Zack Grossi

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.

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
  • 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.