Steve Scarnecchia

Coaching Notes: Kitchens, 49ers, Bucs

Freddie Kitchens will see his role expand in New York. The Giants are promoting the former Browns HC from tight ends coach to senior offensive assistant, according to ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter). Earlier this month, we heard the Giants may be eyeing more responsibility for Kitchens. Derek Dooley, who received interest from other teams, will take over as the Giants’ tight ends coach, Raanan adds. Previously the Mizzou offensive coordinator, Dooley joined Joe Judge‘s staff last year. The Giants used Kitchens as their interim play-caller while Jason Garrett battled COVID-19 last season and will lean on him more in 2021.

Here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • To replace Antwaan Randle El on their coaching staff, the Buccaneers will also turn to a recently retired quarterback. Thad Lewis will rise from intern to offensive assistant on Bruce Arians‘ staff, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Randle El left to become the Lions’ wide receivers coach. Lewis bounced around the NFL for nearly eight years; he was most recently with the Ravens in 2017.
  • A day after hiring Jay Valai as cornerbacks coach, the Eagles will lose him. Alabama will instead hire Valai, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg (on Twitter). Announced as one of the Eagles’ hires earlier this week, Valai will join former Texans HC Bill O’Brien at Alabama. Valai will replace Karl Scott as the Crimson Tide’s cornerbacks coach. Scott joined the Vikings’ staff this week.
  • Hired recently after a one-year stint as Lions DC, Cory Undlin will serve as the 49ers‘ secondary coach and defensive passing-game specialist. Fellow former DC James Bettcher will be a senior defensive assistant and the team’s run-game overseer on that side of the ball. The 49ers are promoting Darryl Tapp to assistant defensive line coach and hiring former wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and Klay Kubiak as quality control assistants. Klay is one of Gary Kubiak‘s sons. Even after Gary’s retirement, there are still three Kubiaks in the NFL — Klay and brothers Klint (the new Vikings OC) and Klein (a Cowboys scout). Hankerson also has a history with Kyle Shanahan, having played with Washington from 2011-13.
  • The Bengals hired Justin Hill as running backs coach. Hill will come to Cincinnati from the college ranks, having spent the past six seasons as Tulsa’s running backs coach. This will be his first NFL job. The Bengals are also promoting former NFL wideout Troy Walters to receivers coach. Walters served as Cincy’s assistant wideouts coach last season, working under Bob Bicknell.
  • Robert Saleh made an interesting hire recently. The new Jets HC added Steve Scarnecchia as his chief of staff, per Brian Costello of the New York Daily News. The son of longtime Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, Steve spent the past six years as the Falcons’ assistant to the head coach. Steve Scarnecchia was part of both the Patriots’ Spygate scandal, working in the team’s video department from 2001-04, and was the Broncos staffer whose filming of a 49ers walkthrough in 2010 led to Josh McDaniels‘ firing in Denver. The younger Scarnecchia will accompany new Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich in moving from Atlanta to New York.

Falcons Notes: Weatherspoon, Coaching Staff

As the Browns face potential sanctions from the NFL regarding a violation of the league’s electronic use policy, the Falcons are under investigation for pumping in artificial crowd noise at their home games, as we heard over the weekend. Owner Arthur Blank essentially acknowledged the team’s guilt during his meeting with the media yesterday, as ESPN.com details.

“I think what we’ve done in 2013 and 2014 was wrong,” Blank said. “Anything that affects the competitive balance and fairness on the field, we’re opposed to, as a league, as a club and as an owner. It’s obviously embarrassing but beyond embarrassing it doesn’t represent our culture and what we’re about.”

Like the Browns, the Falcons face penalties that may include fines or the loss of a draft pick, and Blank confirmed that he expects to hear from the league regarding the matter within the next couple weeks.

Here are a few more Falcons-related items for Wednesday:

  • Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who missed the 2014 season with a ruptured Achilles, will be “an important part of building this defense and building this team,” Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said yesterday, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. That’s a strong endorsement for a player who doesn’t yet have a contract for the 2015 season, and suggests Atlanta is serious about bringing Weatherspoon back.
  • The Falcons received permission from the Seahawks to speak to Marquand Manuel, and will interview him Friday for their defensive backs coach job, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. McClure hears from a source that Seattle tried hard to keep Manuel, but it appears he’ll be joining former Seattle DC Dan Quinn in Atlanta — Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (TwitLonger link) says Manuel will be a senior defensive consultant for the Falcons, in addition to overseeing the secondary.
  • A pair of former Washington coaches are also set to join Quinn’s staff. Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated tweets that current Notre Dame QBs coach Matt LaFleur is expected to leave the Fighting Irish for the Falcons, while John Keim of ESPN.com says (via Twitter) that Atlanta will also likely hire Mike McDaniel in some capacity. LaFleur previously served as Washington’s QBs coach, while McDaniel was the club’s WRs coach.
  • Alex Marvez of Fox Sports has even more details on new hirings for the Falcons, writing that the team has hired former Syracuse director of football operations Steve Scarnecchia (assistant to the head coach) and former UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich (LBs coach).