January 11th, 2019 at 1:43pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Vance Joseph will join the Cardinals as their new defensive coordinator, as Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. The Cardinals have since announced the addition of Joseph, also noting Ohio State linebackers coach Bill Davis will take the same job in Arizona.
Arizona and first-time NFL head coach Kliff Kingsbury had been searching for a veteran defensive coordinator, and they’ll get that in Joseph. Other reported candidates for the job included former Packers DC Dom Capers and ex-Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, but it doesn’t appear either ever actually interviewed for the job.
The Cardinals had indicated they’d look for a coach who would run a 3-4 defense, but that hasn’t been Joseph’s specialty. While he kept the Broncos’ 3-4 in place when he was hired as Denver’s head coach, Joseph used a 4-3 look as the Dolphins’ DC in 2016.
5:46pm: The Eagles have made Reich’s hiring official. They’ve also named 14 other assistants to posts. Seven of those coaches are holdovers from Chip Kelly‘s staff. Here’s the list (unless otherwise specified, the names come courtesy of the Eagles’ website):
Eugene Chung, offensive line/tight ends/running game
Phillip Daniels, defensive quality control/assistant defensive line
Dave Fipp, special teams
Ken Flajole, linebackers
Matthew Harper, assistant special teams
Tim Hauck, defensive backs/safeties
Greg Lewis, wide receivers (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Caplan)
On the heels of these moves, the Eagles released offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and linebackers coaches Rick Minter and Bill McGovern from their contracts, according to Caplan (on Twitter). They let go of previous D-coordinator Billy Davis on Monday, per Caplan (Twitter link).
1:40pm: The Eagles have reached an agreement with Frank Reich to make him their new offensive coordinator, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSports.com, who reports (via Twitter) that it’s a “done deal.” Reich had been scheduled to have a formal interview with the team today, and Adam Caplan of ESPN.com had suggested “it would be an upset” if he wasn’t hired (Twitter link).
Had he become the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, Reich wouldn’t have called the team’s plays (Gase will do that), and it looks as if he won’t handle that responsibility in Philadelphia either. New head coach Doug Pederson indicated during his introductory press conference on Tuesday that he expects to call offensive plays in 2016.
In San Diego, Reich was let go in large part due to the Chargers’ ineffective running game, but he did just fine with the team’s aerial attack — Philip Rivers led the NFL in completed passes in 2015, racking up nearly 4,800 yards passing to go along with 29 touchdowns.
Injuries have plagued the Chargers over the last couple years, and health problems on the offensive line likely contributed to the struggles of first-round running back Melvin Gordon, but Reich took the fall for the offense’s regression. In 2014, Reich’s first year as offensive coordinator, San Diego went from second in offensive DVOA to 11th. The team slipped to 15th this season, and the Chargers also went from scoring nearly 25 points per game in 2013 to just 20 by 2015.
In addition to reaching a deal with Reich, the Eagles have also reportedly agreed to hire former Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as the club’s quarterbacks coach. The new additions to Pederson’s offensive coaching staff likely spell the end of Pat Shurmur‘s time in Philadelphia, despite the fact that the new head coach said on Tuesday that Shurmur would receive consideration for the OC role.
As the Jets’ defeat of the Patriots shakes up the AFC playoff picture, let’s look at some of the news coming out of the Eastern divisions as Week 16 shifts to its night games.
Jets players were stunned the Patriots opted to kick to start overtime, Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com reports. “My face lit up, like ‘You really want to kick the ball?’ I don’t know, but I am glad they did choose to kick,” Calvin Pryor told media, including Hannable. Bill Belichick made the same decision two years ago against the Broncos, a game that featured several overtime punts before a Patriots victory. However, receiving teams don’t have an overwhelming percentage edge since the new OT rules were implemented for the regular season. Just 50.7% of receiving teams have won in extra periods since 2012.
The player who verbalized New England’s decision to kick, Matt Slater, could not retract his call regarding which direction the Patriots wanted to defend, per the NFL rulebook. But a post-regulation conversation between Belichick and referee Clete Blakeman may have set this mistake in motion, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com writes. Belichick told Blakeman before the coin toss he intended to have his team kick, and Blakeman worded that into his question to Slater, asking “You want to kick?” Once Slater responded, “We want to kick, that way,” Blakeman could only, by rule, follow his first command as teams that win the toss are not permitted to choose both the action that starts overtime or a half and the direction.
Bill Polian‘s recent critique of the current offensive front’s status was a point of contention among the Bills‘ line, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports. The Hall of Fame ex-Bills GM referred to the Bills’ line as “aging and unathletic,” and the line mates, most notably 29-year-old Eric Wood and 32-year-old Richie Incognito, made it known that upset them. “We were chirping about it a little bit,” Incognito told media, including Dunne. “A lot of text messages back and forth. You know, we noticed it. We’re professionals. And for a guy like Bill Polian — who’s had a lot of success in Buffalo and is a Hall of Fame (executive) — to talk bad about our group like that, it puts a little (expletive) in our grit.” Despite not having LeSean McCoy‘s services, the Bills rushed for 236 yards on 40 carries in their defeat of the Cowboys.
Should Jerry Jones decide to fire Jason Garrett after this disastrous season, he’d have to pay up to do so, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. The Cowboys‘ coach is finishing out the first season of a five-year, $30MM contract he signed. An about-face on Garrett’s future in Dallas would cost the Cowboys up to $24MM. Garrett’s passive style in terms of deferring credit works well with the attention-hungry Jones, Florio offers.
Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis demurred when asked about his job security, responding, “That’s for other men to decide,” according to Paul Domowitch of Philly.com. Davis’ unit has ceded 216 points the past six games. Domowitch notes Chip Kelly’s vote of confidence about Davis’ future doesn’t mean too much considering Andy Reid gave Sean McDermott the same sentiment before firing him five seasons ago. The Philadelphia writer adds Davis is the likely scapegoat for Kelly’s first-year struggles assembling a quality roster.
As anticipated, Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. is appealing his one-game suspension, and that appeal is scheduled for Wednesday, with James Thrash serving as the hearing officer, tweets Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com. As Mortensen notes, a decision is expected to come quickly once the hearing completes, so we should know within the next couple days whether or not Beckham will be eligible to play this weekend.
With Washington and Philadelphia set to play on Saturday night, it’s possible the NFC East division crown will already be decided by the time the Giants’ kick off against the Vikings on Sunday, since Washington will clinch with a victory. But if the Eagles prevail on Saturday, Beckham’s suspension could loom large on Sunday, with the Giants’ season on the line.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis shouldn’t have to shoulder all the blame for the Eagles‘ struggles on defense this season, but his job is on the line nonetheless, writes Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
A Federal Circuit ruling on Tuesday may have an impact on Washington‘s case regarding the Redskins trademark, as Bill Donahue of Law360 details. The Federal Circuit ruled that the government’s ban on “disparaging” trademark registrations is a violation of the First Amendment, striking down the provision that was used to strip Daniel Snyder’s franchise of the Redskins trademark.
Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link), Washington recently tried out a pair of tight ends, AndrewGleichert and Brian Vogler, along with defensive tackle Kamal Johnson.
It’s been a busy day so far in the NFL’s East divisions, where the Cowboys have confirmed quarterback Tony Romo will miss the rest of the season, Washington has placed cornerback Chris Culliver on injured reserve, and the Bills have announced that Kyle Williams is expected to be out for the rest of the year. Let’s round up a few more items from out of the East divisions, including some that aren’t related to injuries….
According to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter), Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was “adamant” after Thursday’s loss that defensive coordinator Billy Davis will remain the team’s defensive coordinator. As Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com observes (viaTwitter), Kelly initially hired Davis because of his ability to run a specific defensive scheme — the Eagles have continued to draft and acquire players who fit that scheme, so if they make a change at DC, they’d likely want to find one who can run the same system.
A neck injury, which has sidelined tight end Larry Donnell for the Giants‘ last two games, could keep him out of action for the rest of the season, multiple sources tell Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. While an MRI taken this week didn’t indicate there would be long-term damage for Donnell, the club is understandably cautious dealing with neck injuries.
The Jets have slowed down since their hot start, but it’s definitely not the “Same Old Jets” in New York, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who says new general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles have changed the franchise for the better.
Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis spoke Sunday on the statuses of two of the team’s injured linebackers, Kiko Alonso and DeMeco Ryans.
Regarding Alonso, who suffered a concussion Tuesday and has missed four practices: “Kiko’s fine,” said Davis, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’ve been coaching linebackers my whole career. It’s just part of that position, when it sneaks up on you nowadays, we have great protocol. It’s not an issue. Kiko’s doing great. He won’t miss a beat.”
Davis was more guarded when discussing Ryans, who is recovering from a ruptured right Achilles tendon for the second time in his nine-year career.
“DeMeco is a pro all the way through and is taking strides ahead of where most people would be, but he still has a little ways to go,” Davis said.
Ryans has participated in all seven of the Eagles’ training camp practices, but next Sunday’s preseason opener against the Colts will be a much bigger litmus test.
“Any time you’re coming back from injury, you have to get in the game to see where you are,” said Ryans, who got hurt last November. “Go to the ground, tackle somebody, stand up, make sure everything is still intact. And mentally, I think that’s the last hurdle, going out and getting back in a game.”
49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini is using his linebackers’ flexibility to his advantage as he tries to find a way to fill the void left by Aldon Smith, whom the team cut earlier this week because of off-field issues. “A guy like Aldon is not a guy that you just can replace,” Mangini said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “He’s got a unique skill set. But one of the things that we focused on defensively is building flexibility, in terms of what we can play, and then building flexibility with who’s going to play there.” The lion’s share of reps at Smith’s former spot have gone to Corey Lemonier and Eli Harold, writes Gutierrez.
The Raiders could have the biggest interior defensive line in the NFL when Dan Williams and Justin Ellis, who combine to weigh 665 pounds, line up side by side. The two have been paired together often in camp, writes Jerry McDonald of InsideBayArea.com. “To be able to have those guys in the front, we feel like you shouldn’t run the ball on us,” safety Charles Woodson said. “If they put those guys up there, we should be a very stout defense. That’s what we’re counting on.”
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is bullish about the team’s secondary, which helped the defense finish a respectable 12th overall against the pass in 2014. “I think we have an excellent group. We got playmakers and smart guys that communicate well and play well together. I’m excited for that group,” Pagano said, according to USA Today.