Dennard Wilson

Ravens Add Dennard Wilson, Chuck Smith To Staff

In consideration for the Eagles and Browns’ defensive coordinator jobs this year, Dennard Wilson is joining the Ravens. Baltimore hired the former Philadelphia assistant as its defensive backs coach.

The Eagles had Wilson in place as a potential Jonathan Gannon successor, and the veteran position coach at a point looked like the frontrunner. Philadelphia promoted from within to fill Shane Steichen‘s OC position, elevating QBs coach Brian Johnson. But the NFC champions went outside the organization to replace Gannon, hiring Seahawks assistant Sean Desai. As could be expected, this meant a separation with Wilson.

Wilson, 40, will return to his home state. He both played high school and college football in Maryland; his Terrapins career spanned from 2000-03. Wilson both coached at his high school and was a graduate assistant at Maryland in the 2000s. He has been an NFL assistant since breaking into the league with the Rams in 2012. Nick Sirianni added pass-game coordinator to Wilson’s responsibilities in 2022, and the Eagles ranked first in pass defense last season. Wilson previously worked as DBs coach for the Rams and Jets. The Browns interviewed Wilson early during this year’s lengthy coordinator hiring period but went with Jim Schwartz.

It appears Wilson will work alongside Ravens defensive pass-game coordinator Chris Hewitt, who has been with the team since 2012. Hewitt previously held the title of defensive backs coach. Former Ravens safeties coach D’Anton Lynn, however, left this offseason to become UCLA’s DC under Chip Kelly. Lynn, 33, worked as Baltimore’s safeties coach over the past two seasons.

The Ravens are also hiring Chuck Smith to be their new outside linebackers coach, Dan Graziano of tweets. The former Falcons defensive end represents a bit of an unusual hire, having not coached at the pro or college levels in recent years. He coached at the University of Tennessee in 2010, though The Ringer’s Lindsay Jones notes Smith has worked alongside Von Miller at the latter’s annual pass rush summits (Twitter link). Smith, 53, played for the Falcons from 1992-99, being part of their Super Bowl XXXIII defense and finishing his career with three double-digit sack seasons. He will replace Rob Leonard, who left last week to become the Raiders’ defensive line coach.

NFC Coaching Updates: Wilson, Seahawks, Cardinals

When Jonathan Gannon departed to become the new head coach in Arizona, the Eagles had several options to fill the newly vacant defensive coordinator position. In the end, Philadelphia decided to hire externally, bringing in Seahawks assistant head coach and defensive assistant Sean Desai. According to Ian Rapoport, one in-house assistant coach has decided to part ways with the franchise after being passed over for the promotion, a situation not uncommon with coordinator jobs.

Former Eagles passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson was mentioned early as a top candidate to replace his former boss. Wilson certainly deserved mention. With the title of passing game coordinator, Wilson coached a group that allowed the few passing yards in the league this season. This feat is made all the more impressive by the fact that opposing offenses were doing whatever they could to keep up with the league’s No. 2 scoring offense.

Had Wilson not been a favorite for the promotion in Philadelphia, he likely would’ve been a hot commodity around the league. He’s held back only by a lack of experience, perhaps why Desai, a former defensive coordinator, was granted with the coordinator position over him. It’s a bit late for Wilson to be hitting the open market as many jobs have been filled. As far as I can tell, the Bills are the only team with a vacant defensive coordinator position. Wilson shouldn’t have any issues finding a job, though, after his success in Philadelphia.

Here are a few other coaching updates from around the NFC:

  • The Seahawks have added a pass rush specialist coach to their staff, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, hiring Brandon Jordan to the position. Jordan is widely regarded as a top pass rush coach in the game, long providing private training sessions with NFL pass rushers such as Jadeveon Clowney, Cameron Heyward, Chandler Jones, Von Miller, and T.J. Watt. He most recently held the same position at Michigan State, helping them go from 97th in the country with 12.0 sacks in 2020 to 6th in the nation with 43.0 sacks in 2021. This will be his first NFL opportunity.
  • With defensive coordinator Vance Joseph heading from Arizona to Denver, a defensive assistant is expected to follow Joseph from the Cardinals, according to Troy Renck of Insider Denver7. Renck reportedly fully expects Cardinals defensive quality control coach Rob Grosso to follow Joseph to Denver. Grosso had followed Joseph to Arizona after he was fired from his head coaching position in 2019. Grosso had served as assistant to the head coach in Denver working with outside linebackers and special teams. The Joseph disciple is expected to find his way back to Denver with his boss.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spun for several weeks, many teams made coordinator changes as well. Teams seeking new head coaches are conducting OC and DC searches, and a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

This is a big year for offensive coordinator hires, with nearly half the league making changes. Here are the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 3-1-23 (3:31pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals 

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Ben McAdoo)

  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach, (Rams): Hired
  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Kellen Moore)

  • Brian Angelichio, tight ends coach (Vikings): Interviewed 2/2
  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach (Rams): Interviewed
  • Jeff Nixon, running backs coach (Panthers): Interviewed
  • Brian Schottenheimer, offensive consultant (Cowboys): Hired

Denver Broncos (Out: Justin Outten)

Houston Texans (Out: Pep Hamilton)

Indianapolis Colts (Out: Parks Frazier)

  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Tee Martin, wide receivers coach (Ravens): Interview requested

Kansas City Chiefs (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Matt Nagy, quarterbacks coach (Chiefs): Hired

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Shane Steichen)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals (Out: Vance Joseph)

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Leslie Frazier)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Al Holcomb)

  • Ejiro Evero, former defensive coordinator (Broncos): Hired
  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): Interviewed
  • Marquand Manuel, safeties coach (Jets): Interviewed
  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator (Saints): Interviewed

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans 

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Renaldo Hill)

  • Derrick Ansley, defensive backs coach (Chargers): Promoted
  • Doug Belk, defensive coordinator (Houston): Interviewed
  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Interviewed

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Ryan Nielsen, Kris Richard)

  • Joe Woods, former defensive coordinator (Browns): Hired

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Jonathan Gannon)

San Francisco 49ers (Out: DeMeco Ryans)

  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): On radar
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/31
  • Kris Kocurek, defensive line coach (49ers): On radar
  • Steve Wilks, former interim head coach (Panthers): Hired

Eagles Hire Sean Desai As DC; Team Eyeing Mike Pettine For Assistant Role?

2:36pm: The hire is now official. After two meetings, the Eagles are giving Desai a second chance at a coordinator job.

2:21pm: Sean Desai‘s two interviews with the Eagles look to have won over team brass. The Seahawks assistant is heading to Philadelphia, Pete Carroll confirmed Tuesday (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).

While the Seattle HC did not entirely announce it was for the Philadelphia DC post, Jeremy Fowler of noted Tuesday morning (via Twitter) the former Chicago DC had emerged as a strong candidate for the position. This stands to be Desai’s second chance at a coordinator gig; his first one ended following Matt Nagy‘s firing last year.

The Bears promoted Desai to DC in 2021, but the team’s regime change naturally led to coordinator switches. Desai, 39, trekked to Seattle and worked under Carroll this past season. He drew interest from many teams this offseason. The Browns, Dolphins, Vikings, Broncos and Eagles interviewed Desai for their DC posts. Desai dropped out of Minnesota’s search to pursue the Denver gig, after former mentor Vic Fangio recommended the Broncos to the young assistant. But Vance Joseph ended up with that gig. The Eagles, however, had shown interest during Desai’s time as a Broncos candidate.

Desai will replace Jonathan Gannon as DC. While the Bears ranked 22nd in scoring defense in 2021, they finished sixth in yards allowed. A struggling offense hamstrung Chicago that year, and it led to a full-scale overhaul. Seattle did not make much improvement defensively last season, dropping from 11th to 25th in total defense from 2021-22. Nevertheless, the Eagles look set to bet on Desai.

The Eagles have also been connected to adding Mike Pettine to their staff, Geoff Mosher of tweets. Brought on as a Vikings assistant during Ed Donatell‘s one-and-done stay, Pettine was a Bears senior defensive aide during the 2021 season. The former Browns HC and veteran DC could be set to reprise his role on a Desai-led staff. With Brian Flores now in charge of Minnesota’s defense, it would make sense for Pettine — a former Packers, Bills and Jets DC — to land elsewhere.

Eagles DBs coach Dennard Wilson served as a strong candidate for the DC job, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports confirms. The Eagles will promote from within to fill their OC post, elevating QBs coach Brian Johnson, but it certainly looks like they are going with an outside hire on defense. Wilson has been with the team for the past two years; it will be interesting to see if he sticks around under Desai.

Coaching Updates: Eagles, Cards, Broncos

Following an impressive 2022 campaign that led to a Super Bowl appearance, the Eagles have watched their coaching staff be picked apart as both former coordinators have accepted positions as head coaches elsewhere. It looks like two of the assistants that they’ve held onto so far may be leading candidates to replace their former coordinators, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Breer claims that it’s looking more and more like quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson will be staying in Philadelphia. The lauded assistant recently turned down an opportunity to join Frank Reich‘s new staff in Carolina, which Breer believes sets him up to succeed Shane Steichen as the Eagles’ next offensive coordinator.

Similarly, Philadelphia may be looking internally to replace Jonathan Gannon, as well. Originally, the team considered Vic Fangio and Jerod Mayo as top candidates, but with Fangio taking the coordinator job in Miami and Mayo looking more and more like Bill Belichick‘s protege in New England, they were forced to keep looking. Breer posits that passing-game coordinator Dennard Wilson should be considered a top candidate for the defensive coordinator job in Philadelphia.

Here are a few other updates to coaching staffs currently in flux amidst regime changes:

  • The Cardinals have started piecing their coaching staff together under Gannon. The team has hired Klayton Adams to serve as their offensive line coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Adams has history coaching multiple offensive positions in the college ranks and last served as the tight ends coach for the Colts after two years as the assistant offensive line coach. He had recently accepted the offensive line coaching position at Stanford but will spurn the Cardinal to coach for the Cardinals. Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers is reportedly being retained by Gannon, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. No word on if Rodgers will retain both titles or solely serve as special teams coordinator. Lastly, the Cardinals had interviewed Commanders wide receivers coach Drew Terrell for their offensive coordinator position before hiring Drew Petzing to the position, but the team reportedly may still hire Terrell in a different role. According to Jeremy Folwer of ESPN, Terrell is considered a strong candidate to be hired as the pass-game coordinator in Arizona.
  • Yet another former Saints staffer will be joining Sean Payton in Denver. According to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, Dan Dalrymple will be joining the Broncos‘ staff. Dalrymple previously served as the Saints head strength and conditioning coach for the past 16 years. On the other side of things, a former Broncos staffer is on the way out, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. Following recent suspicions that Payton had his own person in mind for the job, wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni has opted to join Nathaniel Hackett in New York under the same title.

Brian Johnson In Lead To Become Next Eagles OC

Depending on Eric Bieniemy‘s decision, either 16 or 17 teams will have changed offensive coordinators this offseason. That whopping number could include both Super Bowl entrants, and both the Eagles and Chiefs look to be eyeing continuity-based approaches.

Signs continue to point to Brian Johnson succeeding Shane Steichen in Philadelphia. Teams pursued the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach during this year’s hiring period, but’s Adam Caplan notes teams were basically told not to bother. This lends further credence to the rumored plan of promoting Johnson to replace Steichen.

The Eagles could not block a Johnson interview, but the former Florida assistant may well be onboard with this plan. Despite Jets and Rams interest, a late-January report noted the position coach did not interview for those jobs. Contradictory reports emerged on Johnson’s interest in those positions, and the Panthers also had Johnson on their OC radar. The fact he remains in Philly now points to a promotion. Both Johnson and pass-game coordinator Kevin Patullo have loomed as Steichen replacement candidates, but Jalen Hurts‘ position coach appears to have a leg up here.

Although Johnson is Black, the NFC champions must interview at least one external minority candidate to comply with the Rooney Rule for coordinators. Johnson has been with the Eagles since Nick Sirianni took over, moving from Florida’s OC to Eagles QBs coach. Considerably more responsibility could soon come his way.

Sirianni said he wants his next offensive coordinator to call plays, as Steichen did, to keep allowing him to work in a CEO-type role. Johnson called plays at Florida during the shortened 2020 season, and the Gators rode the Kyle TraskKyle Pitts connection to 39.8 points per game — 13th in Division I-FBS that year. Johnson, 35, also served as Dak Prescott‘s position coach at Mississippi State in the mid-2010s. Hurts’ ascent did plenty to land Steichen the Colts’ HC job, and Johnson could soon be rewarded for his role in the quarterback’s rise.

On defense, the team views DBs coach Dennard Wilson highly, Geoff Mosher of adds. We heard earlier this week Wilson was a candidate to take over for Jonathan Gannon, and although the Eagles at least made some effort to keep their previous DC, the Cardinals hired him as their head coach Tuesday. The Eagles are the first team since the Bengals nine years ago to see both their OC and DC become head coaches in the same offseason. Wilson, 40, interviewed for the Browns’ DC job this year. He has been with the Eagles since Sirianni’s hire as well.

The Eagles will maintain continuity on special teams as well. They are retaining ST coordinator Michael Clay, Sirianni said. Clay served as the 49ers’ assistant special teams coach prior to joining the Eagles in 2021.

Eagles Attempting To Keep Jonathan Gannon, Eyed Vic Fangio As Potential Replacement

Following the Eagles’ narrow loss in Super Bowl LVII, Jonathan Gannon stayed in Arizona for his Cardinals interview. The second-year defensive coordinator has gained steam for the Arizona HC gig to the point he looks to be the favorite.

Gannon has been on the Cardinals’ radar for a bit, and the Eagles are at least making a pitch to keep him. The NFC champions have attempted to convince Gannon to stay on as their DC, Albert Breer of notes. Gannon was a Texans finalist last year, but the Cardinals have been the only team to seriously consider him this year.

Although the Cardinals’ search appeared to have dwindled to Lou Anarumo and Mike Kafka entering Super Bowl LVII, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano adds rumblings persisted about their interest in interviewing Gannon and Eagles OC Shane Steichen for a while. Gannon and new Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort, per Vacchiano, have been friends for a bit, despite never working together. Steichen is on track to become the next Colts head coach.

The Eagles had used Vic Fangio as a defensive consultant throughout the season, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane (on Twitter), and the accomplished defensive coach had planned to stay on through Super Bowl LVII all along. This arrangement kept his Dolphins gig from becoming official for a bit. Signed to a three-year deal worth more than $4.5MM per season, Fangio is now believed to be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive coordinator. He would have likely been the top option to replace Gannon, Breer adds, but several teams showed interest before the Philly DC vacancy became likely. The 49ers also appeared to have Fangio as their top option, but the Dolphins’ offer won out.

Should Gannon end up being the Cardinals’ next HC, Vacchiano notes Eagles passing-game coordinator Dennard Wilson would make for a natural replacement candidate. Wilson, 40, has been an NFL DBs coach since 2015, serving in that capacity with the Rams, Jets and Eagles. He interviewed for the Browns’ DC job earlier this year, seeing it go to ex-Eagles DC Jim Schwartz.

Steichen and Gannon both leaving would make the Eagles the first team to see both their coordinators land HC jobs since the 2013 Bengals, who lost Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer. The Cardinals have been at this HC search for a while, and their job might end up being the last one filled. The team saw Brian Flores — a reported finalist — bow out of the race, and higher-profile target Sean Payton chose the Broncos. Dan Quinn also withdrew from multiple searches, while DeMeco Ryans cancelled his Cardinals and Colts interviews. Frank Reich landed in Carolina. It is not known how far Reich was going to advance in Arizona’s search, but this process has dragged into a sixth week now.

Browns To Interview Eagles’ Dennard Wilson For DC Job

We can add another name to the list of Browns defensive coordinator candidates. The Browns are planning on interviewing Eagles defensive pass game coordinator Dennard Wilson for the job, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The interview is expected to take place today, according to Mary Kay Cabot of (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Browns Request DC Interviews With Brian Flores, Jim Schwartz]

Wilson joined the Eagles in 2021 as a defensive backs coach before earning the title of defensive passing game coordinator for the 2022 campaign. Philly’s defense ended up allowing the fewest passing yards in the NFL while finishing top-five in interceptions, with C.J. Gardner‑Johnson finishing in a tie for the league-lead with six.

Pro Football Focus was especially fond of the team’s secondary in 2022. The site ranked three Eagles (James Bradberry, Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox) among their top-35 cornerbacks (122 qualifiers). Safety Reed Blankenship also earned a top-15 ranking at safety among 89 qualifying players. Thanks to a strong performance from the Eagles defense as a whole, Wilson will now have an opportunity for a promotion.

Shortly after firing three-year defensive play-caller Joe Woods, the Browns compiled a list of defensive coordinator candidates. The targets include Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores, Seahawks associate HC Sean Desai, and former HC Jim Schwartz. Cleveland also reached out to Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, but he declined the interview and continues to negotiate a new deal with New England. Flores and Schwartz have already interview for the job; it’s uncertain when (or if) Desai will speak with the organization.

Coaching Notes: Eagles, STC, Bears, Seahawks, Colts

Nick Sirianni continues to flesh out his inaugural Eagles staff, and it’s a young one. The team has hired Michael Clay to be their special teams coordinator, they announced over the weekend. Clay, still only 29, has been the assistant special teams coordinator with the 49ers since 2016. Philly’s new offensive coordinator Shan Steichen is only 35, new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is only 37, and Sirianni himself is 39. As such, it may be the youngest staff in the league. Clay got his coaching start with the Eagles as an assistant under Chip Kelly. When Kelly was fired by the Eagles Clay went with him to San Francisco and was then retained by Kyle Shanahan after Kelly was fired there.

Here are more coaching notes from around the league:

  • The Bears recently promoted Sean Desai to defensive coordinator to replace the retiring Chuck Pagano, and now they’re adding to his staff. The team has hired Bill McGovern to be inside linebackers coach, a source told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). McGovern coached in the college ranks for a couple decades, spending some time as Boston College’s defensive coordinator, before becoming a linebackers coach with the Eagles in 2013. He then was as a linebackers coach with the Giants from 2016-19.
  • The Seahawks hired Rams quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Shane Waldron to be their new OC after firing Brian Schottenheimer, and Waldron wasn’t the only one they poached from Sean McVay. Waldron is taking Andy Dickerson with him to be the run game coordinator in Seattle, the team announced. Dickerson had spent the past nine seasons as an assistant offensive line coach with the Rams.
  • Another addition to the Eagles’ staff, as they’ve hired Dennard Wilson to be their secondary coach, Rich Cimini of tweets. Wilson held the same position with the Jets most recently, and was also New York’s passing game coordinator. Philly will also be keeping wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead as a holdover from Doug Pederson’s staff, Geoff Mosher tweets, so there will at least be a little bit of continuity on offense.
  • To replace Gannon, who had been the Colts’ cornerbacks coach, Indy has hired James Rowe to fill the same role, according to Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. Rowe was most recently the cornerbacks coach at Appalachian State, and had previously been an assistant with Washington.

Adam Gase Finalizes First Jets Staff

Adam Gase finalized his initial Jets coaching staff, and several new names will be added to the mix. In addition to the interesting setup reuniting ex-Saints staffers Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt, along with Blake Williams‘ arrival, the Jets announced five other new coaches will be joining their staff.

Longtime defensive end Andre Carter will come aboard as Gang Green’s defensive line coach. This will be Carter’s first chance at leading a position group. The 39-year-old former 13-year NFL veteran broke into coaching as the Dolphins’ assistant D-line instructor the past two seasons.

Gase hired John Dunn as tight ends coach. Dunn spent last season as the University of Connecticut’s assistant head coach. He’d previously worked with Jets OC Dowell Loggains in Chicago as an offensive assistant, his lone NFL experience to date.

Mentioned as another Miami-to-New York relocation candidate, Frank Bush will coach the Jets’ inside linebackers and carry an assistant HC title. Bo Hardegree will serve as an offensive assistant, and Eric Sanders will follow Gregg Williams from Cleveland to the Big Apple and work as a defensive assistant. The Browns jettisoned Sanders and the Williamses from their staff last month.

Gase will retain a few Todd Bowles-era coaches, most notably the special teams (Brant Boyer and Jeff Hammerschmidt) and defensive backs staffs (Dennard Wilson and Steve Jackson) will remain intact. Every other position group will have new leaders.