Wade Wilson

Cowboys Want To Keep Linehan, Marinelli

There will be some coaching changes in Dallas, but it sounds like the main coaches will be staying in place. In a radio interview on Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the team wants to retain offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for 2018 (link via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News). Scott Linehan

Starting this week, the team will evaluate the futures of assistants such as running backs coach Gary Brown, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who are on expiring deals. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker have already been fired, according to Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).

Both Marinelli and Linehand signed extensions with the team last March. The length of Marinelli’s contract is unknown, but we do know that Linehan is under contract through 2019.

Meanwhile, Jones says that he has given no consideration to replacing Jason Garrett as head coach.

It’s not even a thought for me,” Jones said. “I do like the fact that we’ve invested, if you will. We’ve got several years of Jason evolving in this profession in the NFL. There’s no question the familiarity with teams that we’re playing, especially in our division, is a big plus. You pay a big price when you make a change at the head coach. You pay some price when you make a change at any position coach situation. On the other hand, freshness we’re talking about, new ideas, nothing set in stone, that’s a plus too. But I think that Jason’s in a good spot. We’re in a good spot with Jason. He certainly has the mentality of doing things differently, again not just to be doing them differently, but basically recognizing that we’ve got some things we do need to do differently. We’ll make that happen through our assistant coaches.”

While several jobs are up in the air, there is one confirmed vacancy on the Cowboys’ staff following the retirement of tight ends coach Steve Loney.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching News: Packers, Cowboys, Giants

Earlier in the day, the Packers fired defensive coordinator Dom Capers. They continued to clean house on the defensive side of the ball later in the day, letting go of inside linebackers coach Scott McCurley and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports.

McCurley joined the Packers in 2006 as an intern but quickly moved his way up the ladder. For the last four years, he served as assistant linebackers coach and helped oversee the transition to young linebackers like Blake Martinez. An NFL coach since 1995, Trgovac had been with the Packers since 2009 following an extended stay as the defensive coordinator in Carolina.

Here is more from around the league on the coaching front:

  • The Broncos fired outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac on Monday, reports NBC 9 in Denver’s Mike Klis (Twitter link). Klis cites the lack of a pass rush following the departure of DeMarcus Ware as grounds for the dismissal. Shane Ray provided just one sack on the opposite side of Von Miller. The team also let go of defensive backs coach Johnnie Lynn.
  • New Giants general manager Dave Gettleman told the team’s assistant coaches they are free to look for other jobs without the Giants blocking the search, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link). Among the names expected to draw interest from other teams includes interim head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
  • Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson is expected to be let go, sources tell the Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). Marvez notes that more changes to the team’s offensive coaching staff are expected to come, one of which could be wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, who is reported to not being returning to Dallas by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). Dooley denied the report, saying he has yet to meet with head coach Jason Garrett, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. The coaches have been with the team since 2007 and 2013, respectively.
  • After firing head coach Jim Caldwell, the Lions continued to overhaul its coaching staff by letting go of assistant head coach and offensive line coach Ron Prince, the team announced. Prince had been with the team since 2014.

Extra Points: Kizer, Moore, Patriots, Jackson

We recently heard that the Browns‘ staring QB job is Cody Kessler‘s to lose, and while that still might be true, the team selected DeShone Kizer in the second round of this year’s draft for a reason, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Notre Dame product demonstrated superior physical skills during the first week of OTAs, especially with respect to arm strength and mobility. Cabot also says Kizer is picking up the offense quickly, and even if he does not start Week 1, he will get his chance early on in the season. Hue Jackson has spent more time with Kizer and will continue to do so, while quarterbacks coach David Lee will have a bigger role with Kessler, Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan, per Cabot.

I want to make sure I have my hand on him as much as I can,” Jackson said, via Cabot, of coaching Kizer. “I will continue to do so. I have to find out probably more about [Kizer] than I do any of the guys. He’s not going to get too far away from me, I know that. He’s done a good job. He just has to keep getting better. He’s improved from day to day.”

Here’s more from around the league.

  • With only four draft picks, the Patriots allocated a considerable amount of funds to their UDFAs. The Pats guaranteed $415K to their 19-man UDFA class, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Reiss pointed this out after Mike Zimmer revealed the Vikings spent $192,500 on their 13-man class, which the coach said was the most in his four years. The Packers, meanwhile, guaranteed their 20-man pool just $63K. The Pats were aggressive with possible late-round picks that slipped out of the draft in BYU linebacker Harvey Langi — who took up a sizable portion of New England’s total with a $100K base salary guarantee and $15K signing bonus — and Wyoming tight end Jacob Hollister, Reiss reports.
  • Cowboys 11th-year quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson would be on board with the team bringing in competition for Kellen Moore, who is entering his sixth season but has just three career games (all with the 2015 Cowboys) to his name. “I do think that we need to create competition for him, and that’s at every position, but especially at the quarterback position,” Wilson said, via Matt Galatzan of Scout.com. “So because he hasn’t played, if there’s a veteran out there that we want to bring in and compete against him, I’d be all for that, but if not, I feel very comfortable about him going out there and playing.” The Cowboys were in on Josh McCown but didn’t come close to matching the Jets’ offer. They signed Moore, who is coming off a season-ending injury, to a one-year, $775K deal in March.
  • Lamar Jackson dazzled the college football world last year, but Louisville’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback doesn’t strike NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks as a polished passer ready to make an NFL impact in that area yet. While Brooks described Jackson (1,570 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns) as a more explosive runner than recent dual-threat prodigies Marcus Mariota or Robert Griffin III, he needs to improve upon his footwork, passing mechanics and defensive diagnoses to elevate into a franchise-type passing prospect. Both CBS and the Sporting News had Jackson as a first-round pick in their way-too-early 2018 mocks.
  • Brooks also heard from an NFC scout that Penn State running back Saquon Barkley‘s early hype is justified going into what most expect will be his final college season. The anonymous evaluator viewed the junior Nittany Lion as a player who is as “complete as they come” at this position. This follows an NFL exec saying Barkley could be the best running back prospect in a decade.

Rory Parks contributed to this report.

NFC Notes: Redskins, Cowboys, Cardinals

Kirk Cousins‘ top two targets will both be free agents following the 2016 season, and ESPN.com’s John Keim writes that the Redskins quarterback will vicariously play a role in the duo’s future contracts.

Veteran wideouts Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are both set to hit free agency following the season, and Cousins is focused on earning the pair as much money as possible.

“I said to guys in college that I would take great pride in them having NFL careers,” Cousins said, “and it’s a point of emphasis that I would get them the ball, help them play well enough as a college player and it would give them an opportunity to be noticed and play in the NFL. The same would be true now. I want to see them have great success in this league and have long careers and certainly as a quarterback, you have a role in that.”

For what it’s worth, both Garcon and Jackson are simply focused on their on-field production, as both veterans understand that that’s all they can control at this point.

“We can just give great effort and however they want to use us is how they use us,” Garcon said. “Kirk has to throw touchdowns and get passing yards and we have to get receiving yards. We can’t control the outcome of the contract, but we can control what goes on with us between the lines.”

“I’m just really keeping it real right here, keeping it real simple,” Jackson added. “I don’t want to put no extra pressure on anybody, on myself, on the team, nobody. I’m just here to work and be rewarded for whatever it is. Whatever that turns out to be at the end of the year, so be it.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the NFC…

  • Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr took a significant pay cut for 2016, with his salary dropping from $9.1MM to $4.25MM. However, the veteran understands that on-field production will lead to a future payday. “Get the ball, get this money,” Carr told Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram. “Keep it simple. Get the ball, make some plays and you’ll see what happens when it’s all said and done.”
  • Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson has taken a personal leave to deal with “personal matters,” reports Hill. There’s no timeline for when the coach will return to the team. “I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate on that,” said vice president Stephen Jones. “Wade has got to take care of himself. I know no one wants to be out here more than him.”
  • Cardinals general manager Steve Keim had no issues extending 36-year-old Carson Palmer. In fact, the executive doesn’t want to imagine life without the talented quarterback. “That’s all I think about,” Keim said (via ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano). “That’s what keeps you up at night. I mean, if you think about it, what GM or coach doesn’t have their career attached to that position?…I was fortunate enough to get this job, and one of the first moves I made was to trade for Carson. And the rest is history. Three years, 10, 11 and 13 wins. And there’s no doubt he’s obviously the biggest impact.”
  • With Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Tyrann Mathieu recently earning extensions, Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell is hoping his new contract is next on the organization’s agenda. “I hope so,” Campbell told ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. “Just one of those things when it comes, I’m going to be very happy but you got to be patient and continue playing ball and whenever it comes I’m going to be ready for it.”