Tag:Coaching Rumors
Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:21 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 5:25 pm
 

Report: Mike Martz retires from coaching

Cutler reportedly didn't want Martz back in Chicago. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Mike Martz, the architect of the Greatest Show on Turf with the Rams in the early 2000s, has retired, NFL Network Jason La Canfora reported Monday. Martz served as Dick Vermeil's offensive coordinator when St. Louis won the Super Bowl in 2000, was elevated to head coach from 2000-2005, and spent five of the next six seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Lions (2006-07), 49ers (2008) and Bears (2010-11).

Martz's two-year stint in Chicago was a bumpy one; his offensive philosophy wasn't always shared by franchise quarterback Jay Cutler. And head coach Lovie Smith, who Martz had hired as the Rams defensive coordinator in 2001, was often viewed as Martz's enabler. Smith regularly rebuffed questions about Martz's future.

In late December, with the Bears' playoffs hopes dashed, Smith was asked if Martz, whose contract expires at the end of the 2011 season, would be back in 2012.

“What kind of question is that anyway, at this time?" Smith demanded at the time. "What kind of question is that? Why would you ask a question like that anyway?"

Six days later -- and a day after Smith was noncommittal on Martz's future -- Martz resigned for "philosophical differences." And today he retired from coaching.

The Bears promoted Mike Tice into Martz's old job. Tice had previously served as Chicago's offensive line coach and was the Vikings head coach from 2001-2005. Tice isn't considered the offensive mastermind that Martz was but might be by design. His biggest task should be to a) keep Cutler from taking hits and b) get Matt Forte the ball. You don't have to be a genius to know that. In fact, it probably helps if you aren't.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:50 pm
 

Report: Gregg Williams leaves Saints for Rams

Reunited and it feels so good. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Sunday night we passed along a report that the Rams were offering Brian Schottenheimer their offensive coordinator position and also mentioned the likelihood of Gregg Williams leaving the Saints to join Jeff Fisher in St. Louis. Though there's been no confirmation of the former news, the latter appears to have happened, as Williams reportedly will join Fisher with the Rams.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reports that Williams, who's contract was up in New Orleans, is leaving the Saints to complete the Titans reunion.

Williams worked with Fisher in Tennessee from 1997 through 2000 before leaving to take the Bills head-coaching gig. In his final season with the Titans, his defense was the top-ranked unit in the NFL. After leaving Buffalo, Williams worked with the Redskins and Jaguars before helping lead the Saints to a takeaway-fueled championship defense and a Super Bowl victory.

His last two years haven't been as impressive, however, and he was potentially headed to an awkward contract situation until Fisher took the job in St. Louis.

Williams will take on a pretty big task, as the Rams were 26th in the NFL in points allowed and 22nd in yards allowed. The Rams also ranked 23rd in interceptions but were decent at sacking opponents.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:27 am
 

Report: Dolphins to interview Denver's Mike McCoy

Miami will reportedly interview McCoy on Monday. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's name shot up coaching candidate lists after a season that saw him turn Tim Tebow and an unconventional offense into a division winner. And according to multiple reports, he'll interview with the Dolphins for their head-coaching position on Monday.

Both the Miami Herald and NFL Network report that McCoy will head to South Beach for an interview.

McCoy's worked under John Fox with the Carolina Panthers for several years before taking the offensive coordinator position under Josh McDaniels in Denver beginning in 2009; he was retained when Fox replaced McDaniels in 2011.

In his three years in that position, he's authored the league's No. 1 ranked rushing offense (2011) and a passing offense that ranked in the top 15 in passing yards twice (2009, 2010).

Perhaps most impressive about McCoy, who's just 39, is what he's done with limited resources. The Broncos traded away Jay Cutler before the 2009 season and under McCoy, Kyle Orton still threw for more than 3,500 yards in two consecutive seasons. After the Broncos traded Brandon Marshall following the 2009 season, Brandon Lloyd became a Pro Bowler.

And, of course, in 2011, McCoy re-engineered the offense in the middle of the season to fit Tebow's skills and helped Denver win a division title.

When the Dolphins struck out on landing Jeff Fisher Friday, they began turning to other candidates. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's a hot name in South Beach right now, Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin could get a second interview and according to the Herald, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael has been "discussed internally."

If the Dolphins are truly looking to become a potent offensive team, McCoy could very well be their best choice.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 12:21 am
 

Report: Rams offer Brian Schottenheimer OC job

Brian Schottenheimer's reportedly been offered the Rams OC gig. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Brian Schottenheimer's unceremonious departure from the Jets cooled most of the chatter about him landing a head-coaching gig, but several teams showed interest in bringing him on as their offensive coordinator. And now the Rams have reportedly offered him the position.

Schottenheimer was mentioned as a candidate for the Falcons offensive coordinator position, but Dirk Koetter landed that gig on Sunday. On Saturday, a report emerged that the Rams were interested in Schottey, and on Sunday evening, NFL.com's Mike Lombardi reported that St. Louis offered him the position.

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Lombardi writes that Schottenheimer is prepared to accept the job and "all that's left to make it official is for the contract to be completed." It's not surprising that Schottenheimer, who's stock dipped at the same pace as the Jets offensive production in 2011, would take the job.

But it's unlikely that Rams fans will be too thrilled: the Jets never finished better than 17th in passing offense and only once finished in the top 10 in total offense for a season under Schottenheimer.

The failures of Mark Sanchez to progress as a passer isn't exactly hopeful news for Rams fans either; Sam Bradford took a big step back in 2011 after a really promising rookie season. While injuries, failures on the offensive line and a lack of weapons didn't help, there's reason to be concerned.

Fisher's decision on the other side of the ball may come under some heat as well: it's believed that he'll bring -- or try to bring -- Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to St. Louis. Williams coached under Fisher in Tennessee before taking the head coaching job in Buffalo in 2001.

The Saints defense is aggressive (their No. 2 ranking in takeaways in 2009 is precisely why they won the Super Bowl), but that's not always a good thing; just look to the final five minutes of their playoff loss to the 49ers and the inability of Williams' calls to avoid giving Alex Smith single-coverage looks to Vernon Davis.

Both Schottenheimer and Williams have had success before, so it's not like this can't work. But like Williams defense, the result for both guys could be boom or bust.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:43 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 2:03 pm
 

Casserly: Grigson to meet with Caldwell this week

Caldwell

By Josh Katzowitz

Much of the next generation of Colts leadership has been decided. After owner Jim Irsay fired Bill and Chris Polian -- but left coach Jim Caldwell in place for the time being -- the next step was to hire Ryan Grigson as the team’s next general manager.

Plus, the Colts reportedly have already decided, before Grigson was even hired, to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick of the 2012 draft.

Now, the last remaining major question is what Irsay and Grigson will do about Caldwell. As CBS Sports’ Charley Casserly reported on the The NFL Today, Grigson will meet with Caldwell this week and make a recommendation to Irsay about the next step with the team’s head coach.

As CBSSports.com colleague Will Brinson pointed out the other day, Grigson, the former player personnel director for the Eagles, could want to bring in his own coach, and one interesting name for consideration could be Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

But could Caldwell survive, just by the fact the Colts won two of their final three games of the season to avoid the embarrassing 0-fer?

If Caldwell doesn’t get much credit from many observers for taking the team to the Super Bowl in his first year in charge because his personnel was so damn good, shouldn’t he not take so much of the blame for this season because his personnel was so damn bad? I mean, wasn’t that the reason Irsay canned the Polian’s in the first place?

Besides, as Casserly talked about a few weeks ago, there was a strong sentiment to bring back Caldwell, because of the effort the team gave in 2011. That feeling, however, was expressed before Grigson was hired. And Grigson could be the one to change everything.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:19 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 11:20 pm
 

Report: Falcons interested in Spagnuolo, Nolan

Atlanta head coach Mike Smith is looking for more consistency from his team. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Falcons lost their offensive and defensive coordinators are consecutive days last week. Mike Mularkey was announced as the Jaguars' new head coach on Tuesday and the day before, Brian VanGorder bolted Atlanta to take the same job with the Auburn Tigers.

Given how the Falcons' season ended -- managing just two points and watching their third-ranked run defense get treaded by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw in a punchless wild-card loss to the Giants -- it's probably best that Mularkey and VanGorder got other gigs because there's a chance they may have been relieved of their duties.

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Whatever the speculation, the reality is this: the Falcons are looking to fill two very important positions for a team that owner Arthur Blank admits has some work to do to be considered elite.

“We’re on the door, we’re knocking, but we’re on the other side of the door,” he said Thursday according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Knox Bardeen.

As for potential candidates, we've already mentioned the organization is reportedly looking at Brian Schottenheimer and Brian Billick to replace Mularkey. The former doesn't exactly evoke images of a high-powered aerial assault.  And neither does the latter, frankly, although Billick had great success as a coordinator in the late '90s with the Vikings when he wasn't responsible for drafting and developing the quarterback. That's the case in Atlanta too, so maybe that's a good sign … except, as CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz points out, Billick may be too rich for the Falcons' taste.

On the other side of the ball, more encouraging news: the team is reportedly interested in Steve Spagnuolo, the recently fired Rams coach, and Mike Nolan, the former 49ers head coach who also served as a defensive coordinator with the Ravens, Broncos and most recently the Dolphins.

“Moving forward, this defense needs to continue its growth and evolution as a passionate and fiery defense, one that is going to fly to the football, disrupt, be opportunistic and capitalized on opportunities to turn the game around; flip the game in critical situations,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. “We’ll look for a coordinator who will [aid] Coach Smith and his approach to putting that type of aggressive defense on the field.”

Spagnuolo may have been mostly unimpressive during his three years in St. Louis, but he was the architect behind the Giants' defensive game plan to stop the Patriots' explosive offense in Super Bowl XLII. Ledbetter adds that "Nolan is considered a 3-4 coach. But [Falcons head coach Mike] Smith’s respect him from their days together in Baltimore runs deep. They could likely mold the principles of Nolan’s 3-4 with Smith’s 4-3 if necessary."

Another guy Smith's close to? Jack Del Rio; the two worked together in Baltimore and Jacksonville, but apparently there are no plans for a reunion in Atlanta.

Here's to hoping that whoever the Falcons hire they instill in the players a sense of consistency. Because to hear Smith tell it, that was lacking this season.

“There was inconsistency in our focus, there was inconsistency in our will to play and inconsistency in our enthusiasm," he said.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:02 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 7:03 pm
 

Dolphins owner 'not discouraged' about Fisher

Miami owner Stephen Ross says next coach 'with something to prove is going to be better' than Fisher. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

It took a while, but Jeff Fisher finally made a decision Friday, choosing the Rams over the Dolphins as his next head-coaching destination.

Miami owner Stephen Ross has now lost out on his top candidate two years running. Last offseason, Jim Harbaugh opted to say in the Bay Area instead of moving to South Beach, and the 49ers, 13-3 and division champs during the regular season, are still in the playoffs. But Ross says he's "not discouraged at all" by the latest snub.

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“I have mixed feelings [about Fisher choosing St. Louis over Miami],” Ross told the Sun Sentinel's Dave Hyde. “But I feel very confident we’ll find the best man for this organization. I feel very good about it. I’m not discouraged at all.”

Also worth pointing out: the Dolphins don't have a 1a) after Fisher. It's not quite back-to-the-drawing board time, but there aren't any big names on the list, either. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just the reality in Miami right now.

The club released a statement Friday afternoon admitting what everyone already knew ("We did have conversations with Jeff Fisher about becoming the head coach of the Dolphins.") before trying to assuage fans' concerns about the team's immediate future ("We are excited about those people under consideration, and we are confident that the individual we eventually select will be the right person to lead this football team.”)

CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chris Perkins provides details:

"Miami’s next head coach could come from a group of interviewees that includes Todd Bowles, the interim coach; Dave Toub, Chicago’s special teams coach; and Joe Philbin, Green Bay’s offensive coordinator. It’s conceivable Miami could extend its coaching search beyond its interviewees. Mike Mularkey accepted the Jacksonville job."

Perkins adds: "Interestingly, all the former full-time Miami coaches that aren’t retired have relatively high-profile jobs. Tony Sparano was recently named the New York Jets’ offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron. is Baltimore’s offensive coordinator, Nick Saban just won a national title with Alabama, and Dave Wannstedt is Buffalo’s defensive coordinator. Don Shula and Jimmy Johnson are retired and aren't coming back to coaching."

Not to worry, though. The owner of a team that has made one playoff appearance since 2002, and last won a playoff game in 2000 feels good about the franchise's future.

"It's funny, in the back of my mind, I've really believed you go with people who have something to prove and are younger. That's how I've always worked in my business. I was always fighting that idea in my mind while I was talking to (Fisher). Something told me if I get someone like him with that experience it'd be good. At the same time, I don't feel lost. I believe someone really good who has something to prove is going to be better."

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:35 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 3:44 pm
 

Winners/losers from the Jeff Fisher saga

In every contest, even coach hirings, there are winners and losers. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

With the news that Jeff Fisher picked the Rams over the Dolphins now confirmed by CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, we figured we'd take a look at the saga from the knee-jerk perspective of picking winners and losers.

Trust us, someone always wins. And someone always loses. It's life. Leave yours in the comments.

WINNERS

Jeff Fisher: Stop us if we're being too obvious, but the dude straight cleaned up, you guys. We don't have contract details yet, but Mike Freeman's already reported that the Dolphins feel "used." If that's the case, Fisher's getting a pile of money from the Rams and the word on the street is he'll be picking his own general manager. He got everything he wanted and more when he became the top candidate in the coaching candidate class, even if he's not worth it.

Mike Zimmer: As Albert Breer of the NFL Network notes, Zimmer now moves to the front of the Dolphins coaching list. He's previously worked with 'Fins general manager Jeff Ireland in Dallas, and could be a good fit in Miami. He's also getting mentioned for the Buccaneers gig (and will interview with Tampa Bay), which means the Dolphins might feel a need to hurry things up on Zimmer and get something done, which could land him his first job as a head coach. At the very least, he has leverage now.

Carolina Panthers: When Jay Gruden pulled out of the running for the Rams gig, it looked like Fisher picking the Dolphins could really open up the door for St. Louis to hire Panthers offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinski. Instead, Chud's primary option is to bolt for the Bucs, which seems less likely.

Gregg Williams: Williams is doing just fine with the Saints now, but his contract's up and there's a decent chance he bolts to work with his old boss in Tennessee. It's not like he was going to get canned from New Orleans (we don't expect him to anyway), but now he has leverage with both the Saints and Rams and could potentially pick the job he wants. Or, if New Orleans wanted to move along after a bad defensive year, Williams wouldn't be burnt. Plus, if he can turn around the Rams defense, he'll likely parlay that into another head-coaching gig.

Lake Dawson: The current VP of Football Operations for the Titans has already interviewed with the Rams. He seems like a pretty solid bet to land the general manager position with St. Louis now.

Mustaches: Fisher's got one a stash that's strong enough to grow icicles, store lunch for later and generally support the weight of a pint of Guinness head. Him patrolling the sidelines for an NFL football team only enhances the manly allure of lip fur.

LOSERS

Stephen Ross: For the second year in a row, Ross' Dolphins have come in second place while chasing a big-name coaching candidate. Last year it was Jim Harbaugh (how's that working out for the 49ers?) and this year it was Fisher. At least this time Ross wasn't already employing a coach when he went chasing after a big name.

Stan Kroenke: If the reports that Fisher doesn't have a contract are true, um, WUT? Why would Kroenke let himself get in this situation? No general manager, a coach who "picked" him and no agreement with that coach in place other than "you get power"? Doesn't this mean Fisher kind of runs the negotiations on his contract and salary from here on out?

Jeff Ireland: Whether or not the rumors about Fisher demanding power are true is irrelevant, because they're out there, and that means it looks like, to many people, that the Dolphins front office is a bit of a mess. (The "Carl Peterson might be running his own coaching search" rumors don't help much either.)

St. Louis Rams: Oh yeah, we went there. Though it's entirely possible that Fisher will be a good hire and he'll lead the Rams back to respectability quickly, St. Louis is still going all in on Fisher at this point. What if they're wrong and just handed a pile of cash, the power to select a general manager and a long contract to a guy who only won 10-plus games six times in his 17-year career with the Titans? Oh, right. They did just do that.

Justin Blackmon: Given that the Titans only once used a first-round pick on a wide receiver (1998, Kevin Dyson), it would be somewhat surprising to see them pull the trigger on Blackmon at No. 2 overall. Obviously this can change depending on how he works out and what sort of trades emerge, but Fisher's spent a lot of picks on defense during his days in Tennessee.

LeBron James: Because one of Fisher's highly-publicized choices was the Miami area, everyone and his brother will now use the line "Take his talents to St. Louis." It won't ever die, LeBron.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com