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Jets, Falcons interview Titans’ OC Arthur Smith

Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith directed an offense that tied for second in total yards per game.
Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith directed an offense that tied for second in total yards per game.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Jets interviewed Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn on Monday for their head coaching vacancy.

Smith and Glenn make nine known candidates to meet remotely with the Jets, who have said they would “cast a very wide net” in their search.

Smith and Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles also spoke with the Falcons on Monday, making it seven known candidates to interview for the Atlanta job, including interim coach Raheem Morris.

New York, which fired Adam Gase after two seasons, spoke to Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, and Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley on Sunday. The Jets have also interviewed Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, and Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady.

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The 38-year-old Smith has been a Titans assistant for 10 seasons, including the last two as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator. He is expected to interview with some of the six teams looking for a head coach.

Smith oversaw an offense that tied for second this season in total yards per game, led by 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry. He has also helped Ryan Tannehill, the AP Comeback Player of the Year last season, become one of the NFL’s most efficient passers. Tannehill threw a career-high 33 touchdown passes this season.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel gave his endorsement to Smith being hired as an NFL head coach as someone he respects.

“Arthur’s always done the best job in the job that he’s had,” Vrabel said. “He hasn’t worked telephones and tried to undercut anybody. He’s always come to work, and I have a lot of trust in Arthur as a person first and foremost, so I know he’d do a fantastic job leading anybody’s team.”

Mike Vrabel had nothing but good things to say about Arthur Smith.
Mike Vrabel had nothing but good things to say about Arthur Smith.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Titans went 11-5 to win the AFC South, but were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday with a 20-13 loss to Baltimore. Smith’s offense struggled against the Ravens as Henry had his worst performance this season with 18 carries for 40 yards and the Titans were held to their fewest points.

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Smith began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at North Carolina, his alma mater, in 2006. He spent two seasons as a defensive quality assistant for Washington before going to Mississippi as a defensive intern and administrative assistant in 2010.

The 48-year-old Glenn is considered an up-and-coming coaching talent despite his relatively short time on the sidelines. He has been on Sean Payton’s staff since 2016 and helped the Saints rank fifth in passing defense during the regular season. Glenn previously spent two years as Cleveland’s assistant defensive backs coach from 2014-15.

Glenn was the 12th overall pick by the Jets out of Texas A&M in 1994 and spent eight seasons in New York, a stint that included two Pro Bowl appearances.

He was acquired by Houston in the expansion draft in 2002 and made another Pro Bowl in the first of his three seasons with the Texans. Glenn was well respected in the locker room and was voted in 2003 by his teammates as the team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner, given to players who show inspiration, courage, and good sportsmanship.

Panthers’ GM search includes 15 candidates

The Carolina Panthers met with executives Scott Fitterer of the Seattle Seahawks and Omar Khan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 14th and 15th candidates to interview for their general manager position.

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The team says it expects to choose a new GM this week.

Fitterer joined the Seahawks in 2001 and is currently a vice president of football operations, essentially a co-assistant GM under John Schneider.

Khan is Pittsburgh’s vice president of football and business administration. He overlapped there with Panthers owner David Tepper, who was formerly a minority owner with the Steelers.

The Panthers previously interviewed 13 others to replace general manager Marty Hurney, including two in-house candidates Friday — director of player negotiations and salary cap manager Samir Suleiman and director of player personnel Pat Stewart.

Suleiman came to the Panthers from the Steelers and has also worked for the Rams and Jaguars, in addition to a stint with the league’s Management Council. Stewart spent two years with the Eagles and 11 with the Patriots. He worked with Panthers head coach Matt Rhule at two stops in college (Western Carolina and Temple).

Cowboys name Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator

The Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms with former Atlanta coach Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator, turning over a unit that was among the worst in franchise history to someone who built his reputation on defense in Seattle.

Quinn was already on the hot seat with the Falcons before an 0-5 start that included Atlanta becoming the first team in NFL history to lose back-to-back games after leading by at least 15 points in the fourth quarter. One of those losses was to the Cowboys.

The 50-year-old Quinn replaces Mike Nolan, who lasted just one season as the most important hire for first-year coach Mike McCarthy. Dallas allowed a franchise-record 473 points (29.6 per game) and finished 31st in the NFL in run defense while going 6-10. The Cowboys also fired defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.

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Dan Quinn joins the Cowboys as defensive coordinator after time as the head coach in Atlanta.
Dan Quinn joins the Cowboys as defensive coordinator after time as the head coach in Atlanta.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Quinn was hired in Atlanta in 2015 after two seasons as Seattle’s defensive coordinator. The Seahawks went to the Super Bowl both years, winning the first with Quinn overseeing the “Legion of Boom” defense that featured star defensive backs Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas, along with linebacker Bobby Wagner.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history in Quinn’s second season. Atlanta blew a 28-3 lead in the second half, losing to New England 34-28 in overtime four years ago.

Quinn was 43-42 overall in Atlanta, but just 14-23 since the start of the 2018 season. Since 2001, Quinn has spent all but two years coaching in the NFL. He was Florida’s defensive coordinator for two seasons before joining the Seahawks. Quinn was the defensive line coach in Seattle for two years before going to Florida.

Stefanski excited to rejoin Browns

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski expects to be back with his team this week after missing Sunday night’s playoff win over Pittsburgh with COVID-19.

Stefanski tested positive last week and had to watch Cleveland’s 48-37 victory over the Steelers from his home’s basement. Stefanski admitted he nervously paced the floor during the game and has a new appreciation for what fans go through on game day.

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“I don’t plan on doing that again,” he said. “I like to have some control.”

Stefanski anticipates returning to the Browns’ facility Thursday. Cleveland will play the Super Bowl champion Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City.

Stefanski said he lost his sense of taste, but otherwise has only experienced mild symptoms.

Bills to have fans in stands

The Buffalo Bills have been granted permission to have a limited number of fans attend their second straight home playoff game.

Attendance for the Bills’ AFC divisional-round playoff against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night will be capped at 6,700. That’s the same number of fans who were allowed to attend Buffalo’s 27-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts in a wild-card playoff this past weekend.

It marked the first time fans were allowed to attend a Bills home game this season, and under the condition each person entering the stadium test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of kickoff. The same requirements apply to the game Saturday.

Plenty of Zubaz-clad fans will return to the stands again this weekend in Buffalo.
Plenty of Zubaz-clad fans will return to the stands again this weekend in Buffalo.Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Monday by calling early indications from this past weekend as being a success. Of the 7,157 people who took part in the rapid testing, 137 tested positive for the virus. It’s unclear how many who attended the game might have tested positive afterward.

The Bills have already announced the game is a sellout, with tickets limited to their season ticket-holders who rolled over their payments from last year into 2021.

Raiders’ Jacobs escapes DUI charge

The Raiders’ Josh Jacobs won’t face a driving under the influence charge in his single-vehicle crash last week near Las Vegas’s’ McCarran International Airport, authorities said.

Blood test results showed Jacobs’s blood-alcohol level did not reach the 0.08 percent level required to pursue a drunken-driving charge, prosecutor Eric Bauman said.

Bauman and Jacobs’s attorneys, Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff, said the 22-year-old running back still has a March 8 court date on a failure to exercise due care traffic violation related to the crash.

The attorneys had said that Jacobs would plead not guilty if he was charged with a crime in the Jan. 4 crash. Chesnoff declined further comment Monday.

Jacobs, who lives in Las Vegas, received several stitches at a hospital for a cut forehead after the 4:43 a.m. crash into a tunnel wall at the Las Vegas airport.

Police have said he was alone in the 2019 Acura NSX sports car and the air bag deployed during the crash.

Jacobs had returned to Las Vegas from Denver, where the Raiders defeated the Broncos in their final NFL regular-season finale less than 12 hours before the crash.