Shawn Jefferson

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 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.

Panthers Add DeAngelo Hall, Todd Wash, Others To Staff

Many have praised the recent makeover of the Panthers’ coaching staff including the main additions of head coach Frank Reich, defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. Having those three major positions filled, Carolina has been able to explore filling other, less major position coaching roles.

Firstly, following the suggestions of general manager Scott Fitterer and owner David Tepper, Reich made the decision to retain offensive line coach James Campen, assistant offensive line coach Robert Kugler, and special teams coach Chris Tabor from last year’s staff, according to Panthers staff writer Darin Gantt. The Panthers made massive strides in offensive line play last season thanks not only to the additions of rookie tackle Ikem Ekwonu, guard Austin Corbett, and center Bradley Bozeman but to the influence of Campen and Kugler, as well. Similarly, Carolina’s special teams unit excelled during Tabor’s first year in the position.

The team also made a key addition to the offensive staff, bringing in former Cardinals associate head coach and wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson to fill their new wide receivers coach role, according to Gantt. Jefferson adds to the growing group of Panthers coaches with past experience playing in the NFL, having spent 13 seasons as a wide receiver in the league. After bouncing around five other franchises as an assistant coach, Jefferson has become well-respected in coaching circles. Along with other teams, the Jets reportedly had interest in bringing him back to their staff after his stint in New York from 2019-2020, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers have brought in an exciting trio of position coaches. Gantt reports that the assistant coach leading Carolina’s defensive line next season will be former Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Wash was leading the Jacksonville defense back when they last advanced to the AFC championship game on the backs of a defense that earned the nickname “Sacksonville.” He’s a distinguished veteran who has been coaching in Detroit the past two seasons.

Joining Wash in rushing the quarterback will be new outside linebackers coach Tem Lukabu, according to Gantt. Lukabu has previously coached linebackers at the NFL-level in Cincinnati but has spent the past three years as the defensive coordinator at Boston College.

If Lukabu needs any tips on coaching his position, he will have the benefit of assistance from the team’s new safeties coach, Bert Watts, who did an admirable job coaching an injured outside linebackers group in Denver last year. Watts is a valuable addition from Ejiro’s staff last season as many in coaching circles view him as a future defensive coordinator, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Additionally, Gantt reports that the Panthers have agreed to terms with former NFL cornerback DeAngelo Hall to become their new assistant defensive backs coach and former Cardinals assistant special teams coach Devin Fitzsimmons to serve in the same position in Carolina. ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that, despite his insistence on remaining at ESPN, the Panthers joined the Colts in pursuing former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky for “prominent offensive coaching roles.”

Despite missing out on Orlovsky, the Panthers are building a strong, experienced staff. Not only are they rich in years of coaching experience, but most of their new staff holds experience playing in the NFL, as well.

Patriots To Interview Shawn Jefferson For OC Position

The Patriots now have two wide receivers coaches on the radar for their offensive coordinator position. In addition to requesting a Keenan McCardell interview, the Pats have reached out to Cardinals wideouts coach Shawn Jefferson.

Jefferson will interview for the position Friday, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets. Jefferson and McCardell had a combined 30 years’ worth of NFL receiver experience, though the former has a bit more seasoning on the sideline. This is believed to be Jefferson’s first OC interview; he emerged as a rumored candidate recently.

Although Jefferson played with the Patriots for four seasons, none of those came during Bill Belichick‘s HC run. But the 13-year NFL veteran did begin his New England tenure in 1996, when Belichick was on Bill Parcells‘ Pats staff for a season. Jefferson played four Patriots seasons — one under Parcells, three under Pete Carroll — before finishing out his career with the Falcons and Lions. He has been an NFL coach since 2006.

Jefferson, 53, has been with the Cardinals since 2021. Prior to his Hard Knocks cameo this season, Jefferson served as the receivers coach for the Lions, Titans, Dolphins and Jets from 2008-2020. The Detroit tenure, which did overlap with Calvin Johnson‘s record-setting season, represents Jefferson’s longest stop (seven years). With the Cardinals looking for a new HC, Jefferson may be on the move again regardless of what transpires with the Patriots’ OC search.

New England’s OC search now includes five names — Jefferson, McCardell, tight ends coach Nick Caley, Oregon assistant Adrian Klemm and Alabama OC Bill O’Brien. After making a surprising decision to go with Matt Patricia as their de facto OC last season, the Pats are moving more intently this year. An ex-Pats OC, O’Brien is believed to be the favorite, though no report of an interview taking place has surfaced. Caley has interviewed, and it seems likely McCardell — the Vikings’ wideouts coach for the past two seasons — will as well. It will be interesting to see if a non-O’Brien candidate becomes a serious contender for the position, one that may well be the centerpiece of New England’s offseason.

Bill O’Brien “Primary Target” For Patriots OC Job

The Patriots are looking to revamp their offensive coaching staff, and it sounds like a familiar face is a favorite for the gig. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston writes that Bill O’Brien is the “primary target” for New England’s offensive coordinator job.

[RELATED: Patriots Will Start OC Interviews Next Week]

Curran notes that there are “other candidates with merit,” but there’s “unanimity on all sides” that O’Brien is the best person for the position. The main thing going for O’Brien is his relationship with the Patriots organization, especially when you consider Bill Belichick‘s penchant for bringing back former assistants. O’Brien spent five years with the Patriots, culminating in him becoming the team’s offensive coordinator. Following head coaching stints with Penn State and the Texans, O’Brien spent the past two years as the offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, a close confidant of Belichick.

Speaking of Alabama, O’Brien also has an advantage over the field thanks to his relationship with Mac Jones. While the QB prepared for the 2021 NFL Draft, he also helped O’Brien learn the Alabama offense following the coach’s hiring. O’Brien could look to add elements of Alabama’s quick-strike offense to the Patriots offense. While the familiar scheme would obviously benefit Jones, the offensive philosophy would also take better advantage of Jones’ game-management skills (vs. his average QB skills).

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Mike Reiss looks at a handful of additional potenital candidates for the offensive coordinator position. After O’Brien, Reiss lists former Jets head coach Adam Gase as a candidate considering his mutual respect with Belichick and his experience with Saban. Reiss also lists Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell, former Jets/Cardinals associate head coach/receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, Cowboys QBs coach Doug Nussmeier, and current Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley as potential targets for the job.

In a surprising press release last week, the Patriots revealed that they would begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates. This follows a 2022 campaign where Belichick opted to go without an OC to replace Josh McDaniels and chose former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to lead the way. The results were ugly, as the inconsistent Patriots offense struggled for much of the year.

Staff Notes: Redskins, 49ers, Packers, Jets

The Redskins have hired former Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton as their new defensive backs coach, according to John Keim of Washington is retaining incumbent DC Greg Manusky, but the club has spent the offseason meeting with other defensive minds such as Gregg Williams, Steve Wilks, and Todd Bowles. Horton, unlike those three, doesn’t have prior head coaching experience, but he has been a defensive play-caller for the Cardinals, Titans, and Browns (two stints). Horton, who didn’t coach in the NFL in either of the past two seasons, is replacing Torrian Gray, who was let go earlier this month.

Let’s check in on the latest coaching and front office moves:

  • The 49ers have promoted Martin Mayhew to vice president of of player personnel, tweets Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Mayhew, whose previous title was “senior personnel executive,” will now share the VP role with Adam Peters. After serving as Detroit’s general manager from 2008-15, Mayhew was the Giants’ director of football operations/special projects in 2016 before he joined San Francisco the following year. He interviewed for the Panthers’ GM gig last February, but lost out to interim Marty Hurney.
  • Former Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn is a candidate for the same position with the Packers, reports Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), who adds Quinn has spoken with Green Bay. Quinn was New York’s coordinator from 2007-17 before being let go by Pat Shurmur last offseason. However, Quinn re-joined the Giants staff in September 2018 after new ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey began cancer treatments. The Packers were thought to be a serious contender to hire Dolphins’ special teams coach Darren Rizzi, but that union won’t be happening.
  • Adam Gase is bringing a familiar face to New York, as former Dolphins wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson has taken the same job with the Jets, per Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). Jefferson, 49, started his coaching career in 2006 with the Lions before moving on to Tennessee in 2013 and Miami in 2016. He was reportedly a candidate to become the Packers’ new wide receivers coach, a role which still hasn’t been filled.
  • The Falcons have hired former Buccaneers tight ends coach Ben Steele as an offensive assistant, tweets Field Yates of Steele had worked under Dirk Koetter — Atlanta’s new offensive coordinator — in Tampa Bay for the past two years.

Packers Notes: Staff, Jefferson, Dennison

New Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is interested in Dolphins assistant head coach/offense Shawn Jefferson, reports Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links). If hired, Jefferson would likely join Green Bay as receivers coach, a role for for which Jets WRs coach Karl Dorrell has already interviewed. The Packers allowed their former wideouts coach — David Raih — to join the Cardinals’ new staff earlier this offseason. Jefferson, meanwhile, started his coaching career in 2006 with the Lions before moving on to Tennessee in 2013 and Miami in 2016.

Here’s more from Green Bay:

  • The 49ers have granted the Packers permission to interview Adam Stenavich for their offensive line coach vacancy, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Stenavich, currently San Francisco’s assistant OL coach, joined the 49ers in 2017 after spending time in the NCAA ranks with Michigan, Northern Arizona, and San Jose State. Green Bay is on the hunt for a new offensive line coach after allowing James Campen, who’d been with the franchise since 2007, to take an assistant head coach/OL job with the Browns.
  • In addition to Stenavich, Green Bay has interest in longtime NFL offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Rick Dennison, tweets Rob Demovsky of Dennison has long been a Gary Kubiak disciple, but surprisingly hasn’t followed him to Minnesota, where Kubiak is now an offensive advisor. Indeed, Dennison’s presence may have been a primary reason for Kubiak not becoming the Broncos’ OC, as Josina Anderson of indicated last week (via Twitter). Dennison spent 2017-18 with the Bills and Jets, respectively.
  • The Packers will also interview Redskins linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti for the same role, tweets Grant Paulsen of NBC Sports Washington. Olivadotti, 45, has essentially been a Redskins lifer: he joined the club in 2000 as a defensive quality control coach, and has worked for the team in various roles ever since, save for a 2011-13 stint at the University of Georgia. He’s familiar with LaFleur, as the two worked together in the nation’s capital in 2010 while LaFleur was Washington’s quarterbacks coach.
  • LaFleur will retain incumbent defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery and running backs coach Ben Sirmans, per Demovsky. At present, it appears Montgomery, Sirmans, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and tight ends coach Brian Angelichio will be the only holdovers from previous head coach Mike McCarthy‘s staff. However, it’s unclear if Montgomery and Angelichio will remain in their current roles or take on new responsibilities.
  • Despite spending the 2018 campaign as the Titans’ offensive coordinator, LaFleur will not bring any members of the Tennessee staff to Green Bay, tweets Paul Kuharsky of

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, McAdoo, Fins

The Cardinals interviewed two more head coach candidates today, but the search will continue into next week, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports. The Cardinals have met with Steve Wilks and Keith Armstrong twice and will not need to interview current defensive coordinator James Bettcher another time because of his history with the organization. The team will also interview John DeFilippo and Brian Flores next week, per Mike Jurecki of (Twitter link).

In addition, Somer states that the team could look at giving Jim Schwartz a second interview, but Jurecki did not mention the Eagles defensive coordinator in his tweet. The search is mostly continuing because both the Eagles and Patriots will be playing in their respective conference championships, so depending on how the games shake out, Arizona could resolve their head coaching search by the end of next week.

Finally, Somers importantly notes that former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has recommended Bettcher and Armstrong among this pool of coaches the front office is considering.

Here are more a coaching notes from around the NFL:

  • In more Cardinals coaching staff news, now two former staffers have now left for new opportunities, reports Josh Weinfuss of (Twitter link). In addition to former special teams coordinator Amos Jones moving onto the same position with the Browns, former wide receiver coach Darryl Drake has been hired by the Steelers.
  • Hue Jackson is adding an offensive coordinator to his staff and have interviewed former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for the job. He interviewed with the Browns three days ago and apparently “It went fine”, a Browns source tells Josina Anderson of (Twitter link). Anderson adds that the source mentioned that they are “Just not going to rush into anything” after speaking to two candidates as of right now. Cleveland is also interviewing a high profile college coach in LSU’s RB coach Tommy Robinson for the same position on their staff, reports Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link).
  • The Dolphins announced a slew of coaching moves today. The biggest apart from Dowell Loggains being brought on as offensive coordinator is former OC Clyde Christensen being reassigned as the team’s new director of football and player development. Shawn Jefferson was wide receivers coach, but will now be an assistant head coach working with the offense. They are also are promoting Ben Johnson to WR coach. He got experience with this group of players as an assistant WR coach last season.
  • The Bears have named Brock Olivo as the team’s new assistant special teams coach, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Olivo was the Broncos’ special teams coordinator last year and was with Matt Nagy on the Chiefs’ staff from 2014-16 as an assistant to special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He previously was a former running back for the Lions back in his playing days.
  • The Texans have promoted Anthony Midget to the team’s secondary coach, according to Mark Berman of Fox26 (Twitter link). Berman also notes that they have also hired Danny Barrett as the RB coach and Tracy Smith as an assistant special teams coach.

Dolphins Hire Vance Joseph As DC

WEDNESDAY, 8:29am: The Dolphins have officially announced the hiring of Joseph, and have named four other assistant coaches to Gase’s staff as well. They are as follows:

  • Matt Burke, linebackers coach
  • Shane Day, tight ends coach
  • Chris Foerster, offensive line coach
  • Shawn Jefferson, wide receivers coach

TUESDAY, 4:28pm: The Dolphins have hired former Bengals assistant Vance Joseph as their new defensive coordinator, a source tells Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Alex Marvez of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were on the verge of a pact. Vance Joseph (featured)

[RELATED: Dolphins Hire Adam Gase As Head Coach]

Joseph has extensive seasoning as a secondary coach, presiding over the 49ers and Texans defensive backs from 2006-10 (in San Francisco) and 2011-13 (in Houston). The Broncos attempted to interview the 43-year-old Joseph for their defensive coordinator position last season, but the Bengals didn’t permit the meeting, leading Denver to go with Wade Phillips.

Marvez also reported that Joseph was set to bring Bengals linebackers coach Matt Burke, Bears defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, and Cowboys defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson with him to Miami. However, Henderson has also interviewed for more notable positions elsewhere, so it’s possible that he could hold off on taking another job as an assistant. He’s reportedly leaning toward staying in Dallas anyway.

Joseph will serve under new head coach Adam Gase. Gase, now the youngest head coach in the league, also interviewed with the Eagles, Browns, and Giants before agreeing to come to Miami. Gase was said to be a “unanimous decision” among Dolphins decision makers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coach Rumors: Coughlin, Eagles, Giants

The latest coaching news from around the NFL:

  • The Eagles have confirmed (via Twitter) that their interview with former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has concluded. Coughlin becomes the sixth candidate to sit down with Philadelphia, though one of those six – Adam Gase – has since been hired by another team. Be sure to check out our head coaching search tracker for the full breakdown.
  • Meanwhile, Coughlin’s old team in New York conducted a head coaching interview of its own today. The Giants announced in a press release that their meeting with ex-Falcons head coach Mike Smith has been completed. An interview with Bengals OC Hue Jackson will likely be next up for Big Blue.
  • The Browns are using Monday to take a step back and regroup on their head coaching search, tweets Mary Kay Cabot of There are plenty of options on the table for Cleveland, with the club having interviewed seven candidates to date and having been linked to others.
  • Veteran wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson is expected to interview for a wide receivers coaching job with the Rams and Dolphins, a source told Adam Caplan of (on Twitter).