Colts Rumors

Dan Quinn To Stay With Cowboys, Withdraw From HC Searches

After receiving extensive interest from head coach-needy teams for a second straight year, Dan Quinn is once again planning to stick with the Cowboys.

The veteran defensive coordinator informed teams that have considered him for their HC job he will remain in Dallas, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This will be a big gain for the Cowboys, considering Quinn’s performance through two seasons, and it stands to affect the Broncos, Cardinals and Colts’ HC searches.

Quinn, 52, was once again among those in the mix for the Broncos’ HC job, but after a second straight year in a Denver search, the former George Paton coworker bowed out. The Cardinals and Colts may have been more interested. Arizona brought Quinn in for a second interview this week, and Quinn agreed to a second Indianapolis meeting Wednesday night. That summit was set for Saturday, but it is now off.

This is big for us. It gives us continuity. Frankly, on a personal note, I can’t tell you how thankful I am,” Mike McCarthy said (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota) of Quinn’s return. “Clearly, Dan is in the position to be selective, and I’m extremely excited about the decision.”

The former Falcons HC remains under contract with the Cowboys, via the multiyear extension he signed in January 2022. Quinn interviewed with five teams during the ’22 hiring period, advancing to the finals of Denver search that produced Nathaniel Hackett. The Broncos may or may not have rushed that process, due to Hackett agreeing to a second Jaguars interview. After the Hackett hire, Quinn recommitted to the Cowboys.

Quinn remaining in Dallas led to the team taking another step defensively, ranking second in DVOA. The team’s defensive muscle showed in its divisional-round matchup with the 49ers, though DeMeco Ryans‘ unit prevailed in a low-scoring matchup. Still, Quinn’s unit — after intending to retain Randy Gregory and then losing him at the 11th hour — built on its 2021 season. Working more as an edge defender, Micah Parsons maintained the dominance he showed as a rookie. Dallas’ rebuilt D-line led the way in the team’s 54-sack season — 13 more than the 2021 unit registered — and has led the league in takeaways for the past two seasons. After the Cowboys set a franchise record for points allowed during the 2020 season, Quinn’s arrival has made a considerable difference on their 24-10 record since.

This decision could point Ryans toward securing the Denver job. A Thursday report indicated the San Francisco DC had become a frontrunner for it, seemingly blunting the early momentum Quinn had as a potential Sean Payton backup plan. With the prospects for a Broncos-Payton partnership fading, Ryans is in line to capitalize. The Colts are planning to have roughly seven candidates go through second interviews. That is on the high side, but Indianapolis has led the way in terms of interview volume. Jeff Saturday remains in that mix, though a few others have met or will meet with Jim Irsay and Co. Brian Floresname has come up most often in connection with the Arizona job, but Payton is at the Cardinals’ facility Thursday afternoon.

Going into his third season as Dallas’ DC, Quinn will need to hire multiple new staffers. The team moved on from senior defensive assistant George Edwards and longtime assistant D-line coach Leon Lett.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Commanders, Ravens Interested In Eric Bieniemy For OC

A key talking point each January, Eric Bieniemy‘s head coaching candidacy has tapered off in recent years. Despite Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson landing HC jobs from Andy Reid‘s Chiefs staff, Bieniemy has been stuck at the coordinator level. Only one team — the Colts — has interviewed him for its HC post this year.

Others remain interested in the five-year Chiefs OC for a lateral move. The Commanders and Ravens are the latest rumored to want an OC meeting with Bieniemy, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. The Indianapolis HC path remains in play for Bieniemy, but similar avenues have repeatedly closed for the longtime Reid lieutenant over the past several years.

The Commanders and Ravens jobs are not classified as lateral moves, since each position would come with full play-calling responsibilities. Thus, the Chiefs cannot block Bieniemy from an interview. Reid has been Kansas City’s primary play-caller throughout his 10-year Missouri stay, and the top-tier HC receives the bulk of the credit for Patrick Mahomes submitting arguably the greatest early-career resume in quarterback history. Bieniemy has been Kansas City’s OC throughout Mahomes’ run as the team’s starter, but after extensive interest emerged early during his time in this job, the league has cooled on him.

Bieniemy, 53, signed an extension with the Chiefs last year and has not been closely connected to other OC jobs prior to this month. It would be bring somewhat of a risk to leave the Reid-Mahomes infrastructure the Chiefs provide, but Bieniemy having success as a play-caller could also finally break down the door to a top job. Ex-Chiefs QBs coach Mike Kafka is now on the HC radar, after becoming the Giants’ play-caller. Mahomes is ticketed to win a second MVP award and has powered the Chiefs to a fifth straight AFC championship game, doing so this time without Tyreek Hill.

Washington has seen multiple options — Jim Caldwell and Darrell Bevellturn down the chance to interview. Ron Rivera‘s hot-seat status also complicates this season, since the OC role has a greater chance of being a one-and-done here than it does in most places. Many around the league expect, for this reason, the Commanders to promote quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese to replace Scott Turner, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Baltimore has also begun its interviews to replace Greg Roman. While Bieniemy, Frank Reich and Byron Leftwich have been linked to the position, none has been confirmed as an interviewee just yet.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Dan Quinn Gets Second Colts HC Interview

Dan Quinn is a finalist for another head coaching gig. According to Albert Breer of TheMMQB (on Twitter), the Colts are planning to conduct a second interview with the Cowboys defensive coordinator. The meeting is expected to take place on Saturday.

[RELATED: Cardinals To Conduct Second HC Interview With Dan Quinn]

With Dallas now out of the playoffs, Quinn was free to speak with any teams, and he’s been quickly moving through the interview circuit. He had a second interview with the Cardinals earlier today, and he was also a candidate for the Broncos’ head coaching job. The 52-year-old is expected to get a second interview in Denver.

Quinn spent five-plus years as Atlanta’s head coach, a stint which was highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance. He joined Dallas as their defensive coordinator prior to the 2021 season, and the Cowboys proceeded to finish first in takeaways and top-10 in points allowed in each of Quinn’s two years at the helm. Quinn was also a popular HC candidate last offseason, generating interest from the Bears, Jaguars, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants.

The Colts are now moving on to the second phase of their interview process. After conducting virtual interviews with a league-high 13 candidates, owner Jim Irsay will now meet with seven or eight finalists for the position. Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and interim head coach Jeff Saturday were among those who moved on to second interviews, while Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone are also expected to garner in-person meetings.

Jim Harbaugh was initially considered a candidate but ultimately stuck with Michigan, while Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson interviewed for the Colts job before deciding to stay in Detroit. The team also still wants to speak with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who they’ve struggled to secure for a first interview. Otherwise, Indy conducted first interviews with six other candidates:

Jim Irsay Still Pushing For Jeff Saturday Hire; Eric Bieniemy, Raheem Morris In Mix

The Colts lost seven of their final eight games, finishing 4-12-1. The team had not lost seven games to close out a campaign since its inaugural season in 1953. But Jim Irsay still looks to be pushing to keep Jeff Saturday, the interim head coach he stunned the NFL by hiring in November.

Saturday is going through his second interview Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, who adds as many as seven candidates will advance to the second round of interviews (Twitter link). That list includes Ejiro Evero, and ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano tweets Rams DC Raheem Morris will receive an in-person meeting. The Colts held virtual interviews with 13 candidates — the most of any HC-seeking team this year — but Irsay was not involved in those sessions. He will be there for the second interviews.

Irsay said in November he hoped Saturday would stay on as a full-time HC, and although no team has made an interim coach a full-time hire since the Jaguars removed Doug Marrone‘s interim tag in 2017, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes Irsay is still pushing for Saturday. More pushback has emerged, however. Just as Irsay confidants attempted to dissuade him from hiring Saturday two months ago, Anderson adds (via Twitter) those close to the owner are again attempting to convince him Saturday is the wrong choice.

Indianapolis should also be expected to meet with Eric Bieniemy and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone for a second time. Each remains in the mix, Graziano adds, though no second interviews with either have been scheduled. Bieniemy has generated extensive OC interest around the league, being connected to open jobs and likely on the radar for some that will soon be available, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes the longtime Chiefs OC is focused on potential HC gigs. Only the Colts, however, have interviewed him for their job.

Some around the league believe this will come down to Bieniemy or Saturday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds. Considering the backlash both the Saturday hire and Bieniemy’s extended time on the HC carousel have each generated, the Colts choosing Saturday in that instance would create more controversy.

Andy Reid has been the Chiefs’ primary play-caller since 2013, and while Bieniemy has been labeled as a poor interviewer at points during his long run as Reid’s right-hand man, the fifth-year OC has been in place in this role throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ QB1 stay. Considering Mahomes is about to win a second MVP award and will do so after the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill, that should reflect well on Bieniemy. Judging by the Arizona, Carolina, Denver and Houston searches, however, teams are not closely connecting the Reid lieutenant to such success. Bieniemy and Colts GM Chris Ballard worked together during the latter’s time in the Chiefs’ front office, though Fowler adds the Saturday-Irsay relationship continues to loom over this process.

Ballard ran the first set of Colts HC interviews, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes, adding that Carlie Irsay-Gordon (Jim’s daughter) has played a key role throughout this process as well. Ballard attempted to talk Irsay out of the Saturday hire in November and admitted as much this month. It should be expected the seventh-year GM will keep pushing for a different hire, but Irsay obviously will make the final call. This process should drag into next week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (video link).

Saturday promised extensive changes if he were to land the full-time job. He offered ex-Frank Reich staffers Scott Milanovich and Scottie Montgomery OC duties, but each turned down the job. That led to assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier receiving the opportunity. The Colts started three QBs during Saturday’s stay (Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Sam Ehlinger) but only won one game under interim coach. The team’s NFL-record collapse in Minnesota and other shaky performances did not exactly give Saturday momentum coming out of the season. If Irsay bucks staffers’ advice and goes in this direction again, it would make for one of the most interesting decisions in coaching history.

Coaching Notes: Colts, Rams, Patriots

The Colts are moving on to second interviews with some head coaching candidates, but they’re still hoping to get one individual in the building for a first interview. According to Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, the Colts still want to speak with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

The Colts have been trying to nail down an interview with Ryans for a few weeks. The organization was expected to finally speak with him on Sunday, but with the 49ers advancing to the NFC Championship Game, the coach once again put his interview on hold.

The coordinator already spoke with the Texans and Broncos about their HC jobs, and he also postponed an interview with the Cardinals. As Maaddi details, NFL rules allow Ryans to have second interviews with the Texans and Broncos next week, regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s game. However, the NFL’s “window for first interviews” has close, so he’ll have to wait until the end of the 49ers’ season to speak with the Colts and Cardinals.

We heard earlier today that Ejiro Evero will be getting a second interview with the Colts, and per Maaddi, the organization is expected to advance “six or seven other candidates” to the second round. Another name that should get a second meeting with the organization is interim head coach Jeff Saturday, according to Maaddi.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Sean McVay continues to shake up his coaching staff, and that’s led him to an assistant coach in Chicago. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter), the Rams have requested permission to interview Bears assistant offensive line coach Austin King. The former NFL player would presumably be eyeing a promotion in Los Angeles, and he could fill multiple roles considering his experience coaching tight ends with the Raiders.
  • Former Patriots lineman Adrian Klemm previously interviewed for New England’s offensive coordinator job, a position that ultimately went to Bill O’Brien. However, it sounds like the Patriots are still considering recruiting Klemm to their staff. According to TheMMQB’s Albert Breer (on Twitter), another meeting is anticipated between the coach and the Patriots. Klemm spent the 2022 season as Oregon’s associate head coach, run game coordinator, and offensive line coach. He previously spent time on the Steelers staff, serving as assistant OL coach before earning a promotion to OL coach in 2021.
  • With O’Brien back in New England, focus turns to the status of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge after the duo led the Patriots‘ offense in 2022. ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes that Patricia should be able to carve out a role on New England’s staff in 2023 considering his familiarity with the organization and his relationship with Bill Belichick. However, since the Lions are no longer picking up the tab, it remains to be seen if the Patriots will be willing to compensate the coach accordingly. Meanwhile, Reiss could see see Judge sticking around New England, but the writer is skeptical about the coach returning to his natural ST role. Judge officially spent last season as the Patriots quarterbacks coach, a designation that “surprised people both inside and outside the organization,” according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
  • There’s still no clarity on what Jerod Mayo‘s new role will be in New England, but he could be facing a significant promotion. Some pundits have suggested that Belichick could be preparing the former linebacker to eventually take over as head coach, and Breer tweets that Mayo was alongside his boss for all of the organization’s offensive coordinator interviews last week.

Ejiro Evero Set For Second Colts Interview

Two offseasons ago, the Rams promoted Ejiro Evero from safeties coach — his role from 2017-20 — to their defensive backs coach. This offseason, two teams are seriously considering him for head coaching positions.

The Broncos’ defensive coordinator has made it to the finalist stage with the Texans and now the Colts. Indianapolis wants to bring Evero in for a second HC interview, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Texans plan to interview him for a second time Wednesday, setting up a tour of multiple AFC South facilities for the fast-rising DC.

This has been a remarkable stretch for Evero, and considering the Broncos’ situation, the one-year DC’s climb has veered toward unusual. Denver went 5-12 this year, with its decision to hire Nathaniel Hackett backfiring to the point the team ranked last offensively despite trading for Russell Wilson. Hackett brought in his longtime friend to be his right-hand man on defense, and Evero’s unit performed well despite injuries and the midseason trade of Bradley Chubb.

Despite firing acclaimed defensive maestro Vic Fangio, the Broncos improved in total defense — from eighth to seventh — this past season and ranked 10th in DVOA. While Denver is conducting its own HC search — after becoming the third team since the 1970 merger to fire a coach before his first season ended — Evero will have the chance to earn a top job elsewhere. The Broncos interviewed Evero but have been linked to preferring Sean Payton and Dan Quinn. Though, no Denver finalists have emerged yet. The Colts have been the only team not to set up a Payton interview.

Evero, 42, is the first known Colts finalist. Others will follow. Thirteen coaches have interviewed — all doing so virtually — thus far, and Pelissero adds Jim Irsay was not in any of these meetings (video link). Irsay will meet with each of the finalists in person. Considering Irsay’s outsized role in personnel moves over the past year, his presence in these meetings will be rather important — for both parties.

DeMeco Ryans Planning HC Interviews With Broncos, Cardinals, Colts, Texans

JANUARY 23: Ryans ended up cancelling his Sunday interviews with the Cardinals and Colts due to the tight timeline, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports notes (video link). With the 49ers having advanced to the NFC title game, he will not be eligible to meet with either team until next Monday at the earliest.

JANUARY 22: Sunday will be a busy day for Ryans. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Ryans will interview with both the Cardinals and Colts on Sunday, prior to the 49ers’ divisional round contest against the Cowboys (video link). Fowler adds that Ryans’ Texans summit went late into the evening on Friday, so it sounds as if the two sides had a productive conversation.

JANUARY 19: Ryans is, in fact, planning to interview with all four teams this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Despite an already-busy schedule, the 49ers assistant will meet with the Cardinals and Colts this week. This represents quite the workload for the coveted staffer and offers the latest example of the annual issues that arise from the NFL letting teams interview assistants during the postseason.

JANUARY 17: Because of NFL rules allowing teams to interview HC candidates during the week of divisional-round games, DeMeco Ryans is mired in one of the busier periods in recent coaching-carousel history. The 49ers’ defensive coordinator is planning to meet with four of the five teams in search of a head coach.

Already confirmed to be meeting with the Broncos this week, Ryans will also meet with the Texans on Friday. Kyle Shanahan said (via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter) his second-year DC is interviewing for the Denver and Houston jobs this week while indicating Arizona and Indianapolis meetings are on Ryans’ docket for sometime after this week. The Panthers requested a Ryans interview, but nothing is scheduled at this point.

Not much is known on the Cardinals’ HC front. Only four candidates — Ryans, Vance Joseph, Brian Flores and Sean Payton — have been connected to Arizona’s search. The team preferred to hire its GM first, and with Monti Ossenfort now officially in place in that role, the HC search will accelerate. The Cardinals have become familiar with Ryans’ work, having faced the 49ers four times since he took over as their defensive play-caller in 2021.

Rumored to be considering passing on an interview with the team that drafted him, the former Texans linebacker is now set to discuss the position with the Nick Caserio-led regime. Ryans indeed deliberated on meeting with the Texans, KPRC’s Aaron Wilson notes. Ryans sued the Texans and the NFL after suffering an Achilles tear at NRG Stadium in 2014. That $10MM lawsuit centered around NRG Stadium’s playing surface. An Eagles starter in 2014, Ryans alleged the injury led to a premature ending to his career — one he said would have lasted beyond its 2015 endpoint had that injury not occurred.

The Texans drafted Ryans in the 2006 second round and immediately plugged him in as a starter. Ryans operated as a starter throughout his six-year stay in Houston and signed a second contract with the team in 2010. The Texans traded him to the Eagles in 2012. Ryans caught on with Shanahan, an ex-Texans assistant, in 2017 as a quality control coach and has since become one of the NFL’s hottest HC candidates.

Ryans’ 49ers defense finished the season first in yards, points and DVOA; he has been expected to land one of the available HC jobs for a bit now. Such a move would follow the Jets’ hire of former 49ers DC Robert Saleh and provide San Francisco with two third-round picks, thanks to a Rooney Rule adjustment that rewards teams who see minority assistants land HC gigs or front office staffers hired as GMs.

Ravens Request OC Interview With Vikings’ Brian Angelichio

The Ravens continue to cast a wide net in search of their new offensive play caller. In addition to considering Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson, Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, and Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales, Baltimore has requested to interview Vikings passing game coordinator and tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Angelichio has been a tight ends coach in the league since 2012 when he followed Greg Schiano from Rutgers to the Buccaneers. Since then, he’s had some bad luck finding head coaches who have stayed in their jobs long term, bouncing around to Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington, and Carolina before his most recent position in Minnesota. Angelichio joined the Vikings’ staff this year with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, who granted him the new added moniker of passing game coordinator.

Angelichio has a few notable coaching performances on his resume. In 2015, he coached veteran tight end Gary Barnidge to a career 1,043-yard season in which he caught nine touchdowns. He’s also coached some of the NFL’s best recent tight ends, overseeing Jimmy Graham with the Packers as well as Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis in Washington. With Angelichio as passing game coordinator, the Vikings ranked fifth in the NFL in passing yards gained and tied for fourth in the league in passing touchdowns this year.

Angelichio has now had his name added to the ever-growing list of candidates to become the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator, alongside Robinson, O’Shea, and Canales. Fowler added that there are a number of other names he’s hearing as potential candidates including former Colts head coach Frank Reich, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

In addition to the many outside candidates, the Ravens also have at least two in-house candidates in wide receivers coach Tee Martin and quarterbacks coach James Urban. Martin is a recent addition to the NFL coaching ranks, joining the Ravens in 2021 after years as a passing game coordinator and play caller for multiple Power 5 programs in college football. Urban has been with the team since 2018, coaching Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson since his rookie season. He’s never called plays, but he’s been in the NFL since 2004 and worked alongside Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for much of that time.

Baltimore is doing its due diligence with its search for a new offensive play caller. The team has doubled down on their intent to center the offense around Jackson, going as far as to allow him as much input into the coaching search as possible. Angelichio becomes one of many names for Jackson, Harbaugh, and company to consider.