Urban Meyer

Browns Won’t Consider Urban Meyer?

It doesn’t sound like the Browns will hire Urban Meyer to be their next head coach. 

Right now we’re just focusing on people with NFL coaching experience,” owner Jimmy Haslam told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.

Haslam’s statement could be interpreted one of two ways. Taken at face value, this means the Browns do not have Meyer atop their list of head coaching candidates. It’s also quite possible that Meyer, who figures to have a number of suitors in this cycle, has already rejected overtures from the team.

Either way, the Browns’ head coaching search will – for now – be limited to NFL circles. That head coach will be hired before the GM, Haslam says, with the head coach collaborating on the GM hire. Then, the HC and GM will have roughly equal footing in the organization, with both men reporting directly to Haslam.

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Browns Have “Strong Interest” In Urban Meyer

The Browns have “strong interest” in former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports (on Twitter) hears. Meyer retired from coaching one year ago today, citing health issues, but he has been connected to multiple NFL teams in recent months. 

[RELATED: Paul DePodesta To Run Browns’ Coaching Search]

The Cowboys, Redskins, and Browns have all been linked to Meyer. The Redskins job, of course, is already spoken for – former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera inked a deal with the club before the New Year. The Cowboys, meanwhile, still have Jason Garrett as their head coach, as of this writing.

The Browns are casting a wide net in their coaching search but, as far as we know, they have yet to schedule an interview with Meyer, who is currently employed by FOX Sports (as is Feldman). Publicly, Meyer has downplayed the possibility of a return to coaching, but it sure sounds like he wants to make a jump to the pros.

The Browns’ head coaching search will be run by Paul DePodesta, the former baseball exec who serves as the Browns’ chief strategy officer. Today, they’ll chat with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and they might also meet with offensive assistants Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur.

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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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North Notes: OBJ, Meyer, Roman

Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. recently shot down rumors of a trade demand, but the team never had any intention of trading him anyway, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Cleveland gave up a great deal to acquire OBJ last offseason, and the club fully intends to keep the mercurial wideout on board for what it hopes will be a rebound campaign in 2020.

With respect to Beckham’s potential sports hernia surgery, he has scheduled a January 13 consultation with a core specialist, and that is one of several opinions he’ll gather before deciding whether to go under the knife (Twitter link via ESPN’s Josina Anderson).

Now for more from the leagues’ north divisions:

  • Urban Meyer has been connected to the Cowboys’ and Redskins’ head coaching vacancies in recent weeks, and you can add the Browns to that list. It’s still unclear whether Cleveland will part with first-year HC Freddie Kitchens, but if it does, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports expects Meyer to get heavy consideration. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Meyer enjoy a strong relationship, and despite what he has said publicly, Meyer is reportedly interested in returning to the sidelines.
  • Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman has engineered one of the league’s best and most exciting offenses around MVP candidate Lamar Jackson, and La Canfora says Roman is, unsurprisingly, expected to have several head coaching interviews. Though Jackson is a transcendent talent, teams will be looking to replicate Baltimore’s approach, and Roman’s success with Jackson and other athletic QBs like Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor will have him in high demand.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press takes a look at each of the Lions‘ 16 pending UFAs and offers his take as to whether Detroit will attempt to retain them. He believes wide receiver Danny Amendola is a near-lock to return, and he thinks OL Graham Glasgow may prefer to go elsewhere.
  • We took another swing around the north yesterday, including a look at Mitchell Trubisky‘s future with the Bears.

Urban Meyer: “I Think I’m Done Coaching”

Recent reports have connected Urban Meyer to the Cowboys’ head coaching job, which is widely expected to become vacant at the end of the season. In addition, Meyer was at FedEx Field on Sunday to take in the Eagles-Redskins game, which gave rise to a report that Washington would also make a play for Meyer for its own HC post.

While Meyer would almost certainly prefer to coach the Cowboys instead of the Redskins, Meyer himself said, “I think I’m done coaching,” as Brit Hume of Fox News tweets. Per Hume, Meyer was in town for a White House Christmas party after attending Saturday’s Army-Navy game, and he knew his presence at the Redskins’ home venue would create additional speculation about his future plans.

Of course, Meyer could have simply been trying to deflect such speculation, and he did recently indicate that the Dallas gig appealed to him. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Meyer is certainly enjoying his retirement from coaching, but he tells us to “stay tuned” (Twitter link).

For what it’s worth, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he will wait until after the season to evaluate head coach Jason Garrett, as Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. But barring a Super Bowl win, it feels like Garrett will be seeking new employment in 2020.

Meyer is one of the most accomplished head coaches in college football history and boasts a 187-32 career record that includes a whopping 12-3 mark in bowl games. He also won three national championships, two with Florida and one with Ohio State.

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East Rumors: Rhule, Meyer, Jets

Despite reports connecting the Cowboys to Lincoln Riley and Urban Meyer, team owner Jerry Jones on Saturday downplayed the notion that he would pursue a college coach this offseason. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Jones remains interested in Riley, and he is also paying close attention to Baylor head coach Matt Rhule.

Rhule was a hot name on the NFL head coaching circuit last year and reportedly could have had the Jets’ job if he agreed to certain appointments to his coaching staff. He signed an eight-year extension with Baylor in September, but pro teams are still interested in him. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network shot down recent speculation that the Cowboys would pursue Sean Payton, but he says Dallas made it known through back channels last offseason it was interested in the Saints’ HC, which helped Payton land his extension with New Orleans in September (video link).

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • The Cowboys may not be the only team interested in Meyer. As JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington tweets, Meyer is at FedEx field for the Redskins‘ contest against the Eagles today, and Washington would love to land Meyer as its next HC. Meyer, of course, served as Dwayne Haskins‘ head coach at Ohio State, but it seems like the Redskins don’t really meet Meyer’s criteria for coming out of retirement.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com expects the Jets to overhaul 50% of their roster this offseason, and he unsurprisingly names Brian Winters and Quincy Enunwa as two of the big-name players who could be cut. He also says that, if New York retains Le’Veon Bell, it should bring in another RB with the speed to run outside the tackles.
  • Though the Patriots just cut kicker Josh Gable two days after adding him to the practice squad, head coach Bill Belichick suggested that Gable could be back in 2020 as possible competition for Stephen Gostkowski, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes.
  • In the same piece linked above, Reiss says Patriots D-line coach Bret Bielema, a former collegiate head coach with Wisconsin and Arkansas, is generating interest from college teams. Bielema is said to be open to such an opportunity if the right one presents itself.
  • The NFL’s decision on the Patriots‘ punishment for Spygate 2.0 is expected shortly.

Cowboys Owner: We Didn’t Meet With Urban Meyer

The Cowboys have not met with Urban Meyer to discuss their head coaching position. At least, that’s what owner Jerry Jones said in an interview on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer). 

Any talk of a recent meeting between Stephen Jones and the former Ohio State coach is “absolutely not correct,” said JJ, who added, “the facts are we just have not talked to any coach or potential coach in the NFL.”

Meyer is one of the most accomplished head coaches in college football history and boasts a 187-32 career record that includes a whopping 12-3 mark in Bowl Games. He also won three national championships, two with Florida and one with Ohio State.

His success with the Buckeyes led to some NFL interest, and he said in December 2015 that he had recently spurned an NFL team’s advances. He always seemed content with his collegiate job, but he announced last December that he would retire from coaching after the Buckeye’s Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2019 (which Ohio State won).

Meyer left the sidelines due to health concerns, which would seemingly rule out coaching in the NFL, but many believe that he would have interest in the Dallas job.

Meanwhile, speculation continues to swirl around the job security of current head coach Jason Garrett. Last week, Jones seemed to indicate that Garrett might not return to the team in 2020, though he feels that he will be “coaching in the NFL next year.”

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Cowboys’ Interest In Urban Meyer Is “Real”

The Cowboys are widely expected to be shopping for a new head coach this offseason, and the team’s interest in Urban Meyer is real, as Albert Breer of SI.com writes. Recent reports indicated that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was zeroing in on Meyer and Patriots OC Josh McDaniels — though Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley could also be a legitimate possibility — and Meyer himself said he would “absolutely” accept the Dallas gig if offered.

Breer confirms that Meyer is interested in the Cowboys, and while the SI scribe does not believe Meyer is necessarily dying to get back into coaching, Dallas does check two important boxes for him. One, it’s a flagship organization, and two, it has a roster that looks capable of competing right away. Meyer also has a close relationship with one of the Cowboys’ best players, Ezekiel Elliot, thanks to their days at Ohio State together.

Meyer is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished head coaches in college football history, having compiled a 187-32 career record that includes a whopping 12-3 mark in Bowl Games. He also won three national championships, two with Florida and one with Ohio State.

His success with the Buckeyes led to some NFL interest, and he said in December 2015 that he had recently spurned an NFL team’s advances. He always seemed content with his collegiate job, but he announced last December that he would retire from coaching after the Buckeye’s Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2019 (which Ohio State won). He cited health concerns as the reason for his decision, which leaves one to wonder if he would welcome the rigors of an NFL post. However, since Dallas does not need to go through a lengthy rebuild, Meyer seems open to considering the opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Garrett Must Win Super Bowl To Keep Job

Sources close to the Cowboys say head coach Jason Garrett must win the Super Bowl this season to retain his job, according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. Freeman notes that Garrett has survived the hot seat many times before, but claims in this instance, “the rumors feel different.”

Just this morning, Dallas owner Jerry Jones intimated the same sentiment to Good Morning Football, but given Jones’ maverick history, reading into any one quote can be misleading. However, Freeman’s report confirms Garrett faces an ultimatum to reach a level he has never reached in his tenure as head coach.

Garrett holds a 83-64 overall record in his ten years as head coach in Dallas, but his 2-3 playoff record, which includes zero Super Bowl appearances remains the largest indictment on his record. His more recent refusal to integrate statistical analysis into his decision making has garnered large outside criticism, especially after he decided to kick a field goal during the Cowboys 13-9 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.

Freeman reports that executives around the league believe Jones has begun to focus on two candidates to eventually replace Garrett: former Utah, Florida, and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Both candidates come with certain levels of risk. Meyer has never coached at the professional level and left Ohio State amidst off-field controversy. McDaniels’ was last the Broncos head coach, but was fired after a generally unsuccessful tenure. Of course, Garrett does appear to have a path to retaining his position: reaching the league’s pinnacle.

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones On Jason Garrett

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has repeatedly backed Jason Garrett amidst rumblings about the head coach’s job security, but no one seems to believe him. This week, Jones discussed Garrett – and Urban Meyer‘s recent comments – in interviews with Clarence E. Hill of the Star-Telegram and 105.3 The Fan. Here’s a look at the highlights:

On Garrett’s future with the team:

“I am looking for reasons. I’m looking for reasons to keep him. It’s merited here. It’s hard to get an effective coach and get it locked in with all you have to retool and redo. I’m comfortable. We have established some security apart from the won-loss. He represents the organization well on and off the field. You don’t have to wake up in the morning reading about it.”

On Garrett’s relationship with players:

“[The] head coach, right there beside him the offensive coordinator.. they’re going to get a lot of shots from time to time because we all know it doesn’t go right at all [all the time], so get ready. But ,I’ve seen him, and I’ve seen him handle it. I’ve not seen a concern, and I’ve experienced it to where key players have an issue with the coach. I haven’t seen that with Garrett.”

On Meyer saying that he would “absolutely” accept the Cowboys job, if offered:

“For Urban Meyer to say that is a compliment,” (Twitter link via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News). “Period. I really know that. The job is a great job. Now, that’s not implying that I made it that way or I don’t make it that way. It’s just the place to be.”