AFC South: Pete Carmichael

Adam Schefter reports the Jaguars have asked the Saints for permission to talk to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, who’s got an expiring contract.

It’s a great move.

Here’s the Choice Carmichael faces:
A) Re-sign with the Saints, resume working under a head coach in Sean Payton who is the play-caller and continue to be part of the career of one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, Drew Brees.

B) Sign with the Jaguars as Gus Bradley's top offensive coach, get a lot more power in terms of charting the course for an NFL offense, help choose the starting quarterback and call plays for an offense with no one close to Brees.

Those are two pretty nice options for a guy who’s been in New Orleans since 2006 and has drawn some interest as a head coaching candidate.

If Carmichael wants to ultimately be a head coach, which choice would offer the best path? More of the same or something different?

I think if he chooses the Jaguars and leads an improved offense, it could further round out his resume. It could bring bigger rewards, but it comes with bigger risk.

I said just a couple hours ago the first, biggest question from Bradley would be who his offensive coordinator is. If it's Carmichael, Bradley will get a big thumbs-up for his first major move.

UPDATE: Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports Carmichael is expected to decline invitations to talk to the Jaguars and Eagles.
Says Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star: “In large part, [Chuck] Pagano is what I call a media-guide guy. When we learned the Colts had hired Pagano, I immediately went to the media guide and looked for information. And what I found is a guy whose background reminds me of Harbaugh, Mike Smith and Mike Tomlin, the head coaches of the Ravens, Falcons and Steelers, respectively. Pagano doesn't have a ton of experience at the highest level of coaching in the NFL, but he's a solid, if low-wattage, low-marquee-value choice to grow with this newly reconstituted team.”

Colts and Ravens are excited about Pagano’s opportunity in Indianapolis, writes Mike Chappell of the Star.

Phillip B. Wilson of the Star’s first impression: Pagano is an intense guy from a football family who gets the benefit of the doubt at the start.

The Colts are going to let Peyton Manning move along in the opinion of Wilson.

The Ravens can't let their aggressiveness leave with Pagano, says Jamison Hensley over at our AFC North headquarters.

Pagano’s departure creates a lot of questions in Baltimore, writes Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun.

Pagano has a better filter than Rex Ryan, a Ravens insider tells Clark Judge of CBSSports.com.

Like the Raiders, the Colts are thinking defense, says Chris Burke of SI.com.

Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com thinks Pagano is a great hire.

Pagano is a hire with upside, but there is a lot we don’t know about him, says Nate Dunlevy of Colts Authority. Dunlevy holds out hope that one of the other head-coach candidates, like Marc Trestman or Pete Carmichael, can be lured to be the Colts' offensive coordinator.

AFC South links: Jags tab Olson as QB guru

January, 20, 2012
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Houston Texans

The Houston Chronicle's John McClain answers a dozen hot-button questions about the team heading into the offseason, such as whether this playoff season was a fluke, whether Mario Williams will be back, and what's the biggest need in this year's draft.

McClain ranks the Texans.

Texans center Chris Myers and defensive end Antonio Smith have been added to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts asked for permission to interview Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to fill their head-coaching job.

The team is expected to interview New Orleans offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael either today or Friday, according to the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell.

Meet the candidates to become the Colts' next head coach.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The team hired Greg Olson, who was the Buccaneer's offensive coordinator from 2009-11, to mold Blaine Gabbert as its quarterbacks coach.

Ron Zook told the Florida Times-Union's Tania Ganguli that he had not been offered special-teams coordinator job by the Jaguars.

Tennessee Titans

Mike Munchak added Steve Brown, a former teammate from his days with the Oilers in the '80s, to his staff as assistant secondary coach, reports The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt.

The Examiner's Greg Arias identifies the Titans' biggest areas of need and some players who may be of interest to the Titans in the first round of the NFL draft.

The Titans' 2011 draft class was one of the most productive ever for the team, writes The Tennessean's John Glennon.

Music City Miracles grades the performance of the team's tight ends last season.

AFC South links: Are the Colts cursed?

January, 19, 2012
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Houston Texans

The Houston Chronicle's John McClain evaluates how the Texans' coaching staff did this season.

Wade Phillips was named Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year.

Ravens safety Ed Reed said his quarterback, Joe Flacco, was "kind of rattled a little bit by (Houston’s) defense.”

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are suffering under the Super Bowl losers' curse, writes USA Today's Mike Lopresti.

The team asked permission to interview Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and New Orleans offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, reports the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell.

Defensive backs coach Alan Williams will reportedly soon be hired as the Vikings' defensive coordinator.

Linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who spent three seasons with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders, signed with the Colts Wednesday.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Which Jaguars free agents should the team try to re-sign? The Florida Times-Union's Vito Stellino breaks it down.

The team interviewed former Gators and Illini coach Ron Zook for special-teams coordinator.

Tennessee Titans

Music City Miracles graded the performance of the wide receiver corps this past season.

The Titans have 17 potential unrestricted free agents and should be about $30 million under the 2012 salary cap, so new GM Ruston Webster will be preoccupied with the team's free-agency strategy, writes The Tennessean's John Glennon.

The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt looks at the Titans' front office shake-up.

If Jaguars change coach, who's next?

November, 17, 2011
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Jack Del RioAP Photo/John RaouxIf the Jaguars replace Jack Del Rio, it makes sense to hire an offensive-minded head coach.
Ten weeks into most NFL seasons we have a good sense of head-coaching jobs coming open and the prime candidates for them.

This year feels different.

Jim Caldwell may coach a potential 0-16 team. But to hear Bill Polian talk, the Colts’ coach may well survive. In Jacksonville, Jack Del Rio’s got one year left on his contract and a lame-duck staff.

It’s widely held that Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver will make a change if he judges the team to have shown insufficient improvement this season, and it’s hard to envision a giant turnaround now for the 3-6 Jaguars based on how poorly the offense is producing.

As for prime head-coaching candidates, I sense no buzz about the hot, young offensive assistant who’s the next big thing. In previous years -- no matter if they panned out or not -- we’ve seen guys like Josh McDaniels, Jason Garrett, Todd Haley and Ken Whisenhunt tabbed as up-and-comers who were ready.

Who are those guys now?

While Northern Florida might hold out hope that Weaver will want a name and would be able to lure one, I don’t see Bill Cowher or even Jeff Fisher heading for EverBank Stadium.

The franchise should re-sign general manager Gene Smith, allow him to decide on Del Rio and make the recommendation on the next coach.

And if Smith's in the market, that next coach should be a young offensive mind who likes Blaine Gabbert and has the best shot at developing him. Smith needs to hit a home run finding the next Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton or, this year aside, Andy Reid.

I asked around this week, talking to a couple coaches and an executive about which NFL assistant qualifies as a QB guru who’s ready to be a head coach.

Through those conversations, I present this list of possibilities:

Mike Mularkey, Atlanta offensive coordinator -- Mularkey posted a 14-18 record as Buffalo's head coach in 2004-05. But he’s got enough distance from that now that he could be worthy of a second act.

He took over as offensive coordinator in Atlanta in 2008, when quarterback Matt Ryan was a rookie. He has a bruiser of a running back in Michael Turner to go with Ryan. Ryan became just the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 3,000 yards, and the Falcons won 11 games.

There is a connection to Smith: Mularkey’s son, Patrick, is a scouting assistant in Jacksonville’s player personnel department.

Jay Gruden, Cincinnati offensive coordinator -- Gruden’s done fantastic work this season with rookie QB Andy Dalton. But is one good year enough to vault him to a head coaching job?

He worked on his brother Jon’s staff in Tampa Bay from 2002-08, but as an offensive assistant he wasn’t a year-round guy. He stacked the work on top of his duties quarterbacking and then coaching the Orlando Predators of the AFL.

Jay Gruden has head coaching experience in the AFL and the UFL, where he led the Florida Tuskers to the 2010 championship game as head coach and GM.

Word is he’s different than his brother, calmer with a better presence with his players.

Rob Chudzinski, Carolina offensive coordinator -- His first tour as an offensive coordinator came in Cleveland from 2007-08. The 2007 Browns won 10 games with Derek Anderson shining at quarterback.

Now Chudzinski’s been lauded for his work with Cam Newton, revising and shaping the offense to feature what the rookie quarterback does best. He’s got a strong background with tight ends, too, and is regarded as a rising star by many around the league.

He’s also a quieter, unassuming type.

Tom Clements, Green Bay quarterbacks coach -- Clements worked in the same post for New Orleans (1997-99), Kansas City (2000) and Pittsburgh (2001-03). During those stops he worked with Tommy Maddox during his comeback player of the year season in 2002 and with Kordell Stewart and Elvis Grbac during their best seasons.

He also worked as offensive coordinator in Buffalo in 2004 and 2005.

With Green Bay, Clements guided Brett Favre in his final Packers' years while helping prepare Aaron Rodgers. He’s also had a hand in the progress of highly regarded backup Matt Flynn.

But does he have the qualities of a good head coach?

Pete Carmichael, New Orleans offensive coordinator -- He’s in his third year as Payton’s top offensive lieutenant after three seasons as the Saints' quarterbacks coach.

Carmichael’s been closely involved with an offense that has excelled with Drew Brees as quarterback, with a specific role in routes, protection schemes and quarterback responsibilities.

Like Clements in Green Bay, Carmichael works for a strong coach with an offensive background and so he doesn’t function as the play-caller. While very smart, he comes across as bland and that could be a big issue for a guy expected to be the face and the personality of a franchise.

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