Mike Tice

NFC Notes: Vikings, Panthers, Jones, Tate, Boston

Following the tragic and unexpected death of offensive line coach Tony Sparano this week, the Vikings have made some adjustments to their coaching staff. Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune reports (via Twitter) that the team will names Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko co-coaches for the offensive line.

Barone, who’s been working in the NFL since 2004, was the Vikings tight ends coach last season. With the reorganization of the coaching staff, senior offensive assistant (and former Raiders offensive coordinator) Todd Downing will take on the tight ends gig. Meanwhile, Janocko had previously served as the team’s assistant offensive line coach.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that the team had also pursued former Vikings head coach Mike Tice for the offensive line job. We heard back in February that the 59-year-old was eyeing retirement.

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

  • Panthers right tackle Daryl Williams appeared to suffer a serious knee injury during practice today, writes Bryan Strickland of the team’s website. The 25-year-old reportedly went down following a “non-contact injury,” and he was later carted off the field. “He’s being evaluated,” said head coach Ron Rivera. “They’ll send him up to Charlotte where he can be closely looked at, and we’ll go from there. I’m not sure. I just know they’re going to take him up and evaluate him later today…Daryl is a solid young man, and he’s a big part of what we do. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.” If the 2017 second-team All-Pro ends up missing time, Rivera said 2017 second-round pick Taylor Moton will be given the chance to earn the starting gig.
  • Julio Jones saw several adjustments to his contract before reporting to Falcons training camp, writes Michael Davis Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. The star wideout will now earn a $4.4MM signing bonus thanks to his revised deal, while his 2018 and 2019 base salaries were reduced to $1.5MM and $2.9MM, respectively.
  • Lions wideout Golden Tate is entering the final season of his five-year, $31MM deal that was signed back in 2014. While the 29-year-old shouldn’t anticipate a similar payday as Brandin Cooks or Sammy Watkins, he’s still hoping the organization has some leftover money to keep him around. “I hope there’s some (money) left,” Tate told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press“Congratulations to all those guys who’ve gotten big deals. They definitely deserve it. I mean, all those players like Cooks and Sammy, they’re all hell of players. Who else? The guy who used to be in Chicago? Alshon (Jeffery). He got a payday, too. So congratulations to all those guys. I hope everyone who plays this game has an opportunity to earn a big payday. I’m happy for them.” Tate had another productive season in 2017, hauling in 92 receptions for 1,003 yards and five touchdowns.
  • We heard earlier this week that Tre Boston‘s deal with the Cardinals was worth $1.5MM (although this could be increased to $3MM). However, Pro Football Talk reports that the safety’s deal only contains $800K in guaranteed money. The deal also includes a number of incentives, including per-game bonuses, playing time bonuses, and Pro Bowl/statistical bonuses. The 26-year-old had a productive season for the Chargers last season, compiling 79 tackles, eight passes defended, and five interceptions in 16 games (15 starts).

Coaching Rumors: Lions, Titans, Tice, Cards

New Lions hire Paul Pasqualoni is expected to take on a “prominent role” on the club’s coaching staff, reports Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Previous reports have indicated that Pasqualoni, who had been working as Boston College’s defensive line coach, could take over as Detroit’s defensive coordinator under Patricia (who figures to call his own defensive plays). The Lions are in need of a new DC after Teryl Austin, the team’s defensive play-caller for the past four seasons, took the same job with Cincinnati. However, Pasqualoni could instead receive an assistant head coach title, per Yates.

Here’s more from the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • Like Patricia, new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel continues to fill out his staff, as Tennessee announced today that it has hired Keith Carter to coach the club’s offensive line and Tony Dews to lead the team’s running backs. Carter, who spent the past three seasons with Atlanta, will now be in charge of a Titans front five that ranked among the league’s best in 2016 but took a significant step backwards a year ago. Dews, meanwhile, has never coached in the pro ranks, but does offer 20 years of collegiate experience, including stops at Arizona, Pitt, Michigan, and — most recently — West Virginia. Tennessee has also retained assistant offensive line coach Mike Sullivan, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News.
  • Mike Tice sounds like’s ready to call it a career. The former Vikings head coach recently told Dan Barrerio of KFAN (Twitter link) that he’s considering retirement because players “no longer want to be coached.” Whether that’s a serious threat or instead indicative of Tice’s inability to connect with today’s millennial players is unclear, but the 59-year-old Tice would be giving up a coaching career that began in 1996. Tice served as Minnesota’s head coach from 2002-05, and had spent the past three seasons as Oakland’s offensive line coach.
  • The Cardinals have hired former Titans quarterbacks coach Jason Michael as their new tight ends coach, as Marvez reports. The Cowboys also had interest in adding Michael to fill their vacant tight ends coach job, but Michael instead chose to head to the desert. Michael was previously Tennessee’s offensive coordinator from 2014-15, but was demoted when Mike Mularkey took over the Titans’ full-time head coach in 2016.
  • The Panthers had become something of a family business after hiring Norv and Scott Turner earlier this year, as the club subsequently boasted four Turners on its staff. However, Norv and Scott are the only members of the family staying on board in Carolina for the 2018 campaign, however, according to Bill Voth of Panthers.com (Twitter link). Assistant quarterbacks coach Cameron Turner is joining the University of Arizona staff, while offensive consultant Ron Turner won’t be with the club (though it’s presently unclear why).
  • The Steelers announced that they’ve hired Blaine Stewart as an offensive assistant. Stewart is the son of former West Virginia coach Bill Stewart, who gave Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin his first coaching assignment at VMI in 1995.

Breer’s Latest: Texans, Raiders, Bengals

NFL teams searching for new general managers aren’t only looking for evaluators, as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com writes. Instead, ownership groups want candidates who can not only spot talent, but communicate with staff, engage with each department within the team, and manage personalities. “This job, you can’t just watch tape all day,” an NFC GM told Breer. “You have the equipment guy reporting to you, the video guy reporting to you, you’re managing the roster, working with the cap guy, handling the owner. There’s a difference between being a personnel director and being a GM. They’re different jobs. … And I think with [ex-Panthers GM Dave] Gettleman and [ex-Chiefs/current Browns GM John] Dorsey, it was more, ‘I just wanna watch tape.’”

Let’s take a look at the highlights from the rest of Breer’s column:

  • Although Texans head coach Bill O’Brien says he won’t resign his position, it appears “less and less likely” that Houston’s current power structure — which also includes GM Rick Smith — will return in 2018, per Breer. O’Brien is entering the final season of his five-year contract, and given that most head coaches prefer not to work as “lame ducks,” O’Brien’s situation could be resolved this offseason. If he were fired, O’Brien would instantly be attractive to a number of teams that will be looking for new head coaches, according to Breer.
  • Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther‘s contract will expire following the 2017 campaign, meaning he’s likely to either replace Marvin Lewis as Cincinnati’s head coach or move to another club as DC, reports Breer. Confirming what Michael Lombardi of the Ringer mentioned earlier this month, Breer notes that Guenther could conceivably be hired by the Redskins, who employ former Bengals OC Jay Gruden as head coach. Cincinnati has finished 14th, 10th, and 17th in defensive DVOA in thee full seasons under Guenther, and currently rank 18th this year.
  • Given that the Raiders were one of this season’s greatest disappointments, the club will likely make coaching staff alterations over the next few months, and one such change could be the removal of offensive line coach Mike Tice, per Breer. Tice, a longtime OL instructor and former head coach of the Vikings, is a close friend of Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio, but he’s also considered a “polarizing presence,” says Breer.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Wolfe, Downing

The Broncos have lost some key auxiliary performers in recent weeks. Outside linebackers Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett could both be sidelined past Week 1, and defensive line rotation cog Billy Winn is out for the season after tearing an ACL. Denver’s offense received some bad news as well. Third-round pick Carlos Henderson will undergo thumb surgery that will shelve him for at least the remainder of the preseason and possibly into the regular season, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Henderson suffered the injury during the Broncos’ August opener against the Bears.

The Louisiana Tech standout was vying to become Denver’s No. 3 wide receiver but was struggling during camp. The Broncos were using Henderson at kick returner in Chicago. Henderson’s injury will create openings for incumbent pass-catchers Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor in the coming weeks while potentially limiting the rookie’s assimilation.

Here’s the latest out of Denver and other AFC West cities.

  • It doesn’t look like Derek Wolfe will be undergoing surgery, but the sixth-year defensive end will likely be out for a few weeks. An ankle injury forced Wolfe to be carted off the practice field Saturday, but Wolfe informed ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (Twitter link) he should be good to go for Week 1. That said, Denver’s left defensive end told Anderson his ankle is badly sprained and has a “slight tear.” Pending further examination, the Broncos do not believe this is a serious injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweets. Wolfe tweeted a picture of the afflicted ankle as well.
  • New Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing received the backing of mentor Mike Tice when it came time for Jack Del Rio to choose between Downing and previous OC Bill Musgrave. Tice helped bring Del Rio and Musgrave — who worked together for two years in Jacksonville — back together in 2015. But the Oakland offensive line coach agreed with Del Rio that losing Downing to a team that wanted him as OC wouldn’t be a smart move, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Tice oversaw Downing’s work when he was the Vikings’ head coach during the 2000s, eventually giving Downing his first coaching job in 2005. Musgrave’s contract was not renewed, and the longtime assistant is coaching the Broncos’ quarterbacks.
  • Tafur adds the close relationship between Downing and Derek Carr helped influence the decision and previously dictated the Sunday arrangements last season. Downing coached Carr on the sidelines while Musgrave operated from the booth. Carr said, via Tafur, he will have more freedom to improvise under Downing than he did in two seasons under Musgrave. However, this season will be the 37-year-old Downing’s first time calling plays at any level since he helped coach a Minneapolis-area ninth-grade team in 2002, Tafur adds.
  • Recently added offensive lineman Allen Barbre is competing with Max Garcia for the Broncos‘ starting left guard position, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post notes. Barbre has played both guard and tackle in his career but worked with the first unit in practice and could see time with the starters in Denver’s second preseason game, per Jhabvala. Garcia and Michael Schofield were the Broncos’ starters last season. Ronald Leary is the new right guard.
  • Ray’s target date for a return from wrist surgery is Week 3, when the Broncos make their first road trip of the season in a venture to Buffalo, Jhabvala reports. Former Saints edge defender Kasim Edebali and Vontarrius Dora are the top candidates to start opposite Von Miller come Week 1, should Barrett not make it back by then.
  • Chargers rookie Mike Williams is “running” and “doing well,” per Anthony Lynn, but remains without a firm timetable.

Raiders To Bring Back OL Coach Mike Tice

The contract for Raiders offensive line coach Mike Tice expired after their season ended, but the team made retaining him a high priority. It’s now official that Tice will return to the Raiders next season, per Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link).

Mike Tice

With Tice coming back, the only offensive coach the Raiders will lose from 2016 is previous coordinator Bill Musgrave, whose contract they didn’t renew. Musgrave is now the quarterbacks coach with AFC West rival Denver, while Oakland tabbed its own former QBs coach, Todd Downing, to replace him.

The Raiders had one of the NFL’s top offenses this season, which was thanks in large part to their Tice-coached line. Pro Football Focus ranked the Raiders’ front five as the fourth-best unit in the league. Stalwarts Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson were the group’s premier players.

Tice, who’s best known for his run as the Vikings’ head coach from 2002-05, has worked as an offensive assistant with various teams since his tenure in Minnesota ended. Next season will be his third with the Raiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Stafford, Boldin, Tice, McCoy

As the Dolphins and Steelers do battle, let’s take a look at some notes from around the league:

  • Lions quarterback Matt Stafford will not need surgery on his injured right middle finger, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. Stafford was excellent for much of the season, but he completed just 58.6% of his passes for four touchdowns and five interceptions after the injury, and he could get nothing going in a frustrating season-ending loss to Seattle last night.
  • Lions WR Anquan Boldin had a nice first season in Detroit, and the 36-year-old wideout, who posted 67 catches for 584 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns, plans to return for his 15th season in the league in 2017, according to Nate Atkins of MLive.com.
  • The contract for Raiders O-line coach Mike Tice is up, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, but Oakland has prioritized bringing him back. That makes sense, as the team is sending three offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl this year.
  • Former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy will apparently not be unemployed for long. Rapoport tweets that McCoy is largely considered the top offensive coordinator available and has been mentioned as many teams’ offensive coordinator of choice.
  • Even if the Dolphins were to pull off the upset in Pittsburgh this afternoon, the team is not counting on Ryan Tannehill to return next week, according to Rapoport (via Twitter). Tannehill was, at least, able to practice on Friday.
  • Ohio State WR Noah Brown will enter the NFL draft, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). The 6-2, 218-pound wideout had a breakout year for the Buckeyes, and is currently projected to be selected in the second or third round of the draft.
  • In a series of articles, OverTheCap.com offers a preview of the strongest and weakest offensive positions in this year’s free agent class, examines which linebackers could become cap casualties, and projects the 2017 compensatory picks.

AFC Links: Raiders, Dolphins, Green

The stadium proposal that didn’t exactly receive rave reviews leaves some unanswered questions regarding the feasibility of its completion and, naturally, the Raiders‘ future in Oakland, writes Matthew Artz of the Bay Area News Group.

Chief among them, writes Artz, is whether the stadium can be built for the $900MM budgeted, and if not, what’s the plan if additional funds are required? Artz points out how Levi’s Stadium was slated to cost $937MM but ended up running a $1.3 billion tab.

The project would have to be financed entirely by the NFL and the Raiders, and the proposed 55,000-seat stadium would be smaller and is projected to generate less revenue than what’s being discussed in Carson, Calif. But before seeing a cost breakdown, which the Raiders have not released, determining the project’s viability is difficult, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC’s School of Business David Carter told Artz.

Here are some more details from around the league on Independence Day eve.

  • The Raiders upgraded at backup quarterback in Christian Ponder, a veteran of new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave‘s offense from the duo’s time in Minnesota from 2011-13, writes Steve Corkran of RaiderBeat.com. Corkran doesn’t doubt starter Derek Carr‘s ability to make a “precipitous” leap this season and believes new weapons Amari Cooper and Clive Walford will help in this effort. Concluding his analysis of the Oakland quarterback spot, the veteran Raiders reporter predicts Matt McGloin will beat out rookie Cody Fajardo.
  • New Raiders offensive coordinator Mike Tice has taken to second-year guard Gabe Jackson, referring to the 2014 third-round pick as a “rising star,” offers CSNBayArea.com. Jackson was the 27th-best guard, per Pro Football Focus, last season and now has the benefit of working next to key free agent acquisition Rodney Hudson in Year 2.
  • In his series on who’s bound for the Dolphins‘ 53-man roster, James Walker of ESPN.com gives running back Mike Gillislee a 25% chance at making the team in what could be his final training camp in Miami. Currently fifth on the depth chart behind Lamar Miller, rookie Jay Ajayi, LaMichael James and Damien Williams, Gillislee has just six carries for 21 yards in his two-year career.
  • Even before Antonio Gates‘ suspension, the Chargers were planning to allot more time to Ladarius Green, writes Eddie Brown of the San Diego Union-Tribune. With the Chargers viewing Green as a superior run-blocker to the 35-year-old Gates, the veteran’s early absence could expedite Melvin Gordon‘s development.

Extra Points: NFLPA, Mayo, Van Pelt, Raiders

The NFL Players Association has formally filed a grievance against the league challenging the NFL’s new personal conduct policy, which was adopted in December despite the NFLPA’s objections, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The union contends that it didn’t have an opportunity to collectively bargain many key points of the new policy, arguing that the policy violates the CBA and that it was adopted “without the consent, and over the objections, of the NFLPA.”

While we wait to see what comes of the union’s grievance, let’s round up several items from across the NFL….

  • Injured Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has been prioritizing his rehabilitation after a season-ending knee injury, and fully intends to get back on the field in 2015, but he has also developed an interest in coaching during his time spent on injured reserve, writes Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can,” Mayo said. “If I do choose to go down that road, hopefully I can apply some of these principles that I’ve learned from coach [Bill] Belichick in my coaching career.”
  • While a previous report revealed the Packers turned down the Rams’ request to speak to Alex Van Pelt about their offensive coordinator job, St. Louis wasn’t the only team rebuffed by Green Bay. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Jaguars and Bears were also denied permission to interview Van Pelt.
  • The Raiders have officially confirmed a handful of new additions to Jack Del Rio’s staff, announcing in a press release that they’ve hired Todd Downing (QB coach), Marcus Robertson (DB coach), Sal Sunseri (LB coach), and Mike Tice (OL coach).
  • The Jets also announced several new assistants in addition to their new coordinators. According to the team, Mike Caldwell (assistant HC/ILB coach), Mark Collins (OLB coach), Joe Danna (DB/S coach), and Karl Dorrell (WR coach) are among the new arrivals.
  • Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey isn’t phased by the fact that 2015 could be a make-or-break season for him and head coach Joe Philbin, suggesting that he approaches every season as if it’s make-or-break, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • The Texans have made some front office changes, promoting Jon Carr to director of college scouting and hiring Matt Jansen to the new position of college scouting coordinator, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links).
  • We learned yesterday that Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett met with the Dolphins at the Senior Bowl, but Miami is far from the only team to interview Lockett. The wideout, who is generating plenty of buzz in Mobile, tells James Walker of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that he spoke to 28 NFL teams this week.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Broncos, Wallace, Jets

Addressing reporters at Jack Del Rio‘s introductory press conference today, Raiders owner Mark Davis announced that CFO Marc Badain had been named team president, and indicated that Del Rio “has all the resources he needs” to go out and hire assistant coaches (Twitter links via Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer). And it appears that Del Rio has taken advantage of those resources to land his first offensive assistant — Michael Silver of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that the Raiders will hire Falcons assistant Mike Tice to coach their offensive line. The Falcons had previously been reluctant to grant Tice permission to speak to the Raiders, but were convinced to change their stance after Tice pleaded his case, tweets Silver. Oakland is also expected to formally contact Marc Trestman soon about the team’s offensive coordinator position, says Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).

Here’s more from across the AFC, as the week winds down and we look forward to championship weekend:

  • The Broncos have concluded their head coaching interview with Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, the club announced today (via Twitter). Having now adhered to the Rooney Rule, Denver is free to hire Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak if this Sunday’s meeting between the two sides goes well. With Teryl Austin and Doug Marrone having canceled their interviews, Kubiak is the only candidate currently scheduled to meet with the team.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link), Dolphins owner Stephen Ross indicated that he doesn’t think “anyone really knows” whether wide receiver Mike Wallace will be back with the team for the 2015 season. Wallace will count for $12.1MM against the cap in 2015, a significant figure, though not as high as 2014’s $17.25MM cap hit.
  • With the status of players like Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas uncertain heading into the offseason, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton recognizes that he may not be the Broncos‘ No. 1 priority among free-agents-to-be, but he has “made it clear” that he wants to remain with the team, as he tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • New Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan has started making changes to the team’s front office, parting ways with senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway and director of college scouting Jeff Bauer, the team announced in a press release. According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter), personnel executive Rod Graves isn’t expected to return either. Mehta reports (via Twitter) that Maccagnan would like to hire Rams scout Brian Heimerdinger – whom he worked with in Houston – to the Jets’ front office. The new GM is also set to hire former Jaguars GM Gene Smith, as had been previously reported, tweets Mehta.
  • The Jets would like to talk to former Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo about the same position in New York, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.
  • Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel, who is still a year away from becoming eligible for a contract extension, has changed agent, signing with Eugene Parker of Relativity Sports, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal.

Coach Notes: Bucs, Bears, Marrone, Coyle

The Buccaneers have parted ways with quarterbacks coach and interim offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Arroyo stepped in to run Tampa Bay’s offense during the 2014 season during Jeff Tedford‘s absence, but hadn’t been mentioned as a candidate to step into the role permanently since the team officially let Tedford go at season’s end.

Let’s round up a few more afternoon news items and rumors on the coaching front….

  • One coach the Buccaneers tried to interview for their OC opening was Mike Mularkey of the Titans, but Tennessee turned them down. John Fox and the Bears are expected to seek permission to speak to Mularkey about the offensive coordinator position in Chicago, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter), so we’ll see if the Titans say no to Fox as well.
  • Following Teryl Austin‘s lead, Doug Marrone has canceled his head coaching interview with the Broncos, which had been scheduled for Saturday, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Marrone will wait to see what happens with Gary Kubiak, who is set to talk to Denver on Sunday, and is viewed as the frontrunner for the position.
  • Despite some initial uncertainty at the end of the regular season, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle will remain with the Dolphins for the 2015 campaign under head coach Joe Philbin, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
  • Current and former Falcons coaches are among Jack Del Rio‘s targets for the Raiders, according to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com and Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 in Washington (Twitter links). Williamson continues to hear that Del Rio has interest in Mike Tice, but Atlanta won’t give the Raiders permission to interview the offensive line coach. Per Russini, Del Rio is trying to hire Mike Smith as his defensive coordinator, but it most likely won’t happen.
  • Russini (Twitter link) is hearing that Mike Shanahan may be in play for the 49ers‘ offensive coordinator job under Jim Tomsula.
  • Former Bills offensive coordinator Nate Hackett is interviewing with the Jaguars today for the team’s OC opening, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that at least two other clubs are also interested in Hackett.
  • We can also add the Jaguars to the list of teams looking to interview Adam Gase for their offensive coordinator opening, tweets Schefter. The Falcons and Rams want to speak to Gase about an OC role as well.
  • If Teryl Austin lands the Falcons‘ head coaching job, Packers safeties coach Darren Perry looks like a candidate to become his defensive coordinator, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).