Keith Armstrong

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, McAdoo, Fins

The Cardinals interviewed two more head coach candidates today, but the search will continue into next week, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports. The Cardinals have met with Steve Wilks and Keith Armstrong twice and will not need to interview current defensive coordinator James Bettcher another time because of his history with the organization. The team will also interview John DeFilippo and Brian Flores next week, per Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

In addition, Somer states that the team could look at giving Jim Schwartz a second interview, but Jurecki did not mention the Eagles defensive coordinator in his tweet. The search is mostly continuing because both the Eagles and Patriots will be playing in their respective conference championships, so depending on how the games shake out, Arizona could resolve their head coaching search by the end of next week.

Finally, Somers importantly notes that former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has recommended Bettcher and Armstrong among this pool of coaches the front office is considering.

Here are more a coaching notes from around the NFL:

  • In more Cardinals coaching staff news, now two former staffers have now left for new opportunities, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In addition to former special teams coordinator Amos Jones moving onto the same position with the Browns, former wide receiver coach Darryl Drake has been hired by the Steelers.
  • Hue Jackson is adding an offensive coordinator to his staff and have interviewed former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for the job. He interviewed with the Browns three days ago and apparently “It went fine”, a Browns source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Anderson adds that the source mentioned that they are “Just not going to rush into anything” after speaking to two candidates as of right now. Cleveland is also interviewing a high profile college coach in LSU’s RB coach Tommy Robinson for the same position on their staff, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The Dolphins announced a slew of coaching moves today. The biggest apart from Dowell Loggains being brought on as offensive coordinator is former OC Clyde Christensen being reassigned as the team’s new director of football and player development. Shawn Jefferson was wide receivers coach, but will now be an assistant head coach working with the offense. They are also are promoting Ben Johnson to WR coach. He got experience with this group of players as an assistant WR coach last season.
  • The Bears have named Brock Olivo as the team’s new assistant special teams coach, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Olivo was the Broncos’ special teams coordinator last year and was with Matt Nagy on the Chiefs’ staff from 2014-16 as an assistant to special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He previously was a former running back for the Lions back in his playing days.
  • The Texans have promoted Anthony Midget to the team’s secondary coach, according to Mark Berman of Fox26 (Twitter link). Berman also notes that they have also hired Danny Barret as the RB coach and Tracy Smith as an assistant special teams coach.

Cardinals Complete Second Interviews With Keith Armstrong, Steve Wilks

With the Giants, Colts and Lions all having head coaches likely to accept job offers, the Cardinals continue to talk to different candidates about their vacant head coaching gig. Today, the team has just completed a second interview with Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link) and Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

Keith Armstrong (vertical)

Armstrong originally spoke to the team on January 8, but received a second interview request after it was revealed that other potential candidates Matt Patricia and Pat Shurmur would likely accept other jobs after their respective teams are eliminated from the postseason.

The 54-year-old Armstrong has held his special teams post in Atlanta since 2008. The Cardinals have been the only team that has requested to interview him for a head coaching role. On the other hand, Wilks has been spoken to a number of teams about their vacant head coaching gigs, including the Titans, who still have their spot open.

Arizona is still considering multiple coaches, including current defensive coordinator James Bettcher, Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo, Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals To Interview Keith Armstrong Again

Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong will have a second interview with the Cardinals for their head coach position on Friday, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Armstrong first interviewed with the club on Jan. 8 and did well enough to warrant another look. Keith Armstrong (vertical)

The Cardinals seem have at least three finalists for the job. Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is coming back for a second interview and Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores is also in line for another meeting. Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak was asked to come back for another powwow, but he declined the team’s invitation.

The Falcons interviewed Armstrong for their own head coaching position in 2015, but they ultimately wound up hiring Dan Quinn. This could be the offseason that Armstrong gets his opportunity to lead his own team, though he has some steep competition in quarterback whisperer DeFilippo plus others who have OC/DC experience like Steve Wilks of the Panthers.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Wilks, Bears, Chiefs, Cards

Steve Wilks has set up three interviews for this week. The Giants will receive the first opportunity to meet with the Panthers’ DC, with ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson reporting (on Twitter) Wilks will trek to New Jersey to meet with the Dave Gettleman-led group on Tuesday before flying to Arizona to meet with the Cardinals on Wednesday. Following those meetings, the Colts will host Wilks on Thursday, Mike Wells of ESPN.com tweets. These aren’t the only teams interested in securing a sitdown with Wilks. The Lions remain interested in doing so as well, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

The Giants will complete both Wilks’ and Eric Studesville‘s interviews by Wednesday, with the former Broncos running backs coach set for a Wednesday powwow, per ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (Twitter link). This duo will mark the fifth and sixth interviews the Giants will have conducted. After these summits, Big Blue management could be ready to make a decision. With the Eagles still in the playoffs and no Jim Schwartz interview conducted, it could put the Giants to a decision: wait on Schwartz and risk losing some of these aforementioned candidates or hire one of them instead.

Here’s the latest from the coaching circuit.

  • A possible favorite has already emerged to replace Matt Nagy as the Chiefs‘ OC. Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy will be “strongly considered,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The 48-year-old Bienemy served as Colorado’s OC from 2011-12 and has coached the Chiefs’ running backs since Andy Reid‘s arrival in 2013. Bienemy could have a clearer path to this job with former K.C. OC Brad Childress planning to retire.
  • Nagy wants to retain Vic Fangio with the Bears, both Peter Schrager of NFL.com and the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs note (Twitter links). But Fangio has interest elsewhere — from the Bengals and Packers — and could opt to depart Chicago after being passed over for the HC job.
  • Chicago may also look to retain a few assistants who worked under John Fox. Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone is a candidate to stay under Nagy despite the new HC making his NFL name by working with QBs. The Bears respected Ragone’s work with Trubisky, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets, and adds Nagy and Ragone share an agent. Biggs tweets tight ends coach Frank Smith and defensive line coach Jay Rodgers are candidates to stay put as well.
  • The Browns‘ interviews with OC candidates Ken Zampese and Sean Ryan will take place this week. Rapoport reports (via Twitter) Zampese will receive the first meeting, which will occur today, with Ryan’s interview scheduled for Wednesday. A second-generation NFL assistant, Zampese spent the past 15 seasons with the Bengals before his second year as OC ended after just two games. A nine-year Giants staffer who is currently the Texans’ QBs coach, Ryan does not have any history with Hue Jackson like Zampese does.
  • Ron Rivera does not anticipate the Panthers making any staff changes beyond possibly replacing Wilks, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. This would mean OC Mike Shula is in line to return for a sixth season.
  • Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong‘s Cardinals interview is set for Monday in Atlanta, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. Armstrong is allowed to interview under NFL rules despite the Falcons winning in the wild-card round.

Cardinals To Interview Keith Armstrong

We have a new name in the Cardinals’ coaching search. The Cardinals will interview Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong about their vacancy, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter) hears. The interview will take place next week, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweetsKeith Armstrong (vertical)

[RELATED: Cardinals To Interview DC James Bettcher]

The Falcons interviewed Armstrong for their own head coaching position in 2015, a search that ended with the hiring of Dan Quinn. In the following year, there was speculation that Todd Bowles would try and lure him to the Jets as ST coordinator, but the Falcons were unwilling to allow him to make a lateral move. The Falcons are expected to OK the interview, though it will have to take place after Atlanta’s Wild Card game on Saturday.

Armstrong has more than 20 years of professional head coaching experience and is highly respected in NFL circles, but it’s not often that a special teams coordinator makes the direct jump to HC.

Arizona defensive coordinator James Bettcher will also be interviewed for the position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Falcons, Patriots, Titans

Some assorted coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • The Falcons aren’t expected to let Keith Armstrong join the Jets as the organization’s special teams coordinator, writes Kimberly A. Martin of Newsday.com. The coach has a strong relationship with Todd Bowles, but since Armstrong has two years left on his contract, it’s unlikely Atlanta would let him leave for a lateral move.
  • Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will interview for the Browns head coaching gig today, tweets Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that despite the amount of interest, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels isn’t expected to interview for any head coaching jobs this week.
  • The Titans have requested permission to interview Jaguars assistant Doug Marrone, tweets ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team has also asked to interview Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, but that request was denied.
  • Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is in the running for both the Eagles and Giants head coaching jobs, tweets ESPN’s Bill Williamson. The writer also passes along that Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is the favorite for his team’s head coaching gig.

South Notes: Falcons, Colts, Saints, Texans

In addition to announcing Dan Quinn as their new head coach today, the Falcons confirmed several other members of their coaching staff, via a team release. As previously reported, Kyle Shanahan will serve as the offensive coordinator in Atlanta, while Richard Smith will be the defensive coordinator and Raheem Morris will hold the title of assistant head coach and defensive passing game coordinator.

Other members of Quinn’s staff include Bobby Turner (RBs coach), Mike LaFleur (offensive assistant), Keith Armstrong (ST coordinator), Bryan Cox (DL coach), Wade Harman (TEs coach), Terry Robiskie (WRs coach), and Eric Sutulovich (assistant ST coach).

Here’s more on the Falcons and a few other teams from the NFC South and AFC South:

  • Perhaps more interesting than any of the Falcons‘ assistant coach announcements was the revelation that Quinn will indeed have control of the 53-man roster, as had been speculated (Twitter link via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution). As Albert Breer of the NFL Network tweets, GM Thomas Dimitroff still has final say over the draft and free agency, so it’s a setup similar to the one in Seattle.
  • Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will get paid, but Stephen Holder of the Indy Star doesn’t necessarily see it happening this offseason. When Luck does get that fat contract, likely worth $20-$25MM annually, it won’t leave the Colts completely thin across the board as the team has been anticipating this for quite some time. The Colts currently rank in the bottom half of the league in current spending, giving them significant flexibility both this year and in years to come.
  • Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune writes that the Saints will still have to do some serious financial maneuvering this offseason beyond turning roster bonuses into signing bonuses. That maneuvering, while keeping the Saints “legal” for the start of the new league year on March 10, would leave no room for signing new players or improving the roster. Many have said that the Saints will be impeded by their big spending, but Woodbery notes that they have found themselves in this spot before. Last offseason, they didn’t find themselves with a lot of breathing room, but they still found a way to sign safety Jairus Byrd to a large multi-year deal.
  • The Texans have hired Mike Devlin (OL coach), Pat O’Hara (offensive assistant), and Paul Pasqualoni (DL coach), and promoted Anthony Pleasant to a defensive assistant role, the team announced today in a press release.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Coach Notes: Joseph, Broncos, Falcons, Bears

It’s been a busy day so far for coaching movement around the NFL, as a pair of 2014 head coaches – Doug Marrone and Dennis Allen – found new assistant roles. Two NFC teams also reached agreements with new defensive coordinators, with the Bears landing Vic Fangio and Washington hiring Joe Barry.

There are still several notable openings around the league, and a handful of coaching-related updates to pass along this afternoon, so let’s dive right in…

  • Buzz around the league still suggests that Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph is a favorite for the Broncos‘ defensive coordinator vacancy, tweets Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. However, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports that the Bengals would still need to grant Joseph permission to leave his position in Cincinnati, which the team has yet to do.
  • While there’s some work to be done on the defensive side of the ball, Gary Kubiak and the Broncos have finalized their offensive staff, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, who passes along the details in his latest piece.
  • Multiple sources tell Marvez that presumed Falcons head coach Dan Quinn will retain Atlanta’s defensive line coach Bryan Cox and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. It’s not clear if Cox will hold the same title under Quinn, but the plan is for him to work with the Falcons’ front seven, writes Marvez.
  • In addition to reaching an agreement with Fangio today, the Bears also parted ways with several assistants, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. Jahns tweets that linebackers coach Reggie Herring, tight ends coach Andy Bischoff, and special teams assistant Dwayne Stukes won’t return to the club.
  • Appearing on The John Murphy Show (audio link via BuffaloBills.com), Bills co-owner Kim Pegula admitted that the team didn’t have Rex Ryan on its short list heading into the head coaching interview process, but loved the impression he made in his interview (hat tip to Pro Football Talk). “Rex almost was a candidate we put in there because obviously his name was all around as a candidate that was open and we really didn’t give much thought to him,” Pegula said. “We had obviously interviewed a lot of people before him. And he came in and I think we were just very pleasantly surprised at how very down to earth he really was in person and his love of the game and some of the things that he said on what he really wanted to do with his life and where he wanted to help us as being part of the team.”

Coach Updates: Linehan, Gase, Rams, Falcons

The Cowboys and offensive play-caller Scott Linehan have agreed to terms on a new contract that will keep him in Dallas, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). On the heels of Jason Garrett‘s extension, Linehan is the second assistant – along with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli – to come to an agreement with the team on a new deal.

What remains to be seen is whether Linehan will keep his current job title — as Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets, offensive coordinator Bill Callahan is exploring potential options with other teams and has “multiple big-money offers,” so if Callahan doesn’t return to the Cowboys, perhaps his OC title goes to Linehan for the 2015 season.

Here’s more on coaching openings around the NFL:

  • The Rams have requested permission to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase for their own OC opening, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Gase has primarily been a head coaching candidate this offseason, but didn’t end up landing with the 49ers, who were viewed as his most aggressive suitor. Gase is reportedly still under consideration as a head coaching option in Denver.
  • While Dan Quinn is considered the frontrunner for the Falcons‘ head coaching vacancy, don’t rule out Teryl Austin, who has a “legit chance,” says Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, adding that Austin’s second interview with the club is happening now (Twitter links).
  • Speaking of the Falcons, they’re “blocking a raid” on their coaching staff, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution details, having denied the Jets permission to interview special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and having also turned away the Raiders, who wanted to speak to offensive line coach Mike Tice. Despite not having a head coach in place yet, the club wants to make most of the current staff available to the new coach.
  • With Todd Bowles headed to New York, the Cardinals intend to promote one of their current defensive assistants to the defensive coordinator position, though the team isn’t sure yet which assistant will get the job, tweets Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Somers adds that the new DC should get some help from Dick LeBeau, whom the Cards want to hire as a senior assistant.
  • 49ers players had overwhelmingly positive reactions to news that Jim Tomsula would be promoted to head coach, writes Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, rounding up the most notable comments from Niners players.
  • Candidates for the Giants‘ defensive coordinator opening – including Dennis Allen, Pepper Johnson, Raheem Morris, and Steve Spagnuolo – expect a decision by week’s end, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link).

Coach Updates: Pep, Shanahan, Trestman

Although previous reports indicated that Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton wouldn’t take any interviews this week due to logistical concerns, Hamilton actually did find the time to speak with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie after Indianapolis’ victory on Sunday night, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the meeting wasn’t a formal interview, but McKenzie was very impressed with Hamilton, and Oakland believes the 40-year-old OC could play a significant role in the development of quarterback Derek Carr (TwitLonger link via Josina Anderson of ESPN). Let’s look at some more notes on head coaching vacancies around the league:

  • The Bills have requested permission to interview Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for their head coaching position, per Schefter (Twitter link). Shanahan, 35, has called plays for the Texans and Washington in addition to Cleveland, and although he’s been linked to the 49ers vacancy this offseason, this is the first official interest displayed by another club.
  • In their search to find a new offensive coordinator, the Buccaneers have interviewed former Bears head coach Marc Trestman, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Trestman, of course, would have some familiarity with Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown, who started five games for Chicago in 2013. The Bucs have also met with Greg Roman and Dirk Koetter, two in-limbo play-callers, as they look for their new OC.
  • The Falcons have interviewed special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong for their head coaching job, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The interview, which satisfies the Rooney Rule, could pave the way for Atlanta to hire Rex Ryan after his interview on Tuesday, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who adds that the hiring process could pick up this week.
  • Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is one of the most popular head coaching candidates available, and he’ll meet with four teams this week, tweets Rapoport. He’ll do one interview per day starting on Wednesday, starting with the Jets, and finishing the week with the Falcons, 49ers, and Bears. Per Anderson (via TwitLonger), Bowles is open to working with a team that “needs development on either side of the ball,” but wants a strong front office and a few key pieces that he can work with.
  • Doug Marrone is considered the favorite to land the Jets HC job, but according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), his interview with New York did not go well. This report comes on the heels of Marrone’s assistant head coach from his time at Syracuse calling him “self-centered, selfish, [and] greedy” (link via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News).
  • Despite rumors to the contrary, La Canfora says (Twitter link) that UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. does not have an interview scheduled with the Jets. Speculation has arisen that Mora Jr. is looking to make a return to the NFL, but it sounds like nothing is planned with Gang Green at this time.