Rod Marinelli

Raiders To Hire Rod Marinelli

The Cowboys firing Jason Garrett also displaced longtime defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, but the former Lions head coach landed a new job in Oakland. The Raiders are hiring him as their defensive line coach, Jim Trotter of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Marinelli will replace Brentson Buckner, who joined Jon Gruden‘s staff last year. While Buckner helped the Raiders improve on their anemic 2018 sack total (13) and assisted in Oakland’s run defense climbing from 30th in 2018 to eighth this season, he will be in search of a new gig.

Gruden worked with Marinelli in Tampa, keeping Tony Dungy‘s former D-line coach on as Buccaneers assistant head coach from 2002-05. While Marinelli is best known for his three-year Lions tenure ending in the NFL’s first 0-16 season, the now-70-year-old coach oversaw top-16 scoring defenses in each of his six years as Cowboys defensive coordinator. Marinelli will now work with Gruden and returning defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Las Vegas.

Marinelli did well to help DeMarcus Lawrence become a high-end pass rusher and will be tasked with elevating No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell. Buckner did well to coax fourth-round rookie Maxx Crosby into a key pressure artist, with the Eastern Michigan product leading the Raiders with 10 sacks. Ferrell finished with 4.5.

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East Notes: Brady, Flores, Cowboys

The knee injury that Patriots QB Tom Brady has been battling this season is an MCL sprain, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports that Brady sustained the injury when going out for a pass against Tennessee on November 11. However, Brady has no structural damage, and Rapoport says the 41-year-old will head into today’s playoff game as healthy as he has been since the start of the season. He will likely not require any offseason procedures.

Let’s round up a few more east-related rumors:

  • The Dolphins are simply waiting for the Patriots‘ season to end so that they can finalize a deal with New England de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores to become their next head coach, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. No one anticipates this turning into another Josh McDaniels situation, and Flores is fully expected to join Miami. Schefter also says that Miami is already planning its rebuild and is looking to the 2020 crop of rookie QBs, which is expected to include Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
  • Albert Breer of SI.com names Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly as a potential replacement for Flores on New England’s staff, while Mike Reiss of ESPN.com sees former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano — who was rumored to be a candidate for the Pats’ DC job last year following Matt Patricia‘s departure — as a logical choice. Rapoport (video link) agrees with Reiss.
  • Dolphins LB coach Frank Bush is expected to follow Adam Gase to the Jets, and while DL coach Kris Kocurek may do the same, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio says that four to five teams are interested in Kocurek’s services (all Twitter links).
  • Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, whom the Jets reportedly preferred to Gase, confirms that he did not join Gang Green because the team wanted to pick his staff for him. Per Jake Nisse of the New York Post, Rhule said, “[a]t the end of the day, I’m never going to be in an arranged marriage.” 
  • Longtime Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is technically under contract through 2019, but the club could save $7MM against the cap by cutting him, and given the emergence of quality younger options and Lee’s injury history, it is difficult to imagine that Dallas will bring him back under his current deal. Lee, of course, could retire, and Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News says that the 32-year-old will sit down with his family and make a decision on his football future, though Lee did not provide a timeline for that decision.
  • After the Cowboys‘ playoff loss to the Rams last night, which saw defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli‘s unit get thrashed, Marinelli was unwilling to address speculation that he could step into an advisory role while Kris Richard takes over as DC. Per Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, Marinelli said, “[w]hy do people keep asking me the same question? I can’t figure it out? Can somebody tell me why everybody asks me that?”

Cowboys Looking To Extend HC Jason Garrett

The Cowboys are focused on tonight’s playoff matchup against the Rams, but they’ll shift their focus to extending their head coach whenever their season ends. Appearing on Good Morning Football, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport said that the Cowboys intend to begin negotiating a long-term contract with Jason Garrett during the offseason (Twitter link).

Following the Cowboys lackluster start, there were whispers that the organization could look to move on from Garrett. Furthermore, we heard that the team hadn’t considered extending the 52-year-old. However, the Cowboys finished the regular season with a 7-1 record, and they won last week’s playoff matchup against the Seahawks.

The recent run apparently convinced the organization that Garrett was “their coach of the future.” The head coach’s contract is set to expire at the end 2019 campaign, but the team is hoping to extend him before that time. After having previously signed a five-year, $30MM contract, Rapoport expects Garrett’s next contract to be among the most lucrative in the entire game.

Garrett has been with the organization since 2007, and he took over head coaching duties in 2010 after the team fired Wade Phillips. Garrett has put together a 77-59 record during his tenure as head coach, leading the Cowboys to three playoff appearances.

Meanwhile, defensive backs coach and passing-game coordinator Kris Richard wasn’t able to get a head-coaching gig this offseason (although Rapoport notes that he was a finalist for the Dolphins gig). However, based on his quick ascension through the organization, many believe the Cowboys will make Richard their full-time defensive coordinator in 2019. Rod Marinelli is the Cowboys current defensive coordinator, but Rapoport could envision a scenario where the 69-year-old transitions to a senior defensive assistant role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Cowboys, Falcons, Jets

Former Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus will reportedly become the Colts’ next defensive coordinator under presumptive head coach Josh McDaniels, but Dallas was willing to promote Eberflus to DC in order to retain him, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. The Cowboys would have named current defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli assistant head coach, paving the way for Ebeflus to become the club’s new defensive play-caller. But Eberflus “did not want to step on the toes” of Marinelli, per Archer, and therefore decided to head to Indianapolis.

Here’s more from the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • The Falcons are interviewing former UCLA offensive coordinator/interim head coach Jedd Fisch and longtime NFL coach Greg Knapp for their quarterback coach position, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) and Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Fisch, 41, has served in both the collegiate and pro ranks over the past 20 years. In the NFL, Fisch was the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator from 2013-14, and has also worked for the Texans, Ravens, Broncos, and Seahawks, mostly as a quarterbacks or wide receivers coach. Knapp, meanwhile, has coordinated offenses for the 49ers, Falcons, Raiders (two stints), and Seahawks, but was most recently the Broncos’ QBs coach from 2013-16.
  • Now that he’s been passed over for a promotion to Packers defensive coordinator, cornerbacks coach Darren Perry is interviewing to become the Texans‘ secondary coach, according to Marvez (Twitter link). Perry, who’s worked in Green Bay since 2009, would replace John Butler, who was fired by Houston earlier this month. One of three internal candidates to replace former Packers DC Dom Capers, Perry could now leave Green Bay given that Mike Pettine is leading the club’s defense. However, Perry isn’t a lock to defect from the Packers, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, while Texans assistant defensive backs coach Anthony Midget is also in the running for Houston’s secondary coach job, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Buccaneers have exercised their 2018 club options for each of their assistant coaches, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). That should come as no surprise, given that Tampa Bay made the relatively surprising decision to retain head coach Dirk Koetter. However, there could be several “tweaks” to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff, per Stroud, although it’s unclear what those changes might entail. Koetter is signed through the 2020 campaign, while general manager Jason Licht recently had his 2018 option picked up.
  • Assistant defensive backs coach Daylon McCutcheon will not return to the Jets in 2018, sources tell Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. McCutcheon, who worked in New York for the past two seasons, will leave the club in order to move closer to his family on the West Coast, per Mehta.

Cowboys Want To Keep Linehan, Marinelli

There will be some coaching changes in Dallas, but it sounds like the main coaches will be staying in place. In a radio interview on Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the team wants to retain offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for 2018 (link via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News). Scott Linehan

Starting this week, the team will evaluate the futures of assistants such as running backs coach Gary Brown, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who are on expiring deals. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker have already been fired, according to Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).

Both Marinelli and Linehand signed extensions with the team last March. The length of Marinelli’s contract is unknown, but we do know that Linehan is under contract through 2019.

Meanwhile, Jones says that he has given no consideration to replacing Jason Garrett as head coach.

It’s not even a thought for me,” Jones said. “I do like the fact that we’ve invested, if you will. We’ve got several years of Jason evolving in this profession in the NFL. There’s no question the familiarity with teams that we’re playing, especially in our division, is a big plus. You pay a big price when you make a change at the head coach. You pay some price when you make a change at any position coach situation. On the other hand, freshness we’re talking about, new ideas, nothing set in stone, that’s a plus too. But I think that Jason’s in a good spot. We’re in a good spot with Jason. He certainly has the mentality of doing things differently, again not just to be doing them differently, but basically recognizing that we’ve got some things we do need to do differently. We’ll make that happen through our assistant coaches.”

While several jobs are up in the air, there is one confirmed vacancy on the Cowboys’ staff following the retirement of tight ends coach Steve Loney.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rapoport’s Latest: Mularkey, Arians, Rodgers

It’s a busy day in the NFL, as some teams fight for the playoffs while others prepare for the offseason and their next head coach. Let’s take a look at some of the latest reports from NFL.com scribe Ian Rapoport on the eve of Black Monday:

  • Despite the fact that the Titans could clinch a playoff spot today, Rapoport says that head coach Mike Mularkey is in trouble, and if Tennessee loses to Jacksonville this afternoon, Mularkey could be fired. Indeed, he could be canned even if the Titans make the playoffs but lose in the wildcard round. Apparently, ownership is frustrated with the development of Marcus Mariota, and if the Titans dismiss Mularkey, they could go hard after Patriots OC Josh McDaniels.
  • Rapoport tweets that the Cardinals have not given up hope of enticing head coach Bruce Arians to return, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Arians is likely to step away from coaching after Arizona’s season finale today.
  • The Packers recently extended Davante Adams, and Rapoport tweets that the team will make an extension for Aaron Rodgers its top priority this offseason.
  • There are expected to be two head coaching openings in the NFC North, with the Bears and Lions preparing to look for their next sideline general this offseason. Rapoport names Patriots DC Matt Patricia as a top choice for Detroit, while the Bears could look hard at a QB guru for young signal-caller Mitch Trubisky. Rapoport tweets that the SaintsPete Carmichael, the longest-tenured OC in the league, could get a look for the Chicago job.
  • Both Cowboys coordinators (DC Rod Marinelli and OC Scott Linehan) are on the hot seat and will be thoroughly evaluated, per Rapoport (video link).

Cowboys Extend Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli

The Cowboys have extended the contracts of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, a source tells Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram. Dallas has also signed special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia to an extension, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Linehan, specifically, had two years added to his deal, meaning he is now signed through the 2019 campaign.Scott Linehan

[RELATED: Cowboys Extend Jason Witten]

Linehan, 53, has been with the Cowboys since 2014, and assumed the title of offensive coordinator in 2015. Despite seeing starting quarterback Tony Romo go down in the preseason, Linehan led an offense that finished third in DVOA in 2016, getting contributions from rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott (and a league-best offensive line) en route to a postseason berth. Linehan, who has also called plays for Minnesota, Miami, and Detroit, was the Rams’ head coach from 2005-08.

Marinelli, too, has been a head coach before, as he lead the Lions from 2006-08 (and was infamously in charge of Detroit’s 0-16 roster). The 67-year-old has posted much better results as a defensive coordinator, and that’s the role he’s held in Dallas since 2014. The Cowboys finished 17th in defensive DVOA last season, but Marinelli will have his work cut out for him in 2017 after the club lost Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox to free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Cowboys, Jets, Marshall

The Cowboys are working on contract extensions for offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News reports. Both men are under contract through the 2017 season, having signed three-year deals in January 2015. Linehan has served as the Cowboys’ OC since 2014, while Marinelli worked as the team’s D-line coach in 2013 before being promoted to DC in 2014.

Team owner Jerry Jones said he is not ready to announce any extensions just yet, but that all talks thus far have been positive.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • We learned several days ago that the Cowboys are proceeding as if LB Jaylon Smith will play in 2017, although there has been no significant change in the nerve damage that caused Smith’s draft stock to plummet last year and that forced him to miss the entire 2016 campaign. As Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes, Dallas not only expects Smith to play this year, the team expects him to be a full participant in offseason workouts. Jones, as per usual, is especially bullish on Smith’s chances of being an impact player this year.
  • The Jets have clearly entered into full-on rebuilding mode, and as Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com writes, the club is willing to deal its No. 6 overall selection to acquire more picks. Per Bergman, if the Jets do not want to use their top pick on a quarterback or offensive lineman, they will be comfortable trading down to the mid-to-late first round and collecting mid-round selections in the process.
  • The Eagles‘ desire for wide receiver and cornerback help has been well-documented, but Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes the team would also be well-served in pursuing a pass-rushing defensive end in the early rounds of the draft, especially since this year’s draft class is well-stocked with quality pass rushers. After all, the Eagles are expected to trade or release Connor Barwin, which would leave the team with two 29-year-olds (Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham) rushing the edge and little proven depth behind them.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com names the Giants, Patriots, and Ravens as three potential landing spots for the recently-released Brandon Marshall (Twitter link). We learned about the mutual interest between New England and Marshall yesterday.
  • The Dolphins plan to lean more heavily on 2015 second-rounder Jordan Phillips next season, and they hope Phillips will seize a starting role opposite Ndamukong Suh, as James Walker of ESPN.com writes.

 

Cowboys Looking To Extend Coordinators

On the heels of a 13-3 finish in 2016, the Cowboys are discussing contract extensions with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive chief Rod Marinelli, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Linehan and Marinelli previously inked three-year extensions with the team after the 2014 campaign.

Scott Linehan

The 53-year-old Linehan is fresh off his third season in Dallas and second as its offensive coordinator, and his side of the ball posted tremendous production without Tony Romo in 2016. Led by two rookies – QB Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott – the Cowboys ranked fifth in the NFL in both scoring and yards, and they placed an even better third in DVOA. Linehan figured to draw head coaching interest as a result, but that didn’t come to fruition. Linehan once served as a head coach in St. Louis, though the Rams posted an ugly 11-25 record under him in two-plus seasons from 2006-08.

Marinelli has also been a head coach, in Detroit, but he won’t get another shot when considering his age (67) and the unsightly 10-38 mark (including an 0-16 season) the Lions logged with him from 2006-08. The longtime assistant has found a home in Dallas, however, as he has been on the team’s staff since 2013 and is coming off his third year as its coordinator. Despite receiving either little or no contributions from high-profile defenders Rolando McClain and Randy Gregory in 2016, Marinelli’s group finished fifth in the league in scoring, 14th in yards and 17th in DVOA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Megatron, Bears, Packers

Ron Rivera‘s path to the Panthers emerged when he and Lovie Smith ended a contentious relationship in three seasons working together in Chicago. The former Bears coach didn’t renew the former Bears defensive coordinator’s contract after the duo helped the Bears to Super Bowl XLI during the 2006 season, largely due to philosophical and personal differences, Austin Murphy of SI.com reports.

Smith preferred then-Buccaneers assistant head coach Rod Marinelli for the job upon being hired as Bears coach in 2004, but, per Murphy, Rivera was mandated by then-Chicago GM Jerry Angelo.

The former Bears player under blitz-happy Buddy Ryan, Rivera wanted a blitz-heavy scheme, whereas Smith was a Tampa-2 proponent. Murphy also asserts Rivera’s eight interviews for head-coaching positions while employed as Bears DC were potentially seen as disloyal by Smith.

When Rivera became the Chargers’ linebackers coach in 2007 after Smith denied him a fourth season running the Bears’ defense, he and Smith were on bad terms, a Bears source told Murphy. The 54-year-old Rivera served three years as San Diego’s DC before accepting Carolina’s top coaching job.

Here are some more items from the NFC North on the eve of Super Bowl 50.

  • The Bears should let Matt Forte walk while re-signing Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap notes in his analysis of the Bears’ cap situation. Also advising the Bears to orchestrate an extension with Kyle Long after they pick up the tackle’s fifth-year option, Fitzgerald recommends the Bears cut Martellus Bennett and gauge Lamarr Houston‘s trade value. Bennett would save Chicago $5.2MM, and Houston, entering his seventh season, will net the Bears $4MM in cap savings if released. Brought in to play in a 4-3 scheme, Houston graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 62-ranked edge defender as an outside linebacker in Vic Fangio‘s 3-4.
  • Calvin Johnson‘s impromptu retirement could be a negotiating ploy a la Adrian Peterson‘s trade request last year, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. The Lions will need to know Johnson’s official intentions on his future by March 9, when his $16MM base salary and $24MM cap number are configured into Detroit’s 2016 salary cap. Florio speculates Johnson could have threatened to retire to force the Lions to appreciate his presence rather than insist he renegotiate that massive cap figure. Peterson ended up receiving additional guaranteed money, instead of the Vikings potentially attempting at reducing his salary, Florio offers.
  • Randall Cobb‘s punctured lung sustained against the Cardinals could have been an effect of him being mic’d up by NFL Films, the slot receiver and the Packers medical staff theorize (via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). “I punctured a lung. I didn’t break a rib and I didn’t fracture a rib. It’s really abnormal for that to happen,” Cobb told radio host Bill Michaels in San Francisco. “But I was mic’d up for the game. I landed flush on my back. The battery pack was on my shoulder pads and I landed flush on my back and we think that possibly could be it but there’s no way of proving it.” Cobb, who left the divisional playoff game after injuring himself on a spectacular catch that ended up being nullified by penalty, will enter the season season of the four-year deal he signed last March.
  • Casey Hayward hired the same agent, David Mulugheta, used by fellow Packers DBs Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Quinten Rollins, Rand Getlin of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Hayward is one of Green Bay’s top free agents.