Richard Smith

AFC Coaching Notes: Chargers, Steelers, Jaguars

Al Golden is leaving Cincinnati after all. The Bengals coach is joining Notre Dame as their new defensive coordinator, reports ESPN’s Pete Thamel (on Twitter). Golden is inking a three-year deal with the school.

The 52-year-old had spent the past two seasons with the Bengals as the team’s linebackers coach. Following a successful 2021 season, Golden was expected to ink a new deal with Cincy. Instead, he’ll be heading back to the college ranks.

Golden spent almost two decades in the NCAA, including stints as head coach at Temple and Miami. He joined the NFL in 2016 when he was hired as the Lions tight ends coach, and he eventually switched over to the defensive side of the ball in 2018.

More coaching notes out of the AFC…

  • The Chargers are looking to hire Brendan Nugent as their offensive line coach, as Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com passes along. Frank Smith left to become the Dolphins offensive coordinator, leaving a vacancy on the LAC staff. Nugent had spent the past seven years with the Saints, earning the promotion to OL coach in 2021.
  • The Steelers have also been seeking a new OL coach, and Brooke Pryor of ESPN tweets that the team is hiring Pat Meyer for the role. Meyer spent the past two seasons as the Panthers offensive line coach, and he also served in that role with the Chargers. The 49-year-old has also had coaching stints with the Bills and Bears.
  • Richard Angulo is heading south. The Ravens assistant offensive line coach is joining the Jaguars as their new tight ends coach, reports Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (on Twitter). The former player had been coaching in Baltimore since 2014. Meanwhile, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets that the Jaguars have finalized deal with Deshea Townsend as defensive passing game coordinator/secondary coach. Before his three-year stint as the Bears secondary coach, Townsend had stints on the Giants and Titans coaching staffs.
  • Nathaniel Hackett continues to add to his Broncos staff. According to Wilson (on Twitter), Denver has hired Ramon Chinyoung as an offensive quality control. Chinyoung had been serving as head football coach/athletic coordinator at Willowridge High in Houston. Meanwhile, the team announced (on Twitter) that they’ve hired Derek Haithcock as assistant to head coach (Dwight Schrute?) and John Vieira as instructional designer.
  • The Colts are finalizing a deal with Richard Smith to be their new linebackers coach, reports Mike Chappell of FOX59/CBS4 Sports in Indy (on Twitter). Smith has had a long NFL coaching career that saw him serve as the defensive coordinator with the Dolphins, Falcons, and Texans. He’s also been on the coaching staffs for the Oilers, Broncos, 49ers, Lions, Panthers, Chargers, and Raiders.
  • The Jets are adding Nathaniel Willingham as a defensive assistant, reports Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter). The son of former college coach Tyrone Willingham, Nathaniel Willingham worked at Stanford for four years before spending the past three seasons as a quality control coach with the Broncos.

AFC Coaching Notes: Colts, Bills, Jaguars, Ravens

Since Frank Reich was able to land defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to replace Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus, Bradley has begun the process of putting his staff together. Today Bradley added longtime defensive backs coach Ron Milus to coach his secondary, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Milus first started coaching defensive backs at his alma mater, the University of Washington, about eight years after playing cornerback there. He held the college position for seven years before getting an NFL coaching opportunity in 2000. Since then, Milus hasn’t spent a season out of work with stints in Denver, Arizona, New York (Giants), St. Louis, Carolina, San Diego, and Las Vegas. His longest stint was with the Chargers, spending eight years in southern California and transitioning with the team to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that Milus was retained when Bradley joined the Chargers’ staff. He followed Bradley to Las Vegas and will join him once more in Indianapolis.

Here are a few other coaching notes from around the AFC starting with another bit from the Hoosier State:

  • In addition to Milus, Mike Chappell of Fox59 reports that Indianapolis is also in the process of hiring linebackers coach Richard Smith, who worked with Bradley and Milus in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Smith has coached in the NFL since he debuted for the Houston Oilers in 1988 coaching special teams and tight ends. He found his niche as a linebackers coach in 1997 for the 49ers and has had three short stints as a defensive coordinator in Miami, Houston, and Atlanta.
  • ESPN’s Yates also tweeted out a report that the Bills have added former QB Kyle Shurmur on staff in a defensive quality control position. After four years at Vanderbilt, Shurmur signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs, spending time on their practice squad as well as on the Bengals’ and Washington’s practice squads. He was released by Washington a little over a month ago and that appears to mark the end of his playing career. He seems to be following in the footsteps of his father, Pat Shurmur, and joining the coaching track.
  • A castaway from the Matt Nagy Bears’ staff, outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey will not be without work for long as Curtis Crabtree of NBC Sports reports that Shuey is joining Doug Pederson‘s staff in Jacksonville in the same role. Shuey and Pederson had two separate tenures together in Philadelphia.
  • Pederson also made a crucial move of retaining running backs coach Bernie Parmalee. Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tells us that keeping Parmalee was a priority for Pederson, especially due to his strong relationship with star running back James Robinson.
  • Baltimore has hired Rob Leonard as outside linebackers coach, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley (Twitter). Leonard will replace Drew Wilkins who left to join Brian Daboll‘s staff in New York. Leonard spent the past three seasons in the same position with the Dolphins. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic adds that former Michigan analyst Ryan Osborn will follow Mike Macdonald to the Ravens for a quality control position. Osborn is credited with having a role in the development of Wolverines’ EDGE players like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

Coaching Notes: O’Connell, Raiders, Saints

The Rams just lost their DC Brandon Staley when he took the Chargers’ head coaching job, but it doesn’t sound like they’re about to let their OC follow him out the door. We heard yesterday that Staley was interested in bringing Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell with him, but Sean McVay has other ideas. The Rams have blocked him from interviewing with the Chargers, sources told Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link), which they can do since it’s a lateral move.

O’Connell doesn’t call the plays with the Rams, McVay does, and he presumably would’ve been able to with the Chargers. McVay had previously let his former OC Matt LaFleur leave to go become the Titans’ OC when it came with play-calling responsibilities, but it sounds like he’s tired of getting his assistants poached. Breer adds the Rams “really value” O’Connell. Breer does note that things could change, but that’s the Rams’ current position. O’Connell was the OC for Washington in 2019 before he was swept out with the rest of Jay Gruden’s staff.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • Speaking of the Chargers, Staley is at least getting who he wants for one position. Los Angeles is hiring Raiders tight ends coach Frank Smith away to be their new offensive line coach and run game coordinator, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com tweets. Smith and Staley previously served on Vic Fangio’s Bears staff together, so there’s a connection there. As Gutierrez points out, Smith did a great job in helping Darren Waller blossom into one of the league’s best tight ends.
  • Smith isn’t the only assistant coach shuffling the Raiders are doing. New DC Gus Bradley is starting to flesh out his staff, and he’s hired Richard Smith and Ron Milus as his linebackers and defensive backs coaches respectively, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets. Smith and Milus held those same roles under Bradley with the Chargers previously.
  • The Lions are by all accounts planning on hiring Saints assistant Dan Campbell to be their new head coach, although notably no deal has been announced even though it’s been a couple of days now since New Orleans was bounced from the playoffs. Interim coach Darrell Bevell “earned serious consideration for the position,” and it’s possible he could get the job if talks with Campbell fell through, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Bevell was Detroit’s OC before taking over for a fired Matt Patricia. Bevell was 1-4 as interim coach, and was the Seahawks’ OC from 2011-17.
  • LSU was finalizing a deal to make Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen their new defensive coordinator, Jane Slater of NFL Network tweets. However, that hit a snag as it was reported New Orleans was blocking him from getting out of his contract. Things were resolved this morning with Nielsen being given a new three-year contract and the added title of assistant head coach to stay with the Saints, a source told Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter link). With Dennis Allen getting a head coaching interview with the Eagles, Nielsen could be a candidate to eventually take over as DC as he’s apparently very highly regarded within the building.

Staff Notes: Pats, Fins, Bolts, Hawks, 49ers

The Alabama Crimson Tide are searching for an offensive coordinator in the wake of Steve Sarkisian‘s departure and will likely interview Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll for the role, reports Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Daboll previously served under Alabama head coach Nick Saban at Michigan State, as Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com notes, and worked as an NFL offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Miami and Kansas City from 2009-12.

More coaching news from around the league:

  • Former defensive end Andre Carter is joining the Dolphins’ staff as an assistant D-line coach, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN. Carter, 37, played in the league from 2001-13 and piled up 80.5 sacks.
  • The Chargers have hired ex-Atlanta defensive coordinator Richard Smith to coach their linebackers, per a team announcement. Smith, who was atop ATL’s defense the past two years, became a coaching free agent when the team fired him last week. The 61-year-old has been working with pro linebackers since 1988, when he was with the now-defunct Houston Oilers, and has since coached LBs in Denver, San Francisco, Detroit and Carolina.
  • Sherman Smith is out as the Seahawks’ running backs coach, a position he had held since 2009, according to Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. The Seahawks are promoting assistant RBs/assistant special teams coach Chad Morton to Sherman’s former spot (Twitter links).
  • The 49ers have landed ex-Buccaneers tight ends coach Jon Embree as an assistant head coach/TEs coach, writes Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle. His son, Taylor Embree, is coming aboard as a quality control coach. The younger Embree spent last season as a defensive assistant in Kansas City.
  • Elsewhere on the 49ers’ staff, the team has interviewed Falcons assistant special teams coach Eric Sutulovich to become its special teams coordinator, per Marvez (Twitter link). Caplan reported last week that the Niners were likely to meet with Sutulovich.
  • The Redskins have hired Cannon Matthews as a defensive quality control coach, relays JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. Matthews served as the assistant defensive backs coach last year with the Browns, who parted with him in January.

Staff Notes: Chargers, 49ers, Falcons, Colts

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith is interviewing for the Chargers‘ linebackers coach position, according to Jack Wang of the Orange County Register. Smith was fired by Atlanta on Wednesday after leading a defense that finished just 27th in DVOA, but linebackers are his specialty, as he’s coached the position at four other NFL stops. Smith’s interview could mean Los Angeles expects Robert Saleh, the team’s other candidate for ‘backers coach, to land the 49ers DC gig.

Here’s more from the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has lured yet another former Falcons staffer to San Francisco, as ex-Atlanta assistant Mike LaFleur will be the 49ers’ next wide receivers coach, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. LaFleur, who spent the previous two seasons with the Falcons after working in Cleveland during the 2014 campaign, is the brother of Matt LaFleur, who recently left Atlanta to become the Rams’ offensive coordinator. The 49ers also announced they’ve hired Nick Kray (administrative assistant to the head coach), T.C. McCartney (offensive assistant), and Ray Wright (strength and conditioning).
  • Although Chris Ballard left Kansas City to become the Colts‘ new general manager, Chiefs GM John Dorsey doesn’t expect Ballard to poach any KC staffers “right now,” tweets Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. Typically, an executive will try to bring at least a few low-level front office employees along to a new job, but it sounds like Ballard will be starting from scratch, and rolling with the incumbent Indianapolis staff for the time being.
  • The Falcons promoted Marquand Manuel to defensive coordinator earlier today, but that wasn’t the only change the club made to its defensive staff. As expected, Bryant Young has been named as Atlanta’s defensive line coach, replacing the fired Bryan Cox, while defensive assistant Doug Mallory has been promoted to secondary coach, taking over for Manuel, the club announced today.
  • Broncos assistant defensive backs backs coach Samson Brown had been set to join ex-Denver coordinator Wade Phillips on the Rams‘ coaching staff, but he’s experienced a last-minute change of heart and will be staying in Denver, per Marvez (Twitter link). It’s unclear how Brown’s decision will affect longtime NFL coach Johnnie Lynn, who was reportedly hired to replace Brown with the Broncos.
  • The Buccaneers have made a series of changes to their coaching staff and personnel department, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, who reports the Bucs have promoted Zack Grossi to offensive quality control coach, hired Anthony Perkins to replace Grossi as the club’s assistant to the head coach, and hired former NFL tight end Alex Smith as a pro scout. Tampa Bay has also hired Skyler Fulton as an offensive assistant, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.
  • Vikings offensive assistant Drew Petzing could be a candidate for the club’s vacant wide receivers coach role, reports Andrew Kramer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). Longtime Minnesota WRs coach George Stewart defected for the Chargers earlier this offseason.

Falcons Fire DC Richard Smith

The Falcons have fired defensive coordinator Richard Smith and defensive line coach Bryan Cox, according to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Smith could eventually be re-assigned within the organization, sources tell Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.Richard Smith (Vertical)

[RELATED: Falcons Hire OC Steve Sarkasian]

Atlanta may look to fill the DC vacancy with an internal hire, per McClure, who identifies secondary coach Marquand Manuel as a “strong” contender for the job. Manuel, 37, doesn’t boast any play-calling experience, but did interview for the Jaguars’ coordinator gig last offseason. Other internal candidates to become the Falcons’ next coordinator could include pass game coordinator Jerome Henderson, linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, and receivers coach Raheem Morris, adds McClure. Henderson is on the 49ers’ radar, as well, as new head coach Kyle Shanahan reportedly wants to hire co-defensive coordinators.

Smith, meanwhile, has coached NFL defenses since the late-1980s, and has coordinated units in Miami and Houston in addition to Atlanta. Since joining the Falcons in 2015, Smith never led a defense that finished among the top half of the league in DVOA, with the team’s best finish coming in 2015 (22nd). This past season, Atlanta ranked just 27th in defensive DVOA, although the club improved as the season progressed. As McClure hinted at, Smith may stay with the Falcons, but is currently exploring his options, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Cox is also on the outs after Atlanta’s defensive line ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of sacks, but finished just 24th and 25th in adjusted sack rate and adjusted line yards, respectively. Although he deserves credit for helping second-year end Vic Beasley flourish (and lead the NFL with 15.5 sacks), Cox’s unit was subpar overall. Cox, who’s coached in the NFL since 2006 following a long playing a career, is now a coaching free agent.

Given that Shanahan has left Atlanta, the Falcons will begin the 2017 campaign with new coordinators on each side of the ball. Steve Sarkasian has already been hired to replace Shanahan on offense, but the club also lost a respected offensive mind in quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur, who was hired as the Rams’ new OC.

Coach Updates: Henderson, Falcons, Browns

Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson is interviewing for a position on the Falcons‘ coaching staff, but not for the defensive coordinator job — Richard Smith is staying in that role, Atlanta confirmed today (via Twitter).

Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who first reported that Henderson was interviewing for the DC role in Atlanta, tweets that his Cowboys contacts believed that was the case. Henderson has suggested he wouldn’t leave Dallas for a job that wasn’t a promotion, so there’s some confusion about what exactly his role with the Falcons would be.

According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons may view Henderson as a potential defensive pass-game coordinator, a position currently held by Raheem Morris. Morris also has an assistant head coach title, which could give Atlanta the flexibility to bring Henderson aboard and move Morris to another role without technically demoting him.

As we wait to see whether Henderson decides to leave Dallas for the Falcons, here are some other coaching updates from around the NFL:

  • Former Giants defensive line coach Robert Nunn, who recently interviewed with the Titans, is being hired by the Browns as their defensive line coach, reports Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
  • Marvez passes along another Browns-related coaching update, tweeting that the Packers have hired tight ends coach Brian Angelichio away from Cleveland for the same position on Green Bay’s staff.
  • The Giants are expected to hire Packers assistant offensive line coach Mike Solari as their new offensive line coach, a source tells Newsday’s Tom Rock. We learned on Thursday that Solari was a “strong candidate” to join Ben McAdoo‘s staff.
  • The 49ers are looking at Titans offensive line coach Bob Bostad for the same job in San Francisco, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. As we heard on Wednesday, the Niners are also considering Pat Flaherty for that position.
  • The Saints have hired former Giants defensive backs coach and Rams defensive coordinator Peter Guinta as a senior defensive assistant, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Guinta has been out of the NFL since being let go by the Giants last January.

Falcons To Hire Raheem Morris, Richard Smith

FEBRUARY 2, 4:26pm: According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links), Smith will indeed have the defensive coordinator title in Atlanta. The Falcons also plan to hire a secondary coach separate of Morris and a linebackers coach separate of Smith, with the intention of building a big staff like Pete Carroll‘s in Seattle.

JANUARY 26, 1:18pm: While the team has yet to formally announce anything yet, Morris and Smith have both accepted positions with the Falcons, per reports from Mike Jones of the Washington Post (via Twitter) and Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Klis says Smith will have a “senior defensive position” in Atlanta, so it’s still not entirely clear whether he’ll have the DC title.

9:48am: The only team in the NFL without a head coach officially in place is expected to formally install Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in that role a week from now, and is already moving toward putting together its staff. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the Falcons intend to hire Washington secondary coach Raheem Morris and Broncos linebackers coach Richard Smith.

While multiple reports over the weekend indicated that Morris was expected to land with the Falcons, the team’s interest in Smith is new information, and is corroborated by Albert Breer of the NFL Network (all Twitter links). According to Breer, Smith will likely handle the run defense in Atlanta, while Morris will be in charge of the pass defense. Breer adds that Morris’ title is expected to be assistant head coach, which should mean that Smith will be named the club’s defensive coordinator.

With Quinn still focused on preparing Seattle’s defense for this Sunday’s game against the Patriots, neither Morris’ deal nor Smith’s has been finalized yet, but it appears they’ll both join a staff that’s expected to be a “big one in numbers,” per Breer, who notes that Quinn also figures to bring a Seahawks assistant or two with him to Atlanta. We heard on Friday that Seattle defensive backs coach Kris Richard was a good bet to land a defensive coordinator job with either the Falcons or Seahawks, so perhaps with Morris and Smith expected to lead Atlanta’s unit, Seattle will promote Richard to replace Quinn.

Until the Falcons officially name Quinn their new head coach, there will be several moving parts in play here, so we likely won’t get any resolution until next week. Still, it appears that the staff in Atlanta is starting to come together.