Perry Fewell

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers

New Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will call plays in Tampa Bay, head coach Bruce Arians told The Rich Eisen Show (Twitter link via Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times). That’s something of a surprise, as Arians led the offense when he was the Cardinals’ head coach. Leftwich took over as Arizona’s OC after Mike McCoy was fired four games into the 2018 campaign, but he couldn’t get the Cardinals out of the NFL rankings cellar in terms of points and yards. Arians will still have a heavy hand in Tampa Bay’s offense, while new run game coordinator Harold Goodwin will also have input.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Former Redskins special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica has joined the Falcons in the same capacity, Atlanta announced today. He’ll replace Keith Armstrong, who was one of three Atlanta coordinators fired after the 2018 campaign. Washington ranked two spots higher in special teams DVOA than Atlanta a season ago, per Football Outsiders, finishing with better results in kickoffs and punt returns. Kotwica has worked in the NFL since 2007, working his way up from quality control coach to special teams coordinator with the Jets.
  • Armstrong, meanwhile, will take over as the Buccaneers‘ new special teams coach, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. He’d been linked to Tampa Bay ever since Arians was rumored to be taking the head coaching position, and for good reason: as Auman notes, Armstrong played for Arians at Temple 35 years ago. Armstrong, who was a candidate for the Cardinals’ head coaching job in 2018, was fired by the Falcons last week, but quickly interviewed for a gig with the Bills before landing with the Buccaneers.
  • The Buccaneers have hired former Broncos offensive line coach Sean Kugler for the same position, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). The Bills also had interest in interviewing Kugler before he signed on with Tampa Bay, according to Ryan Talbot of New York Upstate. Kugler, previously the head coach at UTEP, joined Denver in 2018 and guided a Broncos front five which ranked as a top-12 unit in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate. Other Tampa Bay hires include former Jets coach Mike Caldwell (linebackers) and ex-Cardinals coach Rick Christophel (tight ends), per Auman (Twitter links).
  • After being fired by the Jaguars last week, Perry Fewell is interviewing for the Panthers‘ secondary coach job on Wednesday, tweets Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. A former defensive coordinator for the Bills and Giants, Fewell worked with Carolina coach head coach Ron Rivera in Chicago in 2005. The Panthers still have Richard Rodgers in place as a secondary coach, but they’ve lost multiple defensive backs coach within the past year. Curtis Fuller resigned as the team’s secondary coach last summer, while assistant Jeff Imamura was fired as part of a housecleaning in early December.

AFC Coaching Rumors: Jets, Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins, Browns

Two coaches fired after the 2017 season look to have secured additional interviews about possible 2019 top jobs. Jim Caldwell will interview with the Jets, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. Chuck Pagano is now expected to interview with the Broncos, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Caldwell has already met with the Packers and been connected to the Browns’ wide-ranging search as well.

Here’s the latest from the AFC’s side of the coaching carousel.

  • Another year, another issue with the Jets‘ OC. After John Morton‘s stay in New York featured conflict, apparently Jeremy Bates‘ did as well. A growing frustration sprouted about Bates’ play-calling, something Jets GM Mike Maccagnan became aware of, Vacchiano reports. Bates is now in limbo after Todd Bowles‘ firing, and one agent suggested the Jets would have had to fire their OC if they wanted to land impact free agents on offense. Jermaine Kearse was also not happy with Bates’ work, per Vacchiano. The Jets may have more than one major hire to make in the coming weeks. Bates spent 2017 as New York’s QBs coach before taking over for Morton.
  • The expansive Browns search thus far does not include Josh McDaniels, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com tweets. A Cleveland-area native, McDaniels was part of the Browns’ turbulent 2014 coaching search that ended with Mike Pettine. The Bengals have requested a meeting with McDaniels, but he has not yet accepted. McDaniels can interview this week because of the Patriots’ bye week.
  • The Broncos are monitoring Mike McCarthy, but no interview is as of yet scheduled, Klis tweets. McCarthy has been connected to just about every opening thus far. The 13-year Packers coach may sit this cycle out, unless he sees a perfect fit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
  • Rex Ryan contacting possible assistant coaches about the Dolphins‘ vacancy appears to have been premature. He is not in the running to land the Miami job, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). This would have been Ryan’s third AFC East job. The former Jets and Bills coach has not been mentioned on Black Monday as a candidate for any of the eight openings.
  • The latest Leonard Fournette incident appears to have cost a coach his job. The Jaguars fired running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley on Monday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Jacksonville is retaining Doug Marrone but is looking for a new offensive coordinator, so there will now be another position available. Wheatley just finished his second season as the Jags’ RBs coach.
  • In addition to Wheatley, the Jags are canning three other assistants — defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and defensive line coach Marion Hobby, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Both Fewell and Flaherty spent extensive time with Tom Coughlin on Giants coaching staffs. This was Hobby’s first NFL job.

Coaching/FO Notes: Manning, Redskins, Jaguars, Broncos

Despite Jim Irsay’s dream of a superstar decision-making duo featuring Peyton Manning and Jon Gruden failing to come to fruition, the Colts‘ owner is still trying to land Manning in a key front office role, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports (on Twitter). During an appearance on Fox NFL Sunday, Glazer described Irsay as making a “strong push” to bring Manning back to the Colts.

However, the 40-year-old recently retired quarterback may not be ready to do that at this time. Previously loosely connected to a pursuit of a front office career, Manning coming back to the Colts is unlikely at this time, Bob Kravitz of WTHR tweets. The Colts did release Manning in 2012, but the future Hall of Fame passer did return for a special Colts-centric retirement ceremony last year.

Nevertheless, the owner’s faith in the Ryan Grigson/Chuck Pagano tandem may be wavering, despite each being tentatively expected to keep their jobs. Although, Irsay has yet to come out publicly and confirm that.

Here’s the latest from the NFL’s post-regular-season hiring period.

  • Today’s revelations have Irsay going after splashy candidates for jobs that aren’t yet open, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports the owner has yet to reach out to Nick Saban about the HC job. The Colts have been connected to Saban via rumors for a while now, but nothing substantial has come out of it.
  • The Redskins are “very likely” to promote quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh to their OC position to take Sean McVay‘s place, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. This arrangement would entail Jay Gruden calling plays, La Canfora notes. Cavanaugh has previously served as OC for two different franchises, doing so for the Bears and Ravens, but hasn’t functioned in that capacity since 2004. The 60-year-old longtime assistant has been with Washington since 2015.
  • Tom Coughlin has thus far either shown faith in the existing Jaguars assistants or brought in former Giants coaches in his first week in Jacksonville. The newly hired executive went in the latter direction on Saturday, hiring former Giants DC Perry Fewell to coach the Jags’ defensive backs, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports (on Twitter). This will mark Fewell’s second stay in this role. His first NFL coaching gig came as the Jags’ secondary coach under Coughlin from 1998-2002. The 54-year-old coach served as the Redskins’ DBs boss during the past two seasons. Fewell was Coughlin’s DC from 2010-14, serving as the coach whose Super Bowl champion 2011 team unveiled its famous NASCAR package. But Fewell will serve under retained DC Todd Wash and work a sixth stint as a secondary coach.
  • Manning’s second NFL team continued to piece together its Vance Joseph-led coaching staff. The Broncos are retaining strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson, Mike Klis of 9News reports (via Twitter). Richesson will enter his sixth year in this position.

Coaching/FO News & Rumors: 1/5/17

The Saints will have a significantly different coaching staff next year, as the team parted with assistants Joe Vitt (assistant head coach/linebackers), Bill Johnson (defensive line), Greg McMahon (special teams coordinator), Stan Kwan (assistant special teams) and James Willis (assistant linebackers) on Thursday, according to Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). These changes are a sign that head coach Sean Payton isn’t going anywhere, observes Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Vitt is the longest-tenured staff member to go, having served with the club since 2006. He filled in as New Orleans’ interim head coach when the NFL suspended Payton for the entire 2012 season because of the Bountygate scandal.

Let’s check in on more of the latest coaching- and front office-related happenings:

  • 49ers: With vacancies at general manager and head coach, the Niners are set to to interview a couple members of the Carolina organization. Panthers assistant general manager Brandon Beane and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will meet with the 49ers next week, per FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager (Twitter links). Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable will also discuss the 49ers’ head coaching opening with the team next week, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link).
  • Bills: Buffalo still has not submitted an official request to interview Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, per Tim McManus of ESPN.com. There has been follow-through after the initial contact between the two sides, he adds (Twitter link).
  • Broncos: Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, whose contract is expiring, is unlikely to return to Denver, reports Marvez. If Dolphins D-coordinator Vance Joseph becomes the Broncos’ head coach, Denver’s defensive backs coach, Joe Woods, would likely succeed Phillips (Twitter links).
  • Chargers: Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith interviewed with the Bolts on Thursday, becoming the first candidate to do so, reports Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The aforementioned Sean McDermott will follow him Friday, relays Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. The club has also requested permission to interview Bills interim head coach Anthony Lynn, according to Rapoport (Twitter links here).
  • Rams: Los Angeles’ previously reported interview with Anthony Lynn will go down on Sunday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Redskins: In addition to bouncing defensive coordinator Joe Barry, the Redskins also canned defensive line coach Robb Akey and defensive backs coach Perry Fewell on Thursday, via James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks is a name to watch as the Redskins look for Barry’s successor, Rapoport tweets. Wilks has a history with Josh Norman dating back to their time together in Carolina.
  • Bookmark PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker for an up-to-date primer on who’s interviewing where.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Lions, Highsmith, Fewell

Throughout the course of last offseason and in the season, Lions GM Martin Mayhew made a plethora of moves to try and improve the team. Some worked and some didn’t and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com broke it all down. Mayhew hit on some, like wide receiver Golden Tate, who proved to be one of the best free agent pickups in the entire NFL. The same can’t be said for tight end Brandon Pettigrew, however, who was brought back on a deal with $8MM in guaranteed money and hardly used in the passing game. More from the NFC..

  • The Packers denied Washington‘s request to interview personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith, a league source tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Texans were blocked from hiring him a few years ago, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes.
  • Washington announced that they have hired former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell as their new defensive backs coach, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Fewell replaces Raheem Morris, who was plucked away by the Falcons earlier this week.
  • Brandon LaFell doesn’t understand why Panthers GM Dave Gettleman rebuilt the roster after a successful 2013, but he’s not dwelling on it, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. “They didn’t give me an explanation for why they did it. They didn’t owe me one,” LaFell said. “I appreciate those guys drafting me and giving me an opportunity to play ball. I love those guys and wish them the best.” LaFell got a three-year, $9MM offer from New England and Carolina chose not to match.
  • Panthers offensive assistant John Ramsdell is retiring, as Bryan Strickland of Panthers.com writes. Ramsdell has spent 19 years as an NFL coach and 19 more as a college coach.

Coach/Exec Notes: Washington, Jets, Raiders

Former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will be joining one of New York’s division rivals, having accepted a job as Washington‘s defensive backs coach, reports Jordan Raanan of NJ.com (via Twitter). The 49ers also had an offer out to Fewell, and one other suitor may have been in the mix, but staying close to his family in New York was a major factor in the coach’s decision, tweets Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington.

Here are a few more Tuesday afternoon items on coaches and front office execs around the league:

  • Reports have suggested for some time that Rams scout Brian Heimerdinger would be joining the Jets‘ front office, and the team has now announced the hiring in a press release. According to the club, Heimerdinger will serve as the director of player personnel under new GM Mike Maccagnan, who previously worked with him in Houston.
  • The Raiders formally announced four new additions to their coaching staff, with three of the names – Bobby Johnson (TE coach), Rob Moore (WR coach), and Bernie Parmalee (RB coach) – having been previously reported. The new name on the list is Tracy Smith, who will be the club’s assistant special teams coach.
  • Asked at Media Day in Arizona if he’d like another shot at becoming a head coach, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said he’d “love to do it again” in the right situation, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
  • Joel Corry of CBSSports.com takes a look at the seven teams that made head coaching changes this offseason and attempts to predict how the new coaches could affect those clubs’ plans in free agency.

Coach Notes: Broncos, Phillips, Schwartz, Jets

As our offensive/defensive coordinator search tracker shows, hirings of OCs and DCs have slowed down a little in the last few days — the teams that headed into this past weekend with job openings on either side of the ball have yet to name their new coordinators, and in some cases those clubs may wait until after the Super Bowl to announce any official decisions.

Still, that doesn’t mean there’s no forward movement on any coordinator searches. An update out of Denver headlines our latest round-up of coaching-related items, so let’s dive right in….

  • Former head coach Wade Phillips is in Denver today to interview for the Broncos‘ defensive coordinator position, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who notes that Phillips coached the team way back when John Elway and Gary Kubiak were players.
  • While Phillips is a viable candidate for the DC job in Denver, the Broncos‘ top choice still appears to be Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports tweets that one potential scenario would see Phillips getting the job for 2015, then transitioning to a senior assistant role in 2016 when Joseph is freed from his contract in Cincinnati.
  • Former Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz confirmed that he’s being selective about the next job he takes, as Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun writes. “I saw the opening up in Buffalo as a good opportunity, so I took it,” Schwartz said. “But no, right now, I can’t see myself doing anything else. Coaching is something I love, something I have a passion about. Another opportunity will present itself. I’m not too concerned.” Schwartz reportedly had two years remaining on his contract in Buffalo when the team let him go, which is perhaps contributing to his patient approach to finding another job.
  • Titans assistant receivers coach Kevin Patullo will be the new quarterbacks coach for the Jets, reports Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (via Twitter). Patullo previously worked with new Jets OC Chan Gailey in Buffalo.
  • Former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is currently considering multiple options, per Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. The 49ers reportedly have an offer out to Fewell, and the Bengals could be in the mix as well, though Raanan writes that Washington may have the edge.
  • The Jaguars have fired running backs coach Terry Richardson and are interviewing former Raiders running backs coach Kelly Skipper for the newly-opened job, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Skipper worked with new Jags OC Greg Olson in Oakland.
  • Speaking of the Jaguars, their current defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker is drawing interest from other teams, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • Earlier today, we learned that Rob Chudzinski, an offensive coordinator target for both the Rams and 49ers, would stick with the Colts and receive a new title.

NFC Notes: Glennon, Rams, Eagles, Fewell

Assuming the Buccaneers intend to draft a quarterback in April with the first overall pick, that should make Mike Glennon expendable, and this spring could be an ideal time to move him in a trade, writes Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. As Cummings points out, the free agent market for QBs is weak, and there are few viable rookie options besides Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. For teams looking to add a potential starting quarterback, Glennon may actually be one of the best options available, and should only cost a mid-round pick.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has a second interview lined up with the Rams for their offensive coordinator position this week, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Per La Canfora, the Bills would like to bring back Hackett, who is also drawing interest from Washington and the Jaguars as a potential quarterbacks coach.
  • In addition to considering Chris Polian for their front office opening, the Eagles have Dolphins scout Chris Grier and internal candidate Ed Marynowitz at or near the top of their list of targets, reports Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. One source tells Mosher that he believes Grier is coming in to interview for a second time with Chip Kelly.
  • Ex-Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has an offer from the 49ers to become their defensive backs coach, says John Keim of ESPN.com (via Twitter). However, before he makes a decision on that offer, Fewell is speaking to Washington about a similar role on Jay Gruden‘s staff, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
  • CFL receiver Duron Carter is expected to make a decision on his NFL team this week, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities, who tweets that the Vikings and a couple other teams remain well-positioned — one of those other suitors is certainly the Colts, who were reported on the weekend to be the frontrunners. Carter can’t officially sign an NFL contract until February 10 unless the Montreal Alouettes release him from his CFL deal.
  • Speaking to reporters in Arizona, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said it was “very tough” to pass up a free agent offer last year from the Bears, who offered him “way more money.” Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the quotes and the details.
  • Locking up linebacker Lavonte David to a long-term deal, perhaps in the neighborhood of $7MM annually, should be a priority for the Buccaneers this season, writes Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

Coaching Notes: LeBeau, Bills, Raiders, Bears

Former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is no longer in the running to join the staff of the Cardinals, reports Kent Somers of AZCentral.com. Since he resigned from his long time post with the Steelers, the Cardinals seemed like a logical option for the 77-year old Hall of Fame coach. While it was thought that LeBeau would only be interested in coordinator positions, he was reportedly set to be a senior assistant and serve as the Cardinals linebacker coach.

With the Cardinals out of the mix for his services, the only other organization with which he has been linked is the Titans, where he could also serve as a senior assistant in some capacity.

The Cardinals are expected to promote from within to fill their defensive coordinator role vacated when Todd Bowles was hired as head coach of the Jets.

Here are some other coaching notes from around the NFL, with more recent news added to the top:

  • The Bills are expected to hire Chris Palmer to their coaching staff as a senior offensive assistant, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter). Palmer’s long career most recently brought him to the Titans, where he served as offensive coordinator from 2011-2012.
  • The Raiders have also added former Lions assistant offensive line coach Bobby Johnson to their staff, reports Thayer Evans of SI.com (via Twitter). Johnson will be the Raiders tight ends coach.
  • The Bears have brought Jay Rodgers onto the staff to coach the defensive line, reports Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter). Rodgers is the older brother of special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers.

Earlier Updates:

  • The Broncos have not tried to hide the fact that they would like to hire Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph as their defensive coordinator, but they may not get a chance until after the Bengals are able to secure another coach, writes Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. The Bengals reportedly have their eye on former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, and would likely allow Joseph out of his contract if they are able to hire Fewell. The Broncos are willing to wait to see if Fewell is hired by the Bengals before moving on to their next option.
  • While there have been no official announcements made, the Raiders have reportedly added Bernie Parmalee as their running backs coach and Rob Moore as their wide receivers coach, reports Jerry McDonald of InsideBayArea.com (via Twitter). He also notes that defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson is the only member of the staff set to return so far.
  • The Falcons are planning on hiring Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their head coach after the Super Bowl, and reports have it that Quinn will be targeting former Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris as part of his staff. However, Mike Jones of the Washington Post writes that Morris is being considered for an assistant head coach/passing game coordinator position, and not defensive coordinaor (via Twitter). Jones reports that the deal is not finished, but it is close (via Twitter).

NFC Notes: Romo, Fitzgerald, Fewell, 49ers

Tony Romo’s contract currently calls for a $27.77MM cap hit in 2015, before dipping to $17.64MM in 2016, which would appear to make him a slam-dunk candidate to have his deal restructured this offseason. However, Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones says “not a given,” according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, who explains why it’s risky to push more money into the later years of the contract. Still, as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets, it’s hard to believe Jerry Jones will “hold the line financially” with Romo turning 35 in April and the team’s championship window potentially closing soon.

Let’s check in on a few other Friday items from out of the NFC….

  • Speaking of Romo, in an appearance on 103.3 KESN-FM in Dallas, he admitted that he’s consistently talking to Jerry Jones and other members of the Cowboys‘ front office about re-signing Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, writes Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. In order for that to be possible, the team may need the cap space that a Romo restructure would create.
  • Reiterating that he hopes to get contract extensions done for head coach Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim following the Super Bowl, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill also addressed’s Larry Fitzgerald contract last night, as Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com outlines. Bidwill advised fans to “relax” about Fitzgerald, assuring them the situation will get worked out. “My goal from the beginning was to have Larry Fitzgerald retire as a Cardinal when he is ready to retire many years from now,” Bidwill said. “I am feeling confident something will get worked out.”
  • As expected, former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will be in San Francisco today to interview with the 49ers for their defensive backs coach position, tweets Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports.
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution takes a look at the prospects who have spoken to the Falcons at the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Bowl.
  • You can make the case that the Saints don’t need to bring back any of their free-agents-to-be this offseason, says Jason Fitzgerald in his preview of the team’s offseason at OverTheCap.com.