Ricardo Allen

Coaching Notes: Patriots, Raiders, Jets, Dolphins

Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo worked in tandem to guide the Patriots defense during Bill Belichick‘s final years in New England. With the older Belichick gone and Mayo having been promoted to head coach, the younger Belichick was facing an uncertain future with the organization. While there were some rumblings that Mayo was interested in keeping Steve Belichick on staff, the Patriots linebackers coach is set to interview for a job at the University of Washington, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

While the Patriots didn’t have a traditional defensive coordinator in recent years, Belichick and Mayo were both credited with running the group. Steve Belichick was the defensive play-caller over each of the past four seasons, leading some pundits to wonder if he could earn a promotion to full-time DC with Mayo now leading the way. There were also rumblings that the younger Belichick could join his father in a new landing spot. Ultimately, neither of those scenarios came to fruition, and Steve Belichick is now eyeing a role elsewhere.

Patriots RB coach Vinnie Sunseri is also set to interview with the University of Washington. The coach has experience working on both sides of the ball, and he worked alongside Jedd Fisch when the two were in New England.

Elsewhere on the Patriots staff, assistant special teams coach Joe Houston is leaving for the University of Florida, according to Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com. Houston was set to be named Alabama’s special teams coach in 2020, but the Patriots convinced him to join their coaching staff. He’s spent the past four seasons in New England.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • The Raiders are hiring DeShaun Foster as their new running backs coach, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. After finishing his playing career with more than 4,500 yards from scrimmage, Foster joined UCLA’s staff in 2012. He’s spent most of the past 12 seasons with the Bruins, including the past seven as their running backs coach. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adds that he expects the Raiders to also add Andre Carter to their staff. The former first-round pick previously served as the Jets defensive line coach.
  • The Jets have added Shawn Jefferson as their new wide receivers coach, according to Josina Anderson. Jefferson has been coaching since 2006, and he’s had stints as the WRs coach with the Lions, Titans, Dolphins, Jets, Cardinals, and (most recently) the Panthers. He had a previous stint with New York’s coaching staff, serving as the WRs coach/assistant head coach in 2019 and 2020.
  • The Dolphins are making some significant changes to their coaching staff. According to NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe, the organization has parted ways with offensive assistant Kolby Smith. Wolfe adds that offensive assistant Ricardo Allen, offensive assistant Mike Judge, and assistant special teams coach Brendan Farrell also won’t be back in 2024. Smith is a somewhat notable departure. After working alongside RB coach Eric Studesville this past season, he was interviewed for the Jaguars RB coach job.
  • The Rams have hired Giff Smith as their defensive line coach/run game coordinator, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The long-time coach had been with the Chargers since 2016, serving as defensive line coach and linebackers coach. He took on the role of interim head coach this past season following the firing of Brandon Staley, with the Chargers going winless in his three games at the helm. Per Pelissero, a number of teams reached out to Smith about joining their staffs, but the coach ultimately decided to stick in Los Angeles.

AFC Coaching Updates: Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Jets, Patriots

The Dolphins announced that they had finalized their 2023 coaching staff three weeks ago. We have reported this offseason on most of the major changes, but here are a few included in their announcement that are new.

On the offensive side of the ball, there were some updates to the team’s assistants. Ricardo Allen moved on to coaching shortly after retirement last year, taking a role as the Dolphins special teams assistant. This year, Allen has moved to the offensive assistant position. Another new offensive assistant, Mike Judge returns to a coaching role after spending some time in the personnel department. Miami will also give former NFL wideout Max McCaffrey his first NFL coaching position. McCaffrey will serve as an offensive assistant after time coaching wide receivers at Northern Colorado.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Dolphins hired Steve Donatell. The son of former Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell worked under his father last year and will serve as a defensive assistant with Miami. Lastly, the team has promoted Ryan Slowik, who served as a senior defensive assistant in 2022. In 2023, Slowik will be the Dolphins outside linebackers coach.

Here are a few other coaching updates from around the conference:

  • With Tee Martin moving to quarterbacks coach, the Ravens hired former Chiefs running backs coach Greg Lewis to fill the wide receivers coaching position, according to the team’s Twitter account. Lewis coached the position in Kansas City for four seasons before moving to running backs.
  • Leaving Baltimore will be former safety Anthony Levine, according to ESPN’s Turron Davenport. Levine had reportedly taken up a role with the Ravens as a scouting and coaching assistant after retiring but will now accept a role with the Titans as a special teams assistant. Tennessee will also bring on Tom Quinn as a special teams assistant and Matt Jones as an offensive line assistant.
  • The Jets have hired Shaq Wilson to fill their assistant defensive line coaching role, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Former assistant defensive line coach Greg Scruggs became the defensive line coach at Wisconsin, so New York went to the college ranks that took him away to find Wilson at South Carolina.
  • The Patriots have also added a former college staffer in Keith Jones, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. The former Arkansas assistant spent time with New England during the 2022 training camp as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Fellowship. Jones, who mostly worked with the Patriots’ defensive line, will be a coaching assistant in New England.

AFC Coaching Notes: Allen, Jaguars, More

Ricardo Allen didn’t waste much time jumping from his first football career to his second. As D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, the former safety has joined the Dolphins’ coaching staff as special teams assistant.

Allen, 30, retired not long after playing in the Super Bowl for the Bengals. He played one season in Cincinnati, following six with the Falcons, including another campaign in which he reached – but didn’t win – the Super Bowl. When announcing his decision, Allen made it clear he would transition to coaching.

A native of Daytona Beach, Allen will be working with a familiar face in new Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel. McDaniel was an offensive assistant during part of Allen’s playing days in Atlanta, and the latter actually sat in on offensive meetings during that time, Ledbetter notes. Despite playing as a safety, Allen has stated a desire to climb the coaching ladder on the offensive side of the ball, and ultimately become an OC – a process which will begin in 2022.

Here are some other coaching notes from around the AFC:

  • Ryan Paganetti is joining Doug Pederson in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are hiring him under the title of director of coaching analytics, per ESPN’s Seth Walder (Twitter link). Paganetti had worked with Pederson before, serving on the Eagles’ staff from 2017-2020. Most recently, he had been an assistant linebackers coach, while also having ‘game management’ a part of his title.
  • Allen isn’t the only 30-something former player making his first foray onto the NFL sidelines. The Jets have hired Greg Scruggs as an assistant defensive line coach (Twitter link via ESPN’s Pete Thamel). The 31-year-old won two Super Bowls during a playing career that spanned five seasons across Seattle, Chicago and New England. He spent the past two campaigns coaching the defensive line at the University of Cincinnati.
  • The Broncos are adding Zack Grossi as an offensive quality control coach (Twitter link via Thamel). He held a number of titles during a five-year stint with the Buccaneers, including the same position he is taking in Denver. He then moved to the college ranks, working as Hampton University’s QBs coach. Mostly recently, he has been the OC and QBs coach at Southern University.
  • Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tweets that the Raiders are hiring Matt Feeney as a defensive assistant. The 30-year-old has been a college coach for the past eight years, most recently serving as the defensive coordinator for Akron.

S Ricardo Allen Retires

Not long after his second career Super Bowl appearance, former Falcons and Bengals safety Ricardo Allen is retiring. In an Instagram post, he announced the decision to hang up his cleats. 

I’ve always wondered how it would feel giving up what most people would consider to be ‘most of me’, and that’s being a professional athlete”, he wrote. “But, the truth is, I’m blessed to be able to say that it’s been good… Dear football career. I’m grateful for you, and I’m thankful for the opportunity you gave me to turn nothing but hard work into the foundation of a growing legacy. You’ve shown me it’s not about how you start; it’s about how you finish”.

Allen, 30, spent his first six seasons in Atlanta, having been drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round in 2014. He started 76 of 77 games with the team, including the loss in Super Bowl LI against the Patriots in 2016. That campaign saw him make a career-high 90 tackles, along with two interceptions. He racked up a total of 340 stops, 11 picks and 26 pass breakups in his time with the Falcons.

After being cut, Allen signed with the Bengals last March as part of the team’s attempt to add experience to its secondary. Serving as depth behind Jessie Bates, he made just one start in 14 regular season games in Cincinnati, and played only nine special teams snaps in the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Rams.

Allen seems to be interested in coaching now that his playing days are over. His post also includes, “I am ready to take all of this knowledge and to help guide the next generation of men to achieve their goals”, something that would happen “when you see [him] on the other side with the head set on”.

Rather than trying for a third appearance in the big game, Allen is content to move forward into the next chapter of his football career – something that he could be well suited for, given his effective time as a player.

Bengals Activate Ricardo Allen

The Bengals have activated safety Ricardo Allen from the injured reserve list. To make room on the roster, they’ve placed guard Xavier Su’a-Filo on IR.

Allen signed with the Bengals in March. Before that, he operated as a first-string safety for the Falcons from 2015-2020, including a start in Super Bowl LI. Despite losing his 2018 season to injury, the 29-year-old was mostly healthy between ’19 and ’20. A hamstring strain coupled with a broken hand forced him to IR in September, but he’s bounced back in time for this week’s game against the Packers. In his 12 games last season, Allen registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions.

This is familiar territory for Su’a-Filo, who missed ten regular season games last year. Injuries have limited the lineman for years now — from 2018-2020, he’s played in just 25 total contests. This time around, he’s dealing with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, the Bengals have received some good news on Joe Mixon. The running back is trending towards playing in “some capacity” against Green Bay, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/6/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets 

Bengals Place Ricardo Allen On IR

Bengals safety Ricardo Allen will be out for at least three weeks with a hamstring strain and a broken hand (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). As a result, they’ll place Allen on short-term IR and sign veteran safety Sean Davis to the practice squad as insurance. 

Allen joined the Bengals in March to fortify the safety group. Before that, he operated as a first-string safety for the Falcons from 2015-2020, including a start in Super Bowl LI. Despite losing his 2018 season to injury, the 29-year-old was mostly healthy over the last two years, up until now.

In his 12 games last season, the 29-year-old registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions. Counting the ill-fated season opener against the Vikings, he’s appeared in 78 games (76 starts) since 2014. And, in those 21 snaps on Sunday, Pro Football Focus assigned him a solid overall grade of 85.4.

The Bengals could promote Davis, Brandon Wilson, or Trayvon Henderson as they await Allen’s return from IR. They’ll likely make the call today as they gear up for the Bears in Week 2.

Bengals To Sign Ricardo Allen

After being cut by the Falcons, Ricardo Allen has found a new home. On Wednesday, the Bengals agreed to sign the veteran safety to a one-year deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

Allen operated as a first-string safety for the Falcons from 2015-2020, including a start in Super Bowl LI. Despite losing his 2018 season to injury, the 29-year-old has been mostly healthy over the last two years.

The Bengals made a point to upgrade their secondary by bringing in new cornerbacks like Eli AppleMike Hilton, and Chidobe Awuzie. Allen, meanwhile, gives them another option at safety on what should be a fairly low-cost deal.

In his 12 games last season, the 29-year-old registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions. He comes to Cincy with plenty of veteran experience, having appeared in 77 games (76 starts) since 2014.

Bengals Host S Ricardo Allen On Visit

The Falcons made longtime safety starter Ricardo Allen a cap casualty last month. The Bengals are exploring the prospect of bringing him in.

Allen visited the Bengals on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Because Allen is a street free agent, he would be able to sign with another team at any point.

A starter for the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Allen has operated as a first-string safety since the 2015 season. The former fifth-round pick saw his run as a key Falcons defender pause in 2018, with an early-season injury wiping out most of that season, but he bounced back over the past two years to play in 28 games. He would profile as a lower-cost option for a Bengals team that has made a few outside efforts to improve its secondary last year.

The Bengals added a few pieces to their secondary in 2020, signing safety Vonn Bell and cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. Waynes, however, missed the season. While the team ranked 26th defensively, Cincinnati’s pass defense came in at 19th. Bell and Waynes remain under contract, while Alexander is a free agent for the second straight year. The Bengals’ $37MM-plus in cap space ranks in the top 10, with two weeks remaining until the legal tampering period.

Falcons Release Ricardo Allen, Allen Bailey

The Falcons have released safety Ricardo Allen and defensive end Allen Bailey (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Together, the moves will free up $10.75MM in salary cap space for Atlanta. 

Allen agreed to a simple contract restructuring last year to give the Falcons additional breathing room last year. This time around, the Falcons chose to wipe his entire deal off of the books. Previously, the safety was set to play out the final year of his three-year, $19.5MM deal. Instead, the Falcons will save a pretty penny with just $2.125MM in dead money left on the books.

Allen, a 2014 fifth-round pick, cracked the starting lineup in his second pro season. After 77 games (76 starts), he’ll seek new employment elsewhere. In 12 games last year, the 29-year-old registered 25 stops and a pair of interceptions.

Bailey inked a one-year, $4.5MM extension in the 2020 offseason. After spending his first eight seasons with the Chiefs, he found a regular role with the Falcons in 2019, appearing in 15 games and making five starts. Last year, he had perfect attendance with four starts, but the Falcons are looking to go younger and cheaper on the edge. In total, Bailey has 133 regular season games and 22 sacks to his credit.