Patrick Graham

Dolphins Considering Bret Bielema For DC?

The Dolphins are expected to hire Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores as their new head coach as soon as New England exits the postseason, and Flores may already have a coach in mind to hire as his own defensive coordinator. Bret Bielema — a former collegiate head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas who currently serves as a consultant to Bill Belichick — is receiving consideration for the job, a source tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Bielema’s only NFL experience has come with the Patriots, but he noted last summer that most coaches don’t return to the college game after joining the pros, so it seems like he’s now in the NFL for good. A former collegiate linebackers coach and defensive coordinator, Bielema posted a 68-24 record at Wisconsin before managing a 29-34 at Arkansas.

Another potential candidate for the Dolphins’ DC gig is Packers linebackers coach/run game coordinator Patrick Graham, tweets Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. Like Flores, Graham has a lengthy history with the Patriots, as he served in a variety of roles in New England from 2009-15. He coached the Giants’ linebackers from 2016-17 before joining Green Bay last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: DeFilippo, Chiefs, Raiders

John DeFilippo interviewed for the Cardinals’ HC job, but if the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach does not land it, he could be an offensive coordinator option elsewhere. DeFilippo’s contract expires at season’s end, Albert Breer of SI.com reports. The second-year Eagles QBs coach looks to have caught the eye of Steve Wilks, who has interviewed for two HC jobs. Breer notes Wilks would want DeFilippo to run his offense if he lands an HC job. Interestingly, Wilks’ best path to said job looks to be with the Cardinals. The Bears met with DeFilippo as well but have already selected their next HC.

Here’s the latest from the coaching ranks.

  • While Wilks and DeFilippo could be connected, Josh McDaniels and Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus may be a possible pairing as well. Breer notes the Patriots’ OC accepting a head-coaching job could lead to Eberflus becoming McDaniels’ DC. Eberflus has coached Dallas’ linebackers since the 2011 season. Prior to that, he served as the Browns’ LBs coach.
  • The Chiefs made quick work of replacing since-promoted Eric Bieniemy as their running backs coach. They interviewed USC running backs coach Deland McCullough for the position on Thursday and will hire him, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports. McCullough, 45, played for the Bengals and Eagles in the late 1990s and coached the likes of Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard at Indiana during a six-year stay as the Hoosiers’ RBs boss. He coached at USC for one season.
  • Bobby Johnson received a Raiders HC interview that is being scrutinized by the NFL, since it may have happened after a Mark Davis/Jon Gruden agreement, but Johnson won’t be a part of Gruden’s 2018 staff. The Raiders are firing their tight ends coach and are expected to hire Bears tight ends coach Frank Smith, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). A previous contender for the Oakland offensive line coaching job, Smith coached the Bears’ tight ends for three years.
  • The Raiders are casting a wide net for their next O-line coach. Former Patriots and Dolphins OL boss Dave DeGuglielmo is in the mix and will interview Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Dolphins, who hired DeGuglielmo to replace the fired Chris Foerster in October, granted permission for this meeting. Miami hired Jeremiah Washburn to coach its O-line, so this would seemingly pave a path out of south Florida for DeGuglielmo.
  • New Packers DC Mike Pettine hired former Giants and Patriots defensive assistant Patrick Graham, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. A Patriots staffer from 2009-15, coaching both New England’s defensive line and linebackers, the 38-year-old Graham is expected to be in charge of Packers ‘backers in some capacity, per Silverstein. Green Bay’s ILBs job is available, and Graham prefers to coach linebackers rather than D-linemen, Silverstein notes.
  • The Bears are interested in Texans offensive assistant Pat O’Hara to become their quarterbacks coach, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. O’Hara and Matt Nagy were both Arena League quarterbacks in the 2000s, although O’Hara is 10 years older than Nagy. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets an O’Hara hire doesn’t mean incumbent QBs coach Dave Ragone will be dismissed. Ragone, a former wideouts coach with the Titans, was a possible candidate to stay despite a new HC’s hire.

Packers Notes: Whitt, O’Neil, Graham, Staff

Packers cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt was passed over as Green Bay searched for a new defensive coordinator, but he’ll stay on with the club and receive an elevated title of defensive passing game coordinator, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Whitt was one of three internal candidates — in addition to assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss and safeties coach Darren Perry — being considered for Packers DC, but former Browns head coach Mike Pettine was ultimately awarded the position. At present, there’s no word as to whether Moss or Perry will remain on staff.

Here’s the latest from Green Bay, with a focus on coaches and front office personnel:

  • Now that Pettine has been announced as the Packers’ new defensive coordinator, Green Bay will attempt to fill out a defensive staff. As Adam Caplan of SiriusXM hinted last night, the Packers will interview former 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil for their linebackers coach position, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. O’Neil, who spent the 2017 campaign out of the NFL, served as Petine’s defensive coordinator when both worked with the Browns from 2014-15. O’Neil’s interview could be a sign that the incumbent Moss is moving on.
  • Cignetti isn’t the only ex-Giants assistant whom the Packers could soon hire, as Green Bay will also meet with New York defensive line coach Patrick Graham this week, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Like O’Neil, Graham could be a candidate for the Packers’ linebackers coach job, reports Silverstein (Twitter link). The 38-year-old Graham spent the past two seasons teaching defensive lineman with Big Blue, but was previously a longtime Patriots staffer, working his way through the ranks to coach both lineman and linebackers in New England.
  • Green Bay’s front office has witnessed major upheaval over the past several weeks, as Brian Gutekunst replaced Ted Thompson as general manager while fellow executives Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith both took new positions with the Browns. More changes will likely be coming, however, and the Packers are expected to consider college scouting director Jon-Eric Sullivan and pro personnel director John Wojciechowski for promotions, tweets Silverstein. Both men could be contenders for an assistant general manager of director of player personnel role.

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.

East Rumors: Wentz, Eagles, Giants

The Bills were the team North Dakota State quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg recalled being the most enamored with Carson Wentz, staging several visits to the Fargo, N.D.-based Division I-FCS school to gauge the first-round prospect, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports.

Bills representatives attended several Bison practices and were a constant in North Dakota State’s football facility, Hedberg told Dunne, to look at the rare non-FBS first-round quarterback prospect. Dunne notes, however, that at this rate the fast-rising Wentz won’t be available when the Bills select at No. 19, as the 6’5″ signal-caller has impressed this week in Senior Bowl workouts.

Buffalo still has Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel under contract for 2016.

Here is the latest on the most unlikely top-tier quarterback prospect in a while and other news from around the Eastern divisions.

  • Even though the Jets are set to negotiate an extension with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes they are pondering first-round quarterbacks, with Wentz being the most intriguing. “Every NFL team probably goes into the draft — with maybe a few exceptions of people who have really well-established quarterbacks — looking at that position as a position of interest,” Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said. “We’ll be no different than them.” The Jets pick at No. 20.
  • The Eagles will meet with Steelers executive Brandon Hunt for a second interview Friday for their director of player personnel position, Philly.com’s Jeff McLane tweets. Steelers owner Art Rooney II gave the 35-year-old Hunt permission to interview with the eastern-Pennsylvania franchise. He’s already met with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman.
  • Although Hunt is their only confirmed candidate, McLane reports former Browns VP of player personnel Morocco Brown is on the Eagles’ radar for this job. Eagles director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph looms as an internal candidate, per McLane.
  • The Giants are planning to add Patriots linebackers coach Patrick Graham as their defensive line coach, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The 37-year-old Graham’s been with the Patriots since 2009 and prior to taking over the Pats’ linebackers in 2014, he supervised their defensive linemen in 2012-13.