Mike Solari

Coaching Rumors: Spagnuolo, Fins, Cowboys

While Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo interviewed for the position, there is an upside for him in current Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur likely accepting the team’s offer to be their next head coach. With Shurmur on board, the veteran defensive coordinator is a more likely option to stay in the role he began the 2017 season in, opines Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com.

Back in 2008, Spagnuolo hired Shurmur as his offensive coordinator when he got the Rams head coaching job. The two also have history in the Andy Reid‘s coaching tree back when the now Chiefs head coach hired both coaches out of the college ranks.

Spagnuolo does have a track record of defensive success, and while this past season was more trying, the Giants unit was one of the best in football just two years ago. Based on the coaches’ history with one another, it appears that Spagnuolo has a good shot to retain his job. But if Shurmur does decide to go in a different direction, Dunleavy throws at names like Ohio State linebackers coach Bill Davis, Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Chiefs linebackers coach Gary Gibbs that could make sense for the post.

Here’s more coaching news from around the league:

  • The Dolphins have let go of their secondary coach Lou Anarumo, per Barry Jackson the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Anarumo had been with the team since 2012. This is just one of a few changes Miami has made in regards to their coaching staff this offseason.
  • The Cowboys and Bengals have switched offensive line coaches this offseason. After Cincy hired former Dallas offensive line coach Frank Pollack to the same role, we learned today that the Cowboys have hired the guy who held that post for the Bengals in Paul Alexander, reports Alex Marvez of SiriusXM (Twitter link).
  • In other offensive line coach news, the Seahawks have brought in Mike Solari to replace Tom Cable as the primary guy handling the offensive front, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network (Twitter link). Solari has a history in Seattle, he served as the team’s offensive line coach from 2008-09. The team also recently hired Ken Norton Jr. to replace Kris Richard as defensive coordinator earlier today.
  • Andy Reid is adding a new face to the Chiefs coaching staff for 2018. The team has hired Jay Valai as a defense quality control coach, reports Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star (Twitter link). Perez adds that Valai will also assist the either the Chief’s defensive back of linebacker group in addition to his primary duties.

East Notes: Cowboys, Cable, ASJ, Redskins

Having fired Frank Pollack last week, the Cowboys are casting a wide net as they search for a coach to lead an offensive line that was considered the NFL’s best as recently as 2016. Dallas has already interviewed former Bengal OL coach Paul Alexander last week, while incumbent Cowboys assistant offensive line coach Marc Colombo is reportedly “in the mix” for the vacancy, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, Dallas had interest in meeting with former Seahawks OL coach Tom Cable before he was hired by the Raiders, but no formal interview was ever arranged, per Archer, who adds the Cowboys also plan to meet with Giants offensive line coach Mike Solari.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • In addition to finding a new offensive line coach, the Cowboys are also looking for a new coach to head up the club’s wide receivers. Former Colts wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is interviewing to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired last week, as Archer reports. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. At present, the only other candidate to interview for the Cowboys’ WRs coach job is former Dallas pass-catcher Miles Austin, who is currently a scout for Dallas but has never coached in the NFL.
  • While the Jets have interest in re-signing pending free agent tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, general manager Mike Maccagnan & Co. have no intent of “going crazy” to retain the 25-year-old, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Seferian-Jenkins, a former second-round pick who has overcome substance abuse issues, posted the best season of his career in 2017 by posting 50 receptions for 357 yards and three scores. While ASJ did tail off near the end of the year (he managed only 11 catches for 69 yards in New York’s final five games), his age and pedigree should allow him to garner a multi-year pact.
  • Stanford has hired former Redskins assistant offensive line coach Kevin Carberry as its new run game coordinator and offensive line coach, tweets Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports. To replace Carberry, Washington has inked ex-Broncos assistant Phil Rauscher as its next assistant OL coach, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/5/16

Today’s minor moves from around the NFL:

  • The Dolphins have claimed defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu off waivers from the Browns, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Oregon product suffered a major knee injury before the 2015 Rose Bowl, tearing his ACL and dislocating a bone in his right knee. Although the injury dropped him to the seventh round in last year’s draft, Ekpre-Olomu possesses plenty of upside if he can get healthy.

Earlier updates:

  • Dillon Farrell has signed with the Giants, according to his reps at Tier 1 Sports Management (on Twitter). The signing reunites Farrell with new offensive line coach Mike Solari, who held the same position in San Francisco from 2010-14. The UDFA out of New Mexico also spent some time on Tennessee’s taxi squad last year.
  • The Raiders announced that they have signed long snapper Andrew East. The Vanderbilt product first came into the NFL as a UDFA in 2015 and spent training camp with Kansas City. In February of this year, he inked a deal with Seattle, only to be waived in March.
  • Buccaneers safety Bradley McDougald has signed his one-year restricted free agent tender, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). McDougald started 15 games for the Bucs in 2015.
  • The Buccaneers also announced that ERFA long snapper Andrew DePaola has inked his tender. DePaola has been Tampa Bay’s full-time long snapper since the start of the 2014 season.

Giants, Ben McAdoo Finalize Coaching Staff

New Giants head coach Ben McAdoo has officially finalized the team’s new coaching staff, which features 20 assistants, the club announced today in a press release. There are no real surprises on the staff, which features 12 coaches from Tom Coughlin‘s staff, though McAdoo stressed that “this is a new staff.”Ben McAdoo

“Nobody was retained, there were no holdovers; everyone was hired,” McAdoo said. “When I sat down with everybody on the staff, that was one thing I wanted to make clear. No one was retained, no one was a holdover. Everyone was hired here as part of a new staff.”

Although one could make the case that assistants like defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn are technically holdovers from last year’s staff, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News suggests (via Twitter) that McAdoo probably means those coaches – and others – had to re-interview for their positions.

One of the 12 assistants who will return to the Giants this year is Mike Sullivan, who received a promotion from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, as previously reported. Sullivan, of course, steps in for McAdoo, who was elevated from OC to head coach after Coughlin resigned.

Quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti and offensive line coach Mike Solari are among the new additions to McAdoo’s staff whose hirings were previously reported. Adam Henry (WRs coach), Patrick Graham (DL coach), Jeff Zgonina (assistant DL coach), Bill McGovern (LBs coach), Dwayne Stukes (assistant special teams coach), and Aaron Wellman (strength and conditioning) round out the group of new coaches.

For the full list, be sure to check out the Giants’ press release.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coach Updates: Henderson, Falcons, Browns

Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson is interviewing for a position on the Falcons‘ coaching staff, but not for the defensive coordinator job — Richard Smith is staying in that role, Atlanta confirmed today (via Twitter).

Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who first reported that Henderson was interviewing for the DC role in Atlanta, tweets that his Cowboys contacts believed that was the case. Henderson has suggested he wouldn’t leave Dallas for a job that wasn’t a promotion, so there’s some confusion about what exactly his role with the Falcons would be.

According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons may view Henderson as a potential defensive pass-game coordinator, a position currently held by Raheem Morris. Morris also has an assistant head coach title, which could give Atlanta the flexibility to bring Henderson aboard and move Morris to another role without technically demoting him.

As we wait to see whether Henderson decides to leave Dallas for the Falcons, here are some other coaching updates from around the NFL:

  • Former Giants defensive line coach Robert Nunn, who recently interviewed with the Titans, is being hired by the Browns as their defensive line coach, reports Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
  • Marvez passes along another Browns-related coaching update, tweeting that the Packers have hired tight ends coach Brian Angelichio away from Cleveland for the same position on Green Bay’s staff.
  • The Giants are expected to hire Packers assistant offensive line coach Mike Solari as their new offensive line coach, a source tells Newsday’s Tom Rock. We learned on Thursday that Solari was a “strong candidate” to join Ben McAdoo‘s staff.
  • The 49ers are looking at Titans offensive line coach Bob Bostad for the same job in San Francisco, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. As we heard on Wednesday, the Niners are also considering Pat Flaherty for that position.
  • The Saints have hired former Giants defensive backs coach and Rams defensive coordinator Peter Guinta as a senior defensive assistant, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Guinta has been out of the NFL since being let go by the Giants last January.

Coach Notes: Giants, Texans, Bills, Titans

There aren’t many offensive or defensive coordinator jobs still available, as our tracker shows, but teams continue to tweak their coaching staffs in preparation for the 2016 season, interviewing and hiring position coaches and other assistants. Here are a few of Thursday’s updates on that front:

  • First-time head coach Ben McAdoo appears to be considering an assistant with head coaching experience for his staff. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Giants interviewed former Niners head coach Mike Singletary today for their linebackers coach job.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Giants interviewed Packers assistant Mike Solari on Wednesday for their offensive line coach position, tweets Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. According to Marvez, Solari is a “strong candidate” to be added to McAdoo’s staff.
  • As expected, the Texans have hired former Ravens and Texans defensive lineman Anthony Weaver as their defensive line coach, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Weaver, who last played for Houston in 2008, will replace Paul Pasqualoni.
  • According to Marvez (via Twitter), the Bills are making Pat Meyer their assistant offensive line coach.
  • Marvez also reports (via Twitter) that the Titans have promoted Nick Eason from defensive line assistant to defensive line coach.
  • The Bengals announced three coaching moves today (via Twitter), re-assigning Robert Livingston as assistant defensive backs coach and adding Robert Couch and Dan Pitcher to their offensive staff.

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.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Chargers, Lynch, Lions

When reports came out earlier today regarding Adam Gase being hired as the Dolphins head coach, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Bengals defensive back’s coach Vance Joseph was expected to join the staff as Miami’s new defensive coordinator. However, Rapoport later clarified (via Twitter) that Joseph will be a target, but no deal has been finalized. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets that Joseph has had zero discussions with the Dolphins regarding the position.

If Joseph does end up joining Gase’s staff, he’s expected to hire several notable names. Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez tweets that Bengals linebackers coach Matt Burke, Bears defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, and Cowboys defensive back’s coach Jerome Henderson would presumably join Joseph’s staff.

Meanwhile, Albert Breer tweets that Hue Jackson is scheduled to have his interviews with the 49ers and Browns tomorrow. If he secures any of those head coaching jobs, Breer believes Joseph will be a target to become defensive coordinator (with Mike Solari an option at offensive coordinator).

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

  • The Chargers request to interview Buccaneers defensive line coach Joe Cullen was denied, tweets Fox Sports’ Mike Garafalo.
  • Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times gives a list of reasons why it’d be in the Seahawks best interest to move on from Marshawn Lynch (via Twitter): they’d save $6.5MM against the cap, he’s 30-years-old, and he only appeared in seven games this season.
  • The Jets, Browns, Texans and Rams are among the teams scouting North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz at today’s FCS title game, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (via Twitter).
  • Count Gil Brandt among those who are big fans of new Lions general manager Bob Quinn“He’s not one of these guys that’s known because he doesn’t seek out jobs,” Brandt told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “But he knows the personnel part of it, he knows the cap part of it. He knows how to make people better at the job they do. You’ll like this guy because … he’s a hustler, and he’s very low-key.”

Packers Announce Coaching Changes

12:05pm: McCarthy confirmed at his press conference that Clements will call the offensive plays for the Packers in 2015, tweets Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

11:58am: The Packers have confirmed a handful of previously reported coaching changes, announcing today in a press release that the team has made changes on both sides of the ball, and named a pair of new special teams assistants as well. The new titles on Mike McCarthy‘s staff are as follows:

  • Tom Clements: Associate head coach/offense
  • Edgar Bennett: Offensive coordinator
  • Alex Van Pelt: Quarterbacks and wide receivers coach
  • Mike Solari: Assistant offensive line coach
  • Jerry Montgomery: Defensive front assistant
  • Ron Zook: Special teams coordinator
  • Jason Simmons: Assistant special teams coach

While the press release doesn’t mention anything about the Packers’ offensive play calls, McCarthy is expected to hand over the reins on play-calling to Clements as part of his promotion. Clements had previously been Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, while McCarthy called the plays, and now it appears that Bennett will be the OC while Clements calls plays.

McCarthy will speak to local reporters at the top of the hour to confirm the changes.

NFC Notes: Rams, Sam, Packers, Washington

It has been a little over a month since Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced his plan to build a new NFL stadium in Los Angeles, and it’s inching a little closer to becoming a reality, writes David Hunn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to Hunn, developers have begun to clear land and lay water lines at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, and the stadium still looks like a go, regardless of whether an NFL team like the Rams is lined up to play in it.

“If you have the most modern, the most beautiful NFL stadium in the world, you’re not going to have any problem populating it,” Inglewood mayor James T. Butts said. “If the NFL wants to migrate here, we would welcome it. But that’s not what this is about. This is ‘Field of Dreams’ stuff. Build it and they will come.”

Here are a few more Monday notes from around the NFC:

  • Former Rams seventh-rounder Michael Sam has applied for one of approximately 100 spots in the NFL’s inaugural veteran combine later this month, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today. While the former Missouri standout is hoping that leads to an NFL contract offer, Pelissero says Sam has a one-year contract offer from the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes on the table as a fallback option. The 25-year-old spent some time on the Cowboys‘ practice squad last season, but wasn’t active for any regular season games.
  • Veteran 49ers offensive line coach Mike Solari will be leaving San Francisco to join the Packers, reports Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. While it’s not immediately clear what Solari’s role will be in Green Bay, his hiring appears to be part of a larger shake-up to the team’s offensive staff, as we heard yesterday.
  • The Packers will have to make a decision at quarterback this offseason, with backup signal-callers Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn both eligible for free agency. As Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com writes, the team’s coaching staff likes Tolzien’s potential, but Flynn gives the club a “security-blanket feel.” For his part, Aaron Rodgers would like to see both backups re-signed.
  • Free agency may offer more problems than solutions for Washington, but the team may still need to dip into the open market to find stopgap options for certain positions, writes Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com.
  • Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer takes a look at some key issues facing the Panthers this winter, including a possible long-term deal for Cam Newton, finding a solution at left tackle, and adding immediate contributors in the draft.