One of Doug Pederson‘s top lieutenants will receive another chance in a similar offensive system. Former Eagles OC Frank Reich will add Press Taylor to his Colts staff, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets.
This move continues a Philadelphia-Indianapolis pipeline, only it will see a staffer going west this time. The Eagles just hired Colts OC Nick Sirianni as head coach, Jonathan Gannon as defensive coordinator, Kevin Patullo as passing-game coordinator and Jason Michael as tight ends coach. Each was with the Colts last season. Now, Reich will bring over a former coworker to help his offensive staff.
Sirianni did not opt to retain Taylor for 2021. The Eagles’ passing attack encountered major struggles this past season, which came after Pederson promoted Taylor to the team’s passing-game coordinator. The Eagles ranked either 31st or 32nd in the NFL in passer rating, completion percentage, yards per attempt and interceptions thrown this season.
Taylor, 33, had been with the Eagles since 2013. That tenure overlapped with Reich’s Philly stay. Along with new OC Marcus Brady and QBs coach Scott Milanovich, this duo will preside over a Colts offense again entering the offseason with a quarterback issue.
After adding Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator and Renaldo Hill as defensive coordinator, Brandon Staley has found the coach who will lead his special teams unit. The Chargers announced this evening that they’ve hired DeriusSwinton as their special teams coordinator.
The 35-year-old has made his way up the coaching ranks over the past decade-plus, spending time with the Rams, Chiefs, Broncos, Bears, 49ers, Lions, and Cardinals. He served as San Francisco’s special teams coordinator in 2016, and he helped the 49ers improve their kickoff return average by nearly six yards that season.
We’ve already heard of some other additions to the Chargers’ coaching staff. The team added JoeBarry as their defensive passing game coordinator, and they’ve hired Frank Smith to be their new offensive line coach and run game coordinator.
Let’s check out some more coaching notes…
Today, the Steelers officially announced the promotion of MattCanada to offensive coordinator. Canada served as quarterbacks coach during the 2020 season, and Ben Roethlisberger finished with one of the lowest interception rates (1.6) and sack totals (13) of his career. As Teresa Varley of Steelers.com points out, Canada helped implement jet sweeps and pre-snap motions to the Steelers’ offense.
The Ravens have added D’Anton Lynn as their new defensive backs coach, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley (via Twitter). The 31-year-old previously spent time on the Jets, Bills, Chargers, and Texans coaching staff, and he earned a promotion to Houston’s defensive backs coach for the 2020 campaign.
PressTaylor won’t be back in Philly next season. Mike Kaye of NJ.com reports (via Twitter) that the Eagles won’t be retaining their quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator. The 33-year-old had been with the organization since the 2013 season, and after serving as QBs coach in 2018 and 2019, he took on the additional role of passing game coordinator in 2020. The Eagles passing game was dreadful this past season, ranking either 31st or 32nd in the NFL in passer rating, completion percentage, yards per attempt, and interceptions.
DougMarrone is joining the Alabama coaching staff as offensive line coach, per a team announcement. Marrone, of course, spent the past four seasons as the Jaguars head coach, including a 2017 campaign that saw him make the AFC Championship. The 56-year-old has plenty of familiarity with new Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, as the two coaches worked alongside each other during their stints with Georgia Tech back in the 1990s.
Carson Wentz‘s status has fluctuated considerably over the past month and change, with the veteran quarterback having gone from starter to backup and then trade candidate to a player around whom the Eagles again want to build. The fifth-year passer’s issues with the since-fired Doug Pederson began well before the December benching, with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane noting the quarterback would randomly audible out of Pederson play calls down the stretch this season. This helped lead to Pederson benching Wentz on his own. During training camp, however, Eagles staffers saw warning signs of a potential decline, per McLane, who adds that some within the organization were concerned about passing-game coordinator Press Taylor‘s promotion. The proposition of a Pederson-Wentz-Taylor offensive power structure returning next season did not sit well with Lurie. The Eagles promoted Taylor last year but brought in Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg to help the offense as well; the latter two will not be back next season.
Alex Smith said at season’s end he would take a few weeks before deciding if he wanted to play a 17th season. He is under contract through 2022. But the Washington quarterback indicated during a 60 Minutes interview (via CBSNews.com) that the 2020 comeback season “has only emboldened for me that I can, you know, play at this level.” After cutting Dwayne Haskins, Washington has Smith and Kyle Allen under contract for next season. Though, Taylor Heinicke is a restricted free agent. Washington cutting Smith — an onerous proposition in 2019 and ’20 — would save the franchise $14.7MM in cap space, however, creating a complex situation for the QB-needy team.
Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper recently underwent ankle surgery, but Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram described it as a cleanup procedure (Twitter link). The Cowboys are not concerned about their top wideout missing much offseason time.
On that note, Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas also went under the knife recently. Last year’s No. 4 overall pick also underwent ankle surgery. Thomas played through ankle pain for much of the season, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic, who adds (via Twitter) the Giants expect Thomas to be ready for their offseason program.
The Eagles will have a new linebackers coach next season. Ken Flajole will not be back, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). The 66-year-old assistant joined the Eagles as part of Pederson’s first staff in 2016. After spending most of the 1980s and ’90s as a college coach, Flajole has been an NFL assistant for 22 seasons.
February 5th, 2020 at 11:21am CST by Zachary Links
The Eagles’ revamped coaching staff is starting to come together. This week, the Eagles promoted quarterbacks coach Press Taylor by tacking on the title of passing game coordinator, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The club is also set to hire former Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello for a staff position, Pelissero hears.
It’s not immediately clear what position Scangarello will occupy, or what this all means for the Eagles’ own OC vacancy. Scangarello served as the Broncos’ OC in 2019, but the results were not pretty. After finishing out as the No. 14 team in offensive DVOA in 2018, they regressed to 26th in the NFL. Still, as we’ve seen before, teams aren’t always looking at a coach’s latest results, and Scangarello rolled into Denver with plenty of hype thanks to his previous work in San Francisco.
Taylor, meanwhile, was being considered for the OC position as recently as January 31st. Although he hasn’t been explicitly ruled out for the post, his additional title seems to indicate that he’s no longer in the running for the job. Taylor, 32, has been on the Eagles’ staff since 2013 but has only served as a position coach for the last two years. He is perhaps best known for his role in the Eagles’ legendary “Philly Special” that helped them capture their long-awaited Super Bowl ring.
The Eagles fired Mike Groh just after their early playoff exit, despite previous comments from head coach Doug Pederson indicating that he’d be staying on board. Weeks later, the Eagles are still looking for his replacement.
The Eagles fired Mike Groh shortly after their first-round playoff loss but have taken their time in an effort to replace him. After three weeks, the position remains unfilled.
An internal candidate received a look for the job, however. Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor interviewed to replace Groh as OC, Tim McManus of ESPN.com reports.
Taylor is just 32 and has only been a position coach for two seasons, moving to the QBs coach role after John DeFilippo defected to the Vikings after the 2017 season. Taylor, though, has been on Philadelphia’s staff since 2013. He is credited with unearthing the “Philly Special” play that became a storied Eagles moment.
Philly’s offensive coordinator role is not as important as the position is elsewhere, with ex-Kansas City OC Doug Pederson calling the Eagles’ plays. But the team has met with USC OC Graham Harrell and had the likes of Jim Caldwell, Kevin O’Connell, Chiefs QBs coach Mike Kafka and Ravens QBs coach James Urban on their radar. Only Caldwell remains unattached. Harrell is staying at USC; the Rams hired O’Connell as their OC. Neither the Chiefs nor Ravens will allow their assistants to interview, with the position not expected to come with play-calling responsibilities.
While the Eagles might not name an offensive coordinator, they have likely found their next quarterbacks coach. Assistant quarterbacks coach Press Taylor is expected to be promoted to the primary role, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Taylor will replace John DeFilippo, who was hired as the Vikings’ new offensive coordinator over the weekend. The 30-year-old Taylor joined Philadelphia under former head coach Chip Kelly, but was kept on staff when Doug Pederson came aboard in 2016. Next season, he’ll work with a rehabbing Carson Wentz and — if he’s not traded — Super Bowl MVP/backup Nick Foles.
Here’s more from the NFC East:
Defensive back Su’a Cravensapplied for reinstatement on Monday, and the Redskins are expected to meet with the former second-round pick at the combine, reports John Keim of ESPN.com. Cravens, of course, didn’t play in 2017 after “retiring” — and then reversing his decision — before the season began. One talent evaluator tells Keim Washington could likely recoup a third-round pick by trading Cravens — that is, if the versatile defender didn’t come with any off-field questions. Given his saga over the past six months or so, Cravens would likely garner far less than a Day 2 selection.
The Cowboys have yet to fill their vacant tight ends coach position, and the club has interviewed two other coaches about the role, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Longtime collegiate offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (who recently took a job with LSU), and Brian Pariani, who has served as a tight ends coach for multiple NFL teams, are both in consideration for the job, per Archer. Dallas also lost one assistant today, as defensive staffer Turner West left the club to join Austin Peay, tweets Archer.
Dane Brugler of the Dallas Morning News identified six prospects the Cowboys may want to look into either trading up or down for in the first round of the draft. Atop the list of players to trade up for was Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, whom Brugler believes would require the Cowboys, who hold the 19th overall pick, to move into the top 12 selections. Brugler also pointed to Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea as trade-up candidates. As for players to trade down for, of note was South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert, who Brugler believes the team could groom as a replacement for Jason Witten.
The Giants have several ways to open cap space this offseason and SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano goes over players who could end up being salary-cap cuts. Veterans Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($8.5MM cap hit in 2018), Brandon Marshall ($6.1MM cap hit), and Janoris Jenkins ($13MM) were the most notable of the potential cuts. Vacchiano also listed Eli Apple, who the team took in the first round of the 2016 draft, as an option to clear cap space. Apple would have a $4.13MM cap hit next season.
Other teams besides the Colts were interested in adding Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports, but Judge and the Pats are finalizing a deal that will keep him in New England. The 36-year-old assistant will be the team’s special teams coordinator for a fourth season. The sides are ironing out minor details, but Reiss reports the deal to retain Judge is imminent, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier this week. Judge was a possible defection candidate if McDaniels had followed through on taking the Colts’ HC job.
Here’s the latest from the coaching circuit as we head into the offseason’s first official weekend.
Staying with special teams, the Lions are not going to overhaul their ST staff as they did their defensive coaching contingent. ST coordinator Joe Marciano and assistant ST coach Devin Fitzimmons will return next season, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports. An NFL special teams coach since 1986, Marciano has been with the Lions since 2015.
Detroit continued to configure its defensive staff on Thursday, hiring Bo Davis to instruct its defensive linemen, the team announced. Davis will join the Lions after spending most of the past two decades on Nick Saban‘s staffs at LSU, the Dolphins and Alabama. However, Davis’ Crimson Tide tenure — one that included coaching current Lions lineman A’Shawn Robinson, ended in 2016 when he resigned from Alabama due to NCAA violations. Davis, however, resurfaced at Texas-San Antonio last season and coached first-round defensive end hopeful Marcus Davenport.
The Eagles have lost their quarterbacks coach, but they are prepared to fill the void internally. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer expects the team to move receivers coach Mike Groh to quarterbacks coach and assistant quarterbacks coach Press Taylor to WRs coach (Twitter link).
Former Dolphins safety Renaldo Hill will now work with the team as a coach, being hired as Miami’s assistant defensive backs coach. The team notes this is the 10th former Dolphins player to serve as a Fins coach. Hill, who played 10 NFL seasons and spent three seasons (2006-08) in Miami, has coached at Wyoming and the University of Pittsburgh since 2012. This will be his first NFL coaching gig.
Prior to hiring Tom Bradley to be their new defensive backs coach, the Steelers interviewed South Florida DBs coach Blue Adams, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. Mike Tomlin coached Adams while he was an assistant at the University of Cincinnati.
Despite the Texans blocking the Broncos from interviewing Wes Welker, the Broncos will see their six-year strength and conditioning coach depart for Houston. Luke Richesson will become the Texans’ strength coach, 9News’ Mike Klis reports, with the team set to give him a bigger role than he had in Denver.
5:46pm: The Eagles have made Reich’s hiring official. They’ve also named 14 other assistants to posts. Seven of those coaches are holdovers from Chip Kelly‘s staff. Here’s the list (unless otherwise specified, the names come courtesy of the Eagles’ website):
Eugene Chung, offensive line/tight ends/running game
Phillip Daniels, defensive quality control/assistant defensive line
Dave Fipp, special teams
Ken Flajole, linebackers
Matthew Harper, assistant special teams
Tim Hauck, defensive backs/safeties
Greg Lewis, wide receivers (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Caplan)
On the heels of these moves, the Eagles released offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and linebackers coaches Rick Minter and Bill McGovern from their contracts, according to Caplan (on Twitter). They let go of previous D-coordinator Billy Davis on Monday, per Caplan (Twitter link).
1:40pm: The Eagles have reached an agreement with Frank Reich to make him their new offensive coordinator, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSports.com, who reports (via Twitter) that it’s a “done deal.” Reich had been scheduled to have a formal interview with the team today, and Adam Caplan of ESPN.com had suggested “it would be an upset” if he wasn’t hired (Twitter link).
Had he become the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, Reich wouldn’t have called the team’s plays (Gase will do that), and it looks as if he won’t handle that responsibility in Philadelphia either. New head coach Doug Pederson indicated during his introductory press conference on Tuesday that he expects to call offensive plays in 2016.
In San Diego, Reich was let go in large part due to the Chargers’ ineffective running game, but he did just fine with the team’s aerial attack — Philip Rivers led the NFL in completed passes in 2015, racking up nearly 4,800 yards passing to go along with 29 touchdowns.
Injuries have plagued the Chargers over the last couple years, and health problems on the offensive line likely contributed to the struggles of first-round running back Melvin Gordon, but Reich took the fall for the offense’s regression. In 2014, Reich’s first year as offensive coordinator, San Diego went from second in offensive DVOA to 11th. The team slipped to 15th this season, and the Chargers also went from scoring nearly 25 points per game in 2013 to just 20 by 2015.
In addition to reaching a deal with Reich, the Eagles have also reportedly agreed to hire former Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as the club’s quarterbacks coach. The new additions to Pederson’s offensive coaching staff likely spell the end of Pat Shurmur‘s time in Philadelphia, despite the fact that the new head coach said on Tuesday that Shurmur would receive consideration for the OC role.