Phil Rauscher

Extra Points: Shazier, Vikings, Staff, Cards

From 2017-20, the Vikings will have featured four different play-callers. But the procession from Pat Shurmur to John DeFilippo to Kevin Stefanski to now Gary Kubiak found the former Super Bowl-winning HC a bit hesitant. Kubiak stepped way from the Broncos after the 2016 season, because of health issues, and has not called plays since. But after briefly debating the move from offensive advisor to OC, the 58-year-old assistant accepted the offer to replace Stefanski, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. Kubiak has removed himself from the head-coaching market but never ruled out returning to a play-calling role. He was nearly set to resume that responsibility with the Broncos last year, but staffing issues led him to Minnesota.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Kubiak’s latest offensive staff will see more changes this year. The Vikings are bringing in Phil Rauscher to be their new assistant offensive line coach, Goessling adds. Although Rauscher spent the past two years in Washington, he worked under Kubiak for each of his two seasons as Denver’s HC. Rauscher will replace Andrew Janocko, but the Vikings’ previous assistant O-line coach will remain on staff. Janocko will become Minnesota’s new wide receivers coach. This marks Janocko’s sixth season on Mike Zimmer‘s staff.
  • The Steelers have kept Ryan Shazier on their roster for each of the past two years. That may well be the plan for 2020 as well. Owner Art Rooney II confirmed (via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) the Steelers “would love” to have Shazier back. The injured linebacker has worked as a mentor of sorts to the team’s young players the past two years. The Steelers have kept Shazier, 27, on their roster despite his inability to play; a league-minimum salary of $820K would likely come his way if the team uses the same arrangement in 2020. Shazier, whom GM Kevin Colbert confirmed has shown “significant improvement” in his workouts since the 2019 offseason, is not expected to be ready to play in 2020.
  • The Cardinals will add a former NFL and AAF quarterback to their staff. Mike Bercovici will join Kliff Kingsbury‘s staff as an entry-level assistant, per the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman. Bercovici, 27, spent time with the Cards’ practice squad in 2017. The ex-Arizona State quarterback was on Herm Edwards‘ Sun Devils staff last season.
  • A key CBA-related meeting will be pushed back. The NFLPA meeting where a potential vote on the owners’ CBA proposal will now occur Friday instead of Thursday, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. The Washington D.C. summit represents a step toward a potential CBA ratification, but a few substantial hurdles remain — such as the players accepting the owners’ 17-game schedule proposal.

NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Mills, Giants

The Redskins’ Jay Gruden-to-Bill Callahan power transfer led to the team making an in-season hire. In elevating assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher to Callahan’s former post, Washington hired Aaron Stamn as an offensive assistant. Stamn worked as an assistant at Liberty University, serving as the Division I-FBS program’s OC from 2012-15. He finished his tenure as the program’s assistant offensive line coach in 2018, and it’s likely he will assume a similar responsibility in Washington. Rauscher was part of the 2015 Broncos’ Super Bowl-winning staff, serving as an offensive assistant. He’s in his second Redskins season.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East:

  • A starter during the Eagles‘ Super Bowl season, Jalen Mills has yet to begin a pivotal season of work. The former seventh-round pick resides on Philadelphia’s PUP list and has not played in nearly a year. Interestingly, the contract-year cornerback said he suffered neither an Achilles tear nor a Lisfranc injury, instead informing the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane he’s endured a severe foot sprain. Mills said he is “close” to returning. He cannot practice until next week, but the Eagles do not immediately have to activate him once he’s eligible to come off the PUP list.
  • Down both Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman tonight, the Giants will work out running back Akeem Hunt on Friday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Hunt began his career as a Giants UDFA in 2015 but is known for his contributions as a Chiefs and Texans backup from 2015-17. Gallman is in concussion protocol, and Barkley appears on the doorstep of returning. Barring another setback, it’s likely Barkley is back for Week 7.
  • The Redskins auditioned several players this week. Wide receivers Simmie Cobbs, Reggie Davis, J’Mon Moore and Jester Weah tried out for the now-Callahan-led team, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Quarterback Amir Hall did as well. Moore was a Packers fourth-round pick just last year. Hall was a decorated quarterback at Division II Bowie State (Md.).

East Notes: Cowboys, Cable, ASJ, Redskins

Having fired Frank Pollack last week, the Cowboys are casting a wide net as they search for a coach to lead an offensive line that was considered the NFL’s best as recently as 2016. Dallas has already interviewed former Bengal OL coach Paul Alexander last week, while incumbent Cowboys assistant offensive line coach Marc Colombo is reportedly “in the mix” for the vacancy, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, Dallas had interest in meeting with former Seahawks OL coach Tom Cable before he was hired by the Raiders, but no formal interview was ever arranged, per Archer, who adds the Cowboys also plan to meet with Giants offensive line coach Mike Solari.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • In addition to finding a new offensive line coach, the Cowboys are also looking for a new coach to head up the club’s wide receivers. Former Colts wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is interviewing to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired last week, as Archer reports. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. At present, the only other candidate to interview for the Cowboys’ WRs coach job is former Dallas pass-catcher Miles Austin, who is currently a scout for Dallas but has never coached in the NFL.
  • While the Jets have interest in re-signing pending free agent tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, general manager Mike Maccagnan & Co. have no intent of “going crazy” to retain the 25-year-old, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Seferian-Jenkins, a former second-round pick who has overcome substance abuse issues, posted the best season of his career in 2017 by posting 50 receptions for 357 yards and three scores. While ASJ did tail off near the end of the year (he managed only 11 catches for 69 yards in New York’s final five games), his age and pedigree should allow him to garner a multi-year pact.
  • Stanford has hired former Redskins assistant offensive line coach Kevin Carberry as its new run game coordinator and offensive line coach, tweets Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports. To replace Carberry, Washington has inked ex-Broncos assistant Phil Rauscher as its next assistant OL coach, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

Broncos Hire Ex-Giants OC Mike Sullivan

The Broncos have hired former Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan as their new quarterbacks coach, reports Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). The club has also hired former Bears running backs coach Curtis Modkins to the same role in Denver, per Klis.Mike Sullivan (Vertical)

Sullivan is technically still under contract in New York, but given that Big Blue is overhauling its coaching staff, Giants assistants are free to explore other roles. Now hired in Denver, Sullivan would work under Bill Musgrave, who will return as the Broncos’ offensive play-caller after taking over for Mike McCoy at midseason.

Interim Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak is expected to shift to a new position with the team, and head coach Vance Joseph & Co. also reportedly considered former Bengals OC Ken Zampese as a staff addition. Sullivan, 50, sandwiched a stint as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator from 2012-13 between two tenures with the Giants.

Modkins, meanwhile, has served as an NFL coach since 2008 and enjoyed offensive coordinator titles with the Bills (2010-12) and 49ers (2016). He’ll replace former assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville, who was fired earlier this week, but he wasn’t the only candidate for the position. The Broncos also interviewed Raiders running backs coach Bernie Parmalee, per Klis (Twitter link).

One other Broncos staff housekeeping note: assistant to to the head coach Phil Rauscher is interviewing to become the Redskins’ assistant offensive line coach, tweets Klis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.