Lake Dawson

Panthers Conduct Second Interview With Lake Dawson

Marty Hurney met with NFL investigator Lisa Friel on Friday as part of a league investigation into a since-withdrawn domestic violence claim made by Hurney’s ex-wife. This has affected the Panthers’ GM interview process, with Hurney — who served as interim GM last season — previously viewed as the favorite to be named full-time GM.

However, the Panthers may now be leaning toward hiring an external candidate, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter).

One of the outside candidates that went through the initial interview process, Lake Dawson, was summoned back to Charlotte for a second meeting, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Dawson was one of three outside candidates interviewed for this post, joining 49ers exec Martin Mayhew and Texans player personnel VP Jimmy Raye III.

Currently the Bills’ assistant college scouting director, Dawson also interviewed for the Panthers’ GM position when it was previously open in 2013. Dave Gettleman won that race, but Dawson is firmly in the mix this time. Ron Rivera has been part of this search process as well, but the eighth-year HC wasn’t in the meeting when Dawson returned to North Carolina.

Hurney is currently on paid leave as the NFL conducts its investigation, and Person reports nothing is imminent on making this hire. Although Jerry Richardson intends to sell the Panthers, Person reports does not want to make a rash decision regarding Hurney, whom he once fired to clear the way for Gettleman.

Latest On Panthers GM Search

Panthers interim general manger Marty Hurney will meet with NFL investigator Lisa Friel on Friday, according to David Newton of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hurney is on paid administrative leave while the league gathers information a claim of harassment by his ex-wife. Marty Hurney (vertical)

The harassment claim by Hurney’s ex-wife has been withdrawn in the courts, but the league continues to do its due diligence on the matter. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ GM search is effectively in a holding pattern. Before the accusations came to light, it was widely believed that Hurney was a shoe-in for the job. The feeling was that other interviews for the vacancy were being done only for compliance with the Rooney Rule, but that might not be the case.

Bills assistant college scouting director Lake Dawson received a second interview for the job and he is a strong candidate, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Dawson comes with serious credentials – he spent nine sesons with the Titans and became the team’s VP of player personnel in 2015. He spent 2016 with the Browns before becoming the Bills’ assistant director of college scouting in 2017. All in all, he has 17 years as a scout/executive under his belt.

As Pelissero notes, the Panthers are not close to offering the GM position to anyone as they deal with investigations concerning Hurney and owner Jerry Richardson. But, once the smoke clears, Dawson could be a real possibility for the post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Panthers, Colts, Texans

Although the Panthers have two outside candidates set to interview for their GM post, they are expected to retain Marty Hurney, Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk notes. The Panthers do not plan to have a formal interview with its interim GM, who is in his second stint in this job, but “everyone in their building” knows Hurney will get the job over Jimmy Raye III and Lake Dawson. Both black, Raye and Dawson will satisfy the Rooney Rule requirement. However, Gantt notes that with the Panthers effectively knowing what they will do here, this represents another shortcoming of the rule — even if it’s not as transparent as the Raiders’ Jon Gruden hire. This franchise being up for sale, however, may not ensure optimal job security for Hurney. But he’s expected to receive another crack after running the Panthers this season.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions.

  • The Panthers‘ interview with Raye will take place on Thursday and they’ll meet with Dawson on Friday for the GM job, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Texans’ assistant GM, Raye interviewed for the top jobs in Houston, Indianapolis and San Francisco only to be passed over. The Bills’ assistant college scouting director, Dawson interviewed with the Panthers after they fired Hurney the first time. But Carolina chose Dave Gettleman.
  • Under expected new DC Matt Eberflus, the Colts are likely to implement a 4-3 scheme to take the place of the 3-4 look they’ve used for most of this decade, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star writes. Eberflus’ background comes in Dallas’ 4-3 look, one the Colts used to some success during their run of playoff berths in the 2000s. Outside linebackers John Simon and Jabaal Sheard would shift to ends, and Johnathan Hankins has four years’ experience as a 4-3 nose. Keefer notes the team will need to upgrade its linebacker situation, however, before this move comes to pass.
  • If the Texans want to become a 2018 contender, they need to address their offensive line, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com posits. Houston traded Duane Brown and has three starters eligible for free agency. And the team’s Jeff Allen contract has not worked out especially well. Derek Newton remains without a timetable, and the Texans — thanks to multiple trades with the Browns — do not have a pick in the first two rounds come April. So, some of the team’s free agency budget will need to be allocated here.
  • The Titans could be set to make ex-Ravens DC Dean Pees‘ retirement short.

Panthers Set Up GM Interviews For Next Week

Though interim general manager Marty Hurney is the frontrunner to be named the Panthers new GM, the team has also scheduled interviews with a pair of external candidates for next week, the Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person writesMarty Hurney (vertical)

Those two candidates are Texans assistant general manager Jimmy Raye III and Bills assistant college scouting director Lake Dawson. Both Raye and Dawson, as Person notes, satisfies the Rooney Rule that requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate.

Though a time has not been divulged, the Panthers are also expected to sit down with Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden, who formerly served as a scout with Carolina.

Raye, a former player with the Rams, joined the Houston front office after stints with the Colts, as vice president of football operations, and Chargers, as director of player personnel. He has 23 years of experience in the NFL and previously interview for the Texans GM job earlier this month. Dawson joined the Bills in May 2017 following a stint as Cleveland’s national scout. He served as a receiver for six seasons before getting into college and pro scouting.

Hurney, who rejoined the Panthers following the dismissal of Dave Gettleman in the 2017 offseason, will not have a formal interview. His contract runs through June and has been backed by head coach Ron Rivera. In his one season on the job, Hurney dealt top wideout Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo, which led to Carolina’s passing improvement down the stretch.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lake Dawson Secures Panthers GM Meeting

The Panthers’ GM search is beginning to fill out, with now two external interview candidates known. The second of which will be Bills assistant director of college scouting Lake Dawson.

Dawson will join interim GM Marty Hurney and Texans VP of player personnel Jimmy Raye III in interviewing for the post, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) and Mike Rodak of ESPN.com report.

A Dawson defection would represent another blow to a recently assembled Bills front office, which lost top Brandon Beane lieutenant Brian Gaine when he agreed to return to Houston as Texans GM.

Dawson has been in his current post for less than a year but spent nine seasons as a Titans exec, rising through the ranks under then-GMs Mike Reinfeldt and Ruston Webster. Dawson finished his Titans tenure in 2015 as the franchise’s VP of player personnel. He spent the 2016 season with the Browns.

The 45-year-old exec has spent 17 years as a scout or executive, doing so following a four-year playing career as a wide receiver.

AFC Notes: Pats, Broncos, Texans, Bills

In an interview Wednesday with Charlie Rose of CBS, Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said that the five-time Super Bowl winner “had a concussion last year” and “has concussions” that they don’t talk about (Twitter link). If Brady actually has dealt with head injuries and the Patriots have been aware of them, they could face discipline from the NFL. After all, the Pats have never listed Brady’s alleged concussions on the injury report. For its part, the league issued a statement Wednesday (via Doug Kyed of NESN) indicating that it’s now looking into the matter, saying: “There are no records that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms. Today we have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady. The health and safety of our players is our foremost priority and we want to ensure that all our players have and continue to receive the best care possible.”

More from the AFC:

  • Running back Jamaal Charles, one of the Broncos’ highest-profile pickups this offseason, only has a 50-50 shot to make their roster, opines Mike Klis of 9News. While the 30-year-old Charles averaged a whopping 5.5 yards per carry with AFC West rival Kansas City from 2008-16, knee injuries limited him to a combined eight games over the past two seasons. Combining Charles’ recent health issues with, as Klis notes, his low-money contract and the presences of fellow runners C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and rookie De’Angelo Henderson, Charles might not play a down for Denver.
  • As expected, the Texans have added ex-Colts executive Jimmy Raye III to their front office. Raye will serve as the Texans’ vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com was among those to report. He’s replacing Brian Gaine, who left Houston for Buffalo earlier this week. Additionally, the club has tabbed Rob Kisiel as its director of pro personnel and Mike Martin as its assistant director of college scouting.
  • The Bills, continuing to reshuffle their front office, have announced the hiring of Lake Dawson as their assistant director of college scouting. Formerly with the Titans and Browns, Dawson joins Gaine, Joe Schoen and Malik Boyd as additions the Bills have made to their front office since naming Brandon Beane their general manager last week. Dawson was a wide receiver with the Chiefs from 1994-97.

South Notes: Titans, Panthers, Falcons, Saints

The Titans have parted ways with vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson, the team announced on Twitter. “This was not an easy decision and I want to thank Lake for his time with the team,” general manager Ruston Webster said. “This new structure will help us streamline things from both the college and pro perspectives. We will move forward without a VP of Player Personnel and the college and pro sides will report directly to me.” It’s a bit surprising that Tennessee would fire Dawson, who’s been with the club since 2007, as he’s been in high demand around the league — he had interviewed for the GM posts in Miami, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Chicago.

Let’s look at some more notes from the South divisions:

  • Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is looking forward to seeing what GM Dave Gettleman and the front office can do this offseason to improve Carolina’s roster, as he tells Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Gettleman recently said the Panthers would be moving out of the “dollar store” this winter, and Davis was “very encouraged” by those comments. “It’s going to be interesting to see how things go this offseason,” Davis said. “We’ve had two offseasons where we didn’t do a whole lot in free agency. But we’ll see what happens this year.”
  • With a new head coach set to be introduced next week and a front office that has undergone some changes this month, it’s not entirely clear who will have the final say on certain football decisions in Atlanta. Speaking to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, Falcons owner Arthur Blank repeatedly stressed that he expects most football matters to be collaboratively decided by Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff, and Scott Pioli. Quinn and Dimitroff will report separately to Blank, while Pioli will report to Dimitroff.
  • Asked today on The Jim Rome Show about what went wrong for the Saints in 2014 and how it can be addressed for 2015, quarterback Drew Brees pointed to an unusual amount of roster turnover, particularly involving core players: “It’s about getting back to building our organization and framework from the ground up again and make sure we are on the same page” (link via NewOrleansSaints.com).

Extra Points: Shanahan, Trestman, Ryan

Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will consider leaving the Browns, even for a lateral move, because of friction within the organization, writes Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. Shanahan is aiming to become a head coach somewhere (perhaps in Buffalo) but he’d also like to reunite with his father, Mike Shanahan. The 49ers, Raiders, and Bills are have interest in hiring Mike as a head coach with Kyle as the offensive coordinator. More from around the NFL..

  • Washington interviewed Rod Graves on Monday for their GM position, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter). By interviewing Graves, Washington has satisfied the Rooney Rule, so that is not a roadblock in their talks with Scot McCloughan.
  • Former Bears head coach Marc Trestman will interview for the Jaguars‘ offensive coordinator position, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Trestman has already interviewed with the Buccaneers.
  • Rex Ryan will be meeting with CBS executives tomorrow to discuss a possible TV role if he doesn’t land a head coaching job, a source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles have requested permission to interview recently promoted Packers exec Eliot Wolf for their personnel opening, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Wolf was recently promoted by Green Bay, ostensibly to keep him in-house as the heir apparent to their own GM job.
  • The Eagles requested GM interviews with Chris Grier (Dolphins), Chris Polian (Jaguars), and Brian Gaine (Texans), sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Texans might have interest in former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, according to Dan Pompei of Sports On Earth (on Twitter).
  • Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson is scheduled to interview with the Jaguars for their offensive coordinator position on Thursday, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Gaine and Lake Dawson, the Titans‘ vice president of player personnel, completed their interviews with the Bears for their GM opening, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Saints GM Mickey Loomis says that the team will take linebacker Junior Galette‘s arrest “very seriously,” as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. “If at some point we deem it necessary for the club to take some action, we’ll do that,” Loomis said.
  • Loomis feels that the Saints are in better shape financially, Evan Woodbery of The Times Picayune (on Twitter). “I would say we’re in a better situation than we were a year ago — on pure salary cap.” He also scoffed at a recent report indicating that he will move into a new role with the team (link).

Front Office Notes: Jets, Saints, Bears

As the first full week of 2015 gets underway, we have updates on two teams hunting for a new general manager, as well as a pair of clubs whose front offices may be undergoing some changes. Here’s the latest:

  • Although the Jets would like to speak to Saints executive Ryan Pace about their general manager position, it’s unlikely that Pace will elect to interview for the opening, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). As Rapoport explains (Twitter link), Pace – a favorite of Sean Payton – assumed more day-to-day duties with the Saints in 2014 as GM Mickey Loomis worked more with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. Rapoport adds that Pace’s role will only increase, and that he could be in line for a promotion.
  • A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Loomis “remains entrenched” as the Saints‘ GM, with no need to elevate anyone in the front office to handle any of his duties. However, Florio agrees that it appears as if Pace will stay put in New Orleans for now.
  • Texans director of scouting Mike Maccagnan will have his interview with the Jets for their GM vacancy today, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
  • Speaking to one veteran front office executive who called the head coach/GM marriage “the most underrated dynamic in the business,” Mehta writes in a Daily News piece that the Jets should ensure they create an equal partnership when they hire a new coach and GM.
  • Within the same piece, Mehta reports, via sources, that Seahawks personnel executive Trent Kirchner likely won’t be paired with Dan Quinn as a GM/head coach duo, since Quinn’s preference would be to work with a “more seasoned” front office executive.
  • The Bears will interview Titans executive Lake Dawson on Tuesday and Chiefs exec Chris Ballard on Wednesday this week, says Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Washington has reached out to personnel man Scot McCloughan about becoming a top executive in the team’s front office, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). McCloughan, a former 49ers general manager, most recently worked for the Seahawks.

Extra Points: Allen, Wayne, Eagles, Bears

Washington GM Bruce Allen held his year-end press conference today and was put in a position where he more or less had to defend his job, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. At the presser, Allen defended the signing of free agent defensive end Jason Hatcher and putting the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Orakpo. Orakpo was given the franchise tag despite a serious injury history and Hatcher was given a lucrative deal despite mild production prior to his walk year. Here’s more from around the league in our New Year’s Eve edition of Extra Points..

  • If pressed for a decision, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne says he’d come back for 2015, ESPN.com’s Mike Wells writes. “If I had to answer that question today, I’d say I’ll be back… as long as the Colts would have me,” he said on his weekly radio show on WNDE-1260 AM in Indianapolis on Tuesday.
  • The Eagles released Tom Gamble, their vice president of player personnel, earlier today. The move adds weight to speculation that coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman have not seen eye to eye over the last year, ESPN.com’s Phil Sheridan writes.
  • The Bears have requested to interview five GM candidates, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter): Chris Ballard (Chiefs), Lake Dawson (Titans), Eric DeCosta (Ravens), Brian Gaine (Texans), and Ryan Pace (Saints).
  • Colts backup Matt Hasselbeck isn’t under contract for 2015, but he’s also not thinking about retirement, writes Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Neither he nor the Colts have discussed a return just yet, but he sounds very open to the idea.
  • The Buccaneers like Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but they could have competition for his services, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. A source says that Koetter is held in high regard by two other head coaching candidates: Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and San Francisco defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap looked ahead at what’s in store for the Titans this offseason.
  • Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson declined a plea bargain on an October arrest, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. Johnson becomes a free agent in early March and has said that he will seek a multi-year deal.