Pete Carroll

NFC Notes: Seahawks, Carroll, Foster, Saints

Appearing on Dave Dameshek’s podcast, Cliff Avril said that following the Seahawks‘ loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, Pete Carroll started losing the trust of his players. The former Seattle defensive end said “a lot of guys got turned off” when the head coach opted for a potential game-winning pass instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch.

Of course, we know what happened next. With the ball at the one-yard line, quarterback Russell Wilson ended up throwing a game-deciding interception to New England cornerback Malcolm Butler.

“If we win that Super Bowl I think we would have won another one,” Avril said (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). “I do think the team would have bought in more to what Coach Carroll was saying, instead of going the opposite way.

“Guys started kind of questioning him more instead of following his lead if we had won the Super Bowl.”

The Seahawks ended up losing in the divisional round during the 2015 and 2016 playoffs, and they failed to make the postseason in 2017. The team ultimately let go of a number of veterans this offseason.

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

  • Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has left Athletes First and is without an agent, reports Liz Mullen SportsBusiness Daily (via Twitter). Wagner signed a four-year, $43MM extension (about $22MM guaranteed) with the Seahawks back in 2016, and he still has two years remaining on that deal.
  • According to Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb, 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster had “several months of clean drug screen results” during his pre-trial diversion program (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch on Twitter). Foster ultimately completed the program. In this past week, Foster has seen both of his offseason arrests lead to dismissed cases. Yesterday, the former first-rounder had a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge dismissed, and we learned earlier this week that he wouldn’t be charged in a domestic violence case.
  • The Saints are still hoping that special teams coach Mike Westhoff will return to the organization after he successfully completes recovery from offseason surgery, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. The 70-year-old underwent surgery for “an issue from his hip all the way down his leg,” and he’s yet to return to New Orleans. Sean Payton had previously expressed some optimism in Westhoff’s return, but he also said he didn’t expect the coach to come back until training camp. After retiring in 2012, Payton convinced Westhoff to return to the NFL towards the end of last season.

Extra Points: Kaepernick, Raiders, Greg Little, Cardinals

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were deposed in the collusion grievance filed by Colin Kaepernick this week, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

Expanding on the subject, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio recounts that the “Seahawks were planning to bring in the quarterback for a workout, but the team canceled the session when Kaepernick declined to commit to stand for the national anthem.” 

Despite the case, Carroll has not closed the door on the former 49ers quarterback joining the team. As Florio writes, however, “It would be awkward, to say the least, for Kaepernick to sign with Seattle after his lawyers questioned Schneider and Carroll under oath…”

Seattle is still the only team to have brought Kaepernick in for a visit since hitting free agency after the 2016 season. This long saga still appears to be far from a conclusion.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Earlier this week, the Raiders signed longtime Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson to a one-year deal. The details of that contract came out today, with the 13-year pro set to make $1.5MM. The contract includes a $200,000 signing bonus and $500,000 total guaranteed. With incentives, the deal could top out at $2.25MM, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets.
  • Former Browns receiver Greg Little appeared at the Cardinals rookie minicamp, Kyle Odegard of azcardinals.com writes. Little, who hasn’t played a game since the 2014 season, was a promising second-round pick who flamed out after three seasons. The Cardinals offered the 28-year-old wideout a tryout this weekend and impressed new head coach Steve Wilks.
  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano took a crack at projecting the next big-money quarterbacks. To no one’s surprise, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the list in 2020, but the sides are expected to come to a deal before that time. Among the other signal-callers who could surpass Kirk Cousins‘ big deal are Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Brockers, Lions, Dunlap

After much speculation, Cowboys defender Byron Jones confirmed on Monday that he will be switching from safety to cornerback in 2018, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota writes.

Viewed as a versatile defender coming out of college, Jones played cornerback as a rookie in 2015 and a safety the past two seasons. New defensive backs coach Kris Richard preferred him at the former.

“I think it will be a good move for me and the team. I’m always open to making position changes, as long as I’m in the best position to succeed. If [Richard] believes my best position is corner, then I’m down.”

Richard knows a thing or two about getting the best from bigger cornerbacks. With the Seahawks, Richard oversaw Richard Sherman’s ascent to one of the premier corners in the league. What remains to be seen is if the team prefers him on the boundary or in the slot. In 2017, rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis showed plenty of promise on the outside.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • In a press conference on Monday, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers told reporters he tore his MCL in the team’s playoff loss to the Falcons in January, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. During that game, the sixth-year defender sat out the second half. The good news for Los Angeles is that Brockers took part in team activities on Monday, but they’re not in pads until training camp.
  • If any Lions players are moved in draft-day deals, some of the names that make sense include Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Jake Rudock, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes. Those names all come to mind after the team added veterans in LeGarrette Blount and Matt Cassel in the offseason.
  • The goal is for the Bengals to sign both Carlos Dunlap and get a new deal with Geno AtkinsBengals.com writer Geoff Hobson notes in a mailbag. Both Dunlap’s and Atkins’ deals run through the 2018 campaign.
  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to be deposed in the next two weeks in Colin Kaeperncik‘s collusion case against the league, USA Today’s A.J. Perez writes. Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are also on the docket to be deposed.

West Notes: Reid, Broncos, Carroll, Rams

Eric Reid looks set to become a UFA for the first time. The fifth-year safety’s 49ers contract expires after Week 17, and should the former first-round pick hit the market, he’ll be doing so at age 26 and with five seasons of full-time starter work. However, Reid is aware his protest participation over the past two years could play a role in his market.

I wouldn’t use the word ‘concerned.’ I’d say I understand that that’s a possibility,” Reid said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, when asked about his potential UFA market diminishing because of his participation in the Colin Kaepernick-led protest movement. “And I’m completely fine with that. The things that I’ve done, I stand by. And I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said I’m fine with whatever outcome comes because of that.”

Pro Football Focus rates Reid as a middle-of-the-pack safety this season. He’s suffered injuries in back-to-back years as well. But the ex-LSU cog started for an NFC championship game entrant as a rookie, earning Pro Bowl recognition, and has gone on to play both safety spots in San Francisco.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions as the majority of those coalitions’ teams prepare for their seasons’ final games.

  • Vance Joseph‘s bid at a second Broncos season is suddenly at risk. After ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reported the rookie HC was facing longer odds at returning, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the growing sense is Joseph will be canned after today’s finale. Several Broncos players have come out in support of Joseph, and a report earlier this month said Joseph was likely to earn a second season. But eight of Denver’s 10 losses have been by double digits, putting Joseph in line to possibly become the franchise’s first one-and-done coach.
  • Pete Carroll‘s obviously earned protection against being fired, but the eighth-year Seahawks coach doesn’t sound like he’s close to leaving the sideline especially soon. Seemingly in response to a rumor about a possible retirement floated by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the 66-year-old HC said (on Twitter) “I ain’t old enough to think about retiring.”
  • Trumaine Johnson is finishing out his second franchise-tagged season, but he’s unsure the Rams will bring him back. The cornerback said at the beginning of the season it didn’t sound like he was in the team’s long-term plans, but he’s played a big role for a contending team this season. And Johnson, who turns 28 on Monday, pointed out this week he would like to stay in Los Angeles. “I’d love to be around,” Johnson said, via Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News. “But again, I understand the business side of it, so we’ll see. We’ll see in these next couple months.”
  • Sean McVay (via Hammond) isn’t sure Mark Barron will return for the Rams’ playoff opener next weekend. The linebacker’s battling an Achilles’ tendon injury and will be one of many players the Rams will rest today.
  • Jamaal Charles is inactive for the Broncos‘ season finale, and the 10th-year running back will fall just short of a $100K incentive, the Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala notes (on Twitter). Charles was to earn that bonus if he reached 500 yards from scrimmage, which was one of many thresholds in his incentive-laden contract. The 31-year-old back looked like a lock to get there at midseason, but he fell out of Denver’s rotation and will end his season with 425 yards. This could be the end for the two-time All-Pro, although he said earlier this season he wanted to play two more seasons.

Breer’s Latest: Black Monday Preview

With the final week of the NFL’s regular season approaching, that only means two things; 12 teams will soon be focusing on reaching the Super Bowl, while the rest will start to look ahead to next season. One major part of looking forward is addressing who on the coaching staff will be returning in 2018. Many of these coaching questions are answered on the day following Week’s 17 conclusion, conveniently called “Black Monday”.

Veteran reporter Albert of Breer of Sports Illustrated, gave a preview of the coaches he expects to stay and the ones that will likely be shown the door in his most recent column. Breer ranked the potential firings as “Likely/Done”, “We’ll See”, and “It’s Complicated”. In total, there were 15 head coaches mentioned who could see their situations change starting next week.

Here’s a quick look at Breer’s takes on some of the league’s hottest coaching questions:

  • There were five head coaches included in the “likely/done” category including: BearsJohn Fox, BengalsMarvin Lewis, LionsJim Caldwell, ColtsChuck Pagano and and the Giants‘ interim coach Steve Spagnuolo. The four full-time head coaches on this list have all had their fair share of success in the league. In fact, three of them led their current teams to multiple playoff appearances during their tenure. However, Caldwell and Lewis have been unable to win a postseason game with Pagano and Fox having failed at continuing the past success they have shown during their careers in football. Breer notes that while the “expectation is that Fox will be gone”, the decision on the fate of general manager Ryan Pace is true question facing the franchise this offseason. There’s been rapid speculation about Lewis, Caldwell and Pagano throughout the year, so their inclusion on this list is no surprise. Finally, the Giants are currently interviewing general manager candidates who will almost certainly be looking to lead their own head coaching search once hired.
  • Breer puts six current head coaches in the ‘we’ll see” part of the list. This portion mentions the CardinalsBruce Arians, BroncosVance Joseph, RaidersJack Del Rio, BuccaneersDirk Koetter, TitansMike Mularkey and the RedskinsJay Gruden. There’s a variety of situations going on here with Breer noting that Arizona could see Arians retire, which could lead them to other current NFL head coaches: Todd Bowles and Bill O’Brien. Del Rio and Gruden have had their fair share of success because of quality quarterback play, but both have managed to decrease confidence because of an inconsistent 2017 season. However, Breer points out that both are signed long-term so their owners would have to eat the remaining years of their current deals. Mularkey and Koetter were rewarded for the relationships they formed with their QB’s, but there’s been disappointment with how this season has unfolded for their teams. Breer notes that should Mularkey lose this Sunday, he could be on the chopping block come Monday morning with the team looking to hire an offensive-minded coach like Josh McDaniels. Finally, Joseph has forced himself to the hot seat even in his first year of coaching the Broncos, though Breer says himself that this situation is “unpredictable” given that team president John Elway is just “not pleased with how the season’s gone”.
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson, and the two previously mentioned O’Brien and Bowles of the Texans and Jets, find themselves on the “it’s complicated” section of Breer’s roundup largely because of just the many factors are at play in regards to their situations. Jackson got a vote of confidence from owner Jimmy Haslam himself, but new general manager John Dorsey could have his sights on implementing his own guy after a winless season. O’Brien has made the playoffs before, but has struggled committing to a QB even after the team selected Deshaun Watson in the first round. Bowles has done a lot with a little in New York this season, but ownership could go in a different direction with a new starting signal caller likely walking into the building next year. Also, there is the potential that all three coaches could move onto new head coaching gigs with the number of openings that could be available this offseason. The final and definitely most surprising inclusion on this list was Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who Breer mentions could retire at age 66 with a roster about to see major turnover in the next few years. Although, I would venture that nothing he’s said this season would indicate that being the case.

Seahawks RB Chris Carson Suffers Setback

Seahawks running back Chris Carson‘s attempt at a 2017 comeback has been halted for the time being, as head coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Carson suffered a setback in his recovery from a broken leg, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.Chris Carson (vertical)

“(Carson) a little bit of an ankle turn. Just caught it a little bit,” said Carroll. “So just got to make sure we know what that means as he bounces back from it. We were looking to try to find a time when we could put him back on the practice field next week or the week after that.

We were looking with real optimism. But I don’t know if that’s going to happen after the little setback. We’ll have to see when we get though the weekend. We won’t know until like Wednesday or something of next week where that fits.”

As Carroll alluded to, Seattle was hopeful that Carson would be able to return from injured reserve at some point this year. In fact, Carroll said earlier this week that Carson had been “unbelievably ahead of schedule” in his rehab. While a return now appears doubtful, Carson could conceivably come back if/when the Seahawks earn a postseason berth. Carson has already been sidelined for more than eight weeks (the league minimum when placed on IR), so he can return to Seattle’s active roster at any time.

Carson, whom the Seahawks selected in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, had seized the club’s starting running back job before going down with injury. On 49 carries, the 23-year-old Carson had managed 4.2 yards per carry while also handling seven receptions. Even though he’s been absent for two months, Carson’s 208 yards rushing are still tops among Seattle running backs.

Without Carson available, the Seahawks have tried a number of options in the backfield with little success, as the club ranks just 22nd in rushing DVOA. The latest candidate for playing time is former fourth-rounder Mike Davis, whom Seattle claimed off waivers from San Francisco before the season began. Davis managed 64 yards on 16 carries in Week 13 against the Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Lynch, Staley, Buchanon

The Broncos turned to another quarterback, but got the same results in today’s loss to Oakland. Second-year signal caller Paxton Lynch was the latest passer to rack up a defeat during the team’s seven game losing streak. However, the loss was not the only thing the former first round pick suffered on Sunday.

Lynch was forced to exit the game in the third quarter after an apparent right ankle injury, reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post. The quarterback was seen very emotion on the sideline when he learned that his day would be done. It’s a crushing development for Lynch, who’d been waiting for his chance to get on the field as he’d been recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason.

Trevor Siemian was good in relief, but with the team at 3-8 and clearly out of the playoff hunt, I’m sure head coach Vance Joseph wanted to see what he had in his young gunslinger. It remains to be seen just how serious the injury actually is, though it appears to be distinct possibility that the team will have to switch starters again in Week 13.

  • The 49ers have dealt with a variety of injuries this year, but seemed to avoid another to one of the team’s best players. Left tackle Joe Staley left the game for just one play after an apparent leg injury, but was able to return without much issue. The veteran lineman clarified after the game that he simply hyperextended his knee and is fine, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians confirmed that linebacker Deone Bucannon has injured right leg, says Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. While the news is concerning on its own, there is added negativity because it’s the same leg that Bucannon had surgery on during offseason, which forced him to miss the first three games of the year. It’s not known just how long it’s expected to keep the 25-year-old out, but the team does have three reserves in Josh Bynes, Scooby Wright and Bryson Albright to take those snaps should the injury force Bucannon to miss time.
  • The Seahawks came out of their win over the 49ers with few injuries of their own. Head coach Pete Carroll said that defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was “Ok” after leaving in the fourth quarter, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. However, Henderson also passes along that second-string tight end Luke Willson suffered a bit more serious of an injury after he was removed in the second quarter with a concussion. Carroll did mention to reporters that the tight end has a chance to play in next week’s game, but he obviously must pass concussion protocol first. In the meantime, both Jimmy Graham and third-stringer Nick Vannett were able to find the end zone without Willson in the lineup.

Seahawks Pass On Colin Kaepernick

The Seahawks won’t be signing Colin Kaepernick. At least, not right now. Today, coach Pete Carroll told reporters that while the door remains “open” to a union with Kaepernick, there is nothing imminent on that front. Colin Kaepernick (vertical)

[RELATED: Seahawks Sign Marcus Cromartie]

This jibes with a report from earlier this week which indicated that no deal would be coming together at this time. Still, all signs indicate that the Seahawks’ meeting with Kaepernick was not just done as a courtesy. The team had real interest in him, reports say, and Carroll insists that there is some degree of interest in the former 49ers signal caller. Carroll said that Kaepernick demonstrated that he is still a starting-caliber quarterback and he can’t imagine that he won’t get an opportunity to play somewhere in the NFL this year.

Austin Davis worked out for the Seahawks on the same day as Kaepernick, but he also remains unsigned. If the Seahawks want to continue looking at outside backup QB options for starter Russell Wilson, they could explore vets such as Robert Griffin III, Shaun Hill, and Christian Ponder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Wolf, Seahawks, Vikings, Rams

Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf has accepted a new contract in Green Bay and withdrawn from the 49ers’ search for a general manager, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today. He’s the second candidate this week to bow out of San Francisco’s hunt for a GM, joining Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner. One of Wolf’s colleagues in Green Bay, director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, and Vikings assistant GM George Paton are continuing to vie for the 49er job and will conduct second interviews with the team next week.

More from the NFC:

  • The Seahawks could lose a second-round pick for not disclosing cornerback Richard Sherman‘s knee injury during the season, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN. Seattle is cooperating with the NFL’s investigation, though the team doesn’t believe it deserves major punishment because Sherman didn’t miss any time on account of the ailment. Head coach Pete Carroll, who revealed Monday that Sherman had a “significant” MCL issue, could also face a fine. Last September, the league fined Carroll $200K and heavily punished the Seahawks – they received a $400K fine to go with a loss of a a fifth-round pick and a week of OTAs – after they violated its rules regarding contact practices in the offseason. As a result of this violation, the league could elevate the fifth-rounder to a second, per Mortensen. League policy clearly indicates the Seahawks were in the wrong for not listing Sherman on the injury report.
  • Pending free agent linebacker Chad Greenway is either going to re-sign with the Vikings or retire, the 34-year-old told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. “If playing in Minnesota for another year is an option — and pretty much all season, I’ve felt like this is going to be my last year — and now I’m just trying to make sure that decision is the one I want to make,” said Greenway. “I’ve lived every day like I wanted to, like it could be my last game in the NFL, and I enjoyed the season. Now I can take some time and think about it, and we’ll come to a decision real soon.” Greenway is the longest-tenured current Viking, having spent his entire career with the team since it selected him 17th overall in 2006. In 2016 – his 11th year – the remarkably durable Greenway logged his 10th season consisting of 16 appearances, though he recorded career lows in starts (nine) and tackles (41).
  • Redskins assistant defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant is likely to join ex-Washington offensive coordinator and now-Rams head coach Sean McVay‘s staff in Los Angeles, tweets Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. However, a deal isn’t done yet, notes Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post (Twitter link). The Redskins want to retain Pleasant, who just finished his fourth season with the club.

10 Coaching Candidates For The Rams

In an iconic scene from season nine of The SimpsonsKrusty the Klown announced his retirement to a scrum of not-so-stunned reporters. Krusty The Clown

But Krusty,” one reporter asks. “Why now? Why not twenty years ago?

It wouldn’t have been out of place for any Rams beat reporter to channel that sentiment and ask a similar question of COO Kevin Demoff when he addressed the media on Monday. Jeff Fisher‘s dismissal was long overdue and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of the coach’s family who disagrees.

For now, the Rams will turn things over to special teams coordinator John Fassel on an interim basis. While this is ostensibly a chance for Fassel to impress team brass and land the head coaching job for 2017, most are expecting the Rams to hire a name brand coach that will energize the fan base and give the team some additional panache in free agency.

With a few weeks to go between now and the official end of the Rams’ season, here are ten names that could be considered for the job:

Jim Harbaugh (vertical)Jim Harbaugh, head coach at the University of Michigan: Some say that living well is the best revenge. Others say that the best revenge against your former employer is setting up shop across the street and destroying them. Santa Clara-to-Los Angeles is a lengthy drive, but you get what we’re getting at.

Harbaugh, in theory, could leave his alma mater and crush the 49ers by joining up with a divisional rival. The Rams have reportedly been loafing in practice and Harbaugh is the kind of throwback disciplinarian that the team badly needs. It’s fair to assume that the Rams will get in contact with Harbaugh, but it will be tough to get him to leave his lucrative job in Ann Arbor.

With National Signing Day around the corner, Harbaugh could publicly remove himself himself from consideration if he is not at all interested in an NFL return. Alternatively, if Harbaugh wants to get sweet revenge against the Niners, Stan Kroenke better have his checkbook ready. Signing Harbaugh could cost upwards of $10MM/year and that’s before factoring in his buyout clause with the Wolverines. If Harbaugh bolts, he’ll owe U-M the prorated portion of his $2MM signing bonus. With two of the seven years served, 5/7ths of that amount comes out to roughly $1.43MM.

Click here to read more from Zach Links..

Read more