The Texans‘ coaching search meandered from Brian Flores and Josh McCown to the latter’s former head coach. Lovie Smith coached McCown in Chicago and then brought him to Tampa in 2014. McCown interviewed for Houston’s HC job three times over the past year and change but still does not have any NFL coaching experience. While it is clear the Texans’ front office would be on board with having McCown on staff, Smith might not be. At least, not in 2022. The new Texans HC praised McCown as a future coach and added (via Fox 26’s Mark Berman, video link) he would want him on his staff “eventually someday.” Smith already promoted quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton to offensive coordinator. McCown could conceivably fill Hamilton’s old post as QBs coach, however, if the Texans are indeed intent on him eventually becoming their head coach.
Here is the latest from the AFC coaching ranks:
- John Pagano spent the past two seasons as the Broncos‘ outside linebackers coach, taking over after Brandon Staley departed for Los Angeles in 2020. During that span, the Broncos saw some new edge contributors — Malik Reed, Stephen Weatherly and seventh-round rookie Jonathon Cooper — help out to the point the team felt OK trading Von Miller. Pagano, however, will not be on Nathaniel Hackett‘s first Denver staff, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). The former Raiders and Chargers DC has now been an NFL staffer for 26 seasons.
- Tim Kelly will serve as the Titans’ new passing-game coordinator, per TennesseeTitans.com’s Jim Wyatt. Kelly, the Texans’ OC from 2019-21, will work alongside Titans OC Todd Downing. Tim Kelly, the older brother of ex-Titans right tackle Dennis Kelly, and Mike Vrabel worked together on Houston’s staff ahead of the latter’s move to Tennessee. The Titans also hired Bobby King to be their inside linebackers coach. King also worked in Houston alongside Vrabel in 2017; he finished his Texans tenure as the team’s D-line coach this past season.
- Denver interviewed Jason Simmons for its defensive coordinator job — a post expected to go to Rams secondary coach Ejiro Evero — but the Carolina assistant will instead head to Las Vegas. The Raiders are hiring Simmons as their secondary coach, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Simmons worked with new Raider DC Patrick Graham with the Packers in 2018.
- The Steelers did not renew Ike Hilliard‘s contract, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (on Twitter), and hired Frisman Jackson to coach their wide receivers. Jackson will leave Matt Rhule‘s hub for ex-Temple and Baylor coaches for Pittsburgh. The former NFL wideout, after stints with Rhule at both college programs, coached the Panthers’ receivers in each of Rhule’s first two years. Hilliard served as the Steelers’ receivers coach during that span.
- Ex-NFL D-linemen-turned-assistants Brentson Buckner and Phillip Daniels may be vying for the Jaguars‘ D-line coach role, with Wilson adding the team is considering each for the position (Twitter link). Buckner currently serves as the Cardinals’ D-line coach. Daniels has less experience but worked under Doug Pederson in Philadelphia, working with the Eagles’ D-line from 2016-19. The Eagles fired Daniels after the ’19 season.
- The Jags are also hiring Louisiana assistant head coach Rory Segrest, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman tweets. Segrest has been in the college ranks for over a decade but was with the Eagles during Pederson’s time working under Andy Reid in the late 2000s.
- Circling back to the Broncos, they added a few more assistants early this week. UNLV DC Peter Hansen signed on to be Denver’s linebackers coach, Klis tweets. Hanson and Eviro were on Vic Fangio‘s 49ers staff from 2011-13. The Broncos also named Ben Steele their tight ends coach, Klis notes. Steele was the Vikings’ assistant O-line coach under Klint Kubiak this past season. Mike Mallory also joined Hackett’s Denver staff as assistant special teams coordinator (Twitter links). Mallory spent eight seasons with the Jaguars, as their ST coordinator and assistant ST coordinator (2013-20), working with Hackett for part of that stretch.