Todd Wash

Todd Wash To Continue As Jags’ D-Coordinator

New Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone cleared out most of the team’s defensive staff earlier this week, but he elected to retain coordinator Todd Wash. It was unclear, though, whether Wash would continue in the same role. It’s now official that he will once again serve as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator in 2017, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

Todd Wash

The 48-year-old Wash has been in Jacksonville since 2013, though this past season was his first as its coordinator. The unit was mostly impressive on his watch, finishing sixth in the NFL in yardage, 13th in DVOA and 25th in scoring. Those were across-the-board improvements for the Jags, who ranked 24th, 26th and 31st, respectively, in those categories under Wash’s predecessor, Bob Babich, in 2015.

Marrone’s decision to keep Wash in a prominent position comes on the heels of a continuity-geared move to retain offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Now that he knows his status for next season, Wash will get to work on filling out his staff, including finding new defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs coaches, as O’Halloran notes (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Bills, Jags, Raiders, Ravens

Although Anthony Lynn has long been viewed as the favorite to take over as the Bills‘ head coach, team ownership has been extremely impressed by Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Indeed, Buffalo is now in something of a “holding pattern” as Lynn and McDermott interview elsewhere, tweets Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News. Lynn has been linked to every head coaching job that remains open, while McDermott has drawn interest from the Chargers and 49ers in addition to the Bills, as PFR’s 2017 Head Coaching Search Tracker shows.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • The Jaguars will retain defensive coordinator Todd Wash under new head coach Doug Marrone, but nearly every other member of the defensive staff is being let go, reports Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. Defensive assistant Mike Rutenberg is the only other defensive coach who will remain on board. Jacksonville had 24 coaches on staff at the end of the regular season, and that number figures to be reduced, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
  • Ken Norton Jr. will remain the Raiders‘ defensive coordinator, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Head coach Jack Del Rio assumed play-calling duties midway through the 2016 season, and Oakland ultimately finished 23rd in defensive DVOA. While Norton Jr. will stick around, defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson has been fired, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link).
  • Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Greg Roman could potentially join the Ravens staff in some undefined role, per La Canfora (all Twitter links). Baltimore recently announced that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will return for the 2017 campaign, so Roman — who has remained in contact with head coach John Harbaugh — could join the Ravens in a run-game director capacity.
  • The Eagles have fired wide receivers coach Greg Lewis, tweets Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Lewis spent just one season as a coach with Philadelphia (after having spent the 2003-08 seasons with the club as a player). Current Bills WRs coach Sanjay Lal is of “strong interest” to the Eagles, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • The Browns announced that they’ve begun to restructure their defensive staff under new coordinator Gregg Williams, parting ways with defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland, assistant defensive backs coach Cannon Matthews, and outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik. Cleveland also fired offensive line coach Hal Hunter.

Reactions to Jaguars’ Hirings

The Jaguars have officially announced the hiring of head coach Doug Marrone and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. The organization also announced the two-year extension for general manager Dave Caldwell. Owner Shad Khan released a statement regarding the moves (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter):

“I have confidence that one day soon we’ll look back on today’s news as the moment that inspired and ultimately established the Jacksonville Jaguars as a football team that wins, week to week and season to season.

“I am honored to welcome Tom Coughlin back to Jacksonville, where winning was customary under his leadership. I know he expects the same in his return to head our football operations, and that’s good news for us and Jaguars fans everywhere. The extension of Dave Caldwell’s contract speaks to his excellent work thus far and the continued importance of complementing our talented and promising roster. 

“I am particularly enthused to introduce Doug Marrone as our new head coach. Doug is a strong football man in every respect and offers us qualities that will serve us well in all facets of the team, from the meeting rooms to game day and much more. The results will speak for themselves in time, but with Tom coming in to join Dave and Doug, there is no question the Jacksonville Jaguars are a stronger football team today.”

Let’s take a look at some reactions out of Jacksonville following the organization’s busy day…

  • Caldwell will report to Coughlin, reports ESPN.com’s Mike DiRocco. The writer assumes that Coughlin “will have final say over personnel issues as well as the draft,” although the organization hasn’t confirmed whether this will be the case. A source told Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter) that Coughlin presumably “has the final say on everything.”
  • Marrone believes Blake Bortles can be a franchise quarterback, and this mindset played a significant role in the hiring, reports Rapoport (via NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal). The organization clearly valued continuity, but Rosenthal notes that there will be “pressure on Marrone and Caldwell to turn Jacksonville’s fortunes around quickly.”
  • Bortles certainly sounded optimistic about the hiring. “I think Doug has earned the respect of the offensive players and I’m excited for him to get this opportunity and the direction of this team,” Bortles told DiRocco.
  • Rosenthal notes that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will presumably keep his role. Hackett worked under Marrone with Syracuse and the Bills.
  • Meanwhile, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets that the Jaguars’ defensive coaches were told they’d be retained if Marrone got the job. Alex Marvez of The Sporting News provides even more clarity (on Twitter), noting that the team will at least be keeping defensive coordinator Todd Wash and linebackers coach Robert Saleh.
  • Mike Smith was thought to be a close second for the Jaguars job, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets. The former Falcons head coach served as the Buccaneers defensive coordinator this past season. In seven seasons in Atlanta, Smith led his squad to a 66-46 record and four playoff births. Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com writes that Smith is still in the running for the Chargers‘ head coaching gig.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Sunday Roundup: T. Johnson, Long, 49ers

We recently heard the the Rams are considering using the transition tag on cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency in just over two weeks. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com discusses why a team would consider the transition tag–which does not net a team any compensation when the tagged player signs elsewhere–when a slightly more expensive franchise tag would virtually assure the team of retaining the tagged player. As Florio writes, “Some may be doing it just to see what the player’s value is, knowing that if it’s too high they’ll let him walk. Others possibly don’t want the franchise tender to lay the foundation for a long-term deal.”

Florio, citing a league source, says that if Johnson does get the transition tag, he will not sign the transition tender. Instead, he will actively seek an offer sheet from another team, just as Alex Mack did in 2014 and Charles Clay did last season.

Now let’s take a look at some more notes from around the league:

  • Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com takes a look at whether the Seahawks will pursue recently-released DE Chris Long, who has 8.5 sacks in 15 career games against Seattle as a member of the division-rival Rams. Long’s age and injury history suggest that he’s probably in line for a relatively modest deal, and given that the Seahawks are always on the lookout for pass rushing help, Kapadia suggests that Long could be a fit.
  • Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers‘ No. 1 priority this offseason is resolving the Colin Kaepernick dilemma, and he sets forth four ways in which the team could find that resolution. Right now, indications are that Kaepernick would like to resume his career elsewhere, and if San Francisco wants to move on as well, the 49ers can give Kaepernick permission to seek a trade and work out a restructured contract with another team before a trade is finalized. Alternatively, the two sides could work out a settlement in which the team releases him and is not on the hook for the $11.9MM he is owed in 2016.
  • The Jaguars do not plan on filling the vacancy that was left when they promoted Todd Wash from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator, according to Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. Instead, Wash will continue to coach the team’s defensive lineman, and head coach Gus Bradley downplayed any notion that his first-time coordinator would be stretched too thin.
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides his ranking of the Falcons‘ top 12 unrestricted free agents. Given that O’Brien Schofield tops the list, it is clear that the Falcons’ pending free agents are comprised primarily of role players and reserves.
  • Jesse James, selected in the fifth round of last year’s draft, will get the first chance to replace the recently-retired Heath Miller as the Steelers‘ No. 1 tight end, as Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. After being inactive for the first eight games of the regular season, James saw limited action in the next ten, including the playoffs. The Steelers will likely add a tight end in free agency to complement James and high-upside practice squad player Xavier Grimble, even though the free agent class of tight ends is fairly weak. Ben Watson, who met with Pittsburgh during training camp a few years ago, is perhaps the best fit for the Steelers.

South Notes: Panthers, Jags, Colts, Freeman

Peyton Manning will face Carolina in Super Bowl 50 next week, but had things gone just a bit differently, Manning could have been a member of the Panthers himself. As Steve Reed of the Associated Press details, the Panthers approached the Colts prior to the 1998 draft in the hopes of trading up the first pick, offering quarterback Kerry Collins and a myriad of draft choices. But Colts general manager Bill Polian wouldn’t hear of it. “There wasn’t anything they could give us that was going to replace Peyton Manning,” Polian said.

As we ponder what could have been, let’s take a look at a few more notes from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • The Jaguars have two open spots remaining on their coaching staff, including defensive line coach, which is now vacant following the promotion of Todd Wash to defensive coordinator. According to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Wash will continue serving as defensive line coach for the time being, but general manger Dave Caldwell indicated that could change if a different fit presents itself. Jacksonville also is looking to fill one offensive assistant role.
  • Kevin Bowen of Colts.com begins his latest mailbag by tackling the subject of impending free agent linebacker Jerrell Freeman, noting that the 29-year-old might not be a priority for the Colts in free agency. Owner Jim Irsay has noted the club needs to get younger on defense, per Bowen, and with D’Qwell Jackson, Nate Irving, and Sio Moore all in the fold, Freeman could be the odd man out.
  • Speaking of Jackson, the veteran Colts linebacker is being sued for $1.5MM in connection to an assault that occurred in February 15, sources tell Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN (Twitter link). Jackson allegedly broke a bone in a delivery driver’s face.

AFC Notes: Brady, Broncos, Jaguars

Tom Brady‘s season ended on a sour note Sunday when the Patriots dropped a 20-18 decision to Denver in the AFC title game. Now the 38-year-old will once again turn his focus to the Deflategate scandal that dominated headlines last offseason. As ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes, the NFL’s appeal regarding Judge Richard Berman’s Sept. 3 reversal of Brady’s four-game suspension will take place on March 3. If the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rules in favor of the league, Brady might have to sit out the early portion of the 2016 season.

More from the AFC, including a note on the conference champions:

  • Broncos safety Darian Stewart suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Stewart says he’s fine, though. “Hell yeah I will be ready for the Super Bowl,” he told Renck.
  • Despite signing a contract extension through 2017 this week, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is facing a make-or-break 2016 campaign, opines Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union. Jags players and prospective free agents are aware that Bradley is on the hot seat, according to Frenette, who believes the 49-year-old must win at least eight games next season in order to return in ’17. The Bradley-led Jags have gone 12-36 in three years. Despite only winning five games this season, a career best for Bradley, the team does finally appear to be trending upward.
  • Before Bradley promoted ex-defensive line coach Todd Wash to D-coordinator this week, Wash had to sit in on interviews Bradley conducted with other candidates. That made Wash “uncomfortable,” he told reporters (link via Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union). “In the back of your mind, it’s human nature, you want to be the defensive coordinator,” he added.

Jaguars Extend HC Gus Bradley Through 2017

SATURDAY 8:35am: Bradley spoke to the media last night, and the head coach gave his take on the extension.

“Believe me, I appreciate it,” he said (via Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com). “I think it’s awesome. It’s pretty strong.”

Bradley was also thrilled that his entire coaching staff got an extra year, stating that it’s an indication that the master plan is starting to come together.

“This was [Khan and Caldwell] saying, ‘We believe it’s coming together and we believe in this staff,’ ” Bradley said.

FRIDAY, 8:01am: Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley won’t enter the 2016 season as a lame duck. As first reported by Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville has extended Bradley’s contract by a year, locking him up through the 2017 season. The team has confirmed the move in a press release.Gus Bradley

[RELATED: Jaguars promote Todd Wash to defensive coordinator]

“For an organization that we believe is ready to make its move, extending Gus through the 2017 season provides our club with much-needed stability in every respect,” General manager Dave Caldwell said in a statement. “It solidifies Gus’ good standing with our current players, provides certainty for free agents who may be considering the Jaguars and helps to deliver the continuity throughout our coaching staff that we think is critical for us to turn the corner.”

Jaguars owner Shad Khan said before the team’s final game of the regular season that Bradley would return for the 2016 season, and NFL clubs typically don’t like having coaches on expiring contracts, so the new deal doesn’t come as a real surprise.

Khan’s statement in December suggested that he expects the team to take a step forward next season, and at the time it sounded as if Bradley would be on the hot seat if the Jags went through another losing season (the team is just 12-36 during his tenure). I don’t expect today’s move changes that — Khan would simply have to eat an extra year of salary now if he decides to make a change next year.

Still, with Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson helping to turn the Jaguars’ offense into a dangerous unit, Dante Fowler set to return in 2016, and the Jags set to add another top-five pick to the mix in the spring, there are signs that the franchise is headed in the right direction. By retaining Bradley and promoting an in-house assistant, Todd Wash, to the open defensive coordinator position – a move the club confirmed today – Khan and the Jaguars are betting on continuity heading into ’16.

In addition to announcing the one-year extension for Bradley, the Jaguars confirmed today that they’ve promoted Mark Ellenz to director of college scouting to replace Kyle O’Brien, who joined the Lions earlier this month, tweets John Oehser of Jaguars.com. O’Halloran adds (via Twitter) that the club also announced Daniel Bullocks is the new assistant defensive backs coach.

Wash will call defensive plays for the Jaguars in 2016, tweets O’Halloran. The Times-Union scribe adds that, like Bradley, the team’s assistant coaches all have contracts that run through 2017 now as well (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Promote Todd Wash To DC

The Jaguars conducted an extensive search for their new defensive coordinator, interviewing multiple outside candidates, but ultimately the team decided to stay in-house to fill the position. According to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (Twitter links), Jacksonville has promoted defensive line coach Todd Wash to DC, and will hold a press conference on Friday to announce the decision.Todd Wash

[RELATED: PFR’s 2016 offensive/defensive coordinator tracker]

Wash, who came to the Jaguars in 2013 from the Seahawks, along with head coach Gus Bradley, has served as the defensive line coach for the team since then, and also had run game coordinator added to his title for the 2015 season.

Before making the decision to hire Wash to replace former defensive coordinator Bob Babich, the Jaguars looked into several outside options, bringing in Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel, Dolphins interim defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, and Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson for interviews.

The Jaguars also reportedly interviewed Jim Schwartz, and were one of at least three teams that had interest in him, along with the Browns and the Eagles. Schwartz landed in Philadelphia, and it’s not clear if he might have been Jacksonville’s pick if he hadn’t been hired by another team first.

In any case, Wash will take over a unit that finished 25th in the NFL in 2015 in yards allowed per game (375.0), and ranked 26th in terms of DVOA, per Football Outsiders. The new defensive coordinator will have the benefit of getting back Dante Fowler, the club’s 2015 first-round pick, whose rookie season was lost due to a torn ACL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Bills, Bucs, Jags, Texans

The Bills have made a groundbreaking hire, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, as they’ve named Kathryn Smith a special teams quality control coach. Smith is the NFL’s first-ever full-time female assistant coach. She previously served in lesser roles under Rex Ryan with both the Jets and Bills.

Regarding Smith’s hiring, Ryan said, “She has proven that she’s ready for the next step, so I’m excited and proud for her” (Twitter link via The Buffalo News’ Tyler Dunne).

Other coaching news from around the NFL . . .

  • New Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter will call the team’s offensive plays, but he still plans to hire an O-coordinator (Twitter link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times).
  • The Jaguars expect to have a defensive coordinator in place by Monday, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. The front-runner for the job is defensive line coach Todd Wash, per O’Halloran (Twitter link). As PFR’s Coordinator Tracker shows, Jacksonville has also shown interest in some currently available outside candidates, having interviewed Jerome Henderson, Marquand Manuel and Lou Anarumo for the job.
  • In other Jaguars news, assistant coach coach Doug Marrone will return for a second season with the club, per O’Halloran. Marrone interviewed for four different head coaching vacancies in recent weeks, but those teams hired other candidates.
  • Paul Pasqualoni has stepped down as the Texans’ defensive line coach after just one season because of family reasons, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter). Anthony Weaver, who coached Cleveland’s D-line the past two seasons, could take Pasqualoni’s spot.
  • The Colts have named Greg Williams their secondary coach, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Williams was San Diego’s assistant secondary coach the previous three seasons.
  • With Terry Robiskie on his way to Tennessee, the Falcons’ wide receivers coach position is open. Atlanta will likely promote offensive assistant Mike McDaniel to take Robiskie’s place, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McDaniel previously coached wideouts in Washington (2013) and Cleveland (2014).
  • Changes are coming to the Lions’ strength and conditioning staff, as the club has fired coordinator of physical development Jason Arapoff and assistant strength coach Ted Rath, writes Tim Twentyman of the team’s website.

Sunday Roundup: Manziel, Forsett, Jags

As the Panthers have their way with the Seahawks in the early going of this afternoon’s Divisional Round matchup, let’s take a look at some news and notes from around the league:

  • We heard just a few days ago that new Browns head coach Hue Jackson was prepared to move on from Johnny Manziel, and the comments he made during a Bleacher Report interview this morning reaffirmed that sentiment. Per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jackson told Bleacher Report that if Manziel was, in fact, in Las Vegas during the season finale, that would indicate to him that Manziel is not starter material. Jackson then went on to say, “I do believe that this team does need a quarterback.”
  • Although it’s certainly not a lock, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com believes the Ravens will bring back Justin Forsett next season. The team would gain only $900K of salary cap space by cutting Forsett, and although the other backs on the team’s depth chart have shown some promise, they have significant flaws and are largely unproven.
  • Packers WR Randall Cobb suffered a bruised lung in last night’s heartbreaking loss to the Cardinals, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Jason Wilde of ESPN.com tweets that the team does not yet have an update on Cobb.
  • Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has finally begun his search for a new defensive coordinator in earnest, bringing in Marquand Manuel and Lou Anarumo for interviews last week. Per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, Bradley hopes to have the search wrapped up by January 25, and Manuel and/or Anarumo could join the Jacksonville coaching staff even if they don’t land the coordinator position. O’Halloran adds that current defensive line coach Todd Wash could still be promoted to DC.
  • In a separate piece, O’Halloran looks at the issues facing the Jaguars‘ new DC, whoever it may be, including what to do with Jonathan Cyprien and whether the team should pursue an elite corner like Prince Amukamara or Greg Toler in free agency or if it can afford to look for a second-tier option.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com offers his breakdown of the Titans‘ cap situation and free agency outlook.
  • Mark Maske of the Washington Post observes that the teams looking for a new head coach this offseason were thinking offensively. Of the seven new hires, five were offensive coordinators, and the other two (Mike Mularkey and Chip Kelly) are of course offensive-minded.