Rex Ryan

Cowboys To Hire Mike Zimmer As DC

FEBRUARY 12: Despite it being learned over the past two days that Ryan was still in the running for the job, the Cowboys have indeed gone with Zimmer for their DC post. The parties reached agreement on Monday, Pelissero reports. Zimmer will thus make his return to where his NFL coaching career began, and take on his first pro position since 2021. Ryan, meanwhile, is poised to spend another year out of the coaching ranks.

FEBRUARY 11: Gehlken reports the Cowboys-Zimmer agreement has still not been finalized, something echoed by Ryan on ESPN’s NFL Countdown (video link). The latter said he contacted head coach Mike McCarthy about the Dallas DC vacancy, which set up his interview with the team. While a long-awaited return to the coaching ranks on Ryan’s part would come as a surprise given last week’s reporting, Zimmer’s hire does not appear to be a lock at this point.

FEBRUARY 8: The Cowboys looked at a number of candidates to replace Dan Quinn at defensive coordinator, and they’ve finally settled on their choice. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Cowboys are expected to hire Mike Zimmer as their defensive coordinator. Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, there are some “logistics to [be] completed,” but Zimmer is the choice for the job.

Since he was fired as Vikings head coach following the 2021 campaign, Zimmer has been away from the NFL. He had a brief stint as a consultant at Jackson State in 2022, and it was assumed that the veteran coach would eventually look to return to the big leagues. Ultimately, he’ll land with the organization that gave him his first NFL gig back in 1994.

Zimmer started as a defensive assistant in Dallas, but it only took him a year before he earned a promotion to defensive backs coach. He earned a promotion to defensive coordinator when Dave Campo took over as head coach in 2000, and he stuck around the organization when the Cowboys pivoted to Bill Parcells in 2003. After more than a decade in Dallas, he had a one-year stint as the Falcons defensive coordinator before moving to the Bengals, where he’d serve as the DC for the next six years.

Thanks to his defensive track record, Zimmer was named the Vikings head coach in 2014. He ended up spending eight seasons in Minnesota, guiding the Vikings to three playoff appearances. This included a 2017 campaign where the Vikings went 13-3 in the regular season before falling to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

While the wheels never completely fell off in Minnesota, the Vikings went 15-18 between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He was fired following that 2021 campaign, ending his Vikings tenure with a 72-56-1 record.

The Cowboys job was certainly an enticing opportunity for Zimmer as he looked to return to the NFL. Dallas finished in the top seven in scoring defense during each of Quinn’s three seasons calling plays, and the unit had perhaps their most productive season in 2023. The Cowboys defense finished this past season having allowed the fifth-fewest yards and fifth-fewest points in the NFL.

While Quinn turned down previous head coaching opportunities, he left the Cowboys for the Commanders earlier this month. The Cowboys quickly looked to replace their departed coach. The team considered a number of inside candidates for promotions, including defensive line coach Aden Durde, cornerbacks coach Al Harris, and defensive backs coach Joe Whitt, who ended up joining Quinn as the DC in Washington. In addition to Zimmer, the outside candidates included Jets safeties coach Marquand Manuel, former Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, and former Jets head coach Rex Ryan.

Cowboys Remain In Contact With Rex Ryan Over DC Position

A report from last week tapped Mike Zimmer as the next defensive coordinator of the Cowboys. An agreement has not yet been finalized, however, and at least one other candidate is still in the running for the position.

[RELATED: Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

Dallas has remained in contact with Rex Ryan, ESPN’s Adam Schefter explained on a Monday Pat McAfee Show appearance (video link). Schefter himself stated during ESPN’s Super Bowl countdown show on Sunday that the Zimmer hire had been made, but Ryan echoed reports which have noted that a contract is not yet in place. Now, the latter can still be considered a finalist for the role.

Ryan interviewed with Dallas as part of the team’s search for a Dan Quinn replacement. That marked the second straight offseason in which he met over a DC posting, having done so with the Broncos in 2023. The 61-year-old last held a coordinator position during his four-year run at the helm of the Ravens’ defense from 2005-08. That was followed by head coaching opportunities with the Jets and Bills, but he has not coached since being fired by Buffalo in 2016.

While working as an ESPN analyst, Ryan has not been tangibly connected to many NFL openings (either as a head coach or a DC). The fact the Cowboys – who Schefter notes “loved” Ryan after his interview – are still in touch is certainly notable. The team enjoyed success in a number of categories under Quinn during the past three years, but a poor defensive showing in Dallas’ wild-card loss to the Packers played a signficant role in another early postseason exit. Ryan, Zimmer or another candidate will be tasked with maintaining a consistent level of performance on that side of the ball throughout the campaign.

Zimmer has been out of the NFL coaching ranks since he was fired by the Vikings at the end of the 2021 campaign. His tenure as Minnesota’s head coach was preceded in part by a 13-year tenure with the Cowboys, including seven seasons as defensive coordinator. Zimmer would thus represent an experienced option for Mike McCarthy‘s staff and a familiar face for owner Jerry Jones, but he appears to still have competition for a return to where his NFL coaching career began.

2024 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

After a crowded carousel previously stopped, the 49ers opened their defensive coordinator position. Here is how the NFC champions’ search looks:

Updated 3-2-24 (10:00am CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dave Ragone)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Ken Dorsey)

  • Joe Brady, interim offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (Bills): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed

Carolina Panthers (Out: Thomas Brown)

  • Marcus Brady, senior offensive assistant (Eagles): Interview requested
  • Brad Idzik, wide receivers coach (Buccaneers): Hired

Chicago Bears (Out: Luke Getsy)

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Brian Callahan)

  • Andy Dickerson, offensive line coach (Seahawks): To interview
  • Dan Pitcher, quarterbacks coach (Bengals): Promoted

Cleveland Browns (Out: Alex Van Pelt)

Las Vegas Raiders (Out: Mick Lombardi)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Kellen Moore)

New England Patriots (Out: Bill O’Brien)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Pete Carmichael)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Brian Johnson)

  • Jerrod Johnson, quarterbacks coach (Texans): Interviewed
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Interviewed 1/23
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): Hired

Pittsburgh Steelers (Out: Matt Canada)

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Shane Waldron)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Dave Canales)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Tim Kelly)

  • Nick Holz, passing game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed
  • Eric Studesville, associate head coach/running backs coach (Dolphins): Interview requested

Washington Commanders (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Chip Kelly, former head coach (Eagles/49ers): On team’s radar
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Hired

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Ryan Nielsen)

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Mike Macdonald)

  • Zach Orr, inside linebackers coach (Ravens): Promoted

Buffalo Bills

  • Bobby Babich, linebackers coach (Bills): Promoted
  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Sean Desai, former defensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview

Chicago Bears (Out: Alan Williams)

  • Joe Barry, former defensive coordinator (Packers): To interview 1/27
  • Chris Harris, secondary coach (Titans): To interview
  • Eric Washington, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Bills): Hired
  • Terrell Williams, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Titans): To interview

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Dan Quinn)

Green Bay Packers (Out: Joe Barry)

Jacksonville Jaguars (Out: Mike Caldwell)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Derrick Ansley)

  • Jesse Minter, defensive coordinator (Michigan): Hired

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Raheem Morris)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Vic Fangio)

New England Patriots

  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Promoted
  • Michael Hodges, linebackers coach (Saints): To interview
  • Tem Lukabu, outside linebackers coach (Panthers): To interview
  • Christian Parker, defensive backs coach (Broncos): Interviewed

New York Giants (Out: Don Martindale)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Sean Desai)

  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Vic Fangio, former defensive coordinator (Dolphins): Hired
  • Ron Rivera, former head coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/22

San Francisco 49ers (Out: Steve Wilks)

  • Gerald Alexander, safeties coach (Raiders): Interviewed 3/1
  • Daniel Bullocks, defensive backs coach (49ers): Interviewed 2/28
  • David Merritt, defensive backs coach (Chiefs): To interview
  • Nick Sorensen, defensive passing game specialist (49ers): Promoted
  • Brandon Staley, former head coach (Chargers): Interviewed

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Clint Hurtt)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Shane Bowen)

  • Brandon Lynch, cornerbacks coach (Browns): Interviewed 1/30
  • Dennard Wilson, defensive backs coach (Ravens): Hired

Washington Commanders (Out: Jack Del Rio)

  • Joe Cullen, defensive line coach (Chiefs): Considered a candidate
  • Joe Whitt, defensive backs coach (Cowboys): Hired

Cowboys Interview Rex Ryan For DC

Former head coaches continue to populate the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator search. Following the Ron Rivera and Mike Zimmer meetings, Rex Ryan has entered the mix.

The former Jets and Bills HC met with the Cowboys about their DC vacancy, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets. Entrenched at ESPN for the past several years, Ryan has been out of football since his late-season Bills ouster in 2016.

Ryan, 61, did interview for the Broncos’ DC job last year — one that went to Vance Joseph. Beyond that, the former NFL mainstay has largely fallen off the radar (beyond his analyst work, that is). The Cowboys are looking for a new defensive play-caller, with Dan Quinn having become the new Commanders HC. Ryan and Rivera do not have a history in Dallas. Zimmer does, having been a Cowboys assistant for 13 years. The Cowboys did employ Rex’s brother, Rob Ryan, as a DC from 2011-12.

Although Ryan has become amenable to coordinator positions, he has not held one in more than 15 years. Ryan’s most recent NFL employment outside of the HC level came when he served as the Ravens’ DC from 2005-08. That marks Ryan’s only stretch as an NFL coordinator, though he certainly made a mark as a defensive-oriented head coach.

Ryan’s Jets stint represents the franchise’s best work since at least Bill Parcells‘ 1998 season, and Ryan outdid the Parcells-Bill Belichick nucleus by leading the team to two AFC championship games. Ryan guiding the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games with Mark Sanchez at quarterback aged well, and the Jets’ subsequent 13-season playoff drought continues to spotlight Ryan’s accomplishment. The brash HC, though, did miss the playoffs over his next six years as a head coach. The Bills hired Ryan in 2015 but fired him before his second season ended.

This would qualify as an unorthodox hire for the Cowboys, as Ryan has now been out of the league for seven seasons. Rivera has coached in the NFL in each season since 1997. Zimmer has spent the past two seasons out of the league but was on staff from 1994-2021 previously. Ryan’s Darrelle Revis-fronted Jets defenses earned their reputation during that 2009-10 period; his Bills units ranked 15th and 16th, respectively.

Via PFR’s Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker, here is how the Cowboys’ DC search looks:

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

Rex Ryan Emerging As Denver’s Top DC Candidate

FEBRUARY 19: The Broncos interviewed Vance Joseph on February 17, and Ryan got a second interview on February 18, as Adam Schefter of tweets. Mike Klis of 9News confirms that both Joseph and Ryan are in the “second round” of the process, though he adds that a decision is not necessarily imminent and that Payton may choose to interview another candidate or two before making a final decision (Twitter link). Per Schefter, Ryan would only leave ESPN “for the perfect situation.”

Troy Renck of Denver7 adds (via Twitter) that Joseph’s interview lasted eight hours, and that Ryan’s interview was also a lengthy one. Both men have made strong impressions.

FEBRUARY 15: Despite not coaching in the NFL since 2016, Rex Ryan is reportedly emerging as the Broncos’ top candidate to serve as Sean Payton‘s first defensive coordinator in Denver, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The former NFL defensive coordinator and head coach would be making his first appearance on an NFL sideline since being fired by the Bills two years into a five-year contract.

Before leaving the NFL, Ryan had been coaching football since 1987, when he served as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky. After two years in the position, Ryan earned his first defensive coordinator position (along with a title of assistant head coach) at New Mexico Highlands University. The next year, Ryan would coach for a more notable school, serving as defensive coordinator at Morehead State.

Ryan would continue his rapid ascent from there, earning his first NFL job, with a little help from his father (and head coach in Arizona) Buddy Ryan, after four years at Morehead State. He spent two years as the defensive line and linebackers coach for the Cardinals before returning to the college ranks as defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. After two years with the Bearcats, Ryan served as defensive coordinator for Oklahoma for a year before returning to the NFL.

This time, Ryan’s move to the NFL would be permanent. Ryan accepted the job of defensive line coach for the Ravens, the team that would employ Ryan for the longest tenure of his career. Ryan coached a defensive line that helped the Ravens boast the best defenses in Baltimore history and, arguably, some of the best defenses in NFL history. He was rewarded with the defensive coordinator position five years later in 2005.

After a 2007 season that saw the Ravens finish 5-11, head coach Brian Billick and the rest of the staff were laid off. Ryan, being the coordinator of a defense that still ranked sixth in yards allowed despite the abysmal record, was an obvious candidate to replace Billick, but the job would go to current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who wisely chose to retain Ryan as defensive coordinator and promoted him to assistant head coach, as well. In his final season with the Ravens, Ryan led the league’s second-best defense in terms of yardage allowed (third-best in points allowed), assisting Harbaugh and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco in becoming the first rookie head coach and quarterback combo to advance to the AFC Championship game. In his ten years with the Ravens, the team never finished worse than sixth in the league in yards allowed.

Ryan’s performance in 2008 resulted in his first head coaching position as he was hired to replace Eric Mangini in New York. Ryan essentially copied and pasted his last year in Baltimore during his first year with the Jets. On the back of the league’s top defense in yards and points allowed, the Jets went 9-7 and became the league’s second rookie head coach and quarterback duo to advance to the AFC Championship game with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, one year after his former team accomplished the same feat. It was also the Jets’ first appearance in the league’s penultimate round of the playoffs since 1998.

In his second season as head coach of the Jets, Ryan would lead New York to the AFC Championship game for the second year in a row after going 11-5 in regular season play. The regular season and playoff success would end there, though, as the Jets would go a combined 26-38 in the next four seasons, culminating in the 4-12 season that would lead to his dismissal from the Jets, despite the support of players.

Seeing the coaching potential still present in Ryan, the Bills quickly scooped him up about two weeks later to be their next head coach. In two years in Buffalo, Ryan went 15-16, failing to make the playoffs in both years and getting fired before he could finish his second season with the team. He made a few interesting hires while head coach there, hiring his fraternal twin brother, Rob Ryan, as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator and hiring his former player and star safety Ed Reed as his defensive backs coach in 2016.

After exiting the coaching ranks of the NFL following his departure from Buffalo, Ryan has served as an analyst and broadcaster for ESPN . He reportedly interviewed with the Broncos this past weekend, marking the first time his name has come up in league circles in quite a while. He doesn’t seem to have much of a past connection to Payton, besides the fact that Payton hired his twin brother, Rob, to serve as defensive coordinator for a three-year stint following Payton’s year-long suspension. Regardless, if Denver chooses to employ Ryan after seven years out of the league, we’ll get the opportunity to see if he is still one of the league’s most respected defensive minds in coaching.

Broncos Interviewed Rex Ryan For DC Position

With Sean Payton in place in Denver, attention is turning to the assistants brought in to comprise his first Broncos staff. A notable name has been added to the list of candidates to lead the team’s defense.

Rex Ryan interviewed recently for Denver’s defensive coordinator position, per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer (Twitter link). The news puts him on the radar for what would be his first coaching role in seven years. Ryan has most recently served as a broadcaster with ESPN.

The 60-year-old started his NFL coaching career in Baltimore, spending six seasons there before being promoted to defensive coordinator. He held that post for four years, establishing himself as one of the league’s top defensive minds and earning head coaching interest along the way. He was hired to lead the Jets in 2009, and had an encouraging start to his tenure in the Big Apple. The Jets made two straight AFC championship game appearances, and Ryan had a 28-20 record after the 2011 campaign. Things took a turn for the worse as time went on, though, and he was fired after the 2014 season.

Ryan immediately followed that up with a tenure as the Bill’s HC lasting less than two seasons. He was let go after Week 16 in 2016, and has not taken a coaching job at any level since. His name as popped up as a potential DC candidate a few times over the years, including Kansas City in 2019. Ryan and Payton have not worked together in their respective careers, though the latter has spent considerable time working with Rob Ryan in New Orleans.

Broncos brass made it clear they wanted Payton to keep DC Ejiro Evero, who impressed in his first season with the team last year. However, he was let out of his contract and allowed to head elsewhere, quickly landing in Carolina. The Denver position is one which is appealing, given the presence of several high-end players the unit boasts. Ryan is joined by Brian Flores – who took the DC job in Minnesota – and Sean Desai as known candidates for the position in Denver.

Troy Renck of Denver7 reports that Payton spent time yesterday interviewing candidates for the team’s special teams coordinator vacancy (Twitter link). As the coaching cycle winds down, the Broncos’ staff should become clearer in the near future.

Redskins Rumors: Gruden, Keenum, Brown

Jay Gruden does not anticipate returning to the sideline this season but will look at re-entering the coaching carousel in 2020, John Keim of reports. Gruden’s Redskins contract runs through the 2020 season. The former Bengals offensive coordinator has not ruled out returning to an OC post, if no franchise wants to give him the keys just yet. The recently fired Washington HC, who half-expected his firing to come after the Redskins’ Week 4 loss to the Giants, also addressed reports of discord between his staff and the team’s front office.

I have mixed emotions about it,” Gruden said of the personnel issues, via Keim. “At the end of the day, if you’re not the GM, you have to accept the fact that you don’t get everything you want. You accept the players given to you. I had input in some areas, but there are some major issues there. It’s that way with most coaches. You don’t have that total say. It’s something you have to overcome and work with the guys you have.”

Here is the latest out of Washington, shifting first to how the team plans to handle its quarterback situation going forward:

  • New Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan is expected to turn the starting quarterback job back over to Case Keenum, provided that his injured foot allows him to play (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). The Redskins have a date with Miami next, a match between two of the league’s 2019 cellar dwellers. Washington started Colt McCoy against New England and used Dwayne Haskins for much of its Week 4 loss to the Giants. Haskins still figures to see more time as a rookie, but for now, Washington will turn back to its Week 1 starter.
  • While Haskins hovered at the epicenter of one of the reported disputes between Washington’s staff and front office, current Eagles linebacker Zach Brown was the subject of another debate. After the 2017 season spent on a one-year deal with Washington, Brown had garnered consistently high Pro Football Focus marks but could not entice a team to hand him a long-term deal. Gruden and his staff wanted to let Brown walk, but the Redskins instead re-signed him at three years and $24MM, Albert Breer of notes. Brown made it one year into that contract, with the Redskins returning the former Titans and Bills ‘backer to free agency earlier this year. The Redskins are carrying $3MM in dead money this year because of the Brown release.
  • Despite the Redskins profiling as one of the league’s most dysfunctional organizations, Rex Ryan said he would sign up if it was offered to him. During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, the former Jets and Bills HC said “of course” he’d take a job that “people are going to be lined up for,” via Earl Forcey of 106.7 The Fan (video link). The Bills fired Ryan in December 2016, late in his second Buffalo season. The Redskins currently employ his brother, Rob Ryan, as inside linebackers coach. But with a new staff likely taking over in 2020, that setup may well be in its final months.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Chiefs To Consider Rex Ryan For DC Job?

Former Jets and Bills head coach Rex Ryan is a name to watch for the Chiefs’ newly vacant defensive coordinator position, according to’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Schefter notes that Ryan has been approached about other DC openings in recent years. 

[RELATED: Chiefs Fire DC Bob Sutton]

This may be a report to take with a grain of salt. It’s not clear whether Chiefs sources indicated the team’s interest to Schefter, or whether Schefter has received word from others around the situation such as Ryan himself, who is a fellow ESPN employee. Nonetheless, Ryan offers the kind of strong defensive pedigree and boisterous energy that the Chiefs may require.

Last year, the Chiefs tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks, but they was unable to pressure Tom Brady when it really counted on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Chiefs axed veteran DC Bob Sutton, opening up one of the most appealing DC jobs in the NFL.

In late December, Ryan was said to be contacting potential assistants in the event that he were to become the Dolphins’ new head coach. Those talks, apparently, were premature – Ryan never landed an interview in Miami.

AFC Coaching Rumors: Jets, Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins, Browns

Two coaches fired after the 2017 season look to have secured additional interviews about possible 2019 top jobs. Jim Caldwell will interview with the Jets, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. Chuck Pagano is now expected to interview with the Broncos, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Caldwell has already met with the Packers and been connected to the Browns’ wide-ranging search as well.

Here’s the latest from the AFC’s side of the coaching carousel.

  • Another year, another issue with the Jets‘ OC. After John Morton‘s stay in New York featured conflict, apparently Jeremy Bates‘ did as well. A growing frustration sprouted about Bates’ play-calling, something Jets GM Mike Maccagnan became aware of, Vacchiano reports. Bates is now in limbo after Todd Bowles‘ firing, and one agent suggested the Jets would have had to fire their OC if they wanted to land impact free agents on offense. Jermaine Kearse was also not happy with Bates’ work, per Vacchiano. The Jets may have more than one major hire to make in the coming weeks. Bates spent 2017 as New York’s QBs coach before taking over for Morton.
  • The expansive Browns search thus far does not include Josh McDaniels, Mary Kay Cabot of tweets. A Cleveland-area native, McDaniels was part of the Browns’ turbulent 2014 coaching search that ended with Mike Pettine. The Bengals have requested a meeting with McDaniels, but he has not yet accepted. McDaniels can interview this week because of the Patriots’ bye week.
  • The Broncos are monitoring Mike McCarthy, but no interview is as of yet scheduled, Klis tweets. McCarthy has been connected to just about every opening thus far. The 13-year Packers coach may sit this cycle out, unless he sees a perfect fit, Ian Rapoport of notes (video link).
  • Rex Ryan contacting possible assistant coaches about the Dolphins‘ vacancy appears to have been premature. He is not in the running to land the Miami job, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). This would have been Ryan’s third AFC East job. The former Jets and Bills coach has not been mentioned on Black Monday as a candidate for any of the eight openings.
  • The latest Leonard Fournette incident appears to have cost a coach his job. The Jaguars fired running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley on Monday, Tom Pelissero of tweets. Jacksonville is retaining Doug Marrone but is looking for a new offensive coordinator, so there will now be another position available. Wheatley just finished his second season as the Jags’ RBs coach.
  • In addition to Wheatley, the Jags are canning three other assistants — defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and defensive line coach Marion Hobby, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Both Fewell and Flaherty spent extensive time with Tom Coughlin on Giants coaching staffs. This was Hobby’s first NFL job.