Kacy Rodgers (Coach)

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Hire Kacy Rodgers As DC

JANUARY 23: The Jets have finally made the hiring of Rodgers official, confirming it in a press release. The team also announced the hiring of Bobby April as special teams coordinator.

JANUARY 16: New Jets head coach Todd Bowles has begun to fill out his staff, as Adam Caplan of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that Dolphins defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers will take over as New York’s defensive coordinator. Reports yesterday indicated that the Dolphins would not block Rodgers’ move to their division rival, and now it sounds like deal will be finalized at some point in the coming days (Twitter link via Caplan). Rodgers, 45, has worked as an NFL assistant since 2003, and his time in Miami overlapped with Bowles’ from 2008-11. He’ll replace Dennis Thurman, who followed ex-Jets coach Rex Ryan to Buffalo.

In South Beach, Rodgers worked with a Dolphins defensive line that included talented players such as Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, and Jared Odrick, and although the club’s entire defense tailed off near the end of the season, it still finished eighth in adjusted sack rate. Miami’s line did contribute to a defensive unit that ranked 24th in rushing yards allowed, however. In New York, Rodgers will employ a similarly talent defensive line — Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson lead a position group that helped the team Jets finish fifth in rushing yards allowed and fourth in adjusted sack rate.

The primary area of focus for Rodgers, then, will be Gang Green’s secondary, which allowed the third-highest passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, and finished 24th in DVOA against the pass. Chief among Rodgers’ assignments will be to mold two recent first-round defensive back selections, corner Dee Milliner and safety Calvin Pryor, in the hopes of fortifying a weak secondary.

Rodgers, a Tennessee alum, coached in the college ranks before joining the Cowboys as a defensive tackles coach in 2003. He’s been in his current role since ’08. As for scheme, it’s unclear what look what Rodgers will use as his base defense — the Dolphins ran an 4-3 front, while Bowles and the Cardinals employed a 3-4 defense. Regardless, the unit will surely look different that than the Ryan-led defense of recent years.

Jets Hire Chan Gailey As OC

At long last, it’s a done deal. The Jets announced tonight that they have hired former Bills head coach Chan Gailey as their new offensive coordinator.

Gailey has been linked to the Jets’ offensive coordinator opening ever since the hiring of Todd Bowles as head coach. However, there have been some bumps in the road in recent weeks. The two sides have ostensibly been haggling over details while other clubs reportedly got in the mix for the veteran coach. Gailey, according to a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post over the weekend, had interest from three other clubs. Ultimately, however, the Jets got Gailey, who was Bowles’ top choice for the gig.

Gailey, who was the head coach for both the Bills and Cowboys, has previously served as an offensive coordinator for the Broncos (1989-’90), Steelers (1997), Dolphins (2000-’01) and Chiefs (2008).

Meanwhile, the Jets are expected to finalize their deal with Kacy Rodgers, despite the starts and stops in recent weeks, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). Rodgers, 45, has worked as an NFL assistant since 2003, and his time in Miami overlapped with Bowles’ from 2008-11. He’ll replace Dennis Thurman, who followed ex-Jets coach Rex Ryan to Buffalo.

East Notes: Cowboys, Rodgers, Bills

The Cowboys will retain coordinators Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan and that’s huge for them in the opinion of former quarterback Troy Aikman. “To maintain the continuity with those two coordinators, two outstanding coordinators, is very, very important for this team moving forward,” Aikman told KTCK-AM (via The Dallas Morning News) “Rod Marinelli, if he had left, I thought that would be a really big blow to that defense. Scott Linehan … he was outstanding all season long. To be able to maintain the running game at difficult points in games throughout the season. To still remain committed to it. We’ve seen, for a number of years, this team get away from the run game. This year’s edition never did. I think it’s a real credit to Scott Linehan.” More from both East divisions..

  • The Dolphins will not block Kacy Rodgers from taking the Jets‘ defensive coordinator job, according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald (on Twitter). However, as of tonight, the deal has not been finalized.
  • A lot of people are skeptical about the Bills‘ quarterback situation with EJ Manuel currently at the helm, but new coach Rex Ryan told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that he’s not concerned. “This is not just about one man or about one position,” Ryan said. “It’s about your team and more importantly the direction of your team, I think from ownership, to president [Russ Brandon], to Doug [Whaley], our General Manager. To me, it seems like everybody wants the same thing and they all feel like there is a certain way to get there. That’s where we are tied in and we are behind each other 100 percent. I think that’s something really important to me and obviously, I think, with the players we have as well, it is a great mesh.”
  • With the Cowboys in need of salary cap space, cornerback Brandon Carr could be released or forced to take a pay cut. Owner Jerry Jones sounds intent on trimming his income, which is set to count against the cap for $12.7MM in 2015. “Carr played well this year and I’m not as critical of Carr as others,” Jones said. “But that’s a lot of money. One thing that we just got to do is we’ve got to make sure that every way we can, we get the value for the money,” Jones said, according to Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin hit his full escalator worth $900K, so his base salary for 2015 will rise from $5.5MM to $6.4MM, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter).
  • The Dolphins have 16 free agents this offseason and a dozen of them are unrestricted. James Walker of ESPN.com looked at one of those UFAs earlier today when he examined defensive tackle Jared Odrick. Odrick will probably get the most interest from teams with 3-4 schemes and Miami isn’t expected to make much of a push for him. The Dolphins need the cap space and Odrick’s spat with coach Joe Philbin doesn’t help his cause.