Matt Eberflus

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. With Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints, there are now nine full-time vacancies available this year. After Thursday’s news, two of those openings (Denver and Chicago) have been filled, and a major candidate in Dan Quinn has decided to remain in Dallas. Friday saw another name scratched off the list, with the Giants making their HC hire.

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 1-28-21 (10:0pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Jaguars “Close” To Hiring Adrian Wilson For GM, Byron Leftwich For HC

As news keeps coming on the head coaching front, the lone remaining finalist for the Jags’ HC role looks to be coming to Jacksonville. That doesn’t appear to be the only major hire the team is set to make, however. Mike Jurecki of AZCardinals.com reports (via Twitter) that the team is “close” to not only hiring Bucs OC Bryon Leftwich as its new head coach, but also Cardinals vice president of pro scouting Adrian Wilson as its new general manager. 

[Related: Jaguars Interview Vic Fangio For Head Coach]

Leftwich’s status as the favorite for the HC position has only grown in the past few days. The belief that he would be the Jags’ top choice has been strengthened by the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett in Denver and Matt Eberflus in Chicago earlier today. However, Adam Schefter tweeted not long after Jurecki’s initial report that the Saints have requested an interview with Leftwich. That would certainly suggest, among other things, that it is not quite a done deal yet for the 42-year-old.

As for Baalke, it has been believed by many around the league that his grip on the GM position was loosening. Earlier in the month, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that his presence would deter certain HC candidates from interviewing for the position. In a follow-up to Jurecki’s report, JLC adds that there was a good chance Baalke “would be gone by the draft”. Given his support for Bill O’Brien, and later, Eberflus, as HC candidates earlier on in the hiring process, his departure might happen “sooner”.

Wilson, meanwhile, was one of nine candidates to interview with the Giants for their GM opening, so his hiring wouldn’t come as a complete surprise. The 42-year-old has been an executive with the Cardinals since 2015, which immediately followed his retirement as a player. He has held his current job title for only one year, so a jump to GM would be a rather large one, irrespective of the fact that it would also, surely, mean an end to Baalke’s time in the role.

Bears Hire Matt Eberflus As Head Coach

Hours after the first head coaching hire was made, the second has been soon to follow. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that the Bears are hiring Matt Eberflus as their new head coach. 

[Related: Bears To Hire Ryan Poles As GM]

Eberflus was one of three finalists for the job, along with Jim Caldwell and Dan Quinn. He conducted a second interview with the team on Wednesday, and the front office – which now includes, of course, former Chiefs exec Ryan Poles – clearly liked what they heard.

The 51-year-old has long been regarded as one of the league’s top defensive minds, something that has been confirmed with Chicago giving him his first HC opportunity. He was a candidate for the Jets’ and Chargers’ vacancies last year, but came up short. He also interviewed twice with the Jaguars for their current opening. Schefter tweets that Eberflus going to Chicago furthers Byron Leftwich‘s status as the “clubhouse leader” for Jacksonville’s next HC.

Just like the other hire of the morning, this represents a reversal of positional background for the affected team. After the Broncos replaced Vic Fangio with an up-and-coming offensive mind in Nathaniel Hackett, Eberflus will bring a celebrated defensive background to the Bears after they dismissed Matt Nagy.

Here’s the final rundown of the Bears’ HC search:

With the updates coming fast and furious now, be sure to check in on our Head Coach Tracker regularly.

Byron Leftwich Moving Toward Jags’ HC Job?

WEDNESDAY: More smoke is emerging here. The Jags and Leftwich continue to discuss a deal, with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times noting the two sides are working to close out an agreement. A conflicting report, via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, pushes back a bit, indicating the Jags still have Eberflus in the mix and have not yet decided on a direction here (Twitter links). Nathaniel Hackett, who is a finalist for the Broncos’ job as well, is also not out of the mix, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. Hackett would certainly be an interesting decision, considering the Jags fired him as offensive coordinator in 2018.

Meanwhile, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com writes that the Jaguars “launched” contract talks with Leftwich on Tuesday before the two sides hit an impasse this morning.

TUESDAY: The chances of a Byron Leftwich-Jaguars reunion appear to be improving. The Buccaneers offensive coordinator went through a second Jaguars interview Tuesday, and momentum is building toward a return to the place where his NFL career started.

Leftwich conducted an in-person interview with Shad Khan and GM Trent Baalke, and Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com notes many around the NFL expect him to land the job. Leftwich joins Colts DC Matt Eberflus as those who have taken second interviews with the Jaguars.

Moving to Tampa after working under both Bruce Arians and Steve Wilks in Arizona, Leftwich has begun sending out staff feelers. Bucs wide receivers coach Kevin Garver and outside linebackers coach Larry Foote are under consideration for a Leftwich-led staff, Wilson adds. Garver, 34, has been with the Bucs throughout Arians’ tenure and began his NFL coaching career with the Cardinals in Arians’ first season (2013). Foote, 41, both played under Arians with the Cards and worked for him in Arizona and Tampa. Leftwich and Foote played together with the Steelers in 2008 and in the early 2010s.

The Jags were under different ownership when they drafted Leftwich seventh overall in 2003. Khan did not own the team during Leftwich’s four-year stay in Jacksonville, though hiring a former Jaguar — one who is now a Super Bowl champion play-caller — may count as a positive step after the Urban Meyer debacle. Here is how the Jags’ coaching search looks as of Tuesday night:

Latest On Bears’ Head Coaching Search

TUESDAY: Quinn and Eberflus will travel to Chicago for their interviews, per ESPN.com’s Ed Werder (on Twitter). With new GM hire Ryan Poles now on board, the Bears will likely make their choice soon. Quinn will meet with Poles and Co. on Tuesday, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Additionally, Allen’s interview did not go on as scheduled Tuesday, Breer tweets. The longtime Sean Payton assistant stayed in New Orleans for the 16-year HC’s press conference, during which he announced he was leaving his post. Allen is now on the short list to succeed Payton in New Orleans.

MONDAY: The Bears are giving Dan Quinn and Jim Caldwell a second look. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), the Bears have requested second interviews with the two candidates.

[RELATED: 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Quinn has been one of the most sought-after candidate of this year’s HC cycle. His work with Dallas’ defense in just one season – seventh in the league in points allowed per game, first in interceptions, to name a few statistics – has put him in line to get another HC gig one year after being fired by the Falcons. Quinn has already scheduled a second interview for the Broncos HC job.

Caldwell, 66, served as the Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach in 2019 before health issues forced him to step aside. Fortunately, he’s said to be back to full health now, and it sounds like he’s ready for his next job. Between his time with the Colts and Lions, Caldwell owns a career 62-50 record as a head coach with four playoff berths and one Super Bowl appearance. Caldwell’s last stop in Detroit saw him never finish with fewer than seven wins, but he was still canned following back-to-back 9-7 seasons.

Meanwhile, Rapoport notes that Matt Eberflus will have his second interview on Wednesday, while Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will get his first crack at the gig tomorrow.

Jags’ GM Backs Eberflus for HC

The Jaguars have had a bit of turbulence as they try to replace Urban Meyer, but a favorite has emerged as Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was the first candidate to be invited back for a second interview. An important aspect of Jacksonville’s search, Eberflus has received a strong backing from Jaguars’ general manager Trent Baalke, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. 

Baalke has a reputation for being a difficult general manager for head coaches to work with. Back when Baalke was the 49ers’ general manager in 2014, many reports of clashes with Jim Harbaugh littered the season, which ended with San Francisco and Harbaugh parting ways. This has made the search for a new head coach difficult as La Canfora reports that top candidates for the job are “only seriously considering it if assured Baalke would be out following the draft.” Baalke has been accused by sources of trying to prize his job security while securing a head coach.

Baalke first endorsed University of Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, but, after O’Brien interviewed for the position, Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan‘s son, Tony Khan, and a high-ranking official with the team shared their issues with O’Brien’s history of toxicity.

With O’Brien out of the running, Baalke set his sights on Eberflus. The four-year defensive coordinator in Indianapolis has overseen a top-10 scoring defense in three of his four seasons calling the defense. Eberflus’s defense was exposed by the very team he’s interviewing for when the Colts’ allowed 26 points in a must-win Week 18 loss to the Jaguars that eliminated Indianapolis from postseason contention.

Jacksonville’s willingness to seriously consider the candidate Baalke prefers points to them potentially wanting to keep Baalke as general manager. If this is the route they follow, it will likely tie Baalke’s future to Eberflus’s. There are still several candidates alive in this search, though. Keep track of the situation by following our 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Matt Eberflus Set For Second Bears Interview

The Bears will conduct a second interview with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus next week (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). With that, Eberflus now finds himself as a finalist for both the Bears and Jaguars. 

Despite lots of injuries, Eberflus’ Colts defense has been mostly solid over the past four years. The 51-year-old has long been regarded as one of the league’s sharpest minds and, finally, it appears that he’s on the verge of scoring his first ever head coaching position.

The Jets strongly considered Eberflus last year, but ultimately found a different defensive guru in Robert Saleh. The Chargers also met with Eberflus, though they ultimately chose Brandon Staley as their HC.

Colts head coach Frank Reich has spoken highly of Eberflus’ credentials and so has Nick Sirianni, the one-time Colts offensive coordinator who now serves as the Eagles’ HC.

Adapt or get exposed at practice. Yes, we hustle. Yes, we finish. But we put a (higher) standard on it after being with Flus for a little bit,” Sirianni said towards the end of 2020 (via FOX59). “The way they practice obviously makes us better. The reason I think we’re good at protecting the football is because of how crazy they are at coming after it. Not everybody practices that way.’’

Matt Eberflus Set For Second Jags Interview

Two teams have Matt Eberflus in their respective coaching searches, at present, though that list could expand. The Jaguars are strongly considering the Colts’ defensive coordinator, however.

Eberflus will receive a second interview with the Jaguars on Thursday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The four-year Indianapolis DC is the first candidate Jacksonville will interview a second time.

The Jags are plenty familiar with Eberflus, having played his defenses eight times since he took over the Colts’ unit. Brought to Indy during Josh McDaniels‘ brief time assembling a staff for a Colts job the Patriots staffer ended up declining at the 11th hour, Eberflus has overseen top-10 scoring defenses in three of his four years. Eberflus, 51, skipped the in-season virtual interview with the Jags but has moved forward in this process since the season ended.

The former Cowboys assistant has seen his name surface in a few HC searches in recent years. The Bears interviewed him for their vacancy Monday, and the Texans, Jets and Chargers met with him last year. As for where the Jags stand, here is how their interview process is shaping up as of Tuesday night:

Latest Bears’ Head Coach Interview Requests

The second wave of interview requests has begun for the teams who let go of coaches and executives yesterday. The busiest of those teams, so far, is the Chicago Bears. In addition to the requests they made on Monday after firing Matt Nagy, another seven interviews have been scheduled for the Head Coaching vacancy. 

[Related: Bears Request Interviews With Bills DC Leslie Frazier, OC Brian Daboll]

Just as the Bears are interested in both Bills’ coordinators, they have requested to interview both Buccaneers’ coordinators, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). OC Byron Leftwich has held his title since 2019, where he reunited with HC Bruce Arians. Leftwich was in charge of the Super-Bowl winning Bucs offense last season, and has helped the unit put up the second most points per game (30.1) in the league in 2021. DC Todd Bowles also reunited with Arians in 2019 in Tampa Bay, and played a crucial role in the Bucs’ smothering defensive performance in that Super Bowl victory.

Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter), another request was made to Colts DC Matt Eberflus, who has also been named as an interviewee with the Jaguars. After an impressive stint as the Cowboys’ linebackers coach from 2011-2017, Eberflus took the defensive coordinator position in Indy in 2018, and immediately helped turn that unit around.

Next on the list is Cowboys DC Dan Quinn (Twitter link via Pelissero). Quinn has since been linked with all four current Head Coaching vacancies, making him the most sought-after candidate so far. His work with Dallas’ defense in just one season – seventh in the league in points allowed per game, first in interceptions, to name a few statistics – has put him in line to get another HC gig one year after being fired by the Falcons.

Per Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport, Doug Pederson will also be interviewed (Twitter link). Pederson was fired by the Eagles exactly one year ago, and has also been linked with multiple teams. The 2017 Super Bowl winner, like Quinn, seems to have a good chance at rejoining the Head Coaching ranks during this hiring cycle.

Another popular name is Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett, whom the Bears will interview on Friday or Saturday, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer (Twitter link). Breer notes that Hackett has also received requests from the Broncos and Jaguars, as the 42-year-old has overseen one of the league’s best offenses in Green Bay for the past two seasons.

Last, but certainly not least, recently fired Brian Flores has been added to the list of interviewees, according to Pelissero (Twitter link). After three seasons – including the last two with winning records – in Miami, Flores was let go in what has been the most surprising move of the coaching cycle so far. The Bears are not expected to be the only team interviewing the 40-year-old, though nothing has officially been lined up with any other clubs yet.

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.