David Shaw

DeMeco Ryans Advancing In Broncos’ Search; Sean Payton Souring On Team’s Ownership?

7:35pm: Payton has provided information straight from the source, disputing that there is any truth to Maske’s report of his fears of a power struggle in Denver with a tweet this evening. Payton denies that any issue exists with Broncos’ ownership stating that they were fantastic and that they “had a great visit.”

Ryans is still gaining traction and Caldwell and Shaw are also strong contenders, while Quinn has stated his desire to remain in Dallas, but if Payton is to be taken at his word, he should still be considered one of the favorites for this position.

3:01pm: Vowing to be “ultra aggressive” in its first coaching search, the Broncos’ new ownership came into this process with a goal of adding an experienced head coach. Recent developments may be leading the team in a different direction.

DeMeco Ryans has emerged as a frontrunner in this race, Mike Klis of 9News reports. The second-year 49ers defensive coordinator met with the Broncos and Texans late last week, nixing interviews with the Cardinals and Colts, and has been steadily rising in this race. While the Broncos are still considering Sean Payton, Jim Caldwell and Dan Quinn, Ryans’ rise is obviously notable considering his accomplishments with the 49ers this season.

But the team has cooled on Payton, Denver7’s Troy Renck adds (via Twitter). Payton also looks to have lost some interest in this job. A sense of what might have changed emerged Thursday. Recently, the former Saints HC was believed to be high on the Broncos’ new ownership group. Now, it might be a negative for the FOX analyst. Payton fears a potential power struggle with one member of the contingent, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets. Payton would want to work with Russell Wilson, who reached out to him recently, and is believed to be high on Denver’s defensive pieces. But an issue with ownership may well nix this potential partnership.

Rob Walton, CEO Greg Penner and co-owner Condoleezza Rice have been the ownership group’s key members during this search, joining GM George Paton. The latter is the only experienced football staffer involved here, given the ownership contingent arriving last summer, but Penner is set to make the final call on the team’s second HC hire in two years. It does not seem Rice, who joined the group after the Walton family, is Payton’s concern. The veteran HC has “loved” his interactions with the former Secretary of State, Maske adds (on Twitter).

The Broncos have not gone through second interviews yet, separating their search from this year’s other four. The Panthers just made their hire — Frank Reich — after interviewing he and Steve Wilks twice. If the Broncos want to hold a second interview with Ryans, they must wait until Jan. 30 because of the 49ers’ advancement to the NFC championship game.

David Shaw was believed to be a sleeper candidate for this position, but Klis omitted the longtime Stanford HC from the team’s mix Thursday. Shaw stepped down from his Cardinal post after three losing seasons in the past four years. Penner and Rice’s Stanford ties were thought to represent key connective tissue to Shaw, but Denver going with an NFL-seasoned coach makes sense given the recent failures of college hires.

Ryans, 38, has helmed the NFL’s top-ranked defense this season and has been viewed as likely to land one of this year’s jobs for a bit now. All five HC-needy teams reached out to the former linebacker. The Texans remain in the mix for their former defender, per Klis, but they certainly look to have competition from the Broncos.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Broncos, Interim HC Jerry Rosburg Part Ways?

Broncos interim head coach Jerry Rosburg recently threw his hat in the ring for the team’s full-time job, but the veteran coach won’t be sticking around Denver in any capacity. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), Rosburg has been let go by the Broncos and won’t be a part of the next coaching staff. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport seems to confirm (on Twitter) that Rosburg won’t be the team’s next coach, but he notes that today’s news is merely procedural and the veteran coach could be back in Denver next season.

[RELATED: Jerry Rosburg Interested In Remaining HC]

Rosburg was coaxed out of retirement last offseason to assist new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett with in-game management. Hackett, of course, didn’t last the season, and after defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero declined to take on the interim HC mantle, the Broncos turned to Rosburg. In his new role, the veteran coach immediately shook up the coaching staff, firing special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry.

The team responded to the changes. After losing in blowout fashion to the Rams on Christmas, the Broncos took the Chiefs down to the wire before defeating the Chargers’ starters in the season finale. We heard that team executives were pleased with the interim head coach’s performance and let him state his case to remove the interim tag following the season.

Instead, the team will turn elsewhere for their next head coach. Earlier today, Troy Renck of Denver7.com wrote that 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and former Stanford head coach David Shaw were “gaining momentum” for the head coaching job. We also heard yesterday that Sean Payton’s candidacy was losing steam in Denver, removing another candidate from the list (alongside Rosburg and Jim Harbaugh, who pulled out of the race after deciding to stick with Michigan). Evero ended up interviewing for the job a few weeks ago, and the organization later blocked the Falcons’ request to interview him for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

As for Rosburg, there’s a good chance the 67-year-old coach heads back to retirement. Rosburg has been coaching since the 1970s, and he got his first NFL gig when he was hired as the Browns special teams coordinator in 2001. He’d end up spending 18 years in the NFL prior to his first retirement, including a decade-long stint as the Ravens ST coordinator.

Latest On Sean Payton

JANUARY 22: A league source tells Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that, since the Chargers’ head coaching job will not become available this year, the Panthers’ and Texans’ posts will be of most interest to Payton. In Volin’s opinion, the fact that Wilson called Payton to sell him on the Broncos’ job is not a good omen for Denver, and if Payton were to be lured to Houston, he may ultimately push general manager Nick Caserio out and take over as de facto GM. Both Houston and Carolina have the cash to pay Payton the salary he wants.

JANUARY 20: Payton’s Panthers interview has not been cancelled. He will meet with the team Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. That will be the former Saints HC’s third interview in a week. He met with the Texans on Jan. 16 and Broncos on Jan. 17.

JANUARY 19: The Broncos search for their fifth head coach since 2014 has been rolling this week as the franchise moves quickly and effectively in their plans. Denver’s three-person team of Broncos CEO and owner Greg Penner, owner Condoleezza Rice, and general manager George Paton has been cruising through initial interviews with a potential plan to move one to three finalists forward for second interviews next week, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS.

Most speculation is that a final three is emerging, similar to last year’s trio of finalists which consisted of Nathaniel Hackett, Kevin O’Connell, and Dan Quinn. The obvious frontrunner in his year’s search is former Saints head coach Sean Payton. Quinn is projected to join Payton as a finalist for the second straight year, while former Stanford head coach David Shaw is reportedly a sleeper candidate to round out the top three.

Payton interviewed on Tuesday and appears to have lived up to the hype in the meeting. Contradicting earlier reports that the Broncos and Saints were “on the same page” with respect to the trade compensation necessary to acquire Payton’s contract, Klis avers that the two parties “have not engaged in trade talks.” There is also a rumor that, despite interest from essentially every other team in the NFL with an open position, Payton will either end up with the Broncos or back on television with FOX, a belief reported by Denver7’s Troy Renck.

Payton was scheduled to interview with Carolina tomorrow, but those plans are “on hold” as Panthers owner David Tepper is spending time with the grieving players of his MLS team, Charlotte FC, following the passing of young defender Anton Walkes in a tragic boating accident today in Miami, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Russell Wilson has reportedly reached out to Payton, according to Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd who was quoted on his show saying, “Wilson has contacted Sean, legally, by the way, through channels. He wants Sean Payton. He needs fixing. He knows he needs fixing.”

Following their Tuesday morning meeting with Payton, the interview trio met with Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris who impressed them “with his preparation and plan to win.” The same three executives interviewed 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans today in San Francisco and will travel to Dallas for a meeting with Quinn tomorrow. This will conclude the initial interview process, and Denver will choose candidates moving forward out of the above-mentioned Payton, Quinn, Shaw, Morris, and Ryans and previously interviewed candidates Ejiro Evero, who is the team’s current defensive coordinator, and Jim Caldwell, who formerly served as the Colts and Lions head coach. The team also previously interviewed Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, but Harbaugh announced his decision to remain in Ann Arbor.

Whomever the franchise decides to move forward with will meet with a new group of executives consisting of Penner, his wife and co-owner Carrie Penner Walton, and controlling owner Rob Walton. Paton will reportedly also be available to spend time with the final candidates and participate in follow-up discussions.

It’s certainly sounding like Payton will be one of the few to move forward next week as both parties sound hellbent on the union. That being said, Quinn is being considered a “co-favorite” and Shaw’s Stanford connections to the Penners and Rice make him a candidate to be brought in next week, as well. We’ll just have to wait through the weekend to see how the next round in the process unfolds.

Stanford Head Coach David Shaw Won’t Pursue NFL Job

David Shaw has been connected to NFL head coaching vacancies for years. He’ll likely continue to draw interest from pro teams, but Shaw tells Mike Tirico of NBC Sports that he’s staying on campus. 

Stanford’s not a place you just go through, do a good job and jump out of here,” Shaw said (via PFT). “That’s not the way I see this job…I love being at Stanford because I get the brightest guys, I get the most competitive guys on and off the field. I still tell people I write more recommendations than any football coach in America for graduate school, for job opportunities. I’ve helped guys get to the point where they’re starting their own companies. That doesn’t happen on any other campus other than ours, so I love the energy. I love the passion. Not to mention we’re coming off a pretty darn good decade and ready to start the next decade on a high note also.”

Shaw, 48 in July, spent several years as an NFL assistant with the Eagles, Raiders, and Ravens before going back to school in 2006 with the University of San Diego. In 2007, he joined the Stanford staff and he was promoted to head coach in 2011. That’s where he’s been ever since, despite repeated head coaching inquiries from NFL clubs.

At Stanford, Shaw has enjoyed an 86-34 record, including a 58-22 mark in conference play. The National Championship has eluded him and his program is coming off of a 4-8 season – his worst showing ever – but Shaw says he’s staying put.

The Redskins were the most recent club to try and pull Shaw back to the NFL, expressing interest in him late last year before hiring Ron Rivera.

Redskins Interested In David Shaw As HC

The Redskins are interested in Stanford head coach David Shaw for their own HC job, and Washington is expected to pursue Shaw this offseason, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. Of course, Shaw has rebuffed advances from NFL clubs in the past, and if he is going to jump to the professional ranks, it seems unlikely that the Redskins would be his top choice.

Still, owner Dan Snyder is expected to aim high, and he has had success in bringing high-profile candidates to the Redskins’ sidelines in the past. As La Canfora notes, head coaching candidates are wary of Washington head of football operations Bruce Allen‘s role within the organization, so if Snyder relieves Allen of his duties — which sounds like a real possibility — perhaps the Redskins could attract a coach with an impressive resume.

La Canfora reported back in October that Snyder would try to trade for Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, and he says that remains Snyder’s preference. But given that Tomlin is in the midst of perhaps his finest work with Pittsburgh, that seems like even more of a pipe dream than it did when that rumor first surfaced.

Shaw, 47, served as an NFL coach from 1997-2005 before heading to the college game. He has been Stanford’s head coach since 2011, compiling an 86-34 record during that time (including a 5-3 mark in bowl games).

Extra Points: Coaches, Bears, Bell, Tomlin

About halfway through the 2019 NFL season, one head coach has already been fired (Jay Gruden), and several more are on the hot seat. With that in mind people’s attentions are starting to turn to the next crop of head coaches, and it should be a pretty busy carousel this offseason. The league has begun their annual process of internally identifying top head coach and general manager candidates, and a committee will meet again in Week 11 to come up with a list, sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Canfora notes that Stanford coach David Shaw has been “receiving ringing endorsements and has very strong support within the league,” although he has rebuffed NFL advances in the past.

La Canfora also highlights several current NFL assistant coaches who have already talked about heavily. Interestingly, he identifies some potential new general manager candidates who we haven’t heard as much about. La Canfora writes that there is “heavy support” for fired Giants GM Jerry Reese to receive another job. “Former Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie and former Lions GM Martin Mayhew are also generating support from the committee,” La Canfora writes. He also throws out ESPN analyst Louis Riddick as someone who is highly regarded, and we’ve heard those same rumblings before.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Miles Sanders has played a big role for the Eagles this season, and he racked up 73 yards in their win over the Bears on Sunday. Apparently, as the rookie revealed to the media earlier this week, he almost ended up in Chicago. “I thought I was going to end up there,” Sanders said of the Bears, who didn’t have a pick in April’s draft until the third round, via Zach Berman of The Athletic. “They knew I was probably going to be gone before the third round, but they were also talking about trading up to get me,” he said. The Penn State product was the second running back taken in the draft, and the Bears ended up nabbing David Montgomery in the third round. Sanders has been a part of a timeshare backfield with Jordan Howard so far.
  • Jets running back Le’Veon Bell surprised everybody by saying the Steelers called about trading for him at the deadline, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed they did. Not so fast says Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, who replied “not to my knowledge, no,” when asked if the Steelers tried to acquire Bell, per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s possible the truth lies somewhere in between, and the most likely scenario is that the Steelers made an exploratory phone call but never got at all serious about it. Bell coming back to the city he started his career in would’ve at least made a dull trade deadline a lot more interesting.
  • In case you missed it, the Seahawks apparently thought about adding Antonio Brown before claiming Josh Gordon off waivers.

Extra Points: Sherman, Bortles, Lincoln Riley, Ravens

It won’t be this year or the next, but at some point before he calls it quits on a likely Hall of Fame career, cornerback Richard Sherman is likely to make the move to safety, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch writes.

The four-time First Team All-Pro selection is open to it at least, saying:

“It’s definitely something that I’ve looked at,” Sherman said. “And something that I’ve talked with (Charles Woodson) about.”

In the first of a three-year deal with the 49ers, Sherman still rates as an above average cornerback according to Pro Football Focus. Now in his 30s, however, the star defender is already looking to make a similar move that prolonged the careers of Charles Woodson, Rod Woodson and Aeneas Williams. Despite the move, don’t expect him to play into his late 30s.

“I think 35 is probably my cutoff,” Sherman said. “I don’t think I want to play … they’d have a hard time getting me out of bed at 35 to go play. I think I’ve got four or five more (years) in me.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • After his benching, Blake Bortles is unlikely to be back with the Jaguars next season, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes. With $6.5MM of Bortles’ $16.5MM contract next season guaranteed, the Jaguars can hope that some team signs him for $6.5MM — unlikely — or package him in a trade with a team that would be considering signing him, a la Brock Osweiler. The Jaguars will still have a cap charge of $10MM, but the team can push $5MM of that into 2020.
  • The Ravens did not activate cornerback Jaylen Hill from the PUP list, officially ending his season. Recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, Hill was unlikely to take the field after recently suffering a setback.
  • With the college game becoming more intertwined with the professional ranks, Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports listed 10 college coaches who could make the jump to the NFL. To no one’s surprise, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley was at the top of the heap thanks to his high-powered offense that produced a Heisman Trophy winner in Baker Mayfield, and potentially another in Kyler Murray. Other notable names on the list include Stanford’s David Shaw, former 49ers coach and current Michigan man Jim Harbaugh and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.

NFC Notes: Giants, Bradham, Gholston

The Giants coaching questions are now back in full force after the team lost to Washington on Thanksgiving night. There was some reprieve from the consistent rumors after Giants head coach Ben McAdoo beat the Chiefs two weeks ago, but now there is speculation about where the front office may turn if they chose to replace McAdoo at the end of this season.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY speculated a number potential candidates to replace McAdoo if the team were to move on from the second-year head coach. Vacchiano had a number of former head coaches on his list, which included Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith. He also included big college names that seem a little more like long shots in Stanford head coach David Shaw and Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Up and coming coordinators Teryl Austin and Frank Reich rounded out his list.

New York is a pretty big draw that could get a few more well known coaches to at least consider the position. Plus, the team will have a top pick, solid defense and a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. to build around. More coaching rumors will be popping up as the seasons moves along, but it’s interesting to see what names may be on the radar, even though there’s been no indication that the front office will assuredly to fire McAdoo.

  • The Giants have dealt with a number of injuries this season. The team has likely lost two more players for the season in cornerback Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) and linebacker Curtis Grant (knee), reports Dan Duggan of NJ Advanced Media. New York has placed seven defenders on IR so far this season, so losing two more depth pieces doesn’t bode well for how competitive the Giants can be in the final six weeks of the regular season.
  • The Eagles are the best team in the NFL right now, and are in the process of deciding which of their building blocks to lock up for the long haul. The team already agreed to a contract extension with Timmy Jernigan earlier in the month and now may be turning their attention to linebacker Nigel Bradham, opines Jeff McLane of The Inquirer. A former fourth round pick back in 2012, the 28-year-old leads the team in tackles with 56 and ranks as the 33rd best linebacker in football, according to Pro Football Focus. The Eagles have 13 players heading for unrestricted free agency after the season, so they’ll definitely have to make some tough decisions regarding who they want to build around and who they’re willing to let go.
  • The Buccaneers will likely welcome back William Gholston this Sunday after the defensive end missed the team’s previous two games with a neck injury, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. While the absence seems short when compared to some other more serious injuries, Gholston is thankful that the ailment wasn’t more severe. “The neck is a little worrisome, because you have to think about everything else, think about family and all that,” Gholston said. “They definitely took all of the correct steps. … I’m not glad it happened, but I’m glad they took the right steps for me to get back.” Tampa Bay will try to extend their win streak to three games when travel to Atlanta for a Sunday afternoon matchup.

Rams Focusing On Jon Gruden

Former NFL head coach and current ESPN commentator Jon Gruden has become the “focal point” of the Rams’ head coaching search, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, and the two sides are progressing towards a meeting. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported yesterday that Gruden would “entertain” the idea of taking the reins in Los Angeles.Jon Gruden (Vertical)

[RELATED: Top Rams Head Coaching Candidates]

While Gruden may be open to the Rams’ position, his interest in the franchise wouldn’t stop at coaching — he’d also require full control of personnel, according to Robinson, and won’t even consider a meeting with the club unless he’s granted that power. Los Angeles is open to offering roster management to certain head coaching candidates (Gruden among them), which jibes with recent reports about incumbent general manager Les Snead‘s status. Snead’s fate is seemingly in the balance at the moment, as ownership could be willing to allow a new coach to hire his own executive.

Meanwhile, Gruden would check off several requirements for owner Stan Kroenke, including the fact that the club is searching for an offensive-minded head coach. Second, as Robinson writes, the Rams are intent on selling hundreds of millions in personal seat licences before their new stadium in Inglewood opens, and hiring a coach with the panache of Gruden could help in those business pitches.

For Gruden, the allure of Los Angeles is compounded by the presence of quarterback Jared Goff, whom Gruden has lauded in the past. “He does believe in him – that’s not just for TV,” a source close to Gruden told Robinson. “He thinks [Goff] has the stuff to be a franchise quarterback. I don’t know if Jon would have traded the farm to get him, but he sees him as a guy that was worthy of building a team around him. He sees leadership and star power there.”

If Gruden can’t be had, Stanford head coach David Shaw and Saints head coach Sean Payton could be among the contenders for the Rams’ job, per Robinson. While Payton recently signed an extension that’s set to keep him in New Orleans through 2020, a report yesterday indicated that the organization could be willing to part with him in exchange for draft picks. Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that the Los Angeles job could attract candidates — such as Payton — who are already under contract with other clubs.