Nick Matteo

Staff Notes: Johnson, Lions, Ravens, Browns

Jets owner Woody Johnson is back running his team, after his United Kingdom ambassadorship under President Donald Trump ended. Johnson now oversees a staff hired while his brother — Christopher Johnson — was operating as owner. Woody Johnson is behind the Jets’ current Joe DouglasRobert Saleh power structure, despite not being involved in their respective hirings.

They’ve got a tremendous amount of leeway,” Johnson said of Douglas and Saleh, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “I’m totally in sync with these guys. Chris [Johnson] made some unbelievable choices, and we’re lucky to get both of those gentlemen. I couldn’t be more excited,” he continued. “I’m very optimistic, generally, but I’m particularly optimistic now when I see what happens on the field [in practice].”

It will be interesting to follow Johnson’s relationship with Douglas and Saleh, given the unique circumstances behind this power trio. The returning owner does not plan to interfere with the Douglas regarding personnel, Cimini adds. The Douglas-Saleh partnership follows two unsteady pairings formed during Christopher Johnson’s interim ownership tenure, with the Adam GaseMike Maccagnan tandem lasting less than six months together and Douglas firing Gase — who helped him land the GM gig — after the 2020 season.

Here is the latest from the front office and coaching ranks:

  • Although the Lions hired a new GM (Brad Holmes), several Bob Quinn-era staffers will remain going forward. Holmes will keep Lance Newmark (player personnel director), Dave Sears (college scouting director) and Rob Lohman (pro scouting director) on staff, with select other scouts from Quinn’s regime remaining in place, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Newmark turned down an offer to join Scott Fitterer‘s Panthers front office, per Birkett. Both Newmark, who has been with the Lions for nearly 25 years, and Lohman, who joined the Lions in 2007, interviewed for the Lions’ GM job that went to Holmes.
  • Holmes did hire some new personnel. Former Panthers and Texans exec Mike Martin will join the Lions as director of scouting advancement, while ex-Miami Hurricanes football ops director Don Corzine is now in Detroit as a senior advisor. These two join John Dorsey and assistant GM Ray Agnew as key new arrivals under Holmes.
  • Going into his third season with the Ravens, Nick Matteo will rise to the position of director of football administration. Matteo, who worked in the league office for 10 years, will be involved with the Ravens’ salary cap. Additionally, Andrew Raphael will rise from an area scout to a national scouting role.
  • Browns assistant coach Callie Brownson was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated last month, 92.3 The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter tweets. Brownson pleaded guilty to the charge, and the Browns suspended her. However, Kevin Stefanski said Brownson will be back for training camp. Currently working as the team’s chief of staff, Brownson became the first woman to coach a position group during a regular-season NFL game — when the team’s COVID-19 outbreak led to her coaching wide receivers and tight ends in separate games last season.

Staff Notes: Newsome, Panthers, Lions

Despite ceding his post as Ravens GM to longtime lieutenant Eric DeCosta, Ozzie Newsome remains a central presence in Baltimore’s front office. He played a key role in the Ravens adding Earl Thomas, despite not having an official title. He does now. Amid a staff shakeup, the Ravens revealed (via Pennlive.com) Newsome will serve as their executive vice president. The Hall of Fame tight end and Super Bowl-winning executive will continue to advise DeCosta. This should help a Ravens team in a bit of a transition, considering Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco and C.J. Mosley are no longer with the franchise. Newsome, 63, sticking around will provide vital continuity.

Here is the latest on some front office situations around the league, staying first with more from the Ravens’ new-look staff:

  • The Ravens will now have co-directors of player personnel, moving former college scouting director Joe Horwitz and previous senior personnel assistant George Kokinis into the position. The Ravens brought in Kokinis in 2010, following a short stay as the Browns’ general manager. The Ravens promoted Mark Azevedo from his northeast area scout post to player personnel coordinator and made Chad Alexander their assistant director of pro and college personnel. Vincent Newsome will move from director of pro personnel into a senior player personnel executive position, and Nick Matteo will now oversee the Ravens’ salary cap. Matteo spent 10 years as an NFL management council exec.
  • While their staff changes were not as sweeping as the Ravens’, the Panthers have some key figures in new positions. A 22nd-year Panthers exec, Jeff Morrow will take over as Carolina’s player personnel director after heading the franchise’s college scouting department. Fourth-year Panthers staffer Eric Stokes will move into Morrow’s former role. Former Panthers wide receiver Mark Carrier, a ninth-year member of the team’s front office, will become executive director of the Panthers’ football staff.
  • Lastly, the Lions reshuffled a few roles. Dave Sears will rise from Detroit’s assistant director of college scouting to leading that department. Rob Lohman will make the same move on the pro side. Both Sears and Lohman have been with the Lions for 13 years.