Kacy Rodgers (Coach)

South Rumors: Colts, Panthers, Bucs, Saints

The Colts parted ways with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo earlier this week, a move which raised eyebrows around the NFL given the excellent play of Indianapolis’ front five in 2018. Head coach Frank Reich is reportedly searching for his “own guy” to coach the position, while the Colts also want someone who is “stronger at teaching fundamentals,” according to Stephen Holder of The Athletic (Twitter link). DeGuglielmo is more of a motivator than an instructor, per Holder. Either way, the Colts’ 2018 results are hard to dispute, as they ranked as a top-five club in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate per Football Outsiders., while DeGuglielmo has historically performed well wherever he’s gone, according to research done by Justis Mosqueda of Optimum Scouting.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • The Panthers have hired Bills/Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell as their new defensive backs coach, the club announced. Fewell, who served as Buffalo’s interim head coach for seven games in 2009, worked with Carolina coach head coach Ron Rivera in Chicago in 2005. The Panthers still have Richard Rodgers in place as a secondary coach, but they’ve lost multiple defensive backs coach within the past year. Curtis Fuller resigned as the team’s secondary coach last summer, while assistant Jeff Imamura was fired as part of a housecleaning in early December.
  • Former Steelers wideout Antwaan Randle El will join the Buccaneers‘ coaching staff as an offensive assistant, the club announced today. New Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians coached Randle El — who is now embarking on his first NFL coaching gig — for one season (2010) with the Steelers. Kacy Rodgers, whose role with Tampa was up in the air, is officially the team’s defensive line coach, while former Browns special teams coordinator Amos Jones is in tow as assistant ST coach.
  • In addition to announcing the hiring of new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the Jaguars have made a number of other coaching moves. Jason Rebrovich has been promoted to defensive line coach, Joe Danna is now Jacksonville’s safeties coach, and John Donovan was promoted to assistant running backs coach.
  • Before signing veteran defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker to help replace Sheldon Rankins, the Saints also worked out fellow DLs Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Okoye, and Sealver Siliga, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com. The Colts also held a late season audition, taking a look at linebacker Richard Jarvis, per veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link).

Coaching Rumors: Panthers, Packers, Giants

Eric Washington will return as the Panthers‘ defensive coordinator in 2019, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. Head coach Ron Rivera took over defensive play-calling late last season and will continue with those responsibilities next year, but Washington will be back as DC. Carolina is interviewing former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and former Jaguars defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, but neither of those potential hire would affect Washington’s standing on the Panthers’ staff.

Here’s more from the 2019 hiring cycle:

  • The Cardinals will retain special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, tweets Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com. Kliff Kingsbury convinced Rodgers to stay even though he was fielding offers from other clubs, per Darlington. Meanwhile, the Cardinals received permission to interview Packers wide receivers coach David Raih for the same position, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Green Bay wasn’t planning to retain Raih, who coached alongside Kingsbury at Texas A&M in 2013.
  • Former Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers was thought to be following Todd Bowles to the Buccaneers, and while that union may still occur, Rodgers today interviewed for a senior defensive position with the Giants, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. If Rodgers does end up in Tampa Bay, he’ll be the club’s new defensive line coach, but it’s unclear what exactly his role would be with New York. Per RapSheet, the Giants would actually create a new position for Rodgers if he were to come on board.
  • Rodgers’ status with the Buccaneers is still up in the air, but Tampa Bay and new head coach Bruce Arians are well on their way to formulating a staff. In addition to a few hires which were reported yesterday, the Bucs will hire former NFL offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen as quarterbacks coach, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Additionally, former Cardinals defensive backs coaches Kevin Ross and Nick Rapone will join Arians in Tampa Bay. Wide receivers coach Kevin Garver is also making the Arizona-to-Tampa trek, tweets Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com.
  • The Falcons have made of number of small changes to their coaching staff, tweets D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Dave Brock will move from running backs coach to assistant wide receivers coach, while Bernie Parmalee will switch from running backs coach to assistant special teams coach.

Todd Bowles To Choose Buccaneers

The Buccaneers will have a key component of Cardinals Southeast in the fold. Todd Bowles will, in fact, choose Tampa Bay over Chicago.

Bowles and the Bucs worked out offset language in his contract, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link), adding the recently fired Jets coach will become the Bucs’ defensive coordinator.

A possible Bruce Arians-Bowles reunion had been planned for around six weeks, assuming the Jets did follow through on firing the latter and that the former received a head coaching job, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets.

Arians will be taking Bowles, Byron Leftwich and Harold Goodwin with him to Tampa Bay. More former Arizona assistants may well be en route. But when the Broncos hired Vic Fangio to be their head coach, Bowles — who has known Matt Nagy for decades — the Bears entered the equation. However, Bowles will be following Arians, leaving the Bears with a DC vacancy.

One of those assistants will be former Jets DC Kacy Rodgers, per Mehta (on Twitter). Rodgers will coach the Bucs’ defensive line. Bowles tabbed Rodgers to follow him for more than a month, Mehta notes. Rodgers dealt with health concerns this year but returned to the Jets’ sideline shortly after taking a leave of absence. He does not have a history with Arians, coming to the Jets from Miami when Bowles was hired.

Bowles will replace Mike Smith as Tampa Bay’s full-time DC. He oversaw two top-10 defenses in Arizona before taking the New York HC job. After a brief period of uncertainty, the 55-year-old coach can again go light on winter-gear packing.

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Jets DC Kacy Rodgers Cleared To Return

The Jets will soon have their defensive coordinator back. Kacy Rodgers received clearance to resume his duties, Todd Bowles confirmed on Monday.

While Rodgers will be eased back into action, per the New York Post’s Brian Costello (on Twitter), he should be in line to coach again soon after an illness forced him to step away earlier this month. While Rodgers was on the Jets’ sideline Sunday during the team’s win over the Colts, he was not coaching. It sounds like that will change in the near future.

It was believed at a point the 49-year-old DC was going to need an extended absence to move past this illness, but it’s obviously a nice surprise that won’t be necessary. Rodgers will return to a 3-3 Jets team, which has beaten the Broncos and Colts the past two weeks.

His presence provided a “big lift” to the Jets in Week 6. While Rodgers did not address Gang Green’s defense as a group, he spoke with some players individually before the game.

Rodgers has been the Jets’ defensive boss for the past four seasons, coming to the Big Apple when Bowles was hired in 2015. Bowles has called Jets defensive plays during Rodgers’ absence. It’s unclear when his top defensive lieutenant will resume that part of his role.

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AFC East Notes: McCoy, Bills, Wake, Pats

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the odds of the Bills trading any veterans — like RB LeSean McCoy, whose name has recently surfaced in trade rumors — are very slim. La Canfora writes that it would take a “bounty” to pry McCoy or Jerry Hughes away from Buffalo, as the team considers both players, who are both signed beyond this season to club-friendly deals, to be vital veteran components of its rebuild. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com agrees, saying it could take as much as a second-round draft pick to land McCoy.

Now let’s round up a few more notes from the AFC East, starting with more from Orchard Park:

  • This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Rapoport tweets that the Bills have no intention of playing newly-acquired signal-caller Derek Anderson, barring injury. Anderson is with the club to tutor rookie QB Josh Allen, not to take any of his playing time.
  • From the “something to keep an eye on” department, Jenna Cottrell of 13 WHAM tweets that Allen asked wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes during pregame warm-ups today, and Benjamin told him no. The Bills acquired Benjamin at the trade deadline last year but have not gotten much production out of him, and he does not appear especially motivated to perform well in his platform year.
  • Dolphins DE Cameron Wake recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery but could be back as soon as next week, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Normally such a procedure would require a four-week recovery period, but Wake is such a quick healer that he may make it back in a fraction of that time.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes that Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty is on pace to recoup the money that he lost when he agreed to a pay cut before the regular season. New England gave him the opportunity to make up the difference via incentives, and McCourty is well on his way to hitting those incentives. The same cannot be said for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, however.
  • Reiss also notes that Kenjon Barner, who has been shuttled on and off of the Patriots‘ roster several times since September 12, may have a little more job security right now. Barner’s former club, the Eagles, are very much in need of RB help, and the Pats know that if they cut Barner again, they may not get him back.
  • Darryl Slater of NJ.com tweets that Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, who is dealing with a serious illness, is on the sidelines for the team’s game against the Colts today. It does not sound as if he has resumed his coordinator responsibilities yet, but it is a good sign nonetheless.

East Notes: Giants, Manning, Eagles

Is Eli Manning to blame for the Giants’ 1-4 start? That’s not necessarily a new question in New Jersey. People in the Giants organization began wondering if Manning was hindering the offense as early as four or five years ago, sources with knowledge of the club’s thinking tell Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.

Recently, Odell Beckham Jr. made waves by questioning Manning’s effectiveness, among other things. One could argue that the offensive line is hindering the passing game, but that excuse might not hold up after the Giants signed left tackle Nate Solder to a four-year, $62MM deal with $34.8MM guaranteed.

Last year, Giants fans revolted when the club benched Manning in order to audition backup Geno Smith. Ultimately, the Giants reversed course by reinstate Manning as the starter and tossing GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo on the Turnpike. If the Giants continue to struggle this year, the new regime might be able to move on from Manning without fan interference.

Manning’s contract runs through the end of the 2019 season, but the Giants can release him this offseason with just $6.2MM in dead money versus a cap savings of $17MM. The $17MM savings won’t be enough to sign an elite quarterback (if there is one available), but the Giants could find their signal caller of the future in the draft, particularly if they’re picking in the top five.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • Eagles running back Jay Ajayi is done for the year after suffering a torn ACL, but he’s protected thanks to a unique insurance policy, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes. Ajayi’s loss-of-value insurance policy will cover him up to $5MM, tax free, in the event that his open market value dips to the point where he is a lower-level free agent. The exact parameters of his policy are unknown, but if Ajayi was valued as being able to earn a four-year, $16MM deal before the injury, but nets just $8MM over four years after the ACL tear, the policy will nearly make up the difference. Most players do not have policies such as this, but it’s something that pending free agents should probably look into. Rapoport hears that this type of insurance can cost between $80K-$100K, and that’s a relative drop in the bucket for players who are in the mix for mega deals.
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles says that defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers visited the team facility on Thursday and there is a “small chance” that he will coach this weekend (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the Daily News). Rodgers is dealing with an undisclosed medical issue that Bowles says is “serious.”

Extra Points: NFLPA, Rodgers, Jets, Tannehill, Dolphins, Patriots, Gillislee

NFLPA boss DeMaurice Smith traveled to Houston to meet with the Texans about a potential upcoming labor battle according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Wilson writes that Smith’s message to the team was “that it’s time to get prepared with a labor battle looming on the horizon.” The current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2021, and a “potential work stoppage is a strong potential scenario” Wilson writes.

Many players have voiced their displeasure with the CBA in recent years, and it sounds like another lockout is a strong possibility. Some players have even referred to a lockout as an inevitability due to how far apart players and owners are on several key issues. The league infamously had a lockout in 2011, and it’s now widely agreed that the owners won those negotiations. The players will likely drive much harder bargains this time around, and demand greater guarantees in contracts. It will be a fascinating situation to watch develop as we get closer and closer to the expiration of the CBA.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • It was reported earlier this week that Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers was dealing with a “serious” health injury, and now Mike Garafolo of NFL Network has new details (Twitter link). Garafolo writes that it “sounds like it could be an extended absence as he focuses on his health.” Rodgers missed the Jets’ win over the Broncos today, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be back anytime soon.
  • Ryan Tannehill has had a rough couple of weeks, and his performance today was so bad that it prompted reporters to ask Dolphins coach Adam Gase after the game if Tannehill would be benched moving forward. Gase responded that Tannehill wouldn’t be benched yet according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), but it’s still surprising that it’s reached that point. The Dolphins have only Brock Osweiler and David Fales behind him on the depth chart.
  • It was reported earlier that the Patriots were planning on doing something to address the fact that they had just two running backs on the roster, and now we might have an idea what. New England has “been in contact” with ex-Patriot Mike Gillislee a source told Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link). Gillislee was recently cut by the Saints, and it sounds like we could see a reunion soon.

 

Jets Not Considering Coaching Change

Although the Jets have struggled to a 1-3 start, and although head coach Todd Bowles‘ job has not felt particularly safe for the last couple of years, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Gang Green is not considering any staff changes at this point.

Indeed, the fact that the team is starting a rookie signal-caller will certainly buy Bowles — who signed an extension that runs through 2020 last December — a little bit of time. But Sam Darnold‘s development over the course of the season will be critical to Bowles’ status with the club moving forward, especially since the Jets seem to have regressed in many ways from last year, when a weak roster scrapped its way to a 5-7 record through the first 12 games of the season (before finishing 5-11 and in the AFC East cellar for the second straight campaign).

Plus, Bowles’ game management has again come under fire in 2018, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com criticized Bowles this morning for his conservative approach. While ownership is not mulling a coaching change right now, things could change if the Jets do not begin playing more soundly as the season progresses. La Canfora says he would not be surprised if New York is in the market for a new head coach in 2019, especially if a candidate with a strong offensive resume becomes available. To date, Bowles has compiled a 21-31 record with the Jets and has failed to make the playoffs (though the team did come close in 2015, Bowles’ first year on the job).

In related news, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv tweets that Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers could be out for several weeks as he deals with a serious illness. Bowles will call the team’s defensive plays in Rodgers’ absence.

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Jets DC Kacy Rodgers Dealing With “Serious” Illness

Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers is dealing with a “serious” illness, coach Todd Bowles announced on Friday (Twitter link via Darryl Slater of NJ.com). Bowles declined to go into details about Rodgers’ situation and did not say whether he will be available to coach on Sunday. 

He’s a tough guy,” Bowles said. “It’s a serious thing.”

Rodgers, 49, joined the Jets in 2015 following the hiring of Bowles. Bowles and Rodgers have a long history together, having served on the same coaching staffs for three different NFL teams over the course of 13 years.

Last month, it was rumored that Bowles would strip Rodgers of some of the play calling duties. Bowles adamantly denied the rumors, despite the team’s defensive struggles.

One hundred percent false, a complete lie. If somebody said it, it didn’t come out of my mouth,” Bowles said. “I have no idea where it came from. I’ve got nothing else to speak on it. I haven’t done any of it, and I don’t know where it came from. It didn’t happen. It hasn’t happened. I’m pretty much a straight shooter. If I’ve got something to say I will probably say it. It will come out of my mouth. It never came out of my mouth, and it never happened. End of discussion, it never happened. It’s not going to happen. If I want to take the play-calling or call something for the offense, I have that prerogative to do as a head coach. I never did any of that.”

The 1-3 Jets will face the Broncos at home on Sunday.

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University Of Tennessee Interested In Jets DC Kacy Rodgers

The University of Tennessee has expressed interest in hiring Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers to replace former head coach Butch Jones, who was fired on Sunday, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.Kacy Rodgers (Vertical)

Rodgers, 48, offers extensive experience at both the collegiate level and in the state of Tennessee. A Volunteer alum, Rodgers coached in the collegiate ranks from 1994-2001, serving at such locations as Tennessee-Martin and Middle Tennessee State. That familiarity with the state and program could potentially be enticing as Tennessee looks to replace Jones, who fell to 0-6 in the SEC this season with a loss to Missouri on Saturday.

Rodgers was named Todd Bowles‘ defensive coordinator prior to the 2015 campaign, and has posted mixed results during his two-plus-year run as DC. The Jets ranked fifth in defensive DVOA in 2015, but fell to 21st in 2016 and ranks there again this season. Rodgers, though, has had success guiding young players such as safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, interior defender Leonard Williams, and linebacker Darron Lee.

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