Dan Orlovsky

Panthers Add DeAngelo Hall, Todd Wash, Others To Staff

Many have praised the recent makeover of the Panthers’ coaching staff including the main additions of head coach Frank Reich, defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. Having those three major positions filled, Carolina has been able to explore filling other, less major position coaching roles.

Firstly, following the suggestions of general manager Scott Fitterer and owner David Tepper, Reich made the decision to retain offensive line coach James Campen, assistant offensive line coach Robert Kugler, and special teams coach Chris Tabor from last year’s staff, according to Panthers staff writer Darin Gantt. The Panthers made massive strides in offensive line play last season thanks not only to the additions of rookie tackle Ikem Ekwonu, guard Austin Corbett, and center Bradley Bozeman but to the influence of Campen and Kugler, as well. Similarly, Carolina’s special teams unit excelled during Tabor’s first year in the position.

The team also made a key addition to the offensive staff, bringing in former Cardinals associate head coach and wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson to fill their new wide receivers coach role, according to Gantt. Jefferson adds to the growing group of Panthers coaches with past experience playing in the NFL, having spent 13 seasons as a wide receiver in the league. After bouncing around five other franchises as an assistant coach, Jefferson has become well-respected in coaching circles. Along with other teams, the Jets reportedly had interest in bringing him back to their staff after his stint in New York from 2019-2020, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers have brought in an exciting trio of position coaches. Gantt reports that the assistant coach leading Carolina’s defensive line next season will be former Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Wash was leading the Jacksonville defense back when they last advanced to the AFC championship game on the backs of a defense that earned the nickname “Sacksonville.” He’s a distinguished veteran who has been coaching in Detroit the past two seasons.

Joining Wash in rushing the quarterback will be new outside linebackers coach Tem Lukabu, according to Gantt. Lukabu has previously coached linebackers at the NFL-level in Cincinnati but has spent the past three years as the defensive coordinator at Boston College.

If Lukabu needs any tips on coaching his position, he will have the benefit of assistance from the team’s new safeties coach, Bert Watts, who did an admirable job coaching an injured outside linebackers group in Denver last year. Watts is a valuable addition from Ejiro’s staff last season as many in coaching circles view him as a future defensive coordinator, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Additionally, Gantt reports that the Panthers have agreed to terms with former NFL cornerback DeAngelo Hall to become their new assistant defensive backs coach and former Cardinals assistant special teams coach Devin Fitzsimmons to serve in the same position in Carolina. ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that, despite his insistence on remaining at ESPN, the Panthers joined the Colts in pursuing former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky for “prominent offensive coaching roles.”

Despite missing out on Orlovsky, the Panthers are building a strong, experienced staff. Not only are they rich in years of coaching experience, but most of their new staff holds experience playing in the NFL, as well.

Dan Orlovsky Getting Coaching Interest

Plenty of former NFL coaches end up at ESPN as analysts, but now that formula could be working in reverse. ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky has received calls from teams to “gauge his interest in leaving the network for an offensive coaching job,” sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

According to Schefter, Orlovsky also had interest from the Packers last year about joining their staff. Orlovsky told Schefter that it “would have to be a perfect mix of circumstances” to get him to leave his in-studio gig. A journeyman quarterback in the league for a little over a decade, Orlovsky retired in 2017. He quickly pivoted to becoming an analyst, and joined ESPN last year. While there, he’s received a lot of praise for his work breaking down quarterback play.

A Connecticut product, he was drafted by the Lions in the fifth-round back in 2005. He started seven games for Detroit in 2008 and five for the Colts in 2011, the only starts of his career. He also spent time with the Texans, Buccaneers, and Rams as a backup. Only 36, he’s got plenty of time to make the jump if he wants.

Dan Orlovsky To Retire

Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky has announced his retirement in a piece for Sports Spectrum.Dan Orlovsky

Orlovsky, 34, entered the league as a fifth-round pick out of UConn in 2005. He participated in two separate stints with the Lions — the club that drafted him — and is perhaps best-known for his seven-game run as a starter for Detroit in 2008. After one season with the Texans, Orlovsky started five games for the Colts in 2011 before landing with the Buccaneers from 2012-13 and re-joining the Lions in 2015.

Orlovsky inked a deal with the Rams this summer, but he was released after losing out to Sean Mannion in the Los Angeles backup quarterback battle. The Rams ultimately brought in a third quarterback — former Jaguars draft pick Brandon Allen — off waivers just days after cutting Orlovsky.

PFR extends its best wishes to Orlovsky in retirement.

Rams Make Cuts, Reach 53-Man Max

The Rams added a player via trade on Saturday, but their real focus was on mass cuts to get down to the 53-man max. Here’s a rundown of their moves.


  • DT Omarius Bryant
  • WR K.D. Cannon
  • OL Parker Collins
  • K Travis Coons
  • CB Carlos Davis
  • LB Kevin Davis (waived/injured)
  • OL Michael Dunn
  • OL Jake Eldrenkamp
  • LB Josh Forrest (waived/injured)
  • DB Tyquwan Glass
  • RB Aaron Green
  • DB Isaiah Johnson
  • DB Michael Jordan
  • OL Alex Kozan
  • OLB Willie Mays
  • LB Cassanova Mckinzy
  • WR Paul McRoberts
  • OLB Andy Mulumba
  • OL Pace Murphy
  • LB Folarin Orimolade
  • DB Aarion Penton
  • NT Mike Purcell
  • FB Sam Rogers
  • WR Shakeir Ryan
  • DT Casey Sayles
  • WR Brandon Shippen
  • WR Nelson Spruce (waived/injured)
  • OLB Carlos Thompson
  • RB Lenard Tillery (waived/injured)
  • OLB Orlovsky was signed in July, but he was facing long odds since the Rams already had Jared Goff and Sean Mannion as their top two QBs.
  • G Cody Wichmann
  • TE Travis Wilson





Orlovsky was signed in July, but he was facing long odds since the Rams already had Jared Goff and Sean Mannion as their top two QBs. Since being drafted in 2005, the 34-year-old has made just 12 career starts.

Rams To Sign QB Dan Orlovsky

The Rams have agreed to sign Dan Orlovsky, the quarterback tells ESPN producer Jason Romano. He’ll now try to make the final 53-man cut as a backup to youngster Jared Goff.Dan Orlovsky

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As it stands, Sean Mannion is slotted in as the primary understudy to Goff. There has been no indication that the Rams are dissatisfied with the 25-year-old signal caller, so Orlovsky could be looking at a QB3-or-bust situation.

Orlovsky has spent time with the Texans, Colts, and Buccaneers, but he is best known for his two stints with the Lions. Since being drafted in 2005, Orlovsky has made just 12 career starts. He’ll turn 34 next month.

To the surprise of some, Orlovsky has found work in 2017 while quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III remain unemployed. Orlovsky has also signed ahead of fellow ex-Lions QB Shaun Hill.

NFC Rumors: Kaepernick, RG3, Eagles

Three NFL executives tell Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that they see former 49ers signal caller Colin Kaepernick as the best backup quarterback option available. Of course, we have watched many other QBs come off of the board while Kaepernick remains unsigned.

Kaep, [Shaun] Hill, Dan Orlovsky, Robert Griffin III,” said one AFC exec when asked to rank the best remaining options.

A fourth exec surveyed by Fowler opined that Griffin is actually the best QB left on the market. Meanwhile, one official in the group said he wouldn’t sign Griffin “under any circumstances.” It seems like teams agree more with the latter opinion as Griffin has drawn very little interest this offseason.

Here’s a look at the NFC:

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Lions In Talks With Larry Warford, Riley Reiff

The Lions could lose 40 percent of their starting offensive line, right guard Larry Warford and right tackle Riley Reiff, as early as the opening of free agency on March 9. But general manager Bob Quinn indicated Wednesday that the Lions aren’t going to let either walk without first making an attempt to re-sign them.

Larry Warford[RELATED: Top Offensive Free Agents]

“We’ve had discussions both of them,” Quinn told reporters, including Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “We don’t have anything to announce with them, but we’re working toward that, and I’m excited to see what the offensive line looks like next year.”

The 25-year-old Warford is the younger of the pair and should be more expensive to retain, having started in all 57 of his appearances since the Lions chose him in the third round of the 2013 draft. Warford ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 20th-best guard last year, and he could end up with a $9MM-per-annum payday in the coming weeks.

Reiff, meanwhile, has been in Detroit since it nabbed him 23rd overall in the 2012 draft. Aside from a 16-appearance, eight-start rookie year, Reiff has lined up with the Lions’ No. 1 unit dating back to his second season. The 28-year-old has appeared in no fewer than 14 games, all starts, in each season since 2013. He also has experience at both tackle spots, though PFF wasn’t that bullish on his work on the right in 2016, as it placed him a below-average 48th among 78 qualified OTs. Nevertheless, Quinn was impressed with Reiff’s output.

“I think Riley did a good job over at right tackle,” Quinn said. “It’s not an easy transition, after a few years at left, to move over to the right. It’s a different playing style. But I thought he had a solid year. He competed.”

While Warford and Reiff could soon reach free agency, teammate and backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky definitely will, per Quinn. Orlovsky, who has had multiple stints with the Lions during his career, seemed to say goodbye to Detroit on Twitter earlier this month. It’s now official, and Jake Rudock will take over as Matt Stafford’s primary backup.

Dan Orlovsky Done In Detroit?

The Dan Orlovsky era may be over in Detroit, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Orlovsky sent out a fairly cryptic tweet yesterday in which he wrote, “Detroit Vs Everybody. It’ll always be where it started for me. It’ll always have a piece of my heart.”

Dan Orlovsky

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Orlovsky, of course, spent the last three seasons as Matthew Stafford‘s backup, but with his contract set to expire next month, he is considered a long shot to return to the Motor City.

After all, the Lions promoted Jake Rudock, whom they selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, to the active roster in November in an effort to prevent him from signing with the division-rival Bears. Although Rudock was considered too raw to serve as a primary backup in his rookie campaign, he did put together an impressive showing last preseason, and the team envisions him as Stafford’s next backup.

The 33-year-old Orlovsky did not appear in a game last season, and since entering the league as a fifth-round selection in 2005, he has started just 12 games, compiling a miserable 2-10 record in the process (seven of those losses came during the Lions’ infamous 0-16 season in 2008). Like fellow career backup Josh McCown — who has started 60 games in his 14-year career — Orlovsky has expressed a desire to coach in some capacity once his playing days are done. However, when he made those comments towards the end of the 2016 campaign, he indicated that he was not ready to hang up the cleats just yet.

Orlovsky said at that time, “I don’t want to hang them up anytime soon. I’ve been around football since I was 8 so I don’t know if I can get away from it. I don’t want to get away from it. What my wife wants to do will have a say in it as well.”

North Notes: Rudock, Orlovsky, Mallett

Through the first two games of the preseason, Lions rookie quarterback Jake Rudock has outplayed veteran Dan Orlovsky by a wide margin, which has left many wondering who will serve as Matthew Stafford‘s primary backup in 2016. Although Orlovsky entered training camp with a huge lead over the rookie for the backup job, and few expected Rudock to seriously vie for it — indeed, Orlovsky has the game experience that a team looks for in a No. 2 signal-caller, and Rudock did not play very well during Detroit’s offseason program — Rudock’s performance and Orlovsky’s struggles in the preseason may leave head coach Jim Caldwell with a difficult decision. When asked who he expected to win the job, Caldwell said, “the best player, period” (article via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com).

Of course, as Meinke observes, the best player for the short term isn’t always the best player for the long term, so Caldwell’s comments do not add much clarity, and Caldwell would reveal little else about how the Lions would go about choosing between the quarterbacks, other than to say the club is weighing its options. As Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press writes, if the Lions keep all three quarterbacks, you can count on Orlovsky being the No. 2 on gamedays. The real question is who the Lions keep if they carry just one backup, which is usually how New England built its roster when Lions GM Bob Quinn was in the front office there.

Now for a quick swing around the league’s North divisions:

  • In a separate piece, Birkett examines Stevan Ridley‘s roster status, noting that Ridley has surprisingly been relegated to the second half of the Lions‘ first two preseason games. Ridley, the five-year veteran who was expected to challenge Zach Zenner for the “big back” role on offense, played just nine snaps during Detroit’s Thursday night contest. As Birkett notes, however, it is still too early to read too much into preseason playing time, especially since Ridley is easily the most accomplished of the group of backs fighting for a roster spot behind Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. Similarly, Caldwell said the Lions are still figuring out their running back rotation, and preseason performance is only one part of the formula.
  • Although it was believed that the Ravens signed veteran signal-caller Josh Johnson to be little more than a camp arm, with Ryan Mallett firmly entrenched as Joe Flacco‘s backup, Johnson has played very well in Baltimore’s first two preseason contests, and head coach John Harbaugh indicated last night that there is indeed a legitimate battle for the backup job between Johnson and Mallett (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). Mallett has also played reasonably well during the preseason games but has struggled mightily during training camp. Whether Harbaugh’s comments have any truth behind them, or whether they are simply intended to motivate Mallett, remains to be seen.
  • Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press believes that the battle for the Vikings‘ starting strong safety spot will again come down to the wire, just as it has in each of the past two seasons. As Tomasson writes, incumbent Andrew Sendejo got the nod in the Aug. 12 preseason opener at Cincinnati before Michael Griffin started in Thursday’s 18-11 win at Seattle. There are two more games left for the two to fight it out.
  • Earlier today, we learned what Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell had to say about his suspension.

NFC Notes: Saints, Lions, Falcons

With the Friday release of Keenan Lewis, the Saints have now severed ties with all but one cornerback who made their roster two years ago, observes Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate. That corner is Brian Dixon, who has begun his career with 32 straight appearances since the Saints signed him as an undrafted free agent from Northwest Missouri State. Of New Orleans’ current group of corners, P.J. Williams stands to benefit the most from Lewis’ exit, writes Erickson, who adds that the 2015 third-round pick has impressed this summer. Williams missed his rookie season with a torn hamstring, but the Florida State product is now set to start opposite Delvin Breaux.

Elsewhere in the NFC…

  • While the Lions value backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky’s veteran leadership, that might not be enough for the 11th-year man to fend off Jake Rudock for the backup role or – depending on how many signal-callers the team keeps – a roster spot, writes Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Rudock, a sixth-round rookie out of Michigan, has outplayed the 33-year-old Orlovsky through the Lions’ first two preseason matchups. In Detroit’s game Thursday against Cincinnati, Orlovsky tossed his second pick-six of the exhibition season. Overall, in addition to the two interceptions, he has thrown a touchdown while completing 24 of 39 passes for 247 yards. Rudock has hit on 16 of 22 attempts for 162 yards, adding both a score and a pick.
  • Falcons punter Matt Bosher suffered a chest injury in the team’s game against the Browns on Thursday, so Atlanta will work out free agent Brandon Fields, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Fields might only be a temporary solution if he signs, however, as McClure notes that Bosher is likely to be fine. A Dolphin from 2007-14, Fields played two games last season with the Saints and averaged 41.2 yards (35.1 net) on 10 punts.
  • In case you missed it, the NFL released a statement Friday explaining why it only suspended Giants kicker Josh Brown for one game after past domestic violence allegations surfaced.