In addition to the previously reported player gripes about the state of the Commanders‘ offense, John Keim of ESPN.com notes others in the organization expressed frustration about the inconsistencies within the team’s offensive philosophy. Washington fired three-year OC Scott Turner on Tuesday, despite having signed him to a three-year extension, and signs point to the team making a more concerted effort to focus on its run game. Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew expressed a desire to run more, even after the Commanders ranked fourth in rushing attempts (538). But Keim adds a litany of complaints surfaced about the nature of the offense — from the team deviating from effective plays to Turner’s scheme being difficult for quarterbacks to digest. Concern about the offense emanated inside the building throughout the year, per Keim, who adds Rivera sat in on offensive meetings at points amid the unrest.
The Commanders’ issues at quarterback and on their O-line, a unit full of veterans, hamstrung Turner’s unit. So did injuries, as the team planned to have Brian Robinson play a major role from the start. The two gunshot wounds he sustained in August derailed those plans, and Carson Wentz barely ended up playing with the third-round rookie this season. While outside candidates will be interviewed, Keim adds the Commanders generally like their offensive scheme. QBs coach Ken Zampese, a second-generation NFL assistant who was previously the Bengals’ OC, will likely be an in-house candidate.
Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:
- The Cardinals fired Kliff Kingsbury after four seasons and did so less than a year after signing him to an extension that ran through 2027. While Kingsbury firing rumors had been brewing for months, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes (via Twitter) the young HC did not appear to be expecting it. When a “surprised and distraught” Kingsbury addressed his staffers, he mentioned some of them could be retained. One of them might be DC Vance Joseph, who has been connected to a possible promotion. The former Broncos HC served as Kingsbury’s DC throughout his four-year tenure.
- One of Frank Reich‘s Colts staffers earned an interview for the team’s HC vacancy. Special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone met with Jim Irsay and Co. about the position Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Ventrone, 40, broke into coaching after 10 NFL seasons as a player. After spending time on Bill Belichick‘s staff, Ventrone joined Reich’s staff in 2018 and has been in position as Indy’s ST coordinator since. This is his first interview for a head coaching gig. The Colts can interview their own staffers, unattached coaches and Eagles or Chiefs staffers this week but must wait until midway through next week to begin meeting with candidates from teams playing on wild-card weekend.
- Although Brandon Staley guided the Chargers to the playoffs, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com does not get the sense the second-year HC’s job is 100% safe. A loss to the Jaguars may prompt Chargers ownership to change course. Sean Payton lurking may well affect Staley’s standing, should the Jags prevail. The Bolts job came up several months ago for Payton, who already lives in Los Angeles, and this potential partnership has been a poorly kept secret in NFL circles.
- Brian Flores will interview for the Browns‘ DC job Thursday, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets, though the Steelers linebackers coach is believed to have other teams interested. Flores’ discrimination lawsuit is ongoing, but the former Dolphins HC just wrapped a season on Mike Tomlin‘s staff. The Browns are also interviewing Jim Schwartz and Sean Desai, with a Jerod Mayo request out there as well.
- Two more Panthers assistants have left to join Matt Rhule at Nebraska. Rob Dvoracek and Garett McGuire have left the Panthers to become the Cornhuskers’ linebackers and wide receivers coaches, respectively, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Both were in low-level assistant roles with Carolina and each played for Rhule — Dvoracek at Temple, McGuire at Baylor. These exits follow Terrance Knighton‘s; Knighton departed the Panthers in-season.