Nathaniel Hackett

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. With the Texans firing David Culley on Thursday afternoon, 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 1-16-21 (10:30pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Vikings Request Permission To Speak With Six More Coaches About HC Job

And like that, we’ve got a growing list of candidates for the Vikings HC job. Following news that the Vikings requested permission to interview Todd Bowles for the gig, we’ve learned that the organization requested permission to interview six additional coaches:

  • Jonathan Gannon, defensive coordinator (Eagles) (via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter)
  • Nathaniel Hackett, offensive coordinator (Packers) (via Pelissero on Twitter)
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Cowboys) (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter)
  • Kevin O’Connell, offensive coordinator (Rams) (via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Twitter)
  • Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator (Cowboys) (via Pelissero on Twitter)
  • DeMeco Ryans, defensive coordinator (49ers) (via Pelissero on Twitter)

Five of those coaches have already been connected to other HC vacancies, but this is the first reported interview request for Ryans. The former NFL linebacker has been on the 49ers coaching staff since 2017, and he was promoted to defensive coordinator last offseason after Robert Saleh left for New York. During his first season in the role, the 49ers defense ranked third in yards allowed and ninth in points allowed.

Of course, the Vikings may not be sticking with only seven candidates. ESPN’s Courtney Cronin tweets that the Vikings have also explored the candidacy of Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

Per Pelissero (on Twitter), the Vikings are hoping to find a replacement for former GM Rick Spielman before they hire a replacement for former HC Mike Zimmer. However, considering the anti-tampering rules, the Vikings only have until Sunday to interview coaches on byes, so they have reason to speak with someone like Hackett ASAP. The Vikings plan to kick off their GM interviews on Sunday, with Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort first in line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Broncos, Fangio, Jags, Lions

Ten candidates have emerged in the Broncos‘ coaching search. Despite the team going back-to-back with defensive coaches, Dan Quinn is believed to be one of the early frontrunners, per ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler (ESPN+ link). Despite being fired early in the 2020 season, the ex-Falcons HC has become a hot name in the 2022 interview cycle. The interest in Quinn puts him in position to be picky, as the current Cowboys DC has raised his stock after turning around the NFC East champions’ defense this season. He has yet to interview for the Broncos job yet. Quinn and Denver GM George Paton worked together in Miami under Nick Saban from 2005-06. Quinn, 51, was the Dolphins’ defensive line coach in those seasons. The Broncos have also done extensive work on Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett, Fowler adds. Both Hackett and Green Bay QBs coach Luke Getsy are on Denver’s HC interview list.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Bill O’Brien interestingly finds himself in the mix for NFL jobs on two tiers, with the Panthers eyeing him as an offensive coordinator and the Jaguars are set to interview him for their head coach job. O’Brien’s ignominious Texans exit notwithstanding, he has become a candidate to watch for the Jacksonville job, Fowler notes. O’Brien just finished his first season as Alabama’s OC.
  • Should O’Brien land the Jags gig, Vic Fangio will be a DC target, per Fowler. Given Fangio’s history of DC success, and the Broncos sporting an above-average unit during his tenure despite major injuries to Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the recently fired coach will likely have a few options. The Jags are prepared to be patient this time around, with Sports Talk 790’s Aaron Wilson noting this process could last for an additional two weeks (Twitter link). Second interviews are expected here. The Jaguars being thorough should not surprise, given their rash decision to hire Urban Meyer last January.
  • The Lions are considering hiring their next OC from within. After parting ways with one-and-done Anthony Lynn, Detroit is examining tight ends coach Ben Johnson for that role, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Dan Campbell took over play-calling duties from Lynn midseason, but Johnson’s responsibilities expanded as well. Johnson joined the Lions as a quality control coach in 2019. GM Brad Holmes is also leaving the door open to Campbell remaining the team’s play-caller.
  • Seahawks assistant head coach Clint Hurtt is on the University of Miami’s radar, with Fowler tweeting the Hurricanes are eyeing him for their defensive coordinator job. A Miami alum, Hurtt has spent the past five years as Pete Carroll’s defensive line coach.
  • Joe Judge‘s Giants staff will likely splinter soon. One of Big Blue’s position coaches, D-line coach Sean Spencer, will land on his feet. Duke is hiring Spencer to be a co-defensive coordinator, USA Today’s Josina Anderson tweets. Spencer was set to leave regardless of Judge’s status. Spencer’s pre-Giants coaching resume unfolded entirely at the college level. The 51-year-old assistant spent six years at Penn State prior to his short Giants stay under Judge.
  • Second-year Browns assistant Jeremy Garrett is expected to leave Cleveland and become the Liberty D-line coach, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman tweets.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jaguars’ Head Coaching Vacancy

‘Black Monday’ has come and gone in the NFL, putting another three Head Coaches out of work. The Vikings, Bears and Dolphins have joined the Broncos, Raiders and Jaguars as teams with an opening needing to be filled for the 2022 season. While the Jags have already begun the process of interviewing for the position, there is still a possibility interim HC Darrell Bevell could end up getting the job. 

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Bevell will interview with the team on Tuesday. That adds his name to a long list of other candidates who either already have, or will soon interview for the position as well. The 52-year old took over as head coach on an interim basis after the firing of Urban Meyer in December. That was a familiar situation for the man hired to be the team’s offensive coordinator, as he also transitioned from OC to interim HC in Detroit the year before following Matt Patricia’s dismissal. In both instances, Bevell managed to lead his teams to one victory in the closing weeks of the season.

Meanwhile, Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett will be interviewed sometime this week. Since the Packers on a bye as the NFC’s top seed, the interview could be done in person. Hackett is already one of serval names receiving consideration for the Broncos’ job, so Jacksonville could find itself in a competition for the 42-year old. On the other hand, Hackett taking the Jaguars position would represent a coming home of sorts, since he served on the team’s staff from 2015 to 2018, including a stint as offensive coordinator during their run to the AFC Championship game in 2017.

Like all of the current coaching vacancies, the picture will likely become clearer in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned for the latest updates and interview requests throughout the league.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Request Permission To Interview Eric Bieniemy, Dan Quinn, Others

Let’s add five more names to the Broncos HC search. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Denver requested permission to interview Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (Twitter link) and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (Twitter link) for their head coaching vacancy. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Broncos also requested permission to interview Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo (Twitter link) and Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett (Twitter link). Finally, Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos requested permission to interview Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Hackett will interview Saturday, according to Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, one of the 10 candidates linked to this job already, will begin the interview run by meeting with the team Thursday.

[RELATED: Broncos Request Three Interviews For HC Vacancy]

After being out of the game for much of last season, with the Falcons firing him after a bad start, Quinn has moved himself back onto the head-coaching radar. The Cowboys’ defense has improved significantly in his first season overseeing the unit. He figures to generate interest from other teams once more vacancies emerge. Quinn previously refused an interview with the Jaguars until after the season.

Bieniemy has been with the Chiefs since Andy Reid’s 2013 Kansas City arrival. Thought to be a slam-dunk hire in both the 2020 and ’21 offseasons, the 52-year-old assistant has failed to land a head coaching job. Taking over as Kansas City’s OC from Matt Nagy, who followed Doug Pederson in being hired for an HC post, Bieniemy has been in this role throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ dominant run as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback.

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) is assumed to be atop the defensive coaching depth chart.

Hackett served as the Jaguars offensive coordinator between 2016 and 2018, including a 2017 campaign where the Jaguars offense ranked toward the top of the NFL in a number of categories. The veteran coach was canned midway through the 2018 season, and he’s spent the past three years serving as Green Bay’s OC. The Packers offense had a standout season in 2020, and while the team finished 2021 with the best record in the league, both the passing game and the running game have taken a step back this year.

Moore inked a three-year extension with the Cowboys towards the close of the 2020 season, but he’s remained a hot name in coaching circles. The rival Eagles requested an interview with him in January of 2021 before ultimately going with Nick Sirianni.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Fire HC Vic Fangio, Will Not Retain OC Pat Shurmur

The Broncos have fired head coach Vic Fangio, per Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Fangio lasted three seasons in his post but failed to get his club to the playoffs in that time, so GM George Paton felt compelled to make a move. Mike Klis of 9News.com reports (via Twitter) that the team will also part ways with OC Pat Shurmur.

Denver lost its 2021 finale to the Chiefs last night, and in his postgame presser, Fangio lamented the fact that the other three clubs in the AFC West boast a top-flight quarterback, something the Broncos did not have during his tenure. Denver did select Drew Lock in the second round of the 2019 draft, Fangio’s first as a head coach, and while Lock presently looks like another QB misstep in the John Elway-as-GM era, the inability of Fangio and his staff to develop the Missouri passer certainly contributed to Fangio’s demise.

Offensive ineptitude was, unfortunately, a hallmark of the Fangio regime. As Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post observes, the Broncos failed to score 20 points in a game 29 times in Fangio’s 49 games as head coach, and after a bottom-five showing in terms of both total offense and points per game in 2019, Fangio fired then-OC Rich Scangarello and replaced him with Shurmur, who had just been axed as head coach of the Giants.

The Broncos’ offensive output marginally improved during Shurmur’s time as OC, but it was simply not enough for either him or Fangio to keep their jobs (Shurmur’s contract was reportedly for two years, so Denver will simply let his deal expire). Fangio’s refusal to pull play-calling duties from Shurmur caused some locker room tension earlier this year, and while Shurmur was a hot offensive coordinator candidate before he accepted the post with the Broncos, his stock has likely dropped quite a bit.

Fangio, though, should land on his feet. We previously heard that the acclaimed defensive mind, who has served as DC of the Panthers, Colts, Texans, 49ers, and Bears, would be in high demand for a defensive coordinator position if he were to be fired by the Broncos, so he can probably expect a few interview requests in short order. The Broncos finished the 2021 campaign with a top-three defense in terms of points allowed per game.

Paton will have full authority to select the next head coach, as team president/CEO Joe Ellis confirmed in a statement. Paton’s reputation, along with the Broncos’ history and a roster that appears to be just a quarterback away from legitimate contention — something that Paton will try to rectify this offseason — should allow the club to attract any number of top-tier candidates. Albert Breer of SI.com identifies Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett and Cowboys DC Dan Quinn as possible targets, and Quinn and Paton do have a history that dates back to their days with the Dolphins in 2005.

However, Paton may elect to move forward with an offensive-minded candidate, which could give the edge to Hackett or someone like Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich. Though the Broncos could be sold as soon as the spring (per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports), the imminent prospect of new ownership is not likely to deter candidates for the HC job.

Fangio’s statement on his dismissal can be found here, and Paton’s can be found here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jaguars’ Coaching Search

The Jaguars are breaking in the NFL’s new early interview process, and they are seeing some coaches greenlight the meetings and others opt to wait. Doug Pederson already interviewed, while Cowboys DC Dan Quinn passed on an early virtual meeting. More coaches landed in each camp this week.

Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles interviewed virtually this week, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press. Cowboys OC Kellen Moore also will interview this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Colts DC Matt Eberflus joined Quinn in skipping an early virtual interview, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star adds.

Byron Leftwich, a 2003 Jaguars first-round pick who is in his third season as Bucs OC, may end up being part of the virtual interview process. Leftwich could interview with the Jags as soon as Friday, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Leftwich brushed aside questions about his pursuit of the Jacksonville HC gig last week, but whether a meeting occurs during the early interview window or after the regular season’s conclusion, the former quarterback is expected to be in the mix.

Leftwich, 41, played the first four seasons of his career in Jacksonville, starting 44 games in that span. Shad Khan was not yet in place as owner at that point, but the young coordinator certainly is familiar with the franchise.

Nathaniel Hackett, the Jags’ OC during part of Gus Bradley and Doug Marrone‘s HC tenures, will not be part of the early interview circuit, either. The third-year Packers OC will wait until after the regular season ends, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport adds. However, Hackett does have plans to be part of this process. He will meet with his former team next week, via the AP.

The Jaguars fired Hackett in November 2018. The second-generation NFL assistant has rebuilt his stock in Green Bay, with he and Matt LaFleur being the top offensive decision-makers during Aaron Rodgers‘ push for back-to-back MVPs.

Bowles would be a second-chance HC candidate. Following his Jets exit, he has overseen one of the league’s top defenses for the past three years. Bowles’ game plan helped the Bucs ground the high-flying Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Despite numerous injuries, the Bucs still rank 10th in scoring defense entering Week 18. The Cowboys, who chose to retain Moore as their play-caller despite hiring Mike McCarthy, lead the NFL in scoring. Moore, 33, is in just his fourth season as a coach. Hired during the brief window Josh McDaniels held the Colts’ HC reins, Eberflus is finishing up his fourth season in Indianapolis. Entering Week 18, the Colts rank 12th defensively. They have been a top-10 unit in two of Eberflus’ previous three seasons.

Pederson’s interview took place at Khan’s home, Rapoport adds. Also a coaching free agent, Jim Caldwell met with the Jags earlier this week. Here is how the Jags’ HC search looks as the early interview window winds down:

  • Todd Bowles, defensive coordinator (Buccaneers): Interviewed on 1/3
  • Jim Caldwell, former head coach (Lions): Interviewed on 1/4
  • Matt Eberflus, defensive coordinator (Colts): Declined early interview
  • Nathaniel Hackett, offensive coordinator (Packers): To interview after regular season
  • Byron Leftwich, offensive coordinator (Buccaneers): Expected to interview
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Cowboys): To interview
  • Doug Pedersonformer head coach (Eagles): Interviewed on 12/30
  • Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator (Cowboys): Declined early interview

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Request Interviews With Colts DC Matt Eberflus, Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett

We can another three names to the Jaguars’ list of head coaching candidates. Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Jaguars requested interviews with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (Twitter link) and Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett (Twitter link). Meanwhile, ESPN’s Michael DiRocco reports that former NFL head coach Jim Caldwell will also interview for the gig.

[RELATED: Jaguars Request Interviews With Todd Bowles, Byron Leftwich]

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 Indu, 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 (culminating in them currently ranking second in the NFL).

Hackett actually served as the Jaguars offensive coordinator between 2016 and 2018, including a 2017 campaign where the Jaguars offense ranked toward the top of the NFL in a number of categories. The veteran coach was canned midway through the 2018 season, and he’s spent the past three years serving as Green Bay’s OC. The Packers offense had a standout season in 2020, and while the team has the best record in the league, both the passing game and the running game have taken a step back in 2021.

Caldwell (feat. Peyton Manning) coached the Colts to a Super Bowl in his first season as Indianapolis’ HC but was out of a job after his third. Caldwell elevated the Lions to a playoff berth in his first year with Detroit in 2014 but was fired after a 9-7 2017 season. The 66-year-old coach experienced a health issue that caused him to step away from his post as Dolphins QBs coach in 2019, but he is back to full health and his since taken an interview for other HC vacancies.

This trio joins a growing list of candidates that already includes Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore and DC Dan Quinn, and ex-Eagles HC Doug Pederson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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