Dave Canales

Poll: Which Team Made Best HC Hire?

This year’s HC cycle became the rare carousel to generate more attention around the coaches who did not land jobs than the ones hired. Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel being left out will assuredly generate stories ahead of the 2025 hiring period, and it will be worth monitoring if Pete Carroll is connected to another coaching job.

But eight teams — up from five in 2023 — made the decision to change coaches. Dan Quinn‘s hire filled the final vacancy. While the Commanders’ process generated extensive fallout, teams are now moving forward with staff assembly following their HC hires.

The Commanders look to have gone through a bit of back-and-forth about their interest in Lions OC Ben Johnson. Pushing back on the notion the two-year Detroit play-caller was their top choice all along, Washington will give Quinn a second chance. But the former Dallas DC may well have been Washington’s third choice; the team made an aggressive push to land Mike Macdonald as well. The Seahawks finished that 11th-hour competition by giving the young Ravens DC a six-year deal.

Only Seattle and Washington waited until after the conference championship games to hire their coaches. Macdonald, who is half Carroll’s age, becomes the NFL’s youngest HC (36). (New Patriots leader Jerod Mayo, 37, held that title for several days.) A Ravens defense that carried major questions in the pass-rushing department led the NFL in sacks while leading the league in scoring defense as well. Quinn re-established his value over three years in Dallas, restoring that unit as one of the game’s best. While Quinn has the Super Bowl LI collapse on his resume and went 0-for-3 in playoff berths over his final three seasons in Atlanta, Washington’s new ownership group will bet on the experienced staffer.

Although the Commanders’ search produced a number of headlines, the Falcons introduced this year’s top “what if?” storyline. The only team serious about hiring Belichick, interviewing him twice, the Falcons steered clear of the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC. While Arthur Blank went into the hiring period prepared to hire the 24-year Patriots leader, it appears other Falcons higher-ups — in an effort potentially connected to their own statuses — helped sway the owner toward the Raheem Morris hire.

Morris, whom Falcons CEO Rich McKay hired during his time as Bucs GM in the early 2000s, will make the historically rare move of returning to coach a team years after operating as its interim HC. Morris left Atlanta on good terms in 2021 and comes back after a successful run as the Rams’ DC. Though, Belichick will undoubtedly be tied to Morris during the latter’s second Atlanta stay.

It took a six-year contract for the Panthers to bring in Bucs OC Dave Canales, who parlayed his first coordinator season into a head coaching gig. The Panthers trading the No. 1 overall pick and David Tepper‘s reputation as an impulsive meddler played into Carolina’s search, but the team had long been connected — despite Frank Reich‘s struggles — to pursuing an offense-oriented leader. Carolina also pursued Johnson for a second year but did not wait to make an attempt to interview him in-person. Following his work with Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield, Canales will be charged with developing Bryce Young.

The Titans also went offense with their hire, adding five-year Bengals non-play-calling OC Brian Callahan to succeed Vrabel. Zac Taylor‘s longtime lieutenant probably would have landed a job earlier had he called plays in a Joe Burrow-piloted offense, but the Titans will turn to the 39-year-old candidate to develop Will Levis. Brian Callahan will also technically oversee his father this coming season, hiring well-regarded Browns O-line coach Bill Callahan to the same position. This will be the Callahans’ first time on the same staff.

Las Vegas and New England each went with in-house solutions. The Raiders became the first team in seven years to elevate an interim HC to the full-time position. Mark Davis listened to his players, after expressing regret about not removing Rich Bisaccia‘s interim tag in 2022. But the second-generation owner also passed on interviewing other viable candidates for the job, only going through with required interviews to comply with the Rooney Rule. While Pierce accounted himself well as a leader during the season’s second half, his experience level is quite thin compared to just about every other HC hire in modern NFL history.

Using a Rooney Rule workaround by including language in Mayo’s contract about succeeding Belichick, the Patriots also passed on a true search. Robert Kraft intervened last year, extending Mayo after the Panthers had sought a meeting, and will give the keys to the recent Patriots linebacker. Mayo’s time in coaching does not match Pierce’s, though the former has spent more time as an NFL assistant. The franchise is largely keeping the Patriot Way going, promoting from within to fill the HC position and elevating an in-house staffer (Eliot Wolf) to fill the de facto GM post, only with Belichick no longer involved.

The highest-profile hire came out of Los Angeles. The Chargers became the team to lure Jim Harbaugh back to the pros. The Bolts gave the accomplished HC a $16MM salary — over five years — and signed off on allowing final say. Harbaugh has won everywhere he has been and held leverage in the form of another Michigan extension offer and a second Falcons interview being scheduled. The Bolts did not let him leave for that meeting and gave Harbaugh significant input into Tom Telesco‘s GM replacement (Joe Hortiz). Harbaugh’s final NFL snaps came with the Chargers, and after hiring three first-time HCs under Telesco, the team will make a bigger bet to turn things around.

Which team ended up doing the best with its 2024 hire? Why did Belichick fail to land a job? Will he and Vrabel be back in 2025? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this year’s HC market in the comments.

NFC Coaching Notes: Martindale, Macdonald, Gruden, Saints, Canales, Bucs, Bears, Eagles

The Packers went off the board with their defensive coordinator hire, bringing in Boston College HC Jeff Hafley. Matt LaFleur has looked to the college ranks during each of his DC searches, wanting to hire then-Wisconsin staffer Jim Leonhard in 2021. Hafley’s hire comes after the Packers squeezed in another interview with a seasoned NFL coordinator. Don Martindale met with the Pack about the gig, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets.

Martindale resigned his two-year post as Giants DC after a turbulent second season with Brian Daboll; he has since interviewed with the Jaguars for a job that went to Ryan Nielsen. Martindale has been accused of going rogue at points in New York, with the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz adding another footnote here. Ahead of the Giants’ Christmas game against the Eagles, Martindale is believed to have requested the equipment staff change linebacker Tomon Fox‘s number from 49 to 94 due to the DC’s plans of having him bumped up from the practice squad. That change was made without Daboll or GM Joe Schoen‘s approval.

As the Giants’ DC search continues, here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • The SaintsJon Gruden connection persists. Although Gruden is not on the radar — at least, as far as we know — for the Saints’ OC job, a GM informed the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora the former Raiders and Buccaneers HC should be expected to have a bigger role with New Orleans in 2024. Gruden worked as a consultant last summer and met with Saints officials recently. The GM suggested the possibility Gruden could eventually replace Dennis Allen, which would be quite the development considering the circumstances surrounding Gruden’s Las Vegas exit. For now, Gruden, who is still suing the NFL, remains without an NFL job.
  • Unsurprisingly, Mike Macdonald confirmed he will start his Seahawks tenure as the team’s defensive play-caller. Though, the new Seattle HC said (via SI.com’s Albert Breer) he is open to that changing at some point. Michigan’s 2021 DC, Macdonald called plays for the Ravens over the past two years and became one of this year’s most popular HC candidates as a result. Although Pete Carroll carried a defensive background, he did not serve as the Seahawks’ defensive play-caller.
  • The Buccaneers have lost much of their offensive staff to Carolina, seeing one-and-done OC Dave Canales take three staffers (receivers coach Brad Idzik, run-game coordinator Harold Goodwin, O-line coach Joe Gilbert). Tom Moore, however, will be staying in Tampa, per Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager. Moore, 85, has been with the Bucs since Bruce Arians‘ 2019 arrival. The former Colts OC, who is now 85, has served as a consultant for the NFC South team. This will be Moore’s 47th NFL season.
  • Baker Mayfield finished last in QBR in 2022, seeing his Panthers stay responsible for that dismal result. Canales helping the inconsistent QB recover from what happened in Carolina represents a key reason for his HC hire, ESPN.com’s David Newton notes. A Canales selling point hinged on the Bucs’ downfield passing, with Newton adding Tampa Bay went from 24th in that area (6.9 air yards per attempt) in Tom Brady‘s final season to third in 2023 (8.4).
  • The Eagles have permitted quarterbacks coach Alex Tanney to explore opportunities elsewhere, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. During the period between Brian Johnson‘s exit and the Kellen Moore OC hire, Tanney asked the team for the opportunity. The Eagles are moving on, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. Tanney received interest from the Colts last year, and McLane points to Indianapolis under ex-Eagles OC Shane Steichen as a potential landing spot.
  • The Bears have hired three more assistants. Chad Morton is signing on as running backs coach, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser, while ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin adds Chris Beatty is coming in as wide receivers coach. Most recently with the Chargers, Beatty coached D.J. Moore at Maryland. A former NFL return man, Morton is following OC Shane Waldron from Seattle. Morton was the Seahawks’ RBs coach from 2017-23. Chicago also hired Jason Houghtaling as assistant O-line coach, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero adds; Houghtaling was Tennessee’s O-line coach in 2023.

2024 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

The Commanders’ hire has wrapped this year’s cycle. Barring a team making an 11th-hour change, the 2024 HC carousel has come to a stop. The final breakdown produced five defensive coaches being hired compared to three with backgrounds on offense. Many teams are still searching for offensive and defensive coordinators, however.

Updated 2-1-24 (10:37am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Jerod Mayo, linebackers coach (Patriots): Hired

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Panthers Notes: ST Coordinator, QBs Coach, Front Office

The Panthers have made some progress filling their coaching staff, but the team still has a vacancy at special teams coordinator. There’s now at least one known candidate for the job, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Panthers are interviewing Bills assistant special teams coach Cory Harkey for their coordinator job.

[RELATED: Panthers Likely To Hire Buccaneers’ Brad Idzik As OC]

Following his five-year playing career, Harkey caught on as a tight ends coach in the college ranks. He earned his first NFL coaching job with the Bills in 2022, and he spent the past two seasons as their assistant special teams coordinator. Harkey clearly made an impression in his role, as he’ll now have an opportunity for the top ST job in Carolina.

While Harkey will interview for the job, he may not be the favorite. Joe Person of The Athletic passes along that Panthers head coach Dave Canales is targeting Seattle’s Tracy Smith as his special teams coordinator. Smith has had two lengthy stints working alongside Canales in Seattle, most recently as an assistant special teams coach. He also spent three years with the Texans organization, including a 2020 campaign where he served as the team’s ST coordinator. With Pete Carroll out in Seattle, Smith likely wouldn’t see any opposition if he decides to take his coaching acumen to the Panthers.

The Panthers are reportedly zeroing in on Buccaneers wide receivers coach Brad Idzik as their next offensive coordinator, and while that move hasn’t been made official, that hasn’t stopped the organization from looking to fill out the rest of the offensive coaching staff. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Panthers requested an interview with Cowboys quality control/offensive assistant Will Harriger for their quarterbacks coach job.

Harriger worked alongside Canales when the two were in Seattle, so there’s a clear connection. The coach recently worked with USC’s quarterbacks during the 2022 season, helping Caleb Williams win the Heisman Trophy. In Carolina, he’d be tasked with guiding former first-overall pick Bryce Young.

As Canales looks to fill his coaching staff, new general manager Dan Morgan is eyeing some reinforcement in the front office. Backing up what we heard last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter passes along that the Panthers are expected to pursue Chiefs vice president of football operations Brandt Tilis for a “prominent” front office role. Albert Breer of SI.com passes along that Tilis’ office in Kansas City has already been cleared out, and the executive hasn’t traveled with the team during the postseason.

Tilis was a candidate for the Panthers GM job, and the long-time Chiefs executive was a popular name in recent hiring cycles. In Carolina, Tilis would be expected to play an essential cap/analytics role within the front office.

One executive who won’t be back in Carolina next season is Samir Suleiman. The team has moved on from the director of player negotiations/salary cap manager, per ESPN’s David Newton.

Coaching Notes: Eagles, Canales, Bucs, Falcons, Fins, Fangio, Colts, Raiders, Jags

Mike Caldwell will not land the Eagles‘ DC position. Vic Fangio becoming available is expected to give the Eagles the candidate they wanted last year. Recently fired from his Jaguars DC post, Caldwell will still have a chance to end up in Philly. The Eagles are interviewing him for their linebackers coach position, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. Caldwell has a history with the Eagles as a player and coach. The longest stretch of Caldwell’s 11-year playing career came in Philly, transpiring from 1998-2001. Caldwell, 52, worked as a part-time starter for Ray Rhodes and Andy Reid‘s teams and joined Reid’s staff in 2008. On Reid’s final five Eagles staffs, Caldwell collected a Super Bowl ring as linebackers coach for the 2020 Buccaneers. The Raiders, however, have also shown interest.

With the coaching carousel spinning wildly, here is the latest:

  • The Falcons are the third team wanting to speak with Aden Durde about a DC post, joining the Packers and Rams. Raheem Morris wants to meet with the Cowboys’ defensive line coach, ESPN’s Todd Archer tweets. Durde, 44, has become quite popular. These are believed to be his first slips about a DC interview. Durde and Morris coached together in Atlanta from 2018-20; the former moved up from the quality control level — to outside linebackers coach — during Morris’ season as the Falcons’ interim HC. He has been in Dallas since.
  • Shifting back to Fangio, it seems there is little love lost between the veteran staffer and some Dolphins defenders he coached this season, agent Drew Rosenhaus said. Rosenahus mentions some Dolphins stood in Fangio’s corner but many did not. Fangio has been known to ruffle feathers but has been one of the most in-demand defensive coaches during the 21st century. The Dolphins had given him a deal worth more than $4.5MM per year. While his exit is being framed as the team letting the 65-year-old assistant return to his home state, unpopularity among players likely made that an easier decision.
  • The Buccaneers will not receive two third-round picks as a result of Dave Canales receiving a head coaching job, Mark Maske of the Washington Post notes. Although Canales is Latino, the Bucs will not pick up the Rooney Rule-driven draft haul due to the the coach’s one-year tenure, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud. Canales is believed to have needed to be with the Bucs for at least two years to receive the third-round selections from the NFL.
  • Matt House is returning to the NFL. The Jaguars are hiring the LSU defensive coordinator to be their linebackers coach, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. House, the Chiefs’ LBs coach from 2019-21, spent the past two seasons in Baton Rouge. He has served as a DC at four programs, including Kentucky. House will join Kris Richard and Cory Robinson as Ryan Nielsen Jacksonville hires thus far.
  • Spending the past three seasons as a Jets assistant, Ricky Manning Jr. will join the Raiders. The Silver and Black are hiring Manning as their new defensive backs coach. The former NFL DB spent time on the Raiders’ practice squad in 2009; his most notable coaching title has been assistant DBs coach in Seattle under Richard from 2016-17.
  • The Colts are not retaining two of their defensive staffers. They are letting the contracts of defensive line coach Nate Ollie and assistant DBs coach Mike Mitchell expire, per the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson, who adds neither staffer is expected back. Ollie, 32, joined Gus Bradley’s staff in 2022 despite having no history with the veteran coordinator. His firing comes after the Colts saw notable development from defensive ends Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo. The two 2021 draftees combined for 16.5 sacks this season, and the Colts had four players with at least eight. This marked Mitchell’s first coaching gig; he had finished his 10-year career as a safety with the Colts.

Panthers Hire Dave Canales As HC

Dave Canales‘ one-year run in Tampa Bay has earned him another offseason move, this time to lead a coaching staff. The Panthers are nearing a deal to hire the Buccaneers OC as their new head coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

The deal is now official. The Panthers announced they’ve agreed to terms with their division rival’s offensive coordinator. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Canales will be on a six-year deal, dedicating a lot of money to the contract of their newest head coach. It’s a long-term commitment that has the potential to pay off for both parties if Canales thrives in his first head coaching role.

A report from earlier this week noted that Canales drew rave reviews from the Panthers’ front office during his first interview. A follow-up meeting was in place, and it has obviously gone well. Carolina was long connected to pursuing a coach with an offensive background, and the team has indeed followed through in that regard.

Still, the move comes as a surprise given Canales’ lack of experience relative to a number of other candidates. The 42-year-old’s time with the Buccaneers in 2023 marked his first time as a coordinator at the NFL level. He came to Tampa Bay after a lengthy tenure in Seattle, during which he overlapped with Dan Morgan. The latter was promoted to general manager earlier this week.

Canales wore a number of hats with the Seahawks, working with the team from 2010-22. He worked with the team’s quarterbacks for much of his time in the Emerald City, and his ability to turn Geno Smith into a Comeback Player of the Year with a career-best performance in 2022 upped his stock considerably. Taking on the Tampa OC posting, he set himself up for another reclamation project of sorts with Baker Mayfield.

The former No. 1 pick outperformed expectations under Canales’ guidance, throwing a career-high 28 touchdown passes and posting a 94.6 passer rating, the second-highest mark of his career. Mayfield is therefore a candidate for a long-term Bucs agreement. If that materializes, however, Canales will not be in place to continue working with him, instead turning his attention to a division rival.

Carolina was interested in Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson during last year’s hiring cycle, and that remained the case in 2024. Johnson – who has received considerable interest from a number of other teams – was reported to be the Panthers’ top target. Johnson’s future remains uncertain as Detroit prepares for the NFC title game this weekend, but another potential landing spot for him has now been eliminated.

Of course, a central reason in the Panthers’ continued pursuit of Johnson was his work with Lions QB Jared Goff. Developing 2023 first overall pick Bryce Young will be the top priority for Canales after he endured a disappointing rookie campaign. Young’s struggles were not entirely of his own doing, but signficant strides will be required to justify Carolina’s acquisition of the No. 1 slot last spring. Major changes along the O-line and in the skill-position room should also be expected, and those can now happen with a new GM and head coach in place.

In the wake of Canales drawing serious interest from the Panthers, it was learned that Buccaneers QBs coach Thad Lewis was a prime candidate to take over as Tampa Bay’s OC. With the former having agreed to Carolina’s HC gig, it will be interesting to see if the latter does get tapped for the promotion. If not, the reigning NFC South winners will need to join the competition for outside additions at the coordinator spots.

Frank Reich entered last season with signficant expectations given his track record and the staff he assembled. Only 11 games into the campaign, however, Reich was let go, a sign of the reputation for impatience that owner David Tepper has generated in recent years in particular. Tepper’s personal involvement in a number of key personnel and roster decisions has also led many to assume top HC candidates would steer clear of Carolina. The team has nonetheless managed to find its next coach earlier than a number of others.

Once the Canales deal becomes official, the 2024 cycle will have seen five hires made. The Falcons, Seahawks and Commanders still have vacancies on their staffs, and their searches will now continue with one fewer candidate on the market.

Dave Canales Drawing Strong Interest For Panthers’ HC Job; Bucs To Consider Promoting Thad Lewis

The Panthers and Commanders have each been linked to placing Ben Johnson as their top HC candidate. Considering Carolina’s situation and David Tepper‘s recent actions, the team would seemingly need to extend a big payout to win a tiebreaker. In the event Johnson again spurns Carolina, the team looks to have another offensive staffer in mind.

Long connected to once again seeking an offense-oriented head coach, the Panthers have been impressed with Buccaneers OC Dave Canales, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, who indicates he is a serious contender to become the next Panthers HC. Canales is set for a second interview for the Carolina job.

The NFC’s second divisional-round matchup pitted two ascending OCs against one another, and while Johnson’s Lions won, Baker Mayfield‘s bounce-back season undeniably helped Canales’ stock. Canales was the Seahawks’ quarterbacks coach in 2022, overseeing Geno Smith‘s shocking resurgence that secured him Comeback Player of the Year honors. Mayfield subsequently completed a turnaround season in Tampa, rising from last in QBR in 2022 to moving the Bucs — their substantial 2023 dead money notwithstanding — to the divisional round.

Mayfield shredded a reeling Eagles defense in the Bucs’ wild-card rout and is now firmly on the radar for an extension. It would be a blow for the Bucs to lose Canales; the rookie OC, though, is only in contention for one of the HC positions. The Seahawks, Chargers and Commanders have not met with the 42-year-old staffer. Neither did the Raiders, Patriots or Titans. It seems some level of doubt exists on Canales, with Johnson being a more popular candidate after two years as Lions OC.

The Panthers have DC Ejiro Evero and Rams DC Raheem Morris joining Canales in being set for second interviews. Johnson interviewed with the team over the weekend; as of now, no second interview is scheduled. The Commanders, who are scheduling a second Johnson meeting, boast a superior outlook compared to the Panthers presently. They are free of Dan Snyder and hold the No. 2 overall pick (whereas the Panthers traded the No. 1 choice to the Bears) to go with the NFL’s most cap space. But Tepper is the NFL’s second-richest owner, giving Carolina an advantage on that front.

If Canales lands the Carolina job, Tampa Bay may look in-house to replace him. QBs coach Thad Lewis will be considered for the post in that event, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan notes. A Bruce Arians hire, Lewis just finished his first season as the Bucs’ QBs coach. He spent the 2021 and ’22 seasons as the team’s assistant wide receivers coach, but the ex-NFL QB’s work with Mayfield does not look to have gone unnoticed. Though, no team has yet reached out about an OC interview.

Panthers To Hold Second HC Interviews With Dave Canales, Raheem Morris

Carolina’s search for a new head coach continues, and the list of finalists is growing. In addition to an incumbent option in defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, numerous outside candidates are now on the team’s radar.

Carolina is set to interview Buccaneers OC Dave Canales for a second time, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Likewise, the team remains interested in Raheem Morris. The Rams DC is lining up several second interviews, including one with the Panthers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes.

Canales’ only interview to date has come with the Panthers, a team in need of a coach capable of developing quarterback Bryce YoungThe 2022 first overall pick struggled as a rookie, though the same was true as a whole for Carolina’s offense. Canales showed an ability to work well with Geno Smith during his time as Seattle’s QBs coach, and that landed him Tampa Bay’s OC position last offseason.

The Buccaneers’ offensive expectations were muted heading into the campaign with Baker Mayfield at quarterback. Indeed, Tampa finished only 20th in scoring and 23rd in total offense in Mayfield’s debut season with the team. However, he performed better down the stretch and delivered signficant statistical showings in both of the team’s playoff games. That could land Canales an extended look for his first career head coaching gig.

The Panthers are believed to prefer a coach with a background on the offensive side of the ball, but that does not apply to Morris. The veteran staffer does, however, have head coaching experience dating back to his time with the Buccaneers and (on an interim basis) Falcons. The 47-year-old has received a number of looks during the 2024 hiring cycle, including an interview with Atlanta.

Morris is believed to have departed the Falcons on good terms, meaning he could be a candidate to watch for Atlanta’s vacancy. He could have other options as well, though, including interest from the division-rival Panthers pending the outcome of their second meeting with one another. Staffers not still in the postseason are allowed to interview in person beginning today, so Carolina is one of many teams which could move toward a hire in the near future.

Here is an updated look at the Panthers’ search:

Panthers Request HC Interviews With Ben Johnson, Todd Monken, Bobby Slowik

The list of Panthers head coaching candidates continues to grow. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Panthers have requested an interview with Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson for the HC job. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Panthers have also requested a HC interview with Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The Panthers have also requested an interview with Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik (per Pelissero) and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales (via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler).

[RELATED: Panthers Request HC Interview With Bengals OC Brian Callahan]

Johnson is expected to be one of the most popular head coaching candidates this offseason. Since earning a promotion to offensive coordinator in 2022, Johnson has helped guide the Lions to one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Lions ranked top-10 in points in each of the past two campaigns, and after the passing offense took off in 2022, the rushing offense joined them in 2023.

Johnson was already a hot name last offseason, earning interviews with the Panthers, Texans, and Colts. Ultimately, Johnson said the allure of sticking with head coach Dan Campbell and quarterback Jared Goff convinced him to stay in Detroit. Following another successful regular season, it’ll be interesting to see how the offensive coordinator proceeds in 2024, especially if David Tepper is willing to back up the Brink’s truck.

Following underwhelming OC stops in Tampa Bay and Cleveland, Monken caught on with Georgia in 2020. He returned to the NFL in 2023, this time as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator. Monken was credited with helping guide the Ravens to one of the best offenses in the NFL this past season. In 2023, Baltimore ranked first in points scored, first in takeaway/giveaway ratio, and fourth in yards. Despite injuries throughout the depth chart, the Ravens’ rushing attack continued to be the most productive in the NFL, ranking first in yards, third in yards per attempt, and fourth in touchdowns.

After interviewing for the Jets and Packers head coaching jobs in 2019, Monken had been off the head coaching radar over the past few years. He’s quickly rehabilitated his image; besides his interview with the Panthers, Monken has also earned an interview from the Chargers.

Slowik’s stint with the 49ers culminated in him earning offensive passing game coordinator in 2022, and his success in that role earned him the OC job in Houston for the 2023 campaign. Despite rostering one of the least-experienced offenses in the NFL, Slowik squeezed a productive season out of his group, helping guide the Texans to the 12th-best mark in both points and yards.

Canales spent more than a decade in Seattle before earning the Buccaneers offensive coordinator job last offseason. There were plenty of question marks surrounding Tampa Bay’s offense heading into 2023, but Canales got a productive season out of his squad. Baker Mayfield had one of the best seasons of his career under center, and the Buccaneers ended up finishing top-10 in passing touchdowns and interceptions.

We already heard that the Panthers requested a HC interview with Bengals OC Brian Callahan, meaning the five definitive candidates all have offensive backgrounds. Recent reports indicated that Tepper was eyeing more of an offensive-minded coach, although that hasn’t stopped the organization from being connected to (and potentially pursuing) the defensive-minded Bill Belichick.

Buccaneers OC Dave Canales On HC Radar?

The Buccaneers have enjoyed a late surge in the 2023 season, and the team is positioned to once again win the NFC South. A large part of the their success is due to the play of quarterback Baker Mayfield, but also the performance of the coach overseeing their offense.

OC Dave Canales joined the Buccaneers this offseason after a lengthy tenure with the Seahawks. The 42-year-old interviewed twice with Baltimore, but he ultimately took the Tampa Bay opening in the first coordinator posting of his NFL coaching career. Things have gone well so far, considering the team’s four-game winning streak and the value Mayfield has shown in his debut Bucs campaign.

The former No. 1 pick has played his way into a signficant raise in 2024, something which could very well come from a Tampa Bay extension. Canales may not be in place by the start of next season, however. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports he is a candidate for the 2024 head coaching cycle. That adds him to the list of offensive staffers likely to receive interviews in the winter.

Lions OC Ben Johnson is arguably the top name on the market this year, and he has already been linked to multiple openings. Enjoying a successful return to the NFL coaching ranks, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken has likewise had his name floated as a HC candidate. Canales could represent a third option from an OC background for teams in search of help on that side of the ball.

Tampa Bay has had an up-and-down campaign in 2023, leading to a number of middling statistical outputs. The team’s struggles in the ground game from last season have persisted under Canales; the Bucs rank 30th in the league with an average of only 89 rushing yards per contest. The team has been better through the air, though, which has resulted in a mid-pack performance in terms of scoring (21.7 points per game).

Tampa Bay’s output has increased during the team’s current hot streak, which has no doubt helped Canales’ case for earning HC consideration. Still, the fact he will have only one season of coordinator experience by the time the 2024 cycle kicks off will hurt his chances compared to many other candidates. A strong final two weeks of the campaign, along with an impressive showing in the postseason (should the team qualify) could further bolster his odds of receiving a look for a head coach position in the near future, however.