Steve Wilks

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, McAdoo, Fins

The Cardinals interviewed two more head coach candidates today, but the search will continue into next week, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports. The Cardinals have met with Steve Wilks and Keith Armstrong twice and will not need to interview current defensive coordinator James Bettcher another time because of his history with the organization. The team will also interview John DeFilippo and Brian Flores next week, per Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

In addition, Somer states that the team could look at giving Jim Schwartz a second interview, but Jurecki did not mention the Eagles defensive coordinator in his tweet. The search is mostly continuing because both the Eagles and Patriots will be playing in their respective conference championships, so depending on how the games shake out, Arizona could resolve their head coaching search by the end of next week.

Finally, Somers importantly notes that former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has recommended Bettcher and Armstrong among this pool of coaches the front office is considering.

Here are more a coaching notes from around the NFL:

  • In more Cardinals coaching staff news, now two former staffers have now left for new opportunities, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In addition to former special teams coordinator Amos Jones moving onto the same position with the Browns, former wide receiver coach Darryl Drake has been hired by the Steelers.
  • Hue Jackson is adding an offensive coordinator to his staff and have interviewed former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for the job. He interviewed with the Browns three days ago and apparently “It went fine”, a Browns source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Anderson adds that the source mentioned that they are “Just not going to rush into anything” after speaking to two candidates as of right now. Cleveland is also interviewing a high profile college coach in LSU’s RB coach Tommy Robinson for the same position on their staff, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
  • The Dolphins announced a slew of coaching moves today. The biggest apart from Dowell Loggains being brought on as offensive coordinator is former OC Clyde Christensen being reassigned as the team’s new director of football and player development. Shawn Jefferson was wide receivers coach, but will now be an assistant head coach working with the offense. They are also are promoting Ben Johnson to WR coach. He got experience with this group of players as an assistant WR coach last season.
  • The Bears have named Brock Olivo as the team’s new assistant special teams coach, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Olivo was the Broncos’ special teams coordinator last year and was with Matt Nagy on the Chiefs’ staff from 2014-16 as an assistant to special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He previously was a former running back for the Lions back in his playing days.
  • The Texans have promoted Anthony Midget to the team’s secondary coach, according to Mark Berman of Fox26 (Twitter link). Berman also notes that they have also hired Danny Barret as the RB coach and Tracy Smith as an assistant special teams coach.

Cardinals Complete Second Interviews With Keith Armstrong, Steve Wilks

With the Giants, Colts and Lions all having head coaches likely to accept job offers, the Cardinals continue to talk to different candidates about their vacant head coaching gig. Today, the team has just completed a second interview with Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link) and Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

Keith Armstrong (vertical)

Armstrong originally spoke to the team on January 8, but received a second interview request after it was revealed that other potential candidates Matt Patricia and Pat Shurmur would likely accept other jobs after their respective teams are eliminated from the postseason.

The 54-year-old Armstrong has held his special teams post in Atlanta since 2008. The Cardinals have been the only team that has requested to interview him for a head coaching role. On the other hand, Wilks has been spoken to a number of teams about their vacant head coaching gigs, including the Titans, who still have their spot open.

Arizona is still considering multiple coaches, including current defensive coordinator James Bettcher, Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo, Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Blackburn, Bears, Browns

The Panthers will be making a change atop their special teams staff. Incumbent special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is out, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets, and the Sporting News’ Alex Marvez reports (on Twitter) Chase Blackburn will now run Carolina’s special teams units. A former linebacker who won two Super Bowls with the Giants and finished his career with the Panthers, Blackburn had been working as the Panthers’ assistant ST coach for the past two years.

Here’s the latest from the coaching ranks.

  • For the first time since 2010, someone other than Chris Tabor will oversee the Browns‘ ST units. Amos Jones will relocate to Cleveland to take over as the team’s special teams boss, Marvez tweets. Jones coached the Cardinals’ ST groups during Bruce Arians‘ five-year stay in Arizona. Tabor is now the Bears’ ST coordinator.
  • Rumored to be a candidate to stay in Chicago despite the Bears‘ coaching change, Dave Ragone will indeed stay on as the team’s quarterbacks coach, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports. This comes after the Bears interviewed both ex-Raiders OC Todd Downing and Texans assistant Pat O’Hara for the job. Ragone could be in line for an extension, Biggs notes, with one year remaining on his Bears contract.
  • Biggs also notes Vic Fangio believes most, if not all, of his defensive assistants will remain on staff. The Bears finished as the No. 14 DVOA defense in 2017 and retained Fangio despite his contract having expired.
  • The TitansSteve Wilks HC interview took place Thursday. Both Wilks and Texans DC Mike Vrabel interviewed for this job today. Wilks remains a candidate for the Cards’ HC job.
  • Speaking of the Cardinals‘ HC position, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic tweets James Bettcher likely won’t need a second interview to be hired. Should the Cards determine their current DC is the right man for the job, Somers notes his five years of experience working with the team should be a sufficient judge rather than a second meeting for the HC job.
  • The Raiders continued to add to their coaching staff this week, bringing aboard four new assistants to Jon Gruden 2.0’s first staff. Recently jettisoned Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac will land in Oakland as its D-line instructor, and Byron Storer will be the team’s assistant special teams coach. Trgovac coached Green Bay’s defensive lines from 2009-17. The 33-year-old Storer played for Gruden as a fullback in Tampa Bay from 2007-08 but hasn’t coached in the NFL since working with the 2013 Chargers. Additionally, Tim Berbenich and Travis Smith will be offensive and defensive quality control coaches, respectively. Smith’s been a Raiders assistant for most of this decade. He served as outside linebackers coach in 2017 after being promoted from the quality control group last year.

Coaching Rumors: Titans, Cowboys, Texans

Weather-related concerns are forcing the Titans to shift the timeline of their head coaching search, as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. Whereas Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur were originally scheduled to interview with Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, Vrabel and LaFleur will now sit down with Titans general manager Jon Robinson on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Vrabel, LaFleur, and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks — whose is currently en route to Tennessee for his interivew, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer — are the only definitive candidates for the Tennessee job thus far, but reports have indicated the Titans could also have interest in Eagles OC Frank Reich.

Here’s more from the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Former NFL defensive coordinators John Pagano and Ray Horton will meet with the Cowboys, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Pagano, the longtime Chargers’ DC, spent last season as an assistant head coach (and later, interim DC) for the Raiders, while Horton — formerly the defensive play-caller for the Cardinals, Titans, and Browns, didn’t work in the NFL in 2017. Dallas already has a defensive coordinator in Rod Marinelli, but the Cowboys were reportedly willing to promote Marinelli to assistant head coach in order to keep ex-LBs coach Matt Eberflus.
  • While the Cowboys are apparently considering additions to their defensive coaching staff, they’ve made a hire on the offensive side of the ball in new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal, tweets David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. Former Cowboys wide receiver/current Cowboys scout Miles Austin also reportedly interviewed for the position.
  • The Texans have hired former Raiders special teams coach Brad Seely for the same position, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Seely was forced out in Oakland earlier this month when the Raiders hired Rich Bisaccia as their new assistant head coach/special teams. He’ll replace Larry Izzo, the former NFL linebacker who led Houston to a No. 31 ranking in special teams DVOA a season ago. Seely, 61, has been an NFL ST coach since 1989, and the Texans will be his eighth professional stop. He should have a working relationship with Houston head coach Bill O’Brien, as the pair spent time together with the Patriots from 2007-08.

Cardinals To Interview Steve Wilks Again

The Cardinals will interview Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks a second time in relation their head coaching vacancy, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.Steve Wilks (vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Arizona appears to be narrowing its head coaching search, as Wilks, Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, and Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong are all slated to receive second interviews. Two other candidates — Matt Patricia and Pat Shurmur — are expected to accept head coaching positions elsewhere, while Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has withdrawn his name from consideration. There’s no word as of yet as to whether Brian Flores, James Bettcher, or Jim Schwartz will meet with the Cardinals again.

Wilks, meanwhile, was linked to every NFL coaching vacancy this offseason with the exception of the Raiders, who had Jon Gruden as their No. 1 choice all along. Along with the Cardinals, Wilks still appears to be in contention for the Titans’ head coaching role, as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steve Wilks To Interview For Titans’ HC Job

Steve Wilks is now connected to a fourth head-coaching search. The Panthers’ defensive coordinator will interview for the Titans’ HC job, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets.

The Carolina DC interviewed for the Giants and Cardinals’ jobs, and remains a candidate in Arizona, and will join Mike Vrabel among the known candidates for the Tennessee vacancy.

Wilks was scheduled to interview for the Colts’ position, but the summit was nixed. Indianapolis brass soon zeroed in on Josh McDaniels, who is now expected to land the job. Wilks was not named a finalist for the Giants’ job despite a connection with Dave Gettleman. The Cardinals, who look to have lost out on key candidate Pat Shurmur, may have to reorganize their list. Arizona interviewee Matt Patricia is also expected to be named Lions head coach.

The Titans’ list thus far includes two defensive coaches. The franchise has hired offensive-minded leaders the past three times a vacancy’s emerged but employed defensive-based boss Jeff Fisher for 16 seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: McDaniels, Patriots, Z. Jones

Two of the Giants‘ top choices for their head coaching vacancy, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, are reportedly set to accept jobs elsewhere. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, however, says that Big Blue fans should not count out McDaniels just yet. One team source says the Giants have not been informed that McDaniels is out of the mix, and while it has been reported that McDaniels wants more control over personnel than New York is willing to allow, the team feels it can resolve that issue.

Nonetheless, Vacchiano concedes that Patricia is off the table, and if McDaniels does indeed take the Colts’ job, that leaves the Giants with Pat Shurmur and Steve Wilks as their top remaining targets. But Vacchiano says Shurmur appears to prefer the Cardinals’ gig, and Arizona is apparently prepared to offer it to him. So it appears that things may be coming full circle, with Wilks looking increasingly like New York’s next head coach.

Now let’s take a look at more notes out of the east:

  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) reports that Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady will meet this offseason to clear the air and to resolve whatever tensions exist among themselves. While reports of discord within the organization were likely overblown, Rapoport says there is indeed some tension within the triumvirate, and since Belichick and Brady are not going anywhere until they choose to leave, it makes sense that the three men would want to hash out their issues.
  • Bills WR Zay Jones reportedly played his rookie campaign with a torn labrum, and his father, former NFL linebacker Robert Jones, told Robert Quinn of the Bills Wire that his son will have surgery on Tuesday to repair the injury. Zay Jones finished the 2017 season with 27 catches for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
  • The Dolphins will not retain defensive line coach Terrell Williams, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Williams coached the team’s D-line for the past three seasons, and his unit experienced mixed results in 2017. Jackson adds that former offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen has indeed been reassigned to a new role within the organization, as was expected after Miami hired Dowell Loggains as its new OC earlier this month.

Latest On Giants’, Cardinals’ HC Searches

As of Friday evening, the Giants were reportedly down to three finalists in their search for a new head coach: Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia, and Pat Shurmur. This morning, however, we learned that McDaniels is expected to become the Colts’ next head coach, and Patricia is expected to take the Lions’ top job. Logic would therefore dictate that the Giants will do everything in their power to bring Shurmur on board as soon as possible (which could be tonight if Shumur’s Vikings fall to the Saints).

Pat Shurmur (vertical)

Indeed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that, if Minnesota loses tonight, New York could move quickly on Shurmur, whose potential staff is already in place. But Big Blue could have competition, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that the Cardinals will also pounce on Shurmur if he becomes available this evening.

As La Canfora notes, Giants brass follows the letter of the law when it comes to rules concerning the hiring of head coaches whose teams are still in the playoffs, which makes it difficult to pin down New York’s true top choice (Twitter links). After all, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is still very much in the running for the Giants’ job, per Rapoport, who adds (via Twitter) that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin called the Giants last week to make a case for Wilks, who would be the first minority head coach in franchise history.

If they do not land Shurmur, the Giants could also circle back to Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who at one point was rumored to be the team’s top option. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post names Steelers’ offensive line coach Mike Munchak — who has also interviewed with the Cardinals — as a potential dark horse candidate for the Giants’ job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On The Giants’ HC Search

The Giants have interviewed six candidates for their vacant head coach position and could start to be moving more quickly on completing their search in the next week. Of the six coaches they’ve interviewed, it appears that Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Patriots’ coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are the favorites to land the position, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Pat Shurmur (vertical)

All three candidates have garnered interest from around football and should either the Patriots or Vikings be eliminated from the playoffs this weekend, Vacchiano thinks that the “Giants could have a new coach in place by next week”. If both teams take care of business at home in the Divisional Round, the process will likely extend another two weeks as the Giants management tries to figure out a way to get one last meeting with their top choice, whoever that may be.

Shurmur and McDaniels look like natural fits for the job as they have an offensive background and previous head coaching experience. The team has been rumored to want experience in whoever they hire and could also want someone who has the ability to get the most out of a young quarterback, should they choose to draft either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen with the number two overall selection in April’s draft. However, Patricia clearly impressed in his initial interview enough to have the Giants move away from their original checklist.

In a wrinkle to Vacchiano’s story, there could be another sleeper candidate lurking behind the scenes, reports Tom Rock and Bob Glauber of Newsday. A source told the writers that should all three candidates land other positions with the likes of Arizona, Detroit and Indianapolis, the team has a backup plan. While no names were given for who that prospective fourth coach could be, Rock and Glauber speculated that defensive coordinators Steve Wilks and Jim Schwartz could be options as well as Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who was passed over for the Bears head coaching gig.

New York has officially interviewed McDaniels, Patricia, Shurmur, Wilks, Steve Spagnuolo and Eric Studesville. They could also eventually interview Schwartz, even though his previously scheduled interview has been put on hold.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: DeFilippo, Chiefs, Raiders

John DeFilippo interviewed for the Cardinals’ HC job, but if the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach does not land it, he could be an offensive coordinator option elsewhere. DeFilippo’s contract expires at season’s end, Albert Breer of SI.com reports. The second-year Eagles QBs coach looks to have caught the eye of Steve Wilks, who has interviewed for two HC jobs. Breer notes Wilks would want DeFilippo to run his offense if he lands an HC job. Interestingly, Wilks’ best path to said job looks to be with the Cardinals. The Bears met with DeFilippo as well but have already selected their next HC.

Here’s the latest from the coaching ranks.

  • While Wilks and DeFilippo could be connected, Josh McDaniels and Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus may be a possible pairing as well. Breer notes the Patriots’ OC accepting a head-coaching job could lead to Eberflus becoming McDaniels’ DC. Eberflus has coached Dallas’ linebackers since the 2011 season. Prior to that, he served as the Browns’ LBs coach.
  • The Chiefs made quick work of replacing since-promoted Eric Bieniemy as their running backs coach. They interviewed USC running backs coach Deland McCullough for the position on Thursday and will hire him, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports. McCullough, 45, played for the Bengals and Eagles in the late 1990s and coached the likes of Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard at Indiana during a six-year stay as the Hoosiers’ RBs boss. He coached at USC for one season.
  • Bobby Johnson received a Raiders HC interview that is being scrutinized by the NFL, since it may have happened after a Mark Davis/Jon Gruden agreement, but Johnson won’t be a part of Gruden’s 2018 staff. The Raiders are firing their tight ends coach and are expected to hire Bears tight ends coach Frank Smith, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). A previous contender for the Oakland offensive line coaching job, Smith coached the Bears’ tight ends for three years.
  • The Raiders are casting a wide net for their next O-line coach. Former Patriots and Dolphins OL boss Dave DeGuglielmo is in the mix and will interview Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Dolphins, who hired DeGuglielmo to replace the fired Chris Foerster in October, granted permission for this meeting. Miami hired Jeremiah Washburn to coach its O-line, so this would seemingly pave a path out of south Florida for DeGuglielmo.
  • New Packers DC Mike Pettine hired former Giants and Patriots defensive assistant Patrick Graham, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. A Patriots staffer from 2009-15, coaching both New England’s defensive line and linebackers, the 38-year-old Graham is expected to be in charge of Packers ‘backers in some capacity, per Silverstein. Green Bay’s ILBs job is available, and Graham prefers to coach linebackers rather than D-linemen, Silverstein notes.
  • The Bears are interested in Texans offensive assistant Pat O’Hara to become their quarterbacks coach, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. O’Hara and Matt Nagy were both Arena League quarterbacks in the 2000s, although O’Hara is 10 years older than Nagy. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets an O’Hara hire doesn’t mean incumbent QBs coach Dave Ragone will be dismissed. Ragone, a former wideouts coach with the Titans, was a possible candidate to stay despite a new HC’s hire.