Sanjay Lal

Coaching Rumors: Titans, Cowboys, Texans

Weather-related concerns are forcing the Titans to shift the timeline of their head coaching search, as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. Whereas Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur were originally scheduled to interview with Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, Vrabel and LaFleur will now sit down with Titans general manager Jon Robinson on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Vrabel, LaFleur, and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks — whose is currently en route to Tennessee for his interivew, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer — are the only definitive candidates for the Tennessee job thus far, but reports have indicated the Titans could also have interest in Eagles OC Frank Reich.

Here’s more from the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Former NFL defensive coordinators John Pagano and Ray Horton will meet with the Cowboys, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Pagano, the longtime Chargers’ DC, spent last season as an assistant head coach (and later, interim DC) for the Raiders, while Horton — formerly the defensive play-caller for the Cardinals, Titans, and Browns, didn’t work in the NFL in 2017. Dallas already has a defensive coordinator in Rod Marinelli, but the Cowboys were reportedly willing to promote Marinelli to assistant head coach in order to keep ex-LBs coach Matt Eberflus.
  • While the Cowboys are apparently considering additions to their defensive coaching staff, they’ve made a hire on the offensive side of the ball in new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal, tweets David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. Former Cowboys wide receiver/current Cowboys scout Miles Austin also reportedly interviewed for the position.
  • The Texans have hired former Raiders special teams coach Brad Seely for the same position, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Seely was forced out in Oakland earlier this month when the Raiders hired Rich Bisaccia as their new assistant head coach/special teams. He’ll replace Larry Izzo, the former NFL linebacker who led Houston to a No. 31 ranking in special teams DVOA a season ago. Seely, 61, has been an NFL ST coach since 1989, and the Texans will be his eighth professional stop. He should have a working relationship with Houston head coach Bill O’Brien, as the pair spent time together with the Patriots from 2007-08.

Coaching Notes: Raiders, Browns, Bengals, Broncos

Some assorted coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Before accepting a job as the Arizona Wildcats head coach, Kevin Sumlin interviewed to be the Raiders wide receivers coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (via Twitter). The Raiders have yet to fill the role, but Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News believes Sanjay Lal could be an option. The 48-year-old spent 2017 as the Colts receivers coach, and he served in the same role with the Raiders from 2009 through 2011.
  • The Raiders have filled one hole, as Doug Samuels of FootballScoop.com reports that the team has hired Alabama secondary coach Derrick Ansley for the same role. Ansley had previously agreed to become Colorado State’s defensive coordinator.
  • The Browns announced that senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach Al Saunders will transition to an advisory role with the franchise, as he’s been named senior assistant/special projects. Saunders served as the Chargers head coach back in the 1980s, and he’s since spent time with the Chiefs, Rams, Redskins, Ravens, Raiders, and Dolphins.
  • Before hiring Frank Pollack as the offensive line coach, the Bengals interviewed former Colts coach Joe Gilbert for the role, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Inquirer (via Twitter). Other candidates included Jeff Davidson (Broncos), Harold Goodwin (Cardinals), and Jim Harding (University of Utah).
  • Despite Mike Sullivan being hired as the Broncos new quarterbacks coach, Klint Kubiak is still expected to stay on the coaching staff, reports Mike Klis of 9News in Denver (via Twitter). Kubiak briefly served as the team’s interim quarterbacks coach, and he’s expected to take on his former role of offensive assistant/QBs.

East Notes: Cowboys, Cable, ASJ, Redskins

Having fired Frank Pollack last week, the Cowboys are casting a wide net as they search for a coach to lead an offensive line that was considered the NFL’s best as recently as 2016. Dallas has already interviewed former Bengal OL coach Paul Alexander last week, while incumbent Cowboys assistant offensive line coach Marc Colombo is reportedly “in the mix” for the vacancy, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, Dallas had interest in meeting with former Seahawks OL coach Tom Cable before he was hired by the Raiders, but no formal interview was ever arranged, per Archer, who adds the Cowboys also plan to meet with Giants offensive line coach Mike Solari.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • In addition to finding a new offensive line coach, the Cowboys are also looking for a new coach to head up the club’s wide receivers. Former Colts wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is interviewing to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired last week, as Archer reports. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. At present, the only other candidate to interview for the Cowboys’ WRs coach job is former Dallas pass-catcher Miles Austin, who is currently a scout for Dallas but has never coached in the NFL.
  • While the Jets have interest in re-signing pending free agent tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, general manager Mike Maccagnan & Co. have no intent of “going crazy” to retain the 25-year-old, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Seferian-Jenkins, a former second-round pick who has overcome substance abuse issues, posted the best season of his career in 2017 by posting 50 receptions for 357 yards and three scores. While ASJ did tail off near the end of the year (he managed only 11 catches for 69 yards in New York’s final five games), his age and pedigree should allow him to garner a multi-year pact.
  • Stanford has hired former Redskins assistant offensive line coach Kevin Carberry as its new run game coordinator and offensive line coach, tweets Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports. To replace Carberry, Washington has inked ex-Broncos assistant Phil Rauscher as its next assistant OL coach, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

AFC Notes: Colts, Bills, Jets, Jones

While the Colts are set for a front-office transition, they are set to return most of their offensive coaching staff, with one exception. The Bills’ previous wide receivers coach, Sanjay Lal, will make the move to Indianapolis to work in the same capacity, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Lal coached Buffalo’s wideouts for two seasons. Between 2009-14, he worked with the Raiders’ and Jets’ receiving corps. Lal replaces Lee Hull, whom the team dismissed.

Aside from that switch, the Colts will return OC Rob Chudzinski‘s staff. Former Dolphins HC Joe Philbin will remain in charge of Indianapolis’ offensive line, Quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer will return as well. Although, no such assurances are made to this staff beyond the 2017 season, and per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, the assistants are exhibiting a sense of relief at the Senior Bowl that Ryan Grigson‘s firing did not come with a sizable staff shakeup.

Here’s more from the AFC.

  • Jim Irsay continues to consult with former Colts GM Bill Polian, per Holder, about the search to replace Grigson. Holder isn’t certain the Hall of Fame executive will sit in on the interviews, but it’s clear he’s functioning as a sounding board for his former boss.
  • When Doug Whaley listed some of the Bills‘ free agents, he categorized three players (Stephon Gilmore, Robert Woods and RFA punter Colton Schmidt) as starters before pointing to the other 25 players in that grouping as performers brought in for depth purposes. “The rest of those guys, we brought in for backup depth purposes and they’ve played extremely well, and that’s a compliment to our pro personnel department,” Whaley said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. “But we feel we have confidence that we can get a lot of those guys back on extended contracts.” Mike Rodak of ESPN.com points out UFAs like Lorenzo Alexander, right tackle Jordan Mills and Zach Brown enhanced their value this season (Twitter links) and won’t likely be regarded as depth players once they hit free agency. Rodak (via Twitter) also doesn’t see Alexander, used as an outside linebacker in Rex Ryan‘s 3-4 scheme, as a fit in Doug McDermott‘s 4-3.
  • The Jets are almost certainly set for some type of negotiation with Darrelle Revis about reducing his contract, but should he return in 2017, a transition to safety is in play. New Jets secondary coach Dennard Wilson said he “wouldn’t think it would be a problem” for Revis to take up playing on the back line, per Connor Hughes of NJ.com. Wilson demurred when asked whether he wants Revis on the 2017 team. The Jets can save $9MM by cutting Revis before the second day of the new league year but will incur a $6MM dead-money hit — one that would be alleviated, due to offset language, if Revis lands elsewhere.
  • Gang Green has done “extensive homework” on former Texans OC George Godsey, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Rapoport views Godsey, who mutually parted ways with the Texans after the team’s divisional-round loss to the Patriots, as a strong candidate to succeed Chan Gailey.
  • One of the Jets’ considerations with their No. 6 overall pick will be North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com notes. However, Pauline said upon discussions at the Senior Bowl that labeling the Jets as being infatuated with the early-entry Tar Heels talent may be a bit overblown, noting the Jets are part of a “pack of teams” at the top of the draft considering Trubisky.
  • Adam Jones could face a suspension next season after his profanity-laced tirade against police officers was captured on video. The Bengals cornerback issued an apology statement, via the Associated Press, following the franchise’s apology. Jones will be set for his age-34 season next year, which doubles as the second year of his latest Bengals contract.

Coaching/FO News & Rumors: 1/11/17

General manager candidate Louis Riddick‘s interview with the 49ers “went well,” relays Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, who adds that the team won’t make a decision on a GM without having input from its next head coach. Josh McDaniels, the potential favorite for the 49ers’ head coaching job, and Riddick would likely end up as a package deal in San Fransisco, per Robinson (Twitter links).

More of the latest coaching news and rumors (here’s a roundup from earlier):

  • If new Bills head coach Sean McDermott is unable to land No. 1 target Mike McCoy as his offensive coordinator, he could look to Norv Turner as an alternative, according to both Michael Silver of NFL.com and John Wawrow of the Associated Press (Twitter links). The 64-year-old Turner would bring significant experience, having worked as an offensive coordinator with six teams since 1991; however, his latest stint – with the Vikings – ended when he abruptly resigned in November.
  • Bills wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal interviewed for the same position with the Eagles on Wednesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). Philadelphia is looking to replace the fired Greg Lewis, and Caplan noted Tuesday that its interest in Lal is “strong.” Before hooking on with Buffalo’s staff in 2015, Lal coached wideouts with the Raiders and Jets for a combined six years.
  • Broncos receivers coach Tyke Tolbert could join the Titans, thereby enabling him to reunite with head coach Mike Mularkey, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. Tolbert was once the receivers coach in Buffalo under Mularkey, and has also held that post with three other clubs.
  • Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn is a candidate for the Broncos’ O-line coach role, tweets Mike Klis of 9News. That would mean following ex-Dolphins defensive coordinator and now-Broncos head coach Vance Joseph to Denver. Washburn previously worked as Detroit’s offensive line coach from 2013-15. For now, Clancy Barone is atop the Broncos’ O-line, though it appears that won’t be the case for much longer as a result of previous head coach Gary Kubiak‘s retirement.

Coaching Rumors: Bills, Jags, Raiders, Ravens

Although Anthony Lynn has long been viewed as the favorite to take over as the Bills‘ head coach, team ownership has been extremely impressed by Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Indeed, Buffalo is now in something of a “holding pattern” as Lynn and McDermott interview elsewhere, tweets Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News. Lynn has been linked to every head coaching job that remains open, while McDermott has drawn interest from the Chargers and 49ers in addition to the Bills, as PFR’s 2017 Head Coaching Search Tracker shows.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • The Jaguars will retain defensive coordinator Todd Wash under new head coach Doug Marrone, but nearly every other member of the defensive staff is being let go, reports Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. Defensive assistant Mike Rutenberg is the only other defensive coach who will remain on board. Jacksonville had 24 coaches on staff at the end of the regular season, and that number figures to be reduced, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
  • Ken Norton Jr. will remain the Raiders‘ defensive coordinator, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Head coach Jack Del Rio assumed play-calling duties midway through the 2016 season, and Oakland ultimately finished 23rd in defensive DVOA. While Norton Jr. will stick around, defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson has been fired, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link).
  • Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Greg Roman could potentially join the Ravens staff in some undefined role, per La Canfora (all Twitter links). Baltimore recently announced that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will return for the 2017 campaign, so Roman — who has remained in contact with head coach John Harbaugh — could join the Ravens in a run-game director capacity.
  • The Eagles have fired wide receivers coach Greg Lewis, tweets Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Lewis spent just one season as a coach with Philadelphia (after having spent the 2003-08 seasons with the club as a player). Current Bills WRs coach Sanjay Lal is of “strong interest” to the Eagles, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • The Browns announced that they’ve begun to restructure their defensive staff under new coordinator Gregg Williams, parting ways with defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews, and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik. Cleveland also fired offensive line coach Hal Hunter.

AFC Notes: Jaguars, Gase, Bills, Jets

On the eve of championship Sunday, let’s take a look at a few items from across the AFC….

  • We heard yesterday that the Jaguars were looking to speak to Adam Gase about their offensive coordinator job, and Michael Silver of NFL.com reports today (via Twitter) that Jacksonville will indeed get a chance to interview the Broncos OC.
  • The Bills have reached a two-year deal with former Jets assistant Sanjay Lal to become their wide receivers coach, a source tells ESPN’s John Clayton (link via Mike Rodak).
  • Seth Walder of the New York Daily News lists six moves that new general manager Mike Maccagnan must make in order to point the Jets in the right direction.
  • The Chiefs narrowly missed the playoffs in 2014, and are watching as Andrew Luck and the Colts – a team they nearly beat in the postseason a year ago – advance to the AFC Championship game. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star uses the opportunity to compare the Chiefs to the Colts, taking a look at how the right offseason moves could help Kansas City take the next step in 2015.
  • Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN has projected Oregon star and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to be selected by the Titans with the second pick of the draft. However, the fit would be awkward, as head coach Ken Whisenhunt traditionally prefers pocket passers in order to run his offense, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.
  • The Browns could use receiver help next season, especially with Josh Gordon playing inconsistently since returning from suspension this season, and the team could target Jaguars pass catcher Cecil Shorts this offseason, writes Steve Doerschuk of CantonRep.com. Shorts would be an affordable option, and could relish the opportunity to move closer to home in Cleveland.

Rob DiRe contributed to this post.