Tag:Coaching Tracker
Posted on: January 9, 2011 9:51 am

Ron Rivera leading Panthers candidate right now?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Carolina Panthers are expected to hire a current defensive coordinator as their next head coach. It's what they did in 2002 and it worked out pretty well for them, so seeing something different out of Charlotte in 2011 would be a bit of a surprise. 

This is only solidified by the fact that the candidates under consideration for the 'Cats gig -- Rob Ryan, Perry Fewell, Ron Rivera, and Greg Manusky -- are all defensive coordinators int he league. 

But who's got a leg up on the job in Carolina right now? Well, Peter King of Sports Illustrated tweeted Saturday evening that he's hearing Rivera is the "early leader" for the Panthers job as Marty Hurney and Danny Morrison wrap up their "Tour de Hire 2011." 

We've covered Rivera's credentials as a defensive guru already -- they're quite good. Earlier in the year, Andy also mentioned a story about Rivera as a family man and how he played the role of "Mr. Mom" with his wife on the road for work.

Part of that -- especially paired next to Rob Ryan's family reputation -- may be why Rivera is such an attractive candidate for the Panthers. He's quietly done a great job for several years in both Chicago and San Diego. 

Which is exactly what the Panthers would want him to do in Carolina.

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Posted on: January 7, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 10:57 pm

Report: Sparano signs 2-year extension with Fins

Posted by Will Brinson

Tony Sparano's status is finally clear: he'll be coaching the Miami Dolphins through 2013, thanks to an extension that the 'Fins gave him on Friday night.

That's according to the Miami Sun-Sentinel's Mike Berardino who cites a source that believes the extension will give him the "same range" of his $2.8 million salary through the additional years and that he'll see an "expanded role" in player personnel decisions.

After all, what's the one solution to trying to hire a new coach without firing your current coach? Give him more money, obviously! (It's similar to the Seattle beer situation, except more awkward).

No, but seriously, Sparano might not be coaching until 2013, but he'll at least be getting paid through that season, which is good, because the way the Dolphins treated him over the past few days was absolutely reprehensible.

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Posted on: January 7, 2011 7:47 pm

Miami's coaching situation is a PR nightmare

Posted by Will Brinson

Something ain't stirring the Kool-Aid down in Miami. And all apologies to the inestimable Tone Loc for ganking his line (although it did involve the Dolphins, so I suppose it's okay), but whatever Stephen Ross is doing with his coaching situation seems a little bizarre.

Not only did he openly chase Jim Harbaugh (and Bill Cowher?) while Tony Sparano was/is still gainfully employed with the Dolphins, but apparently there's some sort of flirtation going on with Eric Mangini now too.

See, there was a press conference (or, if you prefer "media roundtable") planned in Miami for Friday. There the team was going to presumably present, as the Miami Herald's Armando Saiguero put it, "a unified front" after handing Sparano some "sorry for publicly embarrassing you by chasing after someone else" money.

That press conference was scheduled for 4:45 PM EST and then, suddenly, canceled. 

Why? Excellent question.

Well, they created a bit of a miss by running full sprint after Jim Harbaugh without firing Tony Sparano. Additionally, Jeff Darlington of the Herald cites sources who say the 'Fins scheduled a meeting with former Browns coach Eric Mangini for Friday. (Yes, this is like posting a sign inquiring into dates out in front of your ex-wife's house. Before she's moved out.) Supposedly the Browns were only seeking a "'consultant' who has 'knowledge of the division,'" and eventually cancelled the meeting anyway

But, given the surrounding circumstances, it's auspicious to say the least. Back to the cancelled press conference -- Darlington cites sources who believe the Dolphins suddenly realized what a mess they'd created and decided to "reorganize." Or something.

Either way, Tony Sparano should be announced as the head coach of the Dolphins sometime soon. And it's all but certain that his first press conference back from the job from which he was never fired shouldn't be awkward at all.

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Posted on: January 6, 2011 6:27 pm

Fewell concerned about being token Rooney Ruler

Posted by Will Brinson

Perry Fewell's a pretty hot name in coaching searches right now -- the Panthers, Browns, 49ers and Broncos have all requested interviews with the Giants defensive coordinator (and former Bills' interim coach) to fill their head coaching vacancies.

However, some of those teams are in hot pursuit of another candidate in Jim Harbaugh. If either Denver or San Fran could land Harbaugh, they would sign him, regardless of how Fewell interviewed. They haven't said this, obviously, but I mean, come on .

Which is probably why, according to Ralph Vacchiaano of the New York Daily News , Fewell's being a touch cautious about being a token Rooney Rule interview.

This, obviously, would be a situation where Fewell, because he's an African-American, is interviewed simply to satisfy the league's requirement that teams look at minority candidates.

In 2009, the Seahawks did something similar with Leslie Frazier before hiring Pete Carroll; Frazier even left the interview a little perturbed because it was patently obvious why he was brought in to meet with the front office.

There's a whole lot more that could be said about whether the Rooney Rule is still a necessary thing (and there's probably a question that could be asked as to whether the Niners need to follow it if they just ended the tenure of a minority coach two weeks ago), but the token interview is a legitimate concern and it's why the rule won't be going anywhere.

Fewell is a stud defensive coordinator, and there's a 100-percent chance that at least one team (the Panthers) are NOT utilizing his interview as an excuse to move through a minority candidate. We don't know how he'll do as a head coach (unless you really want to judge an interim stint with the Bills), but until teams are afforded the opportunity to meet with him and interview, he won't ever get a chance.

The Rooney Rule, for now, at the very least forces some owners who might be stuck in re-tread (anyone looking at Dungy, Cowher, etc) or hot college coach (anyone looking at Harbaugh) mode to think outside the box.

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Posted on: January 6, 2011 9:37 am

Report: McDaniels could be 49ers back-up plan

Posted by Will Brinson

The San Francisco 49ers had grand plans for this offseason. Oh, they were grand indeed -- like something out of Steely Dan's "Reeling in the Years," we were all informed that the genius would return. 

Then a weekend out at college happened, and now it looks like the Niners might end up with a combo of Trent Baalke and Josh McDaniels. 

No, seriously -- Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News reports that McDaniels could be the backup plan when if Miami swoops in and steals Jim Harbaugh, which appears more and more likely because of Stephen Ross' willingness to sling sufficient cheddar to get the Stanford coach to Florida.

McDaniels isn't a bad coach, despite his record, and there's actually a decent chance he could succeed if he had the proper structure around him and a good defensive coordinator. (In fact, if anyone could get a lot out of guys like Alex Smith and Josh Morgan and really turn Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis into stars, it's McDaniels and his offense.)

So the whole "look what they ended up with" thing isn't about dogging his offensive acumen -- it's about the Niners and their inability to maintain a consistent focus on their direction moving forward.

Things may pan out differently in terms of who they hire, but it's pretty clear that right now all the chatter about "doing things the right way" was more of a façade than anything else.

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Posted on: January 4, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 5:06 pm

Marvin Lewis signs deal to return to Bengals

Posted by Will Brinson

The will he or won't he return to the Bengals saga with Marvin Lewis (at one point he left the campus when negotiations started to fall apart) ended in an agreement Tuesday between the coach and the team to have him return in 2011.

"Marvin Lewis signs deal to return," the Bengals announced on their official Twitter feed.

Lewis' return will mark his ninth consecutive season as coach of the Bengals, making him the longest-tenured coach in Cincinnati history. Lewis is 60-67-1 in the regular season and 0-2 in the playoffs as Bengals head coach.

Logically, the team will have given him a multiple-year deal -- it seems unlikely that Lewis would be willing to go through the same process a year from now, particularly when there was immediate (albeit reported) interest in his services both at the college and pro levels.

Lewis' return won't mean things stay the same all around in Cincinnati, though. It seems likely that wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco stand a good chance of being shown the exit. Owens is a free agent and Ochocinco's extension would need to be picked up in order to return, but there was significant strife between he and Lewis late during the 2010 regular season.

UPDATE (5:05 p.m.): According to the Bengals website, Lewis' new contract calls for a two-year deal.

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Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:49 pm

Would 49ers give Harbaugh 'significant' power?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes keep getting upped by the hour -- first there was the report that Miami's working the hard sell, then there's the report that Michigan fired Rich Rodriguez.

And now there's a report from CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that the 49ers would be willing to give Harbaugh "significant personnel power" if he came to the Bay.

"They are willing to give Harbaugh significant personnel power," a source told Maiocco Tuesday.

So, yeah, things are reaching comical proportions, because while Harbaugh's achieved incredible success at Stanford, he's not Vince Lombardi. And yet, he has every team with a coaching vacancy falling all over themselves to lure him in.

Would he succeed at Michigan? Almost undoubtedly (look what he did at freakin' Stanford). Would he do well in the NFL? There's very good reason to believe he would.

But would he absolutely do well with having to step in and immediately coach NFL players while doing front office management work? Because that's another story altogether, and many veteran NFL coaches struggle with the additional job requirements.

Maybe Harbaugh can deal with the added pressures, but the scary thing about the report isn't what might happen if he take the job. It's the 49ers inability to maintain a consistent direction (one they stated publicly no less!) in revamping the face of their organization.

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Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 5:07 pm

Panthers hint at coaching hire, labor talks

Posted by Will Brinson

Jerry Richardson held his first full-media press conference on Tuesday in quite some time, and offered to answer any questions the media had about, well, anything.

He discussed the Panthers coaching search some, but primarily deferred to general manager Marty Hurney when discussing potential candidates. Perhaps the most interesting part of his answers was his reaction to the labor negotiations.

"I'm personally not as optimistic as some are that we are making much progress," Richardson said when asked about the collective bargaining agreement.

Richardson is the at the front of the labor negotiations and, as such, has trimmed payroll to lead by example for other owners. Part of that means leaving a slew of free agents out there, including stars like DeAngelo Williams.

Even the most important pieces of the franchise, however, shouldn't expect to see any new money from Richardson and Hurney any time soon though.

"No," Richardson answered when asked if any new deals would be reached before a new CBA.

However, that doesn't preclude the Panthers from stockpiling via the draft, and Richardson may have dropped a hint as to the Panthers plans with the No. 1 overall pick (although that largely depends on whether Andrew Luck leaves school, one could argue).

"I think it would be somewhat unusual for us to trade down in this particular case," Richardson said when asked if the Panthers would entertain offers for the No. 1 pick.

The way he said it, too, seemed to indicate that he understands what the 'Cats need badly (a quarterback) and what will likely be available with that top spot (Luck, a stud quarterback).

One thing seems certain, though -- Richardson wasn't posturing to try and land Jim Harbaugh, Stanford's head coach and the hottest NFL coaching candidate we've seen in quite some time (who may or may not actually be leaving).

Richardson stated emphatically that he had not had any contact with Harbaugh, even at one point reading from the local paper and mocking "sources" that indicate otherwise. Hurney indicated the team would certainly consider a college coach, but they hired Fox from an assistant coach position and, as Hurney said, "it worked out the last time."

Well, it didn't exactly "work out" -- Fox is gone. And apparently could have been gone a while ago.

"If we look at John Fox's tenure, he did an outstanding job in a number of ways," Richardson said. "But the facts are in nine years we had three winning seasons and we failed to have two winning seasons back-to-back."

Whatever current assistant is hired -- and you can all but guarantee that the Panthers will hire one -- better be confident he can put a streak like that together. Otherwise he probably won't last as long as Fox.

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