Jim Tomsula

East Rumors: Pouncey, Elliott, Pats, Eagles

Mike Pouncey has played in each of the Dolphins‘ three games this season after missing 11 2016 contests. But he gave a sobering glimpse into his future in the NFL, with the hip injury he suffered last season looking like a seminal setback. The perennial Pro Bowl blocker said the length of his career will be determined by how his hip holds up, adding that he will need hip-replacement surgery in the next “five to 10 years.””

[My hip] always feels tight. … I don’t have a normal hip,” Pouncey said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “We’ll see. I can’t predict the future. I’m listening to a doctor tell me. I feel right now; I don’t need [a replacement]. But we’ll see.”

This process would end Pouncey’s career, but for now, the 28-year-old blocker continues to anchor Miami’s line. He spent the offseason recovering from the hip malady and continues to operate on a partial practice schedule, taking Thursdays off — a pattern Pouncey sees continuing for the foreseeable future. The seventh-year player is signed through the 2020 season.

Here’s the latest from several East Coast teams (and the Cowboys).

  • Monday’s Ezekiel Elliott-vs.-NFL battle is expected to produce a decision within the next two weeks, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports. While the Cowboys running back isn’t sure he will venture to New Orleans where his legal team and the NFLPA will represent him in this saga’s latest courtroom chapter, the Fifth District Court of Appeals could free him up to play the rest of the season or reinstate his six-game suspension. Neither side is interested in a settlement, however.
  • The Patriots have given up the most points through four games thus far. Usually supporting Tom Brady with an upper-echelon defense, the Pats should be discussing a Jimmy Garoppolo trade to bring in some help to capitalize on the 40-year-old starter’s closing dominance window, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. New England held onto its backup quarterback despite interest this offseason, and La Canfora notes a Malcolm Butler trade wouldn’t bring in what a Garoppolo shipment would. That said, the Pats have just $5.4MM in cap space — so any defender help they could be targeting would probably have to be on a rookie contract, as Garoppolo ($1.17MM cap figure) is. La Canfora suggests the 49ers, armed with several rookie-deal defenders and no long-term quarterback answer, as a fit for this hypothetical scenario. A deal of this sort would also need to involve a Garoppolo extension, since he’s months away from free agency.
  • Jake Elliott is making a strong case to supplant the injured Caleb Sturgis as the Eagles‘ full-time kicker, Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com writes. Signed off the Bengals’ practice squad, Elliott hit four more field goals in the Eagles’ win over the Chargers after his 61-yard game-winner last week. Frank notes Elliott already has two 53-plus-yard field goals in two games. Sturgis has three in 30 Philly contests. A fifth-year veteran, Sturgis remains on the Eagles’ 53-man roster and is rehabbing a hip flexor strain.
  • Jim Tomsula‘s impact is already being observed in Washington, John Keim of ESPN.com notes. Redskins defenders have told Keim about the former 49ers head coach’s presence leading to an improved defensive line. Washington hired Tomsula as its D-line coach this year, and he’s helped a unit that lost starters Chris Baker and Ricky Jean-Francois in the offseason. Tomsula spent eight seasons as the 49ers’ defensive line coach before his one-season stay as the franchise’s HC. He did not coach last season.

Coaching Notes: Groh, Peete, Koetter

Most of the league’s head coaching and coordinator vacancies have been filled, but teams are still making important coaching decisions. Let’s round up a few of the latest coaching-related notes:

  • The Eagles hired Mike Groh as their wide receivers coach, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Groh served as the Rams’ wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator in 2016, and he also worked as the Bears’ wide receivers coach from 2013-2015. Alshon Jeffery‘s best seasons came with Groh as his position coach, and in his one season with the Rams, Groh oversaw Kenny Britt‘s first 1,000-yard season (both Britt and Jeffery are eligible for unrestricted free agency this year, and Philadelphia needs wide receiver help in a big way). The 45-year-old Groh has an extensive college coaching resume, working as the quarterbacks coach for Louisville, the wide receivers coach for Alabama, and the wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator for Virginia.
  • Skip Peete will remain the Rams‘ running backs coach, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Peete was hired as the team’s running backs coach last year after serving in that same capacity for the Raiders, Cowboys, and Bears.
  • We heard on Friday that Jim Tomsula interviewed for the Saints‘ open defensive line coach job earlier this week, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Tomsula will interview with New Orleans during this week’s Senior Bowl. Whether it will simply be a second interview or whether the two sides have actually met at all at this point is unclear. Before his disastrous stint as the 49ers’ head coach, Tomsula was a successful D-line coach with the franchise from 2007-14.
  • Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter is likely to retain his offensive play-calling duties, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Koetter said at his season-ending news conference that he was considering giving up his role as play-caller, but he appears to have thought better of it.

Redskins Hire Jim Tomsula As DL Coach

The Redskins have agreed to hire former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach, as Carol Maloney of NBC4 first reported (Twitter link). Jim Tomsula (vertical)

[RELATED: Redskins Promote Greg Manusky To DC] 

Tomsula, of course, posted a disappointing 5-11 record during his one season as San Francisco’s head coach, and was out of the NFL entirely during the 2016 season. However, while Tomsula failed to match his predecessor Jim Harbaugh‘s track record as 49ers head coach, Tomsula had previously been a highly respected defensive line coach, serving in the role for the Niners from 2007-14.

During that time, Tomsula overlapped not only with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan, but new Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, whom the Redskins recently promoted to DC

The Redskins weren’t the only club to express interest in Tomsula this offseason, as the Saints also interviewed him for their vacant defensive line coach position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Staff Notes: Bills, Saints, Jags, Broncos, Jets

The Bills’ hiring of offensive coordinator Rick Dennison on Thursday is “very good news” for quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com said Friday on NFL Network (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). While it previously appeared Taylor was on the outs in Buffalo, which faces a March 11 deadline to retain him for a guaranteed $30.75MM, it would “make no sense” for the team to change QBs after landing Dennison, per Rapoport. Dennison worked as Taylor’s position coach with the Ravens in 2014 and then served as the O-coordinator in Denver, which made a push to sign Taylor in free agency before he headed to the Bills in March 2015. With Dennison now in Buffalo, Rapoport expects the Bills to continue with Taylor, though he notes that they could first restructure his contract.

More coaching-related updates:

  • Ex-49ers head coach Jim Tomsula interviewed for the Saints’ open defensive line coach job earlier this week, multiple sources told Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. Tomsula was only at the helm in San Francisco for one year, a five-win 2015, but he was a successful D-line coach with the franchise from 2007-14.
  • Former Jaguars great Keenan McCardell will interview to become their wide receivers coach, according to Hays Carlyon of 1010XL. McCardell most recently coached the Redskins’ receivers from 2014-15, but he’s best known for his illustrious career as an NFL wideout from 1992-2007. Most of McCardell’s success came in Jacksonville, where he hauled in 499 passes and 30 touchdowns between 1996-2001. All told, McCardell combined for 883 catches and 63 scores with five teams.
  • The Broncos are set to name Geep Chryst their tight ends coach, reports Marvez (Twitter link). Chryst is familiar with Denver’s offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, as the two were together in Carolina from 2006-08. His highest-profile work came as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator in 2015 (under the aforementioned Tomsula).
  • The Jets have hired Robert Nunn as their defensive line coach, tweets Marvez. Nunn previously held the same position in Cleveland, which fired him Tuesday.
  • The Bills have tabbed Andrew Dees as their assistant offensive line coach, writes Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk. Dees also handled that role with the Bills in 2012 before serving on the Chargers’ staff from 2013-15. In his second stint in Buffalo, he’ll work under newly hired O-line coach Juan Castillo.
  • Dees is replacing Tony Sparano Jr., whom the Jaguars have hired as their assistant O-line coach, relays Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link).

Staff Notes: Tomsula, Callahan, Bills, Broncos

Jim Tomsula was out of football this season after a 5-11 campaign as San Francisco’s head coach in 2015, but it appears he’s about to resurface. The Redskins are targeting Tomsula, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, though he doesn’t specify which position the 48-year-old would take in Washington. It seems likely Tomsula would coach the Redskins’ D-line, though, considering he held that role with the Niners from 2007-14. The Redskins have an opening there thanks to the firing of Robb Akey earlier this month.

More on several coaching staffs:

  • Newly minted Rams head coach Sean McVay has already reeled in one experienced coordinator in defensive chief Wade Phillips, and he could next add one on offense in Bill Callahan, reports Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson (Twitter link). Callahan is currently the Redskins’ offensive line coach – McVay, of course, was their offensive coordinator – and has been a coordinator in both Oakland and Dallas.
  • Along with officially hiring Leslie Frazier as their new defensive coordinator, the Bills announced the additions of Juan Castillo (offensive line coach/run game coordinator) and Bob Babich (linebackers) to their coaching staff Friday. They’ll also retain special teams coach Danny Crossman for a fifth season. Castillo, who spent the past four years with the Ravens, was previously a longtime staff member in Philadelphia – where he became familiar with new Bills head coach Sean McDermott. Babich coached the Chargers’ linebackers this past season, which came after a three-year run as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator.
  • The Broncos have a couple candidates for their special teams coach job in Marwan Maalouf and Derius Swinton II, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links). The Dolphins granted the Broncos permission to interview Maalouf, who’s Miami’s assistant special teams coach. Heading to Denver would mean once again working on the same staff as rookie head coach Vance Joseph, who was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2016. Swinton is currently the 49ers’ special teams coach, but his future there is in doubt with a new head coach on the way. He worked as the Broncos’ assistant special teams coach from 2013-14.
  • The Browns have hired DeWayne Walker to coach their defensive backs, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. Walker was in Jacksonville as its DBs coach over the past four years. In going to Cleveland, he’ll reunite with Browns head coach Hue Jackson and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Walker worked with each of them in previous stops.
  • Chargers defensive line coach Giff Smith, defensive backs coach Ron Milus and assistant DBs coach Chris Harris will remain in place under Anthony Lynn, relays Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). They could end up on the defensive staff of Gus Bradley, who will interview for the Bolts’ D-coordinator job.

Chip Kelly Eyeing Offensive Coordinator Job

Chip Kelly is out in San Francisco and he already knows what he wants to do next. The former 49ers head coach says that he would like to be an offensive coordinator, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Glazer did not specify whether Kelly was referring to an NFL or college opportunity, but our educated guess is that Kelly is looking to stay in the professional ranks. Chip Kelly (Vertical)

[RELATED: Trent Baalke Blocked 49ers From Drafting Dak Prescott]

Kelly also says that former GM Trent Baalke was working to get him fired for several weeks. Ultimately, Baalke got his way, but both men were shown out the door together. This isn’t the first time that Baalke has swayed ownership to make a coaching change. Glazer says that Baalke was the reason the 49ers elected not to hire Adam Gase in 2015, and instead went with Jim Tomsula. Apparenty, the Niners were set to announce Gase as their new coach before Baalke went to Jed York and undercut the decision. Gase’s Dolphins are getting ready for Wild Card weekend while the 49ers are blowing things up (again) after a two-win season.

This has been a bad week of PR for Baalke. On Monday, it was reported that Kelly and others in the organization were pushing for the team to draft Dak Prescott but Baalke did not pull the trigger on taking him.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coach Rumors: 49ers, Shula, McDaniels, Gruden

The 49ers‘ head coaching search is starting to heat up, with meetings for Chip Kelly, Anthony Lynn, and John DeFilippo having been reported since Thursday night. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee weighs in with a couple more updates on the search, writing that the team may circle back to candidates it interviewed last year after it finishes with its first round of interviews. That group could include Mike Shanahan, Adam Gase, and Josh McDaniels, among others.

According to Barrows, the 49ers have also inquired about Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula. However, Shula’s agent has indicated that his client doesn’t plan to interview for jobs while Carolina remains alive in the playoffs. So if the Niners hope to talk to Shula, they’ll have to wait until at least January 17th, and possibly longer.

Let’s round up some more of Friday’s coaching-related items….

  • Despite having generated interest from multiple teams, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels won’t interview for any head coaching jobs during New England’s bye week, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk rightly observes, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie prefers a head coach who can co-exist with Howie Roseman, and won’t engage in the same sort of power struggle Chip Kelly did. So even if Jon Gruden has interest in the Eagles’ head coaching job, he may not be the type of candidate the team is seeking. I discussed the Gruden rumors earlier today.
  • At least two teams have conveyed interest in speaking with former Niners head coach Jim Tomsula, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Tomsula figures to draw interest as a defensive line coach or defensive assistant.

Coach Rumors: Rams, Eagles, Titans, Tomsula

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, but there may be changes coming to his coaching staff in the coming weeks, writes Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. A year ago, St. Louis was one of the last teams to make a change at offensive coordinator, and it doesn’t sound like Fisher is in a hurry to finalize changes this year either.

“We’ll start the evaluation process,” Fisher said. “Go back and we’ll discuss our restricted free agents, our unrestricted free agents and prioritize things from a coaching perspective. Then, we’ll get the ball rolling as far as the self-scouting and things like that. Separately from them, I’ll be dealing with when and if there’s going to be and potential staff changes.”

Rob Boras took over as the Rams’ interim offensive coordinator late in the season, and is a candidate to keep the job, but Fisher remains undecided on that position. As we wait to see which direction the team goes, let’s check in on a few more coaching-related notes from around the NFL…

  • Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is on the Eagles‘ radar for a head coaching interview, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. Koetter has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Dolphins’ head coaching vacancy.
  • The Titans have yet to request permission to interview any of the “hot” head coaching candidates, sources tell Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com (Twitter link). Presumably, McCormick is referring to coordinators like Adam Gase, Teryl Austin, and Hue Jackson, among others. It seems that the club may be prioritizing its search for a general manager before seriously pursuing any head coaching candidates.
  • After having been fired by the 49ers, Jim Tomsula should have plenty of opportunities around the NFL as either a defensive line coach or defensive coordinator, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who tweets that calls are “already coming in” for Tomsula.
  • The Colts didn’t attempt to make a run at Alabama head coach Nick Saban before agreeing to an extension with Chuck Pagano, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio suggests that none of the current job openings are really an ideal fit for Saban, so rumors of his return to the NFL may be postponed for another year.
  • Asked during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio if any of this year’s head coaching openings appeal to him, former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher once again dismissed the idea of returning to the NFL (Twitter link). “I tell people all the time, I had the best job in football [and] I stepped down from it” Cowher said. “I’m very comfortable working at CBS right now.”

49ers Rumors: Baalke, Tomsula, Kaepernick

The latest on the 49ers, who are on the hunt for a new head coach after canning Jim Tomsula:

  • 49ers CEO Jed York says that Trent Baalke will remain as GM and that he will be in charge of finding the team’s next head coach, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee tweets.
  • Baalke has three years left on his contract, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com notes (on Twitter). The GM was given an extension to line up with Tomsula’s years.
  • York is making it clear that he’s relying on his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo, to serve as an advisor and mentor in the search, PFT tweets.
  • When asked if he will sell the 49ers, York made it known that he is not interested in giving up the franchise. “My family owned this team before I was born. They’ll own the team after I’m gone,” York said (via Barrows on Twitter).
  • Tomsula is the only member of the coaching staff who has been let go, but it will be up to the new coach to put together his own staff, York says (via Maiocco on Twitter).
  • York says the 49ers will “eat” the remainder of Tomsula’s ~$10.5MM remaining salary, Barrows tweets.
  • Tomsula will be in demand as a defensive line coach, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. I personally believe that it’s hard to see Tomsula getting looked at as a head coaching candidate right now, but anything is possible.
  • Colin Kaepernick‘s thumb surgery is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday and his full recovery will take three months, Barrows tweets.

49ers Fire Jim Tomsula

The 49ers have fired head coach Jim Tomsula after one year on the job, according to team CEO Jed York, who issued a statement Sunday night (link via the club’s website):

“Jimmy has been a valuable member of the 49ers organization for the last nine years. We all know he is a man of high NFL: St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49erscharacter, and his contributions on the field and in our community have always been greatly appreciated. This entire organization is proud and grateful to have worked so closely alongside Jimmy. We all wish him and his family great success in the future.”

Last offseason, after interviewing a slew of candidates to replace the departed Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco elected to promote Tomsula – its defensive line coach from 2007-14 – signing him to a four-year, $14MM contract ($10.5MM of which still has to be paid out). However, the Tomsula era didn’t go nearly as well as Harbaugh’s reign, which included a 44-19-1 regular-season record and three playoff appearances in four years. The Tomsula-led Niners finished the 2015-16 campaign 5-11 (the franchise’s worst mark since 2007) and suffered nine losses by double-digit deficits. They defeated the NFC West rival Rams, 19-16, to snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday, but it obviously wasn’t enough to save Tomsula.

As the 49ers begin searching for the 20th head coach in their history, one possibility general manager Trent Baalke could look to is Chip Kelly, according to both CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link) and Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). Another is the Saints’ Sean Payton, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Both Kelly and Payton are offensive minds, which the 49ers are seeking, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. In addition to Kelly and Payton, Maiocco names Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as someone who could be on the 49ers’ radar. Whether the team’s next head coach is Kelly, Payton, Jackson or someone else, he’ll have the freedom to keep or fire any of its current assistant coaches, per Maiocco (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.