Brad Idzik

Assessing NFL’s OC Landscape

This offseason showed the turnover that can take place at the offensive coordinator position. As a result of several decisions in January and February, the NFL no longer has an OC who has been in his current role for more than two seasons. Various firings and defections now have the 2022 batch of hires stationed as the longest-tenured OCs.

One of the longest-tenured coordinators in NFL history, Pete Carmichael is no longer with the Saints. The team moved on after 15 seasons, a stay that featured part-time play-calling duties. The Browns canned their four-year non-play-calling OC, Alex Van Pelt, while three-year play-callers Arthur Smith and Shane Waldron are relocating this winter. Brian Callahan‘s five-year gig as the Bengals’ non-play-calling OC booked him a top job.

The recent lean toward offense-oriented HCs took a bit of a hit of a hit this offseason, with five of the eight jobs going to defense-oriented leaders. Callahan, Dave Canales and Jim Harbaugh were the only offense-geared candidates hired during this cycle. But half the NFL will go into this season with a new OC. Following the Seahawks’ decision to hire ex-Washington (and, briefly, Alabama) staffer Ryan Grubb, here is how the NFL’s OC landscape looks:

2022 OC hires

  • Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions*
  • Mike Kafka, New York Giants*
  • Wes Phillips, Minnesota Vikings
  • Frank Smith, Miami Dolphins
  • Adam Stenavich, Green Bay Packers
  • Press Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars*

Although this sextet now comprises the senior wing of offensive coordinators, this still marks each’s first gig as an NFL OC. Three of the six received HC interest this offseason.

Johnson’s status back in Detroit has been one of the offseason’s top storylines and a development the Commanders have not taken especially well. The two-year Lions OC was viewed as the frontrunner for the Washington job for weeks this offseason, and when team brass did not receive word about Johnson’s intent to stay in Detroit (thus, waiting until at least 2025 to make his long-expected HC move) until a Commanders contingent was en route to Detroit for a second interview, a back-and-forth about what exactly broke down took place. Johnson should be expected to remain a high-end HC candidate next year, but Dan Campbell will still have his services for 2024.

Kafka interviewed for the Seahawks’ HC job, and the Giants then blocked him from meeting with the NFC West team about its OC position. Rumblings about Kafka and Brian Daboll no longer being on great terms surfaced this year, with the latter yanking away play-calling duties — given to Kafka ahead of the 2022 season — at points in 2023. Taylor may also be on the hot seat with his team. Doug Pederson gave Taylor the call sheet last season, and Trevor Lawrence did not make the leap many expected. After a collapse left the Jaguars out of the playoffs, the team had begun to look into its offensive situation.

2023 OC hires

  • Jim Bob Cooter, Indianapolis Colts
  • Nathaniel Hackett, New York Jets*
  • Mike LaFleur, Los Angeles Rams
  • Joe Lombardi, Denver Broncos
  • Todd Monken, Baltimore Ravens*
  • Matt Nagy, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Drew Petzing, Arizona Cardinals*
  • Brian Schottenheimer, Dallas Cowboys
  • Bobby Slowik, Houston Texans*

Only nine of the 15 OCs hired in 2023 are still with their teams. One (Canales) moved up the ladder, while others were shown the door following that organization canning its head coach. The Eagles were the only team who hired an offensive coordinator last year to fire that staffer (Brian Johnson) after one season. Nick Sirianni fired both his coordinators following a wildly disappointing conclusion.

Hackett may also be drifting into deep water, given what transpired last year in New York. Rumblings of Robert Saleh — who is on the hottest seat among HCs — stripping some of his offensive play-caller’s responsibilities surfaced recently. This marks Hackett’s fourth chance to call plays in the NFL; the second-generation staffer did so for the Bills, Jaguars and Broncos prior to coming to New York. After the 2022 Broncos ranked last in scoring, the ’23 Jets ranked 31st in total offense. Hackett’s relationship with Aaron Rodgers has largely kept him in place, but 2024 may represent a last chance for the embattled coach.

Of this crop, Monken and Slowik were the only ones to receive HC interest. Neither emerged as a frontrunner for a position, though Slowik met with the Commanders twice. The Texans then gave their first-time play-caller a raise to stick around for C.J. Stroud‘s second season. Stroud’s remarkable progress figures to keep Slowik on the HC radar. Monken, who is in his third try as an NFL OC (after gigs in Tampa and Cleveland), just helped Lamar Jackson to his second MVP award. The former national championship-winning OC did not stick the landing — as Jackson struggled against the Chiefs — but he fared well on the whole last season.

Schottenheimer is on his fourth go-round as an OC, while Lombardi is on team No. 3. The latter’s job figures to be more secure, being tied to Sean Payton, compared to what is transpiring in Dallas. With the Cowboys having Mike McCarthy as the rare lame-duck HC, his coordinators probably should not get too comfortable.

2024 OC hires

  • Joe Brady, Buffalo Bills*
  • Liam Coen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
  • Ken Dorsey, Cleveland Browns
  • Luke Getsy, Las Vegas Raiders*
  • Ryan Grubb, Seattle Seahawks*
  • Nick Holz, Tennessee Titans
  • Kliff Kingsbury, Washington Commanders*
  • Klint Kubiak, New Orleans Saints*
  • Brad Idzik, Carolina Panthers
  • Kellen Moore, Philadelphia Eagles*
  • Dan Pitcher, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Zac Robinson, Atlanta Falcons*
  • Greg Roman, Los Angeles Chargers*
  • Arthur Smith, Pittsburgh Steelers*
  • Alex Van Pelt, New England Patriots*
  • Shane Waldron, Chicago Bears*

The 49ers do not employ a traditional OC; 16 of the 31 teams that do recently made a change. Most of the teams to add OCs this year, however, did so without employing play-calling coaches. This naturally raises the stakes for this year’s batch of hires.

Retreads became rather popular. Dorsey, Getsy, Moore, Van Pelt and Waldron were all OCs elsewhere (Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle) last season. Smith will shift from calling the Falcons’ plays to running the show for the Steelers. Dorsey, Getsy and Van Pelt were fired; Moore and Waldron moved on after the Chargers and Seahawks respectively changed HCs. Moore and Smith will be calling plays for a third team; for Moore, this is three OC jobs in three years.

Coen, Kingsbury and Roman are back after a year away. Kingsbury became a popular name on the OC carousel, having coached Caleb Williams last season. This will be his second crack at an NFL play-calling gig, having been the Cardinals’ conductor throughout his HC tenure. This will be Coen’s first shot at calling plays in the pros; he was Sean McVay‘s non-play-calling assistant in 2022. Likely to become the Chargers’ play-caller, Roman will have a rare fourth chance to call plays in the NFL. He held that responsibility under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco; following Harbaugh’s explosive 2015 49ers split, Roman moved to Buffalo and Baltimore to work under non-offense-oriented leaders.

Grubb, Holz, Idzik, Pitcher and Robinson represent this year’s first-timer contingent. Grubb has, however, called plays at the college level. Robinson is the latest McVay staffer to move into a play-calling post; he was a Rams assistant for five years. A host of teams had Robinson on their OC radar, but Raheem Morris brought his former L.A. coworker to Atlanta. Pitcher appeared in a few searches as well, but the Bengals made the expected move — after extending him last year — to give him Callahan’s old job.

* = denotes play-calling coordinator

2024 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

The offensive and defensive coordinator carousels are in winding down. Here is how the OC and DC searches look:

Updated 2-14-24 (5:50pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dave Ragone)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Ken Dorsey)

  • Joe Brady, interim offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (Bills): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed

Carolina Panthers (Out: Thomas Brown)

  • Marcus Brady, senior offensive assistant (Eagles): Interview requested
  • Brad Idzik, wide receivers coach (Buccaneers): Hired

Chicago Bears (Out: Luke Getsy)

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Brian Callahan)

  • Andy Dickerson, offensive line coach (Seahawks): To interview
  • Dan Pitcher, quarterbacks coach (Bengals): Promoted

Cleveland Browns (Out: Alex Van Pelt)

Las Vegas Raiders (Out: Mick Lombardi)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Kellen Moore)

New England Patriots (Out: Bill O’Brien)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Pete Carmichael)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Brian Johnson)

  • Jerrod Johnson, quarterbacks coach (Texans): Interviewed
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Interviewed 1/23
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): Hired

Pittsburgh Steelers (Out: Matt Canada)

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Shane Waldron)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Dave Canales)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Tim Kelly)

  • Nick Holz, passing game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed
  • Eric Studesville, associate head coach/running backs coach (Dolphins): Interview requested

Washington Commanders (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Chip Kelly, former head coach (Eagles/49ers): On team’s radar
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Hired

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Ryan Nielsen)

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Mike Macdonald)

  • Zach Orr, inside linebackers coach (Ravens): Promoted

Buffalo Bills

  • Bobby Babich, linebackers coach (Bills): Promoted
  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Sean Desai, former defensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview

Chicago Bears (Out: Alan Williams)

  • Joe Barry, former defensive coordinator (Packers): To interview 1/27
  • Chris Harris, secondary coach (Titans): To interview
  • Eric Washington, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Bills): Hired
  • Terrell Williams, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Titans): To interview

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Dan Quinn)

Green Bay Packers (Out: Joe Barry)

Jacksonville Jaguars (Out: Mike Caldwell)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Derrick Ansley)

  • Jesse Minter, defensive coordinator (Michigan): Hired

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Raheem Morris)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Vic Fangio)

New England Patriots

  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Promoted
  • Michael Hodges, linebackers coach (Saints): To interview
  • Tem Lukabu, outside linebackers coach (Panthers): To interview
  • Christian Parker, defensive backs coach (Broncos): Interviewed

New York Giants (Out: Don Martindale)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Sean Desai)

  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Vic Fangio, former defensive coordinator (Dolphins): Hired
  • Ron Rivera, former head coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/22

San Francisco 49ers (Out: Steve Wilks)

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Clint Hurtt)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Shane Bowen)

  • Brandon Lynch, cornerbacks coach (Browns): Interviewed 1/30
  • Dennard Wilson, defensive backs coach (Ravens): Hired

Washington Commanders (Out: Jack Del Rio)

  • Joe Cullen, defensive line coach (Chiefs): Considered a candidate
  • Joe Whitt, defensive backs coach (Cowboys): Hired

Panthers Hire Brad Idzik As OC

Dave Canales is in place as the new head coach of the Panthers, and his choice to fill the offensive coordinator role comes as no surprise. Carolina is set to hire Buccaneers receivers coach Brad Idzik as OC, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Canales and Idzik have a history with each other dating back to their Seattle days, and for that reason it was reported over the weekend that the latter was the likeliest candidate for Carolina’s OC post. Canales will likely take on play-calling duties with the Panthers after he did the same during his time with the Buccaneers in 2023, but Idzik will be a central figure on Carolina’s staff.

The Panthers were again all-in with respect to their pursuit of Lions OC Ben Johnson. While that did not materialize, it remained the expectation that an offensive candidate would be tapped as head coach. Canales will be tasked with overseeing quarterback Bryce Young‘s development after a poor rookie season. Idzik will assist in that regard as both staffers take on their respective new titles for the first time.

Idzik, 32, began his coaching career in 2019 with the Seahawks. During much of his time in Seattle, he worked with the team’s wide receivers, though he also had one year as an assistant QBs coach with the added title of offensive quality control coach. His first year with the Bucs came in 2023 as he followed Canales from Seattle to Tampa Bay, and their relationship will now continue in a new environment once again.

The fate of incumbent Panthers OC Thomas Brown has remained uncertain through the hiring cycle, but it had been expected that a new face would be added once the team’s next head coach was in place. Brown drew praise upon arrival on Frank Reich‘s staff, but he struggled in a play-calling capacity as the Panthers underwhelmed on offense both before and after Reich’s firing. Today’s news means Brown (who has been connected to multiple outside OC openings) will be free to pursue other options.

Carolina ranked at or near the bottom of several offensive categories in 2023, and improvement from Young, along with developments along the O-line and at the skill positions will be needed moving forward. Plenty of attention will be on Canales to deliver that, but Idzik will remain a key confidant along the way as his rise through the NFL coaching ranks continues.

Panthers Likely To Hire Buccaneers’ Brad Idzik As OC

The Panthers are almost definitely searching for a non-play-calling offensive coordinator, with new HC hire Dave Canales on track to call plays. It does not look like Carolina is preparing an expansive search to fill this position.

As of now, two OC candidates are in the mix for the Carolina job. The team put in a request to meet with Buccaneers wide receivers coach Brad Idzik, according to SI’s JC Allen. While the team has also requested a meeting with Eagles assistant Marcus Brady, Canales is expected to go with familiarity.

Idzik has emerged as the likely hire, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero adds. The son of former Jets GM John Idzik, Brad just finished his first season as the Bucs’ wideouts coach. Brad Idzik has worked with Canales for much longer, however. He was in place as the Seahawks’ assistant wide receivers coach from 2019-20 and again in 2022. Prior to that stay, Idzik spent five years as a Stanford graduate assistant.

The Panthers cannot hire Idzik until they meet with Brady. The Rooney Rule requires teams to meet with at least one external minority candidate for coordinator positions. We have seen a few teams conduct quick OC searches during this period, however. The Falcons only met with two candidates, hiring Zac Robinson from the Rams. The Bengals and Bills also met with just two, hiring from within.

Mike Evans extended his record-setting streak of consecutive seasons to start a career to 10, but the 6-foot-5 standout was more productive with Baker Mayfield than he was with Tom Brady. Evans’ 1,255 yards were his most since 2018, and the 10th-year receiver’s 13 TD receptions led the NFL. Chris Godwin also produced a third straight 1,00-yard season.

Carolina went with experience during the 2023 cycle, bringing in Frank Reich — a five-year play-caller — to run the show. Canales has called plays for one season, while Idzik only moved up from the assistant WRs level in 2023. That said, Canales was on Pete Carroll‘s Seahawks staff for 13 years. Should this OC hire come to pass, the Panthers will bet big on this newly formed Canales tree.

Coaching Notes: Pleasant, Curry, Broncos

A defensive coordinator interviewee earlier this decade, Aubrey Pleasant was without a job midway through last season. The Lions fired the veteran assistant, leading to a Packers move. But the former Rams assistant is coming back to Los Angeles. The Rams are rehiring Pleasant to be their defensive backs coach and defensive pass-game coordinator, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The sides have been talking about the job for about a month, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets.

Both the Saints and Vikings interviewed Pleasant for their DC positions in 2021, shortly after he had taken a job as the Lions’ secondary coach. But the Lions fired him in October. The Packers, who have ex-Rams staffer Joe Barry in place as DC, hired him as a consultant to close out the season. Pleasant, who has been in the NFL for 10 seasons, will return to a Rams organization that previously had him in place as its cornerbacks coach from 2017-20. In addition to Pleasant, the Rams are adding Mike Harris as their assistant DBs coach, Rodrigue adds (on Twitter). Harris spent the past two years as a Bears offensive assistant.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • The Broncos’ lone known offensive coordinator candidate thus far, Ronald Curry will not be moving. The Saints will retain their quarterbacks coach, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. Curry, a former Sean Payton hire, interviewed for both the Buccaneers and Broncos’ OC positions. As Denver will continue its search, Tampa Bay hired Dave Canales earlier this week. A former NFL wideout, Curry has been with the Saints since 2016.
  • While multiple former Payton assistants connected to a reunion will not be heading to Denver, former Saints special teams coach Mike Westhoff will meet with his former boss tweeted about his upcoming Broncos meeting. Westhoff, 75, has been retired since 2019 but was rumored to be a candidate to join Payton in Denver. He worked for the Saints from 2017-18 but enjoyed long tenures (with the Dolphins and Jets) previously. In addition to former Saints coaches, Payton has been connected to coaches out of the league. Rex Ryan is favored to be the next Broncos DC, though interviews are ongoing, and Mike Zimmer has surfaced as a possible Broncos assistant option.
  • Canales will bring a Seahawks assistant to Tampa. The Bucs are hiring Brad Idzik to be their wide receivers coach, John Schneider said during a radio interview (via Seahawks.com’s John Boyle, on Twitter). Idzik previously worked as the Seahawks’ assistant wideouts coach. This marks a return trip for Idzik, who is the son of former Bucs front office bastion (and ex-Jets GM) John Idzik. The younger Idzik had been with the Seahawks since 2019.
  • The Raiders will greenlight a reunion as well, hiring Matt Lombardi to be their assistant wide receivers coach, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Matt Lombardi is the younger brother of Raiders OC Mick Lombardi and the son of former Raiders exec (and Browns GM) Michael Lombardi. Matt Lombardi spent the past three years with the Panthers, being one of Matt Rhule‘s hires.
  • Staying with the family theme, the Giants have added Brian Daboll‘s son to their staff. Christian Daboll will work as an offensive assistant in New York, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News tweets. Christian Daboll had previously worked as a student assistant at Penn State. Although the Giants have the younger Daboll listed as a staff member, they have not announced the hire.

NFC Coaching Notes: Seahawks, Vikings, Falcons, Packers, Bears

With the various changes to coaching personnel around the league winding down, teams are beginning to officially unveil their 2022 staffs. The Seahawks recently did so, confirming a number of changes following a disappointing season, but some important retentions as well.

As Bob Condotta of The Athletic tweets, Sanjay Lal is remaining with the team in his current role of wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator. The 52-year-old has worked with that position group on seven different teams dating back to 2009. He spent the 2020 campaign in Seattle, but spent last season in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, Karl Scott, 36, is officially being brought in as the team’s secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator. That move had been expected since last week when it was reported the team was in talks with him.

In addition, Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports (in a pair of tweets) more names on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Dave Canales will remain as the team’s QBs coach, a role he first had in 2018, but he will no longer have the passing game coordinator title. Brad Idzik has been added as an assistant WRs coach; he entered the NFL with Seattle in 2019. Lastly, Nate Carroll has been promoted to senior offensive assistant, after spending 11 years with the Seahawks in various roles.

As for the defensive staff, Aaron Curry is now an assistant defensive line coach; the former Seattle draftee spent the last two seasons on their sideline. He will be joined in that role by Damione Lewis. Another former player on staff is DeShawn Shead, who has been promoted to defensive backs coach. The last to fit that description is Will Tukuafu, who is coming aboard as a defensive quality control coach.

Here are some other coaching notes from the NFC:

  • USA Today’s Mike Jones tweets that it is “sounding like” Wes Phillips and Chris O’Hara will be following newly-hired head coach Kevin O’Connell to Minnesota. The former, who is also the son of Wade Phillips, has been a TEs coach with three different teams, the most recent being the Rams. It was reported earlier this week that O’Connell was expected to give him the role of either OC or passing game coordinator. The latter only spent the 2021 season in L.A., but worked as an offensive assistant in Jacksonville and Washington before that.
  • According to Josh Kendall of The Athletic, the Falcons are parting ways with WRs coach Dave Brock (Twitter link). The 54-year-old has an extensive background in the college ranks, but his only NFL experience was in Atlanta starting in 2017. Chandler Henley, who had been an assistant offensive line coach with them, has left to join the Dolphins.
  • The Packers are supporting new ST coordinator Rich Bisaccia with Byron Storer, reports Matt Schneidman of The Athletic (Twitter link).The 37-year-old has worked with Bisaccia in each of his other three NFL coaching locations, and even knows Aaron Rodgers dating back to their college days.
  • Lastly, the Bears are hiring Brent Salazar as their strength and conditioning coach (Twitter link via Wilson). He has more than a decade of experience in the NFL, having previously worked with three different teams. He also spent the years between 2017 and 2020 as the director of performance for the United States Tennis Association.

Austin Davis Joins Seahawks Staff

The Seahawks recently announced several changes to their coaching staff, and perhaps the most notable was the addition of former NFL quarterback Austin Davis as an offensive assistant. Davis hadn’t formally announced his retirement after being cut by the Titans earlier this month, but it’s now to safe assume he’s ended his playing career.

A 2012 undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi, Davis bounced around during his seven-year career, spending time with the Rams (two stints), Dolphins, Browns, Broncos, Seahawks, and Titans. All told, Davis appeared in 16 total games, with his most significant action coming with St. Louis in 2014. That year, he started eight contests, completing 63.4% of his passes for 2,001 yards, 12 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

Last season, Davis was on call at various points for the Titans, signing with the club when fellow quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert suffered injuries. Davis spent the 2017 campaign as Russell Wilson‘s backup in Seattle, and the Seahawks’ coaches were apparently impressed enough by his football acumen to add him to the staff.

In addition to hiring Davis, the Seahawks also promoted Steve Shimko from offensive assistant to assistant quarterbacks coach and hired assistant wide receivers coach Brad Idzik.