Gary Kubiak

AFC North Notes: Browns, Browning, Steelers

In between the Browns going public with Deshaun Watson‘s season-ending injury and the team signing Joe Flacco, GM Andrew Berry gave his top two front office lieutenants an assignment. Berry asked assistant GMs Glenn Cook and Catherine Raiche to independently rank the veteran QB options, per’s Albert Breer, while doing the same himself. Although this process produced different second- and third-place finishers, Flacco ranked first across the board. Kevin Stefanski reaching out to ex-Vikings coworker Gary Kubiak on Flacco also helped the veteran’s cause, Breer adds. Flacco’s OC with the Ravens in 2014, Kubiak spoke highly of the former Super Bowl MVP. One of Flacco’s best seasons came under Kubiak in 2014, helping the latter become the Broncos’ HC.

After years as a backup, Flacco has taken the reins in Cleveland and has the team on the cusp of its second playoff berth over the past 20 years. Out of football until November, Flacco is now interested in playing next season. The Browns are interested in Flacco staying in Cleveland to do so.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Jake Browning took a step back in a Bengals Week 16 loss, but coming into that Steelers matchup, Joe Burrow‘s backup had been highly effective. The fifth-year veteran, who had never taken a regular-season snap until this year, still carries a 72% completion rate and an 8.5-yard average per attempt. Browning, 27, moved up from third-stringer to backup this year, with the Bengals letting Brandon Allen walk in free agency, and’s Armando Salguero notes he is interested in seeing what is out there for him in free agency. A 2024 free agent, Browning would at least generate appeal as an intriguing QB2. Teams have been burned by signing backups to be starters in recent years — as the additions of Brock Osweiler (Texans) and Nick Foles (Jaguars) have most famously shown — but this is a rather valuable position. Browning finishing the season strong will only up his price for 2024.
  • Patrick Peterson made his first start at safety in Week 16, intercepting Browning. Replacing Minkah Fitzpatrick in a depleted Steelers secondary, Peterson views the move as something that could extend his career. Aiming to play through at least the 2025 season (which would be his 15th year), the All-Decade cornerback said the move could be a prelude for his future. “I feel like this is a great move for me at this stage of my career,” Peterson said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Joe Rutter. “We have good corners who can be a cornerstone for this team. This could be my second career.” The Steelers had some safety work in mind when they signed Peterson to a two-year, $14MM deal. It will be interesting to see how Peterson, 33, is used moving forward. Steelers have Keanu Neal on IR and Damontae Kazee suspended for the regular season’s remainder.
  • Browns linebacker Anthony Walker underwent arthroscopic knee surgery recently, per’s Jake Trotter. The veteran defender missed Week 16 and is week-to-week. Walker suffered a torn quad tendon last year, ending his season after three games, but re-signed with the Browns and has started 12 games this season. Pro Football Focus ranks the ex-Colts draftee 32nd among off-ball ‘backers this season. Walker is not on IR, but he joins a growing number of unavailable Browns defenders. Ogbo Okoronkwo, Grant Delpit and Rodney McLeod are out of the mix as well. Delpit is on IR but could return in the playoffs, while Okoronkwo remains on the active roster despite a torn pec.

Jets Interview Klint Kubiak For OC

The Jets will interview Klint Kubiak for their offensive coordinator position today, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). This is the first time Kubiak has been connected to an OC vacancy in this year’s cycle.

Kubiak worked as the Broncos’ passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2022, and he took over play-calling duties from then-head coach Nathaniel Hackett in November. Hackett was fired before season’s end, thanks in large part to the difficulties he experienced with in-game management and the unexpected struggles of the Denver offense.

With Kubiak calling plays, the Broncos averaged 18 points per game, which was a marked improvement on the 12.1 PPG figure they managed with Hackett as the play-caller but which was still not an impressive output. On the other hand, the injuries and poor quarterback play that Denver dealt with in 2022 naturally limited the team’s ceiling, and Kubiak had a solid enough showing as the Vikings’ OC and offensive play-caller in 2021, when Minnesota finished 12th in the league in total offense and 14th in yards per game.

Interestingly, the Jets have also interviewed Hackett — along with a host of other candidates — for the OC gig. Whomever gets the job will be joining a club that has a playoff-caliber defense and an offense that, thanks to some young and intriguing skill position talent, could be just a quarterback upgrade away from being a worthy complement to that defense. Gang Green is widely expected to target veteran QB help this offseason and has been connected to the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Derek Carr.

Kubiak, 36 in February, is the son of longtime NFL offensive coordinator and head coach Gary Kubiak. Rich Cimini of says that even if the Jets were to hire Klint, Gary would not be joining the team in any capacity (Twitter link).

In addition to Klint Kubiak, the Jets have officially requested an interview with Bills quarterbacks coach Joe Brady, as Ian Rapoport of tweets. Brady does love his role in Buffalo, however, and he may not be interested in the Jets’ position.

Latest On Jets’ OC Search

JANUARY 15: The Jets are interviewing Marcus Brady today, per Rapoport (via Twitter).

JANUARY 14: The Jets made headlines earlier in the week when they parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. That leaves the team with a significant hole to fill on offense during the coming weeks, but there is no shortage of names being floated around with respect to his potential replacements.

The early favorite appears to be Darrell Bevell. The Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator represents the name mentioned most often for the Jets’ OC vacancy, Connor Hughes of SNY tweets. The 52-year-old is in his first season with Miami, but spent the previous 15 campaigns as an offensive coordinator. That tenure included a stint as the Seahawks’ OC from 2012 to 2017, which earned him a Super Bowl ring.

That time also included overlap with current Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who was a defensive assistant at the time. Bevell saw time with the Vikings as their OC prior to his Seattle stint, and occupied the same role with the Lions and Jaguars. His experience as an interim head coach with the latter two teams – coupled with his role in revitalizing the Dolphins’ offense this year – has made him a potential HC candidate in this year’s cycle.

While it remains to be seen if New York will interview Bevell for the position, they have done so with Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The meeting took place yesterday, as Patullo prepares to continue his work with the NFC’s top seed. He has been with Philadelphia for the past two seasons, after a three-year stint alongside Nick Sirianni with the Colts in a similar role; he also spent one season with Gang Green prior to that.

The Jets have also requested an interview with Nick Caley, per Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). He is currently the Patriots’ tight ends coach, a title he has held since 2017. The 39-year-old has exclusively worked in New England during his NFL coaching career, but he spent a decade in the college ranks prior to joining Bill Belichick‘s staff in 2015. Rapoport had previously named Caley as a name to watch, alongside Eagles QBs coach Brian Johnson and former Colts OC Marcus Brady (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer tweets that Bills QBs coach Joe Brady is another potential candidate. He notes that the Jets are “doing homework” on the 33-year-old, who was highly-touted after his work in college (particularly with LSU) when he took on the Panthers’ OC job in 2020. That, much like Matt Rhule‘s tenure in Charlotte, did not go according to plan, however, and he was fired midway through his second season with the team. Brady was hired by the Bills shortly thereafter, as he began the process of rebuilding his stock.

Each of the above names comprise a list of candidates along with the likes of ex-Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett, Rams offensive assistant Greg Olson and Chiefs QBs coach Matt Nagy. That trio, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, could all be in the mix, though he adds (via Twitter) that veteran Gary Kubiak is not expected to be a part of the Jets’ search. New York’s process of replacing LaFleur will be worth watching as the team looks to take another step forward on offense in 2023.

Latest On Nathaniel Hackett’s Job Status

League executives are starting to wonder how long the Broncos will tolerate Nathaniel Hackett‘s growing pains. Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post spoke with NFL executives, evaluators, and coaches, with many “paint[ing] a bleak picture” of Denver’s outlook with Hackett at the helm. The head coach’s “ability to survive his first season on the job” is being discussed around the NFL, per La Canfora.

[RELATED: Which Head Coach Will Be Fired First In 2022?]

Many of the sources attribute Denver’s coaching issues to inexperience. One anonymous GM went as far as to wonder if GM George Paton may be the one to pull the plug. The team’s new ownership wasn’t responsible for hiring the current head coach/general manage pairing, and if Paton wants to save his own job, he may look to admit his mistake sooner than later.

“I hate to say it, because it’s only six weeks,” the anonymous GM told La Canfora, “but [Paton] needs to start separating himself from the coach. I like George a lot, and that’s what my advice to him would be. Keep trying to give [Hackett] help, if he’ll take it, but you also may have to be willing to admit it was a mistake far sooner than you ever imagined. This owner didn’t hire either of them. You have to be careful how hard you fight to prove this can work, because it’s been a disaster so far. And if you aren’t careful, you’re going to get fired, too.”

Before firing Hackett, there’s a chance that the organization could try to remedy the situation. Some of the sources suggested bringing in an outside consultant, with many pointing to the inexperience of the coaching staff. As La Canfora notes, Dom Capers and Jerry Rosburg are the lone experienced coaches on the staff, and the writer even suggests that the team could look to bring in Gary Kubiak as an adviser or even as interim head coach. Kubiak’s son, Klint Kubiak, is the team’s quarterbacks coach.

Still, no matter how much experience the Broncos add to the coaching staff, it still might not be enough. One executive told La Canfora that Hackett doesn’t look like he’s ready to be a head coach.

“Unless something changes quickly, I don’t think he gets through the year,” the executive said. “It looks too big for him. It looks too fast for him. The red-zone play-calling has been awful. I don’t see enough adjustments being made.”

Of course, part of the team’s issues could also be attributed to quarterback Russell Wilson, who also drew criticism from the personnel that was polled by La Canfora. Even with Wilson’s underwhelming play, many still believe he isn’t being put in a position to succeed, with La Canfora pointing to the team’s lack of RPOs and motion.

“Some of that is on the quarterback, certainly,” a GM said, “but they don’t seem to have a lot of ideas when the field gets tight, and I don’t think they have the right people in that building now to fix it.”

Vikings OC Gary Kubiak To Retire

We just got word of one offensive coordinator vacancy as the Dolphins fired Chan Gailey, and now it looks like we’ve got another. Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak plans to retire, a source told Mike Florio of

Kubiak joined Minnesota in an advisory role in 2019, then took over as offensive coordinator this season after Kevin Stefanski left to take the Browns’ head coaching job. Kubiak is an incredibly accomplished coach, winning three Super Bowls as an assistant with the Broncos and 49ers before winning another won as head coach of Denver in Super Bowl 50. He also was the Texans’ head coach from 2006-13, and the Ravens’ offensive coordinator in 2014 before getting hired by the Broncos.

The Vikings were a disappointment this season, but that was mostly because of their defense, so it’s unlikely that he’s being squeezed out and this is probably entirely his call.There were a lot of positives to take away from this Minnesota offense, like Dalvin Cook rushing for 1,557 yards and 16 touchdowns in 14 games or rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson emerging to look like a star in the making.

Now at the age of 59, Kubiak has dealt with a couple of health scares in recent years, which was what caused him to step down as coach of the Broncos after a 9-7 2016 season. That initial retirement lasted only a couple of seasons though, so it’s entirely possible we haven’t seen the last of him on an NFL sideline even with this second retirement.

It’s unclear what the Vikings will do to replace him, but if they choose to promote from within like Mike Zimmer often likes to do, one logical candidate is Kubiak’s own son Klint Kubiak, who was the quarterbacks coach this past season.

Extra Points: Shazier, Vikings, Staff, Cards

From 2017-20, the Vikings will have featured four different play-callers. But the procession from Pat Shurmur to John DeFilippo to Kevin Stefanski to now Gary Kubiak found the former Super Bowl-winning HC a bit hesitant. Kubiak stepped way from the Broncos after the 2016 season, because of health issues, and has not called plays since. But after briefly debating the move from offensive advisor to OC, the 58-year-old assistant accepted the offer to replace Stefanski, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. Kubiak has removed himself from the head-coaching market but never ruled out returning to a play-calling role. He was nearly set to resume that responsibility with the Broncos last year, but staffing issues led him to Minnesota.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Kubiak’s latest offensive staff will see more changes this year. The Vikings are bringing in Phil Rauscher to be their new assistant offensive line coach, Goessling adds. Although Rauscher spent the past two years in Washington, he worked under Kubiak for each of his two seasons as Denver’s HC. Rauscher will replace Andrew Janocko, but the Vikings’ previous assistant O-line coach will remain on staff. Janocko will become Minnesota’s new wide receivers coach. This marks Janocko’s sixth season on Mike Zimmer‘s staff.
  • The Steelers have kept Ryan Shazier on their roster for each of the past two years. That may well be the plan for 2020 as well. Owner Art Rooney II confirmed (via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) the Steelers “would love” to have Shazier back. The injured linebacker has worked as a mentor of sorts to the team’s young players the past two years. The Steelers have kept Shazier, 27, on their roster despite his inability to play; a league-minimum salary of $820K would likely come his way if the team uses the same arrangement in 2020. Shazier, whom GM Kevin Colbert confirmed has shown “significant improvement” in his workouts since the 2019 offseason, is not expected to be ready to play in 2020.
  • The Cardinals will add a former NFL and AAF quarterback to their staff. Mike Bercovici will join Kliff Kingsbury‘s staff as an entry-level assistant, per the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman. Bercovici, 27, spent time with the Cards’ practice squad in 2017. The ex-Arizona State quarterback was on Herm Edwards‘ Sun Devils staff last season.
  • A key CBA-related meeting will be pushed back. The NFLPA meeting where a potential vote on the owners’ CBA proposal will now occur Friday instead of Thursday, Josina Anderson of tweets. The Washington D.C. summit represents a step toward a potential CBA ratification, but a few substantial hurdles remain — such as the players accepting the owners’ 17-game schedule proposal.

Vikings Hire Gary Kubiak As OC

The Vikings are bumping Gary Kubiak up to the offensive coordinator position, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Last year, Kubiak served as an assistant head coach and offensive advisor. 

Kubiak will take over for Kevin Stefanski, who left to become the Browns’ head coach earlier this offseason. During Stefanski’s first full season at the helm, the Vikings ranked as a top-10 offense in points. With ample experience and knowhow, Kubiak will look to build on that.

Kubiak hooked on with the Vikes in January of last year, bringing him back to the sidelines as something other than a head coach since 2014, when he was the Ravens’ OC. Prior to that, he was in talks to return to Denver as their offensive coordinator, before those discussions went sideways.

As a head coach, Kubiak had a career 82-75 mark, including a 21-11 record across his two seasons with the Broncos. In his first year as the Broncos’ HC, Denver won Super Bowl 50 with a memorable win over the Panthers.

The Vikings fell short of their Super Bowl goal in 2019, but Kubiak will have plenty to work with on the offensive side of the ball. The team’s backfield trio of Dalvin CookAlexander Mattison, and Mike Boone finished in the top six in rushing yards and touchdowns last year. Meanwhile, quarterback Kirk Cousins enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career. Kubiak was a big part of that strategy and in 2020 he’ll have a chance to do everything his way while maintaining consistency.

Coaching Rumors: Texans, Kubiaks, Cowboys

The Texans got embarrassed Sunday as they blew a 24-point lead in the playoffs to the Chiefs, but don’t expect any major coaching changes. It doesn’t look like Bill O’Brien is going anywhere, and his top assistant coach seems to be safe for now as well. O’Brien said after the game that he anticipates defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel being back next year, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Seemingly every year there is speculation that the 72-year-old legendary coach will retire or get pushed out, but he’s been able to stick.

Here’s the latest from the coaching world:

  • With Kevin Stefanski leaving to become the next head coach of the Browns, the Vikings will need to find a new offensive coordinator. Both Gary and Klint Kubiak are on staff, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune both floated them as potential favorites for the gig (Twitter links). Goessling noted in a separate tweet that both Kubiaks have a strong relationship with Stefanski, and that “they’d talked about working together last year if Stefanski got the job in Cleveland.” Stefanski was a finalist for the gig that ended up going to Freddie Kitchens. The elder Kubiak is a seasoned vet with a lot of head-coaching and coordinating experience, while his son Klint served as Minnesota’s quarterbacks coach this past year. It sounds like the Vikings could opt for continuity for Kirk Cousins.
  • The Cowboys have a new secondary coach after letting go of Kris Richard. Dallas is hiring Maurice Linguist away from Texas A&M to fill that role, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Linguist had been the cornerbacks coach at A&M. He had previously coached under P.J. Fleck at the University of Minnesota. Mike McCarthy continues to flesh out his inaugural Cowboys staff.
  • The Dolphins will have two new coordinators in 2020, and they’ll also have a new quarterbacks coach. Miami is hiring Robby Brown to fill that role, a source told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Brown first served as an assistant coach in the college ranks for a handful of years, and then was an offensive quality control coach with the Jets for a few seasons. While in New York he worked under new Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, so this hiring makes some sense.

Latest On Browns’ Coaching & GM Search

The Browns have their new head coach in Kevin Stefanski, but they still need a new GM after firing John Dorsey. They recently requested an interview with Eagles exec Andrew Berry, and Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets that he’s “at the front of the GM candidates.”

Robinson notes that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam once said he considered Berry a future GM, and that he has a relationship with chief strategist Paul DePodesta. In a separate tweet, Robinson explains that it may come down to whether or not Berry wants to take the job. He notes that Berry, who used to work in Cleveland under former GM Sashi Brown, is only 32 and in a good situation in Philly. He also writes that Berry will likely get other calls if he passes on the job.

As for the search that ultimately ended in Stefanski, Robinson has some interesting new nuggets. He tweets that Josh McDanielswanted a specific structure with the Browns” and that he “wasn’t going to an org where DePodesta or anyone else was a ‘side jury’ reporting to Haslam.” If that’s the case, then it sounds like McDaniels never got too close to landing in Cleveland despite his lengthy visit. The Browns and Haslam have caught plenty of flak for their odd reporting structures, and it sounds like that was an issue once again this time around. 

Robinson also tweets that both Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh “had very good interviews” and that he thinks they were the finalists along with Stefanski. Both should be hot names during next cycle. As for Stefanski’s staff, Robinson tweets that the rookie head coach will likely target either Gary or Klint Kubiak. The Kubiaks were on staff with Stefanski in Minnesota, although Robinson thinks the Vikings will try to retain both. Either could be a candidate to be Cleveland’s new OC assuming Stefanski hires one.

Finally, Robinson tweeted about the future prospects for assistant GM Eliot Wolf and VP of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith. He thinks the Haslams are open to both staying, and that Wolf will have a conversation with whoever the new GM is about a role.

Gary Kubiak Not Interested In HC Jobs

Vikings assistant head coach/offensive advisor Gary Kubiak has no interest in returning to the head coaching ranks, as Chad Graff of The Athletic tweets. “That’s not for me anymore,” Kubiak said.

That doesn’t come as a major surprise, given that Kubiak stepped down from his last head coaching job with the Broncos due to health concerns, and his health was also an issue during the latter stages of his tenure as the Texans’ HC. However, he is on the sidelines for the first time since the 2016 campaign — he served as a senior personnel advisor for the Broncos during the 2017-18 seasons — and it was fair to wonder if he was getting the head coaching itch again.

On the other hand, Kubiak could return to an offensive coordinator role at some point. He was mentioned as a viable OC candidate following the 2017 season, and he was expected to accept the OC job with the Broncos after they hired Vic Fangio as head coach this year. But Kubiak and the Broncos couldn’t see eye-to-eye on staffing and offensive philosophies, which led him to take his current post in Minnesota.

And while he is obviously not solely responsible for the Vikings’ offensive output his year, the club’s performance is not hurting his reputation as an offensive guru. Minnesota currently ranks ninth in the league in yards-per-game and eighth in points-per-game, and quarterback Kirk Cousins is having a career year. So if Kubiak still wants an OC job, he may just get it.