Jerry Gray

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

Coaching Notes: Fangio, Kocurek, Broncos, Dolphins, Falcons, Gray, Lions, Bills, Bears

The 49ers showed interest in Vic Fangio, joining almost every other DC-seeking team. But Fangio’s former team did not have the chance to bring him back in for an interview; Fangio finally committed to the Dolphins on Thursday morning. The 49ers were interested in a Fangio reunion, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, and 9News’ Mike Klis adds Fangio was also intrigued by coming back to San Francisco. The 49ers’ usage of a 4-3 scheme throughout Kyle Shanahan‘s tenure would not have been a major issue regarding a reunion with the 3-4 guru, Branch adds. That would make sense, as the 4-3/3-4 divide is not nearly as big an issue — thanks to sub-packages’ rise — as it was several years ago.

San Francisco remains on the hunt for a DeMeco Ryans replacement, placing Steve Wilks and Chris Harris (not the cornerback) on its interview list. The 49ers also are considering promoting defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets. The well-regarded staffer has been Nick Bosa‘s position coach throughout the All-Pro’s career and has fostered development from others as well. Ryans, meanwhile, is interested in bringing Kocurek to Houston as his DC.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Some recently dismissed assistants may be on the Broncos‘ radar. Ex-Sean Payton staffers Joe Lombardi, Kris Richard and Dan Roushar are in the mix for Broncos gigs under their new coach, Klis notes. Lombardi worked on Payton’s Saints staff for 11 years, the final five as QBs coach, but lost his Chargers OC gig recently. The Saints parted ways with both Richard and Roushar recently. The ex-Seahawks DC was in New Orleans for just one season (2021) under Payton, while Roushar had been on the Saints’ staff for the past 10 years. Richard may be in the running for Denver’s DC post, though Klis adds the Ejiro Evero-Payton talks began Wednesday night. The parties continued discussions today. Evero, who is under contract, staying on staff and leaving for a head coaching job in 2024 would net the Broncos two third-round picks.
  • The Falcons brought in former DC Jerry Gray as an assistant head coach. Gray, 60, spent the past two years as the Packers’ secondary coach but worked with Arthur Smith in Tennessee. Smith and Gray were both Titans staffers in the early 2010s, when the latter was Tennessee’s DC. The Falcons hired Ryan Nielsen as their defensive boss last week, but Gray will be a key assistant. Green Bay let Gray’s contract expire, with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noting (via Twitter) Gray and DC Joe Barry were not on the same page.
  • Once again, the Dolphins will look for a new offensive line coach. Miami fired Matt Applebaum after one season, Outkick.com’s Armando Salguero notes (Twitter link). Mike McDaniel‘s next hire will be the Dolphins’ eighth O-line coach in nine seasons. Applebaum, 39, joined McDaniel’s staff in 2022 after spending his previous coaching years in the college ranks.
  • The Lions added two fairly recent NFLers to their staff. They brought in Dre’ Bly and Steve Heiden to coach cornerbacks and tight ends, respectively. Bly, who played for the Lions from 2003-06 and made two Pro Bowls with the team, has not coached in the NFL previously. He spent the past four seasons coaching cornerbacks at North Carolina, his alma mater. Heiden will come over from the Cardinals, who employed the ex-NFL tight end as their tight ends coach throughout Kliff Kingsbury‘s tenure. The ex-Cardinal had been on Arizona’s staff for 10 years.
  • Acting quickly after making a change late last week, the Bills filled their safety coach role by hiring Joe Danna. Working under Lovie Smith with the Texans this season, Danna was in Jacksonville under Doug Marrone and Urban Meyer for the previous five yeras.
  • After the Falcons hired Nielsen, they fired Jon Hoke. But the veteran position coach will land in Chicago. The Bears hired Hoke as their cornerbacks coach and passing-game coordinator. This is a reunion for Hoke, who coached Bears DBs for six seasons (2009-14) previously. The team also promoted Omar Young from the quality control level to assistant QBs and wide receivers coach. Young is a 14-year coaching veteran who spent time with OC Luke Getsy in Green Bay.

Bears Request Interviews With Commanders’ Chris Harris, Packers’ Jerry Gray

The Bears requested interviews yesterday with two names that have been brought up in defensive coordinator searches recently. They requested permission to interview Washington defensive backs coach Chris Harris for an unspecified position on the defensive staff, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Jonathan Jones of NFL on CBS similarly reported that Chicago requested permission to interview Packers defensive pass game coordinator and defensive backs coach Jerry Gray for an “as-yet-undefined” role on the defensive staff.

Harris is a former All-Pro safety who began his NFL coaching career immediately after retiring as a player. He started off as a defensive quality control coach for the team that drafted him in Chicago. Harris was not retained after the firing of then-head coach Marc Trestman, and he joined the Chargers as the assistant defensive backs coach, moving with the team from San Diego to Los Angeles. When Ron Rivera was hired as head coach in Washington, Harris was granted a promotion to defensive backs coach, a position he’s held for the past three seasons with the Commanders.

The past couple of years have seen Harris participate in a few interviews for defensive coordinator positions. He was reportedly a finalist for the Packers coordinator job two years ago and interviewed with the Colts last year. Harris’s name came up today when Tennessee also requested to interview him. If he were to join the Titans, it’s presumed that he would come into the role of passing game coordinator, in addition to his usual position coaching gig.

Gray has actual coordinator experience from his time with the Bills and Titans. The 60-year-old coach was also requested to interview for the defensive coordinator position in Atlanta a week ago. After the Falcons’ former defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, announced his retirement, Gray’s name quickly came up as a replacement candidate. Gray’s defensive units have put up middling results over the years, but his experience calling plays makes him an attractive candidate to replace Pees, who has been doing so since 2012.

With defensive coordinator Alan Williams still in the position for the Bears, neither Harris nor Gray are likely being interviewed for his role. More likely, they are being considered for the role of passing game coordinator. Harris makes the most sense, considering his history with the franchise, but Gray has more experience in larger roles. The Bears should get to talk with both in the days to come.

Falcons Request DC Interviews With Jerry Gray, Ryan Nielsen

The Falcons have reportedly hit a roadblock with their first target to take on their vacant defensive coordinator position. Two new names have quickly emerged as candidates the team is interested in meeting with, however.

Atlanta has put in an interview request with Packers defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Jerry Gray, per Benjamin Albright of KOA Colorado (Twitter link). A sit-down is expected to take place next week, Albright adds. That news comes as little surprise, given the fact that Gray was quickly named as a candidate to replace Falcons DC Dean Pees following his retirement announcement.

Gray, 60, has NFL coaching experience dating back to 1997. His time on the sidelines at the pro level began in Tennessee, and includes a stint as the Bills’ DC from 2001-05. Gray ultimately found himself back with the Titans in 2011, when he took charge of their defense. His unit put up generally sub-par numbers during his time in Nashville, aside from his first year in charge where the team’s defense ranked eighth in scoring.

In addition, the Falcons have their eyes on the Saints’ Ryan Nielsen, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweets. The 43-year-old has exclusively worked with New Orleans during his time as an NFL staffer, beginning with the team in 2017. He spent five years working strictly with the defensive line, before being promoted to the role of co-DC this past offseason.

That move was necessitated by Dennis Allen being promoted to New Orleans’ head coach, of course, and increased Nielson’s importance (along with that of Kris Richard) to the Saints’ defense. The unit delivered a strong performance in 2022, ranking fifth in the league in yards allowed and ninth in scoring. That wasn’t enough to guide the Saints to a postseason berth given their offensive struggles, but it likely boosted Nielson’s stock as a high-end coordinator candidate.

Either option would bring significant experience to the rebuilding Falcons’ defense, so they could be serious candidates for the job. Atlanta is expected to cast a wide net in their search for Pees’ successor, however, so their list of interviewees is likely to grow in the coming days.