Nathaniel Hackett

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 1-18-21 (10:38am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Falcons Interview Nathaniel Hackett

The Falcons interviewed Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on Thursday (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport and Peter Schrager of NFL.com). This marks Hackett’s first head coaching interview of the offseason.

Hackett, 41, has been in Green Bay since 2019. He comes into this cycle with strong reviews from head coach Matt LaFleur, as well as quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Hack has been a really important part of our culture change and a part of our success on offense. I love him,” Rodgers said recently. “Hope he doesn’t go anywhere. Unless I do.”

The Packers offense took another step forward in 2020 with Hackett’s guidance. The unit finished first in points and fifth in total yards with a steady balance between the passing game and the running game.

It’s worth noting that Hackett’s old boss, Doug Marrone, is also available for hire after being fired by the Jaguars. If Hackett is hired in Atlanta, he could conceivably bring Marrone along with him for a role-reversal.

Hackett is the fifth candidate to meet with the Falcons. Previously, they interviewed incumbent Raheem Morris, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, and Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady for the job.

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Falcons Interested In Nathaniel Hackett; Eric Bieniemy Also On Radar

After 1 1/2 seasons as Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett has emerged as a head coaching candidate. The Falcons are interested in the longtime assistant, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports.

Team president Rich McKay is likely to pursue an interview with Hackett when he becomes available for one, per JLC, who adds the 40-year-old OC’s name has come up in “several” internal discussions to succeed Dan Quinn.

McKay is running Atlanta’s search and has a history with Hackett, who is a second-generation NFL coach. The son of former NFL OC Paul Hackett, Nathaniel broke into the NFL as a Buccaneers quality control coach during his father’s stay as the team’s QBs coach during the mid-2000s. McKay was with Tampa Bay at that point.

The Packers hired Hackett last year to work as Matt LaFleur‘s right-hand man on offense. While Aaron Rodgers certainly makes a coordinator’s job easier, the Packers rank second in offensive DVOA this season despite having gone stretches without Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. Green Bay ranked eighth last season, though the team was seventh in Mike McCarthy‘s abbreviated final season. LaFleur calls Green Bay’s plays. Hackett served as OC for the Bills and Jaguars under Doug Marrone; the Jags fired him in 2018. Only one of Hackett’s five pre-Packers offenses ranked in the top 15 in DVOA.

The Falcons are likely to be interested in Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, La Canfora notes. They will have company in chasing Kansas City’s non-play-calling OC, who has been in place throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ tenure as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback. The Texans are also interested in Bieniemy, who has taken HC interviews in each of the past two offseasons and is expected to land a coaching job in 2021.

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Packers To Hire Nathaniel Hackett As OC

Nathaniel Hackett‘s Packers meeting went well. Green Bay is bringing the former Jacksonville offensive coordinator aboard as its OC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter).

The Jaguars fired Hackett midway through this season, and he interviewed for the Lions’ OC job. He’ll now join Matt LaFleur‘s staff and play a major role in revamping the Packers’ offense.

The Packers interviewed Hackett and recent Browns OC hire Todd Monken for this job and are set to entrust key Rodgers prime seasons to two recent AFC South offensive coordinators — both 39. LaFleur has less experience being an offensive coordinator than Hackett; they will pair up in hopes of guiding the Rodgers-centered team back to the playoffs.

This will be Hackett’s third NFL OC gig. He served in that role under Doug Marrone at Syracuse and then with the Bills before following Marrone to Jacksonville in 2015. The Jaguars promoted him to OC during the 2016 season. Neither of Marrone and Hackett’s Buffalo units ranked in the top half of the league, and they took a major step back this season. But in 2017, the Jags ranked in the top six in both points and yards on their way to the AFC championship game.

Despite their 2018 descent, the second-generation coordinator will land on his feet. And after working with the likes of E.J. Manuel, Kyle Orton and Blake Bortles, Hackett will now oversee the work of one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Quite the change of scenery.

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Nathaniel Hackett Meeting With Packers

Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is in Green Bay interviewing for a top offensive job on the Packers‘ staff, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He previously interviewed with the Lions for their OC job, Rapoport adds.

It’s not immediately clear whether Hackett is up for Green Bay’s OC job, but he’s presumably in the mix to be Matt LaFleur‘s top offensive lieutenant. The Lions job is still open, meanwhile, so Hackett could land on his feet after his November dismissal from Jacksonville.

Hackett joined the Jaguars as their quarterbacks coach in 2015 and took over as offensive coordinator midway through the 2016 season. The Jaguars finished sixth in total offense and first in rushing offense last year, but they were unable to reprise that performance in 2018 under Hackett.

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Packers Notes: McDaniel, Hackett, Zook

The Packers have inquired on 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel in their search for a new offensive coordinator, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. However, San Francisco already denied permission for the Cardinals to interview McDaniel for their OC job, and it’s likely the Niners will do the same if Green Bay officially comes calling. McDaniel, who is extremely familiar with the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offense, served as an offensive assistant for the Falcons from 2015-16 while new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was Atlanta’s quarterbacks coach.

Here’s more from Green Bay:

  • While McDaniel may not be an option for the Packers, he’s not the only option LaFleur are considering. Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is also on Green Bay’s radar, per Tim Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). The Packers could have competition within the NFC North, as Hackett is reportedly also in the mix for the Lions’ open offensive coordinator position. Hackett called plays in Jacksonville for parts of three seasons before being fired in November.
  • The Packers will not retain special teams coordinator Ron Zook, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Zook, a former collegiate head coach at both Florida and Illinois, joined Green Bay in 2014 and took over as the club’s ST coach the following year. 2018 wasn’t a banner year for the Packers’ special teams crew, as the unit ranked 28th in Football Outsiders‘ special teams ratings, including dead last on punt returns. Bengals assistant special teams coach Brayden Coombs could potentially be a candidate to replace Zook, a source tells Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • The Vikings have “vetted” Packers offensive line coach James Campen for the same position, according to Silverstein (Twitter link). Campen finished his playing career in Green Bay and has been a coach there since 2004. At this point, it’s unclear if LaFleur wants to retain Campen, but he’s expected to have offers if he’s not kept on the Packers’ staff. Minnesota also received permission to interview former Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin for their offensive line gig.

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Gase, Cardinals, Lions

The Jets likely preferred Baylor’s Matt Rhule to Adam Gase, but as previously reported, things fell apart when Rhule refused to allow the Jets to pick his staff for him. The Jets especially wanted to choose his offensive coordinator and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Jets floated Todd Monken to him as an option.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Cardinals asked, but were denied, permission to interview 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel for their offensive coordinator position, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets. McDaniel is tight with head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team was not prepared to lose him, especially to a divisional rival.
  • “It appears” that Steve Sarkisian and Nathaniel Hackett are in the mix for the Lions‘ offensive coordinator vacancy, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. The Lions have been looking for a new OC ever since Jan. 1 when they announced that Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract would not be renewed.
  • Sarkisian has also spoken with the Cardinals about their OC job, Marvez tweets. Sarkisian has been on the market since Dec. 31 when he was fired by Atlanta.
  • Both the Cardinals and Browns have sought permission to interview Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The position(s) he’ll be discussing with those teams are unclear, however.

Jaguars Fire OC Nathaniel Hackett

The Jaguars fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Jaguars are 28th in points scored this season and they believe the offensive play calling is at least partially to blame.

The Jaguars dropped to 3-8 on Sunday with their loss to the Bills. Leonard Fournette averaged 5.3 yards and gave the Jags two of their three scores, but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win. The loss pushed them from extremely unlikely to make the playoffs to mathematical elimination and that led to the firing of their OC.

Some would argue that Hackett has not been given the right personnel in Jacksonville, starting with quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles completed just 12-of-23 passes for 127 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. After the game, head coach Doug Marrone said that he did not consider making a QB change, but the club did feel the need to shake up the staff.

We would like to thank Nathaniel for his hard work and dedication to the Jaguars organization, and we wish him and his family the best moving forward,” Marrone said in a statement. “These are always tough decisions, but as the head coach, I have to do what I think is best for this football team.”

Hackett joined the Jaguars as their quarterbacks coach in 2015 and took over as offensive coordinator midway through the 2016 season. The Jaguars finished sixth in total offense and first in rushing offense last year, but have been unable to reprise that performance in 2018.

Hackett served under Marrone at Syracuse University and with the Bills, so it’s not clear whether this was a decision made by Marrone or by the higher-ups with the Jaguars. In either case, the pressure is on in Jacksonville, and Marrone is far from safe this offseason.

Jaguars Name Nathaniel Hackett OC

The Jaguars have announced that Nathaniel Hackett will be retained as the club’s offensive coordinator. Hackett was promoted from quarterbacks coach to interim offensive coordinator in late October following the firing of previous OC Greg Olson.Nathaniel Hackett (vertical)

[RELATED: 2017 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

“After taking over as the play-caller in 2016, the offensive unit made a significant jump under the direction of Nathaniel Hackett,” Jaguars executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin said in a written statement. “Nathaniel comes from a coaching family and is truly ardent about the game of football, which is contagious to his players and the assistants. He has a long history of working alongside Coach [Doug] Marrone and we are fortunate to have him on our coaching staff.”

Hackett, 37, has a strong professional relationship with the new Jaguars head coach, having worked as Marrone’s offensive play-caller at Syracuse and with the Bills in the past. He’ll now be tasked with resurrecting a Jacksonville offense that regressed mightily in 2016, and specifically will be asked to continue the development of quarterback Blake Bortles. Hackett becomes the second coordinator to retain his title under Marrone, as defensive play-caller Todd Wash will also return in his same role.

Of course, Hackett’s hiring means that former 49ers/Eagles head coach Chip Kelly — the only other known candidate for the Jaguars OC position — won’t be joining the staff, at least as the play-caller. At present, the Jets and Bills are the only clubs still searching for offensive coordinators (technically, the Rams are as well, but new head coach Sean McVay has announced he will call the plays).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Interviewing Chip Kelly For OC Role

Chip Kelly is in Jacksonville today interviewing for the team’s offensive coordinator position, Hays Carlyon of 1010XL reports (on Twitter). The Jaguars are interviewing multiple OC candidates, with Nathaniel Hackett expected to receive one as well, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

This is a second summit between the Jaguars and Kelly. Before taking the interim tag off of Doug Marrone‘s head coach title, the Jags interviewed Kelly for that position. So, there seems to be a lot of interest on the Jags’ part in the twice-fired head coach. Kelly has not interviewed for a job with another team this offseason.

The Jaguars agreed to retain Hackett, who took over the OC job from Greg Olson after the team fired Olson during the season. However, it appears Hackett will have to vie with other candidates to become the full-time Jags OC. This marks the first official interview the Jaguars have conducted for the OC job.

Despite being fired after only one season with the 49ers, Kelly did help Colin Kaepernick have a better season than he did in 2015. Although, the coach’s career arc has pointed downhill since his debut campaign with the Eagles that ended in the playoffs. But the Jaguars saw Blake Bortles regress this season and could be looking for an unorthodox voice to help the former No. 3 overall pick. Kelly, who was eyeing NFL OC jobs shortly after being fired, has evidently piqued the revamped Jags decision-making group’s curiosity.

New Jaguars executive Tom Coughlin attempted to hire Kelly as an offensive assistant before he took the job at Oregon, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com points out (on Twitter). Kelly’s Eagles went 4-1 against Coughlin’s Giants.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.