There’s been plenty of turnover among the offensive coordinator ranks around the NFL already this offseason, with about a third of the league’s franchies hiring new OCs so far — 10 teams have hired replacements for their old coordinators, while the Cowboys are technically the 11th to install a new OC, having given Scott Linehan the official title that Bill Callahan previously held.
As our coordinator search tracker shows, even after those 11 teams have made changes, there are still three clubs with vacancies at the position, though it’s possible only two of those clubs will actually make a hire. Here’s the latest on the three teams still without an offensive coordinator:
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners have already added one notable name to their offensive staff, hiring ex-Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano as their tight ends coach, but are still in need of a coordinator to oversee the offense. The club pursued former Broncos OC Adam Gase before he landed with the Bears, which leaves three candidates who have been linked to the club since the hiring of head coach Jim Tomsula: Mike Shanahan, Lane Kiffin, and Rob Chudzinski.
Shanahan’s name came up about a week ago, but he hasn’t received much buzz since then, and it looks to me as if Kiffin and Chudzinski are the favorites for the position. In fact, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported over the weekend that Kiffin appeared to be the frontrunner. Since then, the Colts have rebuffed San Francisco’s attempt to speak to Chudzinski, which would seem to further solidify Kiffin as a top option, but we shouldn’t rule out the Colts assistant quite yet. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports (via Twitter) that Chudzinski’s contract with Indianapolis expires on Monday, at which point he’s expected to interview with the 49ers and Rams.
St. Louis Rams
As noted above, the Rams are expected to interview Colts assistant Rob Chudzinski when his contract with Indianapolis expires on Monday, and the fact that both San Francisco and St. Louis are willing to wait on Chudzinski suggests he’s a viable candidate for both clubs. Like the 49ers, the Rams had interest in Adam Gase and have been declined permission to speak to Chudzinski until now — St. Louis was also turned away when the team attempted to speak to Packers assistant Alex Van Pelt, and has seen a number of potential targets, including Greg Roman and Kyle Shanahan, land jobs with other clubs.
Still, the Rams did interview a candidate this week, in former Bills OC Nathaniel Hackett. Perhaps at this point Hackett is a top target by default, but a Thursday report indicated that the team may be comfortable promoting an in-house coach into the OC role. Tight ends coach Rob Boras and quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti are viewed as strong candidates who are already on the staff, per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who adds that Boras would probably get the nod over Cignetti if the Rams stay in house.
The Texans didn’t have an offensive coordinator on staff in 2014, with head coach Bill O’Brien serving as the de facto OC. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported earlier in the week that Houston could add an OC to the staff for 2015, but there has been no news on that front since La Canfora addressed the topic. The CBSSports.com scribe noted that Doug Marrone would be a strong candidate for such a position, so the fact that Marrone ultimately accepted a non-OC job in Jacksonville suggests the Texans may not be hiring an OC after all. Nonetheless, it’s a situation worth monitoring.