Shane Bowen

Coaching Rumors: Giants, Texans, Chiefs

New Giants head coach Pat Shurmur will call his own offensive plays in New York but still plans to hire an offensive coordinator, and Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is a “strong candidate” for the position, sources tell Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Stefanski, of course, worked under Shurmur in Minnesota, and is now a candidate to take over Shurmur’s old role with the Vikings (where he’d presumably get the opportunity to call games). Minnesota, however, is also considering former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell and Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan for its coordinator job, so if Stefanski isn’t promoted, he could conceivably bolt for New York. Meanwhile, Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley is a “name to watch” for the Giants’ OC position, while ex-Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin could also “be in the mix,” per Vacchiano.

Here’s more on the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • Former Raiders and Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano will join the Texans as a linebackers coach, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Specifically, Pagano is now a senior defensive assistant who will coach outside linebackers, while Bobby King — already on Houston’s staff — will coach inside ‘backers, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). Pagano, the brother of former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, spent five years as the Chargers’ DC before landing with the Raiders in 2017. When Oakland fired Ken Norton Jr. midway through last season, Pagano stepped in as the club’s defensive coordinator.
  • The Chiefs will promote offensive quality coach Mike Kafka to quarterbacks coach, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. Kafka, 30, originally entered the league as a 2010 fourth-round of Andy Reid‘s Eagles and went to play for six other clubs before hanging up his cleats. He coached at Northwestern (his alma mater) before joining Kansas City’s staff in 2017. Reid’s coaching tree is obviously impressive, and the past two men to serve as quarterbacks coach under his employ — Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy — are now head coaches with the Eagles and Bears, respectively.
  • The Titans also have a new quarterbacks coach: former Texans offensive assistant Pat O’Hara, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who adds ex-Texans defensive assistant Shane Bowen is now Tennessee’s outside linebackers coach. O’Hara interviewed for the Bears’ quarterbacks coach job earlier this year, but Chicago ended up retaining Dave Ragone for the role. Meanwhile, new Titans assistant coach Kerry Coombs will indeed lead defensive backs in Tennessee, meaning he’ll coach the same position group that he did at Ohio State, tweets Paul Kuharsky of Titans head coach Mike Vrabel offered incumbent secondary coach Deshea Townsend a job as Coombs’ assistant (read: a demotion), but Townsend will instead leave the club.
  • The Panthers have hired Air Force defensive coordinator Steve Russ as their new linebackers coach, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Russ will replace Al Holcomb, who followed Steve Wilks to Arizona earlier this week to become the Cardinals’ new defensive coordinator. Although he enjoyed a four-year pro career, the 45-year-old Russ has never coached at the NFL level. He’s been at Air Force since 2012, and previously spent time at Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Ohio. Carolina has also added former Seahawks assistant special teams coach Heath Farwell for the same role, reports Omar Ruiz of (Twitter link).

Titans Notes: Moore, McKenzie, Coombs

New Titans head coach Mike Vrabel swung and missed on each of his first two tries at hiring a coordinator, as Ohio State’s Ryan Day opted to stay in the collegiate ranks rather than become Tennessee’s offensive play-caller, while former Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher chose the Giants over the Titans. Vrabel still needs to fill out a staff, however, and he’s been busy making potential additions today.

Here’s the latest from Tennessee:

  • Former Raiders wide receivers coach Rob Moore interviewed for the same position with the Titans, according to Tom Pelissero of (Twitter link). Moore, who got his start in NFL coaching with the Bills in 2013, had been with Oakland since 2015 but wasn’t retained by new head coach Jon Gruden. 2016 was a banner year for Moore, as both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree topped 1,000 yards, but both wideouts took a large step backwards in 2017.
  • Rams assistant special teams coach Tyrone McKenzie interviewed for an unidentified role on the Titans’ staff, per Pelissero. Like Vrabel, McKenzie is a former Patriots linebacker, although the two never overlapped in New England, as Vrabel was traded prior to 2009, the season McKenzie joined the club. McKenzie, also a former Buccaneer and Viking, has only one season of coaching experience.
  • Vrabel is dipping into his Ohio State ties — he played in Columbus before coaching there from 2011-13 — as he formulates his Titans coaching staff, and OSU defensive backs/special teams coach Kerry Coombs will be joining Tennessee, tweets Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports. There’s no word yet as to what Coombs’ role will be, but given that he’s never coached in the NFL before, he’s likely to keep leading the Titans’ secondary. Coombs began his collegiate coaching career with Cincinnati in 2006, and joined Ohio State in 2011.
  • Texans defensive assistant Shane Bowen is another candidate to join Vrabel with the Titans, reports Cameron Wolfe of Bowen not only worked under Vrabel in Houston during the past two seasons, but also spent the 2012 campaign coaching alongside the new Tennessee head coach at Ohio State. A Georgia Tech alum, Bowen coached linebackers at Kennesaw State University from 2013-15.