Todd Bowles

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 NFL.com (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 ESPN.com 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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 ESPN.com (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 NFL.com 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 ESPN.com (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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 SI.com 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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Meet With Todd Bowles

The Redskins met with former Jets coach Todd Bowles this week, sources tell Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 ESPN.com (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 ESPN.com. 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 CBSSports.com (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.

Coaching Updates: Arians, Bucs, Cardinals, Bowles, Eberflus, Browns, Munchak, Broncos

Ever since Bruce Arians stepped away from his job with the Cardinals, his name has been buzzed about as a potential head coaching candidate. He sat out the 2018 season while calling games for CBS, but appears set to return to the sidelines. He’s been publicly lobbying for the Browns’ job for a while now, but has seemingly now set his sights on the Buccaneers’ job. Because Arians retired with time still left on his contract with Arizona, the consensus was that whatever team would want to hire Arians would need to give some compensation to the Cardinals, but that’s apparently not the case, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

Florio notes in a tweet that the Cardinals would’ve needed to exercise their option on Arians in order to have a claim on him, which they didn’t do. As such, Florio writes in his article that the Buccaneers didn’t even bother to notify the Cardinals they were interviewing him. As of now, Arians seems like a strong favorite to be Jameis Winston‘s next coach.

Here’s more from the coaching carousel:

  • We’ve heard that former Jets coach Todd Bowles will be in high demand as a defensive coordinator and possibly even head coach, and he might be even more sought after than anyone realized. Multiple head coaching candidates in this cycle are telling people they’ll try to get Bowles to be their defensive coordinator, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). It’s unclear exactly what teams might be in the mix, although there have been rumors he could reunite with Arians wherever he lands. Bowles was Arians’ defensive coordinator in Arizona for two seasons before being hired by the Jets.
  • We heard on Black Monday that the Browns were hoping to interview Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for their vacancy, and now the interview has been scheduled. Eberflus will meet with Cleveland’s team tomorrow, the day after his team’s playoff win over the Texans, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN (Twitter link). Eberflus has done a great job running Indy’s young defense this year, and has been a hot name in this cycle.
  • Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has “strong interest” in the Broncos’ opening, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN. Schefter notes that Munchak has “professional and personal ties to Denver” and that he shares an agent with Broncos GM John Elway. Munchak, who turned down a head coaching job last year according to Schefter, was the Titans’ head coach for three years before being fired and landing in Pittsburgh. Schefter writes that Munchak has been very reluctant to leave “because of his feelings for the Steelers”, but it sounds like the Broncos will be able to pull him away if they want to.

Jets Fire Todd Bowles

It’s been something of a formality for a while now but the Jets made it official moments ago, informing Todd Bowles he’d been fired, the team announced in a tweet.

In a statement seen in the tweet, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said “I would like to thank Coach Bowles for his dedication to the New York Jets for the last four years,” Johnson said. “After carefully evaluating the situation, I have concluded that this is the right direction for the organization to take. I would like to wish Todd, Taneka and their family only the best.”

Another move that had been tentatively expected has now been confirmed, as the team will be keeping GM Mike Maccagnan for next season. The team announced Maccagnan “will work closely with owner Chris Johnson on the search for a new” coach, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Bowles did a good job hanging on as long as he did, as many assumed he would be a goner last year. Instead, he led the Jets to a surprisingly strong 5-11 record with Josh McCown and Bryce Petty, and was brought back for another year. Things got off to a great start with a huge win on Monday Night Football in Week 1 of this year, but as the losses eventually piled up it became increasingly clear Johnson wanted a different coach to pair with Sam Darnold for the future. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates is all but certain to be replaced, and it’s likely the team will want an offensive minded coach for Darnold. Bowles was highly regarded as the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator before he took over the Jets job, and will reportedly be a candidate in other teams’ searches this cycle.

As for his replacement, the team has been linked to Mike McCarthy in recent weeks. We heard yesterday that former Lions coach Jim Caldwell was also expected to be interviewed by New York. In addition to McCarthy and Caldwell, Jim Harbaugh has also been repeatedly linked to the team, although Jets CEO Christopher Johnson recently denied they were interested.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets To Fire Todd Bowles

Something that’s long been rumored got even closer to being final today, as the Jets are indeed planning on firing Todd Bowles as soon as the season is over, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

While it’s far from a surprise, it appears Bowles’ fate is finally set in stone after he had managed to dodge being fired multiple times in the past. Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and former Lions coach Jim Caldwell will likely be “among the candidates the Jets interview”, according to Rapoport. Bowles, a Bruce Arians disciple who previously served as Arians’ defensive coordinator with the Cardinals, lasted four years in New York.

Rapoport also added that GM Mike Maccagnan will survive, which has also been expected. Many expected Bowles to be fired last year, but he was able to survive by leading a mostly talentless roster to a very competitive season. They only finished 5-11, but they were way better than expected and Bowles received a lot of praise for guiding the Josh McCown-led team.

But as the losses again piled up this year, it became increasingly clear that Bowles wasn’t the coach that the front office and ownership wanted to pair with Sam Darnold for the future. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has been singled out for a lot of criticism, and the Jets will very likely be looking for an offensive minded coach. In addition to McCarthy and Caldwell, Jim Harbaugh has also been repeatedly linked to the team, although Jets CEO Christopher Johnson recently denied they were interested.

With Darnold attached and the visibility that comes with the big media market, the opening will likely be one of the more desirable gigs for this cycle’s hottest head coaching candidates. As for Bowles, there’s been talk he could be a head coaching candidate himself for other teams, and he should be able to at least land a job as a defensive coordinator somewhere.