USC assistant head coach Monte Kiffin works with the defense during a practice… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
Longtime defensive coach Monte Kiffin was in Dallas on Thursday to meet with the Cowboys about filling the team's opening for a defensive coordinator, the Dallas Morning News reported. He would replace Rob Ryan, fired by the Cowboys on Tuesday.
ESPN reported that Kiffin met with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Coach Jason Garrett.
Kiffin, father of USC Coach Lane Kiffin, left his post as head of USC's defense after the Trojans' loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31. He came under fire during USC's disappointing 7-6 season.
Kiffin, 72, coached in the NFL from 1983 until 2008, when he joined his son's staff with Tennessee. Before going to the Volunteers, he worked 13 seasons as the defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay, where he developed the widely imitated Tampa 2 defense, which uses a 4-3 scheme. That would be a switch from Dallas' current 3-4 defense.
Jaguars fire Mike Mularkey, won't pursue Tim Tebow
The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Coach Mike Mularkey on Thursday after just one season, the worst in franchise history. The move came 10 days after owner Shad Khan fired general manager Gene Smith.
Khan also introduced new GM David Caldwell on Thursday, and by parting ways with Mularkey, gave Caldwell a clean slate heading into next season.
Maybe the team's splashiest news of the day came when Caldwell said New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, a Jacksonville native who starred at nearly Florida, is not in the team's plans.
"I can't imagine a scenario in which he'll be a Jacksonville Jaguar — even if he's released," Caldwell said.
Potential replacements for Mularkey include former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Browns hire Rob Chudzinski as coach
A person familiar with the decision said the Cleveland Browns hired Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as their new coach. Chudzinski, 44, grew up in Ohio and has had two stints as an assistant at Cleveland.
Lovie Smith interviews with Eagles
Smith interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday as the team continued its search to replace coach Andy Reid, who was fired after a 4-12 finish.
Smith is the seventh candidate to meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie, General Manager Howie Roseman and President Don Smolenski. The Eagles haven't announced who they plan to interview next, but they received permission to speak to three assistant coaches. Arians, Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden are on the list.
Jay Gruden talks to Cardinals about head coaching post
Gruden, meantime, is the latest to interview for the vacant head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals. The younger brother of former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said his interview Thursday at Cardinals headquarters was his first for a head coaching job with an NFL team.
The Cardinals also have interviewed their defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Although the Cardinals have not confirmed it, Steelers President Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley interviewed for the Arizona job Wednesday.
Bills' new coach hires top two assistants
Newly hired Buffalo Bills Coach Doug Marrone filled the top two positions on his staff, hiring Mike Pettine to be defensive coordinator and having his assistant Nathaniel Hackett follow him from Syracuse to Buffalo to run the offense.
The moves were announced three days after Marrone took over in Buffalo, replacing Chan Gailey, who was fired after three consecutive losing seasons.
Pettine has 12 seasons of NFL experience, and spent the last four years at the same position with the Jets.
David Akers is keeping his job as San Francisco's starting kicker, Coach Jim Harbaugh said. The 49ers signed Billy Cundiff on Jan. 1 to compete with Akers, a 15-year veteran who has struggled this season while making only 29 of 42 field-goal attempts. Akers revealed last week he underwent double hernia surgery last February, then re-aggravated the area when he slipped on the field during practice. ... The Pittsburgh Steelers cut rookie running back Chris Rainey after his arrest on a battery charge stemming from an altercation with his girlfriend in Gainesville, Fla., on Thursday, the latest in a series of off-the-field incidents.