Joey Clinkscales

Coaching/FO Rumors: Browns, Fins, Packers

The Browns were originally scheduled to meet with Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski on Monday, but they’ve moved that interview to today, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Stefanski, who was elevated to offensive coordinator in Minnesota following John DeFilippo‘s firing, is in consideration for Cleveland’s head coaching job. While the Vikings are still interested in retaining Stefanski, he’s no longer under contract. Meanwhile, the Giants — who attempted to lure Stefanski to New York last offseason — won’t pursue Stefanski this year, as head coach Pat Shurmur told Mike Francesa of WFAN (Twitter link via Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com).

Here’s more from the coaching/front office carousel:

  • Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores has a busy week lined up, as he’s drawn interest from not only the Broncos, Browns, Dolphins, and Packers. It’s still unclear if/when Flores will interview with Cleveland, but he’ll meet with Green Bay on Friday, tweets Demovsky. Packers management is scheduled to fly to the New England area that day to sit down with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, so they’ll stick around to meet with Flores. Flores is also scheduled to interview for the Miami gig on Thursday and Friday, while Mike Klis of 9News reports (via Twitter) the Broncos will fly to New England to sit down with Flores on Saturday (previous reports had indicated Denver would meet with Flores on Monday).
  • Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard is expected to interview with the Jets and Dolphins on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Assistants preparing for a Wild Card playoff matchup aren’t allowed to interview in the week preceding said game, so Richard will have to wait until Dallas completes its contest against Seattle on Saturday night. Richard is also a candidate for the Buccaneers’ head coaching job, although it’s unclear when that interview will take place.
  • General manager Reggie McKenzie isn’t the only Raiders executive without a job at season’s end, as Oakland has also fired director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales, tweets Jim Trotter of NFL.com. Clinkscales, a high school and college teammate of McKenzie’s, was the ex-Raiders GM’s top assistant, so it’s perhaps unsurprising Oakland made the decision to ax him, as well. A former scout with the Steelers and executive with the Jets, Clinkscales was named on the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s list of recommended minority GM candidates last month.

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends GM Candidates

The Fritz Pollard Alliance has released its annual list of minority candidates for general manager vacancies. Much like the latest batch of recommended coaching hires, the suggested GM list is more than twice as long as last year’s. 

[RELATED: Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends Head Coaching Candidates]

Here’s the full rundown, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

  • Ray Agnew (Rams)
  • Joey Clinkscales (Raiders)
  • Quentin Harris (Cardinals)
  • Alonzo Highsmith (Browns)
  • Brad Holmes (Rams)
  • Champ Kelly (Bears)
  • Martin Mayhew (49ers, ex-Lions GM)
  • Will McClay (Cowboys)
  • Jimmy Raye III (Lions)
  • Jerry Reese (ex-Giants GM)
  • Doug Whaley (ex-Bills GM)
  • Doug Williams (Redskins)

 

Clinkscales, Highsmith, McClay, and Williams were all featured on last year’s list, but none of those executives landed GM jobs. The only executive from the last round of recommendations who did not carry over to this year was Ray Farmer, the former Browns GM who is currently serving as a senior consultant with the Rams.

Of the dozen suggested executives on this list, only three sat for GM interviews in the last cycle: Mayhew (Panthers), Raye (Texans), and Whaley (Packers). McClay was asked to interview for the Texans opening, but declined the opportunity and instead signed a two-year extension to stay with the Cowboys. McClay may garner consideration again this time around, but he might not be interested in leaving Dallas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Raiders, Hill, Ekeler, 49ers

The long-anticipated Reggie McKenzie departure leaves the Raiders in search of a replacement, but Jon Gruden is not certain to be involved in the interview process that will lead to his new decision-making partner/lieutenant.

I know Mark (Davis) is going to accumulate a list of names and candidates, and I’m sure we’ll discuss those people later this week,” Gruden said (via ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez). “Right now, I don’t have any idea. … I’m not revealing any candidates because I don’t know of any.”

Jaguars player personnel director Chris Polian, Lions exec Jimmy Raye III and former Gruden Buccaneers coworker Mark Domenik have been loosely connected to the Raiders’ vacancy thus far. The team may want an executive who can push back against Gruden when necessary, per SI.com’s Albert Breer. College scouting director Shaun Herock is now filling in for McKenzie as GM, and Davis views Herock as a key organizational piece going forward. Gruden stopped short of proclaiming McKenzie’s right-hand man, player personnel director Joey Clinkscales, would have a long-term role. But Clinkscales remains in his post following McKenzie’s firing.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • With a home game against the Chargers and a road tilt in Seattle, the Chiefs have a tough back-to-back assignment coming up. Their top wide receiver likely will not be 100 percent for those games. Tyreek Hill said Sunday, via NBC Sports’ Peter King, his foot was “bad.” Hill left Sunday’s overtime win because of injury but returned, and Andy Reid expects the deep threat to play against the Bolts on Thursday. The Chiefs possessed a top-flight skill-position quartet, powering Patrick Mahomes‘ MVP candidacy, this season. But they are now without Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins, the latter likely out until the playoffs. Hill has not missed an NFL game due to injury. A Hill absence would make Kansas City vulnerable against a Chargers team that would move into an 11-3 tie atop the AFC West with a win. That said, the Chiefs would still hold the divisional-record tiebreaker and keep the top spot.
  • Chances for a Thursday recovery for Austin Ekeler aren’t as good. The second-year Chargers running back suffered a bruised nerve in his neck, per Eric Williams of ESPN.com, and although he played through similar discomfort earlier this season, Ekeler not playing appears to be the most likely scenario. “It’s football, yeah, but there’s a lot of life after football, too,” Ekeler said Monday. Melvin Gordon is expected to return from his MCL injury, however.
  • The 49ers drafted N.C. State’s Kentavius Street shortly after he tore his ACL in a pre-draft workout with the Giants, but the rookie defensive end may be on the verge of practicing, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Street is on the 49ers’ NFI list and will not play in a game this season, though, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports (on Twitter). Still, practice work would help as Street prepares for a hopefully healthy 2019 offseason.
  • In case you missed it, Doug Baldwin is inactive for tonight’s Seahawks-Vikings game. Baldwin, who’s battled a knee injury most of this season, is now dealing with a hip problem.

Raiders To Overhaul Personnel Department

When the draft wraps up in any given year, a rash of pink slips are handed out to scouts around the league, who suddenly find themselves without work after helping make the draft a reality. But in addition to the usual scouting spring cleaning, the Raiders plan to make dramatic changes to the upper levels of their personnel department, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News

Per Marvez, Oakland is expected to add at least one new personnel executive to the front office, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets that Ed Marynowitz and Brian Heimerdinger are potential candidates for the job. Marvez also hears that player personnel director Joey Clinkscales could be on his way out. Clinkscales, who previously worked as Vice President of College Scouting for the Jets and who has been a GM candidate twice in his career, has been with the Raiders since 2012, but Marvez suggests that he might be headed to the Browns‘ front office.

Clinkscales joined the Raiders in 2012, and his longstanding relationship with Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie may have made the team a good fit for both men. But head coach Jon Gruden, who rejoined the silver-and-black this offseason, apparently wants to shake things up a bit throughout the department, which is not an uncommon development when a new head coach or GM comes on board.

Gruden now has final say on roster decisions, usurping a bit of McKenzie’s power, but McKenzie and Gruden both say that they are working well together. McKenzie said, “I got a feel for coach Gruden. We like the same type of players.”

A Raiders spokesman decline comment as to whether major changes are forthcoming.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pollard Alliance Releases HC, GM Candidates

The Fritz Pollard Alliance met with the NFL this week and submitted names of suggested GM and head coaching candidates. The list, which is distributed to teams each year, recommends minority candidates for openings around the league. Teryl Austin (vertical)

This year’s candidates for GM jobs are Joey Clinkscales (Raiders), Alonzo Highsmith (Packers), Ray Farmer (Rams consultant), Will McClay (Cowboys), and Doug Williams (Redskins), according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The head coaching candidates are Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Vikings DC George Edwards, Panthers DC Steve Wilks, and Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Farmer has ten years of front office experience under his belt, including two as the Browns’ GM. The team went 10-22 under his watch, so wouldn’t necessarily be an exciting choice for a team this offseason. The other four suggested candidates would be first-time GMs, if hired.

Austin has been considered a bonafide head coaching candidate for some time, but he has been left in a holding pattern. In the 2016 offseason, Austin opined that two of his four interviews were done solely to satisfy the Rooney Rule. This past year, he interviewed with the Rams and Chargers.

Absent from the list is former Bills GM Doug Whaley, who received a potentially bogus interview with the Browns this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pollard Alliance Releases HC Candidates List

The Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation typically releases its list of recommended minority head coaching candidates in January. This year, we have an early preview of the list, courtesy of Tom Pelissero of USA Today. This year’s suggested candidates will include Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, Cardinals OC Harold Goodwin, and Vikings DC George EdwardsTeryl Austin (vertical)

Austin was a popular candidate for coaching vacancies last year but ultimately did not find a head coaching gig. After interviewing with the Browns, Dolphins, Giants, and Eagles, Austin indicated that he felt only two of the interviews were “legitimate” while the other two were only done to satisfy the Rooney Rule, which stipulates that a minority candidate must be interviewed for every job. Since the Browns hired a black coach in Hue Jackson, Austin presumably isn’t accusing Cleveland of interviewing him to fulfill the requirement.

The Bills installed Lynn as their OC in September after ousting Greg Roman. The Bills have been up-and-down this year, but they now stand at 6-6 despite injuries to key players. Lynn has had to run the Bills’ offense without star wide receiver Sammy Watkins for much of the year and teams will certainly take notice of his capable job despite the less-than-ideal circumstances.

Goodwin has made no secret of his desire to land a head coaching job. However, there are some factors working against him. First, the Cardinals offense has struggled this season. Secondly, despite rave reviews from those around him, Goodwin does not call the plays in Arizona, and that could deter interested teams.

Edwards was placed on the Pollard list for the first time last year and he returns this season. Like Goodwin, he does not call plays for his team despite the coordinator title. However, he comes with a strong recommendation from head coach Mike Zimmer and he did call the plays against the Cowboys when Zimmer was recovering from surgery. With Edwards at the wheel, the Vikings allowed just 17 points against one of the league’s most electric offenses.

The foundation also released a list of general manager candidates including Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross, Raiders director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales, former Lions GM and current Giants exec Martin Mayhew, and Eagles director of college scouting Trey Brown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.