NFL Coaching Carousel
A Look At The Five New Head Coaches and the Four Clubs Still Searching For A New Hire
A month ago, six teams decided to fire their head coaches on a day known as "Black Monday": the Denver Broncos' Vic Fangio, the Chicago Bears' Matt Nagy, the Minnesota Vikings' Mike Zimmer, the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores, the New York Giants' Joe Judge, and the Houston Texans' David Culley.
The New Orleans Saints became the seventh team added to the list as longtime head coach Sean Payton decided to step down. In the middle of the season, Jacksonville and Vegas fired their head coaches, increasing the total to nine. Since then, Denver, Chicago, New York, Minnesota, and Vegas have all made new coaching hires, while New Orleans, Houston, Miami, and New Orleans still search for their man.
As the coaching controversy continues, let's look at those five teams with new coaches, and we will also look at the other teams and who they might be looking to acquire.
Previous HC: Vic Fangio
New HC: Nathaniel Hackett (Former Green Bay OC)
Last Thursday, the Denver Broncos made one of the first coaching moves by hiring former Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett to be their new head coach. Hackett worked closely with Aaron Rodgers for a couple of seasons with the Packers and is best known for developing young quarterbacks. Hackett was scheduled to interview with Jacksonville on Thursday, but the Broncos stepped in on Wednesday to get the deal done.
The Denver job marks Hackett's first heading coaching job and the team's fourth different coach since the 2016 season. Out of all the offensive assistants' interviews by the Broncos, Hackett had the most profound resume, having been the play-caller in Buffalo and Detroit before heading to Lambeau. Hackett replaces Fangio, who failed to record a winning season in his three seasons. With Hackett arriving in Denver, will Aaron Rodgers follow his old offensive coordinator and join him?
Previous HC: Matt Nagy
New HC: Matt Eberflus (Former Colts DC)
The Chicago Bears became the next team to hire their HC when they hired former Colts' DC Matt Eberflus to replace Matt Nagy. Eberflus joins new general manager Ryan Poles in taking over a Bears team that went 6-11 last season and has missed the playoffs in nine out of the previous eleven seasons.
Eberflus spent the last four seasons in Indy, where his defenses finished in the top 10 in scoring three times. The defense, while it possesses the talent, is aging; the Bears lost their first-round pick for this year when they traded up in last year's draft to take Fields.
New York Giants
Previous HC: Joe Judge
New HC: Brian Daboll (Former Buffalo OC)
Following another disappointing season by the Giants, they knew they had to make some changes, which meant letting go "Mr. QB Sneak on Third Down," Joe Judge. Following their decision to hire former Buffalo assistant GM, Jeff Schoen, it seemed only fitting to bring former Bills' OC Brian Daboll as their head coach.
Of all the coaching candidates, Daboll was one of the hottest names, as he had spent the last two seasons guiding the Bills to a top-five scoring offense. He is mainly responsible for spearheading the development of Josh Allen, from an inaccurate QB to one of the brightest young talents in the game.
Daboll and Schoen will hope to rebuild this Giants' program after just completing one of the worst 10-year stretches in NFL history. Their past coaches haven't performed awful ever since Tom Coughlin retired from coaching.
Las Vegas Raiders
Previous HC: Jon Gruden
New HC: Josh McDaniels (Former New England OC)
The Las Vegas Raiders decided on Sunday to hire Former Patriots OC Josh McDaniels to become their HC, following the GM hiring of former Patriots' personnel executive Dave Ziegler. Out of the new coaches so far, McDaniels is the only one to have prior NFL head coaching experience, having spent some time in Denver in 2009.
McDaniels replaces Jon Gruden, who was fired in the middle of the season. Interim HC Rich Bisaccia had been promoted following the firing, marking his first HC job anywhere. GM Mike Mayock was fired after the season was over.
The Raiders made the playoffs for the first time since 2016 but failed to make it past the Wildcard round, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Previous HC: Mike Zimmer
New HC: Kevin O'Connell (Former Rams OC)
The Minnesota Vikings decided they had had enough of Mike Zimmer after nine seasons of leading the Vikings to a constant state of mediocrity. With GM Rich Speilman also leaving, the Vikings needed a fresh start. It started with the hiring of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their new GM. They followed that up by hiring their new head coach: Former Rams OC Kevin O'Connell.
O'Connell has spent the last couple of seasons working closely with HC Sean McVay as they prepare to win a Super Bowl next week. Hopefully, the Vikings will get an excellent offensive-minded coach to help with their already deadly offensive attack.
The story for the Vikings the past couple of seasons has been their unhealthy obsessions of losing games in the final minutes. Under Zimmer, the Vikings were alright, but they only made the playoffs three times in Zimmer's eight years with the team.
Teams Still Looking:
Jacksonville fired Urban Meyer in the middle of the season following his ordeal. Jags owner Shad Kahn decided to keep GM Trent Baalke in the fold but has some decisions regarding a head coach. Out of the current head coaching candidates, three people stand out: Former Eagles' HC Doug Pederson, Former Lions, Colts HC Jim Caldwell, and Bucs' OC Byron Leftwich. Leftwich is the best decision out of the three, having been a former first-round draft by Jacksonville in 2003. Leftwich told Kahn that he'd be willing to take the job, only if Baalke wasn't in the picture as the two don't get along.
With Leftwich at odds with the team, the next best move would, in my opinion, would be Doug Pederson. While Jim Caldwell isn't a bad option with his decades-long coaching experience, Pederson has won a Super Bowl in the last five years. Pederson has experience developing young quarterbacks as a former NFL quarterback, perfect for former first overall pick Trevor Lawrence, who struggled mightily in his rookie year.
Miami's decision to fire Brian Flores was shocking. To top it all off, they are getting bombarded with a lawsuit issued by Flores' attornies due to their owner allegedly offering Flores money to lose games on purpose.
Despite all that, they still need to look for a head coach. A few of the top candidates for the Dolphins are Niners' OC Mike McDaniel, Cardinals' DC Vance Joseph, Cowboys' OC Kellen Moore, Bills' DC Leslie Frazier, and Rams AHC/RBs Thomas Brown.
Out of those names, Frazier and Brown stand out the most. Frazier has head coaching experience and revitalized his career while at Buffalo. This season, Buffalo finished as the number one scoring defense in the league. On the other hand, Brown is a solid up-and-comer working under McVay with the Rams.
New Orleans Saints:
With Payton likely to retire from coaching, the Saints need a new head coach. With a solid offense needing a starting QB and an aging defense, the Saints are teams sitting on the bubble heading into the 2022 season.
With that in mind, the Saints' three leading coaching candidates are Bucs' OC Byron Leftwich, Lions' DC Aaron Glenn, and New Orleans DC Dennis Allen. Allen is the man many believe will be the head coach for the New Orleans Saints. Allen has been with the Saints as the defensive coordinator for six seasons and had previously worked as a head coach for the Oakland Raiders.
The Houston Texans fair the worse out of the four teams still looking for a head coach. Their front office is a complete disaster; Their previous HC, David Culley, was fired after one season. Their star QB, Desean Watson, may never see the field again because of sexual assault allegations. There's a lot to feel ashamed about if you're a Houston Texans fan.
Nevertheless, they still need a head coach. Their primary candidates are Former Miami HC Brian Flores, Chargers OC Joe Lombardi, Florida Atlantic WRs Coach Hines Ward, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon, and former QB Josh McCown. It seems Houston is mainly interested in Flores, Gannon, and McCown. McCown has no coaching experience, and frankly, I thought he was still in the league.
The name that stands out is Brian Flores. Even though he is currently dealing with his lawsuit, Flores is a qualified head coach and deserves a spot in this league. However, Flores may decline to interview in Houston due to the current situation. If that is the case, look for an exciting coaching hire in Houston.
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Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake.
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