Keith Willis

Coaching Notes: Cowher, McDermott, Hirings

With CBS broadcasting this year’s Super Bowl, Bill Cowher is in San Francisco to cover the game for the network. But just because he’s on the media side of things now doesn’t mean he can avoid questions about a potential return to coaching.

Asked on Monday about that possibility, Cowher said that he didn’t have any contact with the Giants about their head coaching job after Tom Coughlin resigned, but the former Steelers head coach didn’t rule out a return to an NFL sideline, as Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News details.

“You know what? I’ve never shut a door,” Cowher said. “I don’t think you need to shut a door that you don’t need to. I’m very happy at CBS. I love what I’m doing. I’m 58 years old. I feel young. I still feel involved in the game. But this element of the game gives me a life that I was never able to experience before…. I never say never, but I’m very, very satisfied with where I’m at.”

Here are several more coaching-related updates from around the NFL:

  • Speaking to the media on Monday night, Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott confirmed that he spoke to Howie Roseman about the Eagles‘ head coaching opening, despite not having a formal interview with the team, writes Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We had some preliminary talks,” McDermott said. “It was clear from the beginning they wanted to go offense.”
  • The Cowboys are looking to hire a replacement for defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, who joined the Falcons, and the next coach Dallas is talking to is former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, tweets Ian Rapoport of
  • Alex Marvez of FOX Sports has the details on a couple additions to the Browns‘ coaching staff, reporting (via Twitter) that the team has hired Johnny Holland and Eric Sanders. Holland, who had been working in the CFL, resigned from the B.C. Lions last month because he knew he would have a position on Hue Jackson‘s staff, according to Marvez, who adds that Holland will be the Browns’ inside linebackers coach (Twitter links). Sanders, a Stanford defensive assistant, will join the Browns in the same capacity.
  • The Chargers have hired former Titans quarterbacks coach John McNulty as their new tight ends coach, according to Marvez (via Twitter). McNulty has a longtime connection to former Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who has now returned to the offensive coordinator role in San Diego.
  • The Titans have completed their coaching staff, hiring Keith Willis as the team’s assistant defensive line coach and Brandon Blaney as a defensive assistant, the club announced in a press release.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Vegas, Jets, Chiefs, Titans

There was a report Thursday that Raiders owner Mark Davis and Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson would meet Friday to potentially discuss stadium details. That meeting did indeed happen, as the company tweeted that Davis and Adelson “had a great visit.”

If Davis does try to move the Raiders to Las Vegas, he’s likely to meet resistance from the NFL because of the city’s association with sports gambling, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Cole adds that the hypothetical Las Vegas Raiders would be a “windfall” for Davis because he wouldn’t have to put much money toward a stadium. Most of the funding would come from Adelson.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • In November, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star reported the Chiefs and free agent-to-be Jaye Howard were discussing a long-term deal. Paylor updated the situation Friday, tweeting that the Chiefs and the defensive linemen “have maintained solid dialogue.” The talks are “fluid,” a source told Paylor. Howard, 27, set career highs in starts (14), tackles (57) and sacks (5.5) during the 2015-16 season, and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded him a terrific 24th among 123 qualifying interior D-linemen.
  • Like Howard, Jets running back Chris Ivory is also nearing free agency. The fact that the Jets are low on cap space and have higher priority free agents in Muhammad Wilkerson and Ryan Fitzpatrick could lead to Ivory’s departure, which the Pro Bowler acknowledged Friday. “They want to bring me back but like I said, I think it’s about the cap space. That’s going to be the biggest factor as to whether I’m back or not,” Ivory told Around the League, per Conor Orr of Ivory is coming off his first thousand-yard season (1,070), one which also saw him establish new career bests in carries (247), receptions (30) and touchdowns (eight).
  • The Titans have hired Keith Willis as their assistant defensive line coach, according to Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). Willis, who played in the NFL from 1982-1993, had been the D-line coach for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes since 2013.