Justin Outten

NFC North Notes: Packers, Vikings, Bears

The Packers will not be hiring Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Green Bay was reportedly one of five teams with interest in Rizzi, who also holds the title of assistant head coach in Miami, but the two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement. Per Silverstein, Rizzi’s price tag is believed to be “high,” but he’s still expected to land with another club in the near future. The Dolphins would like to retain Rizzi (whom they interviewed for head coach), but they figure to install an all-new staff under presumptive head coach Brian Flores, so it’s unclear if there is still a fit in South Beach.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Like the Packers, the Vikings expressed interest in hiring Rizzi, but they’ve since gone in another direction. Minnesota has hired Rizzi’s assistant in Miami, Marwan Maalouf, as their new special teams coach, tweets Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. Maalouf served as the Colts’ special teams coach in 2012 before joining Miami the following season. He’s replacing Mike Priefer, who left the Vikings to take the Browns’ ST job. Last year, the Vikings ranked 20th in Football Outsiders’ special teams metrics, while the Dolphins were one spot behind at No. 21.
  • Rick Dennison preferred to stay on as the Jets‘ offensive line coach under new head coach Adam Gase, but New York instead hired Frank Pollack to guide their front five. However, both the Vikings and Packers remain “strong possibilities” for Dennison, per Marvez (Twitter link). Dennison had been expected to immediately follow Gary Kubiak — who was recently hired as a Vikings’ offensive advisor — to Minnesota, but that union hasn’t yet happened. Green Bay, meanwhile, has already hired Adam Stenavich as its offensive line coach, so Dennison would come aboard in a different position.
  • Early reports suggested the Packers were interested in retaining incumbent tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, but Green Bay has instead hired Falcons quality control/assistant offensive line coach Justin Outten as their new TEs coach, tweets Silverstein. Angelichio was one of a few assistants that was expected to stick around under new Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur, but things must have changed over the past several weeks. Outten, for his part, joined Atlanta as an intern in 2016, and was coaching in the high school ranks as recently as 2015.
  • The Bears hired former Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino last week, and now Chicago has formally announced his title. Monachino will serve as a senior defensive assistant/outside linebackers coach under defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who previously employed Monachino in both Indianapolis and Baltimore.

Extra Points: Young, Falcons, Cowboys

Here’s the latest from around the league as teams continue to prepare their free agency plans and Combine itineraries. We’ll begin with a player who’s interested in another NFL comeback.

  • Vince Young‘s agent Leigh Steinberg hinted Saturday that the quarterback was interested in a return to football, but Young will have to work his way through another league — and another country — before reaching the NFL again. Steinberg announced on Twitter today that he’s begun negotiations with the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Given that Young hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2011, he faces a long road back to the league, but the CFL could be the first step in that (admittedly long) journey.
  • The Falcons announced that they’ve hired a swath of new coaches, including Kyle Flood (assistant offensive line), Dave Brock (offensive assistant), Justin Outten (offensive assistant), Charlie Weis Jr. (offensive assistant), and Charlie Jackson (defensive assistant). Flood, a longtime collegiate staffer, was fired as Rutgers’ head coach amid controversy in 2015.
  • Jerome Henderson will return as the Falcons‘ defensive passing game coordinator after missing out on the 49ers’ defensive coordinator position, as Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports (Twitter links) Henderson has re-signed with Atlanta. Henderson, who originally joined the Falcons prior to the 2016 campaign, was in consideration to serve as San Francisco’s co-defensive coordinator with Robert Saleh, but Saleh alone landed the job. (Editor’s note: PFR originally relayed Marvez’s report indicating Henderson had resigned from the Falcons before the scribe’s source realized he had forgotten a hyphen. We have removed the original post in order to eliminate any confusion.)
  • Would the Cowboys taking an offensive lineman with their No. 28 overall pick sound crazy given their line’s status as arguably the NFL’s best? However, right tackle Doug Free is entering a contract year, and Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes the team could consider Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk with its top pick in a developmental scenario. Archer expects Free to return for the 2017 season. If nothing else, cutting Free — and saving $5MM — would create a hole not easily filled in a weaker tackle market. But the 33-year-old blocker might be entering his final season in Dallas. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft (Insider link) has Ramczyk going to the Seahawks at No. 26 and the Cowboys taking Florida cornerback Teez Tabor.
  • The Bears have infiltrated a Las Vegas sports book’s top picks for Tony Romo‘s landing spot. Sportsbook.ag’s R.J. Bell (via the Dallas Morning News) projects the Bears as Romo’s fourth-most likely 2017 employer — behind the Texans, Broncos and Cowboys. Houston’s emerged as the favorite despite the organization’s known stance being to avoid getting involved for Romo. Interestingly, the Chiefs are down at No. 5 after being viewed as a primary destination. ESPN.com also projected a Bears/Romo partnership as being more likely than many believe.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.