Matt Rhule

Coaching Rumors: Vikings, Kubiak, Dolphins

Here are the latest coaching rumors from around the NFL:

  • The Vikings are in play for Gary Kubiak, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The OC job is already occupied by Kevin Stefanski, but Kubiak could work with him on that side of the ball. Kubiak’s son, Klint, was on the Vikings’ staff in 2013-14 and worked with Stefanski during that time, so there’s some degree of familiarity there.
  • Jim Caldwell is expected to join the Dolphins‘ staff in some capacity, though it won’t necessarily be as offensive coordinator, Albert Breer of The MMQB hears. The Dolphins could go with a younger coordinator and have Caldwell serve in a mentor-type role, but Caldwell could also don the headset after Miami missed out on guys like Greg Roman and Kliff Kingsbury.
  • Christopher Johnson says the report the Jets tried to tell Matt Rhule or Mike McCarthy who to hire is completely untrue (Twitter link via Connor Hughes of The Athletic). If he is to be believed, then new head coach Adam Gase will have a good degree of freedom to fill out his staff. If you choose to believe the reports, then Gase will probably have to work off of a limited list of options provided by GM Mike Maccagnan and the rest of the front office.

 

East Notes: Brady, Flores, Cowboys

The knee injury that Patriots QB Tom Brady has been battling this season is an MCL sprain, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports that Brady sustained the injury when going out for a pass against Tennessee on November 11. However, Brady has no structural damage, and Rapoport says the 41-year-old will head into today’s playoff game as healthy as he has been since the start of the season. He will likely not require any offseason procedures.

Let’s round up a few more east-related rumors:

  • The Dolphins are simply waiting for the Patriots‘ season to end so that they can finalize a deal with New England de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores to become their next head coach, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. No one anticipates this turning into another Josh McDaniels situation, and Flores is fully expected to join Miami. Schefter also says that Miami is already planning its rebuild and is looking to the 2020 crop of rookie QBs, which is expected to include Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
  • Albert Breer of SI.com names Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly as a potential replacement for Flores on New England’s staff, while Mike Reiss of ESPN.com sees former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano — who was rumored to be a candidate for the Pats’ DC job last year following Matt Patricia‘s departure — as a logical choice. Rapoport (video link) agrees with Reiss.
  • Dolphins LB coach Frank Bush is expected to follow Adam Gase to the Jets, and while DL coach Kris Kocurek may do the same, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio says that four to five teams are interested in Kocurek’s services (all Twitter links).
  • Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, whom the Jets reportedly preferred to Gase, confirms that he did not join Gang Green because the team wanted to pick his staff for him. Per Jake Nisse of the New York Post, Rhule said, “[a]t the end of the day, I’m never going to be in an arranged marriage.” 
  • Longtime Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is technically under contract through 2019, but the club could save $7MM against the cap by cutting him, and given the emergence of quality younger options and Lee’s injury history, it is difficult to imagine that Dallas will bring him back under his current deal. Lee, of course, could retire, and Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News says that the 32-year-old will sit down with his family and make a decision on his football future, though Lee did not provide a timeline for that decision.
  • After the Cowboys‘ playoff loss to the Rams last night, which saw defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli‘s unit get thrashed, Marinelli was unwilling to address speculation that he could step into an advisory role while Kris Richard takes over as DC. Per Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, Marinelli said, “[w]hy do people keep asking me the same question? I can’t figure it out? Can somebody tell me why everybody asks me that?”

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Gase, Cardinals, Lions

The Jets likely preferred Baylor’s Matt Rhule to Adam Gase, but as previously reported, things fell apart when Rhule refused to allow the Jets to pick his staff for him. The Jets especially wanted to choose his offensive coordinator and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Jets floated Todd Monken to him as an option.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Cardinals asked, but were denied, permission to interview 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel for their offensive coordinator position, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets. McDaniel is tight with head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team was not prepared to lose him, especially to a divisional rival.
  • “It appears” that Steve Sarkisian and Nathaniel Hackett are in the mix for the Lions‘ offensive coordinator vacancy, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. The Lions have been looking for a new OC ever since Jan. 1 when they announced that Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract would not be renewed.
  • Sarkisian has also spoken with the Cardinals about their OC job, Marvez tweets. Sarkisian has been on the market since Dec. 31 when he was fired by Atlanta.
  • Both the Cardinals and Browns have sought permission to interview Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The position(s) he’ll be discussing with those teams are unclear, however.

Matt Rhule Will Remain At Baylor

Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has indicated to his coaching staff that he won’t be leaving for the NFL, where the Jets had interviewed him for their head coaching position, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

The Jets wanted Rhule to agree to hire assistants the team’s front office would procure, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). New York had concerns that Rhule, who has spent almost the entirety of his career in the college ranks, wouldn’t be able to form a staff. But Rhule had no interest in hiring coaches with whom he wasn’t familiar, per Mehta.

Besides a brief 2012 stint as the Giants’ offensive line coach, Rhule has spent the majority of his career in the NCAA. Rhule was head coach at Temple for four seasons, where he led the Owls to their only back-to-back 10-win seasons in school history. He joined Baylor in 2017 and didn’t see similar results, as the Bears finished with a 1-11 record during his first season. However, Baylor improved in 2018, finishing 7-6.

Despite his lack of an NFL track record, Rhule has been mentioned as an NFL head coaching candidate in the past. He interviewed for the Colts’ top job last offseason before Indianapolis selected Josh McDaniels as its initial head coach (before moving to Frank Reich once McDaniels spurned the club).

New York was the only NFL team known to be considering Rhule as a head coaching candidate, so it will need to move on to other candidates. As PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker indicates, Gang Green has interviewed a number of other coaches:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Packers, LaFleur, Rhule

Matt LaFleur has the Packers job and he has Rams coach Sean McVay to thank. The two are close friends and it’s likely that McVay lobbied for him, Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel tweets.

McVay employed LaFleur as his offensive coordinator in 2017, but McVay called the plays himself. Then, last offseason, he allowed LaFleur to fly the coop and call plays for the Titans. Without that stepping stone, LaFleur probably wouldn’t have gotten the big gig in Green Bay.

Meanwhile, the Packers are over the moon about LaFleur because his offensive focus will allow the club to keep defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and the rest of the staff, provided that LaFleur is not keen on making major changes.

Here’s the latest round of coaching rumors from around the NFL:

Coaching Notes: Vikings, Browns, Dolphins, Jets

Right after the biggest coaching news of the cycle dropped with the Packers’ hiring of Matt Lafleur, we have a fresh batch of coaching rumors ready.

One of the most prominent coordinator openings is the Vikings’ offensive coordinator position. The team fired John DeFilippo midseason, and promoted Kevin Stefanski to that role. Although many initially thought Stefanski would be back in Minnesota, he is “unlikely to return”, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), who notes the team is “looking for depth of experience.” Robinson writes that former Titans head coach Mike Mularkey is a candidate for the job, and he thinks recently fired Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter is a candidate as well.

Koetter is indeed a candidate for the job, confirms Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. A source told Goessling that Koetter is a strong candidate for the job. Interestingly both Koetter and Mularkey have interviewed for the Falcons’ OC job in recent days. Koetter was Atlanta’s playcaller before landing the job in Tampa Bay. Robinson writes that Koetter has been “presumed across the league to be a lock for the Falcons OC job”, but that Minnesota is “in play” for him as well.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Mike McCarthy has been linked to the Browns job ever since he was fired by Green Bay, but things appear to be cooling off between the two sides. Cleveland “talked with either Mike McCarthy or his reps today, but things are on hold for now while the Browns talk to other candidates”, sources told Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. While it sounds like the Browns have put McCarthy on the back-burner, Demovsky notes he is still “very much in play for the Jets.”
  • Speaking of the Browns, the team completed their interview with interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens today, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. It’s unclear if Kitchens has a real shot at landing the head coaching job, as the back half of this season was his only experience even calling plays after he was promoted from quarterbacks coach, but he received a ton of praise for his work for Baker Mayfield. If he doesn’t get the job it’s highly possible he’s retained as OC by whoever takes over in Cleveland.
  • Pittsburgh’s offensive line coach Mike Munchak has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to leave the Steelers, and a source told Aditi Kinkhabwala of ESPN.com that he turned down an interview request from the Dolphins (Twitter link). Munchak has been very selective over who he’ll talk to in recent years, and it seems like the only way he’ll be on the move this cycle is if he lands the Broncos’ job. Recent reports have him as the “early favorite” for that gig.
  • We heard yesterday that the Jets were looking to set something up with Baylor coach Matt Rhule, and that meeting has apparently already taken place. The Jets “have discussed their head coaching vacancy” with Rhule, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Rhule has been buzzed about in NFL circles in recent years, as he’s done a great job turning around the programs at Temple and Baylor. He was considered for the Colts’ opening last year, but ended up removing his name from consideration.
  • The Dolphins were originally supposed to interview their special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi for their head coaching vacancy today, but the interview has been rescheduled for later in the week, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Rizzi is an outside the box candidate, but numerous former and current Dolphins players have lobbied for him to receive consideration. So far the Dolphins have interviewed Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, and Cowboys’ defensive playcaller Kris Richard in their search to replace Adam Gase. Whoever gets the job in Miami will likely have a new quarterback under center, as the team is expected

Jets To Interview Baylor HC Matt Rhule?

The Jets are set to interview Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken on Tuesday, but it sounds like they might get a crack at Baylor’s head coach before that. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora says he continues to hear that the Jets will talk to Matt Rhule about their head coaching opening prior to their Tuesday interview with Monken (Twitter link).

We heard last week that the Jets were eyeing the Baylor head coach, but it was uncertain if the organization had scheduled an interview. The team was in Texas today to interview Cowboys assistant Kris Richard, so they could easily pull off another meeting in the next 24 hours.

Besides a brief 2012 stint as the Giants’ offensive line coach, Rhule has spent the majority of his career in the NCAA. Rhule was head coach at Temple for four seasons, where he led the Owls to their only back-to-back 10-win seasons in school history. He joined Baylor in 2017 and didn’t see similar results, as the Bears finished with a 1-11 record during his first season. However, Baylor improved in 2018, finishing 7-6.

The 43-year-old has been on the NFL radar for at least a year. Last offseason, the Colts eyed Rhule as a head coaching candidate before the Josh McDaniels fiasco.

Rhule is the eighth known candidate for the Jets’ post. This total doesn’t include Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, who declined the team’s interview request.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Broncos, Crennel, Rhule, Henry

Mike Munchak is once again a popular head coaching candidate, with at least four teams interested in his services. But we heard last night that Munchak has strong interest in the Broncos‘ opening, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Munchak has emerged as the early favorite for that position. Helping the Broncos’ cause is the fact that Munchak has family, including a granddaughter, in the Denver area.

Now for more rumors and rumblings from the AFC:

  • The Broncos are blocking other teams from interviewing senior personnel adviser Gary Kubiak for offensive coordinator jobs, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Kubiak wants to remain in Denver anyway, but he has expressed interest in returning to the sidelines as an OC, and the Broncos would like him to serve in that role under whomever they hire as their next head coach (assuming that person is comfortable with such an arrangement). The Bengals and Falcons had requested interviews.
  • Texans free agents-to-be Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu want to be back in Houston next year, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. There has been no word on whether the Texans will move to re-sign Jackson, but the team does want Mathieu back, as we learned yesterday.
  • Romeo Crennel is expected to return as the Texans‘ DC in 2019, per head coach Bill O’Brien (via Wilson on Twitter).
  • The Jets have interest in interviewing Baylor head coach Matt Rhule for their own HC vacancy, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that Gang Green will get an interview with Rhule (Twitter link). The team is in Dallas interviewing Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard today, and Albert Breer of SI.com believes New York brass could interview Rhule while they’re in Texas (Dallas is about 90 minutes from Waco).
  • Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers should be able to land a lucrative free agent deal this offseason, but since he is not a prototypical speed-rushing DE, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes it is difficult to pin down what his value will be on the open market. Reiss suggests Flowers could return to New England after testing the free agent waters.
  • The Chargers will remain without tight end Hunter Henry for today’s playoff bout in Baltimore, but if LA wins today, Rapoport says that Henry will be activated tomorrow in the hopes of suiting up against New England next week.
  • Rapoport reiterates that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will not be back in Baltimore next season, but Flacco (unsurprisingly) wants to continue his playing career, and Rapoport suggests that he will get an opportunity as a starter (video link). The only real question is whether Baltimore will be able to trade him or if the club will be forced to cut him.
  • In addition to Flacco, the Ravens will need to decide what to do with impending free agent C.J. Mosley in the offseason. It would probably be unwise to sink too much money into an inside linebacker who struggles in coverage, but Mosley’s leadership abilities for a defense that could be losing a number of key veterans will certainly be a factor in contract negotiations, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

Jets Interested In Baylor’s Matt Rhule

The Jets have expressed interest in Baylor coach Matt Rhule for their head coaching position, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. It’s unclear when or if an interview has been scheduled, however. 

The Jets are scheduled to be in Texas on Sunday to interview Cowboys assistant Kris Richard, so that may be a logical time to chat with Rhule. The Baylor coach lacks real NFL experience outside of his 2012 stint as the Giants’ offensive line coach, but he has been on the professional radar nonetheless. Last year, he was a candidate for the Colts’ opening before the Josh McDaniels fiasco.

Rhule does have vast amounts of collegiate experience, as he’s been working in the NCAA since 1998. Rhule was head coach at Tempe for four seasons before taking over Baylor, where posted a disappointing 1-11 record in 2017. This past season wasn’t a banner year for Baylor either, but the Bears at least finished above the .500 mark.

Rhule marks the eighth known candidate for the Jets’ post, not counting Matt Campbell who declined the team’s interview request.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.