Jeff Hafley

Bengals Requested Interview With Ohio State DC Jeff Hafley

The Bengals have struck out on yet another name in their seemingly never-ending search for a defensive coordinator. The team wanted to interview Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley for the position but Hafley turned them down, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Hafley is currently the defensive coordinator at Ohio State, a job he took just last month. Sources told Garafolo that Hafley didn’t want to “renege on his commitment” to the Buckeyes. Before joining Ohio State, Hafley had been a defensive assistant in the NFL since 2012, most recently serving as the 49ers’ secondary coach for the past three seasons.

It’s yet another blow to Cincinnati as new head coach Zac Taylor looks to fill out his inaugural staff. Just yesterday they were blocked from interviewing Saints assistant Aaron Glenn. Earlier yesterday they were shot down by Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who had initially appeared very likely to take the job. They had previously offered the job to and been turned down by former Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

The Bengals are likely looking at a rebuild, which could be scaring off veteran coaches. They do have some talent on defense, and it’s pretty surprising that they haven’t found somebody yet. They were granted permission to talk to Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant earlier this week, so perhaps they circle back to him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Staff Notes: Bills, Taylor, 49ers, Ryan, Eagles

Another former Panthers assistant will land a job on the Bills‘ coaching staff. Buffalo hired Ken Dorsey to be its quarterbacks coach. A former Miami Hurricane standout, prior to his days with the 49ers and Browns, Dorsey spent five seasons as the Panthers’ QBs coach. In 2018, the 37-year-old coach was on Appalachian State’s staff. Dorsey will take over for David Culley, who is now on Baltimore’s staff. The Bills also promoted Chad Hall to wide receivers coach. The 32-year-old former NFLer spent his first two seasons in coaching as a Bills offensive assistant. Another hire the Bills announced this week: bringing in Terry Heffernan to be their assistant offensive line coach. Heffernan has NFL coaching experience, being a Lions staffer earlier this decade, but spent the past three years at Division I-FCS Eastern Kentucky. Heffernan coached under new Bills offensive line coach Bobby Johnson in Detroit.

None of the offensive coaches who have been hired or promoted have a direct tie to second-year OC Brian Daboll, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. Here is the latest from the coaching carousel:

  • Two teams have yet to hire their head coaches, but the Bengals will look to finalize their agreement with Zac Taylor soon after Super Bowl LIII. The Rams’ quarterbacks coach will travel to Cincinnati on Monday, with NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweeting the parties will make their pending partnership official.
  • Rob Ryan initiated the process that ended with him becoming the Redskins‘ new inside linebackers coach. The former defensive coordinator said Kirk Olivadotti‘s decision to take a job with the Packers prompted him to reach out to the Redskins about a job, Ryan said on NBC Sports Washington‘s Redskins Talk podcast. Ryan interviewed with the Redskins twice in the past but has never worked with the franchise.
  • Kyle Shanahan was a bit surprised teams aggressively pursued members of his coaching staff, considering the 49ers went 4-12 this season. “It was a little unexpected,” Shanahan said during an interview with KNBR (via NBC Sports Bay Area). “I didn’t think our staff was going to get raided after a 4-12 year, so that caught me off a little bit.” The Broncos did the main raiding, hiring Rich Scangarello and T.C. McCartney. The Packers also hired Adam Stenavich to become their offensive line coach. Shanahan also denied permission for the Vikings and Packers to interview Mike LaFleur and did not allow Mike McDaniel to speak with the Cardinals, citing neither offensive assistant being up for a play-calling role with one of those teams.
  • San Francisco also lost another assistant, but this time to the college ranks. Defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will become the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State.
  • The Eagles will swap out assistant offensive line coaches. After Eugene Chung‘s contract expired, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro notes the Eagles will hire Roy Istvan to replace him. Istvan will come all the way up from the NAIA level, having coached most recently at Florida’s Keiser University. However, he spent time with Philadelphia offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland in the distant past, playing for Stoutland at Southern Connecticut in the 1980s and then breaking into coaching during Stoutland’s stay as that program’s OC. This will be Istvan’s first NFL job.

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.

Extra Points: 49ers, Pats, Cowboys, Jags

The latest from around the NFL as the countdown to a Super Bowl 50 matchup between the Panthers and Broncos begins:

  • After appearing in and starting in 71 games from 2010-14, 49ers offensive tackle Anthony Davis decided last June to take a hiatus from football, announcing that he’d “be back in a year or so.” Earlier this month, the 26-year-old added fuel to the fire when he tweeted an intention to return to the 49ers. However, Davis – who’s under 49ers control through 2019 – hasn’t yet set the wheels fully in motion on a comeback. “As of right now, I’ve got no notification from the league to say that he has [filed for reinstatement],” general manager Trent Baalke told 95.7 The Game, per CSNBayArea.com. “But that period is still open.”
  • In other 49ers news, they’ve hired Jeff Hafley to coach their defensive backs, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports (on Twitter). Hafley was in charge of Cleveland’s secondary the past two seasons.
  • The Patriots need to invest significant resources this offseason in the offensive line – whether through free agency, the draft or both – in order to keep Tom Brady playing at a high level, writes Christopher Price of WEEI.com. Given the beating Brady took Sunday in the Pats’ 20-18 AFC championship game loss in Denver, Price’s suggestion comes as no surprise. The Broncos hit Brady 20 times, four of which were sacks, and kept him under extreme duress throughout the game.
  • The Cowboys will need a new defensive backs coach to replace Jerome Henderson, who took a job in Atlanta. A successor to Henderson in Dallas is unlikely to come from within the organization, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer (via Twitter). That runs contrary to Ian Rapoport’s declaration (via Twitter) earlier Sunday that Cowboys safeties coach Jim Baker will take over for Henderson.
  • Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has promoted three members of his staff, according to Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union: Tony Sorrentino has gone from offensive quality control coach to assistant receivers coach; Aaron Whitecotton, who was assistant to the defense, is now the assistant D-line coach; and Mike Rutenberg has shifted from assistant defensive backs coach to defensive assistant.