Zach Azzanni

Latest On Steelers Coaching Staff

With Arthur Smith now in place as offensive coordinator, the Steelers continue to make changes to their offensive staff. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported earlier this week that wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson wouldn’t be back next season. The organization was quick to fill that vacancy, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler later reported that the Steelers were hiring Jets assistant Zach Azzanni for the job.

[RELATED: Steelers Hire Arthur Smith As OC]

While Jackson previously worked alongside Smith when the two were in Tennessee, he couldn’t overcome the underwhelming performance from his WRs corps in 2023. Both George Pickens and Diontae Johnson drew criticism for their lackadaisical play, and since the Steelers aren’t completely revamping their offensive staff, it sounds like part of blame has been attributed to the veteran coach.

So, the team will turn to Azzanni to help revamp the receivers room. The 47-year-old coach has had multiple stops as a WRs coach, including stints with the Bears, Broncos, and Jets. During his five years in Denver, he was tasked with the development of Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

The Steelers have also added former Chargers assistant Tom Arth as their new QB coach, per Dulac. The team has since announced the move. There were reports from earlier this week that Mike Sullivan would be retaining his job as Steelers QBs coach. That didn’t end up coming to fruition, but it sounds like Sullivan is expected to stick around Pittsburgh in a different role. Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston reports that the team has also let go of assistant quarterbacks coach David Corley.

Arth was most recently the passing game specialist for Brandon Staley in Los Angeles, where he worked extensively with Justin Herbert for two years. Following a playing career that saw him briefly serve as Peyton Manning‘s backup in Indianapolis, Arth served as the head coach at John Carroll, Chattanooga, and Akron.

Sullivan took on the role of co-offensive coordinator (alongside RBs coach Eddie Faulkner) following the firing of Matt Canada back in November. A former offensive coordinator with the Buccaneers and Giants, Sullivan had served as Pittsburgh’s quarterbacks coach since the 2021 season, guiding the team through the transition from Ben Roethlisberger to Kenny Pickett.

Coaching Updates: Eagles, Cards, Broncos

Following an impressive 2022 campaign that led to a Super Bowl appearance, the Eagles have watched their coaching staff be picked apart as both former coordinators have accepted positions as head coaches elsewhere. It looks like two of the assistants that they’ve held onto so far may be leading candidates to replace their former coordinators, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Breer claims that it’s looking more and more like quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson will be staying in Philadelphia. The lauded assistant recently turned down an opportunity to join Frank Reich‘s new staff in Carolina, which Breer believes sets him up to succeed Shane Steichen as the Eagles’ next offensive coordinator.

Similarly, Philadelphia may be looking internally to replace Jonathan Gannon, as well. Originally, the team considered Vic Fangio and Jerod Mayo as top candidates, but with Fangio taking the coordinator job in Miami and Mayo looking more and more like Bill Belichick‘s protege in New England, they were forced to keep looking. Breer posits that passing-game coordinator Dennard Wilson should be considered a top candidate for the defensive coordinator job in Philadelphia.

Here are a few other updates to coaching staffs currently in flux amidst regime changes:

  • The Cardinals have started piecing their coaching staff together under Gannon. The team has hired Klayton Adams to serve as their offensive line coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Adams has history coaching multiple offensive positions in the college ranks and last served as the tight ends coach for the Colts after two years as the assistant offensive line coach. He had recently accepted the offensive line coaching position at Stanford but will spurn the Cardinal to coach for the Cardinals. Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers is reportedly being retained by Gannon, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. No word on if Rodgers will retain both titles or solely serve as special teams coordinator. Lastly, the Cardinals had interviewed Commanders wide receivers coach Drew Terrell for their offensive coordinator position before hiring Drew Petzing to the position, but the team reportedly may still hire Terrell in a different role. According to Jeremy Folwer of ESPN, Terrell is considered a strong candidate to be hired as the pass-game coordinator in Arizona.
  • Yet another former Saints staffer will be joining Sean Payton in Denver. According to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, Dan Dalrymple will be joining the Broncos‘ staff. Dalrymple previously served as the Saints head strength and conditioning coach for the past 16 years. On the other side of things, a former Broncos staffer is on the way out, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. Following recent suspicions that Payton had his own person in mind for the job, wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni has opted to join Nathaniel Hackett in New York under the same title.

Coaching Notes: Cards, Kingsbury, Chargers

Mentioned as a candidate to reunite with Sean Payton, Mike Zimmer also may be under consideration for another reunion. Jonathan Gannon, one of Zimmer’s original hires with the Vikings back in 2014, appears to have the veteran coach on his radar for his Cardinals staff, Howard Balzer of tweets. Eagles linebackers coach Nick Rallis also may be on Gannon’s radar to head to Arizona, per Balzer. Gannon spent four seasons on Zimmer’s Minnesota staff, working as the Vikings’ assistant defensive backs coach. Rallis, 29, was on Zimmer’s Vikes staff from 2018-20, before joining the Eagles. It will be interesting to see if Zimmer, 66, has multiple options to return to an NFL post.

As for Gannon’s Cardinals staff as a whole, some of Kliff Kingsbury‘s assistants are in limbo. Vance Joseph and others have not been informed of their future with the Cards, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets. Joseph was initially a candidate to replace Kingsbury and interviewed for the job, but the four-year Arizona DC did not reach the finalist stage.

With all five HC positions now filled, here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Back from Thailand, Kingsbury has now met with multiple teams. After interviewing for the Texans’ OC post, the four-year Cardinals HC met with the Ravens. The sides discussed an unspecified staff position, Anderson tweets. This Sunday interview of sorts did not produce an agreement. Kingsbury is still in line to collect considerable cash from his 2022 Cardinals extension, but the Texans and Ravens hired others — Bobby Slowik, Todd Monken, respectively — to run their offenses.
  • Staying in Baltimore, Monken will have input in how the next Ravens offensive staff looks, per Anderson. The Ravens, as should be expected given their situation, followed through with their pledge to involve Lamar Jackson in the OC search as well (Twitter links). Monken, who collected two national titles while at Georgia, last coached in the NFL as the Browns’ OC in 2019.
  • Justin Herbert‘s 2023 brain trust will consist of ex-Cowboy staffers. After hiring Kellen Moore, the Chargers are adding Doug Nussmeier as quarterbacks coach, Dianna Russini of tweets. Nussmeier, an OC at five college programs from 2008-17, was with the Cowboys for five seasons — the past three as QBs coach. The 52-year-old assistant had multiple offers for 2023 NFL gigs, per Russini (on Twitter).
  • As the Broncos cycled through head coaches over the past several seasons, they kept Zach Azzanni in place. A Joseph hire back in 2018, Azzani stayed on as wide receivers coach under Vic Fangio and Nathaniel Hackett. Azzanni interviewed with both the Bills and Jets for the AFC East clubs’ respective wide receivers coach roles over the past two days, Tom Pelissero of notes (on Twitter). While these meetings could signal Payton has other plans for this job, Pelissero adds the Broncos could still retain the highly regarded position coach to work for a fourth HC.
  • The Broncos will lose one of their quality control staffers to the Cowboys. Ramon Chinyoung is leaving Denver to become Dallas’ assistant offensive line coach, per 9News’ Mike Klis (on Twitter). The Cowboys are also hiring Will Harriger as an offensive assistant, Todd Archer of tweets. Harriger, who spent last season as a USC assistant, has worked with both Brian Schottenheimer and Dan Quinn. Harriger previously served as the Seahawks’ assistant quarterbacks coach from 2016-18 and later was part of Quinn’s Falcons staff.
  • Shortly after the Broncos interviewed Rex Ryan for their DC job, the ESPN analyst’s son is in the mix for a title bump. The Jets requested an interview with Seth Ryan for their wide receivers coach position, according to’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). A third-generation NFL coach, Seth is currently the Lions’ assistant receivers coach. Just 28, Ryan has an NFL assistant for four seasons. He has been with the Lions for the past two. Although Azzanni is also in the mix for this Jets job, Seth Ryan working for his father’s former team is on the radar.

AFC Coaching Notes: Bieniemy, Raiders, Broncos, Jaguars, Bills, Ravens

Another coaching cycle has come and gone without Eric Bieniemy getting a head coaching job, but that doesn’t mean the Chiefs offensive coordinator will automatically return to Kansas City. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter), Bieniemy‘s contract is expiring.

While the accomplished offensive coordinator could (and probably will) ink a new contract with the Chiefs, Pelissero warns that he would be a “hot free-agent OC target elsewhere.” You could make an argument that Bieniemy could improve his chances for a HC gig if he succeeds out of Andy Reid’s and Patrick Mahomes‘ shadows. Of course, if Bieniemy struggles without his elite offense, that would surely compromise any lingering chances he has of securing that elusive promotion.

Following a five-year stint as the Chiefs RBs coach, he earned a promotion to OC in 2018. Considering the Chiefs’ success, Bieniemy was a popular name in the coaching circuit in both 2019 and 2020. However, the 52-year-old didn’t generate as much interest during this year’s coaching cycle, as he was connected to only a pair of jobs (Saints, Broncos).

More coaching notes out of the AFC…

  • Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon will join the Raiders in the same role, reports Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). The 52-year-old has been a ST coordinator in the NFL since he was hired by the Rams in 2009, and he worked alongside Josh McDaniels during his final season with the organization. McMahon has since served as the ST coordinator for the Chiefs, Colts, and Broncos.
  • The Broncos natural replacement for McMahon, special teams assistant Chris Gould, was let go by the organization, reports Klis (on Twitter). The older brother of kicker Robbie Gould, Chris Gould had spent seven years with the Broncos organization. The 36-year-old had a brief career in the AFL before transitioning to coaching.
  • More Broncos coaching notes: Broncos DL coach Bill Kollar is moving to a consultant-type role (via Klis on Twitter), while WR coach Zach Azzanni and offensive assistant Justin Rascati are sticking around (via Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post on Twitter). Azzanni actually had a second interview with the Falcons today, but Nathaniel Hackett “stepped up” to retain his WR coach (via Klis on Twitter).
  • The Jaguars are hiring Mike McCoy as their QB coach, reports Pelissero (via Twitter). The former Chargers head coach was the Broncos OC in 2017 and Cardinals OC in 2018, but he’s been out of the NFL since that time.
  • The Bills announced that they have hired Aaron Kromer as their new offensive line coach. This is Kromer’s second stint as the Bills OL coach, having served in the role in 2015 and 2016. The veteran coach was with the Rams between 2017 and 2020, but he wasn’t retained for 2021. Previously, Kromer was the Saints’ interim head coach in 2012 and the Bears offensive coordinator from 2013 to 2014.
  • Zach Orr is joining the Ravens as their new linebackers coach, tweets Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Orr played for Baltimore for three years, including a 2016 campaign where he earned a second-team All-Pro nod. He also got his first coaching gig with the Ravens. After serving as a defensive analyst from 2017 to 2020, Orr joined the Jaguars to be their outside linebackers coach in 2021.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Jones, Broncos Staff

Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones suffered a torn MCL in last Saturday’s playoff defeat and will be sidelined for eight-to-ten weeks, according to Adam Schefter of (Twitter link). Now that Kansas City has been eliminated from the postseason, Jones won’t be forced to miss any game action, and his recovery timeline means he’ll be ready to go well ahead of organized team activities. Jones, the 37th overall selection in the 2016 draft, has been force during his two years with the Chiefs, and last season graded as the NFL’s No. 11 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus. He’s under contract through 2019.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Zach Azzanni has been named the Broncos‘ new wide receivers coach, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link). A longtime collegiate wideouts coach, Azzanni began his NFL career with the Titans in 2013 before leading the Bears’ pass-cathcers last season. Chicago’s wide receivers didn’t offer much production in 2017, but the club also boasted one of the league’s worst wide receiving corps, so it’s difficult to assign Azzanni much credit or blame. In Denver, he’ll work with a unit that includes veteran such as Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and younger players like 2017 rookie Carlos Henderson.
  • The Broncos have also hired a new defensive backs coach in Greg Williams (not to be confused with the Browns defensive coordinator), as Mike Klis of 9News writes. Williams, who has also coached with the Chargers, spent the past two seasons as the Colts’ defensive backs coach, where, as Klis notes, he helped turned former journeyman Rashean Mathis into something of a shutdown corner. Williams will work alongside Marcus Robertson, who will return as Denver’s primary secondary coach.
  • Fred Pagac won’t return to Denver next season, but the Broncos don’t intend to hire another outside linebackers coach to fill his job, per Klis (Twitter link). Instead, the Broncos intend to bring in a dedicated “pass rush” coach who will operate with Denver’s defensive lineman and linebackers. Incumbent LBs coach Reggie Herring will now lead both inside and outside ‘backers.

Extra Points: Browns, Steelers, Bills, Bears

The transition tag could be in play for the Browns as they seek to retain free agent wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, Joel Corry of opines (Twitter link). Given that it costs less than the franchise tag, the transition tender is an alternative for clubs looking to save funds, but it wouldn’t entitle Cleveland to any draft compensation if Pryor signs an unmatched offer sheet with another team. The Browns lead the NFL in cap space by a wide margin, however, and would likely choose to equal any offer Pryor lands on the open market. Pryor reportedly wants to stay in Cleveland, while the Browns are “redoubling efforts” to sign him to an extension, so any tag — franchise or transition — could eventually be moot.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Although running back Le’Veon Bell visited a doctor last month while dealing with a groin injury, he isn’t planning on surgery, tweets Ian Rapoport of, who adds the pending Steelers free agent would have undergone the procedure by now if it were required. That’s certainly good news for Bell, but it probably won’t make a difference for his contractual status. He’s still expected to be franchised by Pittsburgh, and the tag will pay him north of $12MM.
  • The Bills are still deciding whether to move on from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and the club’s upcoming decision will have far-reaching effects on the rest of the Buffalo roster, writes Mike Rodak of Taylor received medical clearance today, so the Bills can freely choose to release him before a $27.5MM option bonus is due on March 11. If Buffalo goes that route, the franchise would essentially be hitting the reset button, opines Rodak, meaning the Bills could explore a LeSean McCoy trade. If Taylor sticks around, however, the Bills likely won’t have enough cap space to retain players such as cornerback Stephon Gilmore without restructuring other contracts.
  • The Bears announced that they’ve hired Zach Azzanni as wide receivers coach and Brandon Staley as outside linebackers of coach. Azzanni has spent his entire career to date in the college ranks, and coached pass-catchers at Tennessee for the past four seasons. He’s replacing Curtis Johnson, who left for the Saints after his contract expired. Staley, meanwhile, also comes from the NCAA, where he served as John Carroll University’s defensive coordinator for three of the past four years. Now in his first NFL job, Staley is taking over for Clint Hurtt, who rejected an extension from the Bears and defected to Seattle.
  • The Broncos have hired former LSU assistant Chris Kragthorpe as an offensive quality control coach, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. In addition to spending time in Baton Rouge, Kragthorpe also previously worked for the University of Georgia.