Kirby Wilson

Seahawks To Interview Kirby Wilson For OC

The Seahawks have thus far focused their offensive coordinator search on recently fired head coaches, being connected to Anthony Lynn, Adam Gase and Doug Pederson. The team has a longtime assistant on its radar as well.

Raiders running backs coach Kirby Wilson is expected to interview for the Seahawks’ OC post, according to’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). While this will be Wilson’s first OC interview since he met with the Ravens about their play-calling position in 2014 — a search that ended with Gary Kubiak landing the job — he has a history with Pete Carroll.

Wilson’s first NFL coaching gig came as the Patriots’ running backs coach during Carroll’s three-year stay in the late 1990s. Carroll then hired Wilson as USC’s wide receivers coach during his first year with the Trojans in 2001. Wilson, 59, has been back in the NFL since 2002, having served as running backs coach for seven teams over the past 19 seasons. He has been with the Raiders for two seasons.

The Seahawks have used only two offensive coordinators over the past 10 seasons — Darrell Bevell and Brian Schottenheimer. The team parted ways with Schottenheimer after three seasons last week. Pederson has bowed out of the running for this job early, not intending to coach next season.

Raiders Hire Former Jets OC John Morton

The Jets’ offensive coordinator for one season, John Morton will return to an NFL sideline after missing the 2018 season. The Raiders announced they hired him as a senior offensive assistant.

Morton will find his way to a Jon Gruden‘s staff. While Gruden and Morton have not worked together as coaches, they have been in the same organization multiple times.

Gruden was a young Packers wide receivers coach for two seasons in the 1990s. An NFL receiver hopeful, Morton spent time on Green Bay’s practice squad in 1993. Gruden also paved the way for Morton’s post-playing career in the league, giving him a job as a Raiders executive in the late ’90s.

Morton, 49, joins Kirby Wilson and Taver Johnson as new Raiders hires.

Wilson also has a history with Gruden, serving as running backs coach for his first two Buccaneers teams. Wilson has since coached running backs with five other teams. In total, the 57-year-old assistant has now been on an NFL staff as running backs coach for nine NFL franchises since 1997. His most recent gig turned out to be a one-year role, serving on one-and-done Cardinals coach Steve Wilks‘ staff.

The Raiders will bring Johnson back to the NFL after a 15-year hiatus. Set to become the Raiders’ assistant defensive backs coach, Johnson has been a college assistant since 2005, rising to positions of Miami (Ohio) and Temple DC. In 2018, Johnson coached Ohio State’s cornerbacks. He was a Browns assistant in 2004.

Morton, whose lone Jets offense ranked 28th in total yardage, clashed with Jets coach Todd Bowles and had issues with some Jets coaches. He will have a chance to rebuild his coaching reputation with a rebuilding team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Lions, Cardinals, Bears

Matt Patricia is already adding to his new coaching staff. Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Lions have hired Paul Pasqualoni. The coach’s role in Detroit is unclear, although Charean Williams of wonders if he could be the team’s new defensive coordinator.

Pasqualoni, 68, has bounced between the NFL and NCAA during his long coaching career. In the NFL, he served as defensive coordinator of the Dolphins and Cowboys, and he was head coach at Syracuse for more than a decade. In fact, Patricia coached under Pasqualoni with the Orange during the early 2000s. Pasqualoni spent the past two seasons serving as the defensive line coach at Boston College.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • The Cardinals have hired a college coach to fill out their staff. Sporting News’ Alex Marvez reports that the team has hired Charlie Harbison as their new cornerbacks coach. The 59-year-old last served as the co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. The Cardinals have also hired Kirby Wilson as their new running backs coach. Wilson spent the past two seasons in the same role with the Browns.
  • Former Steelers great Hines Ward was hoping to be considered for the team’s wide receivers coach job before it went to Darryl DrakeMarvez writes. Ward, who currently works as a contributor for CNN Sports, remains interested in coaching. “There was some interest, but I can’t hire myself,” Ward said. “If the opportunity presents itself, it’s something where I’d have to sit down and seriously think about it.
  • Following news that Bears coach Matt Nagy had added Brad Childress to his staff as an offensive consultant, it sounds like the coach isn’t finished with his hires. Adam Caplan tweets that the Bears are also expected to hire Brian Ginn as an offensive assistant. Ginn was at Delaware for almost two decades, where he served as offensive coordinator (among many other roles).
  • The Bears are also expected to hire Bill Shuey as a defensive assistant, reports Caplan (via Twitter). Shuey previously served as the Eagles linebackers coach, where he coached alongside Nagy. Shuey also had a stint as defensive coordinator at Division III Widener for a handful of seasons.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Haley, Dolphins

Here’s a look at the AFC:

  • Quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner is considered the favorite to take over for Todd Haley as the Steelers‘ new offensive coordinator, Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter) hears. Rapoport notes that Fichtner is close with offensive line coach Mike Munchak as well as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which could give him the leg up. However, no decision has been made yet.
  • Kirby Wilson, the Steelers‘ running backs coach under Mike Tomlin during his first seven seasons with Pittsburgh, is another candidate to replace Haley as OC, Ed Bouchette of the Post Gazette (on Twitter) hears. Interestingly, Munchak’s name has not come up as a OC candidate yet, even though he declined a second interview with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
  • Former Denver assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville is headed to the Dolphins as running backs coach/run game coordinator (Twitter link via Jeff Legwold of Studesville has ties to Dolphins head coach Adam Gase since both men were on the Broncos’ staff together both under Josh McDaniels and John Fox.

Coaching Rumors: Browns, Raiders, Bears

Even though new Browns lead football man John Dorsey is keeping current head coach Hue Jackson, he has just gotten started in reshaping the team’s coaching staff. Apart from hiring Ken Zampese and Adam Henry as the organization’s quarterbacks and wide receivers coaches earlier this week, the team has let go of five staff members from this past season, according to Tony Grossi of (Twitter link). Grossi reports that the team has moved on from former QB’s coach David Lee, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, running back coordinator Kirby Wilson, special teams assistant Shawn Mennenga and special teams quality control coach Stan Watson. Dorsey has brought a new look to the Browns front office and he’ll now remake the team’s coaching staff given this new coaching news.

Here’s more coaching news from around the league:

  • Raiders new head coach Jon Gruden has brought in a number of new coaches to join his staff for the 2018 season. But there is one coach that is definitely being retained from Jack Del Rio’s previous coaching crew. Assistant wide receivers coach Nick Holz is being retained, per Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link). While Holz is the only holdover as of now, Caplan does note that many other Del Rio staffers are currently being reviewed by the organization.
  • Matt Nagy has began filling out the Bears coaching staff for next season. The team announced that they have hired former NFL receiver Mike Furrey to coach their wideout group. Furrey was recently the head coach at Limestone College and played with Nagy in the AFL back in 2002. Furrey will likely inherit a much different group of receivers than the team had in 2017.
  • Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown is expected to return to the team in 2018, sources tell Todd Archer of It was previously reported that while Dallas had wanted to retain him, he had also drawn interest from the Raiders and Texans.
  • While many hires are being reported, the Chargers are losing their tight ends coach John McNulty to the college ranks. McNulty will join Rutgers as their offensive coordinator for the next season, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). McNulty previously worked as an assistant coach for the Scarlet Knights from 2004-2008.



AFC Coaching Notes: Broncos, Browns, Jaguars

Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is set to interview with the Broncos today, and Ian Rapoport of tweets that the Denver gig is the job that Shanahan “identifies with.” The reporter notes that the coordinator is also intrigued by the Jaguars head coaching position.

In a separate tweet, Rapoport notes that Shanahan will “be picky and patient” as he decides which opportunity he wants to pursue. As our head coaching tracker shows, the 37-year-old is also set to meet with the Rams and 49ers.

Let’s take a look at some other coaching notes coming out of the AFC…

  • Chiefs’ special teams coordinator Dave Toub interviewed for the Broncos head coaching gig this morning, and Mike Klis of Denver7 writes that the coach impressed the organization during the four-hour meeting.
  • Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is considered a favorite for the Broncos head coaching gig. If he ends up getting the position, Albert Breer of tweets that former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy could be an option as Denver’s new offensive coordinator.
  • After firing Ray Horton yesterday, the Browns have started searching for a new defensive coordinator. Mary Kay Cabot of tweets that the organization reached out to former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley regarding the opening. ESPN’s Pat McManamon writes that the team also approached Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
  • We learned yesterday that Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is in “prime position” to get the Browns defensive coordinator gig, and Toni Grossi of tweets that Williams would bring at least three additional Rams coaches to Cleveland (assuming he gets the job).
  • Fortunately for the Browns, it appears that at least one coach will be staying put. Cabot tweets that running backs coach Kirby Wilson isn’t expected to go elsewhere. The longtime coach is a “longtime friend” of Browns head coach Hue Jackson.


Browns Hire Ray Horton, Other Coaches

FRIDAY, 8:49am: The Browns have officially confirmed the hiring of Horton as the team’s defensive coordinator, along with the other moves noted below and a few more. Here’s the full list of coaches and titles announced today by the team:

  • Ray Horton, defensive coordinator
  • Pep Hamilton, associate head coach/offense
  • Al Saunders, offensive assistant/wide receivers
  • Kirby Wilson, running backs/run game coordinator
  • Hal Hunter, offensive line
  • Mark Hudson, assistant offensive line
  • Greg Seamon, tight ends
  • Bob Saunders, offensive quality control
  • Shawn Mennenga, special teams assistant
  • Stan Watson, special teams quality control

WEDNESDAY, 7:32pm: In addition to naming Saunders, Hamilton and Wilson to his offensive staff, Jackson has hired Hal Hunter as his O-line coach, Breer tweets. Hunter had been the Colts’ assistant O-line coach since 2013. He was at the helm of the Chargers’ line from 2006-12.

5:08pm: The Browns’ Hue Jackson-led coaching staff is rounding into form. Jackson has hired Ray Horton as his defensive coordinator, reports Mary Kay Cabot of (Twitter link).

Additionally, the Browns have addressed their offensive staff by hiring Al Saunders as a senior assistant, according to Cabot (Twitter link), Pep Hamilton as assistant head coach/offense and Kirby Wilson as their running game coordinator (Twitter links via ESPN’s Josina Anderson).

The last few days have been a whirlwind for Horton, who appeared likely to join the Browns before a report came out that he was negotiating a contract extension with the Titans – whose defensive he coordinated over Pep Hamilton (vertical)the last two seasons. However, the extension didn’t come to fruition and Horton interviewed with the Browns to become their new D-coordinator on Tuesday. Horton is familiar with Cleveland, having coordinated its defense to a top 10 ranking in 2013. Before that, he worked in the same capacity in Arizona from 2011-12. Horton’s defense in Tennessee finished 12th overall in 2015-16, but the team seemingly marginalized his role in the offseason when it hired Dick LeBeau as an assistant head coach. LeBeau was given “complete control” of the defense, and Horton had to report to him during the season as a result. Horton has already put in requests to bring some of the Titans’ defensive coaches to Cleveland, according to Cabot (Twitter link), as he tries to improve a Browns ‘D’ that finished 27th in the league in 2015-16.

Jackson and Saunders have a working relationship that dates back to the 2009 season, when both were with the Ravens. Saunders was also on Jackson’s staff when Jackson was the Raiders’ head coach in 2011. This is the fourth decade in which Saunders has worked as an offensive assistant at the NFL level. The 68-year-old spent this season on the Dolphins’ staff and has been an offensive coordinator with four different teams. While the Browns will value Saunders’ input, Jackson will call the plays.

Hamilton was the Colts’ O-coordinator from 2013 until this past November, when they fired him after their third-ranked attack in 2014 regressed significantly. Part of his duties in Cleveland will entail working with quarterbacks, tweets Albert Breer of Cabot reports (via Twitter) that he’ll be the Browns’ passing game coordinator. The 41-year-old has plenty of experience in that realm, having coached QBs with the Jets (2004), 49ers (2006) and Bears (2007-09) at the pro level.

Prior to joining the Browns, Wilson worked with running backs for six different NFL organizations since 1997, having spent the last three years in Minnesota. The Vikings attempted to keep Wilson, according to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, but the expiration of his contract enabled him to land a promotion with the Browns.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns’ Coaching Staff Targets

9:36pm: The Dolphins wanted to interview Wilson for a running game coordinator position as well, writes Goessling in a full post, but the Vikings blocked Miami’s and Cleveland’s requests with the hope that they could sign Wilson for 2016 and beyond.

9:13pm: Wilson’s Wednesday interview is almost a formality, according to Goessling, who reports (Twitter link) that Wilson is “all but assured” of landing the running game coordinator position.

8:27pm: New Browns head coach Hue Jackson is still working to formulate a coaching staff, and it appears as though several new hires are close to being finalized. Veteran offensive coordinator Al Saunders is expected to join Cleveland as an assistant, according to Mary Kay Cabot of, while former Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson will interview with the club on Wednesday with an eye toward becoming the Browns’ running game coordinator, per Ben Goessling of Saunders (Vertical)

Jackson and Saunders have a working relationship that dates back to the 2009 season, when both were working for the Ravens (they also worked together on the 2011 Raiders), so it’s no surprise that Jason La Canfora of reported this morning that Saunders was a “strong candidate” to join the Cleveland staff. The 68-year-old Saunders offers more than thirty years of NFL coaching experience, and while he won’t be calling plays (Jackson will do that), he’ll presumably help design the club’s weekly game plan.

Meanwhile, Wilson’s contract with the Vikings expired today, per Goessling, so he is now free to negotiate with any team. Previous reports indicated that Minnesota had blocked Cleveland’s request to interview Wilson, but now that he is no longer under contract, the Browns don’t need the Vikings’ approval. Wilson would add yet another voice — including Sanders and possibly Pep Hamilton, whom Jackson is also said to be courting — to Cleveland’s offensive meeting room.

Of course, Saunders and Wilson aren’t the only coaches that Jackson is reportedly eyeing, as we heard this morning that — after much trepidation — Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton interviewed for the same position with the Browns. In her report linked above, Cabot confirmed that today’s scheduled meeting did in fact take place.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns To Go Without Offensive Coordinator?

During a radio interview Friday, Hue Jackson mentioned he does not plan to hire an offensive coordinator after being brought on as the Browns’ head coach, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Jackson will almost certainly call plays in Cleveland this season after doing so in Cincinnati the past two seasons and in Oakland in 2011, when he served as the Raiders’ head coach.

The newly hired Browns HC didn’t rule out the possibility of someone else calling plays but seems intent on doing so himself, and this could well mean the Browns going without an offensive coordinator this season.

Right now in my mind, I don’t really plan on having an offensive coordinator ‘cause I want to reserve that right to call plays,” Jackson said on a Sirius XM Radio appearance.

I think that’s something that’s gotten me this job. So if it’s something that you’re an expert at, I think you want to continue to work at that and keep that in your pocket so you can use it to help your team. Now if I get somebody I really trust who has that [expertise], then obviously I’m very willing to kind of give that away as we go, but it’s got to be somebody I really trust and admire.”

This move would basically make Jackson the head coach/offensive coordinator. Jackson worked with an offensive coordinator in Oakland, Al Saunders, in his 8-8 slate in the Bay Area.

Jackson interviewed ex-Colts OC Pep Hamilton on Friday, per Ulrich, and seeks to bring Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson aboard as a running-game coordinator. Wilbert Montgomery‘s served as Cleveland’s running backs coach the past two seasons.

The Vikings would have to grant the 54-year-old Wilson permission to interview for this job. Wilson has been the coach of six different franchises’ backfields, the longest stint coming with the Steelers from 2007-13. Prior to catching on in Pittsburgh once Mike Tomlin took over in 2007, Wilson coached with the Patriots, Washington, the Buccaneers and Cardinals from 1997-2006, with a one-year stint mixed in as USC’s wide receivers coach.

The Browns ranked 25th this season under first-time OC John DeFilippo.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

Coach Rumors: Giants, Tabor, M. Smith, Haslett

Ben McAdoo didn’t announce any decisions on his coaching staff during his introductory press conference this morning, but the new Giants head coach alluded to players improving in their second season in a defensive scheme, suggesting Steve Spagnuolo will be back.

Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that Spagnuolo will, in fact, return as the Giants’ defensive coordinator. A source tell Marvez (Twitter link) that the Giants will also keep secondary coach David Merritt on McAdoo’s staff.

As for McAdoo, Giants owner John Mara said today that the club had initially scheduled a second interview for him on Thursday of this week. However, when the Giants got wind of the Eagles’ strong interest in McAdoo, they pushed that second interview up a day to Wednesday, and ultimately promoted him to head coach (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News).

Here are a few more coaching-related updates from around the NFL:

  • Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor has been retained by new head coach Hue Jackson, the team announced today in a press release. Tabor has been in his current role since 2011, working under Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine, and now Jackson.
  • The Browns are also expected to add Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson to their staff as a running game coordinator, if Minnesota approves the move, writes Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Former Falcons head coach Mike Smith is a “hot name” as a defensive coordinator and has several options, per Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). We’ll see if Smith, who interviewed for a pair of head coaching jobs, has interest in returning in 2016 as an assistant.
  • Jim Haslett will be named the Bengals‘ new linebackers coach, according to Geoff Hobson of (via Twitter). Haslett, who served as a consultant for Penn State in 2015, was replaced by Joe Barry as Washington’s defensive coordinator a year ago.
  • Saints offensive line coach Bret Ingalls, offensive assistant Kyle DeVan, and secondary coach Wesley McGriff are leaving the team, with the latter two landing college jobs, reports Adam Caplan of (Twitter links). Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune tweets that Dan Roushar will likely move from tight ends coach to offensive line coach to accommodate new addition Dan Campbell.