Larry Izzo

Jaguars Expected To Hire Brian Schneider As ST Coordinator

After adding a new offensive and defensive coordinator to his staff, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has found his special teams coordinator. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that long-time Seahawks coach Brian Schneider is expected to be hired as Jacksonville’s new special teams coordinator.

Pelissero adds (via Twitter) that Larry Izzo will be taking Schneider‘s place in Seattle, as the former player has been promoted to full-time special teams coordinator.

Schneider had been with the Seahawks since 2010. He was apart of nine playoff runs in Seattle, including a 2013 Super Bowl win that saw Percy Harvin return an 87-yard kickoff for a score. During his stint with the Seahawks, the special teams unit consistently ranked toward the top of the league in takeaways, blocked kicks, and touchdowns/safeties scored.

Schneider stepped away from his role early last season for personal reasons, and Izzo was named interim special teams coordinator. When Schneider returned in November, Izzo retained the gig, and he’ll now have some job security heading into the 2021 season. Izzo earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods and three Super Bowl rings during his eight years playing with the Patriots, and he jumped right into coaching following his retirement. The 46-year-old served as the Texans special teams coordinator in 2016 and 2017.

NFC West Notes: Ramsey, 49ers, Seahawks

The 49ers have been accustomed to dealing with running back unavailability during Kyle Shanahan‘s tenure, but Jerick McKinnon is on track to make his 49er debut at long last. However, Tevin Coleman‘s status is now uncertain. The second-year 49ers back did not practice Friday because of the poor air quality in San Francisco, which has been affected by the recent wildfires raging in many west coast areas. Coleman, who has a sickle cell trait, also did not finish a practice earlier in training camp due to poor air quality, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Although the 49ers traded Matt Breida, they still have McKinnon, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson on their active roster.

Here is the latest from the NFC West, moving first to the Rams’ resetting of the cornerback market.

  • The Rams were slightly over the 2020 salary cap earlier this week, but their Jalen Ramsey extension solved that problem. They created $7.5MM through the Ramsey deal, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets. Ramsey’s cornerback-record five-year, $105MM contract calls for only a $1.2MM base salary in 2020 — down from $13.7MM. The ensuing years, however, include base salaries of $17.5MM (2021), $15MM (’22), $17MM (’23), $14.5MM (’24) and $15.5MM (’25), Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. This contract’s rolling guarantee structure will convert injury guarantees to full guarantees the year before, essentially tying Ramsey to Los Angeles’ payroll through at least 2024, Garafolo adds (via Twitter).
  • Rams free agent signing A’Shawn Robinson qualified for the high-risk $350K stipend as an opt-out player, but his agent and the team reached a compromise that allowed the defensive lineman to avoid the opt-out list. The Rams instead placed Robinson on the non-football injury list and are paying him $500K this year, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Robinson was on track to opt out. Even though he did not officially do so, his two-year contract will toll to 2021 if he does not play this season. Robinson will keep his $6MM signing bonus, but his $3MM 2020 base salary will toll to 2021, Breer adds. Robinson could, however, come off the NFI list and play by Week 10.
  • Seahawks special teams coordinator Brian Schneider took a leave of absence this week, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. Larry Izzo will take over in that role during his absence. Schneider has been with the Seahawks throughout Pete Carroll‘s tenure, following Carroll from USC to Seattle in 2010. Izzo is in his third season with the team.
  • Prior to roster cutdown day, the 49ers considered trading Ahkello Witherspoon, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Witherspoon was aware of the team’s effort, which did not end up producing a deal. The 49ers are set to be without Jason Verrett, who missed all of last season and has dealt with injuries throughout his career, Sunday due to a hamstring injury. Witherspoon is in line to serve as a key depth player to start the season. Emmanuel Moseley replaced him in the starting lineup during the playoffs. A fourth-year player, Witherspoon is set for unrestricted free agency in 2021.
  • The 49ers did not restructure Dee Ford‘s deal to set up a big move, John Lynch said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, on Twitter). The move, however, did create $9.5MM in cap space. That gave the team some breathing room; it holds $10.9MM in cap space as of Saturday. The move does, however, make Ford a more difficult cut in 2021. It would now cost the 49ers $14MM-plus in dead money to release the defensive end next year.

NFC Notes: Rodgers, Peterson, Keenum, Seahawks

Adrian Peterson had one of the least productive seasons of his career in 2017, but the veteran running back believes he still has plenty left in the tank.

“At the end of the day, I know I can play,” he told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). “If you watch football, as far as being an evaluator of talent, if a guy has something left in the tank… he was able to see (I) can still play the game. … I would want to play maybe four more years, four to five more years.’’

There were rumblings that the Cardinals would ultimately cut Peterson, but the 32-year-old doesn’t sound overly concerned about his status in 2018.

“I haven’t heard anything from the horse’s mouth but I heard the report as well,” he told Tomasson. “But it’s just a report for now If it’s (true) it was a great run for me and a great opportunity and it will be on to the next but hopefully that’s not the case.”

Peterson split last season between the Saints and Cardinals. After an underwhelming start in New Orleans, Peterson ultimately started six games for Arizona, compiling 448 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 129 carries.

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

  • While Aaron Rodgers made it clear that he wants to play into his 40s, he also told the Associated Press that it may require him to play for another team. The Packers quarterback cited the departure of Brett Favre, who bounced between the Jets and Vikings after more than a decade in Green Bay. “I think you have to be humble enough to realize if it could happen to Brett, it can happen to you,” Rodgers said.
  • The Vikings will have some tough choices to make at the quarterback position this offseason, but Case Keenum is hoping he’ll get another chance at the starting gig. The 29-year-old told 1500ESPN’s Mackey and Judd that he’d like to finish what he started in Minnesota.“We love Minnesota, we love it here, we love the season we had, we definitely feel like there’s some unfinished business with how things ended,” Keenum said (via Matthew Coller of 1500espn.com). “At the same time, we understand tough decisions have to be made and so we’ll see what happens.”
  • Mary Jo White will be leading the NFL’s investigation into Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, reports ESPN.com’s David Newton. Back in December, it was reported that the owner was under investigation for workplace misconduct. White had previously served as a federal prosecutor in New York City and as the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Obama.
  • The Seahawks have hired former Texans special teams coach Larry Izzo as their new assistant ST coach, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Izzo was the special teams coach in Houston for the past two years, but was fired last month after back-to-back dismal seasons. He’ll now work under Brian Schneider, who’s been in Seattle since 2010. Izzo, a former NFL linebacker and special teams maven in the AFC East, is replacing Heath Farwell, who took a similar role with the Panthers.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, Bears, Giants

Pat Shurmur will be a busy man this week. The Vikings offensive coordinator has four interviews lined up in the coming days, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com: in addition to his previously reported Thursday meeting with the Lions, Shurmur will interview with the Cardinals (Thursday), Bears (Friday), and Giants (Saturday). Shurmur is currently linked to four vacancies in the NFL, tied with Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for tops among candidates. Given that Minnesota has secured a first-round playoff bye, Shurmur is free to interview as he chooses this week.

Here’s more from the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Although Redskins quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell was reportedly UCLA head coach Chip Kelly‘s “top target” to become the Bruins’ offensive coordinator, he won’t be going anywhere just yet. O’Connell has agreed to become Washington’s passing game coordinator, an elevated title that represents a promotion, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. O’Connell, who enjoyed a five-year playing career, has also coached for the Browns and 49ers.
  • The Texans have fired special teams coordinator Larry Izzo, assistant special teams coordinator Doug Colman, and secondary coach John Butler, while running backs coach Charles London is leaving the club of his own volition, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Izzo’s departure shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since Houston’s special teams have ranked in the bottom-seven of DVOA in each of Izzo’s two seasons in charge.
  • ESPN analyst Jon Gruden appears set to become the next Raiders head coach, and he’s reportedly been contacting potential staff members for weeks. Two of those coaches may be Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson and Bears offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, per Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter links). Gruden is also reportedly interested in Jets OC John Morton and Bengals DC Paul Guenther.

AFC South Notes: O’Brien, Titans, Khan

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien had a lot of good things to say about his new additions to the coaching staff. Since the end of the season, the organization has added special-teams coordinator Larry Izzo, receivers coach Sean Ryan and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver.

“Larry came highly recommended to me from a number of people,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “When we brought him in to interview, I thought he did an excellent job. He was able to really articulate really his plan for special teams and how he saw things.

“He had studied our tape. He kind of knew what we were doing. I was very impressed with him. I had known him as a player. I had never coached with him. I think he’s going to be a good addition to our staff.”

Check out the link to see what O’Brien also had to say about Ryan, the former Giants receivers coach, and Weaver, the former Browns defensive line coach. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC South…

  • The Titans will have some interesting decisions to make with the top overall pick in the draft, writes Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com. The writer currently opines that the team should look to trade the pick for extra assets, although he notes that that’s easier said than done.
  • Wyatt writes that the team could use help on the offensive line and at running back, although the writer wouldn’t be a fan of signing Ray Rice. Wyatt also points to the secondary and linebackers as areas that could use some reinforcement.
  • At the Jaguars‘ State of the Franchise meeting, owner Shad Khan was adamant that the franchise will be staying in Jacksonville. “This is a community that has supported this franchise faithfully and impressively for over two decades,” he said (via Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com). “And we don’t want to just exist here, we want to flourish here.”

AFC Notes: Jones, Texans, Browns, Bengals

Despite not failing a drug test or being arrested, Chandler Jones could be subject to discipline under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

Jones’ recent incident reportedly involving synthetic marijuana and a police report indicating a smell of burned marijuana in Jones’ apartment would be enough to place the Patriots defensive end in Stage 1 of the substance-abuse program, Florio notes.

Synthetic marijuana isn’t among the substances for which the NFL tests, but being placed in the program would open up Jones to tests for other substances, and potential advancement within the program would about subsequent discipline a subsequent test comes back positive.

Jones’ recent bizarre happening won’t result in a suspension, Florio reports, unless the fourth-year defender was already in an advanced stage of the program. Confidentiality limits that knowledge to a select few, but Jones is not believed to be among those in the substance-abuse program.

Here are some more notes from AFC as the divisional round nears.

  • Ray Horton wants to be the Browns‘ defensive coordinator if he doesn’t receive a head-coaching opportunity, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an organization that promotes minority coaches, front office personnel and scouts, told Cabot Horton “would love to come back to the Browns.” Horton served as Cleveland’s DC in 2013 under Rob Chudzinski but wasn’t retained after Chudzinski was fired after one season.
  • In addition to pursuing Kirby Wilson as their running-game coordinator, the Browns will attempt to land Packers assistant offensive line coach Mike Solari as their offensive line coach, with an aim to possibly give him more responsibilities, Cabot reports. The 60-year-old Solari’s most notable role came as Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2006-07 under Herm Edwards. Since, Solari served as the offensive line coach for the Seahawks (2008-09) and 49ers (2010-14) before joining the Packers’ staff.
  • The Texans hired former Patriots linebacker Larry Izzo as their special teams coordinator, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Izzo had previously served as the Giants’ assistant special teams coach. The 41-year-old Izzo played for three Patriots Super Bowl champion teams in the 2000s and is a Houston-area native.
  • Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has taken a lot of heat for deploying the likes of Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones this week, but other coaches and executives believe the responsibility falls more on the Bengals’ ownership, Albert Breer of NFL.com reports. “I don’t think Marvin and that staff are about that stuff. Ownership is. They look at value, and see a way to gain an advantage,” one head coach told La Canfora. An NFC personnel man echoed that, questioning Mike Brown‘s organization’s offseason choices. “People want Marvin to pay with his job, but what about the GM? They went through this period of time where they had a bunch of dirtbags in there, guys like Corey Dillon, and they’ve changed some. But it’s still there. The Brown family, I love and respect them. They’re as high character and have as much integrity as any owners I’ve met. Yet, sometimes, the player selections make you scratch your head.”
  • Both Brock Osweiler and Malik Jackson will command contracts “well north” of $10MM per year, Mike Klis of 9News estimates. Both will be the Broncos‘ top priorities once Von Miller is likely franchise-tagged, Klis notes. The Broncos opted to let most of their departing talent walk the past two offseasons, save for Demaryius Thomas and Chris Harris, but today signed Derek Wolfe to a contract paying $9MM AAV. That figure sits seventh among 3-4 defensive ends, according to OverTheCap. The Broncos have $20MM+ worth of cap space heading into 2016, and that’s before factoring in Peyton Manning‘s likely departure, freeing up more than $20MM of additional dollars.