Squawka NFL

NFL Head Coach Tracker: Cycle complete as Allen, Smith promoted

By Stuart Dick

Published: 8:30, 7 February 2022 | Updated: 16:21, 17 February 2022

The infamous ‘Black Monday’ certainly delivered with several NFL head coaches given their marching orders as the ruthless world of the NFL once again came into full focus.

Several expected names appeared on the NFL’s transaction wire after disappointing 2021 season, but as always there was a firing that came somewhat out of the blue – Miami’s decision to remove Brian Flores and Sean Payton’s decision to step down as New Orleans’ head coach.

Recent reports suggest that Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich will be announced as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars – the first appointment of the 2022 cycle.

We run down those coaches who have been given their pink slips and track the potential candidates for open positions across the league.

*denotes second interviews conducted

Chicago Bears

Out:

  • Matt Nagy (HC)
  • Ryan Pace (GM)

In:

On Thursday, January 27, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus will be appointed as the new head coach of the Chicago Bears. Eberflus joins the Bears after a four-year stint as DC with the Colts under the stewardship of Frank Reich. 

Eberflus inherited a defensive unit that ranked 30th in the NFL in scoring defense – turning the unit into a top ten scoring defense in three of his four years at the helm, including ranking ninth in 2021.

Prior to his spell in Indianapolis, Eberflus worked his way through the coaching ranks with tenures in Dallas (2011-2017) and Cleveland (2009-10) – mainly as a linebacker coach. Prior to stepping up the to the pro level, Eberflus spent nine seasons with Toledo in various roles before an eight-year stint as defensive coordinator of the Missouri Tigers.

Eberflus will now work with newly appointed general manager Ryan Poles as the Bears look to contend in what could be an open NFC North – should Packers QB Aaron Rodgers depart for pastures new.

Conducted Interviews:

  • Todd Bowles – Bucs DC
  • Jim Caldwell – Former Lions and Colts HC
  • Brian Daboll – Bills OC
  • Matt Eberflus – Colts DC
  • Brian Flores – Former Dolphins HC
  • Leslie Frazier – Bills DC
  • Nathaniel Hackett – Packers OC
  • Byron Leftwich – Bucs OC
  • Doug Pederson – Former Eagles HC
  • Dan Quinn – Cowboys DC

 

Denver Broncos

Out:

  • Vic Fangio

In:

On Thursday, January 27, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will be the new head coach of the Denver Broncos. The 42-year-old has served as the Packers’ offensive coordinator for past three seasons – each of which saw the Pack win 13 regular season games, while scoring the second-most offensive TDs (160) in the NFL – with fewer turnovers than any other team. The most recent season is also likely to be the second straight which ends with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers winning league MVP. 

Hackett has held a variety of offensive assistant roles in the college ranks (with UC Davis, Stanford and Syracuse University) and in the NFL, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Prior to joining the Packers, Hackett spent four seasons with the Jaguars, three of them as offensive coordinator. In the second of those seasons (2017), the Jags won their division and advanced to the AFC Championship Game, where they narrowly lost to the New England Patriots.

In addition to Hackett’s achievements and considerable experience, it’s reasonable to wonder is his strong working relationship with Rodgers influenced this decision, as the QB-starved Broncos made no secret of their desire to acquire Rodgers’ services last offseason when the signal-caller was trying to force his way out of Green Bay.

Conducted Interviews:

  • *Nathaniel Hackett – Packers OC
  • Eric Bieniemy Chiefs OC
  • Brian Callahan – Bengals OC
  • Jonathan Gannon – Eagles DC
  • Luke Getsy – Packers QB Coach/Passing Game Coordinator
  • Aaron Glenn – Lions DC
  • Jerod Mayo – Patriots Inside Linebacker Coach
  • Kellen Moore – Cowboys OC
  • Kevin O’Connell – Rams OC
  • Dan Quinn – Cowboys DC

Miami Dolphins

Out:

  • Brian Flores

In:

News broke on Saturday, February 6 that San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel was to be appointed the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

The 38-year-old McDaniel had been involved in the Niners offense for the past four years – initially as run game coordinator before one year as the offensive coordinator. Under his tutelage, the 49ers offense ranked seventh in the NFL in rushing, 12th in passing, seventh in total yardage and 13th in scoring offense – a well-rounded unit that took the NFC West outfit to the NFC Championship Game.

McDaniel began his coaching career as an intern during the 2005 season with the Denver Broncos, followed by three years with the Houston Texans as an offensive assistant. After a spell at the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the United Football League (UFL), McDaniel had spells with the Washington Commanders, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons before landing with the Niners.

The Yale graduate has signed a four-year deal with the Dolphins.

Conducted Interviews:

  • *Mike McDaniel – 49ers OC
  • *Kellen Moore – Cowboys OC
  • Thomas Brown – Assistant HC/RB Coach Rams
  • Brian Daboll – Bills OC
  • Leslie Frazier – Bills DC
  • Vance Joseph – Cardinals DC
  • Dan Quinn – Cowboys DC

New York Giants

Out:

  • Joe Judge (HC)
  • Dave Gettleman (GM)

In:

On Saturday, January 28, the New York Giants confirmed the appointment of Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to partner newly appointed general manager Joe Schoen, who also joined the organisation from the Buffalo Bills.

46-year-old Daboll has spent 21-years on NFL coaching staffs in a variety of positions including defensive assistant, wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator. Teams listed on his resumé as an OC include Cleveland, Miami, Kansas City and Buffalo. He has spent time under head coaches including Bill Belichick and Sean McDermott.

Daboll, alongside superstar quarterback Josh Allen, has helped raise the bottom dwelling Bills into a perennial contender, with Buffalo topping the AFC East the past two seasons. His task will be to turn former first round pick Daniel Jones into a creditable NFL starter, something he has only shown glimpses of in his career to date.

Conducted Interviews:

  • *Brian Daboll – Bills OC
  • Lou Anarumo – Bengals DC
  • Brian Flores – Former Dolphins HC
  • Leslie Frazier – Bills DC
  • Dan Quinn – Cowboys DC

Jacksonville Jaguars

Out:

  • Urban Meyer

In:

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was announced as the new HC of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, February 4 after returning from a year off after his departure from Philly.

The 54-year-old spent five years with the Eagles from 2016-2021 before he was fired. During his tenure, Pederson held a record of 42-37-1 with three play-off appearances, two division titles and the first Vince Lombardi Trophy in the franchises’ history. Pederson called the offensive plays and helped quarterback Carson Wentz to an MVP calibre year in 2017 – before guiding backup Nick Foles through the playoffs to lift the Super Bowl title.

A former NFL quarterback with the Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, and Cleveland Browns, Pederson began his coaching career at the Calvary Baptist Academy as an HC. Pederson then joined Andy Reid in Philadelphia between 2009-2012 – firstly as a quality control coach, then as a QB coach – before taking on the role of offensive coordinator when Reid moved to Kansas City.

Conducted Interviews:

  • *Doug Pederson – Former Eagles HC
  • *Byron Leftwich – Bucs OC
  • Rich Bisaccia – Interim Raiders HC
  • Todd Bowles – Bucs DC
  • Jim Caldwell – Former Lions and Colts HC
  • Matt Eberflus – Colts DC
  • Nathaniel Hackett – Packers OC
  • Kellen Moore – Cowboys OC
  • Bill O’Brien – Alabama OC

Las Vegas Raiders

Out:

  • Jon Gruden HC
  • Mike Mayock GM

In:

On Sunday, January 30, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is set to be named as the new head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. McDaniels, a former HC of Las Vegas’ AFC West rivals Denver, has 15-years experience as an OC in the NFL – 14 years with the Patriots and one year with the LA Rams – as well as that two-year spell as HC of the Broncos.

The 45-year-old was fired midway through his second year at the helm with a modest record of 11-17. McDaniels traded starting quarterback Jay Cutler, all-star receiver Brandon Marshall and was fired just 12 weeks into the 2010 season. He was also fined heavily for his involvement in a video taping scandal after the Broncos recorded a San Francisco 49ers walkthrough – reportedly a major factor in his firing.

Further drama followed McDaniels in 2018 after he was named the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. However, McDaniels withdrew from the position the same day and returned to the New England Patriots. The move caused his long-time agent Bob LaMonte to drop McDaniels from his service.

12 seasons after his ill-fated Denver spell, McDaniels now has a second opportunity to the lead an NFL franchise, and he will partner with Raiders new general manager Dave Ziegler.

Conducted Interviews:

  • Rich Bisaccia – Interim Raiders HC
  • Todd Bowles – Bucs DC
  • Jim Harbaugh – Michigan HC
  • Jerod Mayo – Patriots Inside Linebacker Coach
  • Josh McDaniels – Patriots OC
  • DeMeco Ryans – 49ers DC

New Orleans Saints

Out:

  • Sean Payton

In:

After the departure of Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints decided to promote current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to the position of head coach. Allen previously led the then Oakland Raiders to an 8-22 record between 2012-2014.

After a brief tenure with the Buffalo Bills as a player in 1996, Allen took up the role of Graduate Assistant at Texas A&M between 1996-1999. A two-year spell at Tulsa was followed by a move to the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons – firstly as a quality control coordinator, then as a defensive assistant.

After spending five years as a defensive line assistant coach and secondary coach, Allen moved to the Denver Broncos in 2011 to take on the role of defensive coordinator. Despite ranking 24th in scoring defense and 20th in total yardage, Allen was appointed the Raiders head coach in 2012.

Following his departure, Allen returned to the New Orleans Saints where he has spent the past seven seasons as defensive coordinator.

Conducted Interviews:

  • Dennis Allen – Saints DC
  • Brian Flores – Former Dolphins HC
  • Aaron Glenn – Lions DC
  • Byron Leftwich – Bucs OC
  • Darren Rizzi – Saints STC

Houston Texans

Out:

  • David Culley

In:

The Houston Texans confirmed the appointment of current defensive coordinator Lovie Smith to the position of head coach – despite talk of the final three candidates being Brian Flores, Jonathan Gannon and Josh McCown.

Smith, a former head coach of the Chicago Bears (2004-2012) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-2015), also spent five years as the HC of Illinois. Smith hosts a 89-87 record in the NFL, with a 3-3 record in the playoffs. Smith took the Bears to Super Bowl XLI in 2007, but lost out to the Indianapolis Colts.

Smith has been coaching for 40 years, and has spent time in the NFL on the coaching staffs of the St Louis Rams (now LA Rams) and most recently the Houston Texans as a associate head coach and defensive coordinator.

Conducted Interviews

  • Brian Flores – Former Dolphins HC
  • Jonathan Gannon – Eagles DC
  • Joe Lombardi – Chargers OC
  • Josh McCown – Former Texans QB
  • Kevin O’Connell – Rams OC
  • Hines Ward – Jets Special Assistant
  • Lovie Smith – Texans DC

Minnesota Vikings

Out:

  • Mike Zimmer HC
  • Rick Spielman GM

In:

The Minnesota Vikings are planning to hire Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell – however, the formalities will have to wait until after Super Bowl LVI.

O’Connell is a former NFL quarterback who spent time on the rosters of the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers. His first coaching role was as the quarterbacks coach with the Cleveland Browns in 2015.

The 36-year-old has jumped around the NFL during his career. He was in charge of ‘special projects’ in San Francisco (2015) before three years with the Washington Commanders – initially as QB coach, then latterly as offensive coordinator.

Conducted Interviews

  • Kevin O’Connell – Rams OC*
  • Raheem Morris – Rams DC*
  • Patrick Graham – Giants Assistant HC/DC*
  • Todd Bowles – Bucs DC
  • Jonathan Gannon – Eagles DC
  • Nathaniel Hackett – Packers OC
  • Jim Harbaugh – Michigan HC
  • Kellen Moore – Cowboys OC
  • Dan Quinn – Cowboys DC
  • DeMeco Ryans – 49ers DC

✕︎

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