Aaron Kromer

AFC Coaching Notes: Bieniemy, Raiders, Broncos, Jaguars, Bills, Ravens

Another coaching cycle has come and gone without Eric Bieniemy getting a head coaching job, but that doesn’t mean the Chiefs offensive coordinator will automatically return to Kansas City. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter), Bieniemy‘s contract is expiring.

While the accomplished offensive coordinator could (and probably will) ink a new contract with the Chiefs, Pelissero warns that he would be a “hot free-agent OC target elsewhere.” You could make an argument that Bieniemy could improve his chances for a HC gig if he succeeds out of Andy Reid’s and Patrick Mahomes‘ shadows. Of course, if Bieniemy struggles without his elite offense, that would surely compromise any lingering chances he has of securing that elusive promotion.

Following a five-year stint as the Chiefs RBs coach, he earned a promotion to OC in 2018. Considering the Chiefs’ success, Bieniemy was a popular name in the coaching circuit in both 2019 and 2020. However, the 52-year-old didn’t generate as much interest during this year’s coaching cycle, as he was connected to only a pair of jobs (Saints, Broncos).

More coaching notes out of the AFC…

  • Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon will join the Raiders in the same role, reports Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). The 52-year-old has been a ST coordinator in the NFL since he was hired by the Rams in 2009, and he worked alongside Josh McDaniels during his final season with the organization. McMahon has since served as the ST coordinator for the Chiefs, Colts, and Broncos.
  • The Broncos natural replacement for McMahon, special teams assistant Chris Gould, was let go by the organization, reports Klis (on Twitter). The older brother of kicker Robbie Gould, Chris Gould had spent seven years with the Broncos organization. The 36-year-old had a brief career in the AFL before transitioning to coaching.
  • More Broncos coaching notes: Broncos DL coach Bill Kollar is moving to a consultant-type role (via Klis on Twitter), while WR coach Zach Azzanni and offensive assistant Justin Rascati are sticking around (via Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post on Twitter). Azzanni actually had a second interview with the Falcons today, but Nathaniel Hackett “stepped up” to retain his WR coach (via Klis on Twitter).
  • The Jaguars are hiring Mike McCoy as their QB coach, reports Pelissero (via Twitter). The former Chargers head coach was the Broncos OC in 2017 and Cardinals OC in 2018, but he’s been out of the NFL since that time.
  • The Bills announced that they have hired Aaron Kromer as their new offensive line coach. This is Kromer’s second stint as the Bills OL coach, having served in the role in 2015 and 2016. The veteran coach was with the Rams between 2017 and 2020, but he wasn’t retained for 2021. Previously, Kromer was the Saints’ interim head coach in 2012 and the Bears offensive coordinator from 2013 to 2014.
  • Zach Orr is joining the Ravens as their new linebackers coach, tweets Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Orr played for Baltimore for three years, including a 2016 campaign where he earned a second-team All-Pro nod. He also got his first coaching gig with the Ravens. After serving as a defensive analyst from 2017 to 2020, Orr joined the Jaguars to be their outside linebackers coach in 2021.

Rams, Aaron Kromer To Part Ways

The Rams have lost numerous coaches from their 2020 staff, with Brandon Staley‘s departure being the most notable change for Sean McVay‘s squad. They will soon lose another staffer.

Run-game coordinator and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and the Rams agreed to mutually part ways, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). Kromer has been with the Rams since McVay’s 2017 arrival.

It is not believed this separation relates to Kromer seeking a position elsewhere, Rodrigue adds, noting that Kromer’s son, Zak Kromer, is expected to stay on as a quality control staffer. But this will mark a change during an offseason that has featured many in Los Angeles.

McVay’s staff already lost Staley, passing-game coordinator Shane Waldron, cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant and linebackers coach Joe Barry. The Rams also lost college scouting director Brad Holmes and pro scouting director Ray Agnew. They are now atop the Lions’ front office hierarchy. Waldron’s departure to become the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator also meant the exit of Rams assistant O-line coach Andy Dickerson, who is following Waldron to Seattle. McVay will soon be assembling a new O-line staff.

Kromer has been an NFL assistant since 2001 and an O-line coach since 2002, when he broke into that role for the ’02 AFC champion Raiders. He rose to the role of Saints interim head coach during Sean Payton‘s 2012 suspension and worked as the Bears’ offensive coordinator under Marc Trestman from 2013-14.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams’ offensive line third last season, with the team bouncing back after a down O-line season in 2019. PFF slotted the Rams’ O-line sixth in 2017 and ’18.

Rams Won’t Hire OC To Replace Matt LaFleur

After losing offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to the Titans earlier today, the Rams don’t intend to hire another OC, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Instead, Los Angeles announced that it has named offensive line coach Aaron Kromer the club’s new run game coordinator, while tight ends coach Shane Waldron will become the Rams’ pass game coordinator.Sean McVay (Featured)

[RELATED: 2018 NFL Coordinator Tracker]

While the Rams’ offensive staff has undergone an overhaul this offseason, head coach Sean McVay is still in place to call plays for a unit that ranked sixth in offensive DVOA a year ago. But there have been changes: former quarterbacks coach Greg Olson became the Raiders’ offensive coordinator, so Los Angeles promoted assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor to fill the void. The Rams also added former UCLA play-caller Jedd Fisch as a senior offensive assistant.

Although Kromer and Waldron won’t be calling plays for the Rams, they will presumably help assemble the club’s weekly gameplan. Kromer has coordinated an offense before — the Bears from 2013-14 — but has spent the majority of his career as an offensive line coach, while Waldron previously served as an offensive assistant with the Redskins, where he worked under McVay.

Extra Points: Browns, Chargers, Rams, Bills

The Browns may want to think twice about who they select with the top-overall pick. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that the organization would be making a giant mistake if they pass on Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“I’m just telling you if they pass on Deshaun Watson, they’re passing on Michael Jordan,” Swinney said. “I’m just telling you. I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. I’m just an old funky college coach. (But) Deshaun Watson is the best — by a long shot.”

Swinney also said Watson would be a perfect fit for Browns head coach Hue Jackson.

“It would be awesome,” he said. “It would be easy and he’ll figure that out. It will be the easiest player he’s ever coached. I’m sure he’s coached some good ones and so I have I, but he’s simple. Very low-maintenance, humble, same guy every day and always ready. He comes to every meeting prepared. That’s how you change things. You change a culture — for me it’s through discipline and recruiting and staffing and all of that stuff. For them, it’s decision-making. It’s who you pick.”

Let’s check out some other notes from around the NFL…

  • For those wondering whether the Chargers would ever return to San Diego, owner Dean Spanos all but squashed those theories today. “That’s not even a consideration,” Spanos told Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. “There’s no looking back. We’re moving forward.”
  • The Rams are likely adding Aaron Kromer to their staff as the new offensive line coach, reports ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez. Kromer has spent 11 seasons as an offensive line coach, most recently in Buffalo. The long-time coach also served as the Bears offensive coordinator from 2013 through 2014. As Gonzalez notes, the Rams used seven draft picks on offensive linemen between 2014 and 2015.
  • The 49ers never formally requested to interview Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, coach John Fox told Rich Campbell of The Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Fangio will instead be sticking in Chicago, and Campbell expects him to be “heavily involved” in coaching the team’s outside linebackers. The team is without an outside linebackers coach after losing Clint Hurtt to the Seahawks.
  • The Bills have hired Chad Hall as an offensive assistant, reports Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). The former Eagles wideout will join David Culley and Juan Castillo on coach Sean McDermott‘s staff.

Coaching Notes: 49ers, Rams, Bears, Bills

The fact that Kyle Shanahan is the only head coaching possibility remaining in the 49ers’ once-deep pool of candidates gives him significant leverage, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Along with helping the 49ers pick their next general manager, which he’ll do next week, Shanahan is expected to become the highest-paid rookie head coach of all-time, according to Florio. Moreover, Shanahan – not his GM – will likely have final say over the roster and draft in San Francisco.

One problem the 49ers have encountered during their head coaching search is the amount of influence that CEO Jed York’s right-hand man, Paraag Marathe, has over football matters, relays Florio. While it won’t bother Shanahan enough to avoid taking the job, Marathe’s presence could become an issue down the line, Florio suggests.

In the improbable event Shanahan turns the Niners down, it would be catastrophic for a franchise whose reputation has been in serious decline since it parted with Jim Harbaugh a couple years ago, observes CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. The 49ers have fired their post-Harbaugh head coaches, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, after one season apiece and a combined 7-25 record. And those two were not coveted around the NFL when the 49ers hired them. Rather, the team had to settle in each case, and things could get even worse this year if Shanahan stays in Atlanta and San Fran has to go back to the drawing board as February approaches.

In other coaching news…

  • The possibility of longtime NFL assistant Aaron Kromer serving as Rams head coach Sean McVay‘s offensive coordinator is “getting stronger,” tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. McVay wants someone with an O-line background to fill the role, and Kromer has plenty of experience in that regard. He has overseen the lines in Oakland, New Orleans and Buffalo, and has also been an offensive coordinator in Chicago.
  • The Bears will hire Curtis Modkins as their running backs coach, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). He’ll replace Stan Drayton, who left after Chicago’s season ended to take a job at the University of Texas. Modkins, who was the aforementioned Chip Kelly‘s offensive coordinator in San Francisco in 2016, has also coached running backs in Kansas City, Arizona and Detroit.
  • The Bills have named Kelly Skipper their running backs coach, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Skipper previously held those roles in Oakland and Jacksonville, two places where he worked under then-offensive coordinator Greg Olson. The connection is notable because Olson is the only known candidate for the Bills’ O-coordinator job.

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Bills, Jaguars, Titans

Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville opted to stay in Denver rather than pursue the Jets‘ offensive coordinator vacancy, and New York’s hope to conduct a wide-ranging search for a new play-caller may have played a factor in Studesville declining to remain in contention, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, who adds that Studesville didn’t want to “lose a bird in the hand.” The Jets have “at least” three other candidates on their radar at the moment, per Cimini, and one name of interest could be Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (though it’s not clear if the ESPN scribe is reporting or speculating). Kansas City would be able to block any interview request from New York, which could present a problem as Gang Green continues its hunt. The Jets also expressed interest in new Raiders OC Todd Downing before he was promoted from QBs coach, per Cimini.

Here’s more on the coaching front from around the NFL:

  • The Bills announced that they’ve hired Mike Waufle to serve as the club’s new defensive line coach. Under Waufle’s direction, the 2016 Rams defensive line ranked first against the run, according to Football Outsiders‘ adjusted line yards metric. Additionally, the Bills have released former DC Dennis Thurman and OL coach Aaron Kromer — both of whom were hired by ex-head coach Rex Ryan — from their respective contracts, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter links).
  • Former Michigan running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley is joining the Jaguars staff, likely in the same capacity, tweets Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio. Jacksonville has already announced that several members of their offensive coaching staff — including play-caller Nathaniel Hackett — will remain in place under new head coach Doug Marrone, but the club has been silent of the fate of current RBs coach Kelly Skipper. Wheatley, who was under consideration for Western Michigan’s head coaching job, last coached in the NFL from 2013-14 with the Bills.
  • The Titans are not expected to hire any of the wide receivers coaches who have recently been fired around the league, according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. Tennessee, seeking to replace Bob Bratkowski, has already offered the WR job to Denver’s Tyke Tolbert, who declined the offer in order to remain with the Broncos.

AFC East Notes: LaFell, Ridley, Kromer

There will be a huge game between the Patriots and Jets that will decide who is in first place in the AFC East early in the season. Here are some notes surrounding that game, and the rest of the division.

  • While Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have been battling injuries for the Jets, the Patriots also have a wide receiver trying to get healthy in time for this weekend’s AFC East matchup. Brandon LaFell has been practicing with the team, and Phil Perry of CSNNE.com believes there is a good chance the team will activate him in time for the game this Sunday. “I think he’s ready to go,” Perry said. “And I think he could be a significant piece against this Jets secondary this weekend.”
  • The Jets have their own player ready to come off the PUP list, as Stevan Ridley practiced for the first time on Wednesday and is trying to get ready to be activated in time to face his former team, writes Dennis Wasak Jr. of the Associated Press“I am ready,” Ridley said, “to get out there and see what I can do.”
  • Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer is back following his six-week suspension, and the team is excited to get his experience and expertise back into the offensive gameplan, writes Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News“I’ve seen every game, I’ve seen every snap,” said Kromer. “And I know where we are as a team and as a line, and I’m doing everything I can to help. We’re working on the things that we’ve seen on tape that we need to work on.”

Bills Notes: Harvin, Kromer, Defense

Coming off yet another loss at Ralph Wilson Stadium, where they’re now 1-3 this season, the Bills will aim to get back on track overseas in Week 7. However, it doesn’t appear Percy Harvin will be able to play in the team’s game in London, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

As Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets, there are several Bills players whose status for that London game against the Jaguars is uncertain, so we’ll have to see how the team addresses its roster — typically, last-minute roster changes on the week of a London game are tricky, so the Bills figure to make a roster change or two sooner rather than later, if necessary.

Here are a few more Bills-related items:

  • Buffalo offensive line coach Aaron Kromer is scheduled to return from his suspension this week, tweets Schefter. Kromer had been banned six games by the team for an alleged offseason altercation.
  • Mario Williams said after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals that he “probably set a [personal] record on dropping [into coverage],” and the results weren’t particularly great. With some Bills defenders hinting at confusion over the scheme, John Kryk of the Toronto Sun suggests Rex Ryan risks losing the locker room if he doesn’t start getting more aggressive with his defensive playcalling.
  • General manager Doug Whaley has yet to discuss his quarterback situation with the media, and Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News is looking forward to hearing why the GM traded away Matt Cassel and “forced [EJ] Manuel on his coaches as the No. 2.”

Bills Suspend Aaron Kromer Six Games

The Bills announced that offensive line coach Aaron Kromer has been suspended six games for his offseason incident. Charges were dropped against the coach in late July and that probably saved his job with Buffalo.

Over the past several weeks the Bills organization has gathered information regarding the incident involving Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer. Today we have concluded our investigation and the Buffalo Bills will suspend Coach Kromer without pay for the first six games of the 2015 NFL regular season,” Bills managing partner and president Russ Brandon said in the statement. “The suspension will begin on Monday, September 7, 2015 and end with the conclusion of the Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game on October 18, 2015. We worked in conjunction with the NFL on this matter and we are highly supportive of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy that holds all NFL and club employees to a higher standard. We look forward to Coach Kromer rejoining the Bills organization at Training Camp.”

Kromer, who was the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2014, was arrested in July on a misdemeanor battery charge. According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Kromer and his son allegedly confronted a group of three boys – who had been fishing – over the use of beach chairs. The victims told Walton County deputies that Kromer grabbed their fishing pole and threw it in the water, then pushed one of the boys to the ground and punched him in the face. The victim, a juvenile, also said Kromer threatened to kill his family if he reported the incident to the police.

The Bills placed Kromer on paid administrative leave prior to their judgement on Sunday night.

Charges Against Bills’ Aaron Kromer Dropped

5:27pm: While they haven’t made a final decision yet, the Bills will likely keep Kromer on their staff, suspending him without pay to start the season, according to Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News (via Twitter).

4:57pm: The charges against Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer – and his son Zachary Kramer – have been dropped, assistant Florida state attorney Bobby Elmore tells Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter links). According to Rodak, the two sides reached an agreement, with the charges dropped at the request of the accusers’ parents.

Kromer, who was the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2014, was arrested earlier this month on a misdemeanor battery charge. According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Kromer and his son allegedly confronted a group of three boys – who had been fishing – over the use of beach chairs. The victims told Walton County deputies that Kromer grabbed their fishing pole and threw it in the water, then pushed one of the boys to the ground and punched him in the face. The victim, a juvenile, also said Kromer threatened to kill his family if he reported the incident to the police.

The Bills placed Kromer on paid administrative leave while they looked into the incident, so the team will likely make a call on his status soon. With the legal situation now resolved, Buffalo may decide to bring Kromer back into the fold, though the settlement doesn’t necessarily mean the veteran coach was innocent — it just means the accusers were willing to drop the charges.