Ryan Day

Bears Considering Trace Armstrong For Top Exec Post?

9:53am: Armstrong has taken to Twitter to deny having contact with the Bears about this position: “I have the utmost respect for the Chicago Bears organization, the McCaskey family and Ted Phillips,” he said. “However, any assertion that I have engaged in conversations with them about joining the club in any capacity is simply not true.”

9:12am: Major changes could be afoot in the Windy City. Bears head coach Matt Nagy is almost certainly going to be axed at season’s end, GM Ryan Pace‘s hold on his position seems tenuous as well, and as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, Chicago is mulling an overhaul of its entire power structure.

La Canfora says that team ownership has discussed a top management position with Trace Armstrong, a longtime NFL player and a prolific coaching agent who also represents broadcasting talent and current NFL execs. Such a position would see Armstrong at the top of the football operations department, with the head coach and GM reporting directly to him.

One of Armstrong’s top clients is Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, who has led the Buckeyes to a 33-4 record since taking charge of the program in 2019. Day, 42, has served as the QB coach for the Eagles and 49ers and has also been connected to the Titans’ OC job and the Jaguars’ head coaching post in recent years. Armstrong believes that Day can be a winning head coach in the NFL, and it would be sorely tempting to reunite him with Justin Fields, his former OSU pupil.

While it would of course be difficult to leave his agent practice, Armstrong is serious about this position, and he is held in high esteem by the McCaskey family and team president Ted Phillips. The Bears selected Armstrong in the first round of the 1989 draft, and he spent the first six years of his pro career in Chicago. He racked up 42 sacks in that time, and he ended his career with 106 sacks, including a 2000 Pro Bowl campaign with the Dolphins that saw him pile up 16.5 QB takedowns. From 1996 through the end of his playing career in 2003, Armstrong worked as the NFLPA president.

Another prominent client of Armstrong’s is Raiders director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph, who may join the Bears’ front office if this scenario materializes. Joseph, who served as a Chicago staffer from 1998-03 and again from 2012-15, was recently named as a top minority candidate for a GM job.

This is all still in the preliminary stages, of course, but a shake-up like this one might not be the worst idea for a franchise that has qualified for the playoffs just three times since its Super Bowl XLI loss to the Colts at the end of the 2006 season and that has been stuck in neutral for awhile.

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2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Exiting the regular season, six teams are searching for new head coaches. That number is up from last season but not quite as high as 2019, though there may well be more vacancies that emerge during the playoffs.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-27-21 (7:05pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Ryan Day Not Interested In NFL Jobs

Days away from coaching for a national championship, Ohio State HC Ryan Day has popped up on at least one NFL team’s radar. The Jaguars are rumored to be interested in the second-year Buckeyes coach, who was once a frontrunner for the Titans’ OC job.

However, Day does not want to leave the college ranks at this time. The young HC does not plan to take NFL interviews, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Day’s former boss, Urban Meyer, appears in front of him in the Jaguars’ pecking order. But Day has certainly elevated his stock this year, leading Ohio State past Clemson and into the title game. The 41-year-old coach figures to be in the mix for NFL jobs going forward; he just does not wish to make the jump back to the pros at this point.

Based on his NFL experience, Day has taken quite the leap to be considered for a head coaching role. He spent the 2015 season as the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach and followed Chip Kelly to San Francisco, serving as 49ers QBs coach in 2016. Both seasons went off the rails quickly, and Day latched on as Ohio State’s co-offensive coordinator. He pulled his name out of the Titans OC search in 2018 — for a job that went to Matt LaFleur — and became Ohio State’s head coach in 2019. Ohio State is 23-1 under Day.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Expected To Fire Doug Marrone, Target Urban Meyer

After coaching a depleted team that ended up losing 14 straight games — and securing the 2021 No. 1 overall pick — Doug Marrone is expected to be fired. The Jaguars are planning to end Marrone’s four-plus-season tenure after Week 17, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.

Although the Jags have not made a final decision, Marrone narrowly avoided an ouster after the 2019 season. The team has since fired GM Dave Caldwell, and seeing a coach hang onto his job after a 14-game losing streak would obviously be quite unusual.

The team appears to be moving fast on Marrone’s replacement, eyeing Urban Meyer. The former Florida and Ohio State coach has already begun lining up a staff, according to Rapoport, who adds the ex-national champion expects to land the Jacksonville job.

At least two teams have reached out to Meyer about a head coaching role; the Jaguars certainly appear to be one of the two. Meyer, who has a history of spurning interest or leaving posts abruptly, has not committed to coaching in 2021, Rapoport adds.

Two of Meyer’s three national championships came in north Florida, when he led the Gators to titles in 2006 and ’08. This would make Jacksonville a logical landing spot. A greater interest has emerged in the Jaguars job due to the expected arrival of Clemson phenom Trevor Lawrence. Meyer has landed on other NFL teams’ radars in the past, but this time his interest in the pros appears genuine. Meyer, 56, stepped down multiple times at Florida and left his Ohio State post — at which he claimed a third national championship — in 2019.

If Meyer again ends up declining a path to the pros, the Jaguars have another option in mind. In this scenario, the Jags, per Rapoport (on Twitter), would target Meyer’s Ohio State successor — Ryan Day. Unlike Meyer, Day has NFL experience. He served as QBs coach for the 2015 Eagles and 2016 49ers. Both those gigs came under Chip Kelly, and those respective organizations cleaned house after each of those campaigns. Day, 41, has been at Ohio State since 2017, rising to their head coaching position in 2019. Day will coach Ohio State in the upcoming national championship game.

Marrone’s first full Jacksonville season went better than just about anyone could have expected. The Blake Bortles-quarterbacked team ventured to the AFC championship game, upsetting the Steelers in Round 2. The Jags nearly pulled off a bigger upset but squandered a late lead against the Patriots. Everything went downhill from there. After an ill-fated Bortles extension backfired, the Jags did not come close to competing for a playoff spot again under Marrone.

The team fired executive VP Tom Coughlin before last season ended, and while ownership kept the Caldwell-Marrone duo in place, the Jaguars purged most of the players from their 2017 squad from the roster. Even after trading the likes of Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, the Jags placed many of their new starters on IR. This helped key the 14-game skid that ended up securing the franchise the No. 1 overall pick. Jacksonville holds two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, and a new coach will be in charge of attempting to resurrect a franchise that has not made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since the 1990s.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Will Not Hire Ryan Day As OC

Mike Vrabel was just hired as the Titans next head coach, but it looks like he’s going to take some more time to hire his next offensive coordinator. Ohio State’s Ryan Day appeared to be the frontrunner in the Titans search, but he will not leave the Buckeyes for the opportunity to work in the NFL, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Mike Vrabel

Being that Vrabel is a defensive-minded coach, this hire appears to be critical in determining Marcus Mariota‘s future success. Day was originally thought to be a good choice because of his familiarity with Mariota’s college offense being that he did work with Chip Kelly in his final season in Philadelphia. He also was the quarterback coach in San Francisco in 2016 before accepting a job with Ohio State.

With Day staying put, Vrabel could just reset his search with some many potential hires available in the open market. There were rumors yesterday that he had interest in Lions QB coach Brian Callahan for the role. But with other more experienced coaches like Ben McAdoo, Darrell Bevell and Mike McCoy still free agents there is no shortage of candidates to be considered.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Day To Become Titans’ Next OC?

Ryan Day could be set for a prestige rise now that Mike Vrabel has become the new Titans head coach. The Ohio State co-offensive coordinator looks to be the frontrunner for Tennessee’s OC job.

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) Day is considering taking the job. The 39-year-old Day has been in his position with the Buckeyes for one year, with quarterbacks-coaching stints with the Eagles (2015) and 49ers (’16) coming in the years prior. Day is the first candidate mentioned for this job.

Day’s two NFL coaching stints came under Chip Kelly, making the connection to the Titans notable because of former Kelly pupil Marcus Mariota. Although Day did not coach Mariota at Oregon, serving as OC at Temple and Boston College prior to joining Kelly’s final Eagles staff, he knows the system in which Mariota thrived en route to a Heisman Trophy.

Day coached Sam Bradford and Colin Kaepernick as starters the past two seasons, and the latter showed improvement compared to his 2015 work. Though the 2016 49ers went 2-14 to lead to Kelly’s ouster, Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes compared to four interceptions — this following a six-touchdown, five-interception year in an injury-abbreviated 2015.

However, Day has not been tasked with being the point man for an NFL offense yet. The co-pilot for the J.T. Barrett-fronted attack in 2017, alongside Kevin Wilson and under offensive-minded Urban Meyer, Day served under Kelly and his respective OCs while in the NFL. In Tennessee, he’d be the main offensive mind for a team that made Mariota’s development a central theme in its hiring process.

Jon Robinson made this a point of emphasis at his press conference announcing the franchise was parting ways with Mike Mularkey, and with Vrabel’s background obviously being on defense, Day would make a notable jump in responsibility should the Titans go ahead with this hire.

49ers To Hire Curtis Modkins As OC

Shortly after word broke that Bills assistant head coach Anthony Lynn was withdrawing his name from consideration for the 49ers’ offensive coordinator position, San Francisco has apparently found its man for the job. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Niners are hiring Lions running backs coach Curtis Modkins to be their offensive coordinator.Curtis Modkins

[RELATED: 49ers considering Jason Tarver, Don Martindale for defensive coordinator job]

With Lynn no longer in the running for the job, Modkins and former Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day were the only two known candidates for Chip Kelly and the Niners. According to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Day is now set to become the new quarterbacks coach in San Francisco.

While Day has worked with Kelly previously, Modkins and the new 49ers head coach don’t appear to have overlapped at all during their coaching careers. Before becoming the Lions’ running backs coach in 2013, Modkins served as the Bills’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach. He also worked for the Cardinals and Chiefs as their respective running backs coaches after making the leap from the NCAA ranks in 2008.

Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert each made eight starts for the 49ers in 2015, and the team’s offense struggled to get much going under either quarterback. For the season, San Francisco finished 31st in the NFL with just 303.8 yards per game. The running game, with ranked 21st, was slightly more effective than the passing game (29th), but it wasn’t a productive year for Geep Chryst‘s unit. Chryst was let go by the team earlier this week.

In San Francisco, Kelly will continue to call offensive plays, as he did in Philadelphia, while Modkins and his staff will “set [the] stage” during those game-day play calls during the week, tweets Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.

In addition to bringing in a new offensive coordinator, Kelly and the 49ers are also set to name a new special teams coordinator, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, who reports that Derius Swinton is expected to take over the role. Swinton has been a part of John Fox‘s staffs for the last few years, serving as a special teams assistant in Denver before joining the Bears last year as Chicago’s assistant special teams coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Updates: 49ers, Eagles, April

As has been widely speculated, it appears as though a number of Chip Kelly‘s assistant coaches from Philadelphia are expected to join Kelly’s 49ers staff. Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com tweets that former Eagles WR coach Bob Bicknell will become the new WR coach in San Francisco, while Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirms (via Twitter) that DL coach Jerry Azzinaro and QB coach Ryan Day are also expected to follow Kelly to the Bay Area. As Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com observes (via Twitter), former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula was interested in hiring Bicknell as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator last season, but Bicknell’s preference at that time was to stay in Philadelphia.

Now let’s dive into some more coaching updates:

  • Expanding upon McLane’s tweet that PFR passed along along last night, Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that, with the Chiefs now eliminated from the playoffs, Kansas City OC Doug Pederson is expected to be announced as the Eagles‘ new head coach within the next week.
  • As for Pederson’s new coaching staff, McLane tweets that the Eagles could keep RB coach Duce Staley, special teams coordinator Dave Fipp, and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, assuming Pederson is amenable to retaining them.
  • The Titans are prepared to hire Bobby April as their special teams coach, according to Marvez (via Twitter). April, who served in the same capacity with the Jets last season, was fired after Gang Green’s disappointing special teams performance in 2015. However, as Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com tweets, April has coached a number of strong special teams units in his remarkably long career. April has worked as a special teams coach/coordinator since 1991, when he first entered the NFL as a tight ends and special teams coach for the Falcons. Since that time, he has been employed by the Steelers, Saints, Rams, Bills, Eagles, Raiders, and Jets.

Extra Points: Eagles, 49ers, Titans, Raiders

Though the hire has already been widely-reported, the Eagles still have to work out a contract with new head coach Doug Pederson, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Now that Kansas City (Pederson’s current club) has been eliminated from the postseason, McLane expects a deal to come together soon, with a possible press conference on Tuesday.

As the Eagles prepare to bring in a new head coach, they are also bracing to lose an assistant, as quarterbacks coach Ryan Day is expected to follow Chip Kelly to San Francisco, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). According to Rapoport, Day will either serve as QBs coach or offensive coordinator with the 49ers.

Let’s take a look at some more news from around the league:

  • After removing the interim label from head coach Mike Mularkey‘s title earlier today, the Titans (with Mularkey’s input) have begun to make decisions on the rest of their staff. Per Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link), Tennessee will retain defensive assistant Dick LeBeau, linebackers coach Lou Spanos, assistant offensive line coach Mike Sullivan, and assistant special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman. I’d guess that the fates of the remainder of the staff should be announced relatively shortly.
  • The Chargers appear to be on the verge of a move to Los Angeles, and a source tells Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter link) that it’s highly doubtful that NFL owners would block the Raiders if they seek to relocate to San Diego. Bonsignore also notes (link) that Chargers owner Dean Spanos signed an agreement waiving his rights to San Diego if his club moves to LA.
  • The total outlay by the St. Louis stadium task force in its efforts to keep the Rams? $16.2MM, report David Hunn and Nicholas J.C. Pistor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

West Notes: Los Angeles, 49ers, Maclin

The Carson presentation drew laughs from the owners once Disney Chairman Robert Iger mentioned how he’d paid the owners plenty of money over the years. That comment, and a Jerry Jones joke following Iger’s exit from the room, helped escalate the downward-trending Carson initiative’s demise, according to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

He said he paid us. Last time I checked, that money is coming from Disney shareholders, not him,” Jones told his fellow owners during Tuesday’s relocation summit in Houston, per Farmer.

The owners voted 19-13 on whether their votes would be secret. After two votes, the Inglewood project received 21, three shy of the majority needed to relocate the Rams.

Roger Goodell then ushered Stan Kroenke, Dean Spanos and Mark Davis into a private room for an hour-long negotiation. Upon the trio’s return, Davis announced the Raiders were pulling out of the race, Farmer reports. The agreement that gives the Chargers a one-year window to decide on relocating to Inglewood had been discussed for more than six months.

Farmer also notes Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who had been vocal about his support for the Carson project and helped attach Iger to it, was silent most of the day.

Here is some more on Los Angeles and the latest on the Western-stationed franchises.

  • With economists estimating the Chargers can expect three to five times more revenue in Los Angeles than in San Diego, a source tells Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune “at least 10 teams” would be lining up to take the joint-tenant deal in Inglewood if the Chargers wouldn’t. Acee also reports there’s talk of a bit more than the $100MM the NFL offered to help keep the Raiders and Chargers in their respective cities available to the Chargers if they were to make things work in San Diego. Spanos could leverage San Diego with the deal the Chargers would be in line to receive alongside the Rams if in fact San Diego is serious about keeping the franchise, Acee writes. But San Diego now will entertain the notion of bringing another team to the city.
  • Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said Kroenke will be spending between $3 billion and $3.5 billion to relocate the Rams, factoring in the $550MM relocation fee and the Rams’ new stadium (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, on Twitter).
  • Several members of the 49ers‘ staff from last season has reportedly packed up and moved their things out of the team’s facility, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports (on Twitter). Chip Kelly met with defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, per Maiocco, but the future of the San Francisco coaching staff is highly uncertain at this point. Kelly will meet with running backs coach Tom Rathman next week, Maiocco tweets. The former 49ers fullback’s been on the 49ers’ staff since 2009 and had to instruct one of the most injury-ravaged units in the NFL this season.
  • Former Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day is under consideration for the job of 49ers offensive coordinator, ESPN reports (via Maiocco). A former New Hampshire player under Kelly, Day joined Kelly with the Eagles last season after being Boston College’s OC in 2013-14.
  • Both Eagles defensive line coaches, Jerry Azzinaro and Mike Dawson, are the most likely coaches to follow Kelly from Philadelphia, Maiocco reports. Azzinaro’s been Kelly’s D-line coach for the past seven seasons, doing so at Oregon from 2009-12 and with the Eagles since 2013.
  • Maiocco also reports (via Twitter) the 49ers could be considering Buccaneers tight ends coach Jon Embree for a spot on their staff if Dirk Koetter doesn’t retain him. The Colorado head coach in 2011-12, the 50-year-old Embree’s coached tight ends for the Chiefs, Washington, Browns and Bucs since 2006. He’s been with Tampa Bay since 2014.
  • A mutual interest in acquiring players with length and size could help Kelly and GM Trent Baalke work well together with the 49ers, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch notes.
  • The Chiefs declared Jeremy Maclin active for today’s game against the Patriots, but their top wideout reportedly had trouble walking during the week of preparation, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Maclin did not practice this week due to the high-ankle sprain he suffered last Saturday against the Texans.