Mike Pettine

NFC Coaching Notes: Eagles, Clay, Pettine, Vikings, Panthers, Giants, Lions, Rams

The Eagleschanges at offensive and defensive coordinator show how quickly job security can evaporate in the NFL, and Nick Sirianni‘s seat has heated up as a result. But the Eagles are not changing out all their coordinators. They will extend special teams boss Michael Clay, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. This marks the second straight year in which the Eagles have extended Clay, who is going into his fourth season as their ST coordinator. Just 32, Clay has been a special teams coach in the NFL since 2015, serving as the 49ers’ assistant ST coach for five years. Clay debuted with the Eagles, however, joining Chip Kelly‘s staff in 2014. The Eagles vaulted from 31st to 10th on Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings in 2023.

Philly is adding former Titans inside linebackers coach Bobby King to their staff, ESPN.com’s Tim McManus tweets. While Brian Callahan kept a handful of Mike Vrabel assistants, he did not retain King. Under King’s guidance last season, Titans free agency pickup Azeez Al-Shaair tallied 163 tackles — the most by anyone during the franchise’s 25-season Titans period.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Fired as the Jaguars’ defensive pass-game coordinator last month, Deshea Townsend has another gig lined up. The Lions are hiring the former NFL cornerback in the same capacity, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Townsend, who won two Super Bowls during his 12-year Steelers run as a player, has been in coaching since his 2011 retirement. Prior to his two-year Jacksonville stay, Townsend coached DBs with the Bears, Giants and Titans and Cardinals. The Lions recently lost DBs coach Brian Duker to the Dolphins.
  • After working as a Vikings senior defensive assistant over the past two years, Mike Pettine will have a more defined role this year in Minnesota. The Vikings announced the veteran DC and ex-Browns HC will be their outside linebackers coach in 2024. Still carrying an assistant HC title, Pettine worked with the Vikes’ OLBs under Brian Flores last season. This will be the 57-year-old coach’s 22nd season in the NFL.
  • The Vikings also hired Marcus Dixon to be their defensive line coach. Brought over from the Broncos, Dixon was a Nathaniel Hackett hire in Denver. Ejiro Evero took Dixon with him from the Rams in 2022; he served as the Broncos’ D-line coach for two years. The Broncos are losing their only two pre-Sean Payton defensive assistants this offseason, seeing DBs coach Christian Parker rejoin Vic Fangio in Philadelphia. Evero tried to take both Parker and Dixon with him to the Panthers last year, per 9News’ Mike Klis, but the Broncos blocked the effort and kept them around to work under Vance Joseph.
  • The Giants are doling out some new titles. QBs coach Shea Tierney and DBs coach Jerome Henderson will respectively serve as the team’s offensive and defensive pass-game coordinators. Henderson has been with the Giants since 2020, while Tierney came over from the Bills with Brian Daboll. The Giants also moved former safety Mike Adams from assistant secondary coach to assistant DBs coach.
  • Additionally, Big Blue hired Charlie Bullen to replace Drew Wilkins as outside linebackers coach. Daboll fired Wilkins, a longtime Don Martindale right-hand man, and that choice keyed an explosive conclusion to the Daboll-Martindale relationship. Wilkins is now with the Patriots. Bullen spent last season as Illinois’ OLBs coach; he spent the previous four years coaching linebackers with the Cardinals. The veteran assistant previously worked with Dolphins LBs under Joe Philbin and Adam Gase.
  • The Rams recently interviewed former Packers pass-game coordinator Greg Williams for their inside linebackers coach gig, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes. This is not the ex-St. Louis Rams DC better known for Bountygate; the two-G Greg Williams spent time with the Broncos and Cardinals prior to spending last season in Green Bay.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spun for several weeks, many teams made coordinator changes as well. Teams seeking new head coaches are conducting OC and DC searches, and a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

This is a big year for offensive coordinator hires, with nearly half the league making changes. Here are the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 3-1-23 (3:31pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals 

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Ben McAdoo)

  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach, (Rams): Hired
  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Kellen Moore)

  • Brian Angelichio, tight ends coach (Vikings): Interviewed 2/2
  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach (Rams): Interviewed
  • Jeff Nixon, running backs coach (Panthers): Interviewed
  • Brian Schottenheimer, offensive consultant (Cowboys): Hired

Denver Broncos (Out: Justin Outten)

Houston Texans (Out: Pep Hamilton)

Indianapolis Colts (Out: Parks Frazier)

  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Tee Martin, wide receivers coach (Ravens): Interview requested

Kansas City Chiefs (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Matt Nagy, quarterbacks coach (Chiefs): Hired

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Shane Steichen)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals (Out: Vance Joseph)

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Leslie Frazier)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Al Holcomb)

  • Ejiro Evero, former defensive coordinator (Broncos): Hired
  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): Interviewed
  • Marquand Manuel, safeties coach (Jets): Interviewed
  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator (Saints): Interviewed

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans 

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Renaldo Hill)

  • Derrick Ansley, defensive backs coach (Chargers): Promoted
  • Doug Belk, defensive coordinator (Houston): Interviewed
  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Interviewed

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Ryan Nielsen, Kris Richard)

  • Joe Woods, former defensive coordinator (Browns): Hired

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Jonathan Gannon)

San Francisco 49ers (Out: DeMeco Ryans)

  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): On radar
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/31
  • Kris Kocurek, defensive line coach (49ers): On radar
  • Steve Wilks, former interim head coach (Panthers): Hired

Eagles Hire Sean Desai As DC; Team Eyeing Mike Pettine For Assistant Role?

2:36pm: The hire is now official. After two meetings, the Eagles are giving Desai a second chance at a coordinator job.

2:21pm: Sean Desai‘s two interviews with the Eagles look to have won over team brass. The Seahawks assistant is heading to Philadelphia, Pete Carroll confirmed Tuesday (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).

While the Seattle HC did not entirely announce it was for the Philadelphia DC post, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com noted Tuesday morning (via Twitter) the former Chicago DC had emerged as a strong candidate for the position. This stands to be Desai’s second chance at a coordinator gig; his first one ended following Matt Nagy‘s firing last year.

The Bears promoted Desai to DC in 2021, but the team’s regime change naturally led to coordinator switches. Desai, 39, trekked to Seattle and worked under Carroll this past season. He drew interest from many teams this offseason. The Browns, Dolphins, Vikings, Broncos and Eagles interviewed Desai for their DC posts. Desai dropped out of Minnesota’s search to pursue the Denver gig, after former mentor Vic Fangio recommended the Broncos to the young assistant. But Vance Joseph ended up with that gig. The Eagles, however, had shown interest during Desai’s time as a Broncos candidate.

Desai will replace Jonathan Gannon as DC. While the Bears ranked 22nd in scoring defense in 2021, they finished sixth in yards allowed. A struggling offense hamstrung Chicago that year, and it led to a full-scale overhaul. Seattle did not make much improvement defensively last season, dropping from 11th to 25th in total defense from 2021-22. Nevertheless, the Eagles look set to bet on Desai.

The Eagles have also been connected to adding Mike Pettine to their staff, Geoff Mosher of InsidetheBirds.com tweets. Brought on as a Vikings assistant during Ed Donatell‘s one-and-done stay, Pettine was a Bears senior defensive aide during the 2021 season. The former Browns HC and veteran DC could be set to reprise his role on a Desai-led staff. With Brian Flores now in charge of Minnesota’s defense, it would make sense for Pettine — a former Packers, Bills and Jets DC — to land elsewhere.

Eagles DBs coach Dennard Wilson served as a strong candidate for the DC job, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports confirms. The Eagles will promote from within to fill their OC post, elevating QBs coach Brian Johnson, but it certainly looks like they are going with an outside hire on defense. Wilson has been with the team for the past two years; it will be interesting to see if he sticks around under Desai.

Vikings To Interview Brian Flores, Mike Pettine For DC

6:25pm: The Vikings announced on Twitter that they completed their interview with Pettine.

3:00pm: Like Frank Reich and Eric Bieniemy, Brian Flores is navigating an offseason that includes both head coach and coordinator interest. The Steelers assistant remains a frontrunner for the Cardinals’ HC job and has met with the Falcons about their DC post. More coordinator meetings are on the former HC’s docket.

The Vikings are set to interview Flores on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Minnesota is meeting with both Flores and Mike Pettine. The latter spent the season as an assistant on Kevin O’Connell‘s staff. Pettine, Flores, Seahawks assistant Sean Desai and Saints co-DC Ryan Nielsen comprise the Vikes’ search thus far.

The former Browns HC who provided an additional voice for the new Vikings staff this season, Pettine has been a coordinator for three teams — the Jets, Bills and Packers — and has 10 years of combined experience on the HC and DC levels. Pettine, 56, has been in the NFC North for the past five seasons, with a 2021 Bears stop bridging his path from Green Bay to Minnesota.

Green Bay’s defense ranked ninth and 13th in Pettine’s final two seasons but fell apart in a blowout NFC championship game loss in San Francisco and allowed Tampa Bay to mount a big lead in the first half of the ensuing NFC title tilt. Pettine has been a coordinator for four teams that ventured to the conference championship round, beginning that run under Rex Ryan with the 2009 and ’10 Jets. Pettine went 10-22 in Cleveland, though the first of his two seasons (2014) doubled as the best Browns campaign between 2007 and 2018.

Receiving Falcons and Vikings interview requests recently, Flores almost certainly will be on hold for DC gigs until the Cardinals make their HC decision. Arizona hiring ex-New England exec Monti Ossenfort as GM bodes well for Flores, who spent this season as Pittsburgh’s linebackers coach. Flores went 24-25 with the Dolphins, despite beginning that tenure with one of this century’s worst NFL rosters. Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and a few of its teams is ongoing, but the ex-Bill Belichick lieutenant looks set to make a jump to either the coordinator level or receive a second HC chance soon.

Vikings Notes: Coaching Staff, Scheme, O’Connell

With new head coach Kevin O’Connell in place, the Vikings made a number of announcements at his inaugural press conference. Among those was the confirmation of several assistants on his staff, as reported by ESPN’s Courtney Cronin (Twitter link). 

One of the most notable names on the list is that of Mike Pettine. The 55-year-old was reported to be joining the team’s staff earlier in the week, albeit not as the defensive coordinator as was originally thought by some. The team unveiled that his title will be assistant head coach, the highest-ranking position he’ll have had since his time in Cleveland in 2014-2015.

In addition, Ed Donatell was confirmed as the team’s new defensive coordinator, giving first-time HC O’Connell a vastly experienced staffer on the defensive side of the ball. Several assistants were also announced, each in the roles they were initially reported to be filling: Chris Rumph as defensive line coach, Chris O’Hara and Jerrod Johnson to work with the team’s quarterbacks, Chris Kuper and Justin Rascati to coach the offensive line, as well as Brian Angelichio and Curtis Modkins to serve as offensive pass and run game coordinators, respectively.

Here are some other Vikings notes, including further announcements from the presser:

  • As Ben Goessling of The Minneapolis Star Tribune writes, the Vikings will switch to a 3-4 base defense, something that hasn’t been seen in Minnesota since the 1980s. With that said, the team, like almost all in the NFL now, will still principally deploy its nickel package, and they plan to switch between three- and four-man fronts within drives and games.
  • In a widely expected announcement, O’Connell confirmed that he will call plays on offense. That will make him the first Vikings HC to do so since Brad Childress, and keep him in line with the structure he is leaving under the Rams and Sean McVay. O’Connell added that he plans to include the “up-tempo offensive concepts” he developed in L.A. within Minnesota’s offense.
  • One assistant coach who will not be following O’Connell to the Vikings is Jonathan Cooley. The Rams’ assistant defensive backs coach has been blocked from interviewing with Minnesota (Twitter link via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic). Especially given the loss of Ejiro Evero earlier this offseason, keeping Cooley would be particularly important for the Rams.


Vikings Plan To Hire Mike Pettine, Not As DC

Now that Super Bowl LVI is over, the Vikings should be able to start moving forward with their coaching staff hires. One coach expected to join the staff in Minnesota is former Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Contrary to prior rumors that Pettine was the favorite to land the defensive coordinator job, Pelissero tweeted out that, with Ed Donatell reportedly hired to be the defensive coordinator, Pettine will join the staff in a different capacity. 

So far, no Minnesota coaching hires have officially been announced but, with the Rams’ season finally over, the Vikings will be happy to welcome Super Bowl Champion Kevin O’Connell to the facility. With his focus no longer on a postseason run, O’Connell and the Vikings can start making moves to build their new staff.

One of those first moves is Pettine. Although he will not serve as the defensive coordinator of the Vikings, Pettine brings a plethora of experience having served in that role in the past for the Jets, Bills, and Packers. He will also be able to provide some valuable head coaching insights to the rookie O’Connell. Pettine spent last season as a senior defensive assistant for the Bears after not being retained as the Packers’ defensive coordinator following an NFC Championship loss to the eventual Super Bowl LV champion Buccaneers.

Along with O’Connell, Donatell, and Pettine, rumored hirings in Minnesota include Chris Kuper as the expected offensive line coach, Chris Rumph as the expected defensive line coach, and Curtis Modkins as the expected run-game coordinator and backfield coach. Expect for official hires to start being announced and for the rest of the coaching staff to start coming into focus.

Mike Pettine Favorite For Vikings’ DC Job?

With it all-but official that Kevin O’Connell will become the next head coach of the Vikings, there is a growing sense that his first defensive coordinator is soon to be named. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets that Mike Pettine is the “likely” hire as DC. 

[Related: Vikings Plan To Hire Kevin O’Connell]

Specifically, La Canfora says “I keep hearing” Pettine’s name attached to the DC job in Minnesota. The 55-year-old has been a coach in the NFL dating back to 2002. He’s had three different stints as a DC, with the Jets, Bills and Packers. The latter chose not to renew his contract after the 2020 season. He spent this year with the Bears under the title of senior defensive assistant.

Chicago ranked sixth in the league in yards allowed, and fourth in sacks. That success came with players like Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks each missing considerable time. Pettine’s experience helped Sean Desai during his first campaign as a coordinator, which has garnered him interest from the Raiders.

If Pettine were to take on a fourth DC job, he would be tasked with guiding a Minnesota unit that finished 30th in the league in yards allowed and 24th in points against last year. The team has a litany of veterans that are pending free agents, especially on the edge and in the secondary. An offseason of roster turnover could at least be helped by the presence of a veteran coach with plenty of experience in the NFC North.

Bears To Hire Mike Pettine

The Bears are going with a first-time defensive coordinator for next season but will bring in an experienced staffer to help the cause. Mike Pettine and the Bears agreed to terms on a deal that will make him a senior defensive assistant, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Pettine will stay in the NFC North, doing so as part of Sean Desai‘s staff. The Packers ended Pettine’s three-year stay as their defensive coordinator last month.

An NFL staffer since 2002, Pettine has been either a head coach or DC in 10 seasons. This will mark a step down for the 54-year-old assistant, but he will supply Desai with experience and considerable familiarity with the Bears’ top rival. Against the Bears last season, Pettine’s defense fared well in two blowouts. The Packers have since brought in Joe Barry to oversee their defense.

While Pettine’s Packers finale did not go especially well, his final two Green Bay defenses ranked in the top half in points allowed. DVOA was less kind to Pettine’s units, placing the most recent one 17th. Prior to his Green Bay stay, Pettine spent two seasons as the Browns’ head coach, one as the Bills’ defensive coordinator and four as the Jets’ DC.

Packers, DC Mike Pettine To Part Ways

Mike Pettine will not return for a fourth season as Packers defensive coordinator, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The veteran coach’s contract expired at season’s end.

The former Browns HC turned down an extension last year and is a free agent. Pettine worked under both Mike McCarthy and Matt LaFleur in Green Bay but failed to elevate the Packers into a consistent defensive unit during his stay.

The Packers are coming off an NFC championship game loss that featured a game-swinging Buccaneers end-of-half touchdown. Tampa Bay booked a ticket to Super Bowl LV on the strength of the 18-point lead it built in Green Bay, and Scotty Miller‘s 39-yard score with 1 second remaining in the first half led to the Bucs amassing that wide margin early in the third quarter. LaFleur criticized Pettine’s end-of-half play call after the loss. Overall, the Packers ranked 13th in scoring defense this past season. DVOA was less kind to Pettine’s troops, slotting them 17th overall.

Green Bay used first-round picks on three defenders from 2018-19 — Jaire Alexander, Rashan Gary, Darnell Savage — and gave lucrative deals to pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency. However, the 49ers bulldozed Pettine’s unit in the 2019 NFC championship game and the Bucs ran up a big lead in this year’s NFC title tilt. While Alexander broke out under Pettine’s watch and intercepted two passes in Sunday’s loss, the Packers will have a new defensive play-caller next season.

This move comes shortly after the Packers fired special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga. LaFleur’s staff will soon have two new coordinators, despite the Packers having gone 26-6 over the past two seasons.

Coaching Notes: Pack, Rathman, McCardell

The Packers are making a change on special teams. They are firing ST coordinator Shawn Mennenga, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). A longtime college coach, Mennenga had previously served as Browns assistant ST coach before joining Matt LaFleur‘s staff in 2019. The Packers are expected to promote assistant ST coach Maurice Drayton to replace Mennenga, Pelissero tweets. At least one other team was interested in Drayton for such a role, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Drayton was in contention for this job two years ago.

Here is the latest out of Green Bay and from around the league:

  • Mike Pettine may not be locked in as Packers defensive coordinator next season. The veteran DC opted not to sign an extension last year, and Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes his contract is up. The Packers invested heavily in their pass rush and used three first-round picks on defenders from 2018-19 but dropped from 15th in defensive DVOA in 2019 to 17th this past season. Pettine is a holdover from Mike McCarthy‘s staff, having arrived in 2018.
  • Colts running backs coach Tom Rathman announced his retirement Thursday. The Colts hired Rathman in 2017, after his eight-year tenure as 49ers running backs coach ended. Rathman attempted to retire in 2019 and ’20, but the Colts successfully lobbied him to stay on, per The Athletic’s Stephen Holder (on Twitter). A decorated fullback who won two Super Bowls with the 49ers, Rathman coached running backs from 1997-2020. Sixteen of those years came in San Francisco.
  • Staying with the Colts, they are hiring former Jaguars QBs coach Scott Milanovich to replace Marcus Brady in that position, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star tweets. Milanovich was Jacksonville’s QBs coach from 2017-19. Otherwise, he has spent his career in the CFL, having coached the Toronto Argonauts and, in 2020, the Edmonton Eskimos. The Colts promoted Brady to OC last week.
  • Longtime NFL wideout Keenan McCardell will resurface in Minnesota. The Vikings are hiring McCardell as receivers coach, per Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union (on Twitter). A longtime Jaguars pass catcher who broke into the coaching ranks in 2010, McCardell served as Jacksonville’s receivers coach from 2017-20 under Doug Marrone.
  • Ex-Colts DC Ted Monachino will be the Falcons‘ outside linebackers coach under Arthur Smith next season. Monachino, Indy’s DC from 2016-17, spent the past two years with the Bears. The Falcons also hired Jon Hoke to coach defensive backs. The older brother of Maryland HC Brady Hoke, Jon was the Terrapins’ defensive coordinator from 2019-20 but has coached NFL DBs for several seasons.