Matt Eberflus

Coaching/FO Notes: Colts, Giants, Broncos, Texans

The Colts may not have a head coach, but they certainly aren’t lacking a defensive scheme. As Stephen Holder of IndyStar.com writes, general manager Chris Ballard has stated that he intends to keep Matt Eberflus as the team’s defensive coordinator next season.

“I got to know Matt Eberflus a few years ago and was blown away by Matt,” Ballard said. “Matt was a coveted coach. He’s a very talented defensive coordinator. I feel very lucky to have Matt Eberflus in the building running a scheme that I think fits our team that we can scout for.”

What scheme will the defense be learning in 2018? As Holder writes, the team is planning to replicate the “Tampa 2-style defense” that the Colts and Bears used throughout the early-2000s. The system also “will be a speed-based, 4-3 scheme that relies heavily on the defensive front to create pressure on quarterbacks,” similar to what the Cowboys have been running in recent seasons.

“We’re playing on an indoor surface,” Ballard said. “We’re going to be playing in ideal weather eight to 12 games a year (and) that’s going to be based on athletic ability and speed. That’s how this defense is built. It’s easy for young players to play because it’s simple and it allows them to play fast and physical and that’s what we want to be.”

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

  • Giants GM Dave Gettleman has brought in former Panthers director of player personnel Mark Koncz as a consultant, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. The two worked together with the Panthers, but Koncz was let go last year after Gettleman was fired and Marty Hurney took over as interim GM. Koncz will work with the scouting department as they prepare for the draft in April.
  • Rob Grosso has been named as an assistant to Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post (via Twitter). Grosso served as an operations intern with the organization in 2017. Previous coaching assistant Phil Rauscher joined the Redskins staff as their assistant offensive-line coach.
  • The Texans parted ways with several members of their staff yesterday, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Among those who were let go include assistant director of pro personnel Larry Wright, senior director of player engagement Sean Washington, director of sports science Erik Korem and pro scout Tolu Lasaki.

Latest On Colts, Josh McDaniels

On Wednesday morning, GM Chris Ballard faced the media in the wake of Josh McDaniels‘ shocking decision to back out on becoming the team’s next head coach. Here’s a look at the highlights plus other news on McDaniels’ flip-flop:

  • McDaniels’ agent, Bob LaMonte, told him that he’s making perhaps the biggest professional mistake of his career by backing out of this Colts job at this point, according to sources who spoke with Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). On Wednesday afternoon, LaMonte terminated his relationship with McDaniels, a source tells Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (on Twitter). LaMonte is forfeiting a potentially large commission down the road should McDaniels become a head coach again, but he is also protecting future business by distancing himself from the Patriots OC.
  • Colts were going to pay McDaniels “fabulously,” a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter), so money was not the issue in Indianapolis. Pelissero hears that the coach also wasn’t warded off by Andrew Luck’s injured shoulder, owner Jim Irsay, or Ballard. At the end of the day, the Patriots just convinced him to stay. There’s no new contract in place for McDaniels yet, but Pelissero expects that to happen soon.
  • Ballard says two doctors who looked at Luck after the season have determined that he does not need surgery (Twitter link via Pelissero). Luck’s arm strength is good, the GM says, but he is now working on motion and arm speed. He has yet to pick up a football, but the team will not rush him or skip any steps.
  • The GM confirmed that none of the coaches from the initial wave of interviews will be in the mix, meaning that Kris Richard and Matt Rhule will not be considered (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • There were other candidates the Colts wanted to interview, Ballard said, but the playoffs got in the way (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of ESPN.com). The Colts are expected to request an interview with Eagles OC Frank Reich and he fits the bill as a coach who was tied up during the playoffs. Of course, the same could be said of McDaniels and that did not stop Indy from interviewing him.
  • The Colts will honor the contract of defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and others who have already signed their deals. That’s not an issue for Ballard who explained that he knew Eberflus well through Rod Marinelli. The former Dallas assistant was already a guy he wanted to run his defense.
  • The Colts got an uneasy feeling a week ago that something could be stalling with McDaniels, despite moving forward with his contract (Twitter link via Jay Glazer of FOX Sports).
  • McDaniels arrived at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday with the intention of cleaning out his office, but Bill Belichick‘s willingness to take his mentorship to a higher level played a big part in McDaniels reversing course, sources tell ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. Belichick told McDaniels that he would spend more time with him on the inner workings of the team, including roster construction and salary-cap management, which was viewed as “extremely valuable” to McDaniels. That could be part of a succession plan for Belichick in the future, but no assurances have been made to McDaniels.

Colts To Keep Matt Eberflus

Josh McDaniels bailed on the Colts, but the Colts are not bailing on his would-be assistants. At least, not the ones that have already signed contracts. On Wednesday morning, GM Chris Ballard confirmed that defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and other coaches who inked deals with the team will be staying on board. Matt Eberflus (Vertical)

In addition to Eberflus, Dave DeGuglielmo (offensive line) and Mike Phair (defensive line) have also inked deals, so they’ll still have a place on the staff. That still leaves some key openings, like offensive coordinator, so the Colts’ next coach can at least choose some of his own assistants.

Prior to the McDaniels debacle, it was reported that the team was pushing for Darrell Bevell to be the new offensive coordinator while McDaniels was pushing for Raiders quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz. The Colts may still try to bring Bevell into the mix, but they may also leave it up to the next coach given that he’ll be made to work with McDaniels’ hires.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Details On Josh McDaniels’ Rejection Of Colts HC Job

In a move not seen since Bill Belichick resigned as “HC of the NYJ” in 2000, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels decided not to accept the Colts’ head coaching position after the club had already formally announced his hire. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who originally reported the McDaniels story, has since offered more details on the New England play-caller’s decision:

  • While McDaniels’ decision to remain with the Patriots may lead many to speculate that Belichick is close to retirement, that may not be the case, per Schefter. In fact, had Belichick made it clear that he was about to leave New England, McDaniels would have been more inclined to accept a head coaching offer. As Schefter reported earlier, Patriots owner Robert Kraft “sweetened” McDaniels’ contract over the past few days — had that overture started sooner, McDaniels may not have taken any head coaching interviews, at all.
  • Although McDaniels ultimately decided to reject the Colts’ offer, his decision was not based on money, according to Schefter. Instead, McDaniels had concerns about moving his family away from the New England area (the same worries he reportedly had while considering the 49ers’ job a year ago). His unease with leaving the Patriots lead to the Colts having McDaniels in for a second interview. While Indy formally announced McDaniels as its new head coach earlier today, McDaniels had never officially signed a contract, per Schefter.
  • Despite rejecting this present opportunity, McDaniels would still like to become a head coach again, per Schefter. It seems incredibly unlikely that any team will trust McDaniels with a head coaching job in the near future given his decision to bail on the Colts, but — clearly — he does have some interest in becoming the next Patriots’ head coach when Belichick retires.
  • McDaniels was reportedly offering jobs to assistants earlier today, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Some coaches, such as Matt Eberflus (defensive coordinator), Dave DeGuglielmo (offensive line), and Mike Phair (defensive line) have already signed contracts with the Colts, and they’ll be offered roles under the new Indianapolis head coach, whomever that may be, per Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link).
  • Kraft’s decision to put the full-court press on McDaniels may have deeper roots, as one source texted Schefter (Twitter link): “That’s Kraft putting it to the Colts again. He will forever try and (expletive) that place ever since DeflateGate.”

Coaching Rumors: Cowboys, Falcons, Jets

Former Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus will reportedly become the Colts’ next defensive coordinator under presumptive head coach Josh McDaniels, but Dallas was willing to promote Eberflus to DC in order to retain him, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. The Cowboys would have named current defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli assistant head coach, paving the way for Ebeflus to become the club’s new defensive play-caller. But Eberflus “did not want to step on the toes” of Marinelli, per Archer, and therefore decided to head to Indianapolis.

Here’s more from the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • The Falcons are interviewing former UCLA offensive coordinator/interim head coach Jedd Fisch and longtime NFL coach Greg Knapp for their quarterback coach position, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) and Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Fisch, 41, has served in both the collegiate and pro ranks over the past 20 years. In the NFL, Fisch was the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator from 2013-14, and has also worked for the Texans, Ravens, Broncos, and Seahawks, mostly as a quarterbacks or wide receivers coach. Knapp, meanwhile, has coordinated offenses for the 49ers, Falcons, Raiders (two stints), and Seahawks, but was most recently the Broncos’ QBs coach from 2013-16.
  • Now that he’s been passed over for a promotion to Packers defensive coordinator, cornerbacks coach Darren Perry is interviewing to become the Texans‘ secondary coach, according to Marvez (Twitter link). Perry, who’s worked in Green Bay since 2009, would replace John Butler, who was fired by Houston earlier this month. One of three internal candidates to replace former Packers DC Dom Capers, Perry could now leave Green Bay given that Mike Pettine is leading the club’s defense. However, Perry isn’t a lock to defect from the Packers, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, while Texans assistant defensive backs coach Anthony Midget is also in the running for Houston’s secondary coach job, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Buccaneers have exercised their 2018 club options for each of their assistant coaches, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). That should come as no surprise, given that Tampa Bay made the relatively surprising decision to retain head coach Dirk Koetter. However, there could be several “tweaks” to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff, per Stroud, although it’s unclear what those changes might entail. Koetter is signed through the 2020 campaign, while general manager Jason Licht recently had his 2018 option picked up.
  • Assistant defensive backs coach Daylon McCutcheon will not return to the Jets in 2018, sources tell Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. McCutcheon, who worked in New York for the past two seasons, will leave the club in order to move closer to his family on the West Coast, per Mehta.

Colts Expected To Hire Matt Eberflus As DC

After seven seasons as the Cowboys’ linebackers coach, Matt Eberflus is set to receive his first coordinator opportunity.

Once Josh McDaniels officially takes the Colts’ reins, he’s expected to bring Eberflus with him as his defensive coordinator, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Eberflus is a coaching free agent, so the Cowboys won’t be able to block this hire.

Eberflus also spent two seasons coaching the Browns’ linebackers. He’ll ascend to a DC position under McDaniels. SI.com’s Albert Breer reported this likely chain of events last week.

While the coaches have not worked together on an NFL staff, they are both Ohio natives, with Eberflus hailing from Toledo and McDaniels (son of a high school coach) growing up around the Cleveland area. Working under Rod Marinelli in recent years, Eberflus has coached Sean Lee for most of his career.

He’ll have a chance to oversee the development of a young Colts linebacking contingent. The Cowboys have run a 4-3 scheme under Marinelli, while the Colts have used a 3-4 look for the past several seasons. It will be interesting to see if they convert back to a 4-3 look under Eberflus.

Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk writes Eberflus, who took on the responsibility of passing-game coordinator in 2016, looked to be in line to succeed Marinelli in running Dallas’ defense. The Cowboys have lost several assistants this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Josh McDaniels Expected To Become Colts’ HC

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter link) that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expected to become the Colts’ next head coach. McDaniels has reportedly told his potential assistants to wait for him, and Rapoport’s sources believe McDaniels is Indianapolis-bound once New England’s season is over.

Josh McDaniels (Vertical)

Just yesterday, we learned that McDaniels and former Patriots linebacker (and current Texans DC) Mike Vrabel were the finalists for the Colts’ head coaching job. But McDaniels has seemed like the favorite for awhile now, especially given ownership’s desire for something of a splashy hire.

McDaniels compiled an underwhelming 11-17 record during his two-year stint as head coach of the Broncos, but he has more than restored his viability as a head coach since returning to New England. The Patriots’ offense has ranked in the top-10 in points scored during each of his nine years as the Pats’ OC, and McDaniels’ unit put up yet another impressive showing in the team’s divisional round win over Tennessee last night.

McDaniels, of course, has had the privilege of working with Tom Brady during his New England career, and he will inherit another excellent signal-caller in Andrew Luck should he take the Colts’ job. Luck’s health, though, will continue to be a major topic of discussion this offseason, and it was rumored that his shoulder injury may scare off top head coaching candidates. Luckily for Indianapolis, that does not appear to be the case.

As we learned several days ago, Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus — who is currently a free agent — is McDaniels’ top choice for defensive coordinator, per Rapoport (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: DeFilippo, Chiefs, Raiders

John DeFilippo interviewed for the Cardinals’ HC job, but if the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach does not land it, he could be an offensive coordinator option elsewhere. DeFilippo’s contract expires at season’s end, Albert Breer of SI.com reports. The second-year Eagles QBs coach looks to have caught the eye of Steve Wilks, who has interviewed for two HC jobs. Breer notes Wilks would want DeFilippo to run his offense if he lands an HC job. Interestingly, Wilks’ best path to said job looks to be with the Cardinals. The Bears met with DeFilippo as well but have already selected their next HC.

Here’s the latest from the coaching ranks.

  • While Wilks and DeFilippo could be connected, Josh McDaniels and Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus may be a possible pairing as well. Breer notes the Patriots’ OC accepting a head-coaching job could lead to Eberflus becoming McDaniels’ DC. Eberflus has coached Dallas’ linebackers since the 2011 season. Prior to that, he served as the Browns’ LBs coach.
  • The Chiefs made quick work of replacing since-promoted Eric Bieniemy as their running backs coach. They interviewed USC running backs coach Deland McCullough for the position on Thursday and will hire him, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports. McCullough, 45, played for the Bengals and Eagles in the late 1990s and coached the likes of Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard at Indiana during a six-year stay as the Hoosiers’ RBs boss. He coached at USC for one season.
  • Bobby Johnson received a Raiders HC interview that is being scrutinized by the NFL, since it may have happened after a Mark Davis/Jon Gruden agreement, but Johnson won’t be a part of Gruden’s 2018 staff. The Raiders are firing their tight ends coach and are expected to hire Bears tight ends coach Frank Smith, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). A previous contender for the Oakland offensive line coaching job, Smith coached the Bears’ tight ends for three years.
  • The Raiders are casting a wide net for their next O-line coach. Former Patriots and Dolphins OL boss Dave DeGuglielmo is in the mix and will interview Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Dolphins, who hired DeGuglielmo to replace the fired Chris Foerster in October, granted permission for this meeting. Miami hired Jeremiah Washburn to coach its O-line, so this would seemingly pave a path out of south Florida for DeGuglielmo.
  • New Packers DC Mike Pettine hired former Giants and Patriots defensive assistant Patrick Graham, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. A Patriots staffer from 2009-15, coaching both New England’s defensive line and linebackers, the 38-year-old Graham is expected to be in charge of Packers ‘backers in some capacity, per Silverstein. Green Bay’s ILBs job is available, and Graham prefers to coach linebackers rather than D-linemen, Silverstein notes.
  • The Bears are interested in Texans offensive assistant Pat O’Hara to become their quarterbacks coach, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. O’Hara and Matt Nagy were both Arena League quarterbacks in the 2000s, although O’Hara is 10 years older than Nagy. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets an O’Hara hire doesn’t mean incumbent QBs coach Dave Ragone will be dismissed. Ragone, a former wideouts coach with the Titans, was a possible candidate to stay despite a new HC’s hire.