Coaching Buzz: The Latest On Roman And Pettine

One name that’s been on our list of coaching candidates from day one is Greg Roman.

But somewhat curiously, the 49ers offensive coordinator and Ventnor, N.J. native drew no reported interest last week when teams were free to interview him.

However, that could change.

According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, Roman could get a look in Jacksonville or San Diego because of his existing relationships with their decision-makers. The Jaguars have hired Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell as their new GM. As Maiocco explains, Caldwell and Roman were teammates and roommates at John Carroll University. Tom Telesco, who is in the mix for the Chargers GM job, also attended John Carroll and knows Roman.

The 40-year-old has never been a head coach at any level and has two years of NFL coordinator experience. He also worked on Jim Harbaugh’s staff for two years at Stanford.

As of this writing, the Eagles have not shown any interest in Roman. But as we’ve seen, the list of candidates can change on a daily basis.

PETTINE TO BUFFALO

Mike Pettine won’t be coming home.

The Doylestown native will join Doug Marrone’s staff as the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, according to Chris Mortensen.

It’s wise for the Eagles to be thorough in their coaching search, but the one disadvantage is that you can miss out on some top-level assistants like Pettine, who find jobs elsewhere.

JAY GRUDEN STAYING PUT?

The Eagles are expected to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden at some point. But he doesn’t exactly seem eager to leave Cincinnati.

“I got called to interview for these jobs,” Gruden said, per the Bengals Web site. “I figure I better say yes or they’ll quit asking me.

“I think it will be a great experience and it’s exciting. I have every intention of coming back here. We’ve got a great group of guys here. We’re excited for the future here.”

But he explained that he does want to be a head coach – eventually.

“When you enter the coaching profession you necessarily don’t do it to be an assistant your whole life,” Gruden said. “Eventually you’d like to be top dog and run your own ship. When the time’s right. Every team has their issues and their problems. That’s why they’re looking. Eventually when the time is right, hopefully I’ll get a chance. If not this year, or next year, or the year after. I’ll be happy here because it’s a great place.”

MIKE NOLAN UPDATE

Mike Nolan has already interviewed with the Eagles. He talked to reporters about how the meeting went.

“Like I said, it’s flattering when someone wants to talk to you, at least I think so, and especially someone like Philadelphia, which is a great organization,” Nolan said, per Fox Sports South. “They have a tremendous owner, much like we do here. Whoever ends up with that job is going to do a good job and I also appreciate the fact that it is a great organization. They don’t change coaches very often. It’s been 14 years since they changed the last time and that’s a credit to the entire organization, not just Andy, who I think is a hell of a coach.

“It’s a real credit to them. So all I really say is for someone, it’s going to be a great opportunity to be with a great organization, a great owner and all those good things. Hopefully, we’re still playing so we keep on playing.”

And finally, the Chargers have contacted UCLA coach Jim L. Mora, according to the Los Angeles Times, but he’s expected to stay put.

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One Week In, New Names For Eagles To Consider

The Eagles are one week into their coaching search, and the landscape has changed considerably.

Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien are staying at Oregon and Penn State, respectively. Dirk Koetter will remain offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. And Doug Marrone signed on with the Bills.

All four were on the Eagles’ radar at one time or another during the last seven days.

So where do Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski go from here? The interviews will continue this week. Below is a list of candidates to keep an eye on.

Gus Bradley – Defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks

The latest: Based on our post from this morning, Bradley might be the fan favorite. He’s been the Seahawks defensive coordinator since 2009. This year, Seattle finished first in scoring defense (15.3 PPG) and fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings. Bradley was part of the Tampa Bay Bucs’ staff for three seasons. Monte Kiffin called him a once-in-a-lifetime coach. Pete Carroll said Bradley’s the best teacher he’s ever been around. And players seem to love taking the field for him. The 46-year-old is expected to interview with the Eagles this week, although no specific date has been set. The process still has to play out, but Bradley appears to be very much in the mix.

Mike McCoyOffensive coordinator, Denver Broncos

The latest: The Eagles moved on from Kelly Sunday and interviewed McCoy in Denver. The 40-year-old Broncos offensive coordinator is drawing plenty of interest and has also interviewed with the Bears and Cardinals. We’ve discussed why McCoy’s attractive at length here. He’s maximized the potential of quarterbacks like Jake Delhomme, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. Most would agree that having a franchise quarterback is the most direct route to NFL success. But what happens when you can’t find one of those guys? It’s good to have a coach who can adapt to personnel. And McCoy’s done that. Peyton Manning said recently he thinks McCoy is ready to be an NFL coach. The Eagles are not allowed to interview McCoy for a second time until the Broncos are knocked out of the playoffs. If Denver reaches the Super Bowl, teams can interview McCoy again after championship weekend.

Jay Gruden – Offensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals

The latest: The Eagles have requested permission to interview Gruden, but have not yet received it. The Bengals are out of the playoffs after failing to score an offensive touchdown Saturday against the Texans. Andy Dalton has left plays on the field all season long. Then again, if Gruden is going to be credited with helping to develop Dalton, he surely deserves part of the blame for the second-year QB not playing better in the postseason. Gruden had never been a coordinator or position coach in the NFL or college before 2011. His resume won’t blow suitors away. Gruden’s best chance at landing a head-coaching gig will be to impress during the interview process.

Bruce Arians – Offensive coordinator, Indianapolis Colts

The latest: Arians missed yesterday’s loss to the Ravens after being hospitalized with nausea and headaches. Stepping in for Chuck Pagano, he has been at the center of the feel-good story in the NFL this season. Arians has experience working with young quarterbacks. He’s helped Andrew Luck along as a rookie and worked with Ben Roethlisberger from 2007-2011, a run that included a Super Bowl win and another Super Bowl appearance. He of course has Philadelphia roots too, having served as the head coach at Temple from 1983 to 1988. The one thing working against Arians is that he’s 60 and has never been an NFL head coach. Colts GM Ryan Grigson said recently that the team would like to try to keep Arians. The Eagles are expected to interview him, but no date has been set.

Darrell Bevell – Offensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks

The latest: I’m guessing Bevell has an entire page on his resume devoted to Russell Wilson. The rookie QB completed over 64 percent of his passes and threw 26 touchdowns this season. And the Seahawks are headed to the divisional round of the playoffs to take on the Falcons. Bevell has seven years of coordinator experience – the last two with the Seahawks and the previous five with the Vikings. He also served six years on the Packers’ staff, including three seasons as quarterbacks coach. The Seahawks finished the year eighth in scoring offense and fourth in Football Outsiders’ rankings. So far, the only interview Bevell has lined up is with the Bears. But that could change.

Mike Nolan – Falcons defensive coordinator

The latest: The Eagles interviewed him last week. Tim talked to Dan Reeves about Nolan’s credentials and his desire for a second chance. There’s no doubt that Nolan is a respected defensive coordinator, but he went just 18-37 in three-plus seasons with the 49ers. That history will be tough to sell to a frustrated fan base. Then again, Lurie said the Eagles are going to make the right choice, even if it’s not the most popular one. No other team has been linked to Nolan.

Lovie Smith – Former head coach, Chicago Bears

The latest: You figure if the Eagles are willing to give Nolan a look, then they should at least see what Smith has to say. The former Bears coach went 81-63 in nine seasons in Chicago. Smith’s teams were almost always in the mix, but only made the playoffs three times. He had defense and special teams covered, but never could quite get the offense going. Smith interviewed with the Bills before they hired Marrone. He is 54-years-old.

Keith ArmstrongSpecial-teams coordinator, Atlanta Falcons

The latest: The Eagles interviewed him last week. Armstrong has drawn interest from the Bears and Chiefs too. There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about giving special-teams coaches a look. Armstrong played his college ball at Temple and is a Levittown native. Given some of the coaches he’s up against, Armstrong seems like a longshot at this point.

Mike Zimmer – Defensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals

The latest: Mike Mayock openly lobbied for Zimmer to get a look during Saturday’s broadcast. He’s spent the past 13 seasons as a coordinator – five with the Bengals, one with the Falcons and seven with the Cowboys. While Zimmer got a pair of interviews last year (Bucs, Dolphins), he’s yet to get a head-coaching opportunity. Zimmer’s units have finished in the top-10 in scoring defense in three of the past four seasons. In the second half of 2012, the Bengals allowed just 12.8 points per game. At 56-years-old, Zimmer may find himself stuck in the coordinator box. He has no reported interviews scheduled, even though there are still five head-coaching vacancies.

Greg Roman – Offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers

The latest: I’m a bit surprised he has not had any interviews yet. Roman, a Ventnor N.J. native, has worked on Jim Harbaugh’s staff for the past four seasons – two with the Niners and two at Stanford. Under the direction of Roman and Harbaugh, Alex Smith turned in his best season as a pro in 2011. The 49ers’ offense turned the ball over just 10 times last season, tied for the fewest in NFL history. This year, the 49ers have changed their offense to fit Colin Kaepernick’s talents. San Francisco is 11th in the league in scoring offense and ranks fifth, according to Football Outsiders. Roman, 40, has never been a head coach at any level and has only been an NFL coordinator for two seasons.

Ben McAdoo – Quarterbacks coach, Green Bay Packers

The latest: Tim introduced us to McAdoo last month as a potential sleeper. He’s worked with Aaron Rodgers and was being looked at as a coordinator by other teams last offseason. Lurie, of course, went this route once before and had success hiring a certain QBs coach from Green Bay. McAdoo is 35-years-old. The Packers take on the 49ers in the divisional round this weekend.

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Updated List Of Eagles Coaching Candidates

Now that we’re three days into the process, here’s an updated list of potential Eagles coaching targets.

Chip Kelly – Head Coach, University of Oregon

The latest: Several reports suggest the Eagles have Kelly on their short list, but they’re going to have competition. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com suggests Jeffrey Lurie could be in a battle with Joe Banner for Kelly’s services. Two high-ranking NFL executives tell Adam Caplan that Kelly is the clear-cut No. 1 choice for the Browns. Kelly’s Oregon Ducks take on Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday. After that game, look for teams to move aggressively to interview him.

Bill O’Brien – Penn State head coach

The latest: He’s another college coach drawing quite a bit of interest. According to David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, the Eagles, Browns and Cardinals all plan on interviewing O’Brien. There would be issues to work around for teams pursuing O’Brien, including a buyout in his contract with Penn State. But he has plenty of qualities owners and GMs will covet. O’Brien has five years of NFL experience with the Patriots, he led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record amid difficult circumstances, and he’s held a variety of college assistant jobs. Those who have covered O’Brien closely suggest he’ll shine during the interview process. At this point, it’d be a surprise if the Eagles decided not to give O’Brien a serious look.

Mike McCoyOffensive coordinator, Denver Broncos

The latest: A source confirmed Wednesday morning that the Eagles plan on meeting with McCoy. They’ll need to get in line. The Broncos offensive coordinator is also drawing interest from the Bears, Bills and Cardinals. What’s there to like about McCoy? He has an excellent track record of maximizing the potential of quarterbacks he’s worked with – like Jake Delhomme, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. This year, his job’s been a little bit easier with Peyton Manning. The Broncos are second in the NFL in scoring offense. McCoy is only 40-years-old and is the kind of coach Lurie might envision leading the franchise for several years to come.

Jon Gruden – ESPN analyst

The latest: As always, his situation is fluid. It looks like Gruden might have put some feelers out but ended up unable to find a fit – either because of his demands or lack of team interest. His name had been in rumors at the beginning of the week, but Dan Pompei of the National Football Post reported yesterday that Gruden is leaning towards staying at ESPN. Either way, I’m not ready to rule him out completely just yet.

Doug Marrone – Syracuse head coach

The latest: According to an Inquirer report, Marrone is one of the candidates the Eagles are expected to target. Like O’Brien, he has NFL experience in addition to having been a college head coach. Marrone was the Saints offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008. And he coached the Jets offensive line from 2002 to 2005.

Mike Nolan – Falcons defensive coordinator

The latest: The Eagles were scheduled to interview him today. Tim talked to Dan Reeves about Nolan’s credentials and his desire for a second chance. There’s no doubt that Nolan is a respected defensive coordinator, but he went just 18-37 in three-plus seasons with the 49ers. That history will be tough to sell to a frustrated fan base. Then again, Lurie said the Eagles are going to make the right choice, even if it’s not the most popular one. No other team has been linked to Nolan.

Keith ArmstrongFalcons special-teams coordinator

The latest: The Eagles were scheduled to interview him today also. Armstrong has drawn interest from the Bears and Chiefs too. There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about giving special-teams coaches a look. Armstrong played his college ball at Temple and is a Levittown native. Given some of the coaches he’s up against, Armstrong would likely have to knock the interview with Lurie out of the park.

Greg Roman – Offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers

What you need to know: I’m a bit surprised he has not had any interviews (or at least any interviews leaked). Like the Broncos and Falcons, the 49ers have a first-round bye, meaning Roman is free to talk to interested teams this week. I’m not ready to rule him out yet since we’re so early in the process.

The following candidates cannot interview this week because their current teams have games this weekend. All were on our original list (which contains information on each candidate).

Jay Gruden – Offensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals

Gus Bradley – Defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks

Darrell Bevell – Offensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks

Mike Zimmer – Defensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals

Ben McAdoo – Packers quarterbacks coach

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Coaching Buzz: A Deeper Look At Mike Nolan

Mike Nolan is a football lifer. He was a ballboy for the 49ers growing up when his father, Dick Nolan, was head coach in San Francisco during the late 60’s and early 70’s. He has been in the NFL coaching ranks for 25 years, and has served as defensive coordinator for seven different teams.

His resume is impressive, minus his four years as head coach of the 49ers. He took over that job in 2005 and was fired  seven weeks into the 2008 season, compiling an 18-37 record (.327) in that time. Given his childhood ties to the organization, it had to have been a difficult pill to swallow.

Now 53 and in the midst of a successful stint as DC for the Falcons, Nolan is hoping to get another shot. The Eagles will be interviewing him this week for their head-coach opening along with Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Dan Reeves, who has known Nolan for much of his life and gave him his first coaching job in the NFL, believes that he is as good of a candidate as there is on the market.

“I know that he would love to have the opportunity again,” said Reeves, who was a player with the Cowboys back when Dick Nolan was DC in Dallas. “I don’t think anybody has done a better job than Mike has.”

In discussing Nolan’s struggles as head coach in San Francisco, Reeves pointed to his own experience. He was fired three times as head coach during his quality career, and all three times quarterback was an issue.

In his final season in Denver he lost John Elway for four starts and had to rely on Tommy Maddox (Elway went 8-4; Maddox 0-4). In New York he started with Phil Sims and ended with Dave Brown. In his last year with the Falcons Doug Johnson and Kurt Kittner started 12 of the 16 games for an injured Michael Vick.

It is no secret in the NFL that it is hard for your coaching prowess to shine through if you don’t have a quarterback.

The year Nolan took over in San Francisco the team passed on Aaron Rodgers and selected Alex Smith No. 1 overall. Smith made 30 starts over the first three seasons and went a combined 11-24. In 2008, Nolan’s last year, Smith did not play at all because of injury. Nolan had four different offensive coordinators during his time as head coach: Mike McCarthy, Norv Turner, Jim Hostler and Mike Martz. He never settled on a style, and never found a fit for Smith like Jim Harbaugh did years later. On the other hand, Harbaugh is benefitting from guys like Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore – guys who Nolan drafted.

“I think he learned from it,” said Reeves. “Off of every situation you become more prepared. Some mistakes are made and you correct those. Mike has certainly earned the right to be a head coach again. All you have to do is look at his record as an assistant coach. I don’t think you can judge a guy by one performance.”

Nolan’s defense in Atlanta isn’t filled with big names but  is fifth in points allowed this season. In his stints as defensive coordinator for the Giants, Redskins, Jets, Ravens, Broncos, Dolphins and now the Falcons, he has built a reputation for being one of the best in the business.

Would it translate to head coaching the second time around?

“He does a good job of preparing the football team week in and week out,” said Reeves. “He is very good with his staff. He is strong in all areas.”