A candidate for a few offensive coordinator positions, Pep Hamilton will instead join David Culley‘s first staff in Houston. The Texans are hiring the former Colts OC as their quarterbacks coach, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
Hamilton spent the 2020 season as the Chargers’ QBs coach but received interest from three AFC teams for their respective OC posts. The Dolphins, Steelers and Titans interviewed Hamilton for those jobs. While two remain unfilled — Miami’s and Tennessee’s — Hamilton is expected to head to Houston.
The Texans are moving swiftly in filling out Culley’s first staff. They are eyeing ex-Bears and Buccaneers HC Lovie Smith for a defensive role and have current reserve quarterback Josh McCown in mind for an offensive position. McCown interviewed for Houston’s HC job but may well begin his coaching career as a Texans assistant.
Hamilton, 46, was Indianapolis’ OC from 2013-15. The Colts made the playoffs twice in that span, with the latter season featuring Andrew Luck leading the NFL with 40 touchdown passes. This past season, Hamilton mentored Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Justin Herbert. The other two high-ranking Bolts staffers behind Herbert’s rise, Anthony Lynn and Shane Steichen, respectively landed OC gigs with Detroit and Philadelphia. Hamilton appears set to land on his feet as well.
The Dolphins have seen each of the external candidates for their OC post commit elsewhere. Clemson OC Tony Elliott will not leave the ACC program, Mike McDaniel received a promotion to become the 49ers’ OC, and the Steelers promoted Matt Canada to their OC position.
January 24th, 2021 at 9:36pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
We’ve got another couple of names to pass along for Seattle’s wide-ranging offensive coordinator search. The Seahawks want to interview Bills quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey and have already spoken with Rams pass-game coordinator Shane Waldron, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. They’ve been linked to what seems like every offensive coach in the league now, including Adam Gase and other big names. Dorsey was a backup quarterback in the league for a handful of years, and the 39-year-old was the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach from 2013-17.
He joined the Bills last season. Waldron is another young guy who has coached under Rams coach Sean McVay since 2016 since they were both with Washington. He started as McVay’s tight ends coach in Los Angeles before getting promoted to quarterbacks coach and pass-game coordinator. The Seahawks don’t appear to be honing in on anything in particular, and at this point it’s anyone’s guess who they’ll hire.
Here are more coaching notes from around the league:
The Texans are the only team still with a head coach opening, but they aren’t letting one key assistant go out the door yet. They recently blocked offensive coordinator Tim Kelly from interviewing for OC openings with two other teams, and those interested teams were the Titans and Lions, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Since it would be a lateral move and he’s still under contract, Houston can block those requests. As Breer points out, there has been buzz that Deshaun Watson likes Kelly, and the team could be looking to keep him in order to curry favor with their disgruntled starting quarterback. Detroit has since filled their vacancy with former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.
Speaking of the Titans’ opening, Tennessee will be interviewing Pep Hamilton for the job in the next few days, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Hamilton was the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach this past year, and did a great job helping with the development of Justin Herbert, so he’s been drawing a lot of interest for OC jobs. He was talked about as a candidate in Miami, and is one of the finalists in Pittsburgh as well. The Titans of course are looking to replace Arthur Smith, now the head coach in Atlanta. Hamilton coordinated the Colts’ offense from 2013-15, and had a lot of success with Andrew Luck.
The Dolphins are still looking for their OC, but they have made a different key hire on offense. The team has parted ways with quarterbacks coach Robby Brown and replaced him with former NFL passer Charlie Frye, they announced in a tweet. It’s the first NFL coaching gig for Frye, who was Central Michigan’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons. It’s interesting that they’d hire the QBs coach before the OC. A third-round pick of the Browns back in 2005, Frye also played with the Seahawks and Raiders until 2009.
We heard last week that the Steelers were expected to promoteMatt Canada to offensive coordinator to replace Randy Fichtner, but that is not a done deal just yet. As veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to report (via Twitter), Pittsburgh requested an interview with Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton for its OC position, and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted that the Steelers will meet with Hamilton today.
This jibes with a recent report from Dulac, whose sources indicated that Canada was a “candidate” for the OC gig but that nothing had been finalized. Obviously, the Steelers are still in search mode, which means that Hue Jackson is presumably still in the running as well.
Hamilton certainly has a more extensive NFL resume than Canada, who was in the college game for his entire career except 2020, when he joined the Steelers as their QB coach. Hamilton, meanwhile, served as the Colts’ OC from 2013-15, and he has also had stops with the Jets, 49ers, Bears, and Browns.
After two years working under Jim Harbaugh as the University of Michigan’s assistant head coach/passing game coordinator, and after an ill-fated gig as the head coach and GM of the XFL’s DC Defenders, the 46-year-old Hamilton rejoined the NFL ranks in 2020, when he hooked on with the Chargers. The success of rookie QB Justin Herbert has helped Hamilton boost his stock, as he is also a candidate for the Dolphins’ OC position.
If he joins the Steelers, Hamilton will be tasked with getting more out of a unit that finished 25th in the league in total offense in 2020 despite the presence of some highly-talented weapons. He will also try to develop the games of potential Ben Roethlisberger heirs Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins.
The Dolphins are moving quickly on their third offensive coordinator search in three years. They have identified six candidates to succeed Chan Gailey, and some will be interviewing for the position.
Steelers quarterbacks coach Matt Canada interviewed for the post Thursday, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The team has also identified Chargers QBs coach Pep Hamilton and 49ers run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel as OC options, according to ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe, who adds Dolphin position coaches Eric Studesville and George Godsey will be considered as well (Twitter link).
Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott also emerged on Miami’s radar, but veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson reports (via Twitter) the college assistant has opted against making a move to the pros at this time. The Titans also reached out to Elliott about their OC job, which Arthur Smith may well vacate soon given his interview frequency thus far, but Dabo Swinney‘s top offensive assistant will stay put in South Carolina.
Of this group, only Hamilton and Godsey have been NFL OCs previously. Hamilton spent three years in that role, serving as Colts OC from 2013-15. Godsey became the Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach during the season, Wolfe tweets. He served as Bill O’Brien‘s OC in Houston from 2015-16 but has been a position coach since. Hamilton is coming off a notable year, with Justin Herbert developing from a player expected to sit behind Tyrod Taylor for a while into an Offensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner.
McDaniel has worked with Kyle Shanahan with multiple teams; the 49ers assistant also popped up on the radar during the Browns’ most recent HC search. Studesville has been with the Dolphins in each of Brian Flores‘ two seasons at the helm. He served as Broncos interim HC in 2010 and was retained by multiple Denver HCs to stay on as running backs coach, a title he currently holds in Miami.
Canada spent more than two decades as a college coach before making the move to the Steelers last year. From 2003-18, Canada served as offensive coordinator at eight colleges — including LSU, Wisconsin and Maryland.
Hamilton’s most recent gig came as the head coach and general manager of the XFL’s DC Defenders, but he also boasts ample NFL experience. He served in a variety of offensive roles for the Jets, 49ers, and Bears before joining the Colts as offensive coordinator in 2013. In Indianapolis, Hamilton coached quarterback Andrew Luck, who he’d also led as Stanford’s OC from 2011-12.
The 45-year-old Hamilton spent 2016 with the Browns before reuniting with Jim Harbaugh at Michigan for two seasons. He took over the Defenders earlier this year, but that role ended when the XFL ended its operations in early April. The Chargers actually tried to hire Hamilton a few months ago, but weren’t able to due to his XFL employment, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
In Los Angeles, Hamilton will team with holdover offensive coordinator Shane Steichen to develop No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert. While veteran Tyrod Taylor may begin the 2020 campaign as the Chargers’ starting quarterback, Herbert will surely be under center at some point.
February 23rd, 2019 at 6:18pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Last week the new league Alliance of American Football, the AAF, received a cash infusion of $250MM from investor Tom Dundon. Dundon, who owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, reportedly bailed the league out of some financial trouble, and effectively assumed control of the AAF. But according to a new report, Dundon may not be as tied to the league long-term as it intially seemed, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
Apparently Dundon has yet to transfer over all $250MM, and the money will instead be procured over a period of time. Dundon apparently has the ability to pull the plug on the deal and stop funding the league if he determines the investment is no longer with it. None of this means that the league is in any immediate danger or that Dundon has had any sort of change of heart, but it adds another interesting wrinkle to the ordeal. The league has been very tightlipped about the circumstances surrounding Dundon’s investment, and concrete information has been hard to come by.
Here’s more from the football universe:
Speaking of alternative pro football leagues, the XFL named its latest head coach, and it was a notable NFL name. Pep Hamilton will be the coach of the league’s Washington franchise, according to Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports. Hamilton was the offensive coordinator of the Colts from 2013-15, and spent the past couple of years as an assistant on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan. He was also an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach with the Browns in 2016.
Kyler Murray spoke to the media today, and elaborated a bit on his decision to play football instead of baseball, per Jake Trotter of ESPN.com. Murray said that while it was hard letting the Oakland A’s know he would be going with the NFL, it was something he’d “known for a while.” He reiterated his commitment to playing quarterback at the next level, and said while the A’s “can hold out all the hope they want to”, he definitely wasn’t going to be changing his mind. It’s unclear exactly where Murray will be drafted, but most current projections have him going sometime in the top half of the first round.
While we’re more than a year and a half removed from the 2016 draft, one team’s actions continue to be discussed. And considering what could happen to the Browns’ power structure at the end of this season, their recent draft decisions could end up being seminal choices.
The Browns have passed on multiple players who look like long-term quarterback solutions in Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, but in Hue Jackson‘s first months in Cleveland, he had his eye on Wentz.
Jackson’s pro-Goff vibe stemmed from a close-to-the-vest mindset, Cabot notes. He worked out Goff privately but was the only head coach to attend Wentz’s pro day. Wentz assumed the Browns were going to draft him, per Cabot, after he and Jackson developed a strong rapport before the draft.
The private workout he and then-assistant Pep Hamilton conducted with Wentz had the duo “instantly sold” Wentz was the Browns’ quarterback of the future. The Browns, of course, traded that pick to the Eagles for a bounty of draft picks. Cabot reports Browns management wasn’t going to be dissuaded from unloading that No. 2 selection because of the myriad needs their team had, and the Eagles aren’t regretting their decision.
When the Browns and Eagles faced off in the 2016 opener, Cabot reports Jackson felt he received a “chilly” reception from Wentz because of the draft snub and Paul DePodesta‘s infamous not-a-top-20-QB comment. Cabot also reports part of the reason Hamilton left Cleveland for Michigan after one season is how far off the Browns were on their evaluations on that 2016 quarterback class.
This would not be the only time Jackson didn’t get his way regarding a quarterback during his eventful stay in northeast Ohio.
The Browns now have another vacancy on their coaching staff. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that associate head coach Pep Hamilton has accepted a job with Michigan to become their assistant head coach/passing coordinator. Reports from this weekend indicated that Hamilton was considering the role, although head coach Hue Jackson expressed optimism that Hamilton would be sticking around Cleveland.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Michigan was actually eying Greg Roman for the vacancy. Ironically, Rapoport notes that the coach now may be a contender for the vacancy on the Browns staff. Roman started the season as the Bills offensive coordinator, but he was fired in late September following a loss to the Jets.
Hamilton joined the Browns last offseason following a three-year stint with the Colts. Despite the presence of quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts offense only had one top-10 season during Hamilton’s tenure. The 42-year-old’s offense predictably struggled during his first season in Cleveland, as the team was forced to rely on five different quarterbacks. Besides his duties as associate head coach, Hamilton also served as the Browns quarterbacks coach.
This will be a reunion of sorts for Hamilton and Michigan head coach JimHarbaugh. Hamilton previously served as Harbaugh’s wide receivers coach while the duo was at Stanford. As Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com writes, the Michigan coaching staff had an opening after passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch left to become UCLA’s offensive coordinator. While there are no reports regarding the length or value of Hamilton’s new contract, Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com notes that Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown recently earned a five-year contract worth $1.4MM annually.
The Browns filled one hole on their coaching staff yesterday, as the team hiredGregg Williams as their new defensive coordinator.
SUNDAY, 11:44am: Rapoport tweets that Harbaugh has been telling recruits for several days that Hamilton will be joining his staff at Michigan, but Browns head coach Hue Jackson stated earlier today that he believes Hamilton is staying in Cleveland (Twitter link via Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald).
SATURDAY, 08:49am: A day after the organization fired defensive coordinator Ray Horton, the Browns may be seeing some additional changes to their coaching staff. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), associate head coach (and de facto quarterbacks coach) Pep Hamilton may also be on his way out. The long-time coach is considering taking a gig on Jim Harbaugh‘s staff at Michigan. Rapoport is clear that Hamilton wouldn’t be fired, as the Browns are more than willing to keep him on in his current role.
Hamilton joined the Browns last offseason following a three-year stint with the Colts. Despite the presence of talented quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts offense only finished in the top-10 for points once during his tenure in Indy. Hamilton’s offense predictably struggled during his first season in Cleveland, as the team was forced to rely on five different quarterbacks.
Prior to his Colts gig, Hamilton served as Harbaugh’s wide receivers coach while the duo was at Stanford. As Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com writes, the Michigan coaching staff now has an opening after passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch left to become UCLA’s offensive coordinator. This would presumably be the role that Hamilton would fill. Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com notes that Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown recently earned a five-year contract worth $1.4MM annually. Considering the instability of the Browns organization, Hamilton would surely be enticed by the money and job security.
WEDNESDAY, 7:32pm: In addition to naming Saunders, Hamilton and Wilson to his offensive staff, Jackson has hired Hal Hunter as his O-line coach, Breer tweets. Hunter had been the Colts’ assistant O-line coach since 2013. He was at the helm of the Chargers’ line from 2006-12.
5:08pm: The Browns’ Hue Jackson-led coaching staff is rounding into form. Jackson has hired Ray Horton as his defensive coordinator, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).
Additionally, the Browns have addressed their offensive staff by hiring Al Saunders as a senior assistant, according to Cabot (Twitter link), Pep Hamilton as assistant head coach/offense and Kirby Wilson as their running game coordinator (Twitterlinks via ESPN’s Josina Anderson).
The last few days have been a whirlwind for Horton, who appeared likely to join the Browns before a report came out that he was negotiating a contract extension with the Titans – whose defensive he coordinated over the last two seasons. However, the extension didn’t come to fruition and Horton interviewed with the Browns to become their new D-coordinator on Tuesday. Horton is familiar with Cleveland, having coordinated its defense to a top 10 ranking in 2013. Before that, he worked in the same capacity in Arizona from 2011-12. Horton’s defense in Tennessee finished 12th overall in 2015-16, but the team seemingly marginalized his role in the offseason when it hired Dick LeBeau as an assistant head coach. LeBeau was given “complete control” of the defense, and Horton had to report to him during the season as a result. Horton has already put in requests to bring some of the Titans’ defensive coaches to Cleveland, according to Cabot (Twitter link), as he tries to improve a Browns ‘D’ that finished 27th in the league in 2015-16.
Jackson and Saunders have a working relationship that dates back to the 2009 season, when both were with the Ravens. Saunders was also on Jackson’s staff when Jackson was the Raiders’ head coach in 2011. This is the fourth decade in which Saunders has worked as an offensive assistant at the NFL level. The 68-year-old spent this season on the Dolphins’ staff and has been an offensive coordinator with four different teams. While the Browns will value Saunders’ input, Jackson will call the plays.
Hamilton was the Colts’ O-coordinator from 2013 until this past November, when they fired him after their third-ranked attack in 2014 regressed significantly. Part of his duties in Cleveland will entail working with quarterbacks, tweets Albert Breer of NFL.com. Cabot reports (via Twitter) that he’ll be the Browns’ passing game coordinator. The 41-year-old has plenty of experience in that realm, having coached QBs with the Jets (2004), 49ers (2006) and Bears (2007-09) at the pro level.
Prior to joining the Browns, Wilson worked with running backs for six different NFL organizations since 1997, having spent the last three years in Minnesota. The Vikings attempted to keep Wilson, according to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, but the expiration of his contract enabled him to land a promotion with the Browns.
Dallas Robinson contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.