Joe Cullen

Jaguars Hire Joe Cullen As DC

The Jaguars have hired Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen as their new defensive coordinator, according to ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley and Dan Graziano (on Twitter). Cullen, who once served as Jacksonville’s DL coach, was Urban Meyer‘s No. 1 choice for the DC vacancy.

[RELATED: Jaguars Hire Trent Baalke As GM]

Cullen comes from the Wink Martindale coaching tree with experience spanning the league. Previous stops for Cullen also included the Buccaneers, Browns, and Lions. He also donned the headset for Indiana and Richmond at the college level.

The Jaguars’ new-look regime is coming together quickly. On Thursday morning, they officially hired ex-49ers czar Trent Baalke as their general manager. Now, they’ve got Cullen to manage Meyer’s defense. Scott Linehan and Raheem Morris were also considered for DC, though Morris has since accepted the same role with the Rams.

The Ravens, meanwhile, will have to fill multiple spots on their defensive staff. In addition to Cullen, they need replacements for linebackers coach Mike Macdonald and defensive backs coach Jesse Minter who left for UMich and Vanderbilt, respectively.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

GM/Coach Notes: Broncos, WFT, Jaguars, Chargers, Dolphins

George Paton was introduced as the Broncos general manager today, and the executive gave a thoughtful response when explaining how he’d help to reestablish a winning culture in Denver.

“There’ll be no shortcuts,” Paton said (via the team website). “We’re going to embrace the day-to-day [process], we’re going to embrace the grind, and we’re going to do it together. … We’re going to be progressive, we’re going to be innovative, we’re going to be forward-thinking and we’re going to use all the information at our disposal to make the best informed decisions.”

Paton also noted the importance of hitting in the draft and being innovative in their evaluation of potential acquisitions.

“Drafting and developing players will be our foundation,” Paton said. “It’s going to be the lifeblood of this football team.”

Paton joined the Broncos on a six-year deal. Under the restructured front office, Paton and head coach Vic Fangio will report to John Elway, who will have less to do with the team’s day-to-day roster decisions.

Let’s check out some more GM and coaching notes…

  • Washington previously interviewed Eric Stokes for their open general manager vacancy, reports Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). The 47-year-old has been working in NFL front offices since 2002, including stints with the Seahawks, Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Panthers. He joined Washington as their director of pro scouting this past summer. We learned yesterday that Washington is expected to ultimately hire former Panthers GM Marty Hurne for the position.
  • Scott Linehan and Joe Cullen will interview for the Jaguars open coordinator positions this week, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). We learned of Urban Meyer‘s interest in both coaches this past weekend. Linehan, who’s candidate for the offensive coordinator gig, has had a long coaching career, including a stint as the head coach of the Rams. Cullen, a candidate for the defensive coordinator opening, has served as Baltimore’s defensive line coach since 2016. Rapoport notes that Raheem Morris was also a candidate for the defensive coordinator opening, but we’ve since learned that Morris will be taking the same role with the Rams.
  • The Chargers won’t be retaining offensive line coach James Campen, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Campen spent more than a decade with the Packers, and following a one-season stint with the Browns, Campen joined the Chargers as their offensive line coach this past offseason. However, he won’t stick around, as Schefter notes that new head coach Brandon Staley will be bringing in his own OL coach.
  • The Dolphins have parted ways with offensive line coach Steve Marshall and promoted Lemuel Jeanpierre to the role, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Marshall has spent more than a decade coaching in the NFL, and he joined Miami this past offseason. Jeanpierre has spent time on the Seahawks, Raiders, and Dolphins coaching staffs, serving as Miami’s assistant offensive line coach in 2020.

Latest On Jaguars Coaching Staff

With Urban Meyer officially joining the Jaguars as their new head coach, his staff is beginning to take shape. One name that has emerged as an offensive coordinator candidate is Scott Linehan, according to Todd Archer and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport echoes this sentiment (on Twitter), noting that Linehan “is the favorite” for the gig.

The 57-year-old Linehan has had a long coaching career, including a stint as the head coach of the Rams. He’s been an offensive coordinator with four different organizations (Vikings, Dolphins, Lions, Cowboys), and his most recent NFL gig saw him leading the offense in Dallas. After spending a year away from football in 2019, Linehan served as the passing-game coordinator for LSU in 2020.

While Meyer and Linehan have never worked alongside each other, their lengthy stints in the collegiate ranks has established a camaraderie between the two (per Fowler).

Let’s check out more coaching notes out of Jacksonville…

  • For the defensive coordinator vacancy, Meyer is eyeing Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen, with Rapoport describing Cullen as the “top target.” Cullen actually served as the Jaguars defensive line coach from 2010 and 2012. Following brief stints with the Browns and Buccaneers, the coach found a home in Baltimore. The 53-year-old has served as Baltimore’s defensive line coach since 2016, and he’s played a major role in the development of Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, and Timmy Jernigan.
  • Ryan Stamper will be joining the Jaguars as director of player assessment, per Pete Thamel of Yahoo (on Twitter). Stamper, a Jacksonville native, has spent the past nine years serving as the ‘assistant athletic director, player development’ with Ohio State. Meyer, who served as Ohio State’s head coach from 2012 through 2018, had previously made it clear that we wouldn’t poach the Buckeyes’ staff, but Stamper was apparently an exception. Stamper also played for Meyer at Florida.
  • Charlie Strong is heading to Jacksonville, likely as the team’s linebackers coach, per Brett McMurphy of Stadium (via Twitter). Following stints as head coach of Louisville, Texas, and South Florida, the 60-year-old Strong spent the 2020 season serving as a defensive analyst for Alabama.

Extra Points: Jaguars, Coughlin, Ravens, Giants, Lauletta, Hunt

It’s been a rough year for the Jaguars. After making the AFC Championship game last year, they were supposed to be contenders again in 2018 but nothing has gone according to plan. They were just 3-8 entering today, and benched Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler while firing their offensive coordinator. While they squeaked out a 6-0 victory over the Colts, major changes are still coming this offseason, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

La Canfora says that “sweeping changes are inevitable, which may include coaching and front-office moves”, and cites “multiple NFL salary cap executives” who say the team will need to “gut its roster” because of their cap situation. Jacksonville has spent big on free agents the past couple of years to build the team, but La Canfora writes their win-now window is “now effectively closed”, and they’ll have to start dumping the high-priced veterans soon. La Canfora seems to think head coach Doug Marrone‘s job is in danger, and notes that team president Tom Coughlin could “consider a return to the sidelines” to lead the team. Whatever happens, the Jaguars will be one of the most interesting teams to monitor this offseason.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh may have saved his own job with the team’s recent three game winning streak, but he could be losing one of his assistants soon. Baltimore’s defensive line coach Joe Cullen interviewed for the head coaching job at UMass, and is considered a “top candidate” for the position, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Cullen played at UMass in the 80’s, and was an assistant coach there in the early 90’s. He’s coordinated at Indiana and Richmond, but has always been a defensive line coach at the NFL level.
  • Although Eli Manning has played a lot better recently and the Giants have now won three of four games, the team still plans to get rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta in a game at some point, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY (Twitter link). Vacchiano notes that it may only come in the second half of a blowout game and not a start, but that the team wants to get a look at him either way.
  • It’s been speculated that a team might claim Kareem Hunt off waivers in order to get him on his cheap rookie contract that has him locked up through 2020, but “multiple executives” told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that Hunt is likely to go unclaimed on waivers. While one GM told Schefter there’s “no chance” he gets claimed, it still wouldn’t be a shock if he does. While he’s likely facing a lengthy suspension, Reuben Foster is also facing a lengthy suspension and got claimed even though he’s making significantly more money than Hunt.

 

Ravens Rumors: Frazier, Cullen, Front Office

Leslie Frazier will join the Ravens’ coaching staff as the team’s secondary coach, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links).

The former Vikings head coach was dismissed recently, when the Buccaneers opted to not pick up his option to remain on staff as their defensive coordinator.

Frazier and the Ravens do not have a contract in place yet, but a verbal agreement’s been established, per Zreibec (on Twitter).

Although Frazier, the Vikings’ head coach from 2011-13, coached the Colts’ defensive backs during their Super Bowl campaign in 2006, his title was assistant head coach. A defensive coordinator or head coach since the Bengals hired him in 2003 to run their defense, the 56-year-old Frazier hasn’t been purely a position coach since presiding over the Eagles’ secondary from 1999-2002.

The Bucs’ defense ranked 25th and 23rd the past two seasons, respectively.

Here are some more items regarding the Ravens’ coaching staff and front office.

  • Joe Cullen will move alongside Frazier from the Bucs to the Ravens, joining John Harbaugh‘s staff as defensive line coach, per Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk. Cullen coached the Bucs’ defensive line last season and guided the Jaguars’ defensive line from 2010-12. He was arrested in 2006 as a member of the Lions’ coaching staff for driving through a Wendy’s drive-thru naked. The Ravens’ previous defensive line coach, Clarence Brooks, will serve as a senior defensive assistant, per Zreibec (on Twitter). Brooks will undergo surgery in January or February for esophageal cancer but is expected to be ready for the 2016 season.
  • Chris Hewitt will assist Frazier in coaching the Ravens’ secondary after being in charge of the group this season, Zreibec tweets. The 41-year-old Hewitt also served in this capacity in 2014.
  • Matt Weiss will transition from cornerback coach to a job working with the linebackers under Don Martindale, who’s been the Ravens’ inside linebacker coach since 2012, Zreibec tweets. Outside linebacker coach Ted Monachino recently signed on as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.
  • Lastly, the Ravens retained and promoted Scott Cohen, who the Browns sought for a front office position, according to Zreibec (via Twtter). He’ll remain in Baltimore and work with opponent analysis.

Coach Rumors: Browns, Pep, Ravens, Bucs

New Browns head coach Hue Jackson confirmed earlier today that he’ll be retaining special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, but there have been announcements yet on Cleveland’s other coordinators. While Ray Horton and Leslie Frazier are among the names that have been linked to the Browns’ defensive coordinator job, one possible candidate worth keeping an eye on is former Dolphins DC Kevin Coyle, says Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links).

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reported on Wednesday that Coyle was expected to replace Vance Joseph as the Bengals‘ defensive backs coach, but there are hints he may join Jackson in Cleveland instead. Marvez tweets today that Cincinnati is interviewing 49ers defensive backs coach Tim Lewis for the same position, and Albert Breer of NFL Network tweets that the Bengals are looking at Michigan secondary coach Greg Jackson for that job, so it certainly doesn’t seem like there’s a deal in place between the Bengals and Coyle.

As we keep an eye on that situation, let’s check in on some other coaching updates from around the NFL….

  • On the other side of the ball for the Browns, a former Colts offensive coordinator may be a candidate for the job in Cleveland. As first reported by Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com (Twitter link), Pep Hamilton met today with Hue Jackson.
  • Last week, a report suggested that the Buccaneers had turned down a Chargers interview request for defensive line coach Joe Cullen. However, after hiring Mike Smith as their new defensive coordinator, the Bucs are willing to let Cullen go. Cullen will join the Ravens as their defensive line coach, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.
  • To replace Cullen, the Buccaneers are hiring Jay Hayes from the Bengals, per Marvez (all Twitter links). Tampa Bay is also hiring Titans special teams coach Nate Kaczor and former Dolphins linebackers coach Mark Duffner for those same positions.
  • Since the Titans are the last team without a head coach, they should take their time to make a decision, perhaps interviewing potential candidates from eliminated playoff teams after this weekend’s games, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.
  • Former Giants wide receivers coach Sean Ryan will head to Houston to become the Texans‘ WRs coach, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Chargers, Lynch, Lions

When reports came out earlier today regarding Adam Gase being hired as the Dolphins head coach, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Bengals defensive back’s coach Vance Joseph was expected to join the staff as Miami’s new defensive coordinator. However, Rapoport later clarified (via Twitter) that Joseph will be a target, but no deal has been finalized. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets that Joseph has had zero discussions with the Dolphins regarding the position.

If Joseph does end up joining Gase’s staff, he’s expected to hire several notable names. Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez tweets that Bengals linebackers coach Matt Burke, Bears defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, and Cowboys defensive back’s coach Jerome Henderson would presumably join Joseph’s staff.

Meanwhile, Albert Breer tweets that Hue Jackson is scheduled to have his interviews with the 49ers and Browns tomorrow. If he secures any of those head coaching jobs, Breer believes Joseph will be a target to become defensive coordinator (with Mike Solari an option at offensive coordinator).

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

  • The Chargers request to interview Buccaneers defensive line coach Joe Cullen was denied, tweets Fox Sports’ Mike Garafalo.
  • Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times gives a list of reasons why it’d be in the Seahawks best interest to move on from Marshawn Lynch (via Twitter): they’d save $6.5MM against the cap, he’s 30-years-old, and he only appeared in seven games this season.
  • The Jets, Browns, Texans and Rams are among the teams scouting North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz at today’s FCS title game, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (via Twitter).
  • Count Gil Brandt among those who are big fans of new Lions general manager Bob Quinn“He’s not one of these guys that’s known because he doesn’t seek out jobs,” Brandt told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “But he knows the personnel part of it, he knows the cap part of it. He knows how to make people better at the job they do. You’ll like this guy because … he’s a hustler, and he’s very low-key.”

Coach Rumors: Austin, Kubiak, Broncos

Teryl Austin‘s decision to pull out of the Broncos‘ coaching search was as much about what seems to be happening in Denver as it was about his own situation, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, hinting that Gary Kubiak looks like the odds-on favorite for the Broncos job if he wants it.

Having said that, Birkett adds in a second tweet that Austin’s second interview with the Falcons on Thursday went very well. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link), Atlanta has narrowed its list of targets to Austin, Dan Quinn, and perhaps one other candidate, with Quinn expected to get a second interview next week following the NFC championship game.

Here’s more on coaching openings around the league:

  • The Broncos‘ interview with Kubiak is scheduled to happen on Sunday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). According to Schefter, before Denver talks to Kubiak, the team will meet with Doug Marrone on Saturday.
  • If Kubiak leaves Baltimore to take the Broncos‘ head coaching job, the Ravens‘ contingency plan is to promote quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison to offensive coordinator, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. However, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Sun points out (via Twitter), Dennison would also be a strong candidate for OC in Denver under Kubiak.
  • Kyle Shanahan would be another offensive coordinator candidate for both the Broncos and Ravens in that scenario, per Wilson and Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 in Washington (Twitter links). Per Russini, Shanahan turned down the opportunity to interview for the 49ers‘ OC job.
  • Sources tell Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com that Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph would be a top candidate for defensive coordinator in Denver if the Broncos hire Kubiak.
  • New Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was interested in bringing Buccaneers defensive line coach Joe Cullen with him to Oakland, but Tampa Bay denied the Raiders permission to interview him, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (Twitter link).