Mike Mitchell

Coaching Notes: Eagles, Canales, Bucs, Falcons, Fins, Fangio, Colts, Raiders, Jags

Mike Caldwell will not land the Eagles‘ DC position. Vic Fangio becoming available is expected to give the Eagles the candidate they wanted last year. Recently fired from his Jaguars DC post, Caldwell will still have a chance to end up in Philly. The Eagles are interviewing him for their linebackers coach position, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. Caldwell has a history with the Eagles as a player and coach. The longest stretch of Caldwell’s 11-year playing career came in Philly, transpiring from 1998-2001. Caldwell, 52, worked as a part-time starter for Ray Rhodes and Andy Reid‘s teams and joined Reid’s staff in 2008. On Reid’s final five Eagles staffs, Caldwell collected a Super Bowl ring as linebackers coach for the 2020 Buccaneers. The Raiders, however, have also shown interest.

With the coaching carousel spinning wildly, here is the latest:

  • The Falcons are the third team wanting to speak with Aden Durde about a DC post, joining the Packers and Rams. Raheem Morris wants to meet with the Cowboys’ defensive line coach, ESPN’s Todd Archer tweets. Durde, 44, has become quite popular. These are believed to be his first slips about a DC interview. Durde and Morris coached together in Atlanta from 2018-20; the former moved up from the quality control level — to outside linebackers coach — during Morris’ season as the Falcons’ interim HC. He has been in Dallas since.
  • Shifting back to Fangio, it seems there is little love lost between the veteran staffer and some Dolphins defenders he coached this season, agent Drew Rosenhaus said. Rosenahus mentions some Dolphins stood in Fangio’s corner but many did not. Fangio has been known to ruffle feathers but has been one of the most in-demand defensive coaches during the 21st century. The Dolphins had given him a deal worth more than $4.5MM per year. While his exit is being framed as the team letting the 65-year-old assistant return to his home state, unpopularity among players likely made that an easier decision.
  • The Buccaneers will not receive two third-round picks as a result of Dave Canales receiving a head coaching job, Mark Maske of the Washington Post notes. Although Canales is Latino, the Bucs will not pick up the Rooney Rule-driven draft haul due to the the coach’s one-year tenure, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud. Canales is believed to have needed to be with the Bucs for at least two years to receive the third-round selections from the NFL.
  • Matt House is returning to the NFL. The Jaguars are hiring the LSU defensive coordinator to be their linebackers coach, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. House, the Chiefs’ LBs coach from 2019-21, spent the past two seasons in Baton Rouge. He has served as a DC at four programs, including Kentucky. House will join Kris Richard and Cory Robinson as Ryan Nielsen Jacksonville hires thus far.
  • Spending the past three seasons as a Jets assistant, Ricky Manning Jr. will join the Raiders. The Silver and Black are hiring Manning as their new defensive backs coach. The former NFL DB spent time on the Raiders’ practice squad in 2009; his most notable coaching title has been assistant DBs coach in Seattle under Richard from 2016-17.
  • The Colts are not retaining two of their defensive staffers. They are letting the contracts of defensive line coach Nate Ollie and assistant DBs coach Mike Mitchell expire, per the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson, who adds neither staffer is expected back. Ollie, 32, joined Gus Bradley’s staff in 2022 despite having no history with the veteran coordinator. His firing comes after the Colts saw notable development from defensive ends Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo. The two 2021 draftees combined for 16.5 sacks this season, and the Colts had four players with at least eight. This marked Mitchell’s first coaching gig; he had finished his 10-year career as a safety with the Colts.

Colts Announce Finalized 2023 Coaching Staff

New Colts head coach Shane Steichen has officially put the finishing touches on his first NFL coaching staff, according to Colts.com writer JJ Stankevitz. We’ve covered a number of staff announcements like the hiring of offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and the retaining of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, but below are any moves from the announcement that we haven’t already reported on.

On the offensive side of the ball, we’ve covered most moves already. One piece of new information is that offensive quality control coach Brian Bratton has been retained in the same position for 2023. Bratton works primarily with wide receivers, assisting wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne, who was also retained. Joining them and the rest of the offensive staff will be former Notre Dame graduate assistant Chris Watt. Watt was previously the offensive line coach at Tulane in 2021 and will serve as assistant offensive line coach for the Colts under new offensive line coach Tony Sparano Jr.

We also received information that most of the defensive staff will be retained alongside Bradley. Linebackers coach and run game coordinator Richard Smith and defensive backs coach Ron Milus were both blocked by Indianapolis from interviewing for lateral moves and will stay in place in 2023. Their second-in-commands will both remain in place, as well, as assistant linebackers coach Cato June and assistant defensive backs coach Mike Mitchell were also retained. Similarly, defensive line coach Nate Ollie and assistant defensive line coach Matt Raich were kept on staff for next season. Lastly, Brent Jackson, who served last year as the team’s 2022 Tony Dungy Defensive Coaching Fellow, was promoted to defensive quality control assistant.

On special teams, it was confirmed that newly hired former Notre Dame special teams coordinator Brian Mason will serve as the Colts’ own special teams coordinator next year, despite this being his first NFL coaching position. Last year’s assistant special teams coach Joe Hastings will help Mason after being retained for 2023. Lastly, Indianapolis plans on hiring two Tony Dungy Diversity Fellows for next season, which it will announce at a later date.

And, with that, we have the first NFL coaching staff under Steichen. He retains much of what was put together in former head coach Frank Reich‘s last year but with a few of his own touches. Now Steichen can focus on roster-building as free agency and the draft loom on the horizon.

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 ProFootballNetwork.com (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.

Colts Place S Mike Mitchell On IR

The Colts will be without safety Mike Mitchell for Saturday’s game against the Chiefs, and the remainder of the playoffs should they win. Mitchell has been placed on injured reserve due to the calf strain he suffered last week. To take his place, the club promoted fellow safety Rolan Milligan to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. 

Mitchell was one of several veteran safeties who had a hard time finding work last offseason. In October, the Colts added him on a low-cost, one-year deal and he proved to be a brilliant signing. Mitchell served as a mentor to the club’s young secondary players and the team busted out of an early season slump as soon as he arrived. The Colts started 1-4 but rallied to win ten of their next 12 games after Mitchell came into the fold.

He’s just savvy,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said of Mitchell in October. “I mean, just savvy and plays hard. Just seems to be in the right spot at the right time. Is disciplined, you know that’s really what we look for is when a guy can be savvy and instinctive but yet play with discipline. He’s just a real pro and he shows that.”

In his run as a spot starter for the Colts, Mitchell tallied 28 tackles, one interception, one pass defensed, and two forced fumbles.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/9/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Colts Sign S Mike Mitchell

The Colts are signing safety Mike Mitchell, a league source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s likely a low-cost one-year pact. 

Mitchell was one of several veteran safeties who were victimized by an uncharacteristically slow market for the position this offseason. The Steelers cut him loose in early March and nothing came of his multiple workouts. Mitchell tried out for the Cardinals in July, showed his stuff for the Titans before they signed Kenny Vaccaro, and worked out for the Bears and Bengals in September. Finally, Mitchell has an NFL deal, and it’s with the Colts.

Mitchell, 31, spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he started each of his 61 games. In 13 games last season, Michell finished with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

The Colts expect to have starting corners Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore back from their concussion layoffs when they face the Jets on Sunday. Mitchell, meanwhile, will be on hand to provide depth in the middle of the field.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/17/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s of Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • TE Nick O’Leary (link)

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Bears Audition S Mike Mitchell

It’s been a quiet offseason for safety Mike Mitchell, but it sounds like the safety got a workout on Monday. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Michell auditioned for the Bears today. The reporter adds that the work out “sounded like it went pretty well.”

After being released by the Steelers in early March, the 31-year-old only had a pair of reported workouts during the offseason and preseason. Michell met with the Cardinals back in July, and the Titans gave him a look before signing Kenny Vaccaro.

Mitchell, 31, had spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he started each of his 61 games. In 13 games last season, Michell finished with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

With DeAndre Houston-Carson dealing with an arm injury, the Bears are only rostering three healthy safeties in Eddie JacksonAdrian Amos, and Deon Bush. At the very least, Mitchell could help provide some experience to a relatively inexperienced bunch.

Titans To Meet With S Mike Mitchell

The Titans are looking to evaluate all possible options in the wake of Johnathan Cyprien’s season-ending ACL tear. Former Steelers safety Mike Mitchell will be among the safeties to meet with the Titans and his visit is set for Friday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Mitchell’s visit will coincide with Kenny Vaccaro‘s meeting with the Titans. The club is also considering 49ers free agent Eric Reid, according to head coach Mike Vrabel.

Mitchell, 31, has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates. He’s not a world-beater, per se, but he does offer a great deal of experience and could be a fit for the Titans’ defensive scheme.

It has been a quiet offseason for Mitchell on the whole, but he did meet with the Cardinals in late July.

Cardinals To Meet With Mike Mitchell

Former Steelers and Panthers safety Mike Mitchell is scheduled to visit with and take a physical for the Cardinals on Wednesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). If he signs, the deal would reunite Mitchell with Steve Wilks, who was the Panthers’ defensive backs coach during his best career season in 2013. 

The 31-year-old has spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh, where he’s started each of his 61 games. Mitchell appeared in 13 games this past season, finishing with 53 tackles and two passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 62nd among 87 safety candidates.

Mitchell was slated to carry a $5MM salary in 2018, which was not workable for the Steelers given their limited room. Given the nature of the free agent safety market this offseason, a deal with the Cardinals would be for considerably less.

The Cardinals’ secondary will look quite different this year without Tyrann Mathieu moving between safety and cornerback. Mitchell, if signed, would serve as a backup behind Antoine Bethea and Budda Baker.