Jeff Howard

Seahawks To Add Josh Bynes To Staff; Chargers, Ravens Showed Interest

Josh Bynes announced his retirement in December; he already has a coaching gig lined up. Bynes will bypass the quality control level as well and join former coach Mike Macdonald in Seattle.

Enjoying three stints as a Raven, Bynes will reunite with his former defensive coordinator soon. He accepted an offer to join the Seahawks’ staff, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. This came after an interesting derby for the veteran linebacker. It is unclear if other teams extended the former linebacker offers, but Wilson adds the Chargers and Ravens interviewed Bynes this offseason.

Bynes, 34, will step in as the Seahawks’ assistant linebackers coach. He will join fellow recent linebacker retiree Daren Bates on Macdonald’s first Seattle staff. Known for his special teams work, Bates is onboard as the Seahawks’ assistant ST coach. Given Bynes’ background with Macdonald, he should be quite familiar with the system the Seahawks plan to run.

Initially a Ravens UDFA back in 2011, Bynes returned to Baltimore in 2019. Macdonald was his position coach during that stint, working as the Ravens’ LBs instructor under Don Martindale from 2018-20. When Bynes came back for his final tour of duty in Maryland — from 2021-22 — Macdonald had ascended to the defensive coordinator role. Bynes made that season his last in the league.

Despite Bynes’ journeyman status, he remained a Ravens starter to open the 2022 season. The team turned to the veteran alongside Patrick Queen for the season’s first seven games, keeping that arrangement in place until trading for Roquan Smith before the 2022 deadline. Bynes did not play following that trade, though he remained with the Ravens on a practice squad deal. Following the likes of NaVorro Bowman and Dont’a Hightower, Bynes will transition from linebacker duty straight onto an NFL staff. Bynes will also be working under DC Aden Durde and senior assistant Leslie Frazier.

The Seahawks are also expected to hire Jeff Howard as their defensive backs coach, per 247Sports’ Matt Zenitz. Howard worked as an assistant under Frazier in Minnesota. He served as pass-game coordinator under Joe Woods in Cleveland from 2020-22, coaching the Browns’ DBs, and stopped in as the Chargers’ linebackers coach last season.

Coaching Notes: Burke, Bolts, Wendell, Jags

In the early days of the Cardinals‘ search for their next head coach, it was uncertain which assistants would be back. That still may be the case. But the Browns sought to hire one of the Cards’ assistants in January. Cleveland hiring Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator prompted an interview request for Arizona defensive line coach Matt Burke, per Albert Breer of (on Twitter). Burke had been the Lions’ linebackers coach throughout Schwartz’s time as Detroit’s HC, and the Browns wanted to reunite the veteran assistant with their new DC. But the Cardinals blocked the move, Breer adds.

This ended up working out well for Burke. Weeks later, the Texans filling their head coaching post led to DeMeco Ryans bringing him in for a defensive coordinator interview. Burke is now Houston’s DC, and he may be in position to call plays. Teams cannot block position coaches from interviewing for coordinator jobs any longer. The Cardinals’ HC hire will not come to pass until at least next week. Then, Arizona’s staff will start to take shape. Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Former Patriots offensive lineman Ryan Wendell will receive his first chance as an offensive line coach. The Rams are hiring him to lead their O-line, Dan Graziano of tweets. Wendell, 36, spent the past four seasons with the Bills — the past three as their assistant O-line coach. Wendell played eight seasons with the Patriots, three as a regular starter, and was the team’s starting right guard during its Super Bowl XLIX-winning season in 2014. After beginning his coaching run in Buffalo, Wendell will take over a Rams O-line that struggled consistently last season.
  • The Chargers are in the process of filling out Kellen Moore‘s new offensive staff. They interviewed Raiders offensive assistant Fred Walker for their quarterbacks coach position, Tom Pelissero of tweets. One of Josh McDaniels‘ hires last year, Walker came to Las Vegas after a run on Duke’s staff under David Cutcliffe. The first of those years, back in 2018, featured Walker working as Daniel Jones‘ QBs coach.
  • Former Browns defensive backs coach Jeff Howard had multiple options to continue his career. He received offers from both the Chargers and Panthers, according to’s Jake Trotter, who notes Howard chose the Bolts (Twitter link). Howard, an NFL assistant for the past 10 seasons, will be the Chargers’ next linebackers coach. The 40-year-old staffer spent seven years as a Vikings assistant before taking the Browns’ DBs job in 2020.
  • In addition to Wendell, the Bills will lose another assistant. Buffalo wide receivers coach Chad Hall will leave to take the same position with the Jaguars, Pelissero notes (via Twitter). Hall, 36, had spent the past four seasons as the Bills’ wideouts coach and had been with the team since Sean McDermott arrived in 2017. Hall’s contract had expired. An NFL receiver from 2010-14, Hall’s last stop came with the Jaguars. He also began his career with the Eagles, when current Jags HC Doug Pederson was on staff.
  • Sean Payton had eyed Dan Roushar, a longtime Saints assistant, for a spot on his Broncos staff. But the veteran assistant will instead stay in Louisiana. Roushar, whom the Saints dismissed last month, is expected to land on Tulane’s staff, Bruce Feldman of tweets. Payton lured Roushar out of the college ranks in 2013, and he spent 10 seasons with the Saints coaching multiple positions. Payton will undoubtedly add some of his former Saints coworkers to his Broncos staff — Ronald Curry has interviewed for Denver’s OC job — but Roushar will return to the college game.

Browns Activate Joel Bitonio

The Browns have activated left guard Joel Bitonio off of the COVID-19 list, per a club announcement. To make room, the Browns waived safety Tedric Thompson. The Browns will also have head coach Kevin Stefanski back on the sidelines against Kansas City, now that he’s been cleared.

Bitonio tested positive for the coronavirus just prior to the Browns’ first-round playoff game against the Steelers. It was a huge loss, but the Browns still managed to throttle the Steelers in the first quarter and hold on for the victory. Now, they’ll have the three-time Pro Bowler back in action as they face the Chiefs in the divisional round.

Bitonio has been a rock for the Browns throughout his seven-year career, despite constant instability in Cleveland. Up until the diagnosis, Bitonio hadn’t missed a snap since 2016. Still, the Browns aren’t 100% healthy on the offensive line. Tackle Jack Conklin was forced out of the Steelers game with a hamstring and his status might not be determined until we get closer to kickoff.

In addition to activating Bitonio, the Browns moved wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge off their reserve/COVID list. They will also have all their coaches back after coronavirus issues forced them to miss last week’s game. Secondary coach Jeff Howard, tight ends coach Drew Petzing and assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters will all coach Sunday, Mary Kay Cabot of notes (Twitter links).

Denzel Ward To Miss Wild-Card Game

The Browns’ uphill battle in their first playoff game in 18 years became steeper Saturday. The team announced it will be without top cornerback Denzel Ward in Pittsburgh.

Ward will remain on the Browns’ reserve/COVID-19 list. So will fellow starting cornerback Kevin Johnson, who also tested positive last week. Both missing last week limited a Browns secondary in a game when Mason Rudolph threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns.

Based on his timeline, coronavirus protocols would have allowed Ward to suit up against the Steelers. But this would have required Ward being asymptomatic and passing the necessary tests. The third-year corner has not hit the necessary checkpoints, which will leave the Browns shorthanded Sunday night. The NFL found some COVID-19 spread within the Browns but did not move to postpone the AFC North playoff matchup.

However, the Browns will have some players back for their Steelers tilt. The team activated safety Ronnie Harrison, linebacker Malcolm Smith and tight end Harrison Bryant from its virus list. Harrison tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, but the NFL deemed it a false positive, Mary Kay Cabot of reports. Browns corner Terrance Mitchell was held out of practice Friday after testing positive, per Cabot, but that has also since been deemed a false positive.

The returns of Harrison, Smith and Bryant leave Ward, Johnson, Joel Bitonio and KhaDarel Hodge on Cleveland’s COVID list. Several coaches, however, will miss the game. Kevin Stefanski, offensive line coach Bill Callahan, assistant O-line coach Scott Peters, tight ends coach Drew Petzing and DBs coach Jeff Howard are out Sunday night. After coaching the Browns’ wide receivers last week, first-year Cleveland assistant Callie Brownson will coach tight ends this week, Aditi Kinkhabwala of tweets.

Coaching Notes: Titans, Lions, Browns, Panthers

The Titans have fired linebackers coach Tyrone McKenzie, according to veteran reporter Paul Kuharsky (via Twitter). The 2009 third-rounder will be moving on to a role on the Lions staff (via Charean Williams of

Following an underwhelming playing career, McKenzie joined the Rams as an assistant special teams coach during the 2017 season. He joined the Tennessee coaching staff prior to the 2018 campaign, and he’s been in the role for the past two seasons.

The 45-year-old has plenty of familiarity with Lions head coach Matt Patricia, as Patricia served as the Patriots linebackers coach during McKenzie’s stint as a player in New England. He’ll presumably take on a role with the linebackers in Detroit.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • The Browns are hiring Jeff Howard as their passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach, reports’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Howard, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Vikings organization, has worked with head coach Kevin Stefanski. He’ll be joining a defensive coaching staff that’s expected to be helmed by 49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods, who’s expected to be named defensive coordinator.
  • After spending the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Baylor, Phil Snow recently joined the Panthers in the same position. The veteran coach spoke with media members yesterday, and he discussed the role that new Panthers head coach (and former Baylor head coach) Matt Rhule played in his hiring. “Well, I’ve known Coach Rhule since 2001, and our roles have completely changed,” Snow said (via the team’s website). “He was my graduate assistant when I was a defensive coordinator at UCLA, and now I’m working for him. We’ve got great respect for each other, he’s really a good football man, really a good head football coach. Players like him, he gets to know them, but we’ve just had a great relationship. When he took the Carolina job, he asked me if I’d come as a coordinator and I said yes, so here we are.”
  • We learned yesterday that veteran Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia had decided to retire.