Klint Kubiak

Coaching Rumors: Rizzi, Dennison, Browns

Darren Rizzi interviewed for the Dolphins coaching job that is likely to go to Brian Flores, but the special teams coordinator is a coveted commodity around the league. The Packers are set to interview him, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Miami wants to retain Rizzi, who has been with the team throughout the 2010s, but has given him permission to seek employment elsewhere. That may soon prompt an extensive interview circuit. Five teams are interested in bringing him aboard, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. The Vikings look to be one of those. Rizzi, 48, has only coached for one NFL franchise. His pre-Dolphins gigs were college jobs in the northeast, including a one-season stay (2008) as Rhode Island’s head coach.

As week three of many teams’ offseason begins, here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • Todd Monken‘s rise to Buccaneers play-caller earned him interest in teams’ OC jobs. He ended up landing with the Browns, but the other recent play-caller on this staff will call Cleveland’s plays next season. Freddie Kitchens will be the game-day director for the Browns’ offense next season, Pat McManamon of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). This won’t be too new for Monken, who spent the first two seasons as Bucs OC watching Dirk Koetter call plays.
  • The Vikings announced Klint Kubiak (quarterbacks coach) and Brian Pariani (tight ends) are following Gary Kubiak to Minnesota, with the latter’s official title being assistant head coach/offensive advisor. Expected to be part of the Gary Kubiak gang getting back together up north, Rick Dennison was not included in this announcement. But Mike Klis of 9News notes the former Broncos and Bills OC is indeed believed to be part of the next Vikings staff (Twitter link). When Kubiak agreed to reprise his longtime role as Broncos OC, he wanted Dennison to oversee the team’s offensive line concepts, per Klis. The Broncos’ pursuit of Mike Munchak overruled this, and Dennison — the Jets’ O-line coach in 2018 — could be set to have a role in aiding the Vikings’ blockers next season.
  • Speaking of Munchak, the Broncos went beyond their usual offensive line coach budget to bring him over from Pittsburgh, Klis notes (on Twitter). Munchak, who has coached for just two franchises (the Oilers/Titans and Steelers), has family in the area.
  • The Steelers promoted Shaun Sarrett to replace Munchak as their O-line coach, the team announced. Sarrett had previously served as the team’s assistant offensive line coach. He has been with the Steelers for seven seasons, helping instruct their offensive linemen for most of that time.
  • After the Steelers let running backs coach James Saxon go, he will move to Arizona. The Cardinals are hiring Saxon to coach their running backs, Aditi Kinkabwala of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). He will replace Kirby Wilson and attempt to revive Arizona’s No. 32-ranked ground game. Saxon has 19 years’ experience coaching running backs in the NFL — the past five with the Steelers, where he oversaw Le’Veon Bell‘s rise and James Conner and Jaylen Samuels‘ quality replacement efforts — and should help rookie NFL coach Kliff Kingsbury.
  • Kris Kocurek will move from south Florida to the Bay Area, shifting from the Dolphins’ defensive line coach to the same role with the 49ers, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM tweets. Kocurek, 40, was the Lions’ D-line coach for nine seasons prior to moving to Miami.

Vikings To Hire Gary Kubiak

Gary Kubiak will not return to an offensive coordinator role in 2019. Instead, he will take a job with the Vikings as an offensive advisor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

He was linked to a Minnesota role earlier Monday, and his son’s new position likely played a key role. Klint Kubiak is expected to become the Vikings’ quarterbacks coach, Schefter reports.

This will be Gary Kubiak’s first time on the sidelines in a non-HC role since he was the 2014 Ravens’ OC. He will undoubtedly help OC Kevin Stefanski, whose first NFL play-calling experience came when he was promoted late this season to his current role.

Stefanski is close with Klint Kubiak, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). They worked together when Klint was part of the Vikings’ staffs in 2013-14 as a quality control coach. Gary Kubiak once wanted to bring Stefanski to Denver, per Schefter (on Twitter), but they will pair up in Minneapolis instead.

This also represents a key turning point on the 2019 coaching carousel. Less than a week ago, Kubiak was expected to return to the Broncos’ coaching staff as their offensive coordinator, teaming with new HC Vic Fangio. But conflicts, centering around personnel, scuttled that move. And it will end up sending Kubiak out of Denver, where he held his “dream job” and became a Super Bowl-winning coach.

Interestingly, the two assistants Kubiak reportedly wanted to bring back to Denver, per 9News’ Mike Klis, will follow him to Minnesota. Former Broncos OC Rick Dennison and ex-Denver tight ends coach Brian Pariani will be part of the Vikings’ staff next season, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM tweets, adding that Kubiak’s title is expected to be something along the lines of “assistant head coach/offense.” With Kubiak influencing staff moves to this degree, it looks like he is going to have a key voice for how the Vikings proceed next season. And the Vikings’ 2019 offensive staff will look a lot like the 2016 Broncos’ did.

These moves may well be based around Kirk Cousins. Mike Shanahan drafted Cousins and championed him as a future starter, though Cousins’ time realizing his former coach’s vision came under Jay Gruden. But Shanahan and Kubiak feature nearly identical offensive systems, making Kubiak-to-Minnesota a natural fit.

At 31, Klint Kubiak is a few months older than Cousins. He worked with quarterbacks in Denver for the past three seasons, the first under his father and most recent two when Gary Kubiak was part of the Broncos’ front office. Dennison served as Kubiak’s Denver OC from 2015-16 but was relieved of that job in Buffalo after the 2017 season. He coached the Jets’ offensive line last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Stefanski, Schiano

Former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is a “strong candidate” to become the Jets‘ defensive coordinator under new head coach Adam Gase, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). While it doesn’t sound as though New York has officially reached out to Joseph yet, the connection makes sense, as Joseph served as Gase’s DC in 2016 before landing the top job in Denver. Joseph interviewed for the Bengals’ head coaching job and remains a candidate there, but the Jets clearly present something of a fallback plan.

On the offensive side of the ball, Dowell Loggains — who worked under Gase with both the Bears and Dolphins — is expected to be involved in Gase’s staff, tweets Jeff Darlington of NFL.com. However, Loggains is still technically Miami’s offensive coordinator and will need to get out of his contract, per Rapoport (Twitter link).

Here’s more from the coaching carousel:

  • Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods has drawn interest as a defensive backs coach from both the Redskins and Jaguars, and as many as three teams are eyeing Woods, possibly even as a coordinator, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). Denver had not been allowing its assistant coaches take interviews with other teams, but that will change now that new head coach Vic Fangio is in place. Fangio is a defensive coach by trade, so he may take on play-calling now that he’s in Denver. Even if he doesn’t call plays himself, Fangio might want to bring in his own DC, so Woods is certainly in limbo. A longtime defensive backs coach, Woods took over the Broncos defense in 2017.
  • In returning as the Vikingsfull-time offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski inked a two-year deal, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). Stefanski is now signed for longer than head coach Mike Zimmer, whose contract expires after the 2019 campaign. The 36-year-old Stefanski took over as Minnesota’s OC after John DeFilippo was fired, and lead the club’s offense for the final three games of the regular season. Despite that limited track record, Stefanski was a serious candidate for the Browns’ head coaching position, finishing second only to Freddie Kitchens.
  • New Packers head coach Matt LaFleur will likely implement much of his own staff, at least on the offensive side of the ball, but one incumbent Green Bay staffer has already received an offer to stick around. LaFleur wants tight ends coach Brian Angelichio to stay with the Packers, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Angelichio worked with Kyle Shanahan on the 2014 Browns’ staff, meaning he has experience with the Sean McVay/Shanahan/LaFleur offense. He’s been with Green Bay since 2016.
  • Klint Kubiak is receiving “strong consideration” for the Broncos‘ quarterbacks coach job, tweets Klis. Kubiak is the son of Gary Kubiak, the former Denver head coach who was today installed as the club’s offensive coordinator under new head coach Vic Fangio. Klint Kubiak, 31, began his coaching career at Texas A&M before moving to the Vikings in 2013. He joined the Broncos in 2016, serving as an offensive assistant focusing on quarterbacks.
  • In announcing defensive coordinator Greg Schiano‘s departure from Ohio State, head coach Ryan Day said Schiano would be pursuing “options in the NFL” (Twitter link). That’s certainly a vague statement, and doesn’t indicate Schiano has a specific job lined up, but he could be in consideration for DC or position coach gigs around the league. Head coach of the Buccaneers from 2012-13, Schiano was rumored to have generated NFL interest at this time last year, but he ultimately stayed at OSU.

Coaching Notes: Vikings, Fins, Bills, Broncos

When Mike Zimmer signed a Vikings extension in the 2016 offseason, the terms were not disclosed. But the sixth-year Minnesota coach revealed Thursday 2019 is the final year of his contract. While another extension could be on the way, Zimmer is, as of now, a lame-duck leader. The 62-year-old coach said he would not resign nor retire until his contract was up. It’s not unheard of for a coach to venture through a contract year, but it is obviously abnormal. The Vikings have qualified for the playoffs twice in Zimmer’s five years but were one of this season’s most disappointing teams, falling short of January football despite a roster full of extended veterans.

Here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • Elsewhere on the Vikings’ staff, the team is working to re-sign special teams coordinator Mike Preifer, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Minnesota is, however, exploring alternatives in case a re-up is not finalized. Preifer has been Minnesota’s ST coordinator since 2011. Preifer did not sign the rollover option after last season, per ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin (Twitter link), making him a coaching free agent next week.
  • Brian Flores is set to meet with four teams in the coming days, and the Patriots linebackers coach’s first stop appears to be Miami. The Dolphins are making Flores their first interview, which Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets will begin Thursday night and last into Friday. Flores is slated to meet with the Browns, Broncos and Packers as well.
  • Another coach up for the Broncos‘ job, Zac Taylor is not the favorite going into the interview process, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. That could be expected of a 35-year-old position coach, and it could indicate the Broncos are serious about bringing Gary Kubiak back to the sideline as their OC. John Elway said a coaching role for Kubiak was being considered. A Taylor hire would seemingly impede this, but former Broncos running back C.J. Anderson said the similarities between the Rams’ offense and Kubiak’s Denver attack helped him assimilate quickly in Los Angeles. Mike Klis of 9News wonders if this could make a Taylor-Kubiak setup possible, with Klint Kubiak moving up to quarterbacks coach.
  • Flores’ Broncos interview will occur Monday. So will Vic Fangio‘s, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold. Taylor and Mike Munchak will interview for the job on Friday. The Broncos finished their Chuck Pagano meeting Wednesday.
  • The Bills are moving on from two assistants, including special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, per ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak (on Twitter). As ESPN’s Seth Walder notes (via Twitter), Buffalo finished this season with the NFL’s worst special teams efficiency rating. Buffalo also fired wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie, Marvez tweets. Twice an interim head coach, with the Redskins and Browns, Robiskie just completed his 37th season as an NFL coach. He’s been a wideouts coach for five teams; Crossman was a pre-Sean McDermott-era holdover, joining the Bills’ staff as ST coordinator in 2013.
  • Detroit will move on from another offensive assistant, firing Derius Swinton, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Just 33, Swinton has already been an NFL assistant for 10 seasons, serving as the 49ers’ ST coordinator in 2016. Although he helped in that area in Detroit following Joe Marciano‘s midseason firing, his primary role was on offense. The Lions and OC Jim Bob Cooter parted ways this week. Despite serving under Cooter, Swinton was a Matt Patricia hire.

Coaching Notes: Raiders, Browns, Bengals, Broncos

Some assorted coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Before accepting a job as the Arizona Wildcats head coach, Kevin Sumlin interviewed to be the Raiders wide receivers coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (via Twitter). The Raiders have yet to fill the role, but Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News believes Sanjay Lal could be an option. The 48-year-old spent 2017 as the Colts receivers coach, and he served in the same role with the Raiders from 2009 through 2011.
  • The Raiders have filled one hole, as Doug Samuels of FootballScoop.com reports that the team has hired Alabama secondary coach Derrick Ansley for the same role. Ansley had previously agreed to become Colorado State’s defensive coordinator.
  • The Browns announced that senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach Al Saunders will transition to an advisory role with the franchise, as he’s been named senior assistant/special projects. Saunders served as the Chargers head coach back in the 1980s, and he’s since spent time with the Chiefs, Rams, Redskins, Ravens, Raiders, and Dolphins.
  • Before hiring Frank Pollack as the offensive line coach, the Bengals interviewed former Colts coach Joe Gilbert for the role, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Inquirer (via Twitter). Other candidates included Jeff Davidson (Broncos), Harold Goodwin (Cardinals), and Jim Harding (University of Utah).
  • Despite Mike Sullivan being hired as the Broncos new quarterbacks coach, Klint Kubiak is still expected to stay on the coaching staff, reports Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). Kubiak briefly served as the team’s interim quarterbacks coach, and he’s expected to take on his former role of offensive assistant/QBs.

Coaching Rumors: Broncos, Giants, Cowboys

The Broncos have made an interesting set of choices in replacing fired offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, as the club announced that Sean Kugler has been hired as offensive line coach-guards/centers, while Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports that Chris Strausser — who spent the 2017 campaign as Denver’s assistant OL coach — will tutor the Broncos’ tackles (Twitter link). It’s a compelling set of hires, as hiring a combination of coaches to lead separate parts of one position unit is something that usually occurs on the defensive side of the ball (safeties/cornerbacks, outside/inside linebackers). Elsewhere on the Denver staff, former interim quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak is considered a candidate to become the the Broncos’ next wide receivers coach, tweets Mike Klis of 9News.

Here’s more on the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Former Broncos assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville was scheduled to interview for the Giants‘ head coaching vacancy over the weekend, but weather-related concerns forced that meeting to be pushed back. Instead, New York will interview Studesville on Tuesday, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Studesville, who had been employed in Denver since 2010, was fired earlier this week. While he’s never been a head coach, the 50-year-old Studesville did serve as an interim HC during the 2010 campaign.
  • While the Raiders reportedly have interest in adding Cowboys running backs Gary Brown to Jon Gruden‘s staff, Dallas wants to keep Brown — who is a coaching free agent — as well, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Brown, who enjoyed a nine-year career as an NFL running back, first entered the coaching ranks with Cleveland in 2009. Oakland has been aggressive in hiring staffers under Gruden, as it’s agreed to bring in Greg Olson as offensive coordinator and Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator.
  • If Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur lands a head coaching gig in the coming weeks, he’s expected to bring Panthers quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey along with him, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Dorsey, 36, has spent his entire post-playing career in Carolina, first as a pro scout and now as QBs coach. He interviewed for the Bills’ offensive coordinator position in 2017, but Buffalo ultimately hired Rick Dennison.
  • The Bengals will interview Baylor wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell for the same position in Cincinnati, according to Marvez (Twitter link). Bicknell coached in the NFL from 2008-16, most recently with the 49ers, and interviewed with Chicago last offseason. Cincinnati, meanwhile, lost WRs coach James Urban to the division-rival Ravens.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders

The Broncos will consider former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and former Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese as they seek to hire a new quarterbacks coach, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). While Denver’s coaching staff will undergo something of an overhaul, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is staying put, as is interim quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak (in a new role). While neither McAdoo nor Zampese made it through the 2017 without being fired, both offer experience with Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. McAdoo and Joseph spent time together with the 49ers in 2005, while Joseph overlapped with Zampese during his tenure in Cincinnati.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Elsewhere on the Broncos‘ offensive staff, Sean Kugler — who spent the past four-plus years as UTEP’s head coach — is interviewing today for the club’s offensive line position, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Incumbent assistant offensive line coach Chris Strausser will also interview for the full-time job, per Klis (Twitter link). Denver is seeking a replacement for Jeff Davidson, who was fired earlier this week along with several other members of the club’s offensive staff. The Broncos ranked ninth in adjusted line yards but 29th in adjusted sack rate a season ago.
  • Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn wants Gus Bradley to return as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2018, as Greg Beacham of the Associated Press writes. Bradley’s deal is set to expire, however, so nothing is certain at the moment. “We’d like to keep this together if we can,” Lynn said Monday. “I know some guys, the contracts are up. We’re working on that right now. We’re trying to keep this staff together, this nucleus together, because I think we got better as a coaching staff as the season went on.” Los Angeles ranked ninth in defensive DVOA in 2017, Bradley’s first year at the helm.
  • Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes may get a late start to his sophomore campaign, as the rookie third-round pick suffered a torn ACL in the Raiders‘ season finale, tweets Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. While Vanderdoes graded as a bottom-20 interior defender per Pro Football Focus, he did manage to play 464 defensive snaps in his first NFL season. Now facing rehab and possibly a new defensive scheme, Vanderdoes could be looking at an uphill battle as he seeks medical clearance for the beginning of the 2018 season.

AFC Notes: Bills, Phins, Cutler, Broncos, Jets

Though there weren’t many positives to glean from a 54-24 drubbing by the Chargers, the Bills did receive one bit of good news on Monday. Newly acquired wideout Kelvin Benjamin did not tear his ACL in the loss, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link).

Though the injury could force the physical receiver to miss a few games, he should be able to help the Bills, currently tied with Baltimore for the last playoff spot, contend for a wildcard berth down the stretch.

After letting Robert Woods walk and trading away Sammy Watkins in the offseason, Buffalo pulled off a deadline deal with Carolina for Benjamin, who was expected to serve as Tyrod Taylor‘s top target. That has yet to come to fruition with Benjamin catching four passes in two games and Taylor being benched for the first half vs. Los Angeles.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Dolphins QB Jay Cutler is officially in the NFL’s concussion protocol, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Dolphins are 4-6 and mired in a four-game losing streak, so their showdown with New England could be a make-or-break game for their slim playoff hopes. Matt Moore will assume the starting role should Cutler not be fit for the game.
  • After being placed on injured reserve earlier this month, Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley underwent surgery to repair his injured shin on Monday, NBC Sports’ Scott Blair reports. The cornerback suffered the injury in training camp and aggravated it in Week 3 vs. Washington.
  • The Jets are still holding out hope for the postseason. With that in mind, the team will roll with Josh McCown as the team’s starting quarterback unless injured, reports Newsday’s Calvin Watkins. McCown is on the same page as Bowles and appreciates the vote of confidence.
  • Following the firing of Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, the Broncos promoted Bill Musgrave to the post and named Klint Kubiak quarterbacks coach, according to Schefter. The offensive coordinator in Oakland the last two seasons, Musgrave helped the Raiders produce one of the league’s most potent offenses in 2016. Kubiak, the son of former Broncos head coach and team senior personnel advisor Gary Kubiak, served as wide receivers coach at Kansas in 2015 before joining the Broncos as an assistant in 2016.
  • Remaining with the shakeup in Denver, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes that John Elway should also receive some blame for the team’s downward spiral in 2017. Florio writes: “Despite efforts to blame the players and, as of Monday morning, to blame offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and possibly to blame coach Vance Joseph, responsibility for the six-game losing goes to every layer and level of the organization, and the buck ultimately stops on Elway’s desk.”

AFC Notes: Cousins, Jets, Steelers, Bengals

The Jets’ decision to hire Todd Bowles as their head coach instead of Dan Quinn in 2015 may have cost them a chance to acquire then-backup quarterback Kirk Cousins from the Redskins, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Quinn’s offensive coordinator in Atlanta, Kyle Shanahan, would have come with him to New York but would not have wanted to work with Geno Smith, sources told Mehta. Shanahan would have pushed to acquire Cousins, whom he knew from their time together in Washington in 2012. A big Cousins fan, Shanahan was reportedly “integral” in the Redskins’ drafting of the ex-Michigan State signal-caller. Along with Shanahan, Quinn would have brought former Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik with him to work in the Jets’ front office. Dominik is close with Redskins president Bruce Allen, and their friendship could have further helped lead the way to a Cousins trade, writes Mehta.

As we ponder what could have been, here’s more from New York and a few other AFC cities:

  • While Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is considering retirement, it will be a surprise if the 13th-year man doesn’t return in 2017, sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In the seemingly likely event Roethlisberger does come back for his age-35 season, the Steelers should still give serious thought to using a high-round pick on a potential successor, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
  • The Jets’ previously reported interest in Saints wide receivers coach John Morton has already led to an interview. The two sides met Tuesday, and Morton remains in the running for the job, reports Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.
  • It appeared the NFL had lifted running back Karlos Williams‘ 10-game suspension when the Steelers brought him back on a reserve/futures deal Monday, but that’s not the case. Williams still has one game remaining on the substance abuse-related ban the league handed him in November, tweets Fowler. He’ll be eligible to take the field again in Week 2 of next season.
  • The belief is that the Bengals are talking to pending free agent kicker Randy Bullock about a new contract, writes Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. Re-signing Bullock wouldn’t stop the Bengals from searching for other options at the position, notes Hobson. The 27-year-old Bullock didn’t join the Bengals until mid-December, when they claimed him off waivers from division-rival Pittsburgh after releasing Mike Nugent. Bullock, who was a member of three teams in 2016 (the Giants were the other), connected on 5 of 6 field goal tries and all six extra points in three games with Cincinnati.
  • The Broncos made a minor change to their Vance Joseph-led staff Tuesday, promoting special teams quality control coach Chris Gould to assistant special teams coach. They’re also set to retain Klint Kubiak, the son of previous Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, as their offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.