Gary Kubiak stays clear of Broncos’ new coach
A person with knowledge of the breakdown in talks told the Associated Press that Gary Kubiak won’t return to run the Denver Broncos’ offense for new head coach Vic Fangio as had been expected.
The person, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation, said the two longtime NFL veterans couldn’t agree on scheme, philosophy, and staffing.
The surprising development leaves Fangio, who will serve as defensive play-caller, looking elsewhere to revamp an offense that has been stagnant for several years behind a quarterback carousel that’s rotated through four starters, including incumbent Case Keenum.
Kubiak remains under contract with the Broncos and will continue in his role as a senior personnel adviser to general manager John Elway in 2019.
Last week, Elway said the Broncos needed to modernize their schemes to catch up with the likes of the Chiefs, the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed.
Elway also said he expected Kubiak to return to a role on Denver’s offense under the new head coach, and the Broncos blocked other teams from interviewing Kubiak about their offensive coordinator openings.
Meanwhile, the Broncos’ previous head coach, Vance Joseph, was hired as the defensive coordinator on new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury’s staff.
General manager Steve Keim had said he wanted a veteran defensive coordinator to pair with Kingsbury, who has no NFL coaching experience and will focus on offense.
Joseph was fired Dec. 31 after two seasons as coach of the Broncos. He has 14 years of coaching experience in the NFL, 12 on the defensive side of the ball.
In addition, the Cardinals announced the hiring of Bill Davis, who has considerable experience as a defensive coordinator, as linebackers coach and said Jeff Rodgers will return as special teams coordinator.
Joseph has just one season’s experience as a defensive coordinator, in 2016 with Miami. His Dolphins ranked 29th in total defense (out of 32 teams) and 18th in points allowed. Still, he was pursued by more than one NFL team looking for a defensive coordinator following his dismissal by Denver.
Joseph was fired after going 11-21 in two seasons as head coach in Denver.
The Broncos had the No. 3 defense in the NFL in 2017 but slipped to 22nd last year.
Joseph coached defensive backs for San Francisco (2006-10), Houston (2011-13), and Cincinnati (2014-15) before his one season in Miami, where he helped the Dolphins make the postseason and positioned himself for the Broncos head coaching job.
Gase takes control of Jets
The Jets announced the hiring of former Dolphins coach Adam Gase as their head coach Friday after coming to an agreement on Wednesday night.
Gase will be formally introduced at a news conference Monday at the team’s facility in Florham Park, N.J. Gase, 40, was 23-26 in three years with Miami, including a playoff game in the 2016 season, before being fired last week.
‘‘At the onset of the interview process, I wanted to hire a head coach who was the right person and the right fit for our organization,’’ Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement on the team’s website. ‘‘We talked to a number of excellent candidates and it became clear to me that Adam was the person who will help us establish a winning program and a winning culture.’’
Gase’s hiring ended a wide-open search for New York, which fired Todd Bowles after the season finale and then met with seven other coaches about their vacancy, including Mike McCarthy, Kris Richard, Jim Caldwell, Eric Bieniemy, Todd Monken, Matt Rhule, and Kingsbury.
Gase is the Jets’ first hire with previous full-time NFL head coaching experience since Bill Parcells’s three-year tenure from 1997-99. He’s also the first offense-focused coach since Rich Kotite in 1996. Gase will be tasked with furthering the development of quarterback Sam Darnold and helping New York snap an eight-year postseason drought.
Bears pick up Pagano
The NFC North-champion Chicago Bears have hired former Colts coach Chuck Pagano as their defensive coordinator to replace Fangio.
Pagano inherits one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses after Fangio left to take the Broncos’ head coaching job. He will get to work with one of the league’s best pass rushers in Khalil Mack as well as two other All-Pros — cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson.
Pagano led Indianapolis to a 53-43 record and two AFC South championships from 2012 to 2017.
Roman to guide Ravens’ offense
The Ravens replaced offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg with Greg Roman, who will continue to oversee the evolution of Lamar Jackson as the team’s starting quarterback.
Roman, 46, spent the past two seasons as Baltimore’s assistant head coach/tight ends coach. In that role, he worked with the team’s quarterbacks and played an integral part in the Ravens’ transition from Joe Flacco to Jackson in late November.
Mornhinweg, who ran the Baltimore offense for three years, was offered a different post on the team ‘‘but has decided to move on,’’ coach John Harbaugh said.
Roman has been a key component in developing the Ravens’ running game. Under his direction, Baltimore moved from 28th in the NFL in rushing in 2016 to 11th last year and second this season.
Before beginning his second stint with the Ravens in 2017, Roman spent two years as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator and four years in the same role with the 49ers. During his stay in San Francisco, he helped the 49ers make three straight trips to the NFC Championship game and a Super Bowl appearance against the Ravens.
While with Buffalo in 2015, Roman guided an offense that led the NFL with 152 yards rushing per game.
Pettine sticks with Packers
Mike Pettine is staying as defensive coordinator of the Packers.
New coach Matt LaFleur announced the decision Friday, answering one of his biggest questions just three days after being hired.
In his first year, Pettine installed a 3-4 scheme and had mixed results. First-round draft pick Jaire Alexander showed signs he will become the top cornerback the Packers desperately need, and Green Bay was ranked No. 12 in pass defense (234.5 yards per game), a big improvement over 2017.
Green Bay finished 6-9-1 and out of the playoffs for the second straight year. As the Packers wrapped up for the offseason last week, Pettine said he was hoping to return to keep building.
‘‘Of course, the foundation is the hardest thing to get right, and I feel that a lot of it has been built — and we've made a lot of mistakes,’’ he said. ‘‘I think we learned, especially me personally, too, I've learned a lot of cases of what not to do versus what to do.’’
The Packers did pile up 44 sacks, tied for eighth in the league, though injuries struck the defensive line. Green Bay lacked a consistent rush at outside linebacker except for surprise sacks leader Kyler Fackrell (10½).
‘‘I like his scheme,’’ Fackrell said last week. ‘‘There were a lot of things that went against us this year with a ton of injuries, a ton of new guys. I think the way that he was able to still keep us playing pretty well, I think he did a great job.’’
Longtime defensive star Clay Matthews is a free agent after finishing with a career-low 3½ sacks in his 10th season with the Packers.
Steelers add Austin
The Steelers hired Teryl Austin as a senior defensive assistant coach, adding that his focus will be the secondary. Austin has coached in the NFL for the better part of two decades, including stops in Detroit and Cincinnati as defensive coordinator. Austin previously worked as a secondary coach for Seattle, Arizona, and Baltimore. The hiring is the latest in a series of staff adjustments made by Pittsburgh after finishing 9-6-1 and missing the playoffs. The team fired running backs coach James Saxon and outside linebackers coach Joey Porter last week . . . Former Vikings coordinator Mike Priefer will handle special teams for new Browns coach Freddie Kitchens. Priefer, who was suspended three games by Minnesota in 2014 for an insensitive remark, spent the previous eight seasons coaching special teams with the Vikings. Kitchens met Friday with fired Arizona Steve Wilks . . . John Michels, a College Football Hall of Famer whose 27 seasons as a Vikings assistant coach included all four of their Super Bowl appearances, has died. He was 87. Michels worked on the Vikings’ coaching staff from 1967-93, making him the longest-tenured assistant coach in franchise history. He was the offensive line coach that entire stretch, most of it under coach Bud Grant, aside from one season a running backs coach. Michels played guard on Tennessee’s 1951 national championship team and earned consensus All-America honors in 1952. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and entered the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.