Steve Russ

Redskins Announce 16 Coaching Hires

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera had already brought in new coordinators on both sides of the ball (Scott Turner on offense, Jack Del Rio on defense), and he’s now filled out the rest of his staff. Rivera and Washington announced the following 16 hires earlier today:

  • Pete Hoener, tight ends
  • Jim Hostler, wide receivers
  • Randy Jordan, running backs
  • John Matsko, offensive line
  • Drew Terrell, assistant wide receivers
  • Travelle Wharton, assistant offensive line
  • Ken Zampese, quarterbacks
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs
  • Sam Mills III, defensive line
  • Richard Rodgers, assistant defensive backs
  • Steve Russ, linebackers
  • Brent Vieselmeyer, assistant defensive backs
  • Luke Del Rio, offensive quality control
  • Ben Jacobs, assistant special teams
  • Vincent Rivera, defensive quality control
  • Todd Storm, offensive quality control

Both Hostler and Zampese have both previously served as offensive coordinators. Hostler was the 49ers’ OC for a single season in 2007 under head coach Mike Nolan, but was fired after only one year at the helm. Zampese, meanwhile, was the Bengals’ offensive playcaller in 2016 and part of 2017 before being let go. He’s since coached for the Browns, the AAF’s Atlanta Legends, and the University of Florida.

Unsurprisingly, a number of new Redskins coached worked under Rivera in Carolina, including Hoener, Hostler, Matsko, Terrell, Wharton, Mills, Rodgers, and Russ.

Redskins Nearly Hired Rick Smith

There have been conflicting reports as to whether former Texans GM Rick Smith is ready to return to football, but if this morning’s report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com is accurate, Smith will be back in the league sooner rather than later.

In the wake of Washington’s dismissal of former team president Bruce Allen, owner Dan Snyder thought long and hard about replacing Allen with Smith, per Schefter. Snyder and Smith met in the Bahamas multiple times and discussed their plans for putting the Redskins back on the right track, but Snyder ultimately elected to make a fundamental change to his team’s power structure and run the franchise through his new head coach, Ron Rivera, rather than through a team president.

Sources expected a deal with Smith and the Redskins to get done, but an entirely different dynamic was probably the right way for Snyder to go. The conversations with Washington, though, suggest that Smith is going to return to a prominent position in the NFL in the near future. Smith’s wife passed away of cancer last January, and Smith left the Texans at the end of the 2017 to care for her and his three children.

As we heard when the Rivera hire was reported, the Redskins are expected to wait until after the draft to hire a GM, per Schefter (Twitter link). Snyder believes he has the people in place to get through free agency and the draft, though there will be changes to the front office after the draft is over. Louis Riddick has already been connected to the GM job, and John Keim of ESPN.com says Colts exec Morocco Brown is another name to watch out for. Interestingly, it does not sound as if Smith is a GM candidate for the ‘Skins.

In other Redskins news, Rivera is hiring former Panthers LBs coach Steve Russ to serve in the same capacity in Washington, per Schefter (via Twitter). Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio tweets that Rivera is also bringing on former Chargers assistant DBs coach Chris Harris to be the Redskins’ DBs coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 PaulKuharsky.com. 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 NFL.com (Twitter link).