Kevin Petry

Coaching Notes: Bills, Panthers, Dolphins, Saints, Lions, Packers

Another former member of the Panthers organization is heading to Buffalo. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter), the Bills are hiring Al Holcomb as a senior defensive assistant. ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg tweets that the two sides have yet to officially finalize a deal but are heading in that direction.

After having previously spent five seasons as the Panthers linebackers coach, Holcomb returned to Carolina in 2020 as their defensive run game coordinator. When Steve Wilks became the Panthers interim head coach this past season, Holcomb was promoted to the team’s interim defensive coordinator/assistant head coach.

Holcomb worked under former Panthers defensive coordinator (and current Bills head coach) Sean McDermott in Carolina. He also worked alongside current Bills GM Brandon Beane, who previously served as Carolina’s director of football operations and assistant GM.

Speaking of the Panthers, they made their own coaching move today. The team announced that they’ve agreed to terms with linebackers coach Peter Hansen. The coach served in the same role with the Broncos last season, where he coached under new Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. The 43-year-old Hansen was previously the defensive coordinator at UNLV.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • The Dolphins are hiring Butch Barry as their new offensive line coach, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). Barry was recently canned by the Broncos after serving as their OL coach for one season, but now he’ll get another opportunity in Miami. The veteran coach will be replacing Matt Applebaum, who was let go after only one season with the Dolphins organization.
  • The Saints have been busy adding to their coaching staff. Cardinals defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson is heading to New Orleans, per Mike Jurecki (on Twitter). Robertson, who spent the past four years in Arizona, will presumably be serving in the same role with the Saints. Meanwhile, Nick Underhill of tweets that the Saints are closing in on a deal with Clancy Barone to serve as their tight ends coach. The veteran coach most recently served in that same role with the Bears, and he previously worked alongside Saints head coach Dennis Allen when the two were with the Broncos and with Texas A&M. Finally, Underhill tweets the the Saints are retaining offensive assistant Kevin Petry. The young coach “was coveted for a position by Sean Payton” in Denver, per Underhill, but the Saints ultimately convinced him to stick in New Orleans.
  • The Lions have made some changes to their coaching staff. Most notably, the team promoted J.T. Barrett to assistant quarterbacks coach and Shaun Dion Hamilton to assistant linebackers coach. Barrett, a former star at Ohio State, bounced around the NFL before joining the Lions coaching staff as an offensive assistant last offseason. Hamilton, a former sixth-round pick, spent a year on the Lions’ roster before joining their coaching staff last year. Per Tim Twentyman of the team’s website (on Twitter), the Lions also promoted Brian Duker to defensive backs coach, Tanner Engstrand to passing game coordinator, and Steve Oliver to assistant offensive line coach. The Lions have also added Dre Thompson as a defensive quality control coach.
  • The Packers are hiring former Cardinals cornerbacks coach Greg Williams, according to Tom Silverstein of Packers News. It’s uncertain what role Williams will fill on Matt LaFleur’s staff, but Silverstein expects him to help fill the void left by defensive passing game coordinator Jerry Gray, who left Green Bay for the Falcons. Prior to his four-year stint in Arizona, Williams served as the Broncos and Colts defensive backs coach.

Broncos To Interview Ronald Curry For OC

After some early work on his defensive coordinator position, Sean Payton is moving on his OC pursuit. The first candidate, unsurprisingly, worked with the new Broncos HC in New Orleans.

The Broncos have set up an interview with Saints quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry, Jeff Duncan of notes. Curry, who coached with Payton from 2016-21, is also in consideration for the Buccaneers’ OC job. Payton deciding on Denver could make a difference for the former NFL wide receiver.

Entering the coaching ranks on Jim Harbaugh‘s 49ers staff back in 2014, Curry moved up the ladder under Payton. The Saints promoted Curry to wide receivers coach in 2018 and to QBs coach in 2021. Dennis Allen kept him on in that role in 2022. Regardless of Curry’s contract status, the Saints could not block him from joining the Broncos as OC due to the promotion it would entail. Curry, a quarterback at North Carolina, played seven seasons as a Raiders wideout in the 2000s.

Curry’s promotion came shortly after Drew Brees‘ retirement, and the Saints — who had previously enjoyed one of the longest-tenured starting QBs in NFL history — have started five over the past two seasons. The team benched Jameis Winston following an early-season injury, sticking with Andy Dalton the rest of the way. Despite not being a regular starter since his Bengals tenure wrapped in 2019, Dalton ranked ninth in passer rating. Curry just finished working as the National Team’s play-caller at the Senior Bowl.

Payton is expected to call plays in Denver. The Broncos went through three play-callers this past season; OC Justin Outten represented the last of those. While the Broncos put up multiple barriers to keep DC Ejiro Evero, they allowed Outten to interview for the Ravens’ OC post early. That points to the former Packers assistant not being in the team’s plans any longer. Outten has spoken with the Ravens twice about their OC job. Eventually let out of his Broncos contract, Evero is now the Panthers’ DC.

The Broncos are expected to bring in Saints staffer Zach Strief and have Declan Doyle on the radar for a Louisiana-to-Colorado move. Payton has also made an offer to Saints assistant Kevin Petry, according to Duncan. Petry has worked as an operations assistant with the Saints for the past six years. Payton is also interested in bringing Mike Westhoff out of retirement, Albert Breer of tweets. Westhoff, 75, worked as a special teams assistant in New Orleans from 2017-18 but has not coached since. He previously enjoyed long tenures with the Jets (2001-12) and Dolphins (1986-2000) and has been in coaching since 1974. The Broncos are also interested in ex-Saints co-DC Kris Richard and longtime offensive staffer Dan Roushar, whom the team fired last month.