Jeff Nixon

Staff Rumors: Commanders, Smith, Falcons, Bears, Pierce, Raiders, Giants

Among head coaches, Ron Rivera resides as the only true lock to be fired following Week 18. The Commanders‘ new ownership injects mystery into the upcoming search. Josh Harris has been rumored to be intrigued by a setup in which a football operations president-type figure oversees a GM and head coach, and’s Albert Breer further points to the owner being unlikely to hand the keys to a high-powered HC. Like Bill Belichick, Breer considers Jim Harbaugh an unlikely candidate in Washington. It is not known if Belichick would require personnel control if he ends up elsewhere, but Harbaugh having the leverage of more Michigan extension offers, it is expected the hard-edged HC would need significant input on the personnel front if he were to return to the NFL. So far, the Chargers have been the team most closely linked to luring him back.

Additionally, Breer notes Harris is intrigued by how the Eagles and Ravens’ power structures are set up. The Commanders hired ex-Ravens analytics staffer Eugene Shen as senior VP of football strategy in the fall. While the Eagles lost four staffers to assistant GM roles in 2022, the Ravens have a GM candidate in player personnel director Joe Hortiz. Baltimore’s OC-DC tandem — Todd Monken and Mike Macdonald — is expected to generate HC interest as well.

Going into Week 18, here is the latest from staffs around the NFL:

  • With the Falcons on the doorstep of a third straight 7-10 season, Arthur Smith‘s job status has come up frequently. Vacillating back and forth between being fired or becoming the rare HC to be given a fourth year despite three straight losing seasons, Smith was not exactly given a vote of confidence by Arthur Blank. But the longtime Falcons owner is not believed to be actively seeking changes, per Breer, making it sound like the hope is for Smith and GM Terry Fontenot to show enough to stay on. A one-sided loss to the Saints may well change Blank’s mind. The Falcons can win the NFC South by beating the Saints and the Buccaneers — who also have a coach on the hot seat — losing to the Panthers.
  • Ryan Poles is believed to have a good relationship with new Bears president Kevin Warren, being expected to stay on for a third year as GM. Prior to the Bears‘ rout of the Falcons, Matt Eberflus was linked to being in good standing for a third HC season. While expecting both to stay, Breer notes neither Bears power broker has been assured of a return. Warren has been a wild card in this scenario since he was hired, and the former Big Ten commissioner did not confirm publicly when asked Friday (via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley) if Eberflus would be retained. Eberflus is 10-23 as Bears HC, but the team — which has a rather important quarterback decision to make soon — is 7-5 over its past 12.
  • Raiders leaders Davante Adams, Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs would back the retention of interim HC Antonio Pierce, but Mark Davis is believed to be aiming higher. After all, Pierce — who resigned his two-year post as Arizona State DC in 2022 — has far less experience than Raiders DC Patrick Graham. But Pierce’s knowledge of the Raiders’ culture and history does appeal to Davis, Paul Gutierrez of writes, noting these factors matter considerably to the second-generation owner. No team has bumped an interim leader to the full-time post since the Jaguars elevated Doug Marrone in 2017.
  • Giants running backs coach Jeff Nixon is set for a responsibility jump; it will come at the college level. Syracuse hired Nixon as its offensive coordinator Friday. Nixon was in his first season as Giants RBs coach; he had served under Matt Rhule at Baylor and with the Panthers. The Giants hired Nixon last year to replace DeAndre Smith, who left to take the same position with the Colts.

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

NFC Coaching Updates: Commanders, Vikings, Giants

Confirming early rumors from this week that Stanford quarterbacks coach Tavita Pritchard could be finding his way onto Eric Bieniemy‘s new offensive staff in Washington, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has reported that the Commanders are working toward an agreement to likely make Pritchard the team’s new quarterbacks coach. The quarterbacks coaching position is currently occupied by last year’s position coach, Ken Zampese, but Fowler speculates that Zampese may stay on with the Commanders in a different role.

On the other hand, the team is parting ways with senior offensive assistant Jim Hostler, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. Hostler has been in Washington for the past three years and has an extensive history as a position coach in the NFL for several franchises, even serving as offensive coordinator for the 49ers back in 2007. Also expected to leave is wide receivers coach Drew Terrell. Terrell was a candidate for the Cardinals offensive coordinator position that was awarded to Drew Petzing, but after missing out, is still a strong candidate in Arizona for the role of pass-game coordinator.

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

  • The Vikings announced three staff updates today, according to Vikings staff writer Craig Peters. Minnesota hired two defensive staffers with past ties to new defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Mike Siravo was hired as the team’s new inside linebackers coach. Siravo worked as a graduate assistant at Boston College when Flores was there as a linebacker. Since then, Siravo has been a longtime follower of former Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, working with him at Temple, Baylor, and Carolina. He most recently held the position of defensive run game coordinator and linebackers coach for the Panthers. Lance Bennett has been hired as a defensive quality control coach for the Vikings. Bennett previously worked under Flores in Miami as an assistant to the head coach. Lastly, on the offensive side of the ball, Grant Udinski has been promoted to assistant quarterbacks coach. Udinski spent last season in the role of assistant to the head coach/special projects.
  • The Giants are expected to make an addition to their coaching staff, according to Mike Kaye of The Charlotte Observer. Former Panthers assistant head coach on offense Jeff Nixon is expected to be hired in the role of running backs coach in New York. If true, Nixon would be taking the role over from DeAndre Smith, who departed for the same position in Indianapolis today. Nixon likely hopes the Giants will find a way to bring back star running back Saquon Barkley, who is set to hit free agency this offseason.

Cowboys Interview Rams’ Thomas Brown For OC; Mike McCarthy To Call Plays

Mike McCarthy will indeed return to a play-calling role. Rumored to be readying to be a play-calling head coach, the former Packers HC will take on that responsibility next season for the Cowboys, Jerry Jones confirmed Wednesday.

The Cowboys have begun interviewing offensive coordinator candidates to replace Kellen Moore, meeting with Rams assistant Thomas Brown and Panthers staffer Jeff Nixon (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill), but the position will come with a reduced workload in 2023.

While McCarthy did not call plays for all of his Green Bay stay, he spent extensive time doing so. He last served as the Packers’ play-caller during the 2018 season, when the team fired him before the year ended. McCarthy played a major role in Aaron Rodgers‘ first two MVP awards — in 2011 and 2014 — but also drew frequent criticism. The Cowboys will sign up for a season of McCarthy at the controls.

The Pack ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense in nine of McCarthy’s 13 seasons, including a 2013 campaign in which Rodgers missed seven games. Brett Favre bounced back in his age-38 season under McCarthy, who was then in his second year coaching the Packers, and Rodgers’ first offense ranked fifth — despite Green Bay’s 6-10 record. While McCarthy gained a conservative reputation during his Green Bay years, he does have considerable experience as a play-calling HC.

Dallas moved forward with an unusual setup in 2020, hiring an offense-oriented coach but keeping its OC not only employed but as its play-caller. McCarthy kept Moore in that role for three seasons, and the Cowboys ranked in the top five in scoring offense in both years Dak Prescott has finished. This included a fourth-place ranking in points this year, despite Prescott missing early-season time because of a thumb injury. Jones confirmed (via the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins) McCarthy and Moore had philosophical differences.

The Chargers have since hired Moore, adding him as their play-caller a day after the Cowboys ousted him. Nixon, the Panthers’ running backs coach under Matt Rhule, became an immediate OC candidate. Brown, who has interviewed for HC and OC positions this offseason so far, is now on the radar as well.

Brown met with the Texans about their HC position and interviewed for the Chargers and Commanders’ OC gigs. Mentioned as a potential OC candidate with the Rams, Brown remains in place as their tight ends coach. He has been on Sean McVay‘s staff since 2020, coming to Los Angeles after spending most of the 2010s in the college ranks. Brown, 36, is viewed as a rising sideline talent, though the Rams made an outside hire — ex-Jets staffer Mike LaFleur — for their next OC.

Cowboys To Interview Jeff Nixon For OC Vacancy

For the first time in Dak Prescott‘s career, the Cowboys are on the lookout for a new offensive coordinator. With Kellen Moore headed to Los Angeles, their search for his replacement is set to begin.

Dallas is set to interview Panthers running backs coach Jeff Nixon for the OC position, reports Joe Person of The Athletic (Twitter link). The 48-year-old began his NFL coaching career with the Eagles in 2007, spending time there as an assistant on both offense and special teams. That led him to the Dolphins, where he took on the familiar role of exclusively coaching running backs.

Nixon spent four years in Miami, then one in San Francisco before working alongside Matt Rhule at Baylor. He joined the latter in Carolina upon his hire in 2020, and has been with the Panthers since. Nixon has once again been primarily working with the team’s running backs, but he also took over the interim OC role in 2021 following the dismissal of Joe Brady. In 2022, Nixon maintained senior offensive assistant as part of his title.

This past season saw the Panthers’ ground game lose its most potent weapon after Christian McCaffrey was traded to the 49ers midseason. In spite of that, the team still finished 10th in the league in rushing, averaging 130 yards per game on the ground. That element of their offense – driven by D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard following the McCaffrey deal – helped keep Carolina in the hunt for a playoff spot deep into the season despite their disastrous start under Rhule.

Nixon (who also interviewed for OC vacancies with the Jaguars and Raiders last offseason) is also a candidate to remain on staff in Carolina under new head coach Frank Reich. Should he depart, though, he could take on a sizeable role in a Cowboys offense which impressed in the regular season but fell short in the playoffs during Moore’s tenure. Dallas’ hire to fill the vacancy will not call plays, though, as head coach Mike McCarthy is reportedly set to assume those duties.

Another, internal, option for the Cowboys to consider is Brian Schottenheimer. The veteran staffer has OC experience with the Jets, Rams and Seahawks and served as a consultant in Dallas this past season. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer names the 49-year-old as a candidate to watch as the Cowboys’ search for Moore’s replacement starts to take shape in the coming days.

Panthers Fire OC Joe Brady

The Panthers have fired offensive coordinator Joe Brady, the team announced. Senior offensive assistant Jeff Nixon, along with the rest of the offensive coaching staff, will take over Brady’s duties for the remainder of the season.

Brady spent two seasons as an offensive assistant for the Saints from 2017-18 and truly made a name for himself as the passing game coordinator for LSU in the Tigers’ record-setting 2019 season that featured otherworldly performances from future first-round draft picks like quarterback Joe Burrow, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. That afforded him the opportunity to join Matt Rhule‘s first staff in Carolina in 2020.

The Panthers finished in the bottom half of the league last season in terms of total offense, though subpar QB play and a three-game season from star running back Christian McCaffrey certainly played a role in that. NFL clubs were still high on Brady’s ability, as he received five interviews for head coaching positions in this year’s cycle. As Albert Breer of tweets, Brady interviewed well, and a number of execs involved in those interviews believed he was a lock for an HC gig in 2022.

Unfortunately, Carolina suffered more of the same problems this year. McCaffrey is now out for the season after having played seven games, and an injury to starting quarterback Sam Darnold also helped to derail the Panthers’ once-promising season. A four-game losing streak earlier this year led some to believe that Brady would be stripped of his play-calling duties, and while that did not happen, Brady is now out of a job completely.

This year, the Panthers have slipped to 28th in total offense, and Brady’s creative mind has not been enough to consistently overcome what opposing defensive coordinators have thrown at him. He is still only 32 years old, but his meteoric rise has come to an abrupt halt, and he may have to rebuild his stock back at the college level.

Rhule said, “I met with Joe this morning and informed him that I have decided to make a change. I’m very grateful to him for his time and effort in helping us get established over this past year and a half.”

Panthers Add Several To Coaching Staff

As could be expected given Matt Rhule‘s hiring, the 2020 Panthers will feature a heavy Baylor feel on their coaching staff. In addition to Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow, several more Baylor assistants will make the jump to the pros.

The Panthers announced additional hires to their staff Friday. Among them are assistant head coach Jeff Nixon, wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson, tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, assistant offensive line coach Marcus Satterfield, assistant D-line coach Frank Okam, cornerbacks coach Evan Cooper and assistant special teams coach Ed Foley.

Nixon and Jackson played key roles under Rhule at Baylor, but both are ex-NFL assistants. Nixon, who will coach Carolina’s running backs, led the Dolphins’ running backs for five years before working on Chip Kelly‘s 49ers staff in 2016. He was Rhule’s co-offensive coordinator at Baylor from 2017-19. Most of Jackson’s work has come at the college level, but he spent 2017 as the Titans’ wideouts coach.

Angelichio has more experience at the NFL level, coaching tight ends previously for the Redskins in 2019. Instead of working for former Panthers coach Ron Rivera, he will trek to Charlotte for a role with Rivera’s old team. Previously, Angelichio was tight ends coach with the Buccaneers, Browns and Packers since 2012.

Rhule’s former Temple OC, Satterfield was Baylor’s tight ends coach last season. He is an NFL first-timer. A former NFL lineman, Okam is as well. He spent the past two seasons as Baylor’s assistant D-line coach. Also set to become an NFL rookie staffer, Cooper will move from Baylor’s assistant cornerbacks coach to running that position in Carolina. On Rhule’s Temple and Baylor staffs, Foley headed up the Owls’ special teams and was their interim HC after Rhule took the Baylor job. He is also set for his first NFL coaching gig.

The Panthers also hired E.J. Barthel, Grant Udinksi and Cedric Whitaker as coaching assistants. Barthel and Whitaker will make major jumps to the NFL after respectively spending 2019 at Houston Baptist and William & Mary, respectively. Udinski will make the Baylor-to-Carolina transition.

Coach Rumors: Shula, Lynn, 49ers, Manusky

It was widely reported during the week leading up to the NFL’s Wild Card games this month that Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula wasn’t interested in interviewing for any head coaching jobs while Carolina remained alive in the playoffs. However, speaking to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Shula says he’s not sure where that perception came from.

“All I said (to the media) was I’m focused on the playoffs,” Shula said. “The other quote was if it did happen, if I was approached, I’d have to consider that at the time. Those were my only quotes … Somebody said I had an agent out there talking, too. I don’t have an agent. I have a friend that helps me, but he definitely wasn’t that person … I don’t know where that (report) came from.”

It’s somewhat odd that Shula would clarify his stance now, after all the vacant head coaching positions have been filled, rather than earlier in the interview process. Those reports suggesting he was reluctant to interview for other jobs while preparing for Panthers playoff games didn’t materialize out of thin air, so even if Shula claims he would have been open to opportunities, I’d imagine he’s happy to remain in his current role.

Here are a few more coaching-related updates from around the NFL:

  • Bills running backs coach and assistant head coach Anthony Lynn is interviewing for the 49ers‘ offensive coordinator job, a source tells Marvez (Twitter link). Josina Anderson of (Twitter link) hears that the interview is scheduled to take place on Thursday. Lynn previously met with the Niners during the team’s head coaching search.
  • Matt Maiocco of provides another update on the 49ers, tweeting that Chip Kelly is interested in finding a spot on his staff for Jeff Nixon, who spent five years as the Dolphins’ running backs coach.
  • According to Marvez (Twitter link), Washington is set to hire Greg Manusky – who was the Colts’ defensive coordinator up until the end of the 2015 season – as the club’s outside linebackers coach. However, Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter link) and ESPN’s John Keim hear there’s no deal in place yet, though they both say Washington has interest in Manusky, with Keim confirming the team interviewed him.
  • The Titans have one more defensive line coach interview taking place today before making a decision on the position, tweets Marvez. Former Giants assistant Robert Nunn is one candidate for the job.