Before the Chargers surprisingly hired Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to be their new head coach last night, Bills OC Brian Daboll was widely considered the favorite for that job. After missing out on the opportunity to coach Justin Herbert, it sounds like Daboll is going to ride things out in Buffalo and wait until next year for a head coaching gig. A source close to Daboll said he’ll “be the big name for head coach next year,” per Dianna Russini of ESPN (Twitter link).
That would seem to indicate that Daboll isn’t a serious candidate for, or isn’t interested in, the Texans and Eagles jobs, which are the only two real openings left with the Lions expected to hire Dan Campbell. Russini also notes that agents and other candidates around the league viewed the Staley hire as a surprise as well. Daboll also interviewed with the Jets before they hired Robert Saleh. Widely praised for his work in developing Josh Allen into a top-tier quarterback, it looks like the Allen/Daboll partnership in Buffalo will live on for at least another year, which is music to the ears of Bills fans. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle later confirmed in a tweet that Daboll will in fact return on Sean McDermott’s staff in 2021.
Here’s more from the coaching ranks:
- Speaking of the Chargers, since they just hired a defensive mind, finding someone to run the offense is the new top priority. To that end, Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell is a possibility for the Chargers’ OC gig, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. Pelissero notes that he’s become very close with Staley during their time together on Sean McVay’s staff. He also points out that since it would technically be a lateral move for O’Connell, he’d need McVay’s blessing to leave. Obviously since he would get to call the plays with the Chargers it would still be a pretty big step up, and McVay previously let his old OC Matt LaFleur make a lateral move to the Titans since it came with play-calling responsibilities, so presumably he’d do the same here. O’Connell is a former third-round pick QB of the Patriots, who spent 2019 as Washington’s offensive coordinator. We’ve heard that Herbert “loves” his current offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, and Pelissero again reiterates it’s possible he’s held over from Anthony Lynn’s staff.
- The Bears need a new defensive coordinator with Chuck Pagano retiring, and obviously with Matt Nagy being an offensive mind it’s a crucial role for Chicago. They’re starting to sift through candidates, and the team has put in a request to interview Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon for the job, Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic tweets. Gannon isn’t the highest profile candidate, as he was a quality control coach as recently as 2017 until he was hired to be DBs coach on Frank Reich’s inaugural Colts staff in 2018. We’ve also heard that current defensive line coach Jay Rodgers and safeties coach Sean Desai are internal candidates to succeed Pagano.
- New Falcons coach Arthur Smith will surely be running the team’s offense, but it sounds like he’s planning on hiring an offensive coordinator still. We also heard over the weekend that Bears passing game coordinator Dave Ragone was an early favorite for the OC role, but he’s apparently not the only contender. Atlanta has interviewed Panthers receivers coach Frisman Jackson for the job, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Jackson spent five years with the Browns as a player in the early 2000s, and was the Titans’ receivers coach in 2017 when Smith was coaching tight ends there, so he’s got that connection working for him. He then went to Baylor before following Matt Rhule from there to Carolina.