Antonio Pierce

Raiders Interested In David Shaw?

Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce has established himself as a legitimate candidate to take over the full-time gig following the 2023 season. Of course, that won’t stop Mark Davis and co. from eyeing other options. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal passes along, a “name to keep an eye on” in the sweepstakes is former Stanford head coach David Shaw.

Shaw spent more than a decade running Stanford’s program, earning three conference titles and five bowl victories. He was fired following two-straight 3-9 campaigns, and he’s spent the past year out of football entirely.

Shaw actually spent time with the Raiders early on in his coaching career, serving as the team’s offensive quality control coach and later the quarterbacks coach. He spent four seasons with the Ravens before getting recruited by Jim Harbaugh to be the receivers coach at the University of San Diego. He followed Harbaugh to Stanford, serving as the offensive coordinator before getting promoted to head coach when Harbaugh left for the 49ers.

This isn’t the first time the coach has been connected to head coaching gigs. Shaw was a candidate for the Broncos head coaching job last offseason before the organization traded for Sean Payton.

Depending on how the Raiders finish the season, Shaw might not even have a shot at the job. Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes that a 6-3 record for Pierce “would get him the full-time job.” Following last weekend’s loss to the Chiefs, the Raiders are now 2-2 under the interim head coach, meaning they’ll need to go 4-1 the rest of the way to reach that record. Of course, Pierce could also earn the job without the strong finish; as Tafur writes, Davis “loves” how the players have responded to their new head coach.

Latest On Interim Raiders HC Antonio Pierce

Having started out 2-0 after the firings of Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, the Raiders saw a turnaround under interim head coach Antonio Pierce. The latter’s change in attitude regarding the locker room has been well received throughout the organization, something which could help his chances (and those of interim GM Champ Kelly) of remaining in place beyond 2023.

Pierce had no experience as a head coach at the college or NFL levels prior to his Vegas appointment. As a result, the 45-year-old has turned to a veteran in search of advice during the early days of his time at the helm of the Raiders. Pierce has consulted with Tom Coughlin for advice, reports Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. Pierce played for Coughlin’s Giants for much of his career.

Heading into Week 11, the system in place for the Raiders has been not only player-friendly but also effective. Vegas won games against the Giants and Jets, teams which will offer less of a challenge than future opponents on the Raiders’ schedule. Still, the improved atmosphere around the organization has been telling for players, staffers and front office personnel. Both Jones and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport report owner Mark Davis is pleased with the early showings of the Pierce era.

That is particularly signficant given recent Raiders history. In the wake of Jon Gruden‘s scandal-induced resignation in 2021, Rich Bisaccia was given the head coaching position on an interim basis. The latter guided the team to the postseason, but he was allowed to depart to Green Bay while McDaniels was hired to replace him. By Year Two of the Patriots-flavored regime, though, another change had been made. Jones reports that Davis has since come to regret not giving Bisaccia the full-time gig, so a continuation of the team’s recent success by Pierce would greatly bolster his case for being tapped as McDaniels’ long-term successor.

While the early results have been encouraging, there are still questions in the organization regarding how far a much more player-centric environment can go, as noted by Dianna Russini of The Athletic (subscription required). Stiffer tests (beginning with today’s close loss in Miami) will go a long way in determining the Raiders’ fate with respect to postseason contention or at least development from rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who is in place as the starter moving forward.

Davis did not lay out specific targets for the Pierce-Kelly pairing to meet during their time at the helm of the organization, but the door appears to be open to them staying in place for the foreseeable future. With Davis already on the hook for the McDaniels and Ziegler firings at a cost of $85MM (at least before offsets brought on by new employers), it will be interesting to see how aggressively he pursues outside options in the offseason as opposed to reversing his actions from the Bisaccia situation.

More Raiders Fallout: McDaniels, Ziegler, Davis, Harbaugh, Brady, Kelly

When the Raiders begin the search for a new head coach and general manager to replace Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, they could have a difficult time attracting the most desirable talent. Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required), owner Mark Davis vowed that he would give the duo a minimum of three years to return the Raiders to contention, but he fired them midway through their second season. Once seen as a patient owner, Davis has undermined his reputation in that regard, and most of the coaches and execs that Howe spoke with believe that the quick trigger will have a negative impact on his search.

One executive said, “I don’t know who you’re going to convince to take those jobs. I think Mark Davis made it harder on himself,” while another added, “[i]t definitely makes the jobs less appealing.”

To be clear, Davis will likely have plenty of candidates to choose from thanks to the desirability and rarity of a top job in the NFL coaching and personnel ranks. Still, it would not be surprising for the biggest fish in the upcoming hiring cycle to rebuff Davis’ overtures.

“If you’re only going to give me two years, just be upfront and honest with me,” a rival coach said. “I can handle that. It’d change the entire way you’d try to build the team. If you’re thinking about setting up to take off and win by Year 3, that’s how you’re going to manage your roster.”

McDaniels, of course, is a proponent of “hard coaching,” and it appears he alienated many Raiders players with his demanding style. As Ian Rapoport of writes, players “ripped into” McDaniels during the team meeting in which he allowed his charges to air their grievances, and players were especially critical of (among other things) McDaniels’ micromanaging and the way he deflected blame for issues with play-calling. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer adds that interim HC Antonio Pierce attempted to speak on behalf of McDaniels at that meeting, but Pierce’s use of the Super Bowl-winning Giants team he played on as an example of what a good locker room culture can do irked McDaniels, who was part of the Patriots squad that lost that title game to New York (video link).

At the following practice, McDaniels attempted to give the players what they wanted by being less involved and not “overcorrecting” by stepping in after every mistake. However, one source told Rapoport that the new approach did not suit McDaniels well, that the head coach looked like “a shell of himself,” and that it was clear McDaniels’ tenure was coming to an end. Ultimately, McDaniels was unable to recapture the team chemistry that Tony Pauline of believes was destroyed when quarterback and team leader Derek Carr was released earlier this year.

The driving force behind Carr’s departure remains a bit unclear. Rapoport’s sources say that Davis “led the push” to replace Carr, with McDaniels and Ziegler eventually getting on board, while Pauline says McDaniels was the one who wanted to move on from the franchise’s longtime passer. Back in late December/early January, it was reported that the McDaniels-Ziegler regime saw Carr as a poor fit in McDaniels’ offense, and that while McDaniels was prepared to let Carr play out the remainder of the 2022 campaign, Davis — who had been “lukewarm” on Carr for some time — wanted the QB to be benched for the last two games of the season.

Even if, as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports suggests, Davis and the McDaniels-Ziegler duo were aligned on the Carr situation, subsequent quarterback-related missteps accelerated this week’s firings (although it should be noted, as Rapoport writes, that former club president Dan Ventrelle agreed to include in Carr’s 2022 extension the no-trade clause that undermined the Raiders’ leverage when they tried to deal Carr this past offseason. Ventrelle entered into that agreement with Carr’s camp prior to speaking with other club officials). We already heard that McDaniels’ decision to start former Patriots QB Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7 rankled Davis, and obviously the decision to sign another of McDaniels’ former pupils, Jimmy Garoppolo, proved to be a poor one, as McDaniels apparently overestimated the ease with which Garoppolo would reacclimate to McDaniels’ offense.

On the subject of Garoppolo, Rapoport reminds us that the Raiders were among the teams that tried to trade up for the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, with quarterback Bryce Young the target. However, McDaniels reportedly did not want to “grow with” a rookie signal-caller, so the Raiders stood down while the Panthers catapulted up the draft board to claim the No. 1 spot before free agency opened. McDaniels & Co. acquired Garoppolo shortly thereafter.

It has been an open secret that Ziegler, despite his general manager title, took a backseat to McDaniels in terms of personnel matters. Indeed, Pauline called Ziegler a “glorified scout” and likened the McDaniels-Ziegler pairing to the Jon-GrudenMike Mayock partnership that preceded it. So while Pauline reports that Davis will be interested in hiring University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, it is fair to wonder if that would be the best move for the owner to make. After all, Harbaugh would also want full autonomy over personnel decisions, and like Mayock and Ziegler, any GM brought in along with Harbaugh would be little more than a figurehead.

That is to say nothing of the fact that Harbaugh, who is currently dealing with allegations of an elaborate sign-stealing scheme after already having served a three-game suspension this year for alleged recruiting violations, may not be the hot NFL candidate he once was. Per Rapoport and colleague Tom Pelissero, the NCAA has not ruled on the alleged recruiting violations or sign-stealing operation — the three-game ban was imposed by Michigan — and the NFL may force Harbaugh to serve any NCAA-ordered suspension should he return to the pros. Mark Maske of the Washington Post, meanwhile, says it is not certain that the league would go that route.

Still, in light of the failures of the two prior regimes, a Harbaugh hire could be a tough sell for Davis. In fact, Jones writes that Davis will be seeking a “player-centric” coach rather than a coach with the hard-nosed styles of Harbaugh, Gruden, and McDaniels. Jones also believes Davis will seek to hire a GM before hiring an HC.

In any event, Davis has promised a “comprehensive search” for a new head coach, and Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal says Davis is being encouraged to hire a president of football operations to aid in the process. Ventrelle was replaced by Sandra Douglass Morgan in July 2022, and Jones writes that Morgan, along with longtime executive Tom Delaney and personnel man Ken Herock, will also offer counsel (though Pauline opines that most of Herock’s advice has led to “ruinous” decisions).

Jones echoes his recent report that Tom Brady will also influence Davis’ thinking. As expected, Brady’s would-be stake in the Raiders was not discussed at the league meetings last month, with Jones and Albert Breer of reporting that other owners take issue with the bargain price at which Davis is trying to sell a share of his club to Brady. Colts owner and finance committee member Jim Irsay told reporters, including Jori Epstein of Yahoo! Sports, “the number just had to be a reasonable number for purchase price.”

Breer adds that Brady’s broadcasting contract with FOX is also a hurdle to ratification of the purchase. Understandably, teams do not want anyone with an ownership stake in a rival outfit having the access and obtaining the inside information that broadcasters often enjoy, so much will need to change for Brady to be approved as a minority owner at the next league meetings in December.

Given Davis’ deep respect for Brady, it stands to reason that the all-time great will be an important voice in Davis’ ear regardless of his ownership status. And while much of the discussion about Las Vegas’ changing power structure has thus far focused upon who the next head coach will be, Pauline notes that there is a “groundswell” of support for interim general manager Champ Kelly to retain the GM post on a full-time basis. Kelly, a longtime Bears exec who has experience in both personnel and salary cap matters, has taken a number of GM interviews in recent years, and Davis recently admitted that Kelly might have gotten the Raiders’ GM job in 2022 if the package deal of McDaniels and Ziegler had not become available. Jones also names Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds as a candidate to monitor.

Despite Ziegler’s figurehead status in Nevada, Rapoport observes that McDaniels’ right-hand man nonetheless made strides in modernizing the personnel side of the Raiders’ operation, an effort that included hiring respected scouting minds, creating a scouting development program, and injecting “forward-thinking concepts on player development.” The next Raiders GM should therefore have something of a foundation to build upon.

Whether that person is Kelly or someone else remains to be seen, but in acknowledgment of their promotions, Davis reworked the contracts of both Kelly and Pierce, as Adam Schefter of reports. Those transactions added even more money to the whopping $85MM tab that Davis will have to pick up due to the McDaniels and Ziegler firings (though some of that amount will be offset should his former employees land new jobs elsewhere).

Davis is one of the league’s most cash-poor owners, so these hugely expensive maneuvers underscore the strength of his conviction that McDaniels and Ziegler were not the right men to lead the Raiders. As Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, Davis also fired team COO Mike Newquist, whom he hired just three months ago. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk concedes that Newquist’s post is unrelated to the football side of the team, but he believes the immediate firing of a key employee will further add to the perception of dysfunction that presently surrounds Davis’ franchise.

One way or another, Raiders fans are in for a fascinating few months.

Mark Davis Discusses McDaniels, Ziegler Firings

Mark Davis pulled the plug on the Josh McDaniels/Dave Ziegler tandem earlier this week, ending an underwhelming one-plus-year run for the duo. Previous reports hinted that the owner fired McDaniels and Ziegler because of their mishandling of the quarterback position.

[RELATED: Raiders Fire Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler]

It started when the front office decided to hand Derek Carr a lucrative extension with a no-trade clause. While a divorce was inevitable following the 2022 campaign, Carr’s leverage meant the Raiders couldn’t receive anything in return for their quarterback. The organization exacerbated their issues when they gave Jimmy Garoppolo more than $30MM in guaranteed money. After failing his physical and going under the knife, the quarterback has started his Raiders career by tossing a league-leading nine interceptions.

McDaniels and Ziegler also drew the ire of Davis when they started Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell in Week 7, with the veteran backup tossing a pair of interceptions in an eventual loss to the lowly Bears.

While the duo’s issues at the QB position played a significant role in their firings, it sounds like Davis could have let that slide if the Raiders took a step forward elsewhere. Instead, the owner told The Athletic’s Tashan Reed that he saw “regression” from his team, and that was what played the biggest role in Tuesday night’s decision.

Davis provided some more insight into his decision to move on from his head coach and GM, and he also touched on the promotions of Champ Kelly and Antonio Pierce. We’ve compiled the notable quotes below:

On his decision to fire both McDaniels and Ziegler:

“I just didn’t see the progress. I saw regression.”

On what attracted him to McDaniels in the first place:

“I was really excited because I believe Josh McDaniels has a very fertile offensive mind and I’ve seen him in the past be able to adjust to so many different variables. I thought that he could bring a fresh, explosive offensive mind to the Raiders.”

On the decision to name assistant GM Champ Kelly as the interim general manager:

“Had I not done the pair of Dave and Josh, Champ may have gotten the job at that time. We were fortunate and grateful that he decided to come on board as the assistant general manager. So, there was not even a question as to who would actually step into that position.”

On the decision to name linebackers coach Antonio Pierce as the interim head coach:

“I wasn’t very familiar with Antonio over the course of the last 1 1/2 years or so, but I’d gotten to know him a little bit. When I saw Antonio’s background and resume, I was intrigued. So, when I sat down with him and interviewed him, I just felt he was the right guy at the right time to fit the role that I was looking for.”

On what he hopes to see from the Raiders for the rest of the 2023 season:

“I’d like to see progress and I’d like to see the culture of the team together. I won’t say that we lost the culture because those guys never quit. Even when they were behind, they continually played. They played really, really hard. I think it’s a great group of young men and it’ll be interesting to see with new leadership whether we can get more out of it.”

On how he’ll approach his head coach/GM search next offseason:

“This time, I don’t really have anybody in mind that would potentially prejudice my thinking, so to speak. My thought process is wide open. And there’s a very good chance that the head coach and general manager that we have right now may end up getting the jobs.”

Raiders Fire Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler

Midway through the Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler tandem’s second season, Mark Davis is pulling the plug. The Raiders are firing their head coach and general manager, Adam Schefter of reports. The Raiders have since announced the firings.

This comes after an ugly Monday-night performance in Detroit, but it represents a stunningly early end for a pair given the keys in 2022. This late-night firing marks McDaniels’ second in-season ouster; the Broncos fired him late in his second season back in 2010. The Raiders are planning to name Antonio Pierce as their interim HC, Schefter reports. The Raiders hired Pierce, a former Super Bowl-winning linebacker, as linebackers coach in 2022. To fill in for Ziegler, the Raiders are promoting assistant GM Champ Kelly, per’s Paul Gutierrez.

After much thought about what the Raiders need to move forward, I have decided to part ways with Josh and Dave,” Davis said in a statement. “I want to thank them both for their hard work and wish them and their families nothing but the best.”

While the ex-Patriot staffers have not shown indications this operation will turn around anytime soon, this still represents a shocking decision. Davis signed off on a six-year contract for McDaniels during the 2022 hiring period; the Raiders are obligated to pay the former Patriots OC through the 2027 season. McDaniels had operated patiently in the years following his decision to spurn the Colts, being selective on the interview circuit. But he chose the Raiders as his return vehicle; that choice backfired.

Although news of these abrupt ousters emerged just after midnight, Schefter adds Davis began giving indications late Tuesday he planned to fire the second-year HC-GM combo. Though, this certainly qualifies as a news dump. Considering the confidence Davis displayed in this power duo, the timing of this announcement probably should not surprise. The Raiders are set to reboot once again. Davis gave McDaniels a vote of confidence around this time last year, but the product has not improved.

This likely closes the curtain on McDaniels’ head coaching career, and when his decision to backtrack on his Colts commitment is factored in, the successful New England play-caller is poised to go down as one of this century’s least successful HCs. Both McDaniels and Ziegler arrived from New England, with the latter also in Denver during McDaniels’ infamous stint there. McDaniels, 47, is now 20-33 as a head coach. The three-time Super Bowl-winning coordinator does not boast a basement-level record, but this firing comes 13 years after the Broncos canned him after a messy videotaping scandal. Ziegler, 46, joined McDaniels during that second Broncos season but spent eight years with the Patriots prior to coming to Vegas.

The Raiders, who fell to 3-5 after their Monday loss to the Lions, made some curious decisions this offseason to reach this point. Most notably, they signed ex-McDaniels Patriots charge Jimmy Garoppolo and did not bring in a higher-end backup — despite the former 49ers starter having become the NFL’s most injury-prone quarterback. The Raiders met with the draft’s top five QB prospects but waited until Round 4 to make a selection, tabbing Aidan O’Connell. Brian Hoyer, the NFL’s second-oldest active QB, has been Garoppolo’s top backup. The Raiders gave Hoyer a two-year deal that came almost entirely guaranteed; the 38-year-old passer considered retirement this offseason.

Las Vegas made a surprising push to the playoffs after its last in-season HC divorce, which came just two years ago. Leaked emails forcing Jon Gruden out drew considerable controversy, with Davis voicing frustration at the leak — which came about during a Dan Snyder investigation — before ultimately moving on. Despite interim HC Rich Bisaccia leading the team to a 10-7 finish and a narrow wild-card loss in Cincinnati, Davis opted to start over with McDaniels and Ziegler. The Raiders have gone 9-16 since.

This Raiders edition ranks 30th in DVOA (30th on offense, 31st on defense), with McDaniels’ offensive acumen not leading to Year 2 growth. The Raiders largely left their offensive line alone from last season as well. Even after the group delivered surprisingly capable work and powered Josh Jacobs to a rushing title, concerns about the quintet emerged before last season. Through eight games, Jacobs — whom the Raiders franchise-tagged and handed a rare raise after the reigning rushing champion skipped training camp — is averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Hunter Renfrow exceeded 1,000 yards in 2021 and signed a two-year, $32MM extension in 2022. The slot receiver became an afterthought in McDaniels’ offense, sitting on 92 receiving yards this season.

Perhaps most notably, Davante Adams‘ production has dipped from 2022. After the Raiders traded their 2022 first- and second-round picks for Adams, he produced an All-Pro season with ex-college teammate Derek Carr at the controls. The ex-Packer star has not eclipsed 60 receiving yards in a game since Week 4. Adams, 30, displayed visible frustration — after weeks of griping about his lack of opportunities — on the sideline during the Raiders’ double-digit loss in Week 8. Adams is not believed to have requested a trade before Tuesday’s deadline, but the longtime Aaron Rodgers target is trapped in limbo after anchoring three straight playoff-bound Packer teams’ receiving corps.

Davis is believed to have played a key role in McDaniels’ decision to bench Carr before Week 17 last year. Carr then left the team and prepared for an opportunity elsewhere. While Carr rarely flirted with top-tier QB status during his nine-year run as the Raiders’ starter, his level of play worsened under McDaniels. The Raiders used the escape hatch in Carr’s 2022 extension to cut him, doing so after the passer wielded his no-trade clause. Garoppolo signed a three-year, $72.75MM deal soon after. Garoppolo’s QBR number dropped to 30th after finishing 10-for-21 with 126 yards Monday.

In addition to Garoppolo, the McDaniels and Ziegler loaded up the Raiders’ roster with ex-Patriots. Hoyer, Jakobi Meyers, Jakob Johnson, Brandon Bolden, Jermaine Eluemunor and Justin Herron comprise the ex-Pats wing on offense. While fewer former New England presences reside on Patrick Graham‘s defense, the Chandler Jones fiasco obviously did not help the since-fired bigwigs. The Raiders gave Jones a three-year, $51MM deal in 2022. Not only did the former Patriots draftee and Cardinals All-Pro perform poorly for most of last season, the strange saga that led him off the team this fall stripped a starter off the roster.

They of two playoff appearances since Super Bowl XXXVII, the Raiders are at a crossroads yet again. Davis will be paying two coaches for the foreseeable future, though offset language — should McDaniels land elsewhere, perhaps for a third Patriots stint — could help on this front. But the decision to give the keys to two ex-Patriot staffers will go down as a tremendous misstep for Davis. This also continues to bury the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Aside from Bill O’Brien‘s Texans tenure, none of the legendary Patriot coach’s assistants have been able to win consistently. And O’Brien did well to torpedo his Houston run during his memorable stint in the HC/GM role.

The Raiders gave Pierce his first NFL coaching job. Before coming to Nevada, the 45-year-old assistant was on Herm Edwards’ Arizona State staff. The former Pro Bowl linebacker was the head coach of Long Beach Poly High from 2014-17. The Raiders hired Kelly last year, bringing him over from Chicago. Kelly also was with the Broncos during McDaniels’ tenure, but he stayed longer than McDaniels or Ziegler. The well-respected front office staffer spent seven seasons with the Bears, finishing his run as the team’s assistant director of player personnel.

Raiders To Hire Antonio Pierce As LB Coach

Antonio Pierce is back in the NFL. The former linebacker is joining Josh McDaniel’s Raiders staff as their linebackers coach, reports Mike Garafolo (via Twitter).

After spending the first four years of his career in Washington, Pierce became a fan favorite during his time with the Giants. Pierce ended up spending five seasons in New York, compiling 691 tackles, nine sacks, and eight forced fumbles. Pierce earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2006, and he won a Super Bowl ring the following season, compiling 25 tackles in the Giants’ four postseason games.

After retiring following the 2009 season, Pierce resurfaced a few years later on the coaching circuit. He’s been with Arizona State since 2018, working his way up from linebackers coach to associate head coach/defensive coordinator.

As Garafolo notes on Twitter, Pierce interviewed for a coaching job on the Giants a few years ago when Patrick Graham was hired as Joe Judge’s defensive coordinator. That move obviously didn’t come together, but Pierce will now have an opportunity to coach alongside Graham in Las Vegas.

Extra Points: Lewis, XFL, Manziel

When Arizona State announced they were hiring former Jets and Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, the decision was met with a lot of ridicule. Nobody’s laughing now though, as Edwards has done a near-universally praised job turning around the program the last couple of years. Edwards has emphasized that he’s running the program like an NFL team, and he’s hired a bunch of ex-NFL guys to fill out his staff. Apparently, a few of those guys might be eyeing a return to the league. Former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who serves as an advisor to ASU, is going to be in “serious consideration” for an NFL head coaching job next cycle, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter video link).

Lewis was fired by the Bengals following last season after 16 years at the helm in Cincinnati. He was never able to win a playoff game but he completely changed the Bengals’ culture for the better and turned them into a consistent winner, making the playoffs seven times and winning the AFC North four times. Lewis caught a lot of flak toward the end of his tenure in Cincy when things got stale, but the Bengals’ 0-6 start in 2019 sure makes him look a lot better by comparison. It’ll be very interesting to see if he starts getting interviews as Garafolo predicts.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Lewis isn’t the only one on ASU’s staff who might get poached. Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce is “going to be a coach in the NFL sometime very soon,” Garafolo says. Pierce spent ten years as a linebacker in the league, most notably with the Giants. The former pro bowler, who last played in 2009, won Super Bowl XLII with New York. Garafolo also highlights former NFL receiver and Arizona State alum, Derek Hagan, as someone who could make the jump to the NFL soon. He currently serves as an analyst for the Sun Devils.
  • The XFL draft was held recently, and Johnny Manziel wasn’t one of the names called. That’s quite foolish from the league’s perspective, opines Mike Florio of Florio notes that Manziel has expressed interest in playing in the upstart league, but XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said the league’s interest “remains to be seen” a few months ago and hasn’t provided an update since. “The sooner they add him to a team, the sooner the XFL will build the buzz that it sorely is lacking,” Florio writes. It’s hard to argue with Florio on this one. Manziel played briefly in the AAF, but hasn’t gotten any known interest from an NFL team in quite some time. He’s already burned a bridge with the CFL, so getting added to Vince McMahon’s league would seem to be his last option for the moment.
  • Recently released Buccaneers linebacker Devante Bond has been suspended four games, a source told Jenna Laine of Laine reports that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Bond was just cut a few days ago, and it’s highly possible the Bucs knew this was coming when they decided to part ways. Bond was drafted by Tampa in the sixth-round out of Oklahoma back in 2016, and missed his entire rookie season due to a hamstring injury. He’s started six games the past two seasons.

Coaching Rumors: Moore, Dolphins, Steelers

Kellen Moore is, in fact, expected to call the Cowboys‘ plays next season, Jason Garrett said. The 29-year-old OC has yet to begin his second season as an NFL coach, but the Cowboys wanted change (without looking outside their staff to seek it).

I think it’s a great opportunity for our team and our players,” Jerry Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He has a great staff on the offensive side with him and they all have some great ideas. We have Jason sitting there as a safety net. I think it’s an ideal time to stretch out.

“I said to everybody, ‘I want those new ideas. I want them thought through far. And if they are not being implemented call me.’ But let’s get in there and do the kinds of things to get the most out of a very talented roster. Kellen has the skill, and the right attitude, and style to make this work.”

Garrett was coaching Moore as recently as the 2017 season, but the 10th-year Dallas coach said he will surround Moore with experience to help this major transition. Tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier, a longtime college OC, is expected to take on a larger role.

The coaching circuit brought some news post-Super Bowl LIII. Here is the latest:

  • Another Patriots assistant will be following Brian Flores to Miami. The Dolphins are expected to name Jerry Schuplinski as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). Schuplinski served as New England’s assistant QBs coach for the past three seasons and has been a Pats staffer for six years. The Patriots gave Schuplinski his first NFL job; prior to that, he was an assistant at Division III program Case Western Reserve for six years.
  • Dennis Allen‘s new Saints contract is a three-year agreement, Albert Breer of notes. The former Raiders HC has been the Saints’ DC since the 2015 season. His unit has gone from one of the worst in NFL history, in ’15, to one of the top groups in the league.
  • Steelers DC Keith Butler will assume more responsibility next season. The team will not replace Joey Porter as outside linebackers coach, instead having Butler directly oversee that position in addition to his defensive coordinator duties, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Butler, who will enter his fifth year as Pittsburgh’s DC after being the team’s linebackers coach for 12 years, joins OC Randy Fichtner in doubling as a position coach. Fichtner still coaches the Steelers’ quarterbacks.
  • The Giants will hire one of Rutgers’ assistant coaches, Henry Baker, as assistant defensive backs coach, James Kratch and Ryan Dunleavy of report. This is interesting because Baker accepted a job with the Scarlet Knights for the 2019 season, and it was to be his second stint at Rutgers. This will be Baker’s first NFL job, though he did receive minority coaching internships with the Lions and Giants during recent offseasons. Baker will replace Deshea Townsend, who is now with the Bears. Football Scoop first reported the hire.
  • A former Giants great, Antonio Pierce spent the 2018 season on Herm Edwards‘ Arizona State staff. The Chiefs, however, were interested in prying Pierce away and making him their linebackers coach, per Marvez (on Twitter). But Pierce, who just wrapped up his first season as a college coach, opted to stay with the Sun Devils.