Leslie Frazier

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. With the Texans firing David Culley, there are now eight full-time vacancies available this year.

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

Updated 1-18-21 (8:40pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Dolphins Request Interview With Bills’ Frazier

The Dolphins have requested to interview Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, according to a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. 

Frazier has been with Buffalo throughout Sean McDermott‘s five-year tenure, overseeing a Bills defensive resurgence, and would be a second-chance candidate after a four-season run as Vikings HC in the early 2010s. The 62-year-old assistant has been an NFL staffer since 1999, joining the Eagles under Andy Reid after two years with the University of Illinois.

Taking over the Vikings as an interim HC in 2010, Frazier did not enjoy a favorable quarterback situation while in that role. The Vikings used Christian Ponder as their starter for most of Frazier’s run. Frazier has called defensive plays for the Bills and has been connected to a couple of coaching searches in recent years.

Frazier interviewed twice for the Texans job that went to David Culley this year and met with the Colts following the Josh McDaniels about-face in 2018. Bills ownership has pushed for a team to hire Frazier as HC. It would be interesting to see the Dolphins once again go for a defensive play caller from a divisional rival.

Parts of this article were contributed by Sam Robinson

Bears Request Interviews With Bills DC Leslie Frazier, OC Brian Daboll

While the Bears seem to prefer to hire a GM before they add a new head coach, that won’t stop the organization from interviewing coaching candidates. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Twitter), the Bears requested an interview with Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and are planning on interviewing former Eagles HC Doug Pederson (link). ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Chicago has also requested an interview with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

[RELATED: Bears Fire HC Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace]

Frazier has been with Buffalo throughout Sean McDermott‘s five-year tenure, overseeing a Bills defensive resurgence, and would be a second-chance candidate after a four-season run as Vikings HC in the early 2010s. Frazier also has clear ties to the Bears, having played for the team in the 1980s. A starting cornerback on the famed 1985 squad that finished 18-1 and routed the Patriots in Super Bowl XX, Frazier intercepted 20 passes in five seasons with Chicago.

Pederson had Carson Wentz playing at an MVP level through the first 14 weeks of the 2017 season, up until his fateful ACL tear. Then, with backup QB Nick Foles under center, he guided the Birds to their first ever Super Bowl ring. Pederson’s final Philadelphia season ended with a 4-11-1 mark, but he remains an attractive candidate nonetheless. This offseason, he’s already interviewed for the Jaguars HC vacancy.

Daboll started his NFL coaching career back in 2000 with the Patriots. He got his first coordinator gig with the Browns in 2009, and he’s since held the same role with the Dolphins, Chiefs, and the Bills (along with Alabama). He was a popular candidate last offseason, with the Jets and Chargers eyeing the offensive coordinator.

Matt Eberflus, Jerod Mayo Could Be Candidates For Bears HC

Matt Nagy could be coaching his final game with the Bears tomorrow. If that’s the case, the focus will pivot to his replacement, and we’re already starting to hear some chatter about potential candidates. According to Albert Breer of SI.com, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo would be in the mix if the Bears HC gig opens up.

Breer also acknowledges that Chicago has been connected to bigger names like Jim Harbaugh and Sean Payton, but he can’t envision the organization getting into a bidding war for either coach. Breer also notes that former Bears cornerback (and current Bills defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier could be a logical option.

During their last HC search, the Bears were focused on adding “quarterback-developers.” However, that won’t necessarily be the case this time around. While the organization will obviously want to hear the candidates’ plans for QB Justin Fields, Breer believes the Bears are instead focused on hiring a “leader-of-men” coach.

Eberflus served as a linebackers coach for almost a decade with the Browns and Cowboys, but he finally got a shot at a DC gig in 2018. In Indy, the 51-year-old has been credited with establishing a culture built on hustle and discipline, and his defenses have mostly been up to the challenge. Eberflus’s defenses have consistently been ranked in the top-half of the NFL for their ability to stop the run, and the team has ranked top-10 in takeaways during each of his four seasons at the helm.

Mayo had a standout career with the Patriots, with the former 10th-overall pick earning two Pro Bowl nods and a Super Bowl ring during his eight seasons in New England. Mayo rejoined the organization as their linebackers coach in 2019. While New England is currently operating without a true defensive coordinator, Mayo (along with Steve Belichick) are assumed to be atop the defensive coaching depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills’ Leslie Frazier On Bears’ HC Radar?

While the smoke about a Matt Nagy post-Thanksgiving firing did not produce anything, the fourth-year Bears HC is likely coaching out the string. The Bears appear to have a familiar name on their radar ahead of the hiring process.

Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is believed to be a name to monitor regarding the Bears’ eventual HC search, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes (ESPN+ link). Frazier has been with Buffalo throughout Sean McDermott‘s five-year tenure, overseeing a Bills defensive resurgence, and would be a second-chance candidate after a four-season run as Vikings HC in the early 2010s.

Frazier also has clear ties to the Bears, having played for the team in the 1980s. A starting cornerback on the famed 1985 squad that finished 18-1 and routed the Patriots in Super Bowl XX, Frazier intercepted 20 passes in five seasons with Chicago. He suffered what turned out to be a career-ending knee injury in that Super Bowl. The 62-year-old assistant has been an NFL staffer since 1999, joining the Eagles under Andy Reid after two years with the University of Illinois.

Taking over the Vikings as an interim HC in 2010, Frazier did not enjoy a favorable quarterback situation while in that role. The Vikings used Christian Ponder as their starter for most of Frazier’s run. The Bears, of course, have struggled on this front as well for quite some time. Frazier has called defensive plays for the Bills and has been connected to a couple of coaching searches in recent years.

Frazier interviewed twice for the Texans job that went to David Culley this year and met with the Colts following the Josh McDaniels about-face in 2018. Bills ownership has pushed for a team to hire Frazier as HC. Given Buffalo’s defensive success, it will be interesting if Frazier becomes a more popular candidate during the 2022 hiring period.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Interview Leslie Frazier, David Culley

WEDNESDAY: Frazier’s second interview took place Tuesday, according to veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (on Twitter). Culley met with Texans brass Wednesday morning but was called back to continue his second interview later this afternoon, per Anderson and the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (Twitter links). This has become a “neck and neck” race, according to the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain.

While Eric Bieniemy has been in this process for a bit now, the Texans cannot bring him back for an interview until after Super Bowl LV. The Texans were seeking a second Bieniemy meeting but may well have a coach by the time he would be permitted to interview again.

MONDAY: The Texans have arranged second interviews with Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Ravens assistant head coach David Culley as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Both are now eligible to interview for the Texans’ top job in person since their teams are out of the playoffs. 

Frazier served as the Vikings’ head coach for three-seasons-and-change, up until his dismissal in 2013. His 2012 team made the playoffs before falling to the Packers, but the rest of his run wasn’t all that successful. All in all, the Vikes went 21-32-1 with Frazier at the helm. Since then, he’s spent the past four seasons as the Bills’ DC, overseeing one of the league’s best defenses.

Culley, 65, got his coaching start at FCS program Austin Peay all the way back in 1978. Culley has never even been a coordinator at the NFL level, so it would be a pretty remarkable story if he’s able to land his first head coaching job in 2021. It’s worth noting that Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been a vocal supporter of Culley, who has a chance to secure the league’s last vacancy.

Whether it’s Culley, Frazier, or another coach, the Texans’ next HC will be tasked with getting the buy-in of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Seeking Second Interviews With Leslie Frazier, Eric Bieniemy

Jan. 24: Houston is indeed expected to request second interviews with Frazier and Bieniemy, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Both men believe they have a real chance of landing the job and have begun putting together potential staffs.

Jan. 23: The Texans’ coaching search has brought the most twists and turns of this cycle, but the team may be on the homestretch in its hiring process. They are at the second-interview stage.

Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is “very likely” to meet with the Texans again next week, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. The parties met shortly after Buffalo’s divisional-round win over Baltimore, and Cal McNair came away from that summit impressed with the veteran coordinator and former Vikings HC’s leadership acumen, per JLC.

Frazier has not been a head coach since the Vikings fired him following the 2013 season. He has spent the past four seasons as Buffalo’s DC, overseeing one of the league’s best defenses in that span. The Texans cannot hire Frazier until the Bills’ season ends. They would be permitted to hire some of the other coaches they have interviewed at any point.

His Sunday opponent, Eric Bieniemy, may remain in the picture as well. He also cannot be hired until after his team’s season ends. Due to the patient (occasionally turbulent) nature of Houston’s search process, many around the league expect a second Bieniemy meeting as well, La Canfora adds. To recap, the Texans have gone from planning to interview Bieniemy (pre-Nick Caserio) to leaving him off their candidate list to changing course and speaking with him this week to potentially making him a finalist.

A Frazier hire would be interesting given the Texans’ Deshaun Watson situation. While Watson has also advocated for Bieniemy, he has shown support for OC Tim Kelly to stay as well. Bieniemy arriving would likely mean Kelly heads elsewhere, but Frazier being a defensive coach would keep a reality where Kelly continues to call Texans plays in play. The Texans blocked other teams from speaking with Kelly this week.

Here is how Houston’s HC search looks as of Saturday afternoon, via PFR’s tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Bieniemy, Texans, Falcons

With the Eagles requesting an interview with Eric Bieniemy, the Chiefs offensive coordinator is now 7-for-7 in meeting requests during this hiring period. However, the third-year OC has again run into issues on the interview circuit. Despite being Andy Reid‘s right-hand man during the most successful period in Chiefs history, Bieniemy may go a third cycle without landing a coaching job. It is trending in that direction, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets. Bieniemy did not interview well on the whole last year and has encountered similar issues during this cycle, according to Tony Pauline and Benjamin Allbright of ProFootballNetwork.com.

Although the Texans changed course and submitted a request to speak with Bieniemy, as they deal with a disgruntled Deshaun WatsonCBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora notes that interview is doubtful to commence. With the Chiefs’ bye week over, any team wishing to meet with Bieniemy going forward must wait until Kansas City’s season ends. If the No. 1-seeded Chiefs make it back to the Super Bowl, the remaining jobs may be filled by then. Three teams have filled their positions; the Lions are soon expected to hire Saints assistant Dan Campbell; the Chargers may be zeroing in on Bills third-year OC Brian Daboll. This would leave only the Houston and Philadelphia jobs available. Though Bieniemy not being his team’s primary play-caller makes him an atypical HC candidate from the offensive side of the ball, it would certainly be strange if he exited another offseason without landing a coaching gig.

Here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • Staying with the Texans, they will interview another Bills coordinator this weekend. They will speak with Buffalo DC Leslie Frazier on Sunday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Frazier, who has been Buffalo’s defensive play-caller, has re-emerged on the HC radar after four seasons as Buffalo’s DC under Sean McDermott. Support is building for Frazier with the Texans, La Canfora notes. Since the Vikings ended Frazier’s three-plus-year run as their head coach after the 2013 season, he has been a coordinator for two teams (the Bucs and Bills) and coached the Ravens secondary in between.
  • In hiring Arthur Smith, the Falcons almost certainly have their offensive play-caller in place. But they have identified a Smith right-hand man in Bears passing-game coordinator Dave Ragone. The Chicago assistant has emerged as an early favorite to become Atlanta’s OC, with ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweeting a Smith-Ragone partnership running the Falcons’ offense has a “good chance” of happening. Ragone has been with the Bears since 2016.
  • Now that Chuck Pagano has retired, the Bears are on the lookout for a new defensive coordinator. Defensive line coach Jay Rodgers and safeties coach Sean Desai stand to be the top internal candidates to succeed Pagano, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). Rodgers served as D-line coach under John Fox in Denver and followed him to Chicago in 2015. Rodgers’ contract expires next week, and Rapoport notes he is expected to be a DC candidate for other teams as well in the coming days.
  • Marion Hobby will make a move to another AFC team’s defensive staff. The Bengals are hiring the veteran assistant as their D-line coach, Ben Baby of ESPN.com tweets. Hobby, who spent six seasons as Clemson’s co-defensive coordinator under Dabo Swinney, coached the Dolphins and Jaguars’ D-lines in the four seasons since. Hobby was with Jacksonville when the team’s “Sacksonville” D-line drove a run to the AFC title game.

2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Exiting the regular season, six teams are searching for new head coaches. That number is up from last season but not quite as high as 2019, though there may well be more vacancies that emerge during the playoffs.

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

Updated 1-27-21 (7:05pm CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Texans To Interview Bills DC Leslie Frazier For HC Opening

The Texans’ top priority right now should probably be patching things up with face of the franchise Deshaun Watson, but in the meantime their coaching search is plowing full steam ahead. Houston will interview Leslie Frazier for their opening, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (Twitter link).

This is an interesting one, as Frazier makes a lot of sense on paper for teams with openings but we haven’t heard too much buzz about him. He’s currently the defensive coordinator (although Sean McDermott ultimately runs the defense) and assistant head coach with the Bills, who are obviously experiencing a lot of success at the moment. Buffalo thought highly enough of him to promote him to AHC back in March. 

Frazier played a handful of years with the Bears back in the ’80s, and then broke into the league as a coach with the Eagles in 1999 coaching DBs. He eventually became the defensive coordinator in Minnesota, and was named interim head coach after Brad Childress was fired midway through the 2010 season. After finishing 3-3, Frazier was promoted to full-time head coach.

He led the Vikings for the next three seasons, leading them to a 10-6 record and playoff appearance in 2012. Following a 5-10-1 2013 campaign he was let go, and became the DC in Tampa Bay for the next couple of years. If the Texans do elect to hire a defensive coach like Frazier, perhaps they’d be inclined to keep current offensive coordinator Tim Kelly on staff, who Watson has raved about.