Niners GM pick not McDonough

Posted by Darren Urban on January 29, 2017 – 7:05 pm

Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough made it to the end of the 49ers’ search for a General Manager, but Sunday night, it came out that the 49ers made their pick and it wasn’t McDonough. It wasn’t the Vikings’ George Paton either. It turned out to be a previously unknown candidate — FOX analyst and former Buccaneers and Broncos safety John Lynch.

It’s an interesting choice for the NFC West rival Niners, who will hire Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as coach. In the meantime, McDonough will remain in the Cardinals’ front office as the Cardinals head into roster-building season with free agency and the draft.


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McDonough gets second 49ers interview

Posted by Darren Urban on January 24, 2017 – 3:00 pm

The 49ers still don’t have a head coach, although it would seem to take an act of God at this point for Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan not to get the gig once his season is over. The 49ers also don’t have a general manager, but that all along has been something that multiple reports said need to go hand-in-hand with the head coach, and in this case, if Shanahan is the guy, then he will have a say in the GM.

That brings us to Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, who recently had an interview for San Francisco’s GM job and now is going to get a second interview. There were once many candidates for the GM job, but a host of possibilities have withdrawn from the process. It’s now (believed to be) down to two: McDonough and Vikings assistant GM George Paton. This round of interviews will be in Atlanta with Shanahan involved, as he also preps for next week’s Super Bowl.

What kind of time line this leaves is unknown. It seems likely (if Shanahan is the guy) that the 49ers just wait and make a package announcement after the Super Bowl. News seems likely to leak out before then, but either way, the Cardinals should know soon whether McDonough will be sticking around or instead become a second branch of the Steve Keim tree (after Jason Licht) to move on to a GM job out of the Cardinals’ front office.


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Coaches, interviews and the NFC West

Posted by Darren Urban on January 13, 2017 – 9:21 am

The Cardinals are basically going to be set up the same next season — OK, we wait for official word on what Larry Fitzgerald is going to do — because after almost all of the vacant head coaching jobs have been filled, Harold Goodwin remains in Arizona. The Cardinals’ offensive coordinator had three head coaching interviews, but those teams all went with other candidates: The Jaguars with Doug Marrone, the Bills with Sean McDermott, and the Rams with Sean McVay.

The move to McVay was an interesting one for the Rams. He’s 30, younger than current Cardinals players Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton and Frostee Rucker (McVay does turn 31 in a couple of weeks.) He’s an offensive guy, brought in to develop QB Jared Goff and that wretched Rams offense. He did, however, hire one of the best defensive coordinators around in Wade Phillips — a guy McVay can lean on with Phillips a one-time head coach, and certainly a guy who can make the Rams’ impressive defensive talent work. Phillips was excellent in his stint with the Broncos.

In the meantime, the one team without a new coach (and without a GM at this point) is the San Francisco 49ers. Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is scheduled to interview for the GM spot today, although the Niners will have as many as nine GM interviews completed by the time it’s all said and done. The rumor mill has the 49ers eventually hiring Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as coach, although we’ll see how it plays out — the Patriots seem likely to have a few weeks left in their season.


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McDonough to interview with 49ers

Posted by Darren Urban on January 11, 2017 – 10:25 am

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who had head coaching interviews with the Jaguars, Rams and Bills recently, isn’t the only Cardinal getting an interview for an open job. With the 49ers’ general manager post still vacant, reported that Cardinals vice president of personnel Terry McDonough will interview later this week for the position. McDonough just finished his fourth season in Arizona, and his third after replacing current Buccaneers GM Jason Licht after Licht left after the 2013 season.

McDonough will be the ninth candidate the 49ers have interviewed or plan to interview for their GM spot. San Francisco has not yet hired a coach either. He would be the third on that list from the NFC West; the 49ers are expected to talk to a pair of Seattle front office execs, co-directors of player personnel Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner.


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Cardinals nearly drafted Abdullah, not Johnson

Posted by Darren Urban on June 30, 2016 – 9:31 pm

There will be some interesting parts to the Cardinals’ 2015 season revealed now that “All or Nothing” is now available to stream on Amazon video. One is there right at the outset of the first episode. The cameras take you into the Cardinals’ draft room when they are on the clock in the second round, all set to select Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah — VP of player personnel Terry McDonough is literally on the phone with Abdullah — when the Lions end up taking Abdullah the pick before Arizona. (The disappointment is palpable. It’s a scene you have to watch play out.)

How much would’ve changed last season had the Abdullah pick been made? Without the ability to draft Abdullah, the Cardinals took outside linebacker Markus Golden in the second round. And then they went with running back David Johnson in the third round. Golden has already played his way into a probable starting job following a solid rookie season, while Johnson had 13 touchdowns as a rookie and is going to be the anchor for the Cards’ running game in 2016.

Johnson, in fact, is a guy who the Cards’ decision-makers feel can be a star in the NFL. Abdullah had a solid rookie year for the Lions too, but I’d guess the Cards would have no desire to flip Johnson for Abdullah right now. Johnson showed he can run the ball and his ability to catch is fantastic (Johnson made a grab on a wheel route during OTAs that had teammates marveling. In the offseason.)

Feels like this turned out pretty well for the Cardinals.

Ameer Abdullah, Tyrann Mathieu, Deone Bucannon

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In the draft room, time to mock

Posted by Darren Urban on May 6, 2014 – 10:24 am

Today, the front office and coaches and scouts mock.

After oodles and oodles of mock drafts have been sent out through the internet since, well, since last year, really, the GM Steve Keim and his group spend part of today doing their own mock scenarios. The point, of course, is to try and get some kind of handle on what players might be there at 20 when the Cardinals pick and what the Cards would do in that case.

“We’ll do a mock draft, several mock drafts, and our pro scouts will put together a nice, neat board,” Keim said. “We’ll play out some different scenarios and then we’ll be ready to talk about our (undrafted) free agency process a little more with our scouts and our coaching staff.”

The team’s “120” board takes care of the players the Cards will pick, in whatever way they are thrown at the team come the time the Cards will be on the clock. Still, there are benefits to mocking at this point other than just trying to predict an outcome.

“The mocks I’ve been involved with in past with different organizations, usually it’s a nice stress reliever,” said vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, who was hired by the Cardinals after last year’s draft after spending a decade in Jacksonville. “You do it a couple of days before the draft and everyone is a little nervous and you have a few laughs. You have the scouts and the coaches and a lot of the coaches in the past aren’t as up on a lot of the mock drafts like the scouts and so you kind of give them a list of the players who are going to go in the first round, it’s realistic.

“The most fun thing I’ve been a part of in the mocks I’ve been involved in, you go through a one-, two-, three-round mock, sometimes you get to the second round and inevitably, someone takes a guy who has already been taken. Usually that’s the guy who gets hammered because he’s not paying attention what’s going on. You hear (someone make a buzzer sound) and the room gets loud and guys have a laugh. It’s an embarrassing moment. But other than that, the pro department does a nice job with the other teams’ needs and it’s fun.”

Bruce Arians joked that Google provides 18 pages of mock drafts when someone goes searching. Keim said it’s probably good not to look at them — “They confuse you and get your mind scrambling for sure.” Still, like everyone else who mocks, the Cardinals will see Thursday just how close they have come.

“This year it’ll be closer (to the truth) because everyone knows who the top 10 or 15 picks will be,” McDonough said.


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McDonough’s strong opinions will help Cards

Posted by Darren Urban on January 23, 2014 – 3:27 pm

Terry McDonough comes from a family with an incredibly strong background: His father, Will McDonough, was a legendary writer for the Boston Globe and was one of the first newspaper guys to transition into TV work when he would report on the NFL on NBC back in the early 1980s. Terry’s brother, Sean, is a play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox and ESPN. His brother Ryan is in town as general manager of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. You don’t get into those jobs, usually, without a strong personality.

McDonough has that. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim used to say that one of the reasons he liked having Jason Licht with him in the front office was that Licht would battle him if he believed in something strongly enough. McDonough, who said Thursday that he won’t be afraid to tell Keim the truth “based on how I see it,” seems to be a natural replacement as VP of player personnel now that Licht is the Buccaneers’ GM.

It helps to have someone in-house to turn to when there is a vacancy. McDonough had a pretty loaded résumé when he was hired as a regional scout last year. The fact Licht seemed destined to leave sooner rather than later for a GM job could’ve played a role. Now, the Cards should be able to transition fairly easily as the draft process ramps up. And there usually is nothing that causes death to an NFL team’s path than an inability to tell the higher-ups a differing opinion, so McDonough’s willingness to speak up will be important.

McDonough joked Thursday he might fight Keim, but it would only be verbally. Maybe. But Will McDonough, while an excellent journalist, is almost as famous in NFL circles for punching Patriots cornerback Raymond Clayborn in a locker room once upon a time. You never know what might stir from that DNA.


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Bidwill, Keim talk about losing Licht to Bucs

Posted by Darren Urban on January 21, 2014 – 12:03 pm

There will be change for the Cardinals this offseason in the front office. It turns out Jason Licht, vice president of player personnel and right-hand man to General Manager Steve Keim, will be named to the vacant GM job in Tampa Bay, according to Jay Glazer (and now, many national other reporters as well.) It’s a blow to the Cards because Keim and Licht are close. Keim worked hard to bring Licht back from the Patriots after Licht’s first stint in Arizona for the 2008 season. But Licht’s ambition was always to be a GM — he was a finalist for the Bears job in 2012 — and Keim wanted that for Licht as well.

UPDATE: The Cardinals have addressed the move.

“Jason did a tremendous job in two different stints with the Cardinals and we knew it was only a matter of time before he would become a GM,” team president Michael Bidwill said. “We know that he will do a great job in Tampa. At the same time Steve (Keim) has developed a very deep bench in our personnel department to prepare for this event and will continue to make that area a strength of the organization.”

Said Keim, “Anyone that knows Jason recognizes not only what an outstanding evaluator he is but also a high-quality person. His reputation is well-deserved and speaks for itself. There’s no doubt his talent and experience will be a tremendous asset for the Buccaneers and all of us here wish him nothing but the best.”

The Buccaneers have already hired a new coach in Lovie Smith, and there was a lot of talk about the new GM having little true power because it would be wielded by Smith. But Glazer was the latest to report the new GM will indeed control the draft and other personnel decisions. For an up-and-comer like Licht, there would have been no reason to settle for a toothless GM job. Adam Schefter reported Licht will sign a four-year contract.

What does this mean for Keim (below left, with Licht in the middle and scout Terry McDonough)? The Cardinals will have to fill that void. I’m sure, since Licht was also interviewing for the Dolphins GM job, that Keim is prepared for a Licht departure. I don’t know if they would go outside the organization or promote from within. But these are the things you deal with when you hire good people.


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