Marcus West

Coaching Notes: Vrabel, Fangio, Dolphins, Eagles, Marrone, Saints, Titans, Bills

Seeing as Mike Vrabel went from highly regarded HC to trade candidate to bumped off this year’s carousel entirely, potential reasoning behind the ex-Titans boss’ standing is certainly relevant. Vrabel’s old-school, intimidating style may have been a factor in him not landing a job, with a GM going so far as to mention to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini this even could even extend to his physical stature. The former NFL linebacker also may have found himself pigeonholed as a slightly older candidate, even at 48, than some owners wanted, Russini offered during an appearance on The Athletic Football Show. Only Jim Harbaugh (60) and Dan Quinn (53) was older among this year’s eight HC hires. Vrabel interviewed for the Falcons, Panthers and Chargers’ jobs.

Some teams were interested in hiring Vrabel as a defensive coordinator, Russini adds, but the six-year NFL HC has not been connected to any specific coordinator jobs. With not many DC positions left, Vrabel seems likely to join Bill Belichick as coaches on the outside looking in this year. Vrabel may stand to have a better chance of landing another HC job moving forward, with Belichick set to turn 72 in April. For now, however, he is out of the league. The reports about Vrabel clashing with Titans ownership may have impacted his chances as well.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • On the subject of coaching clashes, Vic Fangio‘s style did not appear to draw universal praise while with the Dolphins. Jalen Ramsey, Jevon Holland and rookie Cam Smith expressed issues with the veteran DC,’s Adam Beasley notes. While praising Fangio’s old-school demands, Tyreek Hill also relayed a rumor about others indicating behind closed doors the team’s 2023 DC wanted to return to Philadelphia. Previously mentioned as rubbing some in Miami the wrong way, Fangio is indeed back with the Eagles. The Dolphins have hired ex-Ravens D-line coach Anthony Weaver to replace him.
  • Preparing to hire Klint Kubiak as offensive coordinator, the Saints will not extend Doug Marrone‘s second stint with the team into the 2024 season. In place as the Saints’ offensive line coach from 2022-23, Marrone will not be asked back, Nick Underhill of tweets. The Saints have veteran O-line coach John Benton as a frontrunner to fill the spot,’s Luke Johnson adds. Benton, 60, would be a logical hire. He worked as Gary Kubiak‘s O-line coach for eight years in Houston and was the 49ers’ O-line coach under Kyle Shanahan from 2017-20. After following Robert Saleh to New York in 2021, Benton spent this past season out of football.
  • Former Falcons assistants Steve Jackson and Frank Bush will be part of new Titans DC Dennard Wilson‘s staff,’s Turron Davenport tweets. A former Texans DC and interim Jets DC, Bush was on Arthur Smith‘s Falcons staff as linebackers coach for three years. This will be a return trip for Jackson, who has a history as a player and a coach with the franchise. A former Oilers cornerback, Jackson finished his career in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans. He later served as assistant DBs coach under Mike Mularkey in Tennessee from 2016-17. Jackson spent the past two seasons with the Falcons.
  • The Bills are moving senior defensive assistant Al Holcomb to a position coach role. The former Panthers DC will replace Bobby Babich as Buffalo’s linebackers coach,’s Alaina Getzenberg notes. Babich is now Buffalo’s DC. Holcomb, who worked with Sean McDermott in Carolina, joined the Bills last year. The AFC East champs are also promoting Marcus West from assistant defensive line coach to D-line coach to replace Eric Washington, who became the Bears’ DC last month.

Coaching Notes: Ravens, Colts, Bills, Browns

Ken Norton Jr. is heading to the NCAA. The long-time coach is expected to join UCLA as their new linebackers coach, reports Bruce Feldman of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Norton Jr. started his coaching career with USC, but he’s been in the NFL since 2010. After winning three Super Bowl rings as a player, Norton Jr. added another championship to his resume as the Seahawks linebackers coach. After five seasons in Seattle, Norton Jr. was defensive coordinator for three years with the Raiders and four years with the Seahawks (second stint).

Norton Jr. was let go by Seattle following the 2021 campaign. Now, he’ll be joining Chip Kelly’s staff in Los Angeles.

More coaching notes:

  • The Ravens announced that they’ve officially promoted Anthony Weaver to be their assistant head coach/defensive line coach. Weaver had a long coaching stint with the Texans, culminating in him serving as their defensive coordinator in 2020. The 41-year-old joined the Ravens last year as their defensive line coach/run game coordinator.
  • Former NFL safety Mike Mitchell is joining the Colts staff as an assistant secondary coach, according to Stephen Holder of The Athletic (on Twitter). Mitchell had a 10-year playing career, including a one-year stint with Indianapolis. The Colts are also hiring Nate Ollie as their defensive line coach, per Aaron Wilson of (via Twitter). Following two seasons with the Eagles, Ollie spent last season as the Jets assistant defensive line coach.
  • Bills secondary coach John Butler got a promotion, adding the role of defensive passing game coordinator to his title, according to Wilson. The veteran has spent the past four seasons as the secondary coach in Buffalo. The Bills also confirmed a number of additional hires, including Kyle Shurmur (defensive quality control coach), Nick Lacy (strength and conditioning assistant coach), Marcus West (assistant defensive line coach), Jaylon Finner (defensive quality control coach), Cory Harkey (assistant special teams coach), and Austin Gund (fellowship coach).
  • The Browns are expected to promote offensive assistant T.C. McCartney to tight ends coach, according to Wilson (on Twitter). The 32-year-old has bounced around the NFL a bit during his coaching journey. After spending the 2019 campaign as the Broncos quarterbacks coach, McCartney spent the 2020 season as an offensive assistant on the Browns.

AFC Coaching Notes: Pederson, Broncos, Bills, Raiders, Texans

Although the Jaguars had offensive-oriented coaches in place as head coach in Doug Marrone and Urban Meyer, neither operated as the team’s primary play-caller. That pattern will change with Doug Pederson. The former Eagles HC will call the Jaguars’ offensive plays, Ian Rapoport of tweets. This is not surprising, with the former Super Bowl-winning coach having been Philadelphia’s play-caller during his five seasons at the helm. Pederson also helped establish his HC case by calling plays at points with the Chiefs. Pederson’s primary task will be relaunching Trevor Lawrence‘s career after the prized quarterback prospect struggled under Meyer and Darrell Bevell. OC Press Taylor has not called plays previously, but passing-game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has. They will be Pederson’s right-hand men on his Lawrence reboot effort.

Here is the latest from the AFC coaching ranks:

  • In addition to making the long-expected Ejiro Evero defensive coordinator hire, the Broncos are plucking two more assistants off the Rams’ staff in the wake of Super Bowl LVI. Dwayne Stukes is coming to Denver to be the team’s special teams coordinator, while Marcus Dixon is leaving Los Angeles for Colorado to be the new Broncos D-line coach. Stukes, 45, spent the 2021 season as the Rams’ assistant ST coordinator. Stukes has experience as an ST coordinator — with the 2011 Buccaneers — and has been an assistant ST coach with the Bears and Giants. Dixon will also be a one-and-done with the Rams, having been hired as their assistant D-line coach last year. Previously, Dixon spent four years as an assistant at Division I-FCS Hampton.
  • The Raiders are hiring a new defensive line coach, tabbing Frank Okam for that role, per’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). This comes more than a month after the Panthers fired Okam. Carolina brought Okam from Matt Rhule‘s Baylor staff in 2020, when he served as the Panthers’ assistant D-line coach. Carolina bumped Okam to its D-line coach last year. He will follow ex-Panthers assistant Jason Simmons to Las Vegas.
  • The Bills are expected to hire Marcus West as a defensive assistant, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweets. Previously a co-defensive coordinator at Charlotte, West is on track to be the Bills’ assistant D-line coach, per Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (on Twitter). This will be West’s first NFL coaching gig.
  • One of the Marrone-era holdovers Meyer kept on his lone Jaguars staff, Joe Danna is now on board as the Texans’ safeties coach, Aaron Wilson of tweets. Danna spent five seasons in Jacksonville and was with the Jets and Falcons as well, serving as DBs coach with both teams.