Jerome Henderson

Giants Place Will Hernandez On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Giants will face the red-hot Buccaneers without at least one starting offensive lineman. They are placing left guard Will Hernandez on their reserve/COVID-19 list, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

A positive coronavirus test prompted the Giants to then send all but four of their offensive linemen home from their facility Thursday, Pelissero and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport note (via Twitter). Two coaches — defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson and outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema — joined them, according to Rapoport and NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter).

None of the other O-linemen, however, are considered to be high-risk close contacts of Hernandez at this point. That status would allow them to return to the team’s facility by Friday, provided they submit two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests. As for Hernandez, he is believed to be asymptomatic, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweets.

Hernandez will be miss the Giants’ Monday tilt against the Bucs, but this situation looks to differ slightly from last week’s development in Las Vegas. The Raiders-Bucs game was rescheduled because the team quarantined its starting offensive line for five days, but Las Vegas placed all five blockers on its reserve/COVID list. As of now, Hernandez is the only Giants player to be placed on their respective list.

Additionally, a Bucs equipment staffer tested positive for COVID-19, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Bucs sent that staffer home, but The Athletic’s Greg Auman notes this has not yet affected players or coaches (Twitter link).

While both teams now have issues to monitor, Monday night’s game is not currently on the verge of being rescheduled. Monday will, however, be Hernandez’s first missed start as a pro. The former second-round pick has been a Giants starter since his debut in Week 1 of the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Giants, O’Connell, Browns

Since former Mississippi State coworker Joe Judge landed the Giants‘ HC job, Freddie Kitchens has been linked to a staff position. A report circulated Tuesday indicating Judge will hire Kitchens for an unspecified role (Twitter link via AL.com), but ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan tweets nothing is finalized between the Giants and the former Browns coach. The Giants have hired a quarterbacks coach, Jerry Schuplinski, but certainly could add the longtime offensive assistant in another capacity.

Here is the latest from the coaching carousel:

  • Before deciding to reunite with Scott Turner, Ron Rivera interviewed 2019 Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell for the job, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes. Rivera was interested in former Giants HC Pat Shurmur for OC, but he declined the interview and opted for the Broncos’ play-calling job. O’Connell landed on his feet as well, becoming the Rams’ offensive coordinator.
  • While the Kitchens hire is not yet certain, veteran secondary coach Jerome Henderson will be joining Judge’s Giants staff, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets. Most recently the Falcons’ DBs coach/defensive passing-game coordinator, the 50-year-old Henderson has also coached the Jets’, Browns’ and Cowboys’ secondaries dating back to 2008. Henderson was a 1991 first-round pick who played eight NFL seasons.
  • The Giants will also add Jody Wright to their staff, according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman (Twitter link). Wright worked with Judge at Mississippi State in the 2000s and was most recently an offensive assistant with the Browns under Kitchens in 2019. Wright also spent time at Alabama during the 2010s and was an assistant head coach at UAB prior to relocating to Cleveland.
  • On the subject of the Browns, they are not retaining several Kitchens staffers. Most notably, Kevin Stefanski will not bring back quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Lindley, tight ends coach John Lilly, assistant defensive line coach John Parella and quality control staffers Deuce Schwartz, Tyler Tettleton and Alonso Escalante will not be back. Lindley, 30, served as Browns running backs coach after Kitchens was promoted to OC midway through the 2018 season, and the former quarterback held Cleveland’s QBs coach job this past season.
  • The Cardinals hired another recent Browns staffer, bringing in offensive assistant Jim Dray, Yates adds. A former Cardinals seventh-round pick in 2010 as a tight end, Dray played eight seasons — mostly in Arizona and Cleveland — and wound up with the Browns in 2019 as an offensive quality control coach.
  • Recently notified he was out in Cleveland, James Campen may have an opportunity with Carolina. The Panthers are interested in the former Browns offensive line coach, David Newton of ESPN.com tweets. Campen was Mike McCarthy‘s offensive line coach from 2007-18 and spent 15 years as a Green Bay assistant prior to his Cleveland move last year. The Browns hired Bill Callahan to replace him on Monday.

Coaching Notes: Barry, Bengals, Panthers

About a decade after leaving USC, Joe Barry had a chance to return to the school. ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry reports (via Twitter) that Barry declined USC’s offer to become their new defensive coordinator. Instead, the 49-year-old has signed a new contract with the Rams to remain their associate head coach/linebackers coach.

Barry served as USC’s linebackers coach back in 2010, but he’s otherwise held NFL jobs since 2000. He had a stint as the Lions defensive coordinator (2007-2008) and Redskins defensive coordinator (2015-2016), and he joined the Rams coaching staff back in 2017. Barry has a Super Bowl ring from his time on the Buccaneers coaching staff.

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

  • It didn’t take long for Al Golden to find a new gig. After getting canned by the Lions, the 50-year-old has joined the Bengals as their new linebackers coach (via ProFootballTalk.com’s Charean Williams). Golden spent four seasons in Detroit, serving as a linebackers coach and tight ends coach.
  • Colts defensive line coach Mike Phair will be joining the Panthers coaching staff, reports Stephen Holder of The Athletic (via Twitter). Holden notes that the move was mostly thanks to defensive coordinator Phil Snow, as the two have a close relationship. Phair has also had NFL coaching stints with the Buccaneers, Bears, and Seahawks.
  • As the Giants continue to reshape their coaching staff, SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan tweets that Falcons defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson could be an option for a similar role in New York. The 50-year-old has also spent time on the Jets, Browns, and Cowboys coaching staffs.

Coaching Notes: McDaniels, Cowboys, Rhule

Two years ago, Josh McDaniels had assistants ready to follow him to the Colts. Multiple staffers did so, even though the Patriots assistant backed out of the agreement. This time around, McDaniels looks to have a staff lined up again. McDaniels is now “very much ready” to leave New England, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, adding that the longtime Patriots play-caller has Redskins OC Kevin O’Connell and Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon set to be key players on his staff (should McDaniels accept a job if offered). The Redskins are interested in retaining O’Connell, their offensive coordinator this season, but his NFL years began as a quarterback under McDaniels during the latter’s first stint as Patriots OC. Gannon joined the Colts’ staff in 2018. Like McDaniels, Gannon is a Cleveland-area native. He was a scout with the Rams during McDaniels’ one season in St. Louis.

McDaniels is the frontrunner for the Browns job. He will interview with the Panthers on Tuesday, the Giants on Wednesday and the Browns on Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Here is the latest from the coaching carousel:

  • Matt Rhule had issues with the Jets attempting to overrule him on staff decisions, but Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes the Giants would not do the same. The Giants would let Rhule select his assistants, and the Baylor HC is believed to have candidates in place to follow him to New York if hired. Former Giants assistant and current Lions QBs coach Sean Ryan and Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow are believed to be Rhule’s coordinator choices should he land either the Giants’ or Panthers’ HC jobs, Vacchiano reports. Ryan, 47, held a key role with the Texans from 2017-18 but was with the Giants for nine years, including in 2012, when Rhule was on staff. Snow, 64, has been Rhule’s DC at Temple and Baylor. He coached with the Lions from 2005-08.
  • Had the Jets hired Rhule last year, Jets management would have insisted Gregg Williams be attached as defensive coordinator, per Vacchiano. Previous GM Mike Maccagnan also had an issue with Ryan bringing brought aboard as OC. Ryan ended up in Detroit instead.
  • As for Giants incumbent defensive coordinator James Bettcher, the front office was not exactly pleased with his game management nor were Giants brass happy with the entire defensive staff, Vacchiano adds. Lacking in talent and depth at linebacker and cornerback, the Giants ranked 31st in pass-defense DVOA. Bettcher’s better-stocked defensive front, however, produced the No. 7 run-defense DVOA figure.
  • Not only is Mike McCarthy a fan of 30-year-old Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, Jerry Jones spoke of his desire to keep the young coordinator on staff in each of the Cowboys’ interviews, Breer notes. The Cowboys promoted Moore to OC last year, and Dak Prescott had by far his best season as a passer under the former Dallas quarterback’s guidance.
  • The Falcons will not retain passing-game coordinator/defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, according to The Athletic’s Jason Butt (on Twitter). Henderson has been with the Falcons since 2016. Additionally, the Falcons interviewed Joe Whitt for their secondary coach position, Butt notes. Whitt spent the 2007 season as Atlanta’s assistant DBs coach before being on Green Bay’s staff for the next 10 seasons. He coached the Browns’ DBs under Freddie Kitchens.

Extra Points: Young, Falcons, Cowboys

Here’s the latest from around the league as teams continue to prepare their free agency plans and Combine itineraries. We’ll begin with a player who’s interested in another NFL comeback.

  • Vince Young‘s agent Leigh Steinberg hinted Saturday that the quarterback was interested in a return to football, but Young will have to work his way through another league — and another country — before reaching the NFL again. Steinberg announced on Twitter today that he’s begun negotiations with the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Given that Young hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2011, he faces a long road back to the league, but the CFL could be the first step in that (admittedly long) journey.
  • The Falcons announced that they’ve hired a swath of new coaches, including Kyle Flood (assistant offensive line), Dave Brock (offensive assistant), Justin Outten (offensive assistant), Charlie Weis Jr. (offensive assistant), and Charlie Jackson (defensive assistant). Flood, a longtime collegiate staffer, was fired as Rutgers’ head coach amid controversy in 2015.
  • Jerome Henderson will return as the Falcons‘ defensive passing game coordinator after missing out on the 49ers’ defensive coordinator position, as Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports (Twitter links) Henderson has re-signed with Atlanta. Henderson, who originally joined the Falcons prior to the 2016 campaign, was in consideration to serve as San Francisco’s co-defensive coordinator with Robert Saleh, but Saleh alone landed the job. (Editor’s note: PFR originally relayed Marvez’s report indicating Henderson had resigned from the Falcons before the scribe’s source realized he had forgotten a hyphen. We have removed the original post in order to eliminate any confusion.)
  • Would the Cowboys taking an offensive lineman with their No. 28 overall pick sound crazy given their line’s status as arguably the NFL’s best? However, right tackle Doug Free is entering a contract year, and Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes the team could consider Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk with its top pick in a developmental scenario. Archer expects Free to return for the 2017 season. If nothing else, cutting Free — and saving $5MM — would create a hole not easily filled in a weaker tackle market. But the 33-year-old blocker might be entering his final season in Dallas. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft (Insider link) has Ramczyk going to the Seahawks at No. 26 and the Cowboys taking Florida cornerback Teez Tabor.
  • The Bears have infiltrated a Las Vegas sports book’s top picks for Tony Romo‘s landing spot. Sportsbook.ag’s R.J. Bell (via the Dallas Morning News) projects the Bears as Romo’s fourth-most likely 2017 employer — behind the Texans, Broncos and Cowboys. Houston’s emerged as the favorite despite the organization’s known stance being to avoid getting involved for Romo. Interestingly, the Chiefs are down at No. 5 after being viewed as a primary destination. ESPN.com also projected a Bears/Romo partnership as being more likely than many believe.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Extra Points: Cruz, Bengals, Eagles

The Giants are releasing wide receiver Victor Cruz, which will save them $7.5MM in 2017. Theoretically, they could attempt to bring back the 30-year-old at a lower cap charge next season, but there’s “no indication” they have any interest in doing that, writes Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. Cruz spoke in the past tense about his six-year run with the Giants on Monday, saying: “I did some great things there. There are so many experiences, times and moments that I shared in that building with that team in that jersey. Those can’t be replaced or forgotten. I’m happy I have those moments to look back on.”

Cruz will ceremonially retire as a Giant someday and later end up in their Ring of Honor, opines Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. His next step, though, will be to head to the open market, where he could find a fit with the Panthers, suggests Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. There’s already a connection between Carolina and Cruz: Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was the Giants’ director of pro personnel when Big Blue signed the wideout as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

The Broncos, meanwhile, got virtually no production last season from receivers not named Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders, but they haven’t had any discussions about pursuing Cruz, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

More from around the NFL:

  • Despite having over $43MM in cap space, the Bengals are unlikely to make any significant splashes in free agency, per Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Odds are greater that Cincinnati will focus on its own soon-to-be free agents – including left tackle Andrew Whitworth, guard Kevin Zeitler, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and receiver Brandon LaFell – writes Terrell, who notes that the club is also expecting to pick up plenty of help via the draft. On top of the picks the Bengals already have, the league could award them three or four compensatory selections this year as a result of the losses they incurred in free agency last offseason.
  • The Eagles are reportedly open to trading linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and it’s a “safe bet” they’ll move him if they’re able to acquire help at receiver, running back or cornerback in return, relays Tim McManus of ESPN.com.
  • Jabrill Peppers is unlikely to be a first-round pick, Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press opines. Peppers’ versatility is an asset, but he doesn’t clearly fit any one position either. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has called the Michigan star “a polarizing prospect” and a “tweener,” although he still has him going in the first round in his mock draft. Falling out of the first round could be good for Peppers, Monarrez argues, because it would put less pressure on him as he works to figure out his best role in the NFL.
  • Falcons defensive pass game coordinator Jerome Henderson was under consideration to become the 49ers’ defensive coordinator before they tabbed Robert Saleh for the role on Monday. Now that he’s not going to San Francisco, Henderson will stay in the same position in Atlanta, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • The Seahawks are parting with assistant linebackers coach Lofa Tatupu, who spent the previous two years on Pete Carroll‘s staff, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Tatupu is better known for his on-field work in Seattle, where he played from 2005-10 and earned three Pro Bowl nods.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

49ers Interviewing Jerome Henderson & Robert Saleh For DC

The 49ers are interviewing Falcons defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson and former Jaguars linebackers coach Robert Saleh for their defensive coordinator vacancy today, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reported earlier this week that Henderson and Saleh were in consideration to serve as co-defensive coordinators in San Francisco.Jerome Henderson

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick Undecided On Opt-Out]

Henderson, 47, was hired by the Falcons last offseason after previously serving as the Cowboys’ defensive backs coach. Working with the rather unique title of defensive passing game coordinator (a role that Raheem Morris held in Atlanta before Henderson’s arrival), Henderson instructed the Falcons’ defensive backs alongside secondary coach Marquand Manuel, who was named as Atlanta’s defensive coordinator — a job to which Henderson was also linked — earlier today.

An extremely popular candidate during the 2016 hiring cycle, Henderson interviewed for the Browns’ head coaching vacancy last offseason, met with the Jaguars regarding their defensive coordinator position, and was linked to gigs on the Dolphins’ staff. Ultimately, however, Henderson landed with Atlanta, despite previously vowing he wouldn’t leave Dallas unless he were offered a DC title.

If Henderson is hired, he’ll be the latest coach to follow former Falcons offensive coordinator and new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan across the country to San Francisco. Thus far, Shanahan has lured Bobby Turner (running backs), Mike LaFleur (wide receivers), and Mike McDaniel (run game coordinator) to the Bay Area, and is also expected to name former Atlanta staffer Rich Scangarello as the club’s new quarterbacks coach.

Saleh, meanwhile, may follow former Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley and join the Chargers’ staff, but the role of co-defensive coordinator in San Francisco is presumably more enticing. Jay Glazer of FOX Sports was the first to link Saleh to the 49ers, reporting earlier this week that the 38-year-old was a candidate to work under Shanahan. An NFL coach since 2006, Saleh previously worked for the Titans and Seahawks before joining the Jaguars.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Fire DC Richard Smith

The Falcons have fired defensive coordinator Richard Smith and defensive line coach Bryan Cox, according to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Smith could eventually be re-assigned within the organization, sources tell Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.Richard Smith (Vertical)

[RELATED: Falcons Hire OC Steve Sarkasian]

Atlanta may look to fill the DC vacancy with an internal hire, per McClure, who identifies secondary coach Marquand Manuel as a “strong” contender for the job. Manuel, 37, doesn’t boast any play-calling experience, but did interview for the Jaguars’ coordinator gig last offseason. Other internal candidates to become the Falcons’ next coordinator could include pass game coordinator Jerome Henderson, linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, and receivers coach Raheem Morris, adds McClure. Henderson is on the 49ers’ radar, as well, as new head coach Kyle Shanahan reportedly wants to hire co-defensive coordinators.

Smith, meanwhile, has coached NFL defenses since the late-1980s, and has coordinated units in Miami and Houston in addition to Atlanta. Since joining the Falcons in 2015, Smith never led a defense that finished among the top half of the league in DVOA, with the team’s best finish coming in 2015 (22nd). This past season, Atlanta ranked just 27th in defensive DVOA, although the club improved as the season progressed. As McClure hinted at, Smith may stay with the Falcons, but is currently exploring his options, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Cox is also on the outs after Atlanta’s defensive line ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of sacks, but finished just 24th and 25th in adjusted sack rate and adjusted line yards, respectively. Although he deserves credit for helping second-year end Vic Beasley flourish (and lead the NFL with 15.5 sacks), Cox’s unit was subpar overall. Cox, who’s coached in the NFL since 2006 following a long playing a career, is now a coaching free agent.

Given that Shanahan has left Atlanta, the Falcons will begin the 2017 campaign with new coordinators on each side of the ball. Steve Sarkasian has already been hired to replace Shanahan on offense, but the club also lost a respected offensive mind in quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur, who was hired as the Rams’ new OC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Falcons Hire Cowboys’ Jerome Henderson

MONDAY, 10:21am: The Falcons have officially announced the hiring of Henderson as their defensive passing game coordinator, and confirmed Morris’ reassignment.

SUNDAY, 3:42pm: The Falcons have hired Cowboys defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson as their defensive passing game coordinator, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Raheem Morris, who previously held that title for Atlanta, will become the club’s offensive passing game coordinator and receivers coach, reports Albert Breer of NFL.com (Twitter links).Jerome Henderson

[RELATED: 2016 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Tracker]

Henderson, 46, has been a hot name on the coaching carousel this offseason, having been linked to a number of assistant jobs around the league in addition to interviewing for the Browns’ head coaching vacancy. Henderson also met with the Jaguars regarding their defensive coordinator position, and was linked to gigs on the Dolphins’ staff under new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

While Henderson had suggested that he wouldn’t leave Dallas for anything other than a promotion (which could have been taken to mean a coordinator role), the move to defensive passing game coordinator presumably represents a step up. Morris, meanwhile, also has the title of assistant head coach in Atlanta, so the club and head coach Dan Quinn evidently had a bit more leeway to move Morris around on staff without technically demoting him.

But given that Morris has never coached offense in any capacity, moving him to the opposite side of the ball is certainly an odd move. The entirety of Morris’ coaching career — exempting his years as Tampa Bay’s head coach — has been spent on defense, mostly in the secondary. It’s possible that Atlanta wanted to keep him on staff in any role possible, regardless of specifics — the Bengals did something similar in 2012, naming Hue Jackson as an assistant in the secondary despite Jackson having spent his career coaching offense.

[RELATED: Falcons part ways with executive Lionel Vital]

We first heard Friday that Henderson would be interviewing for a position with Atlanta, but the club made it clear in its release that incumbent defensive coordinator Richard Smith would not lose his title. Additionally, Falcons defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel yesterday turned down an opportunity to become the Jaguars’ defensive passing game coordinator, so Henderson couldn’t take on the role of secondary coach in Atlanta, either.

Meanwhile, Cowboys safeties coach Joe Baker is expected to assume Henderson’s responsibilities in Dallas, becoming the full-time secondary coach, per Rapoport (Twitter link).