Shane Waldron

Rams Promote Shane Waldron, Jedd Fisch

After losing former quarterbacks Zac Taylor (who was formally announced as the Bengals’ new head coach last week), the Rams are re-shuffling their offensive staff. Shane Waldron will be promoted from tight ends coach to quarterbacks coach while retaining his title as Los Angeles’ passing game coordinator, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter links). Meanwhile, senior offensive assistant Jedd Fisch will be named assistant coordinator/offense.

How much these changes will actually affect the day-to-day — and game-to-game — operations for the Rams’ offense is unclear. Head coach Sean McVay will continue to call offensive plays, and Los Angeles still hasn’t formally replaced former offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur since he left for Tennessee following the 2017 season.

But the moves are considered steps-up. As Breer notes in indicating Waldron will keep his passing game coordinator title, Waldron is merely shifting his position of focus — he’ll be as involved in the Rams’ offense as he ever was, if not more so. Waldron, who has also spent NFL time with the Patriots and Redskins, interviewed for Cincinnati’s head coaching vacancy earlier this year but lost out to his ex-coworker Taylor.

Fisch, meanwhile, now has a title that sounds the closest to “offensive coordinator” of anyone on the Rams’ staff. The Jaguars’ OC from 2013-14, Fisch joined Los Angeles in 2018 and serves as the club’s clock management specialist. He interviewed for the head coaching job at Temple University earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Wilson, Foles, Newton, Rams

We heard in early January that the Seahawks would begin contract negotiations with star QB Russell Wilson “soon,” but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes that the two sides have yet to have a single contract discussion. Wilson is under club control through the 2019 season and is set to earn $17MM next year, and he has previously stated he would be willing to play out the final year of his deal and perhaps go year-to-year under the franchise tag. But as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times observes, the fact that Wilson and the Seahawks have not talked contract yet does not mean much (Twitter link). He says the team will get through other team-building matters first and then start exploring extensions, just as it did when it came time to explore a new deal with Wilson in 2015.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • We know that the Eagles want to trade Nick Foles, and yesterday we explored (again) how such a trade is likely to come about. While player and club would like to work “in concert” in determining Foles’ next team, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP) says the Eagles are going to try to keep Foles out of the NFC East — the Redskins and Giants could be in the market — and would prefer to deal him to an AFC team. Meanwhile, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic believes it only make sense for the Eagles to franchise Foles if they already have a trade in place, and that the recent chatter concerning the franchise tag is merely a bluff at this point.
  • Schefter confirms a report from earlier this week that Panthers QB Cam Newton, who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery last week, is expected to be ready in time for training camp and certainly will be good to go when the regular season rolls around.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that the Rams, who signed running back C.J. Anderson in December, “absolutely” want to re-sign Anderson this offseason. That makes sense considering how good Anderson has been in his brief tenure with the club, and considering Todd Gurley‘s history of knee problems. Anderson, though, could be in line for a bigger role or salary than what Los Angeles is prepared to give. Anderson is expected to get plenty of work in tonight’s Super Bowl.
  • Rams QB coach Zac Taylor will be formally announced as the Bengals’ next head coach tomorrow, and Rapoport tweets that LA may move senior offensive assistant Jedd Fisch to QB coach. The club could also give current TE coach/passing game coordinator Shane Waldron the passing game coordinator title without requiring him to coach a position and bring in Wes Phillips to coach the tight ends.
  • As expected, the Buccaneers will transition to a 3-4, one-gap defense under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine looks at how the Bucs could deploy their current personnel to mirror Wade Phillips‘ success in transitioning two 4-3 defenses to 3-4 schemes.

West Rumors: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos

The 49ers aren’t the only club with interest in former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, as the Raiders also want to speak to the ex-Indy exec about a front office role, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Oakland is rebuilding its front office after firing general manager Reggie McKenzie and top lieutenant Joey Clinkscales. Grigson would join a front office that now includes first-time GM — and former NFL Network analyst — Mike Mayock, who was hired earlier this week. The 46-year-old Grigson was fired by the Colts in 2016 after a tumultuous five-year term as GM, and has since worked with the Browns and Seahawks’ front offices.

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

  • Two of Sean McVay‘s top assistants will take their interviews with the Bengals on Friday. Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor and pass game coordinator/tight ends coach Shane Waldron will meet with Cincinnati ownership tomorrow, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Nearly every candidate in which the Bengals have expressed interest thus far have come from the offensive side of the ball, with the only exception being former Broncos head coach (and ex-Cincy defensive backs coach) Vance Joseph. The Bengals were turned down by Josh McDaniels, but they’ve also asked to meet with Bucs OC Todd Monken and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, among others. Bieniemy’s interview with the Bengals — originally scheduled for Friday — will now take place on Saturday, tweets Pelissero.
  • After being designated for return from injured reserve and participating in seven-on-seven drills at the end of December, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry took first-team snaps in practice this week, Los Angeles announced. However, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn still declined to commit to Henry playing against the Ravens in the first round of the NFL postseason, as Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com tweets. If Henry does play, he’ll be on a “pitch count,” meaning fellow tight ends Antonio Gates and Virgil Green will still see time. Henry tore his ACL in May, but Los Angeles held out hope he’d be available if the club made it to the playoffs.
  • Rams center John Sullivan collected a $1MM bonus by being active for at least 15 games and Los Angeles ranking as a top-five scoring offense and making the playoffs, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Sullivan, 33, actually started all 16 games for the Rams in 2018, and has started 31 contests since joining the club last offseason. LA’s line was elite in 2018, finishing No. 1 in adjusted line yards and No. 6 in adjusted sack rate, but Sullivan graded as just the NFL’s No. 32 center, per Pro Football Focus. The Rams hold a 2019 option on Sullivan which would pay him $1.75MM in base salary in addition to a $2.5MM roster bonus.
  • Currently being run by a trust headed by team president Joe Ellis, the Broncos are in need of a permanent owner. That’s likely to eventually be Pat Bowlen‘s youngest daughter, Brittany Bowlen, tweets James Palmer of ESPN.com, who notes Brittany will join the organization “at some point.” Bowlen, 28, could potentially take over in 2021 after a new collective bargaining agreement is put into place, speculates Mike Klis of 9News.
  • 49ers left guard Laken Tomlinson suffered a torn MCL on Sunday, according to a team announcement. That’s relatively good news since the longtime starter was carted off of the field, leading to fears that he had suffered a torn ACL. Tomlinson will not need surgery, so he should be good to go for offseason activities. Tomlinson is under contract with San Francisco through 2021 thanks to the three-year, $18MM extension he signed last summer.

Latest On Bengals’ Coaching Search

The first Bengals coaching search since 2003 looked to be centered around members of two organizations — the Bengals and Rams.

While Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor received an interview request, so did Los Angeles’ passing-game coordinator, Shane Waldron, Sean McVay said Monday. Waldron, 39, also serves as the Rams’ tight ends coach.

Cincinnati will also interview two of its own. OC Bill Lazor and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons will interview for Marvin Lewis’ old job on Tuesday, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

Mike Brown went outside the organization when he hired Lewis 15 years ago, but this is known as one of the more continuity-based franchises in the NFL. Still, it would be interesting to see a Lewis lieutenant get the job. Former Bengals DBs coach Vance Joseph, fired by the Broncos this morning, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

Lazor became the Bengals’ full-time OC this season. Simmons has spent the entire Lewis era on the Bengals’ staff, coaching Cincinnati’s special teams units for the past 16 seasons. Though special teams coaches rarely commandeer HC jobs, Simmons is believed to have a good shot at this job, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Rams Won’t Hire OC To Replace Matt LaFleur

After losing offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to the Titans earlier today, the Rams don’t intend to hire another OC, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Instead, Los Angeles announced that it has named offensive line coach Aaron Kromer the club’s new run game coordinator, while tight ends coach Shane Waldron will become the Rams’ pass game coordinator.Sean McVay (Featured)

[RELATED: 2018 NFL Coordinator Tracker]

While the Rams’ offensive staff has undergone an overhaul this offseason, head coach Sean McVay is still in place to call plays for a unit that ranked sixth in offensive DVOA a year ago. But there have been changes: former quarterbacks coach Greg Olson became the Raiders’ offensive coordinator, so Los Angeles promoted assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor to fill the void. The Rams also added former UCLA play-caller Jedd Fisch as a senior offensive assistant.

Although Kromer and Waldron won’t be calling plays for the Rams, they will presumably help assemble the club’s weekly gameplan. Kromer has coordinated an offense before — the Bears from 2013-14 — but has spent the majority of his career as an offensive line coach, while Waldron previously served as an offensive assistant with the Redskins, where he worked under McVay.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Redskins, Rams, Panthers

The Redskins have interviewed Chargers assistant defensive backs coach Chris Harris and longtime NFL coach Tim Lewis for their vacant secondary coach position, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link) reported last month that new Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn would retain Harris and several other defensive coaches, but the Chargers may simply be allowing Harris — whom Jones says is considered a “rising star” — to pursue a promotion. Lewis, meanwhile, has experience as a coordinator, and has spent time with the Steelers, Giants, Panthers, Seahawks, Falcons, and, most recently, the 49ers.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • Washington had hoped to promote assistant defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant to lead its secondary unit, but after the two sides couldn’t agree to a deal, Pleasant is instead following former Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay to Los Angeles, per Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, who reports that Pleasant will join the Rams in an unspecified role. Another ex-Redskins coach, Shane Waldron (who had worked as offensive quality control assistant) will also depart for Los Angeles and become the Rams’ new tight ends coach, tweets Marvez. Finally, the Rams have also agreed to hire ex-UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Yarber for the same position, writes Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com.
  • The Panthers announced they’ve hired former Stanford RBs coach Lance Taylor as their new wide receivers coach. Taylor served as Carolina’s assistant WRs coach in 2014, working under Ricky Proehl, who resigned from the Panthers’ staff last month, and played for Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula at Alabama. The Panthers also announced the hiring of former Rams defensive quality control coach Jeff Imamura as their new assistant defensive backs coach.
  • The Bills announced they’ve hired John Egorugwu (defensive quality control), Marc Lubik (offensive quality control/assistant QB), Matt Smiley (assistant special teams), and Bill Teerlinck (assistant defensive line). Buffalo also confirmed the previously-reported hiring of former East Carolina wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan to the same role.
  • Mark Uyeyama will not return as the 49ers‘ director of human performance, reports Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Uyeyama was instrumental in developing sports sciences that predated the hiring of Chip Kelly, and had worked under the last five San Francisco head coaches.

Staff Notes: 49ers, Washington, Rams, Cowboys, Vikes

The latest coaching staff updates from around the NFL:

  • The 49ers’ Chip Kelly is hiring Dana Bible as a senior advisor, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Bible’s last NFL experience came as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 1998. He hasn’t worked since 2012, when he was an assistant at North Carolina State.
  • Washington has hired Kevin Carberry as assistant offensive line coach and Shane Waldron as offensive quality control, Tarik El-Bashir of CSNMidAtlantic.com tweets.
  • The Rams hired former Georgia tight ends coach John Lilly to the same position, sources tell Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Cowboys are hiring Michigan defensive backs coach Greg Jackson to coach the safeties while Joe Baker will coach cornerbacks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Vikings have named Brent Salazar their strength and conditioning coach, Chris Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. Salazar was previously the Chiefs’ assistant strength coach for nine seasons. He’s replacing the fired Evan Marcus in Minnesota.

Connor Byrne contributed to this post.