Todd Bowles

Latest On Redskins’ HC Plans, Front Office

After little emerged on the Redskins front for weeks following Jay Gruden‘s firing, the struggling franchise is dominating the early-weekend news cycle. Bruce Allen‘s role as team president is not safe, with a Black Monday dismissal being considered.

The Redskins are considering firing their 10-year front office czar, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports, adding that Allen may have a chance to remain with the organization in a non-football role. That would be an interesting setup given Allen’s tumultuous tenure in Washington, but Dan Snyder is pondering widespread changes to his football operations department.

Replacement options for Allen include ex-Texans GM Rick Smith and former NFL executive-turned-TV analyst Louis Riddick, La Canfora adds, noting Snyder has done research on a few personnel execs. Smith resigned from his Houston post after the 2017 season but is open to returning to the league. Riddick worked with the Redskins from 2001-07, serving as a scout and pro personnel director. He subsequently held the same role with the Eagles.

As for Washington’s HC opening, Snyder has “strong interest” in Ron Rivera, per JLC. The longtime Redskins owner is also interested in Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, ex-Jets HC and current Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles, longtime Bengals HC Marvin Lewis and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. These are consolation prizes, though, with La Canfora reporting Snyder’s primary hope is to work out a trade for Mike Tomlin. Snyder is not optimistic about such a deal. The prospect of bringing the Virginia native to Washington surfaced two-plus months ago.

The prospect of bringing aboard a defensive coach opens the door to Washington sticking with top offensive incumbents Bill Callahan and Kevin O’Connell. Snyder is high on both his interim HC and first-year OC, according to La Canfora. Callahan expressed interest in staying on, though it’s not known if he would stick around under another head coach, and O’Connell has been the primary Dwayne Haskins developer this season. Snyder was the driving force behind the Redskins’ Haskins pick, overruling Gruden.

Allen has not excelled in Washington, but neither have most of the head coaches under Snyder. The Redskins have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons under the 21st-year owner.

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Redskins Will Try To Trade For Steelers’ HC Mike Tomlin

Here’s some pie-in-the-sky fodder for your Sunday morning. Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Redskins owner Dan Snyder — who recently fired head coach Jay Gruden — is expected to make a strong push to acquire Mike Tomlin from the Steelers this offseason. La Canfora adds that Snyder, who has long admired Tomlin, is prepared to trade draft picks to Pittsburgh to bring the Super Bowl-winning HC to Washington.

Although there is a large contingent of Steelers fans who are unhappy with Tomlin, his standing within the organization seems just fine. Pittsburgh did raise some eyebrows when it gave Tomlin a one-year extension in July instead of the usual two-year re-up, especially since his new extension does not have an option for a future year. However, he is still under contract through the 2021 campaign, and team ownership has never expressed anything less than full confidence in him.

On the other hand, the Steelers may be nearing something of a crossroads in franchise history. Although Ben Roethlisberger is expected to make a full recovery from his recent elbow surgery and reclaim his starting job in 2020, the team is likely going to need to usher in a new quarterback era in the next couple of years, and GM Kevin Colbert is only under contract through May 2020 (Colbert apparently wants to go year-to-year, which means Pittsburgh may also be looking for a new top personnel exec in the not-too-distant future).

Plus, the Steelers are short on high-level draft capital in the 2020 draft as a result of their trades for Devin Bush and Minkah Fitzpatrick, so an offer for Tomlin could be more appealing than it otherwise might be. Sources close to Tomlin suggest the Redskins’ job could appeal to him, particularly since Snyder is willing to give him a top-of-the-market salary and full authority over personnel. Tomlin also has relationships with Washington team president Bruce Allen and GM Doug Williams.

But when weighing the Steelers’ record of stability and status as a perennial contender against the Redskins’ history of dysfunction and misery under Snyder, it is difficult to imagine a trade like this coming to fruition. If Snyder is unsuccessful in his pursuit of Tomlin, La Canfora says current Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles would be a top alternative, and we recently heard that Washington OC Kevin O’Connell will also receive strong consideration.

Adam Schefter of neither refutes nor supports La Canfora’s report, but he does say Snyder will be patient in this process and will not begin his head coaching search until after the season. Snyder will give interim HC Bill Callahan and O’Connell the remainder of 2019 to prove their worth without any additional distractions.

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Jets Shopped Before Firing Bowles, Maccagnan

The Jets started their hunt for a new head coach and GM before firing Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Jets To Interview Joe Douglas This Weekend]

Maccagnan, exec Brian Heimerdinger, and agent Erik Burkhardt huddled up with Christopher Johnson at his Manhattan condo in late November and early December to discuss the possibility of hiring former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, Mehta hears. Bowles, meanwhile, was not dismissed until Dec. 30.

During that same four-week window, Johnson also had back-channel conversations with at least two established coaching candidates without the knowledge of Maccagnan. Those coaches would have had the power to either keep Maccagnan or fire him in favor of their preferred GM.

Eventually, Maccagnan got his turn in the barrel. The Jets sacked Maccagnan in May, but they reached out to at least one potential GM candidate a week before he was handed his pink slip, according to Volin.

This latest example of the Jets’ dysfunction may give pause to the team’s current group of GM candidates.

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Jets Rumors: Gase, Harbaugh, McCarthy

The Jets’ coaching search technically started with the firing of Todd Bowles on Dec. 30, but they were mulling their options much earlier than that, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears. Although Bowles had a contract through the 2020 season, the Jets started doing their homework in mid-November after an embarrassing 41-10 home loss to the Bills.

Despite their denials, the Jets had early interest in Jim Harbaugh, Vacchiano hears. The Jets did background work on the Michigan head coach, but ultimately concluded that he wasn’t the right fit, possibly due to his desire for too much power, too much money, or a lack of desire to leave Ann Arbor.

Here’s more on how the Jets’ coaching search unfolded, plus other news out of New York/New Jersey:

  • The Jets started asking around about Mike McCarthy after he was fired by the Packers in December, but they were concerned about his sensitivity to criticism and how it might be amplified by the New York press, Vacchiano hears. There were also reports that McCarthy would consider sitting out the 2019 season, which may have given the Jets additional pause. McCarthy’s interview was not bad, per se, but Vacchiano hears that he did not hit it out of the park.
  • Adam Gase, on the other hand, leaped over McCarthy with a strong interview in which he displayed the energetic personality that the Jets wanted. Even though Gase went 23-25 in three years with the Dolphins, the Jets did not forget about his reputation as a hot offensive assistant just three years ago, Vacchiano writes.
  • New Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has agreed to a three-year deal with the club, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Before the Jets hired him, the Redskins made a push to land him as their DC.

Todd Bowles To Choose Buccaneers

The Buccaneers will have a key component of Cardinals Southeast in the fold. Todd Bowles will, in fact, choose Tampa Bay over Chicago.

Bowles and the Bucs worked out offset language in his contract, Chris Mortensen of reports (Twitter link), adding the recently fired Jets coach will become the Bucs’ defensive coordinator.

A possible Bruce Arians-Bowles reunion had been planned for around six weeks, assuming the Jets did follow through on firing the latter and that the former received a head coaching job, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets.

Arians will be taking Bowles, Byron Leftwich and Harold Goodwin with him to Tampa Bay. More former Arizona assistants may well be en route. But when the Broncos hired Vic Fangio to be their head coach, Bowles — who has known Matt Nagy for decades — the Bears entered the equation. However, Bowles will be following Arians, leaving the Bears with a DC vacancy.

One of those assistants will be former Jets DC Kacy Rodgers, per Mehta (on Twitter). Rodgers will coach the Bucs’ defensive line. Bowles tabbed Rodgers to follow him for more than a month, Mehta notes. Rodgers dealt with health concerns this year but returned to the Jets’ sideline shortly after taking a leave of absence. He does not have a history with Arians, coming to the Jets from Miami when Bowles was hired.

Bowles will replace Mike Smith as Tampa Bay’s full-time DC. He oversaw two top-10 defenses in Arizona before taking the New York HC job. After a brief period of uncertainty, the 55-year-old coach can again go light on winter-gear packing.

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Todd Bowles To Choose Between Bears, Bucs

Todd Bowles to the Buccaneers is not a done deal. The former Jets head coach was said to be on board as the Bucs’ new DC, but he is now deciding between that job and the same position with the Bears, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune hears.

Bowles and Matt Nagy have spoken multiple times, Biggs writes, and their longstanding relationship could lead him to Chicago. Then again, Bowles also has serious ties with new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians.

Nagy’s father coached Bowles in high school, but Arians coached Bowles when he played at Temple. Years later, Bowles served as Arians’ defensive coordinator in Arizona.

Friendships and history aside, the Bears might offer Bowles’ quickest ticket back into the head coaching ranks. With a defense led by superstar Khalil Mack and a 2018 record of 12-4, the Bears are in prime position to win and potentially vault their next DC up the NFL’s ladder.

If the Bears do not hire Bowles, in-house secondary coach Ed Donatell could be a consideration. Donatell is out of contract, however, and Biggs hears that he’ll likely leave if he does not get the promotion.

Buccaneers Officially Hire Bruce Arians

The Buccaneers-Bruce Arians noise produced the conclusion many expected. The two-time coach of the year is heading to Tampa Bay, as first reported by Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). The Bucs have since confirmed the hire via press release.

Bruce Arians is one of the NFL’s most well-respected coaches over the past two decades and we are excited to have him leading our team,” Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer said in a statement. “Throughout this process, we focused on finding the right coach with a proven ability to elevate our players and lead our team forward. Bruce has played a large role in the development and career success of some of our league’s best players and we look forward to seeing him continue that work here with our franchise.

This will be a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth season, Ian Rapoport of tweets. And Arians wants to bring some of his former Cardinals assistants with him. Byron Leftwich, Harold Goodwin and Clyde Christensen — an Arians coworker with the Colts — will be brought on board and Todd Bowles has already agreed to become the team’s defensive coordinator. Bowles was Arians’ DC for two seasons with the Cardinals.

Arians-to-Tampa gained steam over the past few days, and it turns out the former Cardinals coach’s retirement was brief. Arians is now going to rejoin former Cards personnel exec Jason Licht with the Bucs and be in charge of determining what can be coaxed from Jameis Winston, whom he’s known since the passer’s high school days.

The Bucs had initial concerns about the 66-year-old Arians’ health, per Jeff Darlington of (Twitter link). This required a physical. But they are satisfied with the results. That, and language in Arians’ Arizona contract — which contained a 2019 option — represent cleared hurdles now, Darlington notes. Of note: Arians is the oldest HC hire in NFL history, surpassing a 64-year-old Dick Vermeil.

Arians interviewed for the Tampa Bay job on Saturday morning and outflanked everyone else on the meeting list in terms of experience. The 2012 and ’14 coach of the year, the first coming when he was the Colts’ OC who took over for a cancer-stricken Chuck Pagano, Arians has guided three teams to the playoffs — that Colts team and two Cardinals squads. Armed with the NFL’s No. 1 offense, Arizona advanced to the 2015 NFC championship game under Arians. They produced a top-10 attack in 2016 as well. After Arians’ retirement, the Cardinals fell off quickly. They hired Kliff Kingsbury today to replace Steve Wilks, who oversaw the team’s descent from 8-8 to 3-13.

Spending the 2018 season as a CBS analyst, Arians initially said the only job he would come out of retirement to take was the Browns’ position. But Cleveland did not reciprocate the interest. Tampa Bay did and was the only team to interview Arians. The sides were believed to have only begun negotiations Tuesday, and they progressed quickly.

Arians will now be tasked with ending the NFC’s longest playoff drought. The Bucs have not qualified for a bracket since 2007, in Jon Gruden‘s penultimate season, and have fired five coaches since that happened.

Licht announced last week that the candidate who won the race to replace Dirk Koetter was going to work with Winston. Despite the quarterback’s off-field issues and interception troubles, he figures to have his best chance at showing he’s a capable starter under Arians. In Arizona, Arians resurrected Carson Palmer‘s career and pushed him to a near-MVP performance in 2015. Arians received his 2014 coach of the year honor for steering the Cards to 11-5 after losing Palmer and Drew Stanton to injuries.

The Bucs also employ Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin on offense, and the team wants to bring back Adam Humphries to retain one of the franchise’s best-ever skill-position groups — one that is more well-rounded than the David Johnson-less contingent Arians had in his final Arizona season.

Bowles has also received interest from the Redskins, interviewing with Washington on Tuesday, but another job with Arians figures to be enticing.

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Bowles, Leftwich, Goodwin To Join Bucs’ Staff

Bruce Arians is moving fast on his way to Tampa Bay. And Cardinals fans will recognize much of the Buccaneers’ new coaching staff.

Todd Bowles will join Arians in Tampa and serve as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator, Albert Breer of tweets. Byron Leftwich and Harold Goodwin have pledged to follow Arians to south Florida as well.

Leftwich will serve as Tampa Bay’s passing-game coordinator, and Goodwin will come aboard as the run-game overseer, Breer notes. Like Bowles, both worked under Arians in Arizona. Leftwich received his full-time coaching start under Arians and moved up to Cardinals OC under Steve Wilks. The Cardinals, following a season that ended with No. 32 rankings in points and yards, fired him at season’s end, however, paving a path to Tampa.

Bowles met with Washington about an unspecified role Tuesday, but he will rejoin Arians. The former NFL defensive back-turned-Jets HC made his best case for that New York job by leading the Cardinals’ defense in 2013-14. They were a top-seven unit in each season, helping the Cards to back-to-back 10-win campaigns. Matters did not go too well for Bowles in New York (with a less talented roster), but he will be tasked with repairing a Bucs defense that has been among the league’s worst in recent years.

Tampa Bay has ranked in the bottom fourth of the NFL in total defense in each of the past four years, its low point coming with a last-place finish in 2017. It will be interesting to see if Bowles implements the 3-4 scheme he used in Arizona and New York. The Bucs have used a 4-3 base set for years. Though, these changes are less significant than they were in years past, with teams in sub sets more often than base looks.

Goodwin did not coach in 2018. He served as the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator during Arians’ five-year tenure, though Arians was the point man running that attack. The Cards in that time coaxed an All-Pro emergence from Division I-FCS-produced third-rounder David Johnson. He will take over a Bucs rushing attack that lagged behind its explosive pass offense in 2018.

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Redskins Meet With Todd Bowles

The Redskins met with former Jets coach Todd Bowles this week, sources tell Mike Garafolo of (on Twitter). No specific role was discussed, however. 

[RELATED: Redskins To Keep Jay Gruden As Head Coach]

For now, Greg Manusky is on hand as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator. It’s unclear if the Redskins would push him out in favor of Bowles, but a DC job would be the most likely outcome for the ex-Jets head coach.

Meanwhile, Bowles may be on track to become the Buccaneers’ next DC. The Bucs are zeroing in on Bruce Arians as their head coaching hire and the two have a relationship that spans decades.

If Bowles is hired by the Bucs, Redskins, or another team, it could provide financial relief for the Jets. There was offset language in Bowles’ deal, as Manish Mehta of the Daily News points out (on Twitter), so Gang Green could save some green over the next two years if he lands on his feet in this cycle.

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NFC South Rumors: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers

Former Jets head coach Todd Bowles has already been drawing interest as a potential defensive coordinator, and — perhaps unsurprisingly — Bowles’ most likely destination could the Buccaneers, provided that Bruce Arians (currently viewed as the favorite) lands the head coaching job in Tampa Bay, according to Josh Weinfuss of (Twitter link). If Arians is hired by the Bucs, he’s expected to “get the band back together” by hiring a number of his ex-Cardinals assistants. Bowles served as Arians’ DC in Arizona from 2013-14, leading units which each ranked top-seven in defensive DVOA.

Here’s more on NFC South coaching jobs:

  • If Arians does end up with the Buccaneers, former Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong could take the same role in Tampa Bay, tweets Vaughn McClure of Armstrong, who had been Atlanta’s ST coach since 2008, was fired last week as the Falcons cleared out each of their coordinator roles. Based purely on performance, Armstrong posted a strong effort in 2018, as Atlanta ranked 10th in special teams DVOA. The 55-year-old Armstrong took two interviews for the Cardinals’ head coaching job last season, and was one of two candidates Arians personally recommended as a successor (the other being incumbent DC James Bettcher).
  • Speaking of the Falcons, they have officially completed an interview with Darrell Bevell, whom they are considering for their offensive coordinator vacancy, per Jason La Canfora of (Twitter link). Bevell, who was out of the NFL in 2018 after being fired by the Seahawks, is one of three candidates known to have interviewed to replace Steve Sarkisian, joining former Titans head coach Mike Mularkey and former Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter. Ex-Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak was also on Atlanta’s list of candidates, but the Broncos reportedly denied permission for an interview.
  • Panthers wide receivers coach Lance Taylor will not return in 2019, reports Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter links). Taylor had been leading Carolina’s wideouts since 2017, and was in his second stint with the Panthers’ franchise. Changes had been expected to the Panthers’ staff: although head coach Ron Rivera will be back next season, Taylor may not be the final Carolina assistant to move on. Taylor, for his part, may join the University of Alabama staff if he doesn’t land another NFL gig, per Marvez.