Ben McAdoo

“Increasing Communication Issues” Between Panthers HC Matt Rhule, OC Ben McAdoo

The Panthers continue to struggle, and we’re now learning of some inner turmoil within the locker room. League sources tell Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com that “there have been increasing communication issues” between head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

[RELATED: Latest On Panthers HC Matt Rhule’s Job Status]

Considering the Panthers’ offensive struggles, it’s not a surprise that eyes have shifted to McAdoo. The former Giants head coach joined Carolina’s staff this offseason as offensive coordinator, replacing Joe Brady. The team’s QB situation was uncertain through much of the offseason, with the organization ultimately settling on Baker Mayfield to take over for Sam Darnold under center. Despite the underwhelming options at quarterback, the Panthers still had some top playmakers in running back Christian McCaffrey and wideout DJ Moore.

Well, things haven’t necessarily gone as planned. Through four weeks, the Panthers rank last in the NFL in plays per game (53.5) and third-down conversion rate (25.5 percent), two stats that don’t put the coaching staff in the best light. So, while McAdoo “attempts to direct an offense that is struggling” and “is working to fix what appears to be a dire situation,” he’s apparently receiving conflicting information or directives from his head coach.

“Well, when you look at it, I was brought in here to make an impact, right? And it hasn’t happened yet,” McAdoo said recently (via Wilson). “Now, that doesn’t mean we’re discouraged. We’re four games in, right? So, we got another game this week, and we’re excited at the opportunity we have this week, and we have a tremendous opponent coming in here this week.”

Things aren’t going to get easier for the Panthers this weekend, as the team faces off against a 49ers defense that’s allowed the fewest points per game this season.

Latest On Panthers, Sam Darnold

Just over one week from the start of the draft, the Panthers remain one of the teams most connected with selecting a quarterback. When speaking to the media yesterday, though, new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo stated (at least temporarily) that the team already has its No. 1 signal-caller. 

[RELATED: Latest On Panthers’ Draft Plans]

As noted by ESPN’s David Newton, McAdoo was quick to affirm Sam Darnold‘s status as the team’s starter, including his presence as a factor in taking his new role. Moments later, however, he clarified that “the way it is in the building right now, Sam is our starting quarterback”. The Panthers currently only have Darnold and P.J. Walker on the roster, but should have their pick of this year’s class with the sixth-overall selection.

Knowing that, McAdoo quickly added, “announcing the starting quarterback here I just put my foot in my mouth. That wasn’t something I should have said.” Carolina represents one of the most intriguing and important teams in next week’s draft, given their position on the board and dual need for an offensive tackle and (at least in the eyes of many) a quarterback with a higher ceiling than Darnold.

In his first season after being traded by the Jets, the 24-year-old completed less than 60% of his passes and threw more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (nine). Not surprisingly, then, the Panthers have done extensive work on the draft’s top QBs, leading many to expect them to select either Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis with their top pick. Failing that, they could be involved in the remaining trade market; they were recently reported to have the inside track to acquire Baker Mayfield, for instance.

This time of year, of course, is rife with public statements being overvalued or misinterpreted. Still, McAdoo’s remarks add even more intrigue to the team’s ultimate draft decision, which will have a sizeable domino effect on not only the Panthers but the rest of the QB board.

Panthers, Titans Coaching Updates

There’s been a few updates with respect to the changes in the Panthers’ and Titans’ coaching staffs. The largest change so far, of course, is the hiring of Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator for Carolina. On Monday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed that the team has made that hire official (Twitter link). 

The 44-year-old comes in with a successful background at the OC level, having helped the Giants to top-ten rankings in 2014 and 2015. That earned him the head coaching position in New York, although it certainly didn’t end the way he would have wanted. Still, there are high hopes he can turn around a Panthers offense that struggled mightily in 2021, leading to the mid-season firing of Joe Brady.

Meanwhile, Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reported that Carolina is conducting a second interview with Chris Tabor for the special teams coordinator vacancy. The Panthers fired Chase Blackburn earlier this month, and already met with Tabor, who has previously been a ST coordinator with the Browns and Bears. Unlike the first interview, this one will take place in person. Alper notes that the Panthers had offered the job to current Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey, “but the two sides could not agree on a contract”.

As for the Titans, the disappointing loss on Saturday has led to at least four changes on their staff. As Sport Illustrated’s John Glennon tweets, the coaches being let go include: inside linebackers coach Jim Haslett, assistant defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze, assistant ST coach Matt Edwards and assistant strength and conditioning coach Mondray Gee. Tennessee finished the year atop the AFC, but lost in their opening playoff game for the second straight season.

 

Panthers To Hire Ben McAdoo As OC

The Panthers are expected to hire former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as their offensive coordinator (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The two sides are still finalizing the contract, but it sounds like it’ll become official in the coming days. 

[RELATED: Pep Hamilton Passes On Panthers]

McAdoo, 44, worked under Jay Gruden with the Jaguars in 2020, coaching quarterbacks for that 1-15 team. Gruden also interviewed for this position, but the Panthers ultimately went for McAdoo, who is best known for his lackluster two-season term as the Giants’ head coach. He’ll replace Joe Brady, who was fired in December. At the time, the Panthers ranked just 28th in total offense under the 32-year-old.

Before the turmoil and the mid-season firing, McAdoo coached his 2016 squad to an 11-5 record and guided them to their first playoff berth in five years. And, previous to that, McAdoo made his name as Tom Coughlin‘s OC, when the Giants finished out with the No. 10 and No. 8 ranked offenses in 2014 and 2015.

McAdoo still has a ways to go before he can climb his way back into HC consideration, but the Panthers are enthusiastic about what he can do for their offense in 2022.

Panthers Add Jay Gruden, Ben McAdoo To OC Interview List; Chip Kelly Briefly On Radar

After canning Joe Brady late in his second season as Panthers OC, Matt Rhule said he sought an experienced play-caller to replace him. Two former head coaches are now officially in the running.

Jay Gruden loomed on Carolina’s wish list for over a week, but the former Washington HC has since spoken with Rhule about the job, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Former Giants HC Ben McAdoo also met with the Panthers about the job, doing so Tuesday, per Person (on Twitter).

Gruden, 54, did not coach in 2021, with the Jaguars moving on from him as OC after hiring Urban Meyer. But the six-season Washington HC spent 10 seasons as an NFL play-caller, initially running the Bengals’ offense in the early 2010s. Four of those produced playoff berths, while Kirk Cousins set franchise single-season records under Gruden as well.

McAdoo, 44, worked under Gruden with the Jaguars in 2020, coaching quarterbacks for that 1-15 team. He is obviously better known for his two-season stint as Giants head coach. That ended badly, with an in-season firing, but McAdoo did coach the 2016 Giants to an 11-5 record and the team’s first playoff berth in five years. McAdoo spent the previous two years as Giants OC under Tom Coughlin.

Additionally, Chip Kelly resurfaced as a potential option. Rhule sought to see if the current UCLA coach was interested, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets, but Kelly instead signed an extension to stay with the Bruins. Kelly has not coached in the NFL since his one-and-done 2016 season in San Francisco.

The Panthers have now interviewed seven coaches — Gruden, McAdoo, Luke Getsy, Tim KellyMike Groh, Scottie Montgomery and Klint Kubiak — f0r their OC job.

This Date In Transactions History: Giants Fire Ben McAdoo, Jerry Reese

The Giants cleaned house on this date in 2017. Not willing to wait until the offseason, the Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese in one fell swoop.

[RELATED: Giants To Fire Dave Gettleman?]

It’s not uncommon to see head coaches and GMs canned on the same day, but it’s somewhat rare to see it happen during the season. Still, the Giants were 2-10, and owner John Mara‘s mind was made up.

This season has been incredibly disappointing for the organization and our fans, and while it would be ideal to make these kinds of decisions at the conclusion of the season, we simply felt now is the time to prepare for a fresh start,”Mara said in a statement. “I have great respect for both Jerry and Ben. Jerry has worked tirelessly for this franchise for 23 years. He has always communicated in a straight forward and honest manner.”

The Giants enjoyed great success during Reese’s tenure – including two Super Bowl championships – but became more and more reluctant to move up draft day towards the end of his run. In ’17, his final draft in New York, he failed to strengthen the Giants’ Swiss cheese offensive line even though it was one of the team’s most glaring and longstanding needs. So, after a total of 23 years with the Giants organization, he was out.

Ditto for McAdoo, once an NFL darling for his work as Aaron Rodgers‘ position coach. He joined the Giants in 2014 as Tom Coughlin‘s offensive coordinator. Two years later, he was installed as the head coach. At the time, the Giants felt that they were choosing the coach best suited to guide Manning. They also felt compelled to promote him since other clubs were ready to poach him. Year One went well enough – his Giants finished 11-5 before Rodgers & Co. sent them packing in the playoffs. Less than a year later, he was out with a combined 13-15 record.

McAdoo is now with the Cowboys as a consultant while Reese is out of the NFL. Meanwhile, history may repeat itself in New Jersey. The Giants are reportedly set to part ways with Reese’s replacement, Dave Gettleman his aggressiveness has not yielded a better offensive line. The team also fired OC Jason Garrett recently and it’s not a certainty that second-year head coach Joe Judge will return in 2022.

NFC East Notes: Parsons, McAdoo, Giants

The Cowboys are more than happy that they landed on linebacker Micah Parsons with the 12th-overall pick in this year’s draft. Parsons has started each of his 11 games for Dallas, collecting 67 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles, and he’s the runaway favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. However, if the Cowboys had had their way, they would have used their selection on a cornerback.

As Jon Machota of The Athletic writes, the team’s “original plan” was to select either South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. However, those cornerbacks were scooped up at No. 8 and No. 9 respectively, forcing the front office to pivot. They ended up landing on the Penn State linebacker (after trading down), and the organization couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Parsons explained to Machota how he continues to improve throughout his first season in the NFL.

“People always talk about the rookie wall,” Parsons said, “but I just keep climbing and climbing because I’m excited to see what’s on the other side of that wall.

“I love what we have here. I’m just so honored and blessed to represent the star and have an opportunity to be a star here.”

Some more notes out of the NFC East…

  • The Cowboys are dealing with COVID-19 cases throughout their staff, so they’ll be temporarily promoting Ben McAdoo to a coaching role, tweets NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. McAdoo, who had been serving as a “consultant to the coaches” in Dallas, will be in the coaches booth for tomorrow’s game against the Saints. The 44-year-old spent two years as the Giants head coach between 2016 and 2017, and he returned to the NFL last season when he was hired as the Jaguars QBs coach.
  • Guess who else liked Horn and Surtain? The Giants, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, but the Eagles’ decision to trade up (with the Cowboys, no less) to select wideout DeVonta Smith was the move that really threw New York’s draft into disarray. With the organization’s targets off the board, the team ultimately decided to trade with the Bears, with the Giants selecting wideout Kadarius Toney at No. 20.
  • Another Cowboys/Giants connection: Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes that the Joe Judge/Jason Garrett pairing in New York was always an “arranged marriage.” Co-owner John Mara was the one who pushed to add Garrett as the team’s offensive coordinator, and the former Cowboys head coach was an “outlier” on a staff that generally had connections to their head coach. Garrett was ultimately canned by Judge and the Giants in late November after the team had collected a league-low 42 touchdowns.
  • Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports opines that the Giants should go all out on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson this offseason. The writer cites the organization’s draft capital (which, at the moment, includes picks No. 6 and No. 7), Daniel Jones‘ disappointment in New York, and Wilson’s supposed desire to play in the Big Apple. Assuming GM Dave Gettleman is out after the season, this would be a bold way for a new GM to begin their tenure, but the writer believes this would be preferable to rolling with Jones or drafting a quarterback in a weak class.

Cowboys Hire Ben McAdoo

The Cowboys have hired former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as a consultant (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). Now, McAdoo is set to face his former squad twice in 2021. He’ll also get to reunite with head coach Mike McCarthy — the two last worked together in Green Bay with McAdoo serving as the quarterbacks coach. 

McAdoo climbed up the NFL coaching ranks during his stints with the Saints, 49ers, and Packers. He caught on with the Giants in 2014 as their offensive coordinator, improving the squad from the 28th-highest-scoring offense to the sixth-highest-scoring offense. Ownership and the front office turned to their OC after Tom Coughlin stepped down, making McAdoo their 17th head coach in franchise history.

The Giants went 11-5 during McAdoo’s first season as the helm, although the team lost to the Packers in that year’s Wild Card Game. New York stumbled to a 2-10 record to start the 2017 campaign, and the organization ended up firing both their head coach and general manager Jerry Reese before the end of the year.

Since that time, McAdoo has seemingly been out of football altogether. The coach has worked with the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning throughout his career. Now, he’ll be asked to strategize around Dak Prescott.

Jaguars Add Ben McAdoo To Coaching Staff

Ben McAdoo is back in the NFL. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports (via Twitter) that the Jaguars are hiring the 42-year-old as their quarterbacks coach.

McAdoo climbed up the NFL coaching ranks during his stints with the Saints, 49ers, and Packers. He caught on with the Giants in 2014 as their offensive coordinator, improving the squad from the 28th-highest-scoring offense to the sixth-highest-scoring offense. Ownership and the front office turned to their OC after Tom Coughlin stepped down, making McAdoo their 17th head coach in franchise history.

The Giants went 11-5 during McAdoo’s first season as the helm, although the team lost to the Packers in that year’s Wild Card Game. New York stumbled to a 2-10 record to start the 2017 campaign, and the organization ended up firing both their head coach and general manager Jerry Reese before the end of the year.

Since that time, McAdoo has seemingly been out of football altogether. The coach has worked with the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning throughout his career, and he’ll be tasked with guiding Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville.

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Browns, Broncos, Giants, Titans, Panthers, Dolphins

When previous frontrunner George Paton removed himself from consideration for the Browns’ general manager vacancy, there were reports that he had concerns about Cleveland’s power structure. That might’ve been a bit overblown, as sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that Paton was “not at all scared off by Browns’ structure” (Twitter link). Further, Fowler writes that Paton was “impressed with people in the building and thinks highly of” new head coach Kevin Stefanski, while it came down to the fact that he “felt he had a good thing still going in Minnesota.” Paton is currently an assistant GM with the Vikings. That’s good news for Browns fans, but the earlier reports are still concerning. Stefanski, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, and whoever the new GM is will all be reporting directly to owner Jimmy Haslam, which understandably turns off some prospective candidates.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • We heard Mike Shula’s interview with the Broncos went well, and now he’s about to be hired. Shula is going to become Denver’s next quarterbacks coach, the team is just working out contract details, a source told Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link). Specifically, Klis writes that offsets with the Giants still need to be worked out. Shula had been the Giants’ offensive coordinator before Pat Shurmur was fired, and there was apparently offset language in his contract. Prior to joining New York, Shula was the Panthers’ OC for five seasons. Shurmur has since been hired as Denver’s offensive play-caller, so obviously there’s a lot of familiarity here.
  • Speaking of former Giants coaches, New York’s former head coach Ben McAdoo left his visit with the Browns without a deal, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Garafolo notes that it is still unclear exactly what role McAdoo was interviewing for in Cleveland. Garafolo also writes he was “in play” to be Carolina’s new quarterbacks coach.
  • Jason Garrett is re-teaming with one of his guys. The new Giants offensive coordinator will be paired back up with Marc Colombo, who is going to be New York’s new offensive line coach, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Colombo had been Garrett’s O-line coach in Dallas. The Cowboys routinely had one of the league’s best offensive lines, so this seems like a strong hire.
  • Legendary assistant Dean Pees elected to retire as the Titans’ defensive coordinator, leaving Mike Vrabel with a big hole on his staff. The “expectation in [the] coaching community” is that Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen will be promoted to DC, per Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL (Twitter link). Bowen had previously served as a defensive assistant with the Texans, so he has deep ties to Vrabel.
  • Rookie Panthers head coach Matt Rhule continues to fill out his inaugural staff, and he just made a couple of new hires. Rhule is expected to hire Pat Meyer away from the Chargers as his offensive line coach, and Jason Simmons away from the Packers as his defensive backs coach, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Meyer had been Los Angeles’ OL coach and run-game coordinator, while Simmons coached the Packers’ DBs. Rhule’s staff is now almost fully fleshed out.
  • Finally, the Dolphins are hiring a new defensive backs coach in Gerald Alexander, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald tweets. Alexander is coming from the college ranks, where he served as the defensive backs coach at Cal for the past few seasons. Alexander was briefly with the Dolphins as a safety during his playing days back in 2011. Miami had the vacancy after they promoted Josh Boyer to defensive coordinator following Patrick Graham’s departure.