2022 NFL Coaching Carousel


Adrian Curiel

Used with permission from Unsplash.

Introduction to Coaching Carousels (1/12)

When an NFL season ends, there are three things that stress all fans, players, and team staff. Of course you have free agency and the draft, but I’m not talking about those. The coaching carousel is a nightmare for all teams in need of a coach, no matter the sport or league. In the NFL, teams have 4 main coaching spots: the head coach, the offensive coordinator, the defensive coordinator, and the special teams coordinator. Coaches can switch between a coordinator and head coach but they mainly switch around their speciality.

What makes this year’s coaching carousel more special and stressing than usual is there are more head coaches that specialize in offense or defense than balanced, neutral party head coaches. There are also coaches that are willing to step up from or step down to college, like Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. I will not be writing about anything after February 1st, due to publication timelines but January can always have a lot to offer.

Early Minimal Breakdown of Openings (1/14)

The Raiders, Broncos, Dolphins, Bears, Vikings, Giants, Jaguars, and Texans are all in need of head coaches and the Patriots, Cowboys, and Chiefs will all likely be in need of coordinators. The Broncos, Dolphins, and Bears are currently leading the news in coaching rumors due to the amount of confirmed meetings. Patriots linebacker coach Jared Mayo is the leading rumor for the next Texans and was interviewed by the broncos. Either Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn or Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is rumored to be the next Broncos head coach and Chicago has interviewed Doug Pederson and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The Dolphins interviewed Daboll as well. The Vikings haven’t interviewed anyone as of yet and no one has announced meetings with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienimy. There are many more names and many more interviews to list but writing about every single one would be excessive.

Predictions and News (1/19-1/21)

Multiple credible websites and sports writers are almost certain that the Dallas Cowboys will be in need of a new head coach and/or coordinator before the next season begins. Over the last couple of days, articles have surfaced about something really big regarding the Cowboys’ future because of the team’s performance in the wild card weekend loss to the 49ers. The articles say that unless the Cowboys fire current head coach Mike McCarthy and elevate defensive coordinator Dan Quinn by this Friday (1/21) Dan Quinn will sign the head coaching job with the Broncos. If Mccarthy doesn’t get fired and Quinn moves to Denver, my prediction is the Cowboys will hire Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. There are also spreading rumors of the Arizona Cardinals firing head coach Kliff Kingsbury due to his previous mediocre seasons, the 2021 late season collapse, and the blowout playoff loss to the Rams. If this happens, my prediction is they either elevate current defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, due to his success this previous season or they hire former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

The Buccaneers might be in need of not only a new offensive coordinator, but a new defensive coordinator as well. Bucs OC Byron Leftwich has completed interviews with the Vikings, Bears, and the Jaguars (played for them about 15-20 years ago) for coordinator and head coaching jobs. Bucs DC Todd Bowles has also interviewed with the Vikings and Bears. If the Bucs happen to lose both, my prediction is the Bucs will interview and likely hire Alabama OC Bill O’Brien as a replacement for Leftwich due to O’Brien’s success with Tom Brady on the Patriots from 2007-2011. As for replacing Bowles, the best choice would likely be to elevate current defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers or current inside linebacker coach Mike Caldwell.
The Giants are expected to make their new head coach decision conference championship weekend. There is much speculation of the Giants hiring Brian Flores, who served as the defensive coordinator for the Patriots before his time with the Dolphins. If that happens, the Giants defense, which for the past 3-4 years has been the only signs of life on that team, could reach their full potential over the next 2-3 seasons. As of January 31st, the Vikings have now completed two interviews with the Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, so it looks like he might be Minnesota’s next head coach. Also announced on the 31st, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be flying into Minnesota for an interview with the Vikings on Wednesday, February 2nd.

Hires (1/26-2/1)

The Denver Broncos were the first team to make a move for a new head coach, hiring former Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett. Due to the Broncos move for Hackett, Dan Quinn has decided to stay with Dallas as the defensive coordinator. The Chicago Bears followed the Broncos and hired former Colts DC Matt Eberflus. There have been rumors around the league since Tuesday (1/25) that Byron Leftwitch would become the new head coach of the Jaguars. Later that same day, however, the Saints long-time head coach Sean Payton retired from coaching and the Saints interviewed Leftwich before the Jaguars could make any official moves. The final hire of the month was Brian Daboll to the Giants. The transaction happened almost exactly when the Giants said they would make the decision, on Friday the 28th.

Scratch what I said about Daboll being the final hire of January. On the 30th, the Las Vegas Raiders surprised everyone by hiring Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels instead of sticking with Rick Bisaccia, who took the Raiders to the playoffs this past season. Since Bisaccia is out as the Raiders head coach and the Saints are fighting for Leftwich, the Jaguars have interviewed Bisaccia as a backup plan.