Don Martindale

NFC East Rumors: Giants, Prescott, Lewis, Garcia

The reported rift between Giants head coach Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has gotten weird. After recent reports of tension between the two coaches and rumors that both the team’s coordinators are in danger of losing their jobs, New York elected to deny, deny, deny. And then deflect, deflect, deflect.

The day of our initial report, a New York Post contribution by Mark Cannizzaro relayed multiple accounts from players and staff pushing back on the idea of a rift. Daboll himself expressed his “respect” for Martindale to the media last week telling them, “I’d say the biggest argument that Wink and I have had is who has the last piece of pizza.”

Daboll is known for running a bit of a closed-door operation intent on eliminating outside distractions, so taking his statements at face value is difficult to do. Especially when the following day, Pat Leonard of New York Daily News provided a description of a press conference in which general manager Joe Schoen and Daboll failed in their attempts to play it cool.

For the second straight day, Daboll made a joke about him and Martindale being avid eaters, saying, “I just met with Wink a little while ago. We had donuts.” This was followed by Schoen repeatedly deflecting questions about Martindale’s future with the team to Daboll, claiming that Daboll had already discussed these things with the media, which he hadn’t.

It seems like opinion for now, but those in the room seem to firmly believe in the supposed rift between Daboll and Martindale. The Giants’ attempts to get the media looking in the opposite direction don’t seem to be effective.

Here are a few other rumors from the NFC East:

  • Our own Adam La Rose recently provided a strong breakdown of the potential extension situation for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. In it, La Rose relayed the team’s plan to wait until the offseason to solidify a new deal for their two-time Pro Bowler. Well, today, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided a bit more detail on the situation, cluing us in to a potential deadline for an extended contract. Rapoport speculates that, since Prescott is due a $5MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the new league year, if an extension is going to happen, it’s going to be before then. The 2024 League Year is set to start on March 13, giving the team until March 17 to get a deal done.
  • A few weeks into the season last year, we saw Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis undergo season-ending surgery for a Lisfranc injury. At the time, we questioned what the injury meant for Lewis’s future as he was set to enter a contract year and an injury plus the breakout of then fifth-round rookie DaRon Bland could threaten his job security. Apparently, we should have been worried about his future for a different reason as Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News told us recently that Lewis’s injury had the potential to threaten his football career. The team’s director of rehabilitation, Britt Brown, told Gehlken that “a lot of guys…wouldn’t have come back from that.” Brown continued, “When that initially happened, his career was immediately in jeopardy.” Lewis, though, fought to return and has played in every game past Week 1 for the Cowboys this year, displaying impressive resiliency in the face of dour odds.
  • The Commanders had to turn to some new leaders on the defensive side of the ball this week after firing Jack Del Rio a little over a week ago. Cristian Garcia, who was recently tabbed as the team’s interim defensive backs coach, is reportedly whom head coach Ron Rivera will rely on, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 29-year-old assistant coach was asked this week to “handle a larger role in game planning and on gameday.” While it’s surely an exciting challenge for Garcia, facing the Dolphins in his first week with increased responsibilities was certainly a daunting task.

Tension Mounting Between Giants HC Brian Daboll, DC Don Martindale?

The 2023 season has proven to be a disaster for the Giants, with the team’s on-field performance falling well short of expectations in the wake of last year’s run to the divisional round of the playoffs. As a result, frustrations appear to growing in the coaching ranks.

Tension between head coach Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale is palpable, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports notes (video link). A disconnect between the two staffers was first mentioned by Dan Duggan of The Athletic earlier this month, noting a heated exchange which took place either side of halftime during the team’s blowout loss to the Cowboys in Week 10 (subscription required). While New York followed up that loss with an upset over the Commanders, things have not gone according to plan for the organization this year.

A sticking point in this situation seems to have been the public criticism levied at the coaching staff by safety Xavier McKinney earlier in the season. Martindale publicly responded to the comments, noting it was unprecedented to receive complaints related to communication with players in his lengthy coaching career. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan confirms the McKinney incident represents a potential flashpoint in the Daboll-Martindale relationship, which at this point in a trying season is “festering.”

The pair had no previous working relationship when they joined the Giants’ staff last year. Daboll came to New York with considerable acclaim from his time as the Bills’ offensive coordinator, while Martindale boasted a general track record of success during a four-year run coordinating the Ravens’ defense. Their first season together resulted in an unexpected postseason appearance and a road victory in the wild-card round, but the team has struggled across the board this year. The Giants rank no better than 27th in DVOA for offense, defense and special teams.

As a result, Martindale’s name (along with that of second-year offensive coordinator Mike Kafka) has come up with respect to coaches who could be fired in the offseason. Strife with Daboll could obviously affect the chances of that taking place, but a strong finish to the campaign would also bolster Martindale’s case for remaining in place for at least one more year. Duggan notes that “the writing is on the wall” for special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, so at least some changes on the sidelines should be expected relatively soon.

As Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News adds, the Glazer report is only “scratching the surface” of the current state of affairs between Daboll and Martindale. A winning run to close out the campaign would no doubt smooth things over to a degree, but the Giants’ staffing plans will remain a key storyline to watch over the coming weeks and months.

Giants OC Mike Kafka, DC Don Martindale In Danger Of Being Fired

The 2-8 Giants are at the heart of plenty of speculation with respect to job security. Head coach Brian Daboll, general manager Joe Schoen and quarterback Daniel Jones have all been the subject of recent reporting on the topic of significant changes being made in the offseason.

As things currently stand, each member of that trio appears to be safe, although plenty remains to be seen in the second half of the campaign. Given the team’s struggles throughout the season, however, it would come as no surprise if changes of some kind were made. On that point, Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda reports offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and defensive coordinator Don Martindale are among the staffers expected to be let go at the end of the year.

Both coordinators have been in place since 2022, the start of the Daboll-Schoen regime. Kafka, 36, joined New York after five seasons in Kansas City. That span included a four-year stretch as QB coach, and his role in Patrick Mahomes‘ success made him a highly talked-about member of the coaching ranks. Kafka’s unit put up middling overall numbers in terms of scoring and total offense last year, but success on the ground helped lead the Giants on an unexpected run to the divisional round.

That success earned Kafka signficant head coaching interest during the 2023 season, but things have not gone according to plan this year. Struggling with a plethora of injuries – including to Jones and, at times, running back Saquon Barkley, among many others – the Giants sit at the bottom of the NFL in both points (11.8) and yards (288) per game. Few signs pointing to a late-season improvement have been shown, so it will be interesting to see how Daboll (assuming he survives off the back of last year’s success) handles the side of the ball he has experience in.

Martindale, in contrast to Kafka, has a long track record at the pro level, including two different stints as a DC prior to his Giants appointment. The 60-year-old saw his 10-year tenure with the Ravens come to an end when Baltimore elected to move on following his poorest showing as a coordinator there. In each of the three seasons prior to his unit’s mediocre 2021 performance, Martindale had guided the Ravens to a top-three finish in scoring defense.

Like with the Giants’ offense, however, the team has taken a step back on Martindale’s side of the ball. New York currently sits 29th in points allowed per game (26.6), with the run and pass defense having regressed compared to last season. Martindale recently went public with his response to safety Xavier McKinney‘s criticism of the coaching staff and a perceived lack of communication with the team’s captains, a matter which appears to have since been resolved.

Pauline cites Giants sources who believe Kafka in particular is likely to be on the way out soon. It will be interesting to see how he handles the continued run of undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito under center with pressure appearing to build on his job security. Martindale’s performance, likewise, will be worth watching closely as the Giants evaluate their shortcomings in a lost season.

Giants, Xavier McKinney Table Extension Talks To 2024; Don Martindale Addresses Safety’s Complaint

After hanging onto Xavier McKinney at the trade deadline, the Giants do not have plans to discuss an extension this season. Although Joe Schoen talked terms with Saquon Barkley and Julian Love midway through last season, McKinney will play out his rookie contract.

The fourth-year safety and the Giants mutually agreed to table talks until 2024, according to the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. While the notion of McKinney not being a 2023 extension candidate was previously framed as a Giants call, it appears the safety is interested in potentially exploring free agency.

A 2020 second-round pick, McKinney has been a regular starter for much of his New York career. While he played behind Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan early in his run, the Alabama product spent the 2021 and ’22 seasons as a regular. The Giants have bid farewell to a few safeties during Schoen’s run. They released Ryan and let Peppers walk in free agency last year, and after failed talks to re-sign Love, the team let the 2022 safety starter sign with the Seahawks. The team had expected Love to re-sign but had an eye on McKinney’s future by letting him go.

The Giants have cleared the decks at safety, potentially opening the door to McKinney staying on a second contract. Pro Football Focus grades McKinney’s as the NFL’s No. 30 overall safety through the season’s midpoint. He has stayed healthy thus far this year, though the team may be keen on seeing the 24-year-old defender remain available. Injuries in 2020 and 2022, the latter an ATV accident, kept McKinney off the field for extended stretches. While McKinney returned to action late last season, he missed eight games after being sidelined for 10 as a rookie. In 2021, McKinney played 16 games.

Suddenly, McKinney’s performance may not cover his entire situation. He made postgame comments aimed at the coaching staff. Amid this 2-7 Giants start, McKinney lashed out at a perceived lack of leadership.

Honestly, it sucks. But, I don’t know, man. I don’t really have many words. I think that from a leadership standpoint, I don’t think they’ve done a great job of letting the leaders lead, and listening to the leaders and the captains,” said McKinney, who is a Giants captain (via’s Jordan Raanan).

It was one of those things where you have some of your leaders, captains from a defensive standpoint, trying to switch things up and just not really being heard.”

Brian Daboll brushed off the notion he is losing the locker room, an issue that accelerated the firings of Ben McAdoo and Joe Judge. Daboll said (via Dunleavy) he meets with Giants captains each Friday. When asked about McKinney’s comments Thursday, second-year DC Don Martindale said the statement did hurt him, according to the New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro. Though, the veteran defensive coach said the parties have cleared up the matter.

It surprised me, because it’s the first time in my career that a player would make a statement like that,” Martindale said. “I think it was a case where the kid was just frustrated with losing. We spoke. We cleared it up. The example that he gave me of what he was talking about was an in-game adjustment. It really took a while for him to point out to me exactly what it was.

“What he explained to me was a coverage that we ran one time. He explained that to me afterward. I didn’t hear about it during the game. That’s another reason why it caught me by surprise. … I just told him that’s something that hurts the locker room, it hurts the defensive room when you say something like that.”

McKinney’s 53 tackles rank second on the Giants, behind Bobby Okereke‘s 80. Ranking last in both scoring and total offense, the Giants sit 21st in points allowed and 24th in total defense this season. DVOA slots Martindale’s unit 26th.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers, Broncos and Texans’ hires, this year’s vacancy count sits at two. 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 2-14-23 (1:30pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Don Martindale, Brian Callahan Out Of Colts HC Pursuit

10:40am: Callahan has also been informed he is no longer in the mix for the Indy job,’s Albert Breer tweets. Although the Cardinals interviewed Callahan as well, he is not believed to have advanced to the finals of that race. These developments will keep Callahan in Cincinnati for a fifth year as the AFC contender’s offensive coordinator.

Only one of the 10 HC-seeking teams last year (Denver) interviewed Callahan, and he was a late entry into both the Arizona and Indianapolis searches this year. Keeping Callahan for another season will continue to ensure continuity for a rising Bengals team, which has seen its Joe Burrow-led offense ignite over the past two seasons.

10:33am: As the Colts move closer to ending their long-running search for a head coach, Don Martindale is no longer believed to be in the running. The Giants’ defensive coordinator is out of the mix, Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.

The 2022 Giants DC hire is staying in New York, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News notes (via Twitter). Martindale remains attached to a three-year Giants contract. This represents a positive development for Brian Daboll‘s staff, which still risks losing offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. The young play-caller remains in the race for the Cardinals’ head coaching job. Kafka did not receive a second Colts interview.

One of eight Colts candidates to have gone through a second interview, Martindale joins Ejiro Evero among that lot in no longer being in contention for the position. Evero was one of the first names to be connected to a second Indianapolis meeting, but he accepted Carolina’s DC offer. The Colts are also now unlikely to bump Jeff Saturday up to their full-time HC.

Martindale took over a Giants defense that featured gaping holes at linebacker and cornerback, and while DVOA viewed the Giants as a bottom-tier defense (29th), the group fared well in spots the help Daboll’s team to key wins during one of the more surprising runs to the divisional round in recent memory. Dexter Lawrence‘s breakthrough under Martindale certainly looks like a seminal development, with the former first-round pick now squarely on the radar for a monster extension.

Should Saturday and Martindale indeed be out of the running, it would leave Rich Bisaccia, Brian Callahan, Aaron Glenn, Raheem Morris and Shane Steichen left in the race. With the Colts likely waiting until after Super Bowl LVII, Steichen — finishing up his second season as Eagles OC — remains a name to watch here. Many around the NFL believe Jim Irsay is targeting Steichen, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports tweets.

Poll: Who Will Become Next Colts HC?

Five years after their Josh McDaniels-to-Frank Reich pivot, the Colts are again conducting a rather interesting head coaching search. This process may well produce an unusual stage.

Indianapolis potentially planning a third round on HC interviews, after holding 12-hour meetings — in some cases — with candidates during the second round, adds a memorable wrinkle to its search to replace Reich. A third round of a coaching search has not happened in at least 40 years, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. GM Chris Ballard has run the search, but Jim Irsay will make the call. Where will this search end up?

Almost everyone involved in this Indy journey has been mentioned as a finalist or scheduled a second interview. Dan Quinn hopped off the ride midway through, doing so hours after he scheduled a second meeting about the position. Ben Johnson backed out after his virtual interview, staying with the Lions. Giants OC Mike Kafka also has not been mentioned as being summoned for a second meeting. DeMeco Ryans cancelled his virtual interview and chose the Texans over the Broncos. Jim Harbaugh was mentioned as a candidate in December, but the ex-Colts QB did not interview. Otherwise, this search remains one of the most wide open in memory.

Rich Bisaccia, Brian Callahan, Ejiro Evero, Aaron Glenn, Don Martindale, Raheem Morris, Jeff Saturday and Shane Steichen have either gone through a second interview or will do so soon. Eric Bieniemy and Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone have also been mentioned as potential finalists, though neither is believed to have scheduled a second meeting.

This search has produced the rare mix of all three phases, with Bisaccia and Ventrone representing the special teams wing. Ventrone, 40, was Reich’s ST coordinator throughout the latter’s HC tenure, while Bisaccia, 62, is the rare interim HC to have guided his team to the playoffs. The Raiders passed on Bisaccia, leading him to Green Bay. Could he join John Harbaugh as a former ST coordinator to become a head coach?

Irsay went offense twice in 2018, hiring McDaniels and then Reich. This year’s lot of OCs in contention includes Andy Reid‘s right-hand man. Ballard and Bieniemy worked together in Kansas City for four years, and since Ballard left for Indiana, Bieniemy has become Reid’s top lieutenant. Of course, that has famously not led to a head coaching opportunity. Both Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy earned HC chances as Reid’s HC, but teams have paused on Bieniemy, 53. After this latest Chiefs attack led the NFL in offensive DVOA despite trading Tyreek Hill, will the Colts be the team that goes with the oft-bypassed candidate?

Callahan and Steichen are the only other offense-based candidates linked to having paths to the job. Steichen is just 37 and worked with Reich during the future Colts leader’s time as Chargers OC. Ex-Reich lieutenant Nick Sirianni gave Steichen the play-calling reins midway through last season, and it made a major difference in the Eagles’ trajectory. Philadelphia led the NFL in rushing in 2021 and has produced a top-three attack this year, as Jalen Hurts has made considerable strides as a passer. Callahan, 38, does not call plays in Cincinnati but is a candidate for both the Colts and Cardinals’ HC gigs. Joe Burrow is primed to book one of Zac Taylor‘s assistants a promotion, and Callahan is this year’s candidate.

Evero, 42, leads the league in connections to jobs during this year’s cycle, being summoned by all five HC-seeking teams for interviews and being pursued for DC gigs. It appears the Broncos’ DC will land on his feet, despite Nathaniel Hackett‘s one-and-done, and Denver remains interested in keeping him. The Rams also have Evero in mind as a Morris contingency plan. Morris, 46, would be a second-chance HC, but the ex-Buccaneers leader’s first chance came more than 10 years ago. He has rebuilt his stock in Los Angeles, helping the Rams to a Super Bowl LVI win, and Sean McVay staffers are quite popular on coaching carousels. Morris also has a near-three-month run as an interim leader under his belt, having replaced Quinn with the 2020 Falcons.

Martindale, 59 is believed to have interviewed well in his second meeting (the Irsay stage), and he played a key role in the Giants making a surprising surge to the divisional round. He coached the Ravens to three top-five defensive finishes in four DC seasons. Glenn, 50, started late in coaching due to his playing career spanning 16 seasons. The ex-cornerback joins Evero and Callahan as Cards candidates.

Saturday, of course, is the main variable here. Irsay stunned the NFL by hiring the former Pro Bowl center as his interim coach, pulling him off various ESPN sets and onto the sideline. Saturday, 47, won his first game but oversaw a brutal stretch in the weeks that followed. The Colts lost their final seven games and blew an NFL-record 33-point lead during that stretch. While Irsay’s unorthodox choice appeared to backfire, the owner bypassed advice against hiring Saturday in November and is believed to be receiving similar counsel now. Will the Irsay-Saturday partnership somehow continue? The 1-7 record aside, he has consistently been mentioned as a live candidate. With the Panthers passing on Steve Wilks, no interim HC has been promoted in six years.

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section.

Latest On Colts’ HC Search

While this year’s coaching search has been labeled a long-running endeavor, five of last year’s hires happened during February’s first week. But the Colts’ search has begun to stand out.

Just about every name connected to Indianapolis’ quest to replace Frank Reich has been mentioned as a potential finalist or interviewed a second time. Eight second interviews are believed to have taken place or soon will, with other candidates mentioned as prospective finalists. There may be another round of meetings coming.

[RELATED: Jim Irsay Still Eyeing Jeff Saturday For HC?]

The Colts are nearly through with their second interviews, but Mike Garafolo of notes the team is considering a third round. A rarely seen round three would include a few candidates, through Garafolo adds the team is already being quite thorough during its second run of meetings. Some of the Colts’ second interviews have run as long as 12 hours (Twitter links). As of Thursday morning, the team had conducted 21 total interviews, Zak Keefer of The Athletic tweets.

Indy’s expansive search can partially be explained by Irsay not sitting in on the first round of interviews — all conducted virtually — but a team that employed an interim HC for half of this past season obviously had a head-start on this process. The Colts also have not needed to navigate any Sean Payton dominoes, as they were the one team that did not meet with the new Broncos HC over the past two-plus weeks. The team did, however, see DeMeco Ryans cancel an interview. Ryans nixed Cardinals and Colts meetings, leading to his agreement with the Texans.

Considering how Indianapolis’ 2018 search unfolded — Josh McDaniels backing out of an agreement just after Super Bowl LII — Irsay and GM Chris Ballard operating this way makes sense. Reich, who emerged once the team regrouped from the McDaniels debacle, was not hired until a week after that Super Bowl. The Colts also just completed one of the worst years in franchise history, with Irsay’s impulsiveness playing a role in it. The wide net the franchise has cast will need to produce a coach who will work with a long-term quarterback — after years of stopgap measures — and lead a roster still housing several Pro Bowlers.

Of the names still in the Colts’ mix, a few are also on the Cardinals’ list. Brian Callahan, Ejiro Evero, Aaron Glenn and Mike Kafka have met with both teams. Kafka, however, is one of the few coaches to not interview with Indy’s contingent a second time or be mentioned as a finalist. Kafka’s Giants coworker — DC Don Martindale — is believed to have impressed during his second interview, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News tweets. The Colts plan to interview Eagles OC Shane Steichen on Friday or Saturday, Ian Rapoport of notes (video link). The team cannot interview Steichen again until after Super Bowl LVII.

The Colts dragging this process out much longer does run the risk of the team missing out on some of its preferred assistant hires, but at this point, determining the right leader has eclipsed everything else for the suddenly downtrodden AFC South team. Here is how Indy’s complex search stands midday Thursday:

Colts Planning Second Don Martindale HC Interview

Add Don Martindale to the growing list of candidates to advance to the second round of the Colts’ head coaching search. The Colts are scheduling a second Martindale interview for this weekend, Adam Schefter of tweets.

The Colts are the only team to reach out to the Giants’ defensive coordinator during this year’s hiring cycle, which continues a pattern for Martindale. Despite his success in Baltimore and now New York, Martindale has not been especially popular on the HC interview circuit. But he improved his stock a bit during his first season with the Giants.

[RELATED: Jim Irsay Still Pushing For Jeff Saturday As HC]

Despite significant issues at multiple positions coming into the season, the Giants managed to field a competent defense. The team finished 17th in points allowed, and while DVOA was less kind to Martindale’s unit (29th), the rebuilding team-turned-playoff entrant did enough to turn back a Lamar Jackson-led Ravens team, continue the Packers’ midseason swoon and deny the Vikings on back-to-back fourth-quarter drives in the wild-card round.

The Ravens did not renew Martindale’s contract after the 2021 season, his fourth as the franchise’s DC, but the Giants showed considerable interest. To prevent Martindale from exploring other DC opportunities after their interview, the Giants offered him a three-year contract. That did the trick, and Martindale joined OC Mike Kafka in being critical to Brian Daboll‘s first-year success in New York. The Giants have now seen Martindale, Kafka and quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney receive interview requests. Kafka interviewed with the Texans for a second time, but Houston looks to prefer DeMeco Ryans. The Colts also met with Kafka, but he has not yet been summoned for a second interview.

A Dan Quinntype scenario here exists, per’s Jordan Raanan, who notes (via Twitter) the Giants could bump Martindale’s pay to convince him to stay rather than joining the Colts. Martindale, however, will turn 60 in a few months. After six years as an NFL defensive coordinator, he is running out of time to move up in the league.

As for the Colts, they have a host of candidates still in the mix for their top job. After virtual interviews, the Colts are meeting in-person with candidates the second time around. Irsay did not participate in the virtual interviews; the owner is meeting with the candidates who advance to the second round. Here are the coaches on Indianapolis’ second-interview radar:

Coaching Rumors: Payton, Flores, Evero

By far the biggest name on this year’s coaching carousel, Sean Payton looks to have seen his momentum stall a bit. While Payton is interviewing with the Cardinals today, his candidacy has not produced a second interview anywhere yet. The Panthers met with Payton this week but just hired Frank Reich. While the Texans remain on the radar for the longtime Saints HC, Jeremy Fowler of does not get the sense much momentum is present for such a partnership. The Broncos have been connected to other names recently as well, but that path may be dwindling as well. There might not be a place for Payton — as odd as that sounds, given his track record — on this year’s market, Ian Rapoport of offers (video link)

Trade compensation being required to land the Super Bowl XLIV-winning HC, with the price varying from a first-rounder and other early picks to two first-rounders, has affected teams’ plans here. Payton, 59, has also been mentioned as waffling on this year’s lot of jobs. Returning to FOX for another year and surveying the 2024 market, when two jobs he has long been connected to (Chargers, Cowboys), could be available might be what comes out of this run of interviews. Payton remains in this year’s mix, but buzz has died down.

Here is the latest from the coaching landscape:

  • Regarding the Cardinals‘ search, Brian Flores remains firmly in the mix. GM candidates received the impression Arizona is high on the three-year Miami HC-turned-Pittsburgh linebackers coach, Fowler notes. Previously mentioned as a frontrunner — due partially to the Cards hiring ex-Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort as GM — Flores may have a right-hand man on defense lined up. Some around the league expect the ex-Dolphins HC to bring Gerald Alexander, Miami’s defensive backs coach for the past three years, with him to Arizona, per Fowler. With the Dolphins looking for a new DC, Alexander may be on the move anyway. While ESPN colleague Dan Graziano points to Vance Joseph and Aaron Glenn remaining strong candidates, Flores has generated the most buzz to this point. Flores has also interviewed for the Falcons and Vikings’ DC posts.
  • Raheem Morris booked a second HC interview with the Colts and also met with the Broncos and Texans. Should the Rams‘ DC land a second HC opportunity, Albert Breer of notes Ejiro Evero is the team’s top candidate to replace him. The Denver DC is no lock to be available. He is under contract with the Broncos, who blocked a Falcons DC interview, and has gone through second HC interviews with the Colts and Texans. Denver could pass on retaining Evero by hiring a defensive-minded coach, of course. Evero came to Denver from Los Angeles; he spent five years on Sean McVay‘s staff.
  • The Browns considered bringing in Vic Fangio for a DC interview, Mary Kay Cabot of notes, but they stood down and ended up hiring Jim Schwartz. Cleveland having run a 4-3 defense in recent years may have been a reason for passing on a Fangio meeting, Cabot offers. Fangio has remained quite popular still, having interviewed for three DC jobs — the Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers — already.
  • The Bills are making a change to their defensive staff. They fired safeties coach Jim Salgado, Alaina Getzenberg of tweets. Salgado had been on McDermott’s staff throughout the head coach’s six-season tenure.
  • Giants DC Don Martindale is attached to a three-year contract, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Giants thought enough of the veteran coordinator, whom the Ravens did not bring back last year, they gave him the three-year deal as opposed to the more common two-year pact. Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey also received extensive interest from other teams, with Duggan adding the Chargers joined the Panthers in offering him their ST coordinator jobs. McGaughey, who has been with the Giants since 2018, turned down a Bears interview and opted to stay and work for Brian Daboll.