Mike McCoy

Extra Points: Fitzgerald, Talib, Titans, Jets

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has yet to make his intentions for the 2018 season public knowledge, but signs are point toward the future Hall of Famer returning for his 15th NFL campaign.

New offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said he has talked with Fitzgerald and that the receiver is “excited,” reports ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. Fitzgerald reportedly told the new offensive coordinator is verbiage was similar to previous coaches Bruce Arians and Ken Whisenhunt.

Kurt Warner also said that he gets the sense that Fitzgerald is leaning toward returning, the Hall of Fame quarterback said on 98.7 Arizona Sports radio“Last couple of times I’ve talked, I really feel like he wants to come back and play this season and he’s more committed to it. But that was before all the changes that took place.But I get the feeling that he is going to come back.”

Fitzgerald hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in recent years. After moving to the slot in 2015, the perennial Pro Bowl selection has cleared 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each season and has cemented his status as one of the game’s all-time greats.

Though he is leaning toward returning, his status is sure to be decided by what the Cardinals do to fill the vacancy at quarterback left by the retirement of Carson Palmer. With plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, the team making a run at Redskins signal-caller Kirk Cousins for a quick fix would make plenty of sense.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Speaking of Cousins, the soon-to-be free agent is expected to receive plenty of interest from the Jets. On Monday, former head coach Mike Shanahan praised Cousins as a special player, the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta writes. This portends to the Jets, as new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was groomed under Shanahan in Denver. Shanahan said: “I think Kirk Cousins could be successful in any offense that he ran. Those quarterbacks are hard to find.”
  • The Broncos, according to reports, have recently placed cornerback Aqib Talib on the trade block. ABC 7 in Denver’s Troy Renck looked at a few possible destinations for the veteran cornerback, listing the 49ers, Rams and Cowboys. Talib is signed through the 2019 campaign.
  • Bills center Eric Wood put his retirement on hold and remains on the Bills roster due to the team’s salary cap restrictions, ESPN’s Mike Rodak reports (Twitter link). When he is eventually moved to the retired list, Wood will receive $4.8 MM in injury guaranteed salary for 2018, while keeping the $4.3M in signing bonus paid, tweets NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
  • The Titans have hired Raiders wide receivers coach Rob Moore for the same position, ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets. He also notes the team interviewed former Raiders running backs coach Bernie Parmalee last week.
  • The Panthers will hire Travelle Wharton as an assistant offensive line coach, ESPN’s David Newton hears. Wharton previously spent two stints with the Panthers as an offensive lineman.

Cardinals To Hire Mike McCoy As OC

Mike McCoy will be running another Western-division team’s offense in 2018. The Cardinals are set to hire him as their next OC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The sides are working out a deal, per Rapoport. This will mark the third offense McCoy has overseen in the past three seasons. He ran the Chargers’ attack from 2013-16 as head coach and began last season as Broncos OC. McCoy’s second stay in Denver did not go as well, with the team firing him midway through the season.

Steve Wilks now has both of his coordinators on board days after taking the team’s HC reins. The top three coaches on the Cardinals’ staff have deep Panthers ties, although Wilks and McCoy’s Carolina tenures did not intersect. McCoy spent the first nine seasons of his NFL coaching career with the Panthers, from 2000-08, but Wilks didn’t arrive on staff until 2012. They’ll work together now, though, in beginning the post-Carson Palmer era.

The Broncos fired McCoy during their eight-game losing streak last season, but the 45-year-old coach experienced success in prior coaching positions.

His offense brought an uptick in Philip Rivers‘ career trajectory and helped Peyton Manning establish himself in Denver the year prior. McCoy’s most innovative coaching work may have come a year earlier, though, when he scrapped Denver’s offense midway through the season in order to install a Tim Tebow-friendly setup — one that ended up helping the team to an unlikely run to the divisional playoffs.

McCoy beat out Darrell Bevell for the Cards’ post, one that may or may not involve Larry Fitzgerald. The future Hall of Fame wideout has not committed to play a 15th season yet. The Cardinals do stand to return All-Pro David Johnson, and he’ll be vital to a team that does not have a surefire answer at quarterback post-Palmer.

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Cardinals Interview Mike McCoy

The Cardinals interviewed Mike McCoy for their vacant offensive coordinator job, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). McCoy is now the second known candidate to interview for the position, following former Seahawks OC Darrell BevellMike McCoy (vertical)

After losing his job as the Chargers’ head coach, McCoy returned to his old gig as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. Unfortunately, that reunion did not go as planned. After a 3-7 start and little output from the running game, the Broncos axed McCoy.

This offseason, McCoy has put himself in conversation for the Vikings and Cardinals OC vacancies. The Bills also briefly considered him before settling on Brian Daboll.

New Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks has already tapped former Panthers linebackers coach Al Holcomb as his DC. He’ll officially interview on Wednesday and an announcement should follow soon after.

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Cardinals Hire Steve Wilks As Head Coach

The Cardinals have officially hired Steve Wilks as their new head coach. The news was first reported by Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Per the team’s announcement, it’s a four-year deal with a club option for year five.Steve Wilks (vertical)

Wilks has reportedly made a “very strong impression” on Cardinals ownership during the search process. Last week, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong, Eagles quarterbacks John DeFilippo, and incumbent defensive coordinator James Bettcher were all said to be in the mix, but Wilks came out on top.

This is not really a rebuild, this is a retool,” Wilks told the team website. “We have the culture of winning here. We just have to be able to sustain it. It’s all about trying to get to the next level and the consistency you need to get to the next level. I believe building a culture based on three things: Trust, commitment and accountability.

Wilks just finished his first year as a defensive coordinator with the Panthers, but has eleven previous seasons of experience as an NFL assistant. Both the Giants and Titans considered Wilks for their head coaching vacancies this year before choosing to hire Pat Shurmur and Mike Vrabel, respectively. Despite his relative lack of coordinator experience, it’s clear that Wilks is highly respected around the NFL.

DeFilippo missed out on the head coaching job in Arizona, but he could potentially become the team’s new offensive coordinator. Previous reports have indicated that Wilks would like to have the Eagles QBs coach as his OC, but Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) notes that the team also plans to talk to other candidates including Mike McCoy and Darrell Bevell.

Meanwhile, Wilks could already have a defensive coordinator in mind. Panthers linebackers coach Al Holcomb is a candidate to follow Wilks from Carolina to Arizona, according to Garafolo (on Twitter).

Wilks will have some serious tools to work with, including edge rusher Chandler Jones, linebacker Haason Reddick, cornerback Patrick Peterson, and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Budda Baker. The return of David Johnson will bolster the team on the other side of the ball, but the Cardinals will have to address their quarterback situation in the wake of Carson Palmer‘s retirement. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is also thinking about calling it a career and he has indicated that the team’s head coaching hire will weigh heavily in his decision. With that in mind, a call to Fitzgerald might be one of the top items on Wilks’ to-do list.

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Cardinals Rumors: Munchak, Wilks, Caldwell

The Cardinals are the only NFL team looking for a new head coach that either hasn’t already made a hire or does not have a clear-cut front-runner for the position. Indeed, many coaches around the league have “trepidation” about the Arizona gig, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Among the factors concerning potential contenders are the Cardinals’ lack of a solution at quarterback and the increasingly difficult path to contention in the NFC West. Additionally, Arizona prefers to keep the majority of its defensive staff in place, meaning a new head coach might not get the opportunity to hire his own coaches, as La Canfora writes in a separate piece. The immediate outlook for the Cardinals isn’t very positive, meaning ownership could make “sweeping changes” again in just a few years.

Here’s more on the Cardinals:

  • Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak withdrew from Arizona’s coaching hunt last week, but La Canfora reports (via Twitter) that Munchak would have been the favorite for the club’s head coaching position had he not pulled out. Munchak cited family concerns when explaining why he decided to remain in Pittsburgh, but there was at least some thought the Steelers could promote the NFL Hall of Famer to offensive coordinator after ex-OC Todd Haley‘s contract expired. Instead, Pittsburgh tabbed incumbent quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner for the role, meaning Munchak will return for a fifth season as the team’s OL coach. Munchak, 57, has previous head coaching experience, as he posted a 22-26 record with the Titans from 2011-13.
  • Among the candidates who are still in contention for the Arizona job, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has reportedly made a “very strong impression” on Cardinals ownership during the search process, tweets La Canfora. Wilks, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong, and Eagles quarterbacks John DeFilippo all have or will receive second interviews. Incumbent DC James Bettcher, meanwhile, won’t require a second meeting given his familiarity with Arizona’s decision-makers.
  • While the Cardinals’ search is still ongoing, candidates have already started to formulate hypothetical coaching staffs. Flores for instance, would likely install former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator were he to land the Arizona gig, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Bettcher, meanwhile, is eyeing former Broncos play-caller Mike McCoy for OC and ex-Colts head coach Chuck Pagano for DC, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • We touched on Haley earlier, and the former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator says he would have interest in taking over OC duties for the Cardinals, per Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM (Twitter link). Haley, of course, has worked in Arizona before as the club’s offensive coordinator from 2007-08. Also a potential candidate for vacant OC jobs in both New York and Cleveland, Haley will likely need to wait until the Cardinals settle on their next head coach before taking any serious looks at a reunion in the desert.

Vikings To Consider Ben McAdoo, Mike McCoy For OC Role

Bracing to lose Pat Shurmur to the Giants, the Vikings are planning ahead as they make final preparations for Sunday night’s NFC championship game.

Minnesota is expected to consider the man Shurmur’s replacing with the Giants, Ben McAdoo, along with former Chargers HC Mike McCoy for their soon-to-be vacant offensive coordinator post, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

McAdoo is in the running for the Browns’ OC job after interviewing earlier this week. However, no reports out of Cleveland have pegged him as the frontrunner there. And Hue Jackson‘s presence as the top offensive coach with the Browns might make the Vikings a more attractive job. That and Minnesota’s superior offensive talent. The 40-year-old McAdoo served as the Giants’ OC for two seasons before being promoted to head coach.

Ousted as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator midway through his first year back in that job, McCoy was mentioned in the Bills’ OC search but never seriously considered. The 45-year-old McCoy served as Broncos OC from 2009-12 and this season, with an up-and-down Chargers tenure sandwiched in between.

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Bills Won’t Hire Mike McCoy As OC

Since learning that the Bills will be moving on from Rick Dennison as the team’s offensive coordinator, former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy had surfaced as a potential candidate to fill his shoes in 2018. However, McCoy will not be hired by Buffalo for the role, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link).

Mike McCoy (vertical)

McCoy was once a hot NFL coaching candidate for his work with Denver as their offensive coordinator back in 2010-2012. The 45-year-old coach fell out of favor with the Chargers after another down year in 2016, which gave way for new head coach Anthony Lynn to be hired this past offseason. McCoy caught on this past year in his second stint as the Broncos offensive coordinator, but was let go during the season after the offense struggled with a rotation of quarterbacks.

With McCoy out of the picture, the only other candidate that has been mentioned thus far for the newly open position is current Colts offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinski. Chudzinski will likely be moving on from Indianapolis with the team actively looking for a new head coach. More names will certainly surface as the Bills begin their search for the new leader of their offense. Buffalo is just one of three teams that have a vacancy at the offensive coordinator post at the moment. Make sure to stay up-to-date with all coordinator news with our 2018 Coordinator Tracker.

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Bills Fire OC Rick Dennison

The Bills announced that they have fired offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. The team has yet to hire a replacement for Dennison, making them one of several teams on the lookout for a new OC. Rick Dennison (vertical)

Dennison came to the Bills last year following the hire of Sean McDermott as head coach. The Bills managed to make the playoffs, but it was in spite of a poor passing game. The Bills placed 29th in total yards, 22nd in points, and averaged only 176.6 passing yards per game, though a Dennison defender would point out that he had to deal with the inconsistencies of Tyrod Taylor and the rawness of rookie Nathan Peterman at quarterback. Meanwhile, the team depleted itself of offensive weapons with the trade of Sammy Watkins and the loss of Robert Woods.

The Browns found their new OC on Friday morning and the Cardinals, Colts, and Giants may all be looking for a new play-caller once they hire head coaches. Already, we’ve seen six OCs replaced this offseason. When all is said and done, there will be no fewer than seven OC shakeups on the year and possibly eleven or more.

Former Chargers coach Mike McCoy could be a candidate for the opening in Buffalo, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter). Alex Marvez of SiriusXM (on Twitter) hears that McCoy and Colts OC Rob Chudzinski are the top two candidates for the job. Both men previously spent time with the Panthers, which helps their cause with McDermott.

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Raiders Expected To Fire Todd Downing After 2017

The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton earlier this week, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that offensive coordinator Todd Downing is coaching for his job. Per La Canfora, the Raiders are unlikely to bring Downing back for 2018, and while head coach Jack Del Rio — who received a lucrative extension prior to the season — is probably not going anywhere, it appears as if his staff will look quite different next year.

Todd Downing (vertical)

Downing was a hot offensive coordinator candidate last offseason and drew interest from multiple clubs. The Raiders ultimately decided to promote him after allowing former OC Bill Musgrave‘s contract to lapse, but their offense has taken a significant downturn with Downing at the helm.

Downing, 37, has had success as a quarterbacks coach in the past, serving in that capacity with the Lions from 2011-13, the Bills in 2014, and the Raiders from 2015-16. Under his tutelage, Derek Carr became one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but Carr has regressed this season and the offense is missing the big plays that it enjoyed under Musgrave. The offense ranks just 18th in offensive points scored, 21st in yards per game, 22nd in plays of 10 yards or more, 27th in rushing yards, and 21st in overall passing.La Canfora adds that Downing has not endeared himself to other coaches and front office members, which could help trigger his ouster.

If the team does look for a new OC in 2018, La Canfora names Mike McCoy as a potential candidate. Per La Canfora, McCoy has been approached by several teams who want him to work as a consultant for the duration of 2017, but he is unlikely to entertain any such advances. Instead, he will simply wait for the winter hiring period, when he will be one of the more coveted coordinators on the market.

Even if Del Rio does not hire McCoy, he is likely to seek someone with more experience in light of Downing’s disappointing first season.

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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.”