Dave Canales

NFC Coaching Notes: Seahawks, Vikings, Falcons, Packers, Bears

With the various changes to coaching personnel around the league winding down, teams are beginning to officially unveil their 2022 staffs. The Seahawks recently did so, confirming a number of changes following a disappointing season, but some important retentions as well.

As Bob Condotta of The Athletic tweets, Sanjay Lal is remaining with the team in his current role of wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator. The 52-year-old has worked with that position group on seven different teams dating back to 2009. He spent the 2020 campaign in Seattle, but spent last season in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, Karl Scott, 36, is officially being brought in as the team’s secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator. That move had been expected since last week when it was reported the team was in talks with him.

In addition, Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports (in a pair of tweets) more names on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Dave Canales will remain as the team’s QBs coach, a role he first had in 2018, but he will no longer have the passing game coordinator title. Brad Idzik has been added as an assistant WRs coach; he entered the NFL with Seattle in 2019. Lastly, Nate Carroll has been promoted to senior offensive assistant, after spending 11 years with the Seahawks in various roles.

As for the defensive staff, Aaron Curry is now an assistant defensive line coach; the former Seattle draftee spent the last two seasons on their sideline. He will be joined in that role by Damione Lewis. Another former player on staff is DeShawn Shead, who has been promoted to defensive backs coach. The last to fit that description is Will Tukuafu, who is coming aboard as a defensive quality control coach.

Here are some other coaching notes from the NFC:

  • USA Today’s Mike Jones tweets that it is “sounding like” Wes Phillips and Chris O’Hara will be following newly-hired head coach Kevin O’Connell to Minnesota. The former, who is also the son of Wade Phillips, has been a TEs coach with three different teams, the most recent being the Rams. It was reported earlier this week that O’Connell was expected to give him the role of either OC or passing game coordinator. The latter only spent the 2021 season in L.A., but worked as an offensive assistant in Jacksonville and Washington before that.
  • According to Josh Kendall of The Athletic, the Falcons are parting ways with WRs coach Dave Brock (Twitter link). The 54-year-old has an extensive background in the college ranks, but his only NFL experience was in Atlanta starting in 2017. Chandler Henley, who had been an assistant offensive line coach with them, has left to join the Dolphins.
  • The Packers are supporting new ST coordinator Rich Bisaccia with Byron Storer, reports Matt Schneidman of The Athletic (Twitter link).The 37-year-old has worked with Bisaccia in each of his other three NFL coaching locations, and even knows Aaron Rodgers dating back to their college days.
  • Lastly, the Bears are hiring Brent Salazar as their strength and conditioning coach (Twitter link via Wilson). He has more than a decade of experience in the NFL, having previously worked with three different teams. He also spent the years between 2017 and 2020 as the director of performance for the United States Tennis Association.

Seahawks Promote Austin Davis To QBs Coach

One of Russell Wilson‘s former backups will become his position coach. The Seahawks are promoting Austin Davis to quarterbacks coach, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets.

Davis joined Seattle’s staff last year, spending the 2019 season as an offensive assistant. This will mark a notable rise for the 30-year-old ex-quarterback, who is six months younger than Wilson. Davis had drawn interest from other teams, per Breer, so the Seahawks will elevate him.

The Seahawks will promote their former QBs coach, Dave Canales, to passing-game coordinator, Breer adds. So while Canales will certainly still have significant input, Davis’ influence will grow.

Canales, 38, has been with the Seahawks throughout Pete Carroll‘s tenure, coaching Seattle’s wideouts from 2010-17 and overseeing the QB group for the past two seasons.

Davis was on an NFL roster as recently as last year, when the Titans cut him. He spent over a year with the Seahawks, who signed him in 2017. His most notable NFL work came with the Rams, with whom he started eight games in 2014. But like fellow former backup quarterback Kellen Moore in Dallas, Davis’ star is on the rise as a coach.

Coaching Notes: Cardinals, Lions, Packers

New Cardinals hire Steve Wilks will be bringing in some of new faces to the coaching staff. One of the biggest changes will be at defensive coordinator as he appears to be poised to bring his former Panthers colleague Al Holcomb to lead the defense. This means that former defensive coordinator James Bettcher will be on the way out, according to Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

Jurecki does make sure to note that Bettcher will “land on his feet” with another organization that he’s actively looking for other opportunities around the league. These next few weeks will be a quick change for Bettcher, who was in the final group to be considered for the Cardinals vacant head coaching job.

Here’s more coaching stories to follow:

  • While Wilks will be making multiple changes to the Cardinals coaching staff, that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a complete overhaul. The new first-time head coach is likely to keep some members from Bruce Arians‘ staff on board for next season, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While many new coaches like to make their imprint on the organization through bringing in new coaches onto the team, there’s also something to be said for trying to keep some of the same voices that players have been hearing from throughout the past few years.
  • The Lions will be letting go of their quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan, sources tell Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). As I noted before, it’s not unusual for new head coaches to turnover their staff, but Breer adds that this move is a little surprising because Callahan is well-regarded around the league and will have a number of teams looking to bring him in for 2018. It’s been rumored that he could be a potential candidate for the Titans vacant offensive coordinator gig.
  • Meanwhile, the Seahawks have made a decision on who their next quarterbacks coach will be. The team has officially promoted Dave Canales from wide receivers coach to working with Seattle’s signal callers next year, a source tells Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Canales has been on Pete Carroll‘s staff since 2010 and was previously promoted to the WR coach position back in 2015. Although, this move doesn’t necessarily signal that the Seahawks will move on from former QB coach Carl Smith. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times hears that Smith could be shifted to a different role (Twitter link).
  • The Packers have added a new coach from the college ranks. Mike McCarthy has hired Ryan Downward from Bowling Green to help work on the team’s defensive staff. Downward worked as Bowling Green’s safeties coach for the past two seasons and previously worked for new Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine back when he coached in Cleveland.

Seahawks Notes: T. Jackson, Archer, Bennett

While contract talks between the Seahawks and Russell Wilson seem to be stalled, Seattle is interested in continuing negotiations with another quarterback: backup Tarvaris Jackson. We heard last month that the club was still talking with the 31-year-old Jackson, and today head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link), that the Seahawks want to bring Jackson back.

Here’s more from the Pacific Northwest, with all links going to Condotta’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

  • If Seattle isn’t able to reach an agreement with Jackson, fellow quarterback R.J. Archer, who owns a 90-man roster spot, could see more time, and Carroll praised the play of Archer today. The 27-year-old Archer, who has spent most of his professional career in the CFL, has never appeared in an NFL game.
  • Carroll said that he has no concerns about the status of defensive lineman Michael Bennett. Bennett recently stated that though he wouldn’t mind a salary increase, he isn’t angling for a trade as was previously reported.
  • Receivers coach Kippy Brown is in the process of retiring, and assistant quarterbacks coach Dave Canales will take over his role. Canales has been with the Seahawks since 2013.
  • Several tryout players earned praise from the Seattle staff, including receiver Kasen Williams, and offensive linemen Kona Schwenke and Jesse Davis (Twitter link via Terry Blount of ESPN.com). As both scribes note, any of the aforementioned players could be favorites to land a contract in the coming days.