Redskins Rumors

Commanders, Ravens Interested In Eric Bieniemy For OC

A key talking point each January, Eric Bieniemy‘s head coaching candidacy has tapered off in recent years. Despite Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson landing HC jobs from Andy Reid‘s Chiefs staff, Bieniemy has been stuck at the coordinator level. Only one team — the Colts — has interviewed him for its HC post this year.

Others remain interested in the five-year Chiefs OC for a lateral move. The Commanders and Ravens are the latest rumored to want an OC meeting with Bieniemy, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. The Indianapolis HC path remains in play for Bieniemy, but similar avenues have repeatedly closed for the longtime Reid lieutenant over the past several years.

The Commanders and Ravens jobs are not classified as lateral moves, since each position would come with full play-calling responsibilities. Thus, the Chiefs cannot block Bieniemy from an interview. Reid has been Kansas City’s primary play-caller throughout his 10-year Missouri stay, and the top-tier HC receives the bulk of the credit for Patrick Mahomes submitting arguably the greatest early-career resume in quarterback history. Bieniemy has been Kansas City’s OC throughout Mahomes’ run as the team’s starter, but after extensive interest emerged early during his time in this job, the league has cooled on him.

Bieniemy, 53, signed an extension with the Chiefs last year and has not been closely connected to other OC jobs prior to this month. It would be bring somewhat of a risk to leave the Reid-Mahomes infrastructure the Chiefs provide, but Bieniemy having success as a play-caller could also finally break down the door to a top job. Ex-Chiefs QBs coach Mike Kafka is now on the HC radar, after becoming the Giants’ play-caller. Mahomes is ticketed to win a second MVP award and has powered the Chiefs to a fifth straight AFC championship game, doing so this time without Tyreek Hill.

Washington has seen multiple options — Jim Caldwell and Darrell Bevellturn down the chance to interview. Ron Rivera‘s hot-seat status also complicates this season, since the OC role has a greater chance of being a one-and-done here than it does in most places. Many around the league expect, for this reason, the Commanders to promote quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese to replace Scott Turner, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Baltimore has also begun its interviews to replace Greg Roman. While Bieniemy, Frank Reich and Byron Leftwich have been linked to the position, none has been confirmed as an interviewee just yet.

Commanders Request OC Interview With Anthony Lynn

Anthony Lynn is back on the coordinator radar. The Commanders have requested permission to interview the 49ers assistant head coach/running backs coach for the offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (on Twitter). A formal request will be made following the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, per ESPN’s John Keim (on Twitter).

This is the first time Lynn’s name has come up this offseason. The 54-year-old joined the 49ers last year as an assistant head coach, but when it was announced that Bobby Turner wouldn’t be back in 2022, Lynn also took on the title of running backs coach. The 49ers dealt with a number of RB injuries prior to their acquisition of Christian McCaffrey, but the team’s rushing attack still finished top-10 in yards, touchdowns, and yards per attempt.

Lynn has lost a bit of his shine in recent years. After being hired as the Chargers head coach in 2017, he guided the team to a 9-7 record during his first season at the helm. The Chargers improved to 12-4 and won a playoff game in 2018, but the wheels fell off during a 5-11 2019 campaign. Lynn was kept around for the 2020 season, but following a 7-9 finish, we was let go by the organization. Lynn quickly landed on his feet when he was hired as the Lions OC, but he was canned after only one season in Detroit.

Former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and Dolphins quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell declined Washington’s interview request. Lynn is now the sixth known candidate for the OC position previously held by Scott Turner:

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Chargers, Commanders To Interview Rams’ Thomas Brown For OC

Thomas Brown interviewed for the Texans’ head coaching job, but he will have the chance at two coordinator positions soon. The Chargers and Commanders will meet with the Rams’ tight ends coach this week.

Mentioned previously as a Commanders candidate, Brown will meet with the NFC East team Tuesday and has a Chargers summit scheduled for Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Despite only being an NFL assistant for three years, Brown has impressed to the point he could be the next Sean McVay assistant to move up the ladder.

McVay’s coaching tree is already one of the league’s sturdiest. Matt LaFleur, Zac Taylor and Brandon Staley have become head coaches after short spans on McVay’s staff, and Raheem Morris has rebuilt his stock in Los Angeles as well. Wes Phillips became the Vikings’ offensive coordinator last year — a position for which Brown interviewed — while Ejiro Evero‘s value is surging after relocating from L.A. to Denver for a DC opportunity. Joe Barry‘s Rams stay restored his value; he is now going into his third season as the Packers’ DC. Shane Waldron is now entering Year 3 as Seattle’s OC.

Brown was on McVay’s staff with a few of these coaches, coming to L.A. in 2020 after nine years in the college ranks. Viewed as a rising talent for a bit now, the 36-year-old staffer will interview to replace Scott Turner and Joe Lombardi. The Commanders are further along in their search, having fired Turner several days before the Lombardi ouster created the chance to work with Justin Herbert. Washington has some intriguing pieces on offense, though it once again features quarterback uncertainty. Conversely, Herbert’s presence should make the Bolts job one of the most coveted positions available this year.

QB Rumors: Packers, Carr, Burrow, Colts

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is expected to play in 2023, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (video link). Fowler cites the ~$60MM balloon payment that Rodgers is due between March and the start of the 2023 regular season as a motivating factor for the four-time MVP, and assuming he does want to suit up, Green Bay will have to decide if it wants him back or wants to seek a trade.

The club’s top power brokers, GM Brian Gutekunst and HC Matt LaFleur, have publicly indicated they want Rodgers back in Wisconsin, which could — in Fowler’s estimation — force Jordan Love to request a trade. The 2020 first-rounder believes he is ready to become a QB1, and as he is entering the final year of his rookie deal, now would be a good time for him to get that chance.

Here are more QB rumors from around the league:

  • In the same piece linked above, Fowler says that the Derek Carr sweepstakes will start to heat up as we get closer to the Super Bowl. Carr, whose contract with the Raiders includes a no-trade clause, is beginning to do his homework on possible landing spots, and Fowler hears (unsurprisingly) that the Jets, Saints, and Commanders are expected to have interest. Several clubs have already reached out to Las Vegas to lay the groundwork for trade talks.
  • Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will be eligible for an extension when Cincinnati’s season comes to an end, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the club wants to get a new deal done this offseason. A Burrow extension will be hugely expensive, and owner Mike Brown and Burrow himself acknowledged the challenges that such a deal creates for roster construction (via Ben Baby of ESPN.com). Of course, the Bengals will have to operate within the same salary cap confines as every other team in the league, but as Rapoport observes, the small-market franchise does have more cash on hand these days thanks in large part to the success that the team has enjoyed with Burrow under center.
  • In a comprehensive piece that is well-worth a read for Colts fans, a piece that details owner Jim Irsay‘s increasingly impulsive decision-making and the ensuing fallout, Zak Keefer of The Athletic (subscription required) says that Irsay wanted to draft and develop a rookie QB in the 2021 draft. However, then-head coach Frank Reich convinced Irsay that he could resuscitate Carson Wentz‘s career. When that experiment went awry, Irsay began to lose faith in Reich, who apologized to his boss for his misstep. The team again opted for an established passer last offseason when it engineered the Matt Ryan trade, and in light of that failure, Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required) believes Indianapolis is finally going to eschew the veteran QB route. The Colts, armed with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 draft, are in prime position to select a top collegiate signal-caller and could trade up to land the player of their choice.
  • Dolphins GM Chris Grier recently confirmed reports that Tua Tagovailoa will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023, as Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald writes. Grier says the medical professionals he has consulted have told him that the concussions Tagovailoa suffered this season will not make him more prone to concussions going forward. He also said “everything’s on the table for us” when asked if the team would exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option for 2024 and/or engage in extension talks.
  • The Jets may keep 2021 first-rounder Zach Wilson on the roster in 2023, but the team is widely expected to pursue a veteran like Carr or Rodgers to upgrade the quarterback position. Apparently, that will be a welcome development for some of Wilson’s teammates and coaches, who “rejoiced” when Wilson was benched in favor of Mike White in November and who were disappointed when Wilson was reinserted into the lineup following White’s rib injuries (via Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic (subscription required)). Regardless of whether Wilson’s apologies to his teammates in the wake of his failure to accept much blame for his poor performance in New York’s Week 11 loss to the Patriots helped him regain the respect of the locker room, the consensus seems to be that he is not the passer who will guide the Jets back to the playoffs.

Titans Plan To Hire Commanders’ Chris Harris For Defensive Role

The Titans and Bears both requested an interview with Commanders defensive backs coach Chris Harris yesterday, and according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Tennessee plans to hire Harris to be their defensive pass game coordinator and cornerbacks coach. No deal has been finalized as of yet, as Harris likely has his door open for larger opportunities.

Harris has been critical during recent years in the development of a secondary that contains lots of youth behind veteran cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Bobby McCain. The youthful group proved to be one of the league’s best this year, giving up only 3,252 passing yards, good for fourth best in the NFL. The secondary struggled to force turnovers through the air but limited opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of 59.9, the second best for an NFL defense this season. The performance is a stark change from last year, when Washington gave up the fourth most passing yards in the NFL.

Although Tennessee has made it known that Harris is their preferred man for the job, Harris certainly has incentive to hold on signing a lease in Nashville. The past couple of years have seen Harris participate in a few interviews for defensive coordinator positions. He was reportedly a finalist for the Packers coordinator job two years ago and interviewed with the Colts last year.

Harris has been a hot name in coaching circles lately. While the Titans defensive pass game coordinator and cornerbacks coaching position would be a step up for the 40-year-old, if Harris has a chance to become a defensive coordinator in the NFL, he’ll likely hold out for that opportunity.

Bears Request Interviews With Commanders’ Chris Harris, Packers’ Jerry Gray

The Bears requested interviews yesterday with two names that have been brought up in defensive coordinator searches recently. They requested permission to interview Washington defensive backs coach Chris Harris for an unspecified position on the defensive staff, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Jonathan Jones of NFL on CBS similarly reported that Chicago requested permission to interview Packers defensive pass game coordinator and defensive backs coach Jerry Gray for an “as-yet-undefined” role on the defensive staff.

Harris is a former All-Pro safety who began his NFL coaching career immediately after retiring as a player. He started off as a defensive quality control coach for the team that drafted him in Chicago. Harris was not retained after the firing of then-head coach Marc Trestman, and he joined the Chargers as the assistant defensive backs coach, moving with the team from San Diego to Los Angeles. When Ron Rivera was hired as head coach in Washington, Harris was granted a promotion to defensive backs coach, a position he’s held for the past three seasons with the Commanders.

The past couple of years have seen Harris participate in a few interviews for defensive coordinator positions. He was reportedly a finalist for the Packers coordinator job two years ago and interviewed with the Colts last year. Harris’s name came up today when Tennessee also requested to interview him. If he were to join the Titans, it’s presumed that he would come into the role of passing game coordinator, in addition to his usual position coaching gig.

Gray has actual coordinator experience from his time with the Bills and Titans. The 60-year-old coach was also requested to interview for the defensive coordinator position in Atlanta a week ago. After the Falcons’ former defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, announced his retirement, Gray’s name quickly came up as a replacement candidate. Gray’s defensive units have put up middling results over the years, but his experience calling plays makes him an attractive candidate to replace Pees, who has been doing so since 2012.

With defensive coordinator Alan Williams still in the position for the Bears, neither Harris nor Gray are likely being interviewed for his role. More likely, they are being considered for the role of passing game coordinator. Harris makes the most sense, considering his history with the franchise, but Gray has more experience in larger roles. The Bears should get to talk with both in the days to come.

Titans Considering Tim Kelly For OC Vacancy, Request Interview With Chris Harris

The Titans are one of several teams currently in need of a new offensive coordinator. Their ultimate decision with respect to replacing Todd Downing may not take them outside of the organization, however.

Tennessee has met with passing game coordinator Tim Kelly to discuss their OC position, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets. The 36-year-old has been an NFL coach since 2014, when he joined the Texans’ staff. Three years, later he took on the title of tight ends coach, one which he held for a pair of seasons. In 2019, Houston promoted him to offensive coordinator.

The Texans put up middling numbers during Kelly’s first two seasons at the helm. They ranked 13th in the NFL in yardage over that span, finishing 14th, then 18th in scoring. During the 2021 coaching cycle, the Texans denied requests from outside teams interested in interviewing him, showcasing their interest in retaining him. However, the 2021 season (during which quarterback Deshaun Watson sat out amidst his trade request) saw the team plummet to last in the league in yardage and 30th in scoring.

That led to Kelly’s intra-divisional move this past offseason, where he joined the Titans as an offensive assistant under Downing. Tennessee averaged only 171 yards per game through the air, the third-worst figure in the league this year. Injuries to quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the team’s lack of established wideouts certainly contributed to their underwhelming totals and to Downing’s firing. Regardless, Fowler notes that Kelly represents the “strongest in-house candidate” for the OC position.

On the other side of the ball, the Titans have requested an interview with Commanders staffer Chris Harris (Twitter link via Fowler). The former All-Pro safety began his coaching career in Chicago immediately after hanging up his cleats. He spent two seasons with the Bears, followed by four years with the Chargers as their assistant DBs coach. He took a promotion coaching the same position in Washington in 2020, and has remained there since.

Fowler adds that a potential Titans hire would likely come with the title of passing game coordinator in addition to Harris’ current capacity coaching in the secondary. The 40-year-old could also garner interest as a defensive coordinator, however, as he looks to continue his career ascension on the sidelines.

Commanders To Interview Rams’ Thomas Brown, Dolphins’ Eric Studesville For OC

Rams tight ends coach Thomas Brown is both on the HC and OC radar. In addition to meeting with the Texans about their top coaching position, the young assistant is on tap to discuss the Commanders’ play-calling role.

The Commanders are set to meet with Brown and Dolphins running backs coach Eric Studesville about their offensive coordinator position, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. Studesville will talk with the NFC East team Monday, while Brown’s meeting is slated for some point next week.

While this search is progressing, multiple candidates have bowed out of the pursuit early. Both Jim Caldwell and Darrell Bevell indicated they would not meet with the Commanders. The former Colts and Lions HC is not interested in OC gigs, while the Dolphins’ QBs coach rebuffed overtures from the Commanders and Jets about play-calling roles. Washington still has conducted interviews with former OCs — Pat Shurmur and current QBs coach Ken Zampese — but some first-time options are involved in this search as well.

Brown, 36, met with the Texans about their HC role Tuesday and has also come up as a possible option to succeed Liam Coen as Rams OC. Sean McVay jettisoned a host of assistants this week but retained Brown, who has been on the rise for a bit now. The Vikings interviewed the three-year Rams staffer for their OC role in 2022. Brown spent nine years in the college ranks before joining McVay’s staff in 2020; he has coached both the team’s running backs and tight ends.

Studesville, 55, has both been an interim HC (with the 2010 Broncos) and an OC (with the 2021 Dolphins) previously, but the veteran assistant has primarily coached running backs throughout his lengthy NFL run. Both the Broncos and Dolphins kept Studesville on despite changing coaches multiple times during his tenure. Both John Fox and Gary Kubiak kept the Josh McDaniels hire on in Denver, while Studesville has been with Miami through the Adam Gase, Brian Flores and Mike McDaniel regimes. Studesville, who shared Miami’s OC role with George Godsey in Flores’ final season, has been an NFL staffer since 1997.

Dolphins’ Darrell Bevell Declines Commanders, Jets OC Interviews

Being in the running to land another offensive coordinator gig, Darrell Bevell is passing on that interest for the time being. The Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach will not interview with the Commanders or Jets, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

While other opportunities may come this year, Bevell will pass on the early overtures he has received. The Jets were believed to have the veteran play-caller as a frontrunner for their position, while the Commanders identified him as a candidate early.

This is an interesting choice, considering the opportunities potentially in play. But it would represent a positive for the Dolphins, who saw Tua Tagovailoa make a third-year leap with Bevell as his position coach. Although Bevell took the 2018 season off, his only NFL positions between 2006 and 2021 were OC roles. The Packers, Seahawks, Lions and Jaguars employed him as such. Instead of vying to be the top offensive coach with either the Jets or Commanders, Bevell will remain a third-in-command presence with Miami — behind Mike McDaniel and OC Frank Smith.

But Bevell does have a key role to play in Miami, should he indeed stay on for a second season with the AFC East franchise. The former Russell Wilson mentor was instrumental in Tagovailoa’s breakthrough season — one that ended with a 25-TD/eight-INT slate and a No. 3 spot in QBR. With the Dolphins still committed to Tagovailoa, ensuring continuity on their offensive staff will be important.

Even when dealt an unusual hand this season, via Tagovailoa and backup Teddy Bridgewater being frequently unavailable, the Dolphins remained competitive. They defeated the Jets with seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson at the controls, and the Kansas State product played better — completion percentage notwithstanding — in the Fins’ surprisingly narrow loss to the Bills.

Bevell’s exit from the Jets’ OC search leaves a host of candidates without NFL play-calling experience. The team has talked to Eagles staffers Marcus Brady, Brian Johnson and Kevin Patullo, along with Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley. Nathaniel Hackett is the exception here, though the experienced play-caller’s stock cratered thanks to his woeful season as the Broncos’ HC. Washington has former OCs Pat Shurmur and Ken Zampese, the team’s current QBs coach, on its radar. Falcons QBs coach Charles London is also a candidate. The team is interviewing Zampese, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets, noting the meeting will likely occur later this week.