Jerry Rosburg

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Broncos, Interim HC Jerry Rosburg Part Ways?

Broncos interim head coach Jerry Rosburg recently threw his hat in the ring for the team’s full-time job, but the veteran coach won’t be sticking around Denver in any capacity. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), Rosburg has been let go by the Broncos and won’t be a part of the next coaching staff. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport seems to confirm (on Twitter) that Rosburg won’t be the team’s next coach, but he notes that today’s news is merely procedural and the veteran coach could be back in Denver next season.

[RELATED: Jerry Rosburg Interested In Remaining HC]

Rosburg was coaxed out of retirement last offseason to assist new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett with in-game management. Hackett, of course, didn’t last the season, and after defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero declined to take on the interim HC mantle, the Broncos turned to Rosburg. In his new role, the veteran coach immediately shook up the coaching staff, firing special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry.

The team responded to the changes. After losing in blowout fashion to the Rams on Christmas, the Broncos took the Chiefs down to the wire before defeating the Chargers’ starters in the season finale. We heard that team executives were pleased with the interim head coach’s performance and let him state his case to remove the interim tag following the season.

Instead, the team will turn elsewhere for their next head coach. Earlier today, Troy Renck of Denver7.com wrote that 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and former Stanford head coach David Shaw were “gaining momentum” for the head coaching job. We also heard yesterday that Sean Payton’s candidacy was losing steam in Denver, removing another candidate from the list (alongside Rosburg and Jim Harbaugh, who pulled out of the race after deciding to stick with Michigan). Evero ended up interviewing for the job a few weeks ago, and the organization later blocked the Falcons’ request to interview him for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

As for Rosburg, there’s a good chance the 67-year-old coach heads back to retirement. Rosburg has been coaching since the 1970s, and he got his first NFL gig when he was hired as the Browns special teams coordinator in 2001. He’d end up spending 18 years in the NFL prior to his first retirement, including a decade-long stint as the Ravens ST coordinator.

Broncos Interim HC Jerry Rosburg Interested In Remaining HC

The Broncos terminated first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett late into this season, naming senior assistant Jerry Rosburg to serve as the interim head coach in his stead for the two remaining games of the season. As Denver looks to find their head coach for the 2023 season, Rosburg has expressed his desire to be considered, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Rosburg has been coaching football in some capacity for at least the past 44 years. Despite his experience as a defensive position coach in the ranks of college football, Rosburg’s entire focus in the NFL has been on special teams. His first position in the league came with the Browns in 2001 as the team’s special teams coordinator, a role he kept for six years. After a single season in the same role with the Falcons, Rosburg took the special teams coordinator position in Baltimore, which would remain his home for the next 11 years.

In 2018, Rosburg decided it was time to hang up the whistle and announced his retirement from coaching. When Hackett was hired to lead the Broncos, Rosburg was brought out of retirement with the intention that he would assist Hackett in game management. When Hackett was fired, the interim job was originally offered to defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who reportedly declined the position out of loyalty to the former head coach.

As a result, Rosburg was given the interim role. Rosburg was not stagnant as head coach. He reportedly claimed that it was his decision to fire special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry. Rosburg also told the media that it was general manager George Paton who lured him out of retirement, not Hackett. During Rosburg’s two-game tenure, the team showed a new level of competitiveness, rebounding from a blowout Christmas Day loss to the Rams to take the Chiefs down to the wire the next week and defeat a playoff-bound Chargers team that inexplicably ran its starters for most of the game the week after that.

Rosburg is not considered a favorite for the job, according to Fowler, but his performance as the interim head coach was well-received by team executives, leading to them allowing a lengthy end-of-season meeting with the 67-year-old for him to state his case. The favorites are likely to remain former Saints head coach Sean Payton, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and former Stanford head coach David Shaw, but Rosburg’s success in a small sample size has at least earned him the courtesy of consideration.

Broncos HC Fallout: Penner, Paton, Payton, Hackett, Evero, Rosburg, Rypien, Risner

George Paton‘s status with the Broncos has taken some hits this week. Although the second-year GM is set to remain in his post, it appears the decisions to hire Nathaniel Hackett and trade for Russell Wilson have cost him.

New Broncos CEO Greg Penner is set to play a major role in the team’s next HC hire, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. With the Broncos still in the process of putting the team up for sale when they conducted the search that produced Hackett, Paton led the hiring process. Penner said he will rely on Paton during the team’s latest hiring effort, but with it being the new ownership’s first HC search, it should be expected the GM will not have final say.

Paton’s situation reminds somewhat of Joe Douglas‘ with the Jets, though the former has not been on the job as long. Douglas has rebuilt the Jets’ defense to the point the team is a playoff contender, and this year’s draft class has helped the team considerably. But the Zach Wilson investment has gone south fast. Paton passed on Justin Fields for burgeoning star cornerback Patrick Surtain II and landed high-end starters Javonte Williams and Quinn Meinerz in Rounds 2 and 3, while also adding outside linebacker Baron Browning on Day 2 of last year’s draft. Denver collected first- and fourth-round picks for Bradley Chubb at this year’s deadline, helping to fill the draft-capital void created by the Wilson trade. While several of Paton’s moves have worked out, the Wilson-Hackett partnership undercut them and has the former Vikings lieutenant on thinner ice.

It is not known if Paton or ownership pushed to have Wilson signed long-term before this season. Conversations ramped up once Penner arrived along with Rob Walton, and the team wanted to avoid waiting until 2023 to extend the QB. But the five-year, $245MM extension is off to a shockingly poor start. Penner announcing that the next HC will report to him and not Paton strips the latter’s power to the point Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk posits the next Broncos coach will have the chance to run the football operation. Paton, 52, has held that role since arriving last year.

The Broncos have experienced ups and downs with a coach running the show, going from Mike Shanahan in this role to the overmatched Josh McDaniels, who held de facto GM power upon being hired in 2009. Considering new ownership’s deep pockets and a potential offer to run football operations, the Broncos would present an intriguing opportunity for an experienced head coach. That is believed to be the direction Denver heads this time, after seeing first-time hires Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio and Hackett underwhelm.

I’ve worked with a lot of great CEOs, and it starts with really strong leadership,” Penner said. “I think that’s going to be the most critical factor here in a head coach. Obviously the X’s and O’s are important, but we need a strong leader for this organization that’s focused on winning. That starts with culture, it’s instilling a sense of accountability, discipline, and we need an identity on offense. At the starting point, it’s got to be about culture and leadership, and those characteristics are what we’ve focused on the most.”

Frank Reich, Jim Harbaugh, Dan Quinn and Sean Payton are believed to be on the early radar. The Broncos could make a strong run at Payton, Fowler adds, though it is not certain the former Saints HC is interested. Harbaugh has a relationship with Broncos consultant John Elway, who ran the team’s football ops for 10 years, and minority owner Condoleezza Rice due to each’s Stanford ties. Rice worked with Harbaugh during his time with the Cardinal, per Florio, adding an interesting wrinkle to the upcoming search.

As for the team’s current setup, interim HC Jerry Rosburg said (via 9News’ Mike Klis, on Twitter) DC Ejiro Evero declined the chance to be the interim option out of loyalty to Hackett. Evero and Hackett have been friends since they were college teammates at UC-Davis. The league has also shifted away from promoting interim coaches, with Doug Marrone being the most recent such hire back in 2017. The Broncos still want to interview Evero, though the first-time DC does not profile as an experienced candidate.

Rosburg, 67, also said (via ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, on Twitter) it was his decision to fire special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry. Both were Hackett hires. Rosburg also confirmed it was Paton, not Hackett, who brought him out of retirement to be the team’s game management assistant. Hackett’s run of issues during the season’s first two weeks led to the hire. The sideline confrontation between Brett Rypien and Dalton Risner also contributed to the early Hackett dismissal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link), as it was a sign the first-year coach was losing the team. Penner said off-field matters led to the early firing. Randy Gregory, who threw a punch at Rams offensive lineman Oday Aboushi and faced a suspension, cited Hackett’s tenuous status as HC in his successful appeal to the league, Klis tweets.

Nathaniel Hackett Addresses Hire Of Game Management Assistant

After a flurry of managerial issues — headlined by a Week 1 snafu that produced a bizarre 64-yard field goal attempt — nearly led the Broncos to 0-2, they made an in-season addition to their coaching staff. Nathaniel Hackett bringing Jerry Rosburg out of retirement to aid with game management helped Denver in Week 3.

Hackett said he worked with GM George Paton and assistant GM Darren Mougey to find solutions to the issues plaguing him on the managerial front to start his HC career. Hackett called Rosburg, whom he had not previously worked with, to see if he would come out of retirement to help the Broncos, Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com notes.

For me, I felt empowered that I was able to make a decision. Hey, let’s fix it. I’m the leader of the team. Let’s do it,” Hackett said of the hire, via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “This was the first time, the past two games, that I felt I was hurting my team. Did I have enough info? I don’t know. But I knew the setup wasn’t right. I needed help to make the tough decision.”

Calling the decision to add Rosburg “difficult,” Hackett said (via King) he brought the 66-year-old retiree to the Broncos’ facility last week and introduced him to the team days before the game against the 49ers. Indicating to his players that he would ask them to take a critical look at themselves for mistakes they make, Hackett said he did the same. With Hackett not initially planning to add an assistant and having not worked with Rosburg previously, it is worth speculating if the Broncos’ front office pushed the move.

Jerry was great,’’ Hackett said, via Legwold. “We had been evaluating everything on how we were managing things up to that point. I wanted to be sure I was able to be an efficient play-caller for Russell [Wilson] and the offense. … For me as a coach, all coaches, we want to grow … he’s a guy with a ton of experience that’s run game management before. And after talking with him, he was all for it, excited about it.”

From fourth-down decisions to challenges, Rosburg advised Hackett during Denver’s Week 3 win. The Broncos lost both the challenges Hackett made, but the team’s situational problems largely receded compared to the avalanche of scrutiny Weeks 1 and 2 brought. Denver doubled its delay-of-game penalties from last season in just two games, being whistled for this infraction four times, and incurred 25 penalties — including six false-start violations — against the Seahawks and Texans. The Broncos were also the 21st century’s first team to start 0-for-6 in red zone touchdown opportunities.

Hackett’s ignominious moments — the Seattle field goal choice and Broncos fans counting down the play clock against Houston — have defined his early tenure, and Wilson has struggled adjusting to the former Packers OC’s scheme. Denver’s defense, which ranks as a top-three unit in yards and points allowed, has played a key role in helping the team through its early offensive and managerial issues. The team settling down on the management front does represent a positive early-season development for Hackett’s operation, which also features first-timers at OC (Justin Outten) and DC (Ejiro Evero).

Broncos Hire Jerry Rosburg As Senior Assistant

The first two regular season games of Nathaniel Hackett‘s head coaching career have not gone particularly smoothly. Hackett’s Broncos suffered an upset defeat at the hands of the Seahawks in Week 1, and while Denver squeezed out a 16-9 win over the Texans in Week 2, the victory had its share of troubling moments.

Hackett has been widely blamed for the Seattle loss. With the Broncos trailing 17-16 in the game’s waning moments, Hackett had to choose between letting quarterback Russell Wilson attempt to convert a fourth-and-five and to continue driving into comfortable field goal range, or to let kicker Brandon McManus attempt a 64-yard FG for the win. Hackett chose the latter option, McManus’ kick was unsuccessful, and the second-guessing began in earnest.

Of course, that decision is not the only reason the Broncos, who saw two different running backs fumble the ball at the Seahawks’ one-yard line on two different drives, lost that contest. However, Hackett did concede after the fact that he made the wrong choice, and his club’s 25 accepted penalties are the most in the league over the first two games of the 2022 campaign. That figure includes four delay-of-game infractions, and a general lack of organization has led to multiple unnecessary timeouts.

To that end, the team has hired longtime NFL coach Jerry Rosburg, 9News’ Mike Klis reports. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that Rosburg, who will operate under the title of Senior Assistant, has spent the week in Denver and will be in the Broncos’ coaching booth for the team’s Week 3 matchup with the 49ers. Rosburg will assist in gameday operations and decisions.

Earlier this week, Hackett indicated the team would have “good answers moving forward,” but as Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com writes, the rookie HC was not initially planning to add an assistant. It is unclear exactly what convinced Hackett to change his mind, though having another veteran presence who will be specifically tasked with in-game procedure should be a welcome development for Broncos fans.

Rosburg, 66, began his coaching career as the secondary coach for Boston College in 1997. He eventually became the special teams coach for the Browns, Falcons, and Ravens, spending the 2008-18 seasons in Baltimore before announcing his retirement in March 2019. He earned a championship ring with the Ravens, whose Super Bowl XLVII victory featured a key piece of special teams/game management strategy.

Rosburg returns to the NFL on the coaching staff of a team that has a championship-caliber roster but that has some wrinkles to iron out.

Extra Points: Jets, Ravens, Draft

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Jets were reportedly interested in free agent centers Mitch Morse and Matt Paradis, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. However, the team never made an offer to either player. Morse ultimately signed with the Bills, while Paradis ended up inking a deal with the Panthers. With the Jets unable to secure either of the top two free agent centers, the front office continues to reach out to other veterans to gauge the market. Mehta notes that the draft could be another way of acquiring a center.
  • Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is retiring, the team announced. The 63-year-old had been with the organization since 2008, winning one Super Bowl championship along the way. Rosburg previously served in the same role with both the Falcons and Browns. Assistant Special Teams coach Chris Horton is expected to take over, with Rosburg briefly sticking around as a consultant. “I will stay on for a period of time to be a resource for Chris and anyone else during that transition,” said Rosburg. “I have a lot of plans. Me and my plans center around my family. I don’t want to miss as many hockey games and volleyball games as I have. Our days are limited on this earth, and there are some things that I’m missing I don’t want to miss anymore.”
  • Rashan Gary wasn’t active in Michigan’s pro day. According to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), the potential top-five pick only weighed in and didn’t participate in any drills or testing. Instead, the running back stuck around to support his teammates. As Pelissero notes, the defensive tackle “crushed the combine,” and he didn’t want to risk his draft stock with a lackluster outing today.