John DeFilippo

Bears To Hire John DeFilippo As QBs Coach

The Bears have hired former Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Incumbent Chicago quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone is being promoted to passing game coordinator.

DeFilippo didn’t last long in the free agent coaching ranks after being let go by Jacksonville earlier this week. The 41-year-old spent only a single season with the Jaguars, leading an offense which ranked 24th in offensive DVOA and 26th in scoring.

In Jacksonville, DeFilippo was dealt an early blow when free agent addition Nick Foles went down in Week 1, but he was able to coax a reasonable performance out of sixth-round rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. The Jaguars represented DeFilippo’s third OC job, and neither of his first two gigs (with the Browns and the Vikings) lasted more than one year, either.

In Chicago, DeFilippo will work alongside Ragone and new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in an effort to right the Mitchell Trubisky ship. Head coach Matt Nagy will retain play-calling duty, but DeFilippo, Ragone, and Lazor will surely all have a hand in not only Trubisky’s continued development, but the Bears’ weekly game-planning.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Part Ways With John DeFilippo

The Jaguars announced that they have parted ways with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. This marks yet another short-lived stint for DeFilippo – all three of his OC stints have lasted one season, or less.

DeFilippo served just one year as the Browns’ OC in 2015 and was fired as the Vikings’ OC after Week 14 in the 2018 season. Although the Jaguars say this divorce was mutual, it was likely a decision made by the team.

In 2019, the Jaguars finished 26th in points scored and with an overall record of 6-10. Losing Nick Foles to a broken collarbone in Week 1 was an obvious blow to DeFilippo’s plans, but Garner Minshew stepped up in his absence and, for a while, looked the part of a quality NFL starter. Unfortunately, they were unable to ride Minshew Mania into sustained success, and the Jaguars are now looking to move in a new direction.

The Jaguars’ next OC will be tasked with developing Minshew and getting the most out of running back Leonard Fournette, who turned in a healthy season and a solid 4.3 yards-per-carry average. On the flipside, there might not be much room to add offensive firepower. The Jaguars currently have a projected $208MM cap figure, which means they’ll have to shed veteran contracts in order to have any breathing room in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Hire John DeFilippo As OC

The Jaguars are expected to hire former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as their new OC, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). DeFilippo beat out a small group of other candidates, including former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell and former Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy

There were eye rolls around the football world when the Jaguars made contact with McCoy this week and there’s sure to be some eyebrow raises about their hiring of DeFilippo. DeFilippo was hailed as a quarterback whisperer in Philadelphia for his coaching of Carson Wentz and his ability to quickly get Nick Foles ready for primetime at the end of the 2017 season, but he flopped as the OC in Minnesota. The Vikings handed him a pink slip midway through the year as their Kirk Cousins-powered offense floundered.

DeFilippo will have his work cut out for him in Jacksonville. Many believe the Jaguars should move on from quarterback Blake Bortles, but releasing him would leave $16.5MM in dead money on the cap, which may ultimately tie them to the former first-round pick for another season. If they do let him go, they’ll have less money to fill holes elsewhere and that may mean relying on a rookie QB. The Jaguars have the No. 7 overall pick, which will probably be too late to land Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, the consensus top QB in this year’s draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals, Jaguars Interview John DeFilippo

The Jaguars interviewed former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo for their OC position, according to Mike Kaye of NJ.com (on Twitter). DeFilippo also met with the Cardinals regarding their OC vacancy, per 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro

DeFilippo was a hot name in coaching circles after helping to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory last year, but things fell apart for him in Minnesota. As the offense sputtered, the Vikings canned DeFilippo in December, bringing his tenure to a close after less than one season.

Apparently, the brief run in Minnesota has not damaged DeFilippo’s reputation around the league. He didn’t click with Kirk Cousins, but he did get great performances out of Carson Wentz and late season fill-in Nick Foles in 2017. Both the Cardinals and Jaguars could use a quarterback whisperer, and that was likely the basis for DeFilippo’s pitch in both interviews.

In his 13 games as the Vikings’ OC, the club went just 6-6-1. Before his dismissal, the Vikings went five straight games without topping 24 points.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Not Planning To Re-Hire DeFilippo

Former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is back on the market, but it doesn’t sound like a reunion is in the works. On Thursday, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters that there are no plans to bring the offensive guru back into the fold. 

[RELATED: Vikings Fire John DeFilippo]

What I’ll say is John did a great job for me,” Pederson said (via Zach Berman and Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “He helped us win a world championship and then he had an opportunity. I love my coaches. I’m confident in the guys we have. At this time, no.”

Last year, DeFilippo was a hot candidate for both head coaching jobs and offensive coordinator vacancies. HC interviews with the Bears and Cardinals did not vault him all the way up the ladder, but he landed a coveted OC job in Minnesota. Unfortunately, his offense did not perform up to snuff in 2018, despite a strong group of receivers and the arrival of high-priced quarterback Kirk Cousins.

DeFilippo still figures to draw interest as an assistant this offseason, but he’s unlikely to have the same kind of buzz this time around.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Fire OC John DeFilippo

Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has been fired, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). DeFilippo was a hot name in coaching circles after helping to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory last year, but things have not gone according to plan in Minnesota. 

[RELATED: Vikings’ George Paton Remains Top GM Candidate]

After the Vikings were blown out in the NFC Championship game by the Eagles, they hired Philly’s quarterbacks coach to oversee their offense. They also gave Kirk Cousins a historic three-year, fully guaranteed contract with the expectation that he would greatly outperform Case Keenum. Cousins, so far, has not lived up to the deal, and the Vikings seem to think that DeFilippo is partly to blame.

Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski will replace DeFilippo as OC, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter). Stefanski becomes the fourth offensive coordinator to serve under Mike Zimmer since 2014, following Norv Turner (quit), Pat Shurmur (hired away by the Giants), and DeFilippo (fired).

The midseason change is far from ideal, but Stefanski has been with the team since 2006 and was a candidate for the OC position before DeFilippo was hired, so he’s qualified for the role. Stefanski was also a top candidate for the Giants’ OC post in February before the Vikings denied their request for an interview.

DeFilippo’s dismissal comes hours after an embarrassing 21-7 loss to the Seahawks. The defeat dropped their playoff odds to just 57%, according to FiveThirtyEight, ramping up the pressure in advance of this week’s tilt against the Dolphins. The good news here is that the Vikings still control their own destiny – wins over the Dolphins, Lions, and Bears would clinch their spot in the postseason.

This wasn’t a banner year for DeFilippo, but he figures to be a popular target for teams yet again this offseason. The 40-year-old may or may not get head coaching interviews, but he’ll probably be in the mix for multiple OC vacancies.

DeFilippo has been criticized for relying on the pass too much and ignoring the run game, but it’s worth noting that he was without star rusher Dalvin Cook for much of the fall. The offensive line has also been shaky and it’s fair to wonder whether GM Rick Spielman did enough to bolster the unit in the offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bell, Browns, Green, Cook

The Le’Veon Bell saga is coming to a head, as the Steelers running back must sign his franchise tender by November 13 to be eligible to play for any team this season. But as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, the CBA does not dictate that Bell must report by that day, only that he sign the tender. That means that Bell could sign the tender and not report until next Saturday, which would make him eligible to be added to the roster for next Sunday’s game — not that he would be playing in that game regardless — or he could just not sign the tender at all and skip the entire season.

The latter option is not considered likely at this time, but La Canfora says that if Bell does skip the entire 2018 campaign, the Steelers would strongly consider slapping the franchise or transition tag on him next offseason, which would of course set up another drama-filled battle. La Canfora further reports that no rival clubs called Pittsburgh at last week’s trade deadline in an attempt to acquire Bell.

Now for more the league’s North divisions:

  • When the Browns have hired a new head coach in recent seasons, they have used a search firm, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) says he would be surprised if the team, with respected GM John Dorsey now in charge, goes that route when it looks for another HC this offseason. Rapoport’s sources expect Dorsey to conduct the search himself, and they expect that he will do so very “secretly.” Rapoport says one name under consideration would be Josh McDaniels, who is reportedly open to revisiting HC opportunities (should another one come his way), and RapSheet also lists John DeFilippo, Mike McCarthy, and Lincoln Riley as potential targets.
  • Bengals WR A.J. Green is battling a toe injury, per Rapoport (via Twitter), who says that Green either has visited or will visit foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson. There will be more clarity on the injury soon, and Rapoport says surgery remains on the table. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Green is expected to miss time regardless of whether he has surgery.
  • Vikings WR Stefon Diggs will miss today’s game with a rib injury, per Rapoport (video link), though it is uncertain whether Diggs will miss any additional time (given that he expected to play today and was listed as questionable on the final injury report, it seems that he’ll be ready to go after Minnesota’s bye next week. Meanwhile, RB Dalvin Cook is expected to hit the field today, which will mark his first appearance since Week 4. Cook will be on a pitch count and is only expected to see 20 snaps or so, but when the team returns from bye, it could have Cook and Diggs at full strength.
  • The Packers signed punter Drew Kaser yesterday, but the team is not moving on from incumbent J.K. Scott at this time, per ESPN.com. However, it is still an open question as to whether Scott will be punting against the Patriots tonight.
  • We learned earlier today that Ravens HC John Harbaugh is on the hot seat as the team faces a critical divisional matchup against Pittsburgh this afternoon.

Vikings Rumors: DeFilippo, O-Line, Barr

John DeFilippo played a big part in the Vikings‘ quarterback search. The new Minnesota offensive coordinator began studying film of the team’s three previous quarterbacks — Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum — on his first morning with the team in mid-February, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. This process of finding a potential long-term option in Kirk Cousins also included scouting of QBs that weren’t Cousins or the Vikings’ free agent trio, per Goessling, who adds QBs coach Kevin Stefanski was also involved in this process, along with Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer. DeFilippo and Cousins met at dinner the night before the new Minnesota starter signed his three-year, $84MM contract, per Goessling. Minnesota has not had a quarterback make it through three straight seasons as the primary starter since Daunte Culpepper in the early 2000s, and DeFilippo called the franchise’s signal-caller search as thorough as anything he’s been involved with in the NFL.

Here’s the latest from the Twin Cities:

  • Previously stationed at right tackle at Vikings OTAs, Mike Remmers took reps exclusively at right guard during one of the OTA sessions this week, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reports. Third-year UDFA Rashod Hill, in turn, lined up at right tackle. This was the Vikings’ arrangement at the end of last season. Remmers worked as the Panthers’ starting right tackle from 2014-16. Tom Compton, who worked as the primary right guard last week, alternated at left guard with Danny Isidora, per Krammer. Slotting Remmers at guard would give second-round pick Brian O’Neill an easier path to playing time, but it’s uncertain what Remmers’ primary position will be this season.
  • Anthony Barr reported to the Vikings this week and did so after taking out an insurance policy, Krammer notes. He missed the first week of Vikes OTAs while he ironed out this policy, which will cover him for injury while he’s still attached to his rookie deal. Barr remains hopeful he and the Vikings can come to terms before training camp. Minnesota agreed to extensions with Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph in a 10-day span just as camp began last year, and it would make sense Barr — one of the team’s big re-up candidates this year — would be the top priority for a pre-camp deal.
  • Despite being a first-round pick, Laquon Treadwell has 21 receptions (and no touchdowns) in two years. However, the Ole Miss product is not categorizing 2018 as a make-or-break year, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes. The Vikings cut Jarius Wright and have not re-signed Michael Floyd, potentially giving Treadwell a chance to move into the No. 3 wideout role. However, Minnesota’s Kendall Wright deal could impede that. Neverthless, it could be a stretch the Vikings pick up Treadwell’s fifth-year option in May of 2019 at this rate.

North Notes: Vikings, Patricia, Humphrey

New Vikings OC John DeFilippo is viewed as a rising star in the coaching world, and Minnesota is obviously high on the former Eagles quarterbacks coach, as it targeted DeFilippo as soon as former OC Pat Shurmur left for the Giants’ head coaching job. The Vikings were also willing to wait for Philadelphia’s season to be over before naming Shurmur’s replacement, which shows just how much they liked DeFilippo. Despite the hire, though, the Vikings denied the Giants’ request to interview Minnesota quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski for the New York OC gig, and Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio suggests that there are two reasons for that (Twitter link). Obviously, the Vikings value Stefanski and want him around in 2018, but the team also thinks there is a good chance DeFilippo could get his own head coaching opportunity in 2019, so Minnesota views Stefanski as a potential replacement (after all, the Vikes did interview Stefanski for the OC position this year before hiring DeFilippo). However, Marvez reports that Stefanski only has one year left on his current contract, so he could become a coaching free agent in 2019.

Now for more from the league’s North divisions:

  • The Bears‘ offensive line will be one of their biggest priorities this offseason, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune says the team could use one of its top two picks in this year’s draft on an O-lineman. Of course, Chicago will also have to decide what it wants to do with guard Josh Sitton, who has a club option worth $8MM for 2018 (the Bears have until March 9 to exercise that option, and if they do not, Sitton will become a UFA). It is a tough call; on the one hand, Sitton is an accomplished player whose departure will make the team’s O-line situation even more dire, but on the other hand, he is an aging veteran and, if the Bears decline the option, Sitton will count only $666K against the cap in 2018. Biggs does not give an indication as to which way Chicago is leaning at this point.
  • In a piece that is well worth a read, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press chronicles Matt Patricia‘s rise from a low-level assistant in New England to Lions head coach, a rise that was accelerated in 2012 when Detroit GM Bob Quinn — then the director of pro scouting with the Patriots — heard Patricia deliver a poignant speech to New England coaches and players about the recently-deceased Junior Seau.
  • Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, whom the team selected in the first round of last year’s draft, was recently arrested for stealing a $15 phone charger, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes. Humphrey has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 1 in Tuscaloosa County District Court, at which time a judge will determine whether to dismiss the case or to proceed. Humphrey turned in a strong rookie campaign, and Baltimore will rely on him heavily in 2018.

John DeFilippo Sheds Light On Minnesota Plans

Friday morning, former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was hired as the offensive coordinator in Minnesota to replace Pat Shurmur, who took the head-coaching gig with the Giants. In the afternoon, he addressed his plans for the team’s offense and noted a few opportunities in the league that were presented to him. John DeFilippo (vertical)

The 39-year-old coach said he interviewed for head-coaching positions in Arizona and Chicago and was requested by a few teams for the offensive coordinator positions, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports“When the Minnesota Vikings want to talk to you, that’s a whole different ball game,” DeFilippo said. “It was obviously a special opportunity to work for Coach Zimmer and learn from him and work for another great head coach and another opportunity for myself to call plays.”

DeFilippo hasn’t called plays since serving as the Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2015. There was an opportunity for him to become the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia if current offensive coordinator Frank Reich became head coach in Indianapolis. He, however, would not call plays due to head coach Doug Pederson fulfilling that role.

With Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater all preparing to enter free agency, DeFilippo said athleticism in the pocket is a must, Tomasson reports (Twitter link). None of those passers are really known for their athleticism, but Keenum did show an ability to sidestep the rush during his breakout 2017 campaign.

DeFilippo also said he will incorporate elements of the Eagles offense while keeping the aspects that Minnesota did well in 2017, the Star Tribune Ben Goessling tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.