Jim Haslett

Titans Won’t Hire Defensive Coordinator

On Thursday, the Titans formally hired Jim Haslett to serve as their inside linebackers coach. Meanwhile, their defensive coordinator vacancy will remain vacant, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.

The Titans’ DC position opened up a few weeks back, when veteran coach Deen Pees announced his retirement. There were ample candidates available to replace the 70-year-old, but head coach Mike Vrabel didn’t see a need to fill his shoes. Presumably, Vrabel will be the one calling the plays in Tennessee, though Haslett comes with 12 years of headset experience.

After shocking the Patriots in the playoffs, the Titans will have the No. 29 overall pick in April. They could use that pick to fortify their secondary while dedicating more of their cap room to pressing needs on the other side of the ball. For starters, they’ll have to sit down with running back Derrick Henry, who is reportedly looking to top Ezekiel Elliott‘s contract. They’ll also have to hammer out a new deal with Ryan Tannehill, who is also salted for free agency in March.

Bengals Plan To Hire External HC Candidate

The Bengals plan to hire an external candidate to fill their head coaching vacancy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Therefore, provided they don’t conduct any more interviews, the Bengals appear set to tap either Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Buccaneers OC Todd Monken, former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, Rams quarterbacks coach Zach Taylor, or Rams passing game coordinator/tight ends coach Shane Waldron as their next head coach.

[RELATED: 2019 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Given that they’ve yet to select a new head coach, Cincinnati is likely targeting an assistant who is still coaching in the postseason. That would rule out Monken and Joseph, but Bieniemy, Taylor, and Waldron are each preparing for Divisional Round matchups with their respective teams. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, the speculation around the NFL has all signs pointing to Bieniemy, although that’s far from official.

The Bengals began dismissing members of their incumbent staff this morning, tweets Florio. All of Cincinnati’s assistants had one year remaining on their respective contracts, but whomever the Bengals have decided on for head coach has presumably told management which staffers he’d like to retain. Linebackers coach Jim Haslett, tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes, and running backs coach Kyle Caskey are among those who will not return in 2019, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Roughly half of the Bengals’ staff will be back next season, tweets Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Cincinnati interviewed a number of internal candidates as part of their head coaching search, including offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, and special assistant Hue Jackson.

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, Bears, Bengals

After the Titans’ exciting victory over the Chiefs, one has to imagine that coach Mike Mularkey is off the hot seat. Still, there are a number of head coaching vacancies left around the league.

Here are the latest coaching rumors from around the NFL:

  • Mike Munchak‘s interview with the Cardinals will take place on Sunday, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • If hired by the BearsJohn DeFilippo would be be willing to retain Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator, Peter Schrager of NFL Network (on Twitter) hears. The Bears want Fangio back, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter) adds, but other teams and head coaching candidates are interested in bringing him on staff.
  • Linebackers coach Jim Haslett will remain on the Bengals‘ defensive staff, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). However, Jacob Burney (defensive line) will not be returning, Alex Marvez of The Sporting News tweets.

Bengals Name Ken Zampese Offensive Coordinator

The Bengals have officially named Ken Zampese their new offensive coordinator, the team announced today (Twitter link). Zampese, who receives a promotion from quarterbacks coach, replaces Hue Jackson in the role. Cincinnati also confirmed the previously-reported hiring of Jim Haslett as the team’s linebackers coach.Bengals general helmet (Featured)

[RELATED: Browns hire Hue Jackson as head coach]

Zampese, the son of longtime NFL coach Ernie Zampese, has been the Bengals’ quarterbacks coach for more than a decade, having taking over the position in 2003. Having first worked with No. 1 overall pick Carson Palmer, Zampese has more recently played a big part in Andy Dalton‘s success — the Bengals’ current signal-caller has earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods, and has made the playoffs in each of his five NFL seasons.

The decision to promote Zampese should help Dalton keep progressing in the right direction, and is also a reflection of the Bengals’ focus on continuity. That approach is on display each offseason, when the team generally sits out free agency in favor of re-signing its own players, and it extends to many of the club’s coaching decisions as well. Jackson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther were both position coaches in Cincinnati before receiving promotions.

The Bengals now appear set to move forward with Marvin Lewis as their head coach, Guenther as the defensive coordinator, and Zampese as the offensive coordinator for the 2016 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coach Rumors: Giants, Tabor, M. Smith, Haslett

Ben McAdoo didn’t announce any decisions on his coaching staff during his introductory press conference this morning, but the new Giants head coach alluded to players improving in their second season in a defensive scheme, suggesting Steve Spagnuolo will be back.

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that Spagnuolo will, in fact, return as the Giants’ defensive coordinator. A source tell Marvez (Twitter link) that the Giants will also keep secondary coach David Merritt on McAdoo’s staff.

As for McAdoo, Giants owner John Mara said today that the club had initially scheduled a second interview for him on Thursday of this week. However, when the Giants got wind of the Eagles’ strong interest in McAdoo, they pushed that second interview up a day to Wednesday, and ultimately promoted him to head coach (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News).

Here are a few more coaching-related updates from around the NFL:

  • Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor has been retained by new head coach Hue Jackson, the team announced today in a press release. Tabor has been in his current role since 2011, working under Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine, and now Jackson.
  • The Browns are also expected to add Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson to their staff as a running game coordinator, if Minnesota approves the move, writes Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Former Falcons head coach Mike Smith is a “hot name” as a defensive coordinator and has several options, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). We’ll see if Smith, who interviewed for a pair of head coaching jobs, has interest in returning in 2016 as an assistant.
  • Jim Haslett will be named the Bengals‘ new linebackers coach, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com (via Twitter). Haslett, who served as a consultant for Penn State in 2015, was replaced by Joe Barry as Washington’s defensive coordinator a year ago.
  • Saints offensive line coach Bret Ingalls, offensive assistant Kyle DeVan, and secondary coach Wesley McGriff are leaving the team, with the latter two landing college jobs, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune tweets that Dan Roushar will likely move from tight ends coach to offensive line coach to accommodate new addition Dan Campbell.

NFC Notes: Morris, Benson, Haslett

The addition of third-round rookie Matt Jones clouds the future of running back Alfred Morris in Washington, writes John Keim of ESPN.com, noting that a source said in the spring that the odds of Morris signing an extension before the season were about 50/50. According to Keim, however, the team still has room to make a deal happen for Morris, who is worth keeping even if he’s not elite.

Here are a few more Wednesday notes from around the NFC:

  • The attorney for Tom Benson‘s heirs announced today that his clients are filing an appeal after the Saints owner was declared mentally competent last week, tweets Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. The battle among the Benson family over ownership for the NFL franchise – along with the NBA’s Pelicans – has been ongoing for several months.
  • Former Saints head coach Jim Haslett, who spent the last several year in D.C. as Washington‘s defensive coordinator, has joined the Penn State staff as a consultant, tweets Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports. Haslett was replaced by Joe Barry in Washington following the 2014 season.
  • Former NFL running back Herschel Walker recently declared that he could still play in the league at age 53. While Walker’s comments weren’t taken all that seriously, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was asked if his team would have room for the former Georgia back and replied in the affirmative, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution details. “He’s one of my all-time favorite players. Yeah, we have room for him,” Quinn said. “For him, the legacy he left at Georgia. … He’d definitely fit in great from a competitive standpoint.” In spite of Quinn’s response, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the Falcons to offer Walker a spot on their 90-man roster.

Coaching Notes: Fisch, Texans, Bears, Haslett

Some within the Lions organizations could be working elsewhere next season, but general manager Martin Mayhew has no issues with that. In fact, he spoke fondly about two members of his staff, endorsing both vice president of pro personnel Sheldon White and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Mayhew first touched on White, who is being considered for the GM job with the Eagles. Via ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein:

“He’s been phenomenal. He’s exceptional at what he does. Outstanding evaluator. There are a lot of guys on this roster that he brought to the table. Rashean Mathis, for example, is a guy that he saw on tape and he brought up his desire to work Rashean out. I was against it. I was saying this is an older guy — how is this guy going to help us.

“He talked me into working him out and he had a phenomenal workout. He was exceptional in every way, shape and form, so we ended up signing him. Obviously he’s worked out great for us the last two years, having Rashean here.

George Johnson is a guy who he brought to me who I had never seen, we signed him. I had never seen him on tape at the time that we signed him and, as you know, George made our team this year and was a big-time contributor for us. He’s always looking; he’s always in his office evaluating tape and trying to find players that can help us win. I think he’d be a great general manager.”

Mayhew also spoke about his defensive coordinator, who has multiple interviews for head coaching positions:

“He did a phenomenal job with the group and I think he has a lot of ability. I think he’s certainly capable of being a head coach in the NFL. I think I said that when he got here that at some point he’d have an opportunity to do that.

“He’s certainly worthy of the opportunity.”

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will be joining Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, as Peter Schrager of Fox Sports tweets that he’ll be offered the pass game coordinator job with the Wolverines. Bruce Feldman adds that Fisch will also be the quarterbacks and receivers coach. Fisch was let go by Jacksonville in late December.
  • We learned yesterday that the Texans wouldn’t be bringing back offensive line coach Paul Dunn, and the team has already found a replacement. Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez tweets that Houston will add Jets assistant coach Mike Devlin to their staff to replace Dunn.
  • The Bears announced (on Twitter) that they interviewed Todd Bowles for their head-coaching position yesterday. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets that the interview went well, adding that the Cardinals defensive coordinator is set to meet with the 49ers today.
  • Following up on a report that the Giants requested permission to interview Washington defensive backs coach Raheem Morris for their defensive coordinator opening, Mike Jones of the Washington Post tweets that Washington granted gave the division-rival Giants the green light, while Albert Breer of the NFL Network says (via Twitter) that the interview will happen this morning.
  • Since leaving his role as Washington‘s defensive coordinator, Jim Haslett has received inquiries from a number of teams, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter link), who adds that it’s not clear yet whether he’ll interview for jobs.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Washington, DC Jim Haslett Part Ways

Jim Haslett is out as the defensive coordinator in Washington, the team announced today (via Twitter). In breaking the news, the club classified Haslett’s departure as a mutual agreement between the two sides to part ways.

“Jim and I have had discussions over the last few days and have decided that it’s best for everyone that we have a new defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins,” head coach Jay Gruden said in a statement, per Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter links). “I wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Despite Gruden telling reporters earlier this week that he would recommend retaining Haslett, the defensive coordinator was viewed as a candidate to be fired this week after his unit struggled in 2014. Per Football Outsiders, the team’s defense finished 27th in DVOA, including 32nd against the pass. Washington also allowed 27.4 points per game this season, tied for the third-worst mark in the NFL.

Washington will now be in the market for a new defensive coordinator for the first time since 2010. It’s not clear yet who will be on the club’s list of candidates, but more teams are seeking a new offensive coordinator than a DC at this point, so Washington could get a head-start on interviewing potential targets.

NFC Notes: Melton, Falcons, Clark, McManis

Ndamukong Suh‘s one-game suspension is the bigger story, but the Lions may not be the only team in this weekend’s Wild Card showdown with the Cowboys that’s missing a key defensive tackle. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported (via Twitter), Cowboys lineman Henry Melton sustained a leg injury that could sideline him for the postseason. Melton’s agent, Jordan Woy, confirmed to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link) that his client suffered a bone bruise on his knee, and the timeline for his return appears to be a matter of weeks rather than days.

Here’s more from around the NFC on a busy Monday:

  • In addition to requesting permission to speak to Dan Quinn and Adam Gase about their head coaching vacancy, as we’d previously learned, the Falcons have also asked for interviews with Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). Both coaches have Wild Card games coming up, so they aren’t allowed to interview for head coaching jobs this week.
  • Speaking to reporters today, including Jeff Darlington of NFL.com (Twitter link), Washington head coach Jay Gruden said he’ll recommend to owner Daniel Snyder and GM Bruce Allen that the club should retain defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
  • Washington‘s Ryan Clark has yet to decide whether he’ll continue his playing career, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, who tweets that the veteran safety is expected to make his decision within the next couple days. Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 believes Clark will call it a career, tweeting that the safety will simply sign the necessary papers rather than making a big announcement.
  • According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter), the Bears made an attempt last week to lock up cornerback Sherrick McManis to a two-year contract extension, but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.
  • The Buccaneers will be on the lookout for an offensive coordinator in the coming days and weeks, and head coach Lovie Smith says he wants to “talk to as many people as I possibly can,” according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter link).
  • Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who is eligible for free agency this winter, said today that he’ll start researching potential landing spots later in the week, tweets Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities.

NFC East Notes: Dez, Eagles, Washington

Suggesting that reports about the Cowboys‘ off-field concerns about Dez Bryant are exaggerated, team owner Jerry Jones tells Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com that “nobody in the world” knows about his concerns for a potential Bryant contract extension besides Jones and executive VP Stephen Jones. As Jones puts it, there are concerns for any pricey, long-term deal, not just Bryant’s.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever signed a contract that I didn’t have things to worry about, but nobody talked about them,” Jones said. “You can’t make business decisions, especially multi-million dollar business decisions without having a nice little worry list over on the right. Everybody does. So it’s wrong to say that that is an issue. That’s not an issue relative to overall getting it done. We just want to get it done.”

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Eagles general manager Howie Roseman received praise from head coach Chip Kelly, who says Roseman does “an outstanding job” managing the cap, as Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com details. More importantly, Roseman got an endorsement from owner Jeffrey Lurie, who said the GM has done a great job, and will be back for 2015, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link), Kelly said it will be a priority for the team to retain running back LeSean McCoy, wideout Jeremy Maclin, and outside linebacker Brandon Graham this offseason. Meanwhile, as McLane tweets (Twitter link), Trent Cole said he’d be willing to rework his contract to return to the Eagles.
  • Washington wide receiver Santana Moss will turn 36 in the summer, and doesn’t have a contract for 2015, but he thinks he can still play in the NFL, and will attempt to continue his career, preferably in Washington, writes Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com.
  • Quarterback Robert Griffin III would also like to stick with Washington, despite an up and down 2014 season, says Mike Jones of the Washington Post. Unlike Moss, Griffin is under contract for another year, but he has been cited as a potential trade candidate, given his seemingly shaky relationship with head coach Jay Gruden.
  • Washington running back Roy Helu believes there’s a 50/50 chance he re-signs with the team, telling John Keim of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that he’s excited about the possibility of hitting the open market.
  • Washington will take a few days before making any decisions one way or the other on the members of Gruden’s staff, including defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, Jones writes for the Post.