John Fassel

NFC East Notes: Manning, Manuel, Cowboys

Eli Manning has not expressed interest in a coaching position, but the likely Hall of Fame quarterback has not closed the door on remaining with the Giants in another non-playing capacity. The recently retired passer said he would be interested in a role with the team going forward, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Giants likely would not say no to such an arrangement, though it remains to be seen if Manning would consider a position immediately. If Peyton Manning‘s measured approach to post-retirement offers is any indication, it may be a while before his younger brother commits to returning to the league in a potential front office role. Manning will not land on the Giants’ reserve/retired list, as he was set to be a free agent in March. The 16-year Giant recently said he believed he could still play. So Eli might be patient before entering a post-playing role, in the event an unforeseen development opens up a starting job somewhere.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles interviewed former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel for a role on their staff, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). They are eyeing the former safety-turned-coach as their secondary coach. Manuel, 40, did not coach this season but spent five years with the Falcons — four of which as either Atlanta’s secondary coach or DC. Dan Quinn fired him after the 2018 season.
  • After making several splashy additions to their staff, the Cowboys added a couple of lower-profile assistants. Mike McCarthy hired ex-Rams assistant special teams coach to the same position, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. A former NFLer, the 30-year-old Daniels spent the past two seasons on Sean McVay’s staff working under John Fassel. McCarthy hired Fassel to be his ST coordinator and has signed off on bringing the Rams’ special teams staff to Dallas. The Cowboys also hired ex-Redskins defensive quality control coach Cannon Matthews, per Yates. Matthews will remain in a defensive quality control role.
  • Although the Giants brought in ex-Cowboys coach Marc Colombo to head up their offensive line, they will keep one of Pat Shurmur‘s assistants on staff in this department. Ben Wilkerson will remain as the team’s assistant O-line coach, Dan Duggan of The Athletic tweets. Wilkerson, 37, served in this role in each of Shurmur’s two seasons.

Kellen Moore To Stay With Cowboys

Kellen Moore will remain the Cowboys’ OC in 2020 as a member of new head coach Mike McCarthy‘s staff, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. In addition, the team will add former Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel to serve in the same capacity in Dallas, and it is also hiring Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.

Moore, 30, had drawn interest from Washington for the Pac-12 program’s OC job, but Mike Garafolo tweeted yesterday that the expectation was for the wunderkind coach to stay with the Cowboys.

Despite Dallas’ disappointing season, the team is intent on keeping Moore. Jerry Jones made it a point during the Cowboys’ HC interviews to express his desire for Jason Garrett‘s eventual successor to retain Moore. And McCarthy is a fan of the one-year coordinator. One year remains on Moore’s contract.

Although Moore went to Boise State, he is from a town southeast Washington. So, the Huskies OC job would generate natural appeal. And McCarthy being an offensive-minded coach would stand to lessen Moore’s impact with the 2020 Cowboys. But Jones being in the young coach’s corner will likely make a difference in shaping McCarthy’s offensive staff.

Under Moore, the Cowboys jumped from 22nd in total offense to first from 2018-19. Dak Prescott surpassed his previous career-high yardage total by more than 1,000, and his 30 touchdown passes were seven more than his previous career high. The fourth-year quarterback fell one yard shy of Tony Romo‘s single-season Cowboys record. The franchise appears to be on the verge of a McCarthy-Moore partnership, which would be an interesting meld of offensive philosophies given that the new head coach is steeped in the West Coast offense and Moore ran a version of Air Coryell.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Rhule, Giants, Cowboys

Even after Joe Judge‘s standout interview Monday led to him becoming the Giants‘ head coach, the franchise still had Matt Rhule as their preferred candidate. The Panthers‘ seven-year, $62MM offer to the Baylor head coach essentially prompted the Giants to fold their hand on this front, with Ralph Vacchiano of SNY noting Big Blue balked at the contract length and salary. Rhule’s $8.9MM salary makes him the sixth-highest-paid coach in the league — behind Bill Belichick ($12MM per year), Pete Carroll ($11MM AAV), Jon Gruden ($10MM), Sean Payton ($9.8MM) and John Harbaugh ($9MM). The Panthers also paid Baylor a $6MM buyout, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Just months ago, Rhule agreed to an extension with the Big 12 program.

Here is the latest from the coaching front:

  • In addition to missing out on the Ron Rivera boat, the Giants wanted to speak with Mike McCarthy again, Vacchiano adds. The Cowboys swooping in prevented such an opportunity.
  • Big Blue received a ringing Judge endorsement from Belichick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The former Giants defensive coordinator and six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach called the Giants to sell them on Judge’s credentials, despite his non-traditional candidacy as a special teams coordinator.
  • Shifting to McCarthy’s Cowboys staff, the team is expected to hire Rams special teams coordinator John Fassel to the same position, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Fassel’s contract was up. The second-generation NFL coach will relocate to Dallas after spending eight seasons with the Rams. Fassel came over from the Raiders in 2012, when Jeff Fisher took over in St. Louis, and stayed on with Sean McVay‘s team for three seasons. Fassel served as Rams interim HC in 2016, after the franchise fired Fisher. The Rams are losing their DC and ST coordinators, with Wade Phillips also out of the picture.
  • Other candidates have surfaced to relocate to Texas. Cowboys assistants expect Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan to be named Dallas’ new defensive coordinator, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Nolan was the 49ers’ head coach in 2005, when McCarthy served as San Francisco’s OC. Additionally, Redskins defensive line coach Jim Tomsula is on McCarthy’s radar, per Pelissero (on Twitter). Tomsula was the 49ers’ HC in 2015 and has been the Redskins’ D-line coach since 2017.
  • The Bengals and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons have agreed to an extension, Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). A longtime Dolphins ST boss, Simmons interviewed for the Bengals’ HC job last year and joined Cincinnati’s staff as a key assistant after the top job went to Zac Taylor. Despite Cincinnati’s 2-14 record, the team ranked first in special teams DVOA under its first-year leader.

NFC Coaching Notes: Panthers, Rams, Redskins, Lions

The Panthers have officially named Steve Wilks as their new defensive coordinator. Following the loss of former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott earlier this week, it was reported that the team was planning on promoting their assistant head coach/secondary coach to the open position. Wilks joined the Panthers organization in 2012.

The new defensive coordinator held a press conference earlier today, where he revealed that he’d be retaining his entire defensive coaching staff (via Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer on Twitter). The team still needs to hire a secondary coach following the promotion of Wilks.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from the NFC…

  • The Rams are expected to keep special teams coach John Fassel, reports Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News (via Twitter). Fassel has been with the organization since 2012, and he served as the Rams’ interim head coach following the firing of Jeff Fisher.
  • The Redskins may have lost offensive coordinator Sean McVay, but they’re not planning on losing anyone else on their offensive staff. The Redskins are expected to retain all of their offensive assistant coaches, reports ESPN.com’s John Keim. Following the Ramshiring of Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator, there were rumors that tight ends coach Wes Phillips may leave to join McVay and his dad in Los Angeles. However, Keim notes that the Rams would have to request an interview with anyone on the Redskins coaching staff.
  • The decision to retain head coach Jim Caldwell was made before the Lions clinched a playoff berth, general manager Bob Quinn told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I really believe in his approach to managing the team, how he practices the team, how he maintains the health of the team,” Quinn said. “So, listen, winning nine games is good. It’s not good enough. But I felt really comfortable with the way things went this year. I’m looking forward to 2017 with Jim.”
  • The Eagles are interested in interviewing Rams passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Mike Groh for their wide receivers coach vacancy, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). The former quarterback coached the Bears wideouts for three seasons before joining the Rams last year.

Rams To Interview John Fassel On Monday

The Rams will interview interim head coach John Fassel on Monday, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Fassel was named Los Angeles’ interim coach following last month’s firing of Jeff Fisher.John Fassel (Vertical)

[RELATED: Rams DC Gregg Williams Willing To Stay]

Fassel, 42, has been an NFL coach since 2005, working with special teams units during that entire period. Before joining the Rams in 2012, Fassel worked on both the Ravens and Raiders staffs in a special teams capacity. The son of former NFL head coach Jim Fassel, John has posted an 0-3 record as Los Angeles’ interim coach. Given that the Rams are thought to be targeting high-profile candidates such as Jon Gruden, Josh McDaniels, and others, it’s entirely possible that Fassel’s meeting on Monday will only be a pro forma interview.

The Rams may also express interest in Bills interim head coach Anthony Lynn, per Florio. However, Lynn is widely expected to take the Buffalo job on a full-time basis, meaning Los Angeles will have to look elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

10 Coaching Candidates For The Rams

In an iconic scene from season nine of The SimpsonsKrusty the Klown announced his retirement to a scrum of not-so-stunned reporters. Krusty The Clown

But Krusty,” one reporter asks. “Why now? Why not twenty years ago?

It wouldn’t have been out of place for any Rams beat reporter to channel that sentiment and ask a similar question of COO Kevin Demoff when he addressed the media on Monday. Jeff Fisher‘s dismissal was long overdue and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of the coach’s family who disagrees.

For now, the Rams will turn things over to special teams coordinator John Fassel on an interim basis. While this is ostensibly a chance for Fassel to impress team brass and land the head coaching job for 2017, most are expecting the Rams to hire a name brand coach that will energize the fan base and give the team some additional panache in free agency.

With a few weeks to go between now and the official end of the Rams’ season, here are ten names that could be considered for the job:

Jim Harbaugh (vertical)Jim Harbaugh, head coach at the University of Michigan: Some say that living well is the best revenge. Others say that the best revenge against your former employer is setting up shop across the street and destroying them. Santa Clara-to-Los Angeles is a lengthy drive, but you get what we’re getting at.

Harbaugh, in theory, could leave his alma mater and crush the 49ers by joining up with a divisional rival. The Rams have reportedly been loafing in practice and Harbaugh is the kind of throwback disciplinarian that the team badly needs. It’s fair to assume that the Rams will get in contact with Harbaugh, but it will be tough to get him to leave his lucrative job in Ann Arbor.

With National Signing Day around the corner, Harbaugh could publicly remove himself himself from consideration if he is not at all interested in an NFL return. Alternatively, if Harbaugh wants to get sweet revenge against the Niners, Stan Kroenke better have his checkbook ready. Signing Harbaugh could cost upwards of $10MM/year and that’s before factoring in his buyout clause with the Wolverines. If Harbaugh bolts, he’ll owe U-M the prorated portion of his $2MM signing bonus. With two of the seven years served, 5/7ths of that amount comes out to roughly $1.43MM.

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Rams Fire Jeff Fisher

The Rams have fired head coach Jeff Fisher, according to a team announcement. Special teams coordinator John Fassel serve as interim head coach, NFL reporter Rand Getlin tweets. Jeff Fisher (vertical)

On Sunday, the Rams were crushed by the Falcons as Fisher tied for the most losses of any NFL head coach in league history. He is now deadlocked with Dan Reeves with 165 career losses. Reeves, meanwhile, has 190 career wins while Fisher has only 173. In his 22 years of coaching, Fisher has made the playoffs only six times.

Making a decision such as this – especially during the season – is one of the most difficult in sports,” said Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement. “I have great respect for Jeff as a coach, person, father and friend. He has worked tirelessly despite some challenging circumstances. He played an integral role in helping this team make history in returning the NFL to Los Angeles, and we always will be grateful for his commitment and dedication to our organization. However, this is the right time to make a change as our performance has not lived up to my or our fans’ expectations. We all are focused on improving as an organization and building a team that makes Los Angeles proud. Our mission is to celebrate a Super Bowl title with our fans in Los Angeles. Today is the first step to bringing us closer to that goal.”

Just over one week ago, the Rams formally announced an extension for Fisher to take him through 2017 with an option for 2018. The newly-minted deal may provide Fisher some form of a severance package now that he has been let go.

This, of course, is a lost season for the Rams and a bad start for the franchise in their brand new market. The Rams were not a popular playoff pick given their question marks at the quarterback position, but few expected them to struggle this badly. Someday, Jared Goff may prove to be a top quarterback, but he sat for the first half of the season and he has looked green ever since taking over the starting job.

It’s not immediately clear what Fisher’s dismissal will mean for GM Les Snead. As of this writing, Snead still has his job, so he may be given an opportunity to turn things around this spring. Rams COO Kevin Demoff will address the media later today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.