Chad Morton

NFC Coaching Notes: Martindale, Macdonald, Gruden, Saints, Canales, Bucs, Bears, Eagles

The Packers went off the board with their defensive coordinator hire, bringing in Boston College HC Jeff Hafley. Matt LaFleur has looked to the college ranks during each of his DC searches, wanting to hire then-Wisconsin staffer Jim Leonhard in 2021. Hafley’s hire comes after the Packers squeezed in another interview with a seasoned NFL coordinator. Don Martindale met with the Pack about the gig, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets.

Martindale resigned his two-year post as Giants DC after a turbulent second season with Brian Daboll; he has since interviewed with the Jaguars for a job that went to Ryan Nielsen. Martindale has been accused of going rogue at points in New York, with the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz adding another footnote here. Ahead of the Giants’ Christmas game against the Eagles, Martindale is believed to have requested the equipment staff change linebacker Tomon Fox‘s number from 49 to 94 due to the DC’s plans of having him bumped up from the practice squad. That change was made without Daboll or GM Joe Schoen‘s approval.

As the Giants’ DC search continues, here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • The SaintsJon Gruden connection persists. Although Gruden is not on the radar — at least, as far as we know — for the Saints’ OC job, a GM informed the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora the former Raiders and Buccaneers HC should be expected to have a bigger role with New Orleans in 2024. Gruden worked as a consultant last summer and met with Saints officials recently. The GM suggested the possibility Gruden could eventually replace Dennis Allen, which would be quite the development considering the circumstances surrounding Gruden’s Las Vegas exit. For now, Gruden, who is still suing the NFL, remains without an NFL job.
  • Unsurprisingly, Mike Macdonald confirmed he will start his Seahawks tenure as the team’s defensive play-caller. Though, the new Seattle HC said (via’s Albert Breer) he is open to that changing at some point. Michigan’s 2021 DC, Macdonald called plays for the Ravens over the past two years and became one of this year’s most popular HC candidates as a result. Although Pete Carroll carried a defensive background, he did not serve as the Seahawks’ defensive play-caller.
  • The Buccaneers have lost much of their offensive staff to Carolina, seeing one-and-done OC Dave Canales take three staffers (receivers coach Brad Idzik, run-game coordinator Harold Goodwin, O-line coach Joe Gilbert). Tom Moore, however, will be staying in Tampa, per Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager. Moore, 85, has been with the Bucs since Bruce Arians‘ 2019 arrival. The former Colts OC, who is now 85, has served as a consultant for the NFC South team. This will be Moore’s 47th NFL season.
  • Baker Mayfield finished last in QBR in 2022, seeing his Panthers stay responsible for that dismal result. Canales helping the inconsistent QB recover from what happened in Carolina represents a key reason for his HC hire,’s David Newton notes. A Canales selling point hinged on the Bucs’ downfield passing, with Newton adding Tampa Bay went from 24th in that area (6.9 air yards per attempt) in Tom Brady‘s final season to third in 2023 (8.4).
  • The Eagles have permitted quarterbacks coach Alex Tanney to explore opportunities elsewhere, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. During the period between Brian Johnson‘s exit and the Kellen Moore OC hire, Tanney asked the team for the opportunity. The Eagles are moving on, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. Tanney received interest from the Colts last year, and McLane points to Indianapolis under ex-Eagles OC Shane Steichen as a potential landing spot.
  • The Bears have hired three more assistants. Chad Morton is signing on as running backs coach, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser, while’s Courtney Cronin adds Chris Beatty is coming in as wide receivers coach. Most recently with the Chargers, Beatty coached D.J. Moore at Maryland. A former NFL return man, Morton is following OC Shane Waldron from Seattle. Morton was the Seahawks’ RBs coach from 2017-23. Chicago also hired Jason Houghtaling as assistant O-line coach,’s Tom Pelissero adds; Houghtaling was Tennessee’s O-line coach in 2023.

Patriots, Saints Interviewed Shane Waldron; Bears OC Moving To Assemble Staff

The Bears decided on Shane Waldron as their offensive coordinator Monday and announced the hire today. Chicago’s move came after Waldron generated extensive interest elsewhere.

Three other teams pursued Waldron or were planning to do so. The Saints and Patriots met with the three-year Seahawks OC prior to his Bears commitment, according to’s Nick Underhill and’s Albert Breer. Additionally, Waldron appeared on the Raiders‘ OC radar, per Breer. The Saints requested a Waldron interview last week, and he took the meeting.

[RELATED: Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

While it is not known how serious of a candidate Waldron was with New England or New Orleans, Chicago landing him is interesting. The Bears are giving the former Seahawks play-caller an immediate second chance, and they will do so amid an uncertain point on their timeline. Waldron would appear set to mentor either Justin Fields or Caleb Williams, with the Bears having the chance to either make a No. 1 overall pick for the first time since 1947 or trade it for a second straight year. Taking a job under these circumstances is interesting, and it is worth wondering what intel was shared in Bears OC meetings.

Regardless, Waldron is replacing Luke Getsy as Chicago’s play-caller. He will do so for a coach who will enter the season on a hot seat. Matt Eberflus staved off a firing, but Waldron is joining a Bears team that had been linked to considering a change after two seasons. The Saints bring a similar setup, with Dennis Allen staying in place despite two sub-.500 seasons. The Patriots join the Saints in continuing to look for a play-caller; Bill O’Brien left to become Ohio State’s OC.

The Patriots and Saints have each met with Rams QBs coach Zac Robinson and Bengals QBs coach Dan Pitcher. Both are on the Raiders’ radar as well. After the Seahawks managed to stay afloat despite trading the best quarterback in franchise history (Russell Wilson), teams were naturally interested in meeting a meeting with Waldron, who is yet another former Sean McVay assistant to move up the ladder.

Waldron is moving to fill some positions on the Bears’ offensive staff. He is arranging interviews with Chad Morton, Sanjay Lal and Kerry Joseph for Bears posts, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes. Morton has been with the Seahawks since 2014, most recently serving as the team’s run-game coordinator. Lal has already enjoyed two stints with the Seahawks in the 2020s, the most recent — 2022-23 — as wide receivers coach. Joseph has been Seattle’s assistant QBs coach throughout Waldron’s tenure. Looking for a new head coach for the first time since 2010, the Seahawks did not block Waldron from lateral moves and are letting their assistants explore jobs elsewhere.

Staff Notes: Pats, Fins, Bolts, Hawks, 49ers

The Alabama Crimson Tide are searching for an offensive coordinator in the wake of Steve Sarkisian‘s departure and will likely interview Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll for the role, reports Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Daboll previously served under Alabama head coach Nick Saban at Michigan State, as Ryan Hannable of notes, and worked as an NFL offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Miami and Kansas City from 2009-12.

More coaching news from around the league:

  • Former defensive end Andre Carter is joining the Dolphins’ staff as an assistant D-line coach, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Carter, 37, played in the league from 2001-13 and piled up 80.5 sacks.
  • The Chargers have hired ex-Atlanta defensive coordinator Richard Smith to coach their linebackers, per a team announcement. Smith, who was atop ATL’s defense the past two years, became a coaching free agent when the team fired him last week. The 61-year-old has been working with pro linebackers since 1988, when he was with the now-defunct Houston Oilers, and has since coached LBs in Denver, San Francisco, Detroit and Carolina.
  • Sherman Smith is out as the Seahawks’ running backs coach, a position he had held since 2009, according to Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. The Seahawks are promoting assistant RBs/assistant special teams coach Chad Morton to Sherman’s former spot (Twitter links).
  • The 49ers have landed ex-Buccaneers tight ends coach Jon Embree as an assistant head coach/TEs coach, writes Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle. His son, Taylor Embree, is coming aboard as a quality control coach. The younger Embree spent last season as a defensive assistant in Kansas City.
  • Elsewhere on the 49ers’ staff, the team has interviewed Falcons assistant special teams coach Eric Sutulovich to become its special teams coordinator, per Marvez (Twitter link). Caplan reported last week that the Niners were likely to meet with Sutulovich.
  • The Redskins have hired Cannon Matthews as a defensive quality control coach, relays JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. Matthews served as the assistant defensive backs coach last year with the Browns, who parted with him in January.

Packers Won’t Bring Back Morton

The Packers will not bring back assistant special teams coach Chad Morton next season, according to Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette (Via Twitter). The decision is not surprising considering the Packers’ abysmal special teams performance this past season, as they ranked last in the NFL in opponents’ average starting field position following kickoffs (25.6-yard line) and were 30th in kickoff return average (20.3 yards). Their kickoff and punt coverage units were both ranked 29th in the NFL.

Morton, who played in the NFL for seven years, has been coaching in this role for the Packers since 2010.