Pete Carmichael

Saints Looking To Bring Back QB Winston

After watching four different quarterbacks start games in New Orleans last year, the Saints are looking to address the position this offseason. According to the NFL Network’s Jim Trotter, the Saints will explore the avenues of the 2022 NFL Draft, trades, and free agency. If New Orleans decides to go the free agent route, it appears Jameis Winston could find himself returning to the Saints’ offense. 

After spending a year as Drew Brees‘ back up, Winston was tabbed as the Saints’ starting quarterback to start the 2021 NFL season. In seven games, Winston put up impressive numbers passing for 1,170 yards and throwing 14 touchdowns to 3 interceptions en route to a 5-2 record. Winston’s impressive comeback year was cut short when he tore his ACL after a horse-collar tackle by Devin White in a Week 8 matchup with the Buccaneers.

Winston’s first one-year contract in New Orleans was valued at $1.1MM and last year’s deal was worth $12MM. With Winston recovering from his knee injuries, the Saints could potentially re-sign him for a bargain deal. This would allow the Saints to still possibly pursue one of the Draft’s quarterback prospects. Sitting at 18th in the Draft’s first round, New Orleans is uniquely positioned to watch the trends of the Draft early on and determine if they should utilize a Day One pick on a potential future quarterback.

With two years of the Saints’ offense under his belt, Winston should have a familiarity with Saints’ offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael that would allow him to comfortably slide back into a role at starting quarterback. Whether as a temporary filler or as the quarterback of the future, Winston provides New Orleans with an intriguing option to lead their offense.

Saints To Keep Pete Carmichael As OC

Pete Carmichael was believed to be ticketed for a non-offensive coordinator role in 2022, but the Saints are now planning to keep him in the same post.

Sean Payton‘s right-hand man on offense has been with the Saints since Payton arrived in 2006, and he rose to the OC level ahead of New Orleans’ 2009 Super Bowl-winning season. Despite the Saints bringing in candidates for OC interviews, they are keeping Carmichael on board here, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Although Payton leaving will present a massive play-calling void, Carmichael sticking around will help ensure continuity. Carmichael is the NFL’s longest-tenured offensive coordinator. The 2022 season will bring a new challenge for Carmichael, with Dennis Allen‘s promotion to head coach clearing the way for a play-calling opportunity. Although the Saints’ quarterback spot remains uncertain, it appears the team has identified its next offensive play-caller. Carmichael, 50, called plays sparingly under Payton, but his next assignment will obviously represent new territory.

The Saints interviewed Jay Gruden, Colts running backs coach Scottie Montgomery and new Cowboys wideouts coach Robert Prince for the OC job. They also hired former Payton lieutenant Doug Marrone, who vacated the New Orleans OC post after leaving to become Syracuse’s HC in 2009. Carmichael, who turned down the opportunity to interview for the Saints’ HC job, and Marrone are positioned to be Allen’s top offensive staffers.

Saints Interview Jay Gruden For OC

Another name has been added to the Saints’ search for an offensive coordinator. As On3 Sports’ Matt Zenitz reports (via Twitter), Jay Gruden has interviewed with the team. 

The team has been looking for a new coordinator on offense and defense, and already met with multiple candidates for each vacancy. New Orleans has already added Doug Marrone to the offensive staff, but they still have a decision to make regarding incumbent OC Pete Carmichael. In fact, Zenitz reports that Carmichael remaining in that role still “seems like a possibility”.

Gruden was out of coaching last season, following his one-year stint as the OC in Jacksonville. That came after six years as the head coach in Washington, a stretch that saw some success, but ended in disappointment. He led the team to back-to-back winning records in 2015 and 2016 (something that hadn’t been done in the nation’s capital in almost two decades), although that time includes his only playoff appearance, which ended in a Wild Card loss. Two straight 7-9 campaigns followed, and he was fired five weeks into the 2019 seasons after a winless start.

The 54-year-old also interviewed twice with the Panthers last month for their OC opening. That interest means it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he were to return to the NFL in 2022. Prior to his only head coaching position, he was the offensive play-caller for the Bengals for three seasons, and he also spent seven years on the offensive staff of the Buccaneers, being brought in at the same time as his brother Jon.

If the Saints were to keep Carmichael but also add Gruden, those two – along with Marrone – would represent a highly experienced trio of minds looking to turn around one of the league’s worst offenses in 2021.

Saints To Hire Doug Marrone; Pete Carmichael Ticketed For Non-OC Role

After a year back in the college ranks, Doug Marrone has landed a new NFL gig. He is set to join Dennis Allen‘s Saints staff, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

This will be a return for Marrone, who was part of Sean Payton‘s original Saints staff. Payton hired Marrone as his offensive coordinator in 2006, and he stayed three seasons — before heading to Syracuse to be the program’s head coach. This will be Marrone’s first NFL job since the Jaguars fired him after four-plus seasons.

[RELATED: OC Pete Carmichael Declines Saints HC Interview]

Marrone, 57, has been an NFL HC in Buffalo and Jacksonville. While his 2017 Jags team nearly became a surprise Super Bowl entrant, the following years featured a steady decline that ended in a 1-15 season in 2020. Marrone spent last season as Alabama’s O-line coach, joining ex-Texans HC Bill O’Brien on Nick Saban‘s staff.

It is unclear if Marrone is being considered for the Saints’ OC job. Carmichael has held that position for the past 13 years, but NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan notes Payton’s longtime lieutenant is not expected to remain in that role. Carmichael is on track to stay on under Allen, but in a different role. Carmichael requested the change, per Duncan.

New Orleans would not be permitted to name Marrone OC without complying with the Rooney Rule first, however. OC interviews should be expected in the near future. Post-Payton, New Orleans’ OC role will take on greater importance due to Allen’s status as a defensive-minded coach. The Saints’ next OC will be in line to call plays.

In addition to adding Marrone, the Saints are considering hiring ex-Jets OC John Morton, Duncan adds. Morton, 52, served two tenures under Payton in New Orleans. The most recent one came from 2015-16, when Morton worked as the Saints’ wide receivers coach. Morton spent the 2017 season as Jets OC but was fired soon after. He worked on Jon Gruden‘s Raiders staff for three years following that ouster.

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints created nine full-time vacancies available this year.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-7-22 (1:45pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Coaching Rumors: Saints, Texans, McDaniel, Giants, Broncos

The Saints began their cycle of head coaching interviews this week, conducting meetings with the following candidates: former Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson (1/30; hired by Jaguars), former Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores (2/1), Lions’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn (2/2), their current special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi (2/3), their current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen (2/4), and Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (2/6).

New Orleans also requested permission to interview Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. There were some early reports that permission had been granted, but that hasn’t been confirmed and nothing has been scheduled, as of yet. ESPN’s Saints’ reporter Mike Triplett also mentioned that current offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael was offered an opportunity to interview for the position, but Carmichael declined. Despite being a part of Sean Payton‘s staff since Payton’s tenure in New Orleans began back in 2006, it appears Carmichael has no interest in running the show in the Big Easy. Whether he has retirement or another destination in mind or he is just comfortable in his role, Carmichael will not be the Saints’ next head coach.

Here are a few more notes from the ongoing coaching searches and staff changes throughout the NFL, starting with the other head coaching vacancy:

  • Houston recently narrowed their list of head coaching candidates down to three: Brian Flores, former quarterback Josh McCown, and Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Well, according to USA Today’s Josina Anderson, the Texans are now down to two candidates, with Gannon being informed Saturday that he will not be receiving the head coaching position, leaving Flores and McCown as the two remaining names.
  • New Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel reportedly has interest in holding on to some of the defensive assistants currently under contract in Miami, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. This includes current defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, who followed Flores to Miami from New England. The lack of staff turnover would be a positive for a defensive unit that played well during the team’s seven-game win-streak in the back half of the season.
  • The Giants were able to add a piece to Brian Daboll‘s new staff while missing out on another today. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweeted out that Andy Bischoff will become the Giants’ new tight ends coach. Bischoff followed David Culley from Baltimore to Houston and will make the lateral move over from the Texans with their head coaching position still in the air. Unfortunately, the Giants did not get their running backs coach, as Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweeted out that Deland McCullough has turned down Daboll’s offer, choosing instead to remain the running backs coach at Notre Dame, believing it gives him the best opportunity to eventually become a head coach.
  • New Broncos’ head coach Nathaniel Hackett is also looking to fill out his staff. The Broncos are planning to interview Jon Embree who most recently held the position of tight ends coach/assistant head coach in San Francisco. Embree parted ways with the Niners after being asked to take a 60 percent pay cut after San Francisco’s NFC Championship loss. The man who has coached George Kittle since he was drafted in 2017 would be a nice addition to Hackett’s system.

OC Pete Carmichael Jr. Declines Saints HC Interview

While Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi have interviewed for the Saints head coaching vacancy, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. hasn’t been mentioned as a potential candidate. Per ESPN’s Mike Triplett (via Twitter), Carmichael wasn’t snubbed for an interview. Rather, the OC declined the opportunity to interview for the gig.

Carmichael has been coaching in the NFL since 2000, including stints with the Browns, Chargers, and Washington. After having worked alongside Drew Brees in San Diego, Carmichael joined the QB in New Orleans in 2006, getting hired as the team’s quarterbacks coach. He eventually took on the role of passing game coach, and he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2009.

The 50-year-old has served as the Saints OC since that time, with the coach often getting credit for the Saints’ high-flying offense. Considering the team’s success during Carmichael’s stint as OC, he certainly has the credentials and experience to earn a promotion to HC. His hiring would also provide the organization with some continuity. Alas, the veteran coach won’t look to replace Sean Payton in New Orleans.

With Doug Pederson now out of the picture for the Saints, the team is eyeing six candidates for their HC vacancy:

Coaching Notes: McCarthy, Jets, Saints, Lions, Falcons

Mike McCarthy will be interviewing for the Jets‘ head coaching vacancy today, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). We previously heard that the organization was going to interview the former Packers head coach.

The two sides seem like a logical pairing. Considering McCarthy’s connection with future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the organization would seemingly see him as a fit with rookie Sam Darnold. Meanwhile, McCarthy would surely be attracted by the team’s $100MM+ in cap space.

We heard earlier this week that McCarthy was looking to stay close to his two high-school aged stepchildren in Green Bay. That would be a positive for suitors like the Jets and Browns, and it may explain why McCarthy ultimately wasn’t interested in the Cardinals gig.

Let’s check out some more coaching rumblings from around the NFL…

  • It will be a busy day for Saints coaches. As Albert Breer tweets, assistant head coach Dan Campbell will be meeting with the Packers and CardinalsDennis Allen is interviewing with the Dolphins, and Pete Carmichael will be meeting with Green Bay. Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport provides an update (via Twitter) on Patriots linebackers coach (and de facto defensive coordinator) Brian Flores, who will be meeting with the Browns and Broncos today.
  • Lions general manager Bob Quinn made it clear that he isn’t in any rush to find a replacement for former offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. “There’s no timetable,” Quinn said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “We’re just going to get this right. There’s no rush. The way this works in the NFL is you can’t talk to people that are employed by other teams, so there’s a waiting period if teams are still playing. So our candidate pool is pretty wide right now, so we’re going to keep it wide until it narrows down and then we’ll go hire the right guy.” Quinn also noted that the decision will “primarily” be made by head coach Matt Patricia.
  • Similarly, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn won’t be making a decision on a new offensive coordinator in the upcoming days. “I would say there’s nothing to announce today,” Quinn said (via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure). “I’m not going to put like two weeks or a week [on it], but it’s not in the next few days.” Quinn also noted that quarterback Matt Ryan may have a say in the who gets hired. “Well, I think Matt has input because of his familiarity with the offense,” Quinn said. “But as far as going to select people, that’s not part of his influence. … He has a part of it, but not part of who, if that makes sense.” The Falcons fired all three of their coordinators (offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong) earlier this week. The team has reportedly interviewed former Falcons coordinator Mike Mularkey for the offensive position, and they’re also eyeing former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Packers To Interview Saints OC Pete Carmichael

Sean Payton‘s longtime right-hand man, Pete Carmichael has not been a fixture on recent coaching carousels. The Packers, though, want to amend that.

Green Bay requested an interview with New Orleans’ offensive coordinator, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter). The meeting will take place Saturday, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett reports (on Twitter).

Carmichael has been with the Saints since Payton’s 2006 arrival, ascending to the role of offensive coordinator in advance of New Orleans’ 2009 Super Bowl season. The 47-year-old assistant is the league’s longest-tenured OC. Payton being the architect of the Saints’ perennially explosive offenses, teams have not made Carmichael a priority in coaching searches.

The Packers have already interviewed Chuck Pagano and Jim Caldwell and are scheduled to meet with Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell, Titans OC Matt LaFleur, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Patriots OC Josh McDaniels. Interim HC Joe Philbin is also set to get a look. They are also trying to land a meeting with Northwestern HC Pat Fitzgerald.

New Orleans’ offenses have ranked in the top 10 in both scoring and total yardage in nine of Carmichael’s 10 years, the one outlier being an 11th-place points ranking in 2010. During Payton’s Bountygate suspension season, 2012, the Saints ranked second in yardage and scored the third-most points.

Rapoport’s Latest: Mularkey, Arians, Rodgers

It’s a busy day in the NFL, as some teams fight for the playoffs while others prepare for the offseason and their next head coach. Let’s take a look at some of the latest reports from NFL.com scribe Ian Rapoport on the eve of Black Monday:

  • Despite the fact that the Titans could clinch a playoff spot today, Rapoport says that head coach Mike Mularkey is in trouble, and if Tennessee loses to Jacksonville this afternoon, Mularkey could be fired. Indeed, he could be canned even if the Titans make the playoffs but lose in the wildcard round. Apparently, ownership is frustrated with the development of Marcus Mariota, and if the Titans dismiss Mularkey, they could go hard after Patriots OC Josh McDaniels.
  • Rapoport tweets that the Cardinals have not given up hope of enticing head coach Bruce Arians to return, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Arians is likely to step away from coaching after Arizona’s season finale today.
  • The Packers recently extended Davante Adams, and Rapoport tweets that the team will make an extension for Aaron Rodgers its top priority this offseason.
  • There are expected to be two head coaching openings in the NFC North, with the Bears and Lions preparing to look for their next sideline general this offseason. Rapoport names Patriots DC Matt Patricia as a top choice for Detroit, while the Bears could look hard at a QB guru for young signal-caller Mitch Trubisky. Rapoport tweets that the SaintsPete Carmichael, the longest-tenured OC in the league, could get a look for the Chicago job.
  • Both Cowboys coordinators (DC Rod Marinelli and OC Scott Linehan) are on the hot seat and will be thoroughly evaluated, per Rapoport (video link).