Drew Petzing

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

NFC West Rumors: Murray, Dobbs, Adams

The outcome for the Cardinals‘ 2023 season was pretty much already decided by the time the team finally was able to return quarterback Kyler Murray to the roster. Murray has now missed 18 games over the past three years, and even when he’s been available, Murray has a 5-10 record during the most recent two seasons.

Still, Cardinals offensive coordinator Drew Petzing has full confidence in Murray as a franchise quarterback in Arizona, according to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. Petzing, who worked with Kirk Cousins during his tenure in Minnesota, points towards Murray’s first three years in the NFL, which resulted in an Offensive Rookie of the Year award and two Pro Bowl selections in the years following.

Petzing claims that, if it were up to him, he wouldn’t look at drafting a quarterback in the first round with one of their two Day 1 picks this April. Unfortunately for Petzing, it’s not necessarily up to him. With the recent major injury to Murray and his lack of success since the 2021 season, the rest of the team brass may deem it necessary to bring in a Day 1 passer to expand their options.

Here are a couple of other rumors coming out of the NFC West, starting with another note out of Phoenix:

  • When Arizona traded quarterback Joshua Dobbs to Minnesota along with a seventh-round pick, there were conditions in place that would allow for the Cardinals to get that pick back if Dobbs met certain milestones. Well, according to Howard Balzer of PHNX, despite Dobbs recently being benched in favor of Nick Mullens, the fact that Dobbs started four games for the Vikings will send Arizona’s seventh-round pick back to the Cardinals.
  • In a recent Q&A with Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic, Dugar addressed the possibility of Seattle moving on from former All-Pro safety Jamal Adams after this season. While that seems like a real possibility with massive cap hits of $26.9MM and $27.9MM over the next two years and Adams’ recent drop in quality of play, it wouldn’t benefit the team as much as you might think. Releasing or trading Adams would result is a charge of $20.8MM in dead money for the Seahawks while only saving $6.08MM in cap space. Designating the move as a post-June 1 release would spread the dead money over the 2024 and 2025 seasons and increase the cap savings for 2024 to $16.5MM, but that still holds quite a heavy cost. Dugar believes that Adams may receive the benefit of the doubt, given the organization knows that he’s been limited with a knee injury. The high costs with that benefit of the doubt may be enough to keep Adams in green and navy for a couple more years.

Latest On Cardinals’ Quarterback Plan

Kyler Murray‘s long-awaited return will commence in Week 10. The Cardinals used up Murray’s three-week return-to-practice window, giving the former Pro Bowler effectively a midseason training camp to work in Drew Petzing‘s system. That run-up may be important to how the organization proceeds at quarterback in 2024.

Moving parts exist here, given the Cardinals’ 2024 draft placement at this season’s midpoint. But the Cardinals want to see how Murray functions in their new play-caller’s system before making a determination about the longer-term future, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano notes.

The Cards are 1-8, but Petzing was able to coax some productive performances from Josh Dobbs, who had arrived just before the season via the Browns trade. Arizona ranks 27th in offensive DVOA, with Clayton Tune‘s disastrous outing in Cleveland making a notable impact on the team’s overall numbers. Exiting their 58-yard offensive showing against the Browns, the Cards rank 31st in passing. Petzing’s system — which came from Kevin Stefanski‘s Browns attack — is seen by some around the league as one that could boost Murray’s stock, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe adds (subscription required). That said, the dual-threat QB the Browns added — Deshaun Watson — has not exactly taken to it during his early run in Ohio.

Murray, 26, has received an extensive buildup period upon returning from his ACL tear. He is nearly 11 months removed from it. Theories about the Cardinals keeping Murray inactive as they determine their future, which could include Drake Maye or Caleb Williams, ended up unfounded. But Murray’s showing stands to impact how the team proceeds next year, regardless of Jonathan Gannon‘s interest in keeping Murray as long as he is the HC.

The Cardinals could be in position to either draft one of the top two QBs or follow in the Bears’ footsteps and auction the pick to accelerate a rebuild that would, in the latter scenario, include Murray as the centerpiece. The Texans have improved to the point it looks unlikely they will land a top-five draft slot for a fourth straight year; Houston traded its 2024 first-rounder to Arizona to move up for Will Anderson in April. It would stand to reason Murray being active will hurt the Cardinals’ chances of securing a top-two pick in the ’24 draft, but the Cardinals’ power structure wants to see the former No. 1 overall pick in this new system to collect more information.

Murray could conceivably restore some of his trade value by staying healthy upon return. But Howe adds that his contract — five years, $230.5MM ($103.3MM fully guaranteed) — is not seen as tradeable. It would cost the Cardinals a record-setting (for now, as Russell Wilson‘s contract remains on the Broncos’ cap sheet) $46MM in dead money if he were traded before June 1. The Cards would owe Murray an $11.9MM guarantee on March 17 — Day 5 of the 2023 league year — if he is still on the roster; that money covers part of his 2025 salary. The year-out guarantee would stand to drive an early trade, but it would be punitive for the Cardinals. And a shortage of teams, Murray’s flashes in the past notwithstanding, would be in line to take on that contract.

Arizona paying part of Murray’s deal could facilitate a better return, but an executive told Howe a Murray release could also be in play — in the event the Cardinals commit to drafting another QB — due to a lack of trade interest. Even in a post-June 1 scenario, the Cardinals would be hit with a $48.3MM dead-money bill in 2024 by cutting the QB they extended in July 2022. A QB-needy team not in position to nab Williams or Maye may also be interested in Murray, though the return would not approach what the Texans received for Watson last year.

The fork-in-the-road moment the Cardinals may soon face will be a storyline to monitor as Murray resumes play. They already dealt Dobbs to clear out a spot, doing so after Gannon had told the media the journeyman would start against the Browns in Week 9. Dobbs took it a step further this week, indicating Gannon informed him he would not be traded.

Went to sleep, woke up Tuesday morning with a text from my agent saying, ‘Hey, you could be traded today because it’s the trade deadline,” Dobbs said on his Torchbearers podcast (via Yardbarker). “When I had the meeting with [Gannon] in Arizona, he looked at me in the face and he said, ‘You’re not being traded. You’re not being released. You’re going to be here in Arizona.”

After Gannon confirmed the Cardinals’ course change on Oct. 30, the team pulled the trigger on the Dobbs trade hours before the Oct. 31 deadline. The Cardinals sent Dobbs and a conditional seventh-round pick to the Vikings for a 2024 sixth-rounder. Dobbs, who made eight starts as a Cardinal, will start again for the Vikings in Week 10. It is not uncommon to see coaches and GMs backtrack on previous claims as trade rumors circulate, and it is also possible Gannon intended to start Dobbs once again but ended up being overruled.

The 28-year-old passer, after replacing a concussed Jaren Hall, piloted the Vikings to an upset win in Atlanta despite barely knowing Kevin O’Connell‘s system. Tune is now positioned as Murray’s backup, but the next two months will provide some answers about Arizona’s post-2023 QB direction.

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

Cardinals Hire Drew Petzing As OC

The Cardinals are moving quickly to fill their coordinator positions. Shortly after he reported that Arizona was hiring 29-year-old Nick Rallis as its new DC, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network says that the club is hiring Browns quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing as its new OC (Twitter link).

Petzing, 35, landed his first NFL position when he became a football operations intern for Cleveland in 2013. Like Rallis and Gannon, Petzing spent a number of years working under former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer in Minnesota, serving on the Vikings’ offensive staff from 2014-2019 (Gannon was the Vikes’ assistant DBs coach from 2014-17, and Rallis was on the club’s defensive staff from 2018-20).

In 2020, Petzing returned to the Browns as the team’s tight ends coach, and he moved to the quarterbacks room last year, working with Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson. Watson served an 11-game suspension to start the 2022 campaign, and when he returned to the field, he was clearly rusty. In six games, he compiled a 3-3 record, completed a meager 58.2% of his passes, and threw seven TDs against five interceptions. That amounted to a poor quarterback rating and QBR of 79.1 and 38.3, respectively.

On the other hand, Brissett delivered a solid performance as Watson’s placeholder for the first 11 games of the season, and it is clear that both Zimmer and Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski saw Petzing as a valuable offensive mind worth retaining. Of course, the relative youth and inexperience of Gannon, 40, and his new coordinators will be a major talking point in the desert, though Gannon has been quick to downplay the significance of such matters.

Noting that the Eagles enjoyed success with an inexperienced trio of Nick Sirianni at head coach, Shane Steichen at offensive coordinator, and himself at defensive coordinator, Gannon said, “You never really know until you do the job. Experience, yes, it’s a good thing, but if you’re convicted on somebody, you roll the dice and that’s what you go with” (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, who adds that Gannon and Petzing developed a strong friendship and working relationship during their time in Minnesota).

“We (the Eagles) had the youngest staff in the NFL,” Gannon added. “You need to hire the right people, not necessarily their resume. It’s what’s the right fit.”

Though Petzing will be calling offensive plays for the first time in his career, his most important duty will be getting quarterback Kyler Murray to return to form (when he is cleared to play, that is). After earning Pro Bowl acclaim in the 2020-21 campaigns, Murray regressed in all major passing categories last year, and he suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in December. That injury could keep him on the shelf until the halfway point of the 2023 season. Arizona might also part ways with star wideout DeAndre Hopkins in the coming months, adding another challenge for Petzing & Co. to overcome.

The Browns, meanwhile, could turn to receivers coach/passing game coordinator Chad O’Shea or tight ends coach T.C. McCartney to replace Petzing, as Cabot notes. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic suggests that Cleveland could also consider Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban, who may be allowed to make a lateral move to a different organization since Baltimore has a new OC in Todd Monken on the staff (Twitter links).

Cardinals Request OC Interviews With Drew Petzing, Drew Terrell, Joel Thomas

With Jonathan Gannon in place as the new head coach in Arizona, changes are coming on the defensive side of the ball. As for their offense, several candidates will be considered before a hire is made.

The Cardinals put out three interview requests for the offensive coordinator position on Thursday. In a trio of tweets, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report that Arizona is seeking a meeting with Browns quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing, Commanders wide receivers coach Drew Terrell and Saints running backs coach Joel Thomas.

As Rapoport notes, Petzing is a strong contender to land the position. The 35-year-old worked alongside Gannon during their shared time in Minnesota, and was named as a logical hire in the event Gannon was given the head coaching position in Arizona. Petzing has spent the past three years in Cleveland, coaching the team’s tight ends before taking charge of the QBs room in 2022.

Terrell, 31, spent four years in the college ranks before making the jump to the NFL. He worked with the Panthers for two years, then went to Washington in 2020. After one season as an assistant WRs coach, the Stanford alum was promoted to the full-time position and has held it for the past two years. Rapoport adds that Terrell is highly regarded around the league despite his relative lack of experience, so it comes as little surprise that he is receiving interest for a coordinator position.

Thomas held a number of hats at the NCAA level, but has consistently worked with running backs throughout his career. He worked as an OC at Idaho in 2004 and 2005, serving in a similar capacity at Washington in 2012. His only NFL posting has been in New Orleans, beginning in 2015. The 48-year-old has been a key positional coach helping drive the success the Saints have enjoyed with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield during his tenure, though, like the other two coaches, he has not received interview requests from any other team so far.

Much has been made about the importance regarding Gannon’s hire at OC, given his own background as a defensive staffer and his status as a rookie head coach. During his introductory press conference, he spoke about his commitment – regardless of whomever is tapped as offensive coordinator – to keeping the unit centered around Kyler Murray.

“I have a very specific vision of how I want to play on offense and the person that comes in here to run the offense is going to understand that everything that we do will be structured around the quarterback position to maximize his skill set,” Gannon said, via ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss“And we have an elite one.”

Gannon added that he expects to start the interview process to begin in the next few days, so a decision will likely not come long after as he works to build his staff.

Cardinals To Request HC Interview With Jonathan Gannon

8:00pm: In an update to his previous reporting, Balzer states rather definitively that Gannon “will be the Cardinals’ new head coach” (Twitter link). He adds that there is a “strong possibility” Browns QBs coach Drew Petzing is hired for the OC role, something SI’s Albert Breer tweets would come as no surprise if Gannon were to be hired. Petzing and Gannon have history with each other dating back to their time spent with the Vikings.

10:16am: When Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said that his team’s new head coach would not be announced until after today’s Super Bowl, it led to plenty of speculation that he wanted to interview one of the coordinators participating in the title bout. That turned out to be the case, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Arizona is expected to request an HC interview with Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon (Twitter link).

Gannon interviewed for the Texans’ head coaching position in January and was at one time considered the frontrunner for the post, particularly since he had interviewed for the same job last year. Houston, however, pivoted to DeMeco Ryans, and until today, Gannon had not been formally connected to any other HC opening in this year’s cycle.

It’s easy to see why the Cardinals would have interest in Gannon. The 39-year-old, who just wrapped his second season as Philadelphia’s DC after a three-year stint as the Colts’ defensive backs coach, oversaw a unit that ranked second in the league in total defense and eighth in points allowed in 2022. The Eagles also boasted the best pass defense in the NFL — which reflects well on Gannon given his background as a DBs coach — and posted a whopping 70 sacks (60 of which came from a base front, as opposed to a blitz).

In a lengthy feature on Gannon’s life and career, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says that Gannon’s scouting experience — he spent several years as a college and pro scout with the Rams — has boosted his stock as a top HC candidate. Gannon himself confirmed that the GMs he has spoken with appreciate the fact that he knows and understands that side of the business.

Gannon also has a strong relationship with new Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort, as Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Breer adds that Bidwill also did a great deal of background work on Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, though no interview has been requested as of the time of this writing. It presently appears as if Steichen is in line to land the Colts’ head coaching job, so the Eagles could find themselves looking to replace both of their top coordinators in short order.

The strength of Gannon’s Arizona candidacy will depend, at least in part, on whom he taps as his offensive coordinator, as Howard Balzer of PHNX tweets. Kyler Murray may not be ready to return to action until midway through the 2023 season, but he is the team’s franchise quarterback, and his performance will largely drive the team’s fortunes in the coming years. So in addition to bringing the right head coach aboard, the team also needs to hit on its OC hire.

Bengals DC Lou Anarumo and Giants OC Mike Kafka are the Cardinals’ other two head coaching finalists.

Browns Make Changes To Coaching Staff

The Browns coaching staff will look at bit different next season. Per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Browns have promoted Drew Petzing to quarterbacks coach.

Petzing has made a name for himself as Cleveland’s tight ends coach, leading to him getting an interview for the Raiders offensive coordinator gig. While he didn’t end up getting that major promotion, he will be taking on a larger role on the Browns’ offense.

“We feel like he has a unique perspective that he can contribute with those quarterbacks and help in their development,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said (via Ulrich). “He’s an important piece of our offensive staff, and we’re excited to get him and [offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt] working together.”

Stefanski didn’t have a QB coach on his staff through the first two years of his tenure in Cleveland, with Van Pelt basically holding those duties. The Browns filled their new TEs coach opening by promoting T.C. McCartney.

With McCartney getting a bump, the Browns have also promoted Jonathan Decoster to offensive assistant to offensive quality control coach. Decoster has had coaching stints at Old Dominion, West Virginia State, Nevada, and LSU. Per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com, the Browns have also moved Ashton Grant to offensive quality control coach, moved Stephen Bravo-Brown from defensive quality control coach to assistant special teams coach, and added the title of “assistant wide receivers coach” to chief of staff Callie Brownson. The Browns also hired Jordan Thomas as assistant defensive line coach and Jeff Anderson as defensive quality control coach.

Raiders Interview Patrick Graham For DC, Set Up OC Meeting With Drew Petzing

Patrick Graham has generated considerable attention this offseason. After making it to the final round of the Vikings’ HC search, he booked a Raiders defensive coordinator interview.

The Raiders are interviewing the Giants’ DC for the same position Friday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. They also requested a meeting with Browns tight ends coach Drew Petzing, Zac Jackson of The Athletic tweets. Petzing will interview for Las Vegas’ OC job Saturday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Should Graham’s Raiders interview go well, he may have an interesting decision to make. New Giants HC Brian Daboll wants Graham back as DC, despite the latter being a Joe Judge holdover. Daboll and Graham worked together in New England, however. Graham also has close ties to the new Raiders power structure, having worked alongside Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler with the Patriots. McDaniels and Graham overlapped as Pats staffers from the 2011 playoffs — when McDaniels returned after a one-and-done Rams OC stint — through the end of the 2015 season, after which Graham left for his first run as a Giants assistant.

The Vikings chose Rams OC Kevin O’Connell over Graham, but Graham has now met with three teams — also being up for the Steelers’ DC job that went to in-house candidate Teryl Austin — this offseason. The 43-year-old defensive play-caller will land on his feet soon. The Raiders poaching Graham would force the Giants into other plans.

This upcoming OC interview marks new territory for Petzing, who has been a position coach for the past several seasons. Petzing, 34, has worked with Browns HC Kevin Stefanski throughout his career. After five years with the Vikings, Petzing went with Stefanski to Cleveland in 2020. McDaniels plans to call plays for the Raiders, minimizing their next OC’s role to some degree. The team has its new QBs coach in place already, in Bo Hardegree. The Raiders are also retaining wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett.

Browns Activate Joel Bitonio

The Browns have activated left guard Joel Bitonio off of the COVID-19 list, per a club announcement. To make room, the Browns waived safety Tedric Thompson. The Browns will also have head coach Kevin Stefanski back on the sidelines against Kansas City, now that he’s been cleared.

Bitonio tested positive for the coronavirus just prior to the Browns’ first-round playoff game against the Steelers. It was a huge loss, but the Browns still managed to throttle the Steelers in the first quarter and hold on for the victory. Now, they’ll have the three-time Pro Bowler back in action as they face the Chiefs in the divisional round.

Bitonio has been a rock for the Browns throughout his seven-year career, despite constant instability in Cleveland. Up until the diagnosis, Bitonio hadn’t missed a snap since 2016. Still, the Browns aren’t 100% healthy on the offensive line. Tackle Jack Conklin was forced out of the Steelers game with a hamstring and his status might not be determined until we get closer to kickoff.

In addition to activating Bitonio, the Browns moved wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge off their reserve/COVID list. They will also have all their coaches back after coronavirus issues forced them to miss last week’s game. Secondary coach Jeff Howard, tight ends coach Drew Petzing and assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters will all coach Sunday, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes (Twitter links).