Rex Ryan

Chiefs To Consider Rex Ryan For DC Job?

Former Jets and Bills head coach Rex Ryan is a name to watch for the Chiefs’ newly vacant defensive coordinator position, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Schefter notes that Ryan has been approached about other DC openings in recent years. 

[RELATED: Chiefs Fire DC Bob Sutton]

This may be a report to take with a grain of salt. It’s not clear whether Chiefs sources indicated the team’s interest to Schefter, or whether Schefter has received word from others around the situation such as Ryan himself, who is a fellow ESPN employee. Nonetheless, Ryan offers the kind of strong defensive pedigree and boisterous energy that the Chiefs may require.

Last year, the Chiefs tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks, but they was unable to pressure Tom Brady when it really counted on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Chiefs axed veteran DC Bob Sutton, opening up one of the most appealing DC jobs in the NFL.

In late December, Ryan was said to be contacting potential assistants in the event that he were to become the Dolphins’ new head coach. Those talks, apparently, were premature – Ryan never landed an interview in Miami.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Coaching Rumors: Jets, Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins, Browns

Two coaches fired after the 2017 season look to have secured additional interviews about possible 2019 top jobs. Jim Caldwell will interview with the Jets, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. Chuck Pagano is now expected to interview with the Broncos, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Caldwell has already met with the Packers and been connected to the Browns’ wide-ranging search as well.

Here’s the latest from the AFC’s side of the coaching carousel.

  • Another year, another issue with the Jets‘ OC. After John Morton‘s stay in New York featured conflict, apparently Jeremy Bates‘ did as well. A growing frustration sprouted about Bates’ play-calling, something Jets GM Mike Maccagnan became aware of, Vacchiano reports. Bates is now in limbo after Todd Bowles‘ firing, and one agent suggested the Jets would have had to fire their OC if they wanted to land impact free agents on offense. Jermaine Kearse was also not happy with Bates’ work, per Vacchiano. The Jets may have more than one major hire to make in the coming weeks. Bates spent 2017 as New York’s QBs coach before taking over for Morton.
  • The expansive Browns search thus far does not include Josh McDaniels, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com tweets. A Cleveland-area native, McDaniels was part of the Browns’ turbulent 2014 coaching search that ended with Mike Pettine. The Bengals have requested a meeting with McDaniels, but he has not yet accepted. McDaniels can interview this week because of the Patriots’ bye week.
  • The Broncos are monitoring Mike McCarthy, but no interview is as of yet scheduled, Klis tweets. McCarthy has been connected to just about every opening thus far. The 13-year Packers coach may sit this cycle out, unless he sees a perfect fit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
  • Rex Ryan contacting possible assistant coaches about the Dolphins‘ vacancy appears to have been premature. He is not in the running to land the Miami job, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). This would have been Ryan’s third AFC East job. The former Jets and Bills coach has not been mentioned on Black Monday as a candidate for any of the eight openings.
  • The latest Leonard Fournette incident appears to have cost a coach his job. The Jaguars fired running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley on Monday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Jacksonville is retaining Doug Marrone but is looking for a new offensive coordinator, so there will now be another position available. Wheatley just finished his second season as the Jags’ RBs coach.
  • In addition to Wheatley, the Jags are canning three other assistants — defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and defensive line coach Marion Hobby, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Both Fewell and Flaherty spent extensive time with Tom Coughlin on Giants coaching staffs. This was Hobby’s first NFL job.

Coaching Rumors: Rex Ryan, Gase, Dolphins, Harbaugh, Broncos

There will be a ton of coaching rumors in the coming days, and we’ve already seen our first post-season firing. We’ve got a whole new round of notes ready, including an interesting tidbit about a very high profile name. Former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan is reportedly telling potential assistant coach candidates that he expects to land an interview with the Dolphins, sources told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Ryan is an out of left field name who hasn’t been talked about much recently, but he’s apparently eager to get back into coaching. One important caveat here is that there’s no guarantee Adam Gase gets fired by the Dolphins, but Ryan is apparently expecting him to. Salguero notes that Ryan is also a candidate for the University of Miami’s open job, and that Ryan is telling associates he has a “solid chance” to land one of the two jobs, but that he’d prefer the Dolphins one. If Ryan somehow ends up coaching the Dolphins next year, it’ll be the third AFC East team he’s led.

Here’s more on the coaching carousel:

  • Speaking of Gase, there have been conflicting reports about his job security recently. For his part Gase denied thinking about it much after his team’s blowout loss to the Bills, saying “I mean I’m not even thinking about that right now because we just got drummed on the road”, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Wolfe also notes that Gase said he didn’t speak much with owner Stephen Ross, who was in the locker room after the game.
  • We heard earlier today that multiple teams were considering trying to trade for Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and now we have a better idea of which teams. The Dolphins and Broncos are two teams that have expressed interest in trading for Harbaugh, according to Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders (Twitter link). While he notes the Buccaneers haven’t yet been linked, he thinks they “could get into the mix” eventually. The Ravens won the AFC North today, but Harbaugh could still be available, especially if Baltimore goes one and done in the playoffs.
  • It’d already been reported that Ron Rivera was likely safe in Carolina, and now it’s official. New owner David Tepper has informed Rivera personally that he’ll be back coaching the team in 2019, a source told Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). It was a disappointing season for the Panthers after they completely collapsed after jumping out to a 6-2 record, but the explanation of injuries and Rivera’s track record with the team saved his job for at least another year.

Latest On 2018 Spring League

The 2018 Spring League is scheduled to get underway next week, with practices starting next Wednesday and games beginning on April 7. Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is the most high-profile former NFL player involved in the endeavor, but other NFL notables are also participating, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Running backs Ben Tate and Lorenzo Taliaferro, receiver Stephen Hill, defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu, and defensive back Al Louis-Jean are among the ex-NFLers who will take part in the Spring League, per Florio. Meanwhile, former NFL defensive backs coach/Rex Ryan disciple Donnie Henderson will lead the league’s East team.

The Spring League is a developmental effort comprised of four teams which involves four games in April. The league began in 2017, and notable ex-NFLers such as Greg HardyKellen Winslow, and Ahmad Bradshaw were among the participants.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Watson, Wilkerson, Sanchez

Did the Jets make a franchise-altering mistake by not taking quarterback Deshaun Watson? Some within the organization believe that’s the case, particularly those who lobbied hard for him during the draft, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes. Mehta hears that some Jets officials were willing to trade a 2018 first-round pick plus Muhammad Wilkerson to move back into the first round to select Watson.

One can’t help but wonder whether the inclusion of Wilkerson in a trade offer would have helped the Jets’ chances. Wilkerson was once one of the league’s best values on the defensive line, but that went out of the window when he signed a five-year, $86MM extension before the start of last season and regressed sharply in 2016. Jets fans can dream about a scenario in which a future first-round pick, Wilkerson, and perhaps other draft considerations would have been enough to sway the Browns or Saints, but it’s hard to totally buy into that idea.

Here’s more on Gang Green:

  • After the Bills managed to unload Marcell Dareus, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com wonders aloud if the Jets could move Wilkerson before Tuesday’s trade deadline. He rightly concludes that a trade is highly unlikely. Aside from his onerous contract, Wilkerson’s production has still not returned to 2015 levels and he is dealing with multiple nagging injuries.
  • Recently, former Jets coach Rex Ryan said that he never saw Mark Sanchez as a “franchise quarterback,” but felt that he was good enough to “win with.” Those comments stand in stark contrast with what he wrote in his 2011 book, as Mike Florio of PFT notes. Ryan wrote that Sanchez was going to be “extraordinary in the NFL” and explained the thought process behind trading up to the No. 5 pick in the draft to get him. Ryan, it seems, is looking to rewrite history a little bit. This all may be part of an effort to to work his way back towards becoming an NFL head coach, but that seems unlikely at the moment.

AFC East Notes: Bills, Ryan, Jets, McCown

The Bills parted ways with Rex Ryan last December in part because of the coach’s declaration that the season was over when the playoffs were still in reach, Albert Breer of The MMQB writes. Ryan was believed to be on the hot seat in Buffalo, but that incident apparently sealed his fate. Months later, the Bills have a new head coach in Sean McDermott and Ryan has a new job as an analyst for ESPN.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • New Jets quarterback Josh McCown said his understanding is “it’s full competition between the three” QBs currently on the roster, meaning that he’ll duke it out with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty for the main gig (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). McCown, 38 in July, has $6MM fully guaranteed on his Jets deal. The Cowboys also wanted him, but they didn’t offer nearly as much.
  • Jets owner Woody Johnson says he will judge his team based on development this season rather than wins and losses, as USA Today’s Andy Vasquez writes. “Really, the way I want to be judged, hopefully from the fans’ standpoint, is just watch how we improve during the year,” Johnson said Tuesday on ESPN Radio. “Look at each individual on the team and if they’re getting better, that’s a mark of progress. That’s what we’re looking for.” That could be good news for coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan since the Jets’ roster is among the worst in the league.
  • Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler didn’t get the long-term deal that he wanted, but he reported to the team’s voluntary workouts this week.
  • Dolphins running back Damien Williams wants a raise, but he doesn’t have much leverage.

Fallout From Bills’ Front Office Shakeup

The Bills deciding to trade out of their No. 10 slot, when the Chiefs surrendered their 2018 first-rounder to headline a package that netted them Patrick Mahomes, indicated Doug Whaley was not going to be around much longer, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Buffalo moving down 17 spots — a move the Bills were believed to be pushing for prior to the draft — signaled a long-term plan more than one designed to help an embattled GM’s team win now. (However, Chiefs GM John Dorsey told B.J. Kissel of KCChiefs.com — Twitter link — Whaley was involved in talks that originated early this week.)

Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com notes the Bills’ chaotic front office situation goes back to 2014, when Terry and Kim Pegula took over and were surprised when Doug Marrone exercised an opt-out option that garnered him $4MM and left the Bills without a coach despite having completed a rare over-.500 season in 2014. The current Jaguars HC’s 9-7 campaign, aided the Patriots resting starters in Week 17 of that season, represents the most the Bills wins since 2004.

La Canfora notes Whaley has not gotten along especially well with any of his coaches, describing less-than-ideal relationships with both Marrone and Rex Ryan, and the one with Sean McDermott did not take off. Bill Polian declined to join the Bills in January of 2015, and La Canfora notes that decision kept Whaley in charge and helped lead to Marrone bolting on his contract.

Now running the show in Buffalo, McDermott was not happy the Patriots plucked Stephon Gilmore in free agency, La Canfora writes. The RFA decisions on Chris Hogan and Mike Gillislee did not help, either. The CBS-based reporter notes some of Pegula’s confidants advised him to fire Whaley years ago. The Bills signed Whaley to an extension last year, however.

A source categorized the Bills’ draft room this weekend as “one of the weirdest three days,” per Breer, due to the fact a leadership component wasn’t entirely present. McDermott, though, was the one who was providing the final say, Breer reports. The first-year HC was given autonomy to remove prospects from the draft board as well. Pegula said today Whaley put together the draft and the organization decided to fire him after the three-day event, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com relays.

Scouts were upset with Ryan’s program last year, Breer notes, adding that Bills coaches felt some of Whaley’s draft decisions — be it the trade-up for Sammy Watkins or selection of injury-risk Shaq Lawson — didn’t fit the schemes they were using. As for Watkins, it’s possible the Bills made his injury situation worse. Breer reports that the wideout’s foot injury was too severe for him to complete walkthroughs, but no one put a stop to his comeback attempt, and the pain worsened as he pushed through it to lead to a two-month shutdown. Watkins returned for the final six games but only cleared 80 receiving yards twice, albeit on a run-centric team. Already rumored to be set to decline Watkins’ fifth-year option, the Bills are probably more likely to go in that direction now that Whaley is gone, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets.

Further complicating things with McDermott: Anthony Lynn was Whaley’s first HC choice, according to Breer, and ownership went with the former Panthers DC — with whom Whaley did not have much of a relationship — while letting Lynn proceed to the Chargers’ job. Tyrod Taylor‘s return on an adjusted deal also went against Whaley’s wishes and was more in line with new OC Rick Dennison‘s. The latter was the Broncos’ OC when the team pursued Taylor in 2015.

As far as the selection of the next GM, the Pegulas might not lean on team president Russ Brandon too much, with Terry Pegula saying today the owners would ask Brandon questions if they believed they need to (Twitter link via Breer). Former Eagles president and Browns CEO Joe Banner understandably expects the new GM to be someone with close ties to McDermott, the longtime exec told Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link). Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane could well become a candidate.

Rex Ryan Signs Deal With ESPN

Rex Ryan says he still has interest in coaching, but he won’t be on the sidelines in 2017. The former Jets and Bills head coach has signed a multi-year deal to be on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Rex Ryan (vertical)

Ryan first auditioned for the gig when he served as a guest analyst on Super Bowl Sunday. As one of the most colorful personalities in the game, he was a natural fit for the job. In January, even as Ryan said that he still had an itch to coach, he admitted that he had interest in a broadcasting career.

The one thing about (being on TV) is that you don’t lose,” Ryan said. “You’ll remember every damn loss. But the wins? You don’t necessarily remember. So, it takes a lot out of you. I’m tired of getting f—ked. Unless it’s a real situation, there’s no sense of getting into it again.

In that January interview, Ryan said he is interested “at all” in a defensive coordinator job “at this time.” Of course, after washing out in Buffalo, he wasn’t a viable candidate for any NFL head coaching position. Interestingly, he did not rule out returning to the Jets someday in some capacity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rex Ryan Remains Interested In Coaching

When Rex Ryan was hired as the coach of the Bills, he said that Buffalo would be his final stop as a head coach. Two years later, he’s out of a job, but he’s not necessarily ruling out a return to a head coaching gig if he gets the right opportunity, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes. Rex Ryan (vertical)

The one thing about (being on TV) is that you don’t lose,” Ryan said. “You’ll remember every damn loss. But the wins? You don’t necessarily remember. So, it takes a lot out of you. I’m tired of getting f—ked. Unless it’s a real situation, there’s no sense of getting into it again.

After being discarded by Buffalo, Ryan appears to be a better defensive coordinator candidate than a head coaching possibility. Despite that, Ryan says he is not interested “at all” in a DC job “at this time.”

Interestingly, Ryan says that he would not close the door on someday returning to the Jets in some capacity. Coach Todd Bowles has been retained for a third season, but as Mehta notes, there’s no telling what Woody Johnson could do in 2017 if things do not go according to plan.

In the meantime, Ryan says he’ll do some television work. His next assignment will have him serving as a panelist on ESPN for Super Bowl weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Browns, Bills, Shanahan, Rex

The Browns’ firing of defensive coordinator Ray Horton is not yet official, but the team is leaning toward making a change, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com was among those to report (Twitter link). Should Horton get the ax, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams would be in prime position to succeed him in Cleveland. The Browns have given Williams until Monday to accept the job, according to Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link).

More coaching-related info:

  • The Bills have requested an interview with Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Panthers D-coordinator Sean McDermott‘s Wednesday meeting with the Bills went very well, notes Garafolo (Twitter links).
  • Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan‘s head coaching interviews with the Jaguars and 49ers took place Friday, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. Shanahan will meet Saturday with the Broncos, relays Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post (Twitter link). The 37-year-old reportedly prefers the Broncos’ job to the other openings around the league.
  • The Redskins, in search of a defensive coordinator, have received the Panthers’ permission to interview assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Steve Wilks, writes Mike Jones of the Washington Post. Rapoport connected Wilks to the Redskins on Thursday, noting the coach’s relationship with ex-Panthers and now-Redskins cornerback Josh Norman.
  • Unsurprisingly, Rex Ryan won’t work anywhere as an assistant next season, reports Chick Hernandez of CSN Washington (Twitter link). The two-time head coach will wait for a third opportunity to come along in 2018; in the meantime, he’s likely to take a job as a television analyst.
  • Check out PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker to keep up with all the latest interviews.