Josh McDaniels

AFC East Notes: Pats, Gordon, Chung, Fins

Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon could return to the field by training camp, although that’s far from a certainty, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Gordon was banned indefinitely from the NFL in December after violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league’s substance abuse policy and is still in a rehabilitation facility. While it’s unclear when Gordon will leave rehab, it could be in the near future, at which point he plans to train in Florida. New England is supporting Gordon and paying for his treatment, so a return to the club is certainly possible. From a contractual standpoint, Gordon will be a restricted free agent this offseason.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • After suffering a broken forearm in the Super Bowl, Patriots defensive back Patrick Chung will undergo corrective surgery on Thursday, a source tells Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). Chung will have another operation in roughly three weeks to fix a shoulder issue, per Howe. That latter surgery will likely keep Chung out of organized team activities, although he’s expected to be ready for training camp. The 31-year-old Chung appeared in 15 games for New England last year, playing on roughly 85% of the club’s defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus graded Chung — who’s under contract through 2020 — as the NFL’s No. 30 safety.
  • Josh McDaniels received a new contract from the Patriots after spurning the Colts last offseason, and Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports McDaniels is being paid roughly $4MM per year. While coordinator and head coach salaries are often difficult to unearth, it’s hard to imagine any other coordinator in the NFL is collecting $4MM annually. After turning down the Colts in 2018, McDaniels has reportedly become even more selective regarding his head coaching prospects. This year, he only took one interview (with the Packers) and rejected a request from the Bengals.
  • As part of a contract extension he signed last summer, Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain had $3.018MM of his $5.475MM 2019 base salary fully guaranteed this week, tweets Joel Corry of CBSSports.com. McCain, 25, inked a four-year deal in July that guaranteed him nearly $10MM. With an average annual value of $6.75MM, McCain is one of the NFL’s highest-paid slot corners.
  • Former NFL wide receiver Tiquan Underwood is joining the Dolphins‘ staff as an offensive quality control coach, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The ex-Rutgers speedster spent time with the Patriots in 2011 and 2012, which is where he first met new Miami coaches Brian Flores and Chad O’Shea.

Patriots Rumors: Gordon, McDaniels, Gronk

Here’s a look at the Patriots as they get set for the Super Bowl:

  • The Patriots are gearing up for the Super Bowl in Atlanta, but Josh Gordon is miles away at an inpatient facility in Florida, a source tells Doug Kyed of NESN.com. The Patriots are paying for Gordon’s treatment, which may be a sign that a return is possible. For what it’s worth, the receiver will get a ring if the Pats are victorious on Sunday.
  • Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says he regrets his handling of the Colts situation last year, as Charean Williams of PFT writes. “It’s a lot that goes into it,” McDaniels said. “I think at the end of the day you have to make the best decision for yourself and your family. I’ve said this a number of times: The timing of all that stuff was not. . . . I wasn’t proud of any of that stuff.” McDaniels likely paid the price for his flip-flop in this past cycle. There were eight head coaching vacancies, but McDaniels only landed an interview with the Packers and declined to speak with the Bengals.
  • The Rob Gronkowski retirement chatter is picking up steam again, but the tight end pretty much offered a no-answer when asked if the Super Bowl will be his last game. “I don’t know,” Gronkowski said when asked about his plans (via PFT).

Josh McDaniels To Stay With Patriots

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says he will no longer pursue head coaching jobs this offseason and will remain with the Patriots “moving forward” (Twitter links via Doug Kyed of NESN). Frankly, McDaniels has little choice in the matter – the Packers were the only team to interview him in this cycle and he rejected overtures from the Bengals. None of the other clubs with vacancies requested an interview with the Pats OC.

McDaniels also added that he had “no contact” with the Browns. At one point in time, McDaniels was linked to Cleveland because of his offensive acumen and potential to guide young star quarterback Baker Mayfield, but the Browns never went down that road for one reason or another.

Ultimately, McDaniels appears to have been undone by last offseason’s flip-flop with the Colts. The OC did not feel that the saga “burned” him from future head coaching jobs, but one can’t help but wonder if teams are wary of getting involved with him at this juncture. Next year could be a different story, but this year, teams did not appear willing to trust the 42-year-old.

On the plus side, McDaniels can now focus on the biggest task at hand. The Patriots square off against the Chargers on Sunday in the Divisional Round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Packers, LaFleur, Rhule

Matt LaFleur has the Packers job and he has Rams coach Sean McVay to thank. The two are close friends and it’s likely that McVay lobbied for him, Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel tweets.

McVay employed LaFleur as his offensive coordinator in 2017, but McVay called the plays himself. Then, last offseason, he allowed LaFleur to fly the coop and call plays for the Titans. Without that stepping stone, LaFleur probably wouldn’t have gotten the big gig in Green Bay.

Meanwhile, the Packers are over the moon about LaFleur because his offensive focus will allow the club to keep defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and the rest of the staff, provided that LaFleur is not keen on making major changes.

Here’s the latest round of coaching rumors from around the NFL:

Patriots Preparing For Josh McDaniels To Leave

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the Patriots are preparing for Josh McDaniels to leave for a head coaching gig this offseason.

Of course, as we learned last offseason, this won’t mean a whole lot until McDaniels is formally introduced and/or starts performing head coaching tasks for his new team. Last year, McDaniels was announced as the head coach of the Colts before he suddenly decided to stick around with New England. At the time, it was assumed that the 42-year-old was going to stay with the Patriots until Bill Belichick retired, at which time McDaniels would take over the reigns.

There may be a slight difference this time around. As Florio writes, the Patriots offensive coordinator “will only interview with teams that he’d be willing to coach.” This sentiment was emphasized by McDaniels accepting an interview with the Packers and declining an interview with the Bengals. As Florio points out, reports have indicated that there’s also mutual interest between McDaniels and the Browns.

Despite his fiasco with Indy, McDaniels has still proven to be a relatively hot commodity on the head coaching circuit. McDaniels had underwhelming results as the head coach of the Broncos, but he’s seen a lot more success during his two stints as the Patriots offensive coordinator. New England made him one of the highest paid coordinators last offseason, but we heard back in December that McDaniels had hired a new agent and was ready to explore new opportunities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh McDaniels Turns Down Bengals Interview

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels declined an opportunity to meet with the Bengals regarding their head coaching job, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. McDaniels, who famously flip-flopped on the Colts last year, is still in the running for jobs elsewhere. 

Teams will undoubtedly be wary about getting in bed with McDaniels, but the Patriots continually boast one of the NFL’s best offenses and it’s hard to overlook McDaniels’ resume. The Packers are next up to interview McDaniels and the OC figures to have a loaded calendar in between film room sessions.

The Patriots finished fourth in scoring and fifth in total yardage in 2018, despite an uncharacteristically weak year from Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. McDaniels has undoubtedly benefitted from the tools given to him in New England, but teams may be impressed by his ability to keep things afloat when things got tough last year.

The Bengals won’t get to meet with McDaniels, but they will try to speak with Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Given the Bucs’ upheaval and the team’s unwillingness to consider internal candidates for the head coaching vacancy, it’s likely that Monken will be heading elsewhere no matter what. The Bengals may see Monken as the coach to get the most out of the speedy John Ross given the success he has had with DeSean Jackson in Tampa.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers To Interview Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels will interview with the Packers on Friday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). McDaniels’ availability to interview (and ability to ultimately accept a job) is complicated by the Patriots being in the playoffs, but the Pats’ first-round bye could give McDaniels time to do two interviews before New England’s postseason gets underway. 

Last year, McDaniels agreed to become the next head coach of the Colts but ultimately left them at the altar. Despite his offensive knowhow, it remains to be seen whether the Packers or any other team in this cycle will be able to trust McDaniels. For what it’s worth, McDaniels does not believe he is “burned” when it comes to future opportunities.

Of course, there are factors working in McDaniels’ favor, starting with his resume as the chief strategist of one of the league’s most potent offenses. He also fits the profile of a young and energetic coach, which is what led to the hirings of Sean McVay and Matt Nagy in recent years. Teams who want to go for the young and bubbly type this year may consider the likes of Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, but he lacks pro experience and claims that he is staying put at OU.

McDaniels also has experience in managing an elite quarterback, which should be a focus of the Packers after Mike McCarthy‘s relationship with Aaron Rodgers went south.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Coaching Rumors: Jets, Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins, Browns

Two coaches fired after the 2017 season look to have secured additional interviews about possible 2019 top jobs. Jim Caldwell will interview with the Jets, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. Chuck Pagano is now expected to interview with the Broncos, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Caldwell has already met with the Packers and been connected to the Browns’ wide-ranging search as well.

Here’s the latest from the AFC’s side of the coaching carousel.

  • Another year, another issue with the Jets‘ OC. After John Morton‘s stay in New York featured conflict, apparently Jeremy Bates‘ did as well. A growing frustration sprouted about Bates’ play-calling, something Jets GM Mike Maccagnan became aware of, Vacchiano reports. Bates is now in limbo after Todd Bowles‘ firing, and one agent suggested the Jets would have had to fire their OC if they wanted to land impact free agents on offense. Jermaine Kearse was also not happy with Bates’ work, per Vacchiano. The Jets may have more than one major hire to make in the coming weeks. Bates spent 2017 as New York’s QBs coach before taking over for Morton.
  • The expansive Browns search thus far does not include Josh McDaniels, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com tweets. A Cleveland-area native, McDaniels was part of the Browns’ turbulent 2014 coaching search that ended with Mike Pettine. The Bengals have requested a meeting with McDaniels, but he has not yet accepted. McDaniels can interview this week because of the Patriots’ bye week.
  • The Broncos are monitoring Mike McCarthy, but no interview is as of yet scheduled, Klis tweets. McCarthy has been connected to just about every opening thus far. The 13-year Packers coach may sit this cycle out, unless he sees a perfect fit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
  • Rex Ryan contacting possible assistant coaches about the Dolphins‘ vacancy appears to have been premature. He is not in the running to land the Miami job, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). This would have been Ryan’s third AFC East job. The former Jets and Bills coach has not been mentioned on Black Monday as a candidate for any of the eight openings.
  • The latest Leonard Fournette incident appears to have cost a coach his job. The Jaguars fired running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley on Monday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Jacksonville is retaining Doug Marrone but is looking for a new offensive coordinator, so there will now be another position available. Wheatley just finished his second season as the Jags’ RBs coach.
  • In addition to Wheatley, the Jags are canning three other assistants — defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and defensive line coach Marion Hobby, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Both Fewell and Flaherty spent extensive time with Tom Coughlin on Giants coaching staffs. This was Hobby’s first NFL job.

Bengals Request Josh McDaniels Interview

The biggest name in the Bengals’ coaching search has surfaced. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels received an interview request from the Bengals, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

McDaniels joins Rams offensive staffers Zac Taylor and Shane Waldron, along with Bengals OC Bill Lazor and in-house ST coordinator Darrin Simmons. Both Lazor and Simmons have interviews scheduled. It’s not known if the other three will meet with Bengals management for the job.

One of the toughest interview candidates, having repeatedly rebuffed requests or (most recently) backtracking on an agreement to become the Colts’ head coach, McDaniels being connected here is obviously interesting. It’s showing teams are still valuing what he could bring to the table from an offensive standpoint. The longtime New England OC was viewed as potentially radioactive after his decision to spurn Indianapolis.

But the Patriots continually boast one of the NFL’s best offenses. The Bengals could interview McDaniels this week, with the Pats again securing a bye week. Their offense has not been as potent as in years past, with Tom Brady showing slight signs of slippage and Rob Gronkowski not the factor he once was, but McDaniels’ unit still ranks fourth in scoring and fifth in total yardage.

North Coaching Rumors: Fitzgerald, Harbaugh, Bengals

We heard last night that the Packers are interested in Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, and now there is some fire for that smoke, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Green Bay is expected to request an interview with Fitzgerald after Northwestern plays in tomorrow’s Holiday Bowl. It is unclear whether Fitzgerald will accept the interview request, but Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy was Northwestern’s athletic director when Fitzgerald was hired as the Wildcats’ head coach in 2006, and the two men have a great deal of respect for each other.

Now for more coaching rumors from the league’s north divisions:

  • Schefter reports that at least one team that is considering a head coaching change is also considering calling the Ravens about a potential trade for head coach John Harbaugh if Baltimore is eliminated from postseason contention today, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk) says multiple teams are thinking about making a run at the 11th-year HC. The Ravens announced earlier this month, despite weeks of rumors to the contrary, that Harbaugh would remain in Baltimore in 2019, but his future with the club still does not feel like a slam dunk. Florio suggests that Baltimore would want at least two first-round picks in exchange for Harbaugh.
  • No one is sure what will happen with Marvin Lewis and the Bengals, and his assistant coaches are actively trying to find out, per Florio. Some believe Lewis will retire from coaching and begin a broadcasting career, while others believe he could become a candidate for the Cardinals‘ head coaching job. If Lewis moves on, Florio writes — as has been reported numerous times — that Hue Jackson would be a candidate to replace him, as would current Vikings head coach (and former Cincinnati DC) Mike Zimmer. Zimmer would perhaps be interested in the Bengals’ gig, per Florio, but much would depend on whether Minnesota would let him leave and if the Vikings would demand significant compensation in exchange.
  • The Vikings will likely attempt to promote interim OC Kevin Stefanski to the full-time job in 2019, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The problem is that Stefanski is only under contract through 2018, so Minnesota may have to fight to retain him.
  • We heard several weeks ago that Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams has a chance to get the “interim” tag removed, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Cleveland will indeed give Williams serious consideration (though the team will obviously interview other candidates and continue its full-blown search). Ownership remains high on Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, but if the team does not give Williams the full-time job, it will risk losing the bulk of the staff that has led the Browns’ promising turnaround this year.
  • Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract is up at the end of the season, per Rapoport, who suggests that it would be a surprise if Cooter remained in Detroit in 2019. The 34-year-old is expected to be a highly-coveted OC candidate assuming he and the Lions part ways. Unsurprisingly, Rapoport says head coach Matt Patricia is safe [SOURCE LINK].