John DeFilippo

NFC Coaching Notes: 49ers, Rams, Vikings, Giants

Kyle Shanahan has had to deal with quite a bit of turnover on his coaching staff this offseason. One of the most notable additions was made last night, however. According to his (now former) ESPN colleague Adam Schefter, San Francisco has brought in Brian Griese to become the team’s new quarterbacks coach (Twitter link).

This marks the first time the 46-year-old will hold a coaching role at the college or NFL level. He had followed in his father’s footsteps in terms of transitioning from a playing career to the broadcast booth. He initially joined ESPN’s college crew, before being brought on to the Monday Night Football broadcast team in 2020. That followed an 11-year career in the NFL, including five seasons with the Broncos where he won a Super Bowl as John Elway’ s backup.

The former Rose Bowl MVP will replace Rich Scangarello, who left the Bay Area to become the offensive coordinator at Kentucky. His first season on the sidelines will be an important one, with the team expected to transition to Trey Lance as their new starting QB. How quickly he meshes with Shanahan – who was on the Bucs’ staff when Griese played in Tampa – will be critical to the team’s success in 2022.

Here are some other notes from the NFC:

  • Before hiring Griese, San Francisco interviewed ex-Bears QBs coach John Defilippo “and a few others”, according to Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). In related 49ers’ news, running backs coach Bobby Turner will take this season off to rehab from two surgeries. However, the 72-year-old intends to return in 2023, tweets David Lombardi of The Athletic.
  • Staying in the NFC West, Rams assistant head coach Thomas Brown will transition from coaching running backs to tight ends, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (Twitter link). He will be a valuable staffer for Sean McVay, who has also lost a number of assistants in 2022; Brown will hire his replacement.
  • The Vikings have announced several additions to their staff, as noted by Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Among them are Tony Sorrentino as an assistant WRs coach, Derron Montgomery as an offensive quality control coach and Ryan Cordell as a passing game specialist. On the defense side of the ball, the Vikings are bringing in A’Lique Terry to assist on the defensive line, as well as Steve Donatell – the son of new DC Ed Donatell – as a defensive quality control coach.
  • The Giants have hired Angela Baker to be an offensive quality control coach, per a team announcement. She is the first recipient of the Rosie Brown Minority Coaching Fellowship, and joins Laura Young as the other woman on the team’s staff.

Coaching Notes: Bears, DeFilippo, Harris, Browns, Chiefs

The Bears made a staff move Monday that will surely have a lot of people in the NFL universe connecting dots. Chicago has promoted John DeFilippo to be passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, the team announced. He had previously just been QBs coach, and replaces Dave Ragone after he left to be Atlanta’s new OC. Thee promotion is eyebrow-raising because the Bears are reported to be pursuing Carson Wentz, and DeFilippo has an extensive history with the embattled Eagles quarterback.

DeFilippo, of course, was Wentz’s quarterbacks coach for his breakout 2017 season when the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl. He also coached Wentz during his rookie season before the Super Bowl earned him the job of Vikings offensive coordinator. He immediately clashed with Mike Zimmer, and was fired by Minnesota midway through the 2018 season. He was then hired as Jacksonville’s OC for 2019, and was fired after the season when he couldn’t recapture the magic he had previously with Nick Foles. The Bears making this move will do nothing to decrease the chatter about them acquiring Wentz, and now we wait.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • Washington DBs coach Chris Harris was the runner up for the Packers’ DC job that went to Joe Barry and is a name to watch moving forward for other openings, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. As Breer points out, he’s still only 38. Harris spent eight years in the league as a safety from 2005-12, and got his first coaching gig as a defensive quality control coach with the Bears in 2013.
  • DeFilippo isn’t the only coach who got a promotion on Monday, as the Browns announced they were promoting Ben Bloom to be their new defensive run game coordinator. Bloom spent the 2020 season as a general defensive assistant with the team, and clearly impressed. He was previously the linebackers coach of the Cowboys from 2018-19.
  • The Chiefs lost the Super Bowl yesterday, and they’re also losing a staff member. Kansas City running backs coach Deland McCullough is leaving to become an associate head coach at Indiana University, sources told FootballScoop (Twitter link). The news was confirmed in a subsequent tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who notes that McCullough’s ultimate goal is to become a college head coach.
  • The Bears made another recent shuffling of Matt Nagy’s staff, hiring Michael Pitre to be the new running backs coach, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN tweets. Pitre had been the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Oregon State. He’ll replace Charles London, who left Chicago along with Ragone to be the new quarterbacks coach with the Falcons.

Bears To Hire John DeFilippo As QBs Coach

The Bears have hired former Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Incumbent Chicago quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone is being promoted to passing game coordinator.

DeFilippo didn’t last long in the free agent coaching ranks after being let go by Jacksonville earlier this week. The 41-year-old spent only a single season with the Jaguars, leading an offense which ranked 24th in offensive DVOA and 26th in scoring.

In Jacksonville, DeFilippo was dealt an early blow when free agent addition Nick Foles went down in Week 1, but he was able to coax a reasonable performance out of sixth-round rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. The Jaguars represented DeFilippo’s third OC job, and neither of his first two gigs (with the Browns and the Vikings) lasted more than one year, either.

In Chicago, DeFilippo will work alongside Ragone and new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in an effort to right the Mitchell Trubisky ship. Head coach Matt Nagy will retain play-calling duty, but DeFilippo, Ragone, and Lazor will surely all have a hand in not only Trubisky’s continued development, but the Bears’ weekly game-planning.

Jaguars Part Ways With John DeFilippo

The Jaguars announced that they have parted ways with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. This marks yet another short-lived stint for DeFilippo – all three of his OC stints have lasted one season, or less.

DeFilippo served just one year as the Browns’ OC in 2015 and was fired as the Vikings’ OC after Week 14 in the 2018 season. Although the Jaguars say this divorce was mutual, it was likely a decision made by the team.

In 2019, the Jaguars finished 26th in points scored and with an overall record of 6-10. Losing Nick Foles to a broken collarbone in Week 1 was an obvious blow to DeFilippo’s plans, but Garner Minshew stepped up in his absence and, for a while, looked the part of a quality NFL starter. Unfortunately, they were unable to ride Minshew Mania into sustained success, and the Jaguars are now looking to move in a new direction.

The Jaguars’ next OC will be tasked with developing Minshew and getting the most out of running back Leonard Fournette, who turned in a healthy season and a solid 4.3 yards-per-carry average. On the flipside, there might not be much room to add offensive firepower. The Jaguars currently have a projected $208MM cap figure, which means they’ll have to shed veteran contracts in order to have any breathing room in March.

Jaguars To Hire John DeFilippo As OC

The Jaguars are expected to hire former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as their new OC, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). DeFilippo beat out a small group of other candidates, including former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell and former Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy

There were eye rolls around the football world when the Jaguars made contact with McCoy this week and there’s sure to be some eyebrow raises about their hiring of DeFilippo. DeFilippo was hailed as a quarterback whisperer in Philadelphia for his coaching of Carson Wentz and his ability to quickly get Nick Foles ready for primetime at the end of the 2017 season, but he flopped as the OC in Minnesota. The Vikings handed him a pink slip midway through the year as their Kirk Cousins-powered offense floundered.

DeFilippo will have his work cut out for him in Jacksonville. Many believe the Jaguars should move on from quarterback Blake Bortles, but releasing him would leave $16.5MM in dead money on the cap, which may ultimately tie them to the former first-round pick for another season. If they do let him go, they’ll have less money to fill holes elsewhere and that may mean relying on a rookie QB. The Jaguars have the No. 7 overall pick, which will probably be too late to land Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, the consensus top QB in this year’s draft.

Cardinals, Jaguars Interview John DeFilippo

The Jaguars interviewed former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo for their OC position, according to Mike Kaye of NJ.com (on Twitter). DeFilippo also met with the Cardinals regarding their OC vacancy, per 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro

DeFilippo was a hot name in coaching circles after helping to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory last year, but things fell apart for him in Minnesota. As the offense sputtered, the Vikings canned DeFilippo in December, bringing his tenure to a close after less than one season.

Apparently, the brief run in Minnesota has not damaged DeFilippo’s reputation around the league. He didn’t click with Kirk Cousins, but he did get great performances out of Carson Wentz and late season fill-in Nick Foles in 2017. Both the Cardinals and Jaguars could use a quarterback whisperer, and that was likely the basis for DeFilippo’s pitch in both interviews.

In his 13 games as the Vikings’ OC, the club went just 6-6-1. Before his dismissal, the Vikings went five straight games without topping 24 points.

Eagles Not Planning To Re-Hire DeFilippo

Former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is back on the market, but it doesn’t sound like a reunion is in the works. On Thursday, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters that there are no plans to bring the offensive guru back into the fold. 

[RELATED: Vikings Fire John DeFilippo]

What I’ll say is John did a great job for me,” Pederson said (via Zach Berman and Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “He helped us win a world championship and then he had an opportunity. I love my coaches. I’m confident in the guys we have. At this time, no.”

Last year, DeFilippo was a hot candidate for both head coaching jobs and offensive coordinator vacancies. HC interviews with the Bears and Cardinals did not vault him all the way up the ladder, but he landed a coveted OC job in Minnesota. Unfortunately, his offense did not perform up to snuff in 2018, despite a strong group of receivers and the arrival of high-priced quarterback Kirk Cousins.

DeFilippo still figures to draw interest as an assistant this offseason, but he’s unlikely to have the same kind of buzz this time around.

Vikings Fire OC John DeFilippo

Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has been fired, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). DeFilippo was a hot name in coaching circles after helping to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory last year, but things have not gone according to plan in Minnesota. 

[RELATED: Vikings’ George Paton Remains Top GM Candidate]

After the Vikings were blown out in the NFC Championship game by the Eagles, they hired Philly’s quarterbacks coach to oversee their offense. They also gave Kirk Cousins a historic three-year, fully guaranteed contract with the expectation that he would greatly outperform Case Keenum. Cousins, so far, has not lived up to the deal, and the Vikings seem to think that DeFilippo is partly to blame.

Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski will replace DeFilippo as OC, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter). Stefanski becomes the fourth offensive coordinator to serve under Mike Zimmer since 2014, following Norv Turner (quit), Pat Shurmur (hired away by the Giants), and DeFilippo (fired).

The midseason change is far from ideal, but Stefanski has been with the team since 2006 and was a candidate for the OC position before DeFilippo was hired, so he’s qualified for the role. Stefanski was also a top candidate for the Giants’ OC post in February before the Vikings denied their request for an interview.

DeFilippo’s dismissal comes hours after an embarrassing 21-7 loss to the Seahawks. The defeat dropped their playoff odds to just 57%, according to FiveThirtyEight, ramping up the pressure in advance of this week’s tilt against the Dolphins. The good news here is that the Vikings still control their own destiny – wins over the Dolphins, Lions, and Bears would clinch their spot in the postseason.

This wasn’t a banner year for DeFilippo, but he figures to be a popular target for teams yet again this offseason. The 40-year-old may or may not get head coaching interviews, but he’ll probably be in the mix for multiple OC vacancies.

DeFilippo has been criticized for relying on the pass too much and ignoring the run game, but it’s worth noting that he was without star rusher Dalvin Cook for much of the fall. The offensive line has also been shaky and it’s fair to wonder whether GM Rick Spielman did enough to bolster the unit in the offseason.

North Notes: Bell, Browns, Green, Cook

The Le’Veon Bell saga is coming to a head, as the Steelers running back must sign his franchise tender by November 13 to be eligible to play for any team this season. But as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, the CBA does not dictate that Bell must report by that day, only that he sign the tender. That means that Bell could sign the tender and not report until next Saturday, which would make him eligible to be added to the roster for next Sunday’s game — not that he would be playing in that game regardless — or he could just not sign the tender at all and skip the entire season.

The latter option is not considered likely at this time, but La Canfora says that if Bell does skip the entire 2018 campaign, the Steelers would strongly consider slapping the franchise or transition tag on him next offseason, which would of course set up another drama-filled battle. La Canfora further reports that no rival clubs called Pittsburgh at last week’s trade deadline in an attempt to acquire Bell.

Now for more the league’s North divisions:

  • When the Browns have hired a new head coach in recent seasons, they have used a search firm, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) says he would be surprised if the team, with respected GM John Dorsey now in charge, goes that route when it looks for another HC this offseason. Rapoport’s sources expect Dorsey to conduct the search himself, and they expect that he will do so very “secretly.” Rapoport says one name under consideration would be Josh McDaniels, who is reportedly open to revisiting HC opportunities (should another one come his way), and RapSheet also lists John DeFilippo, Mike McCarthy, and Lincoln Riley as potential targets.
  • Bengals WR A.J. Green is battling a toe injury, per Rapoport (via Twitter), who says that Green either has visited or will visit foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson. There will be more clarity on the injury soon, and Rapoport says surgery remains on the table. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Green is expected to miss time regardless of whether he has surgery.
  • Vikings WR Stefon Diggs will miss today’s game with a rib injury, per Rapoport (video link), though it is uncertain whether Diggs will miss any additional time (given that he expected to play today and was listed as questionable on the final injury report, it seems that he’ll be ready to go after Minnesota’s bye next week. Meanwhile, RB Dalvin Cook is expected to hit the field today, which will mark his first appearance since Week 4. Cook will be on a pitch count and is only expected to see 20 snaps or so, but when the team returns from bye, it could have Cook and Diggs at full strength.
  • The Packers signed punter Drew Kaser yesterday, but the team is not moving on from incumbent J.K. Scott at this time, per ESPN.com. However, it is still an open question as to whether Scott will be punting against the Patriots tonight.
  • We learned earlier today that Ravens HC John Harbaugh is on the hot seat as the team faces a critical divisional matchup against Pittsburgh this afternoon.

Vikings Rumors: DeFilippo, O-Line, Barr

John DeFilippo played a big part in the Vikings‘ quarterback search. The new Minnesota offensive coordinator began studying film of the team’s three previous quarterbacks — Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum — on his first morning with the team in mid-February, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes. This process of finding a potential long-term option in Kirk Cousins also included scouting of QBs that weren’t Cousins or the Vikings’ free agent trio, per Goessling, who adds QBs coach Kevin Stefanski was also involved in this process, along with Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer. DeFilippo and Cousins met at dinner the night before the new Minnesota starter signed his three-year, $84MM contract, per Goessling. Minnesota has not had a quarterback make it through three straight seasons as the primary starter since Daunte Culpepper in the early 2000s, and DeFilippo called the franchise’s signal-caller search as thorough as anything he’s been involved with in the NFL.

Here’s the latest from the Twin Cities:

  • Previously stationed at right tackle at Vikings OTAs, Mike Remmers took reps exclusively at right guard during one of the OTA sessions this week, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reports. Third-year UDFA Rashod Hill, in turn, lined up at right tackle. This was the Vikings’ arrangement at the end of last season. Remmers worked as the Panthers’ starting right tackle from 2014-16. Tom Compton, who worked as the primary right guard last week, alternated at left guard with Danny Isidora, per Krammer. Slotting Remmers at guard would give second-round pick Brian O’Neill an easier path to playing time, but it’s uncertain what Remmers’ primary position will be this season.
  • Anthony Barr reported to the Vikings this week and did so after taking out an insurance policy, Krammer notes. He missed the first week of Vikes OTAs while he ironed out this policy, which will cover him for injury while he’s still attached to his rookie deal. Barr remains hopeful he and the Vikings can come to terms before training camp. Minnesota agreed to extensions with Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph in a 10-day span just as camp began last year, and it would make sense Barr — one of the team’s big re-up candidates this year — would be the top priority for a pre-camp deal.
  • Despite being a first-round pick, Laquon Treadwell has 21 receptions (and no touchdowns) in two years. However, the Ole Miss product is not categorizing 2018 as a make-or-break year, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes. The Vikings cut Jarius Wright and have not re-signed Michael Floyd, potentially giving Treadwell a chance to move into the No. 3 wideout role. However, Minnesota’s Kendall Wright deal could impede that. Neverthless, it could be a stretch the Vikings pick up Treadwell’s fifth-year option in May of 2019 at this rate.