Scott Linehan

NFC Rumors: Rodgers, Hawks, Linehan, Bucs

The Aaron Rodgers watch now includes a practice return. The Packers saw their best player resurface at Saturday’s practice after he’d missed all week of workouts. Although’s Tom Pelissero points out Rodgers is still questionable (Twitter link) and the Packers will see how he looks Sunday morning, now that he’s gotten in a practice it’s a bit difficult to see the 34-year-old quarterback not suiting up Sunday against the Vikings. Swelling in Rodgers’ left knee remains an issue, per Pelissero (on Twitter), and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tabs it as unlikely the Packers will give their centerpiece a green light if he’s still sore or experiencing swelling from Saturday’s workout. But the 14th-year passer has dealt with myriad left knee trouble at several points in his career. That said, the Vikings’ defense may be the toughest unit he faces all season; and Minnesota’s front seven will be facing a surely less mobile Rodgers than it ordinarily would.

Here’s what’s new out of the NFC going into Week 2 Sunday.

  • Bobby Wagner serves as the anchor for the Seahawks‘ front seven, having played in 42 straight games. That streak will end on Monday night after the Seahawks declared their top linebacker out for their Bears game. K.J. Wright also will not play. Wagner is battling a groin injury, while Wright is still recovering from a knee scope. Perhaps this explains the team’s need to make the controversial decision to sign Mychal Kendricks, who may face prison time after pleading guilty to insider trading. Barkevious Mingo is the only starting linebacker Seattle will have available in Chicago.
  • Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan saw increased latitude this offseason in the team’s effort to restructure its offense, with Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News writing the fourth-year Dallas OC was involved in the decisions to release Dez Bryant and move on from four offensive assistants. Linehan signed an extension in 2017 that calls for him to be paid approximately $2MM per season, George notes. This makes the Cowboys’ OC one of the NFL’s highest-paid assistants. George adds Linehan could well be on the chopping block if Dallas’ offense nosedives. The Panthers did not see much from Linehan’s unit in Week 1.
  • DeSean Jackson appears set to have another chance to face his original team. The Buccaneers wide receiver is expected to surmount concussion protocol and be on the field against the Eagles on Sunday, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. Jackson had his best game as a Buccaneer last week, hauling in five passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

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 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’ Scott Linehan Received Head Coaching Interest

Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan says that he received head coaching interest in the offseason. Instead of pursuing those opportunities, however, he signed a contract extension with Dallas to make him one of the highest-paid coordinators in the NFL. Scott Linehan

There was interest,” Linehan said (via Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News). “But I’ve been through that before. My wife and I talked about it. If it’s not something that’s getting more serious then that’s not … I’m 53 years old, I’ve got a great job. If there was a great opportunity after this season … I would certainly look into that. But it’s not really what drives me, it’s being the best I can be here.”

Linehan, 53, helped mold rookie Dak Prescott into a top quarterback last season and led Dallas’ offense to the third highest DVOA in the league, so it’s not a huge surprise to hear that he got some bites for head coaching jobs. He also has previous head coaching experience thanks to his time with the Rams from 2005-08.

Linehan is now signed through the 2019 season, but it sounds like he would consider leaving for the right opportunity to be a head coach again. If the Cowboys offense dominates again in 2017, the veteran coach could be a top candidate league-wide.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 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 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 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 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 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 Notes: Eagles, Linehan, Bradford

The Eagles have fallen into a tailspin after an exciting start to the season, and that has led to some speculation as to whether the team will make any major changes this offseason. According to Ian Rapoport of, Philadelphia will not make any such changes, which means that head coach Doug Pederson will be back for a second year at the helm. Per Rapoport, the front office knew going into 2016 that the club was at least a year away from being a legitimate playoff contender, and while the Eagles’ 3-0 start helped to hide some of the weaknesses on the roster, the team knew that fixing those weaknesses would not be an overnight process.

Now for more notes from the NFC:

  • Despite Dak Prescott‘s recent struggles, Ian Rapoport of tweets that things would have to get much worse for the Cowboys to consider switching to Tony Romo. But Rapoport adds that Dallas OC Scott Linehan will be a sought-after head coaching candidate this offseason, and his departure could have a major impact on Prescott moving forward (Twitter link).
  • As the Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence investigation drags on, Tim Rohan of TheMMQB wonders why it’s taking so long, and if the league is just prolonging the process to keep up appearances. Rohan lays out in excellent detail the steps that the league’s investigative team takes in a post-Ray Rice world, and how that process could explain the lengthy delay in the NFL’s issuing a final word on the Cowboys‘ star running back.
  • Su’a Cravens may miss the rest of the season with a biceps injury, but that has not stopped speculation surrounding the young defensive playmaker and how he will fit in with the Redskins moving forward. Thus far, Cravens has worked exclusively as an inside linebacker, but given his strength in the passing game, JP Finlay of believes he may ultimately be better-suited as a safety, especially since the Redskins do not have a long-term answer at strong safety.
  • As Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports observes, the Vikings have two high-profile players who are due for big roster bonuses in March: Sam Bradford and Adrian Peterson. Per Pelissero, Minnesota plans to bring back Bradford, but as we have heard for a long time, the Vikings will likely not pay Peterson’s $6MM roster bonus and instead will approach him about a pay cut prior to the bonus coming due.
  • We learned earlier today that the Saints could look to trade Sean Payton in the offseason.

Jerry Jones Won’t Overhaul Cowboys

Things did not go according to plan for the Cowboys in 2015, but owner Jerry Jones is not about to start from scratch. In a radio interview on Tuesday, Jones explained that he isn’t looking to overhaul the roster this offseason.

Change just for change’s sake? You’re not going to have that because I too believe that we’re closer than this record indicates,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, according to Drew Davison of the Star Telegram.

However, Jones went on to indicate that there would be natural roster turnover and implied that there could be a few changes to the coaching staff. However, he certainly didn’t sound like he was going to make any significant changes on the coaching front. So, the Cowboys don’t sound intent on breaking the five-year, $30MM extension given to Jason Garrett after last season, nor will they break off the multi-year extensions handed to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

It’s been a trying season for Dallas thanks in no small part to the absence of Tony Romo. Without the quarterback in the lineup, the Cowboys went 1-10 on the year and they’re eagerly awaiting his return in 2016. There’s some news on that front as well, as a source tells Ed Werder of (on Twitter) that Romo will have scans done on his collarbone next week as the team explores the option of surgery. For his part, Jones said in his radio hit that Romo will not have a plate inserted unless the healing process slows, Todd Archer of tweets. Jones added that the way Romo has healed so far likely means the QB will not have surgery (link).

NFL Mailbags: Jets, Cowboys, Eagles

It’s Saturday morning, and that means’s NFL writers are opening their mailbags and answering questions from readers. Let’s take a look at some of the notable answers, including a cameo by Dave Zangaro of

  • Rich Cimini believes the Jets should explore the trade market for Sheldon Richardson, if only to “gauge the market.” The defensive tackle is expected to be hit with a lengthy punishment for a personal-conduct violation, and he’s also set to become a free agent following the 2017 season (assuming the Jets pick up his fifth-year option).
  • Meanwhile, Cimini expects Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Leonard Williams to all be back with the Jets next season. However, he could envision the team parting ways with nose tackle Damon Harrison.
  • The Cowboys may want to start rethinking their strategy of signing veterans for their backup quarterback role, writes Todd Archer. Matt Cassell and Brandon Weeden have combined to go 0-7 this season, and the writer is confident a first-year player could still succeed (or at least gain some invaluable experience) by playing behind Dallas’ intimidating offensive line.
  • While the Cowboys coaches should be held accountable for the lost season, Archer believes a good portion of the staff will return, including Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
  • Zangaro anticipates the Eagles pursuing a young quarterback this offseason who better meshes with coach Chip Kelly‘s offensive system. Still, the writer believes it’s worth having at least one of Mark Sanchez or Sam Bradford on the roster, regardless of the changes.