni as their new defensive coordinator and keeping Jim Bob Cooter on as offensive coordinator, the Lions have also named several other members of new head coach Matt Patricia‘s staff. Chris White has been hired as Detroit’s tight ends coach, while former Miami head coach Al Golden will remain on staff as the club’s linebackers coach (he’d previously coached tight ends). Most of White’s experience has come at the collegiate level, but he did serve as the Vikings’ assistant special teams coach from 2009-12. The Lions also officially announced several other coaching hires that had been previously reported, including George Godsey (quarterbacks), Jeff Davidson (offensive line), and Brian Stewart (defensive backs), plus one that hadn’t in David Corrao (director of football research).
  • A 49ers defensive assistant for the past three years, former NFL DC Jason Tarver will become a coach outside of California for the first time in his 20-plus-year career. Tarver agreed to take the defensive coordinator job at Vanderbilt, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. The Raiders’ DC from 2012-14, Tarver enjoyed two stints with the 49ers — the first from 2001-10. He coached alongside current Vanderbilt HC Derek Mason in 2011 at Stanford.
  • Speaking of the Commodores, the SEC program also announced former Browns assistant Shawn Mennenga will oversee Vandy’s special teams units in 2018 (Twitter link). The Browns let Menneaga walk after he served seven seasons under previous ST coordinator Chris Tabor.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

West Notes: Broncos, 49ers, Raiders, Vegas

The Broncos could express interest in left tackle Branden Albert and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, each of whom played for the Dolphins in 2016, per Mike Klis of 9NEWS (Twitter links). Mitchell was released on Thursday and could be a fit with Denver thanks to his relationship with Broncos head coach Vance Joseph and defensive line coach Bill Kollar. Albert was also thought to have been released, but Miami is now close to trading the 32-year-old to Jacksonville. It’s unclear if Denver would still be interested in Albert if forced to sacrifice draft compensation.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • In addition to confirming several previously-reported hires, the 49ers announced another wave of coaching staff additions tonight. The list of new coaches includes Jeff Hafley (defensive backs), Johnny Holland (linebackers), Jason Tarver (senior defensive assistant) and Bobby Slowik (defensive quality control). Tarver, a former coordinator at the NFL level, is a holdover but is shifting away from LBs coach in order for San Francisco to add Holland, a former Cleveland coach.
  • The Broncos have granted the 49ers permission to interview John Benton for their vacant offensive line position, as Klis reports in a separate piece. Denver hired Benton as its assistant offensive line coach last month, but obviously he hasn’t actually worked with any Broncos players as of yet. Benton has worked with new San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan in the past, as the pair was employed by Houston from 2006-09.
  • Although previous reports have indicated the Raiders‘ plan to relocate to Las Vegas is “dead,” Oakland executive Mark Badain recently told the NFL the club has financial backing from two banks willing to loan the Raiders money for their move, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. The Raiders last month lost the support of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who was planning to put $650MM towards a Vegas stadium, but reportedly still had “high hopes” of moving to Nevada.

49ers To Hire Co-Defensive Coordinators?

Soon-to-be 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan‘s staff appears to be taking shape, as Sporting News’ Alex Marvez details (Twitter links here). Among the offensive-minded Shanahan’s most important calls will be deciding who will run the 49ers’ woeful defense, and he’s actually targeting two assistants – Falcons defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson and ex-Jaguars linebackers coach Robert Saleh – to work as co-coordinators in San Francisco.

Kyle Shanahan (vertical)

Saleh’s candidacy is no surprise, as FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Sunday that he could land with the 49ers, but Henderson’s emergence is a new development. Henderson is fresh off his first season in Atlanta – where he worked with Shanahan, of course – and is only a year removed from interviewing for the Browns’ then-vacant head coaching job.

Along with potentially taking Henderson from Atlanta, Shanahan is likely to tab Falcons offensive assistant Mike McDaniel as his wide receivers coach in San Francisco. Falcons offensive assistant Mike LaFleur will also go with Shanahan, reports Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link).

Another NFC South assistant, Buccaneers tight ends coach Jon Embree, is poised to oversee the 49ers’ TEs and serve as an assistant head coach, per Marvez. And a pair of current 49ers assistants, linebackers coach Jason Tarver and defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley, are good bets to stay on under Shanahan. Tarver nearly headed elsewhere last month, when he met with the Redskins about becoming their defensive coordinator (a job that ultimately went to onetime 49ers DC Greg Manusky) and discussed a role with the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Jets, Saints, Jaguars, Bears

Jets head coach Todd Bowles wasn’t blindsided by former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey‘s retirement. The second-year coach told Darryl Slater of NJ.com that Gailey had told him last offseason that 2016 would be his final season in the NFL. Bowles acknowledged that this made it easier to plan for the upcoming offseason, and he refuted suggestions that Gailey’s impending retirement had a negative impact on the Jets’ offense.

“No, I respect Chan to the utmost,” Bowles said. “He doesn’t do anything without thinking about it — and for a reason. And I respect his privacy. I won’t even go into that. But I love him to death. I still do. I’m happy for him. He wanted to go out his way, and he did.” 

So who will replace Gailey as the team’s new offensive coordinator? Bowles is apparently leaning towards one candidate, but he wouldn’t reveal who that is.

“I’m pretty sure where I’m going,” Bowles told Connor Hughes of NJ.com. “I can’t say anything. When we hire somebody, I will let you know.”

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

  • The Saints were busy today. Alex Marvez of The Sporting News reports (via Twitter) that the team interviewed former Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis for the same position, and he notes that the team will interview both Brian VanGorder and Mike Nolan for defensive staff positions. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets that the organization also interviewed 49ers outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver to be their next linebackers coach.
  • Speaking of Nolan, Marvez tweets that the longtime coach has taken himself out of the running to become the Jaguars linebackers coach. However, the former 49ers head coach is still “considering other opportunities.” The 57-year-old last worked in the NFL as the Chargers’ linebackers coach in 2015.
  • While Nolan and others are potentially looking to join the Saints coaching staff, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com caught up with Bill Johnson, who was recently let go as the team’s defensive line coach. Johnson had spent eight seasons in New Orleans, including the team’s Super Bowl-winning campaign. However, he understood that all good things must come to an end. “I was there a long time,” he said. “Everybody’s got a shelf life, and you move on. But, it was good.”
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets that the Bears still haven’t hired a replacement for outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, who left the organization to join the Seahawks. Biggs notes that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive quality control assistant Sean Desai have been working with the outside linebackers during practice for the Senior Bowl.

Redskins Set DC Interview With Jason Tarver

Washington’s brass met with Rob Ryan on Monday for their defensive coordinator opening and will add another name to the list, albeit a lower-profile one. Former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver will interview for the DC job as well, Master Tefatsion of the Washington Post reports.

Currently the 49ers’ linebackers coach, Tarver hasn’t been connected with any of the DC jobs this offseason. But the 49ers did consider him for their DC position, one that eventually went to Jim O’Neil, last year.

Tarver spent three seasons as the Raiders’ DC from 2012-14, and the 42-year-old assistant served in a lengthy previous 49ers stint in the 2000s. While affiliated with two NFL teams and three colleges in 20 years of coaching, Tarver has never coached outside of northern California. However, he did work with current Redskins GM Scot McCloughan during the initial 49ers stint.

He adds to the list of prospective Redskins DCs, with Ryan and Mike Pettine also residing on that list. Tarver’s Raiders defenses ranked 18th, 22nd and 21st, respectively, from 2012-14 during the Dennis Allen regime.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Woodley, P. Lynch, Cards, Raiders

Free agent linebacker Lamarr Woodley offered scathing reviews of two of his former defensive coordinators, the Cardinals’ James Bettcher and ex-Raiders assistant Jason Tarver (now with San Francisco), on the latest edition of his podcast (per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic).

“In Oakland, we had a dumb defensive coordinator and in Arizona, we had a dumb defensive coordinator,” he said.

Woodley didn’t mention either Bettcher or Tarver by name, but given that he only spent one year with both teams, it’s clear he was referring to them.

He continued, “They thought we were like Madden players. They’d draw something up and on paper it looked good, but the players still have to go out there and run it. Those guys didn’t really listen to their players. They wanted to do it their way and their way only.”

Woodley also ripped into Bettcher for his game plan in the Cardinals’ 49-15 loss to Carolina in the NFC championship.

“It wasn’t because we had bad players. No, our defensive coordinator he didn’t have the common sense to talk to his players to make the adjustments. Because he just wanted to do things his way those are the results we got, bottom line,” he said.

Woodley didn’t play in the title round (or any Cardinals game beyond Nov. 22) because he was on injured reserve. The 31-year-old appeared in just 16 contests over the previous two seasons with the Raiders and Cardinals, combining for 15 tackles and a sack. Woodley was a far more productive player from 2007-13 in Pittsburgh, with which he piled up 58 sacks.

And now the latest from the AFC West:

  • Quarterback Mark Sanchez might not be at the Broncos’ helm for long if first-rounder Paxton Lynch forces the team’s hand, which is something general manager John Elway believes the ex-Memphis standout is capable of doing. “We think he’s going to be ready quicker than a lot of people think,” Elway told Denver Sports 760 (link via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). On why the Broncos decided to trade up in the first round for the 6-foot-7 Lynch, Elway said, “He’s a young guy with tremendous athletic ability, he’s got the strong arm, can make all the throws, he’s smart, and he’s a guy that can fit into this offense real well.”
  • While Elway sees the Lynch era approaching, Troy Renck of the Denver Post cautions that patience is in order. As Renck writes, Lynch hasn’t played in a pro-style offense since his freshman year at Memphis – which is the last time he was even in a huddle – and his play calls there were far less complicated than they will be in Denver. Moreover, the Broncos would be unwise to rush Lynch into the lineup to serve as a game manager, Renck opines. The club should instead wait until the 22-year-old is truly ready and let him take advantage of his strengths, namely his big arm and elusiveness.
  • Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards has been given medical clearance to resume his career, he announced Friday on Instagram (via Marc Sessler of NFL.com). A serious neck injury brought a premature end to Edwards’ rookie campaign after he had started in 10 of 14 appearances and tallied three forced fumbles and two sacks. For his work last season, the second-rounder from Florida State ranked an impressive 32nd out of 110 qualifying edge defenders at Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

49ers Hire Jim O’Neil As DC

New 49ers coach Chip Kelly has hired former Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil to fill the same position in San Francisco, a source tells Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. O’Neil was chosen over 49ers outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver, who will stay on board with the same title. Jim O'Neil (vertical)

[RELATED: 49ers To Hire Chip Kelly]

Last year, the 49ers ranked 29th in the NFL in yards allowed and placed 18th in the league in points allowed at 24.2 points per game under the watch of Eric Mangini. Under O’Neil, the Browns were top ten in yards allowed and scoring under O’Neil in 2014, but they plummeted towards the cellar last season. Cleveland ranked 27th in yards allowed and 29th in points allowed in 2015 and new head coach Hue Jackson opted to let him go upon taking over this offseason.

In his three seasons as Eagles head coach, Kelly’s teams had defend more plays than any other squad in the NFL. The Eagles faced a league-high 1,148 plays last season and Kelly will need one heck of a defense if things unfold similarly for the 49ers this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Considering Tarver, Martindale For DC

After being turned down by Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, the 49ers have moved onto other defensive coordinator candidates, including one internal option. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link), San Francisco is considering its own linebackers coach, Jason Tarver, along with Ravens linebackers coach Don Martindale, for the DC position.Don Martindale

[RELATED: 49ers part ways with offensive coordinator Geep Chryst]

Both Tarver and Martindale have previous experience in defensive coordinator roles, with Tarver having served as the DC across the bay for the Raiders from 2012 to 2014. Martindale, meanwhile, worked as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2010.

Neither Tarver nor Martindale appear to have any previous overlap with Chip Kelly, so the new 49ers head coach isn’t simply targeting coaches with whom he has worked before. With the two linebackers coach entering the mix for the Niners’ DC job, it looks increasingly unlikely that Eric Mangini will be retained.

A report a few days ago suggested that there was a “strong possibility” that Mangini, San Francisco’s incumbent defensive coordinator, would remain with the team. There may still a chance of that happening, particularly if Mangini is open to a demotion, but I think if he were going to keep his DC job, the club would’ve made that decision by now.

The defensive coordinator position under Kelly is viewed as a unique challenge, since his fast-paced offense means the defense will typically spend plenty of time on the field. From 2013 to 2015, Kelly’s Eagles ranked dead last in the NFL in time of possession each season. However, the Niners head coach downplayed those concerns this week, as Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.

“We get into the time of possession question and we’ve been in games where it was identical play snaps for us and our opponent,” Kelly said. “It was identical yardage for us and our opponent. It was identical first downs for us and our opponent. We won the game by seven, but they had the ball for 10 more minutes than we did.

“So all I learned is that they stand around better than we stand around. It’s still plays run. I’ve also never met a defense player that says, ‘Coach, I want you to possess the ball for the entire game so I don’t have to play.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Coaching Notes: Lewis, Pendergast

As the Patriots and Seahawks are readying themselves for the big game tomorrow, a former Super Bowl hopeful is prepare to build on a season that crashed down in flames. The 49ers had a disappointing 2014 season, involving injuries to key players, regression from others, and a huge coaching shakeup that leaves them filling out a new staff after missing the playoffs.

Here are some notes surrounding the 49ers’ coaching staff:

  • After Jim Harbaugh and his staff were among the highest paid in the NFL, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looked at whether or not the organization was being cheap in hiring the new staff. New head coach Jim Tomsula will make $1.5MM less than Harbaugh would have had he kept his position, and his assistants were among the highest paid in the league. Maiocco writes that whether they were being cheap or not, the 49ers were unlikely to pay any assistant approaching the $2MM Vic Fangio made last year.
  • According to sources, Harbaugh was told by the organization that he would not be welcomed back as head coach of the 49ers following a December 14th loss to the Seahawks, writes Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter).
  • Clancy Pendergast will likely be hired as the 49ers inside linebackers coach, reports Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 (via Twitter). Pendergrast was formerly defensive coordinator in Arizona and Kansas City before taking jobs at Cal and USC. He had been interviewing for defensive coordinator positions with LSU, Utah, and under Jay Gruden in Washington D.C. (via Twitter).
  • Marvez also reports that former Falcons defensive backs coach Tim Lewis will be taking the same position in San Francisco (via Twitter). He will be replacing Ed Donatell, and has spent time as a defensive coordinator with both the Steelers and Giants (via Twitter).
  • The hiring of both Lewis and Pendergast means that 49ers coach Tomsula has four former defensive coordinators working as assistants on his staff, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. Eric Mangini will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator and Jason Tarver has been named the outside linebackers coach.
  • While the coaching staff has not been officially announced, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has put together a list of who has been named and expected to be on the staff.

Extra Points: 49ers, Gase, Phillips

The 49ers continued to pursue Adam Gase as offensive coordinator after bypassing him for their head coaching position, a source told Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. They were not successful, however, as Gase landed with the Bears earlier tonight. More from around the NFL..

  • Former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips could draw interest from the Broncos and Raiders as a defensive coordinator candidate, according to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Raiders are hiring Marcus Robertson as their new defensive backs coach, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The team is still on the hunt for its next defensive coordinator, however. Veteran Charles Woodson pushed for the hire, according to Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter).
  • Former Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano interviewed with the 49ers for their tight ends coach position, a league source told Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Bears met with a pair of Chicago natives at the Senior Bowl, according to Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times (on Twitter). Defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat (Iowa) and guard Laken Tomlinson (Duke) met with reps from the team.
  • Long rumored to be headed across the Bay, former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver is joining the 49ers as the team’s linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant, reports Jim Trotter of ESPN (via Twitter). While Tarver may have some input on the play-calling, the Niners are still on the lookout for a defensive coordinator.