Jacques Cesaire

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Eagles, Bears, Jets, Browns

Clint Hurtt is heading to Philadelphia. After having spent the past two seasons as the Seahawks defensive coordinator, the veteran coach is joining the Eagles as their new defensive line coach, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Hurtt worked with defensive linemen and linebackers in Chicago before joining the Seahawks as their assistant head coach/defensive line coach in 2017. He earned a promotion to defensive coordinator in 2022 and spent two seasons in that role. Seattle’s defense didn’t fare all that well with Hurtt at the helm, as the defense never finished better than 26th in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed.

Still, Hurtt has earned a reputation as a reliable DL coach. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Hurtt had multiple offers to coach defensive linemen, but he ended up opting for the Eagles opportunity.

Pelissero notes that the Eagles are also expected to hire one of Hurtt’s assistants from Seattle. Karl Scott is joining the Eagles as their new DBs coach. Scott spent the past two seasons as Seattle’s secondary coach/passing game coordinator.

More coaching and front office notes from around the NFL…

  • The Bears will interview Chargers wide receivers coach Chris Beatty for the same role, according to Pelissero. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that veteran coach Ike Hilliard will also interview for the Chargers job. After a long college coaching career, Beatty took his first NFL job with the Chargers in 2021 as their WRs coach. Over the past few years, he’s helped guide the likes of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to 1,000-yard seasons. Hilliard has spent time as the WRs coach with Washington, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh, and he was most recently on the coaching staff at Auburn. Hilliard worked alongside offensive coordinator Shane Waldron when the two were in Washington.
  • The Jets are hiring Tony Dews as their running backs coach, per Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. Dews was Derrick Henry‘s coach in Tennessee between 2018 and 2022, and he spent the 2023 campaign as the Titans tight ends coach. He’ll be replacing Taylor Embree, who was let go after the season. Meanwhile, Connor Hughes of SNYtv reports that the Jets interviewed Rob Moore for their WRs coach job. Moore also recently worked for the Titans, spending the past six years as their receivers coach.
  • The Browns have hired Jacques Cesaire as their defensive line coach, per Pelissero. After playing his entire career with the Chargers, Cesaire broke into the NFL coaching ranks as the Bills assistant defensive line coach in 2020. He spent the past two seasons with the Texans, serving as the team’s defensive line coach. He’ll be replacing Ben Bloom, although Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes that the coach could still stick in Cleveland in a different role for the 2024 campaign.
  • Saints college scouting director Cody Rager is heading to the Broncos, according to Nick Underhill of NOF Network. Neil Stratton passes along that Rager will be Denver’s new vice president of player personnel. Rager spent the past nine seasons in New Orleans, including the past three as the assistant college scouting director. Rager got his NFL start with the Dolphins back in 2012.

Coaching Notes: Callahan, Browns, Vrabel, Seahawks, Smith, Johnson, Texans, Jets

The Titans ended Brian Callahan‘s five-year stay as a non-play-calling Bengals OC, hiring the veteran assistant as their Mike Vrabel successor. Although Callahan has never been his team’s primary play-caller, he will not give his first Tennessee OC that responsibility. Callahan will call Titans offensive plays, veteran reporter Paul Kuharsky notes. Callahan has spent five years learning from Bengals HC/play-caller Zac Taylor. He also worked under Jon Gruden in 2018 and Gary Kubiak in 2015. Not calling plays in Cincinnati undoubtedly held Callahan back, considering the success the Bengals’ offense generated during Joe Burrow‘s early years.

During a busy day on the coaching carousel, here is the latest from around the league:

  • Duce Staley will land on his feet. The recently dismissed Panthers running backs coach will take the same position with the Browns, cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reports. The Jets had planned to make Staley an offer as well, but the veteran RBs coach will replace Stump Mitchell in Cleveland. Staley has coached running backs for the past 11 seasons, doing so with the Eagles, Lions and Panthers. The former NFL running back will have a chance to coach Nick Chubb, assuming the perennial Pro Bowler returns from his ACL tear.
  • The Browns are also working to hire one of Nick Saban’s former assistants to replace the other position coach they fired last week. Tommy Rees, who landed the Notre Dame OC job in his 20s and held the same position at Alabama last season, is on the Browns’ radar, The Athletic’s Zac Jackson tweets. A former Chargers assistant, Rees is expected to become the Browns’ tight ends coach. Cleveland dismissed T.C. McCartney last week.
  • Two casualties of this coaching carousel are candidates to land elsewhere soon. Ex-Falcons HC Arthur Smith and recently dismissed Eagles OC Brian Johnson have generated interest around the league, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini. Smith is being monitored as an OC candidate, per Russini, with a handful of teams looking into the three-year Atlanta HC. Prior to Smith’s Falcons tenure, the ex-Titans OC generated widespread interest as a head coach option in 2021. Johnson has not achieved similar status, and Russini does not confirm the one-year Eagles play-caller is on the OC radar. Though, that would not surprise considering Johnson received multiple HC interview requests during this cycle.
  • Mentioned recently as a candidate on the Seahawks‘ radar, Vrabel may be receiving some support from Seattle players. Some Seahawks view Vrabel as the best option for the job, per Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline. Although Vrabel now has three interviews completed or booked, the Seahawks have not yet met with him. They have met with their former DC, Dan Quinn, who was the first name to emerge as the top Pete Carroll successor option. The Dallas DC should still be considered the frontrunner, Pauline adds. Quinn has a second interview scheduled for Friday, but the Seahawks have a few targets set for second meetings this week.
  • The Texans are not bringing back defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes. Lovie Smith hired Cesaire in 2022, whose contract is expiring. DeMeco Ryans‘ club did set a single-season sack record, with 46, which is quite something considering this franchise employed J.J. Watt for nine seasons. A former NFL D-lineman, Cesaire has been a D-line coach in the league since 2020.
  • On the subject of AFC D-line coaches, the Jets are retaining theirs. Aaron Whitecotton‘s contract was set to expire, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, but the New York Post’s Brian Costello notes the team reached an extension agreement Wednesday. Considering the success the Jets have had up front over the past two seasons, it is unsurprising they made a commitment to keep the Robert Saleh lieutenant around. The Jets also interviewed former Titans assistant Tony Dews for their RBs coach job, The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt tweets. Tennessee’s tight ends coach in 2023, Dews worked alongside current Jets staffers Todd Downing and Keith Carter in Tennessee.

Texans To Hire Shane Day, Discussed Role With Klint Kubiak

Coaches with 49ers pasts have become a regular part of the Texans’ first offseason under DeMeco Ryans. The new Houston head coach has hired a host of former 49ers coworkers, and he added another notable name to that list late this week.

Shane Day is joining the Texans’ staff, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets. The Chargers’ quarterbacks coach over the past two seasons, Day will work as a senior offensive assistant in Houston. The Chargers fired Day and OC Joe Lombardi last month, but Day has a connection to Ryans. The two were part of the 49ers’ staff from 2019-20, when Day was San Francisco’s QBs coach.

In addition to hiring another ex-Kyle Shanahan assistant, the Texans discussed a job with a staffer Shanahan just hired. Klint Kubiak, who spent last season as the Broncos’ QBs coach, engaged in talks about joining Ryans in Houston, KPRC’s Aaron Wilson tweets. It is unclear if Kubiak was the first choice for the role Day will fill, but he is now with the 49ers. Klint Kubiak’s father, Gary, of course, is the longest-tenured HC in Texans history. Gary Kubiak, who stepped away from coaching after the 2020 season, was the Houston boss from 2006 until an in-season firing in 2013.

With Shanahan serving as San Francisco’s play-caller, the team has often gone without an offensive coordinator. Mike McDaniel held that role in 2021, but during Day’s tenure, the team went without one. Considering Jimmy Garoppolo‘s 2019 success, Day’s standing with the team undoubtedly boosted his prospects. Though, the Chargers canning him brought a setback. While the Chargers have been labeled as underachievers in recent years, Justin Herbert did become the AFC’s Pro Bowl starter in 2021.

New Texans OC Bobby Slowik does not have Day’s experience, being an offensive assistant during Day’s time in the Bay Area and only spending one season (2022) as the 49ers’ passing-game coordinator, so the latter stands to provide considerable assistance to the 35-year-old play-caller. Kubiak will serve in Slowik’s former position in San Francisco.

The Texans will add one of Kubiak’s 2022 Broncos coworkers, Jake Moreland, as their tight ends coach, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. Moreland, 46, has spent the past two seasons at the NFL level. Prior to joining Robert Saleh‘s staff as Jets assistant offensive line coach in 2021, he had spent his career at the college level.

The team will stay the course at one of its assistant positions. Jacques Cesaire, who joined Lovie Smith‘s staff last year, will stay on as defensive line coach, Wilson adds. A nine-year Chargers D-lineman, Cesaire served as the Bolts and Bills’ assistant D-line coach from 2015-21. He has no 49ers ties.

AFC Coaching Rumors: Broncos, Henry, Texans, Donatell

As has been expected for a little while now, Saints offensive assistant Declan Doyle will be departing New Orleans to join Sean Payton‘s new staff in Denver, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. The original reports about Doyle indicated that he was in consideration for a first-time position coaching role leading the tight ends for the Broncos, but Underhill’s recent report didn’t specify what his role would be.

The Broncos made another minor coaching staff addition today, hiring someone who has a bit of a different connection to New Orleans, as reported by Zach Barnett of Football Scoop. While not a former Saints staffer, new Broncos passing game quality control coach Logan Kilgore was the offensive coordinator for new Longhorns quarterback Arch Manning during their time together at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. Kilgore was set to rejoin head coach Butch Jones at Arkansas State as the Red Wolves’ tight ends coach after working as an offensive analyst with the team in 2021. Instead, Kilgore is headed to Denver, where he will work with many other former New Orleans coaches.

Here are a few other coaching rumors from around the AFC, starting with a new assistant coaching hire in Buffalo:

  • The Bills have hired a veteran to their staff in longtime wide receivers coach Adam Henry, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Newtork. Henry has coached the position at McNeese State, LSU, and Indiana at the college level, serving, as well, as offensive coordinator at McNeese State, passing game coordinator at LSU, and co-offensive coordinator at Indiana. At the NFL level, Henry’s first position coaching role was as tight ends coach under Tom Cable in Oakland. Since then, he has coached receivers for the 49ers, Giants, Browns, and Cowboys. An interesting aspect of this hire is Henry’s connection to free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Henry coached both Beckham and Jarvis Landry when the two were at LSU and in Cleveland.
  • The Texans have made a number of decisions recently for new head coach DeMeco Ryans‘s staff, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. First, Houston hired former Browns defensive line coach Chris Kiffin as their new linebackers coach. The younger brother of Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and former NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Chris formerly worked alongside Ryans during their time together in San Francisco. Second, the team chose to retain defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire from Lovie Smith‘s staff. Under Cesaire, the defensive line saw surprising contributions from defensive ends Jerry Hughes and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Third, former 49ers defensive passing game specialist and secondary coach Cory Undlin is expected to reunite with Ryans as the Texans defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach. Finally, fourth, after choosing not to retain offensive line coach George Warhop, Colts offensive line coach Chris Strausser has emerged as the leading candidate to replace him.
  • The Dolphins have requested to interview Chargers assistant secondary coach Tom Donatell for the secondary coaching position in Miami, according to a tweet by Pelissero. The son of Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, Tom is making his own way up through the coaching ranks of the NFL.

Texans Complete Coaching Staff

The revamped Texans coaching staff is complete. The organization announced their coaches for the 2022 season, and we’ve compiled some of the previously unreported hirings/promotions/etc. below:

  • Jacques Cesaire, defensive line coach
  • Robbie Picazo, offensive assistant
  • Ben Bolling, defensive assistant
  • Ilir Emini, defensive assistant/nickels

Cesaire is the most notable name on the list. Following a 10-year playing career with the Chargers, the defensive end transitioned to coaching, getting his first gig with the University of San Diego. He joined the NFL coaching ranks in 2020 when he was hired as the Bills assistant defensive line coach, a role he held for the past two seasons. Now, he’ll have a chance to prove himself with the full-time gig in Houston.

As expected, the Texans announcement didn’t include a defensive coordinator. After serving as the Texans DC in 2021, new head coach Lovie Smith is expected to retain defensive play-calling duties in 2022. Pep Hamilton was promoted to offensive coordinator while Frank Ross will continue running special teams.