Joe Vitt

AFC Notes: Colts, Browns, Steelers, Fins

It took over a month for defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to land a contract in free agency, but the newest member of the Colts told reporters Friday that he “knew something good would eventually come through.” It did Thursday, in the form of a three-year, $30MM deal featuring $15.9MM in guarantees. While there’s a belief around the NFL that the former Giant is only a two-down player, he insists being “a three-down guy” hasn’t been a problem. The 25-year-old added that he’ll go forth as a nose tackle and 3-technique, which will give him an opportunity to rush the passer (Twitter links via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post and Mike Chappell of FOX59. Hankins posted a career-high seven sacks in 2014, but he has combined for just three since.

More from around the AFC:

  • Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams is currently visiting the Browns, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Williams won’t be in play for the No. 1 pick in the draft, but he could be available for the Browns’ second first-rounder, the 12th overall selection. The club did take a first-round receiver last year in Corey Coleman, though, and it signed Kenny Britt to a sizable contract in free agency a month ago.
  • Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey and Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu met with the Steelers on Thursday, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Both Humphrey and Melifonwu are prospective first-rounders, and the Steelers are reportedly likely to take a defensive back with their top pick, No. 30 overall.
  • The Dolphins hosted Houston edge rusher Tyus Bowser on Thursday, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Bowser figures to go somewhere in the first two rounds, making him a possibility for the Dolphins at either No. 22 or 54 overall. Miami would likely use Bowser as an outside linebacker in its 4-3 alignment, per Jackson. Kiko Alonso is entrenched in one of the club’s top two OLB spots, but it could stand to upgrade the other.
  • Another note on the Dolphins: They’ve hired longtime coach Joe Vitt as a consultant, per Alex Marvez of Sporting News. Vitt, the father-in-law of Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, most recently served as an assistant in New Orleans from 2006 until his firing in January.

Coaching/FO News & Rumors: 1/5/17

The Saints will have a significantly different coaching staff next year, as the team parted with assistants Joe Vitt (assistant head coach/linebackers), Bill Johnson (defensive line), Greg McMahon (special teams coordinator), Stan Kwan (assistant special teams) and James Willis (assistant linebackers) on Thursday, according to Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). These changes are a sign that head coach Sean Payton isn’t going anywhere, observes Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Vitt is the longest-tenured staff member to go, having served with the club since 2006. He filled in as New Orleans’ interim head coach when the NFL suspended Payton for the entire 2012 season because of the Bountygate scandal.

Let’s check in on more of the latest coaching- and front office-related happenings:

  • 49ers: With vacancies at general manager and head coach, the Niners are set to to interview a couple members of the Carolina organization. Panthers assistant general manager Brandon Beane and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will meet with the 49ers next week, per FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager (Twitter links). Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable will also discuss the 49ers’ head coaching opening with the team next week, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link).
  • Bills: Buffalo still has not submitted an official request to interview Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, per Tim McManus of ESPN.com. There has been follow-through after the initial contact between the two sides, he adds (Twitter link).
  • Broncos: Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, whose contract is expiring, is unlikely to return to Denver, reports Marvez. If Dolphins D-coordinator Vance Joseph becomes the Broncos’ head coach, Denver’s defensive backs coach, Joe Woods, would likely succeed Phillips (Twitter links).
  • Chargers: Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith interviewed with the Bolts on Thursday, becoming the first candidate to do so, reports Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The aforementioned Sean McDermott will follow him Friday, relays Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. The club has also requested permission to interview Bills interim head coach Anthony Lynn, according to Rapoport (Twitter links here).
  • Rams: Los Angeles’ previously reported interview with Anthony Lynn will go down on Sunday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Redskins: In addition to bouncing defensive coordinator Joe Barry, the Redskins also canned defensive line coach Robb Akey and defensive backs coach Perry Fewell on Thursday, via James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks is a name to watch as the Redskins look for Barry’s successor, Rapoport tweets. Wilks has a history with Josh Norman dating back to their time together in Carolina.
  • Bookmark PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker for an up-to-date primer on who’s interviewing where.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Coaching Notes: Campbell, Saints, Golden

New Saints hire Dan Campbell has been brought aboard as an assistant head coach to Sean Payton, but it is not accurate to say that he is the assistant head coach in New Orleans. Campbell, who was hired just weeks ago in New Orleans, will share the assistant head coach title with linebackers coach Joe Vitt, as Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune writes. With that matter cleared up, Payton says there is only one minor open matter remaining on his staff – finding an offensive assistant to work with receivers coach John Morton.

More coaching news from around the NFL:

  • Former Miami/Temple coach Al Golden is in line for a defensive assistant job with the Cowboys, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports hears (via Twitter). Golden, 46, coached Miami to a 32-25 record from 2011 through 2015.
  • The Titans made some moves on their coaching staff, as Jim Wyatt of Titans Online reports (via Twitter links). Nick Eason will be the team’s defensive line coach, Bob Bratkowski is the Titans’ new wide receivers coach, and Sylvester Croom will remain as the team’s running backs coach. Croom has had many stints as an NFL RBs coach and also served as the head coach of Mississippi State from 2004-2008.
  • The Eagles requested permission to interview Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, but they were denied, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter). Kocurek is an advocate for an attacking 4-3 front which would have made him a good fit under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.