Joe Lombardi

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

Broncos Hire Joe Lombardi As OC

FEBRUARY 25: The Broncos announced their full staff on Saturday, and it does indeed list Lombardi as offensive coordinator. The move comes as little surprise given reporting on the hire earlier this week, along with the time Payton and Lombardi spent together with the Saints. Their first season in Denver will see the veteran staffers work alongside a mix of experienced and rookie coaches, including Davis Webb in Lombardi’s familiar role of quarterbacks coach.

FEBRUARY 23: Fired from his Chargers offensive coordinator post last month, Joe Lombardi will reunite with his former boss. Sean Payton is adding the veteran assistant to his staff, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.

Lombardi’s role is not yet known, though the Broncos have not hired an OC. Lombardi filling that role is not out of the equation, per Klis. Lombardi enjoyed two lengthy stints as the Saints’ quarterbacks coach, serving in that role from 2009-13 and 2016-20. He spent the past two seasons as the Bolts’ play-caller. Lombardi, 51, will indeed join the Broncos in a coordinator-type capacity, Klis adds.

While Lombardi drew criticism for his performance guiding Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert-directed offenses, Denver’s OC role will be a non-play-calling position. As it was in New Orleans, Payton will call plays as a head coach. The Broncos’ OC search has not generated as much attention as the DC pursuit that ended with Vance Joseph being hired Thursday. Saints quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry is the only known interviewee thus far, but Curry is staying in New Orleans. That clears a path for Curry’s predecessor, but the Broncos have operated methodically in filling out Payton’s staff.

Be it as Denver’s new OC or its pass-game coordinator, Lombardi will work as one of Payton’s top assistants once again. Both the staffers the Chargers fired in January — Lombardi and Shane Day — have landed gigs elsewhere in the AFC. The Texans hired Day as a senior offensive assistant last week. The Broncos’ top trio on offense from last season — Nathaniel Hackett, OC Justin Outten, QBs coach Klint Kubiak — have all landed elsewhere (Jets, Titans, 49ers) as well.

Dinged for not turning Herbert loose as a downfield passer, Lombardi still oversaw the star Bolts QB becoming the AFC’s Pro Bowl starter in 2021. Herbert threw 38 touchdown passes that season. He dropped to 25 this season, but injuries affected the Bolts steadily. Keenan Allen missed half the year with a hamstring malady, while Mike Williams was down for multiple stretches. This included the team’s playoff game, after Brandon Staley surprisingly played his starters deep into a meaningless Week 18 game in Denver. Herbert also played through a rib injury, one he suffered in Week 2. While Austin Ekeler once again led the NFL in touchdowns (18), the Chargers’ offense underwhelmed in 2022.

An Air Force alum, Lombardi will return to Colorado for a third stint under Payton. Vince Lombardi‘s grandson, Joe caught on with the Saints in 2007 and was Drew Brees‘ primary position coach during his record-setting run in New Orleans. Payton understandably receives most of the credit for Brees becoming a superstar, but the new Denver HC will entrust his longtime lieutenant to help repair Russell Wilson‘s game.

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Lombardi, Bucs

Drawing a few negative headlines during his five-year run as Panthers owner, David Tepper has seen his team continue a years-long search for a quality quarterback. Carolina will be at it again this offseason. Although Tepper’s multi-offseason push for Deshaun Watson stalled near the end zone, the Panthers came close to acquiring Matthew Stafford in 2021. After negotiations with Lions GM Brad Holmes, team brass left the Senior Bowl convinced it would land the longtime Detroit QB. The Rams subsequently swooped in, and Joe Person of The Athletic notes Tepper mandated his staff slow down on Stafford due to wanting more information on his injury history (subscription required).

At that point, Stafford had only missed games in one of the previous 10 seasons. Though, the rocket-armed QB had played through a host of injuries during his 12-year Lions run. This delay, however, helped allow the Rams time to formulate a trade package that ended up sending the talented QB to Los Angeles and Jared Goff to Detroit. This could have been a moot point, with Stafford indicating he did not want to play for the Panthers, but Carolina did offer its first-round pick (No. 8 overall) and more for a passer without a no-trade clause. The Panthers sent three picks for Sam Darnold soon after. Darnold is a few weeks from free agency.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Frank Reich has praised Tepper for his willingness to spend for assistant coach talent. This included what looks to have become a defensive coordinator bidding war. Shortly after the Broncos let Ejiro Evero out of his contract, the hot HC candidate drew interest from the Panthers and Vikings. Carolina outbid Minnesota to land the defensive coordinator, Person adds. The Panthers have also added ex-HCs Jim Caldwell and Dom Capers, along with Josh McCown, to Reich’s staff.
  • Broncos ownership could also outmuscle teams for assistants. It is not known what kind of interest Joe Lombardi drew, but the new Denver assistant also drew interest from the Saints, Jeff Duncan of tweets. The two-year Chargers OC spent 12 years under Payton in New Orleans. The Saints are keeping Broncos OC candidate Ronald Curry on staff as QBs coach, but they were unable to lure Lombardi back to town. Lombardi is set for a coordinator-type role in Denver.
  • The Buccaneers will fill their quarterbacks coach post by promoting former NFL passer Thad Lewis, in news reported by Seahawks QB Geno Smith (Twitter link). Lewis and Smith played against each other as Miami high schoolers and have remained close; the free agent-to-be clarified (via Twitter) this was the reason — not a sudden interest in joining the Bucs — for his excitement. The Bucs employed Lewis as their assistant wide receivers coach over the past two years, with the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud adding Bruce Arians had visions of Lewis as a future offensive coordinator (Twitter link). Smith and the Seahawks have begun negotiations.
  • Tampa Bay hired Dave Canales as OC, from Seattle’s staff, to help fix its league-worst rushing attack. Leonard Fournette did not make the same impact he had in 2021. While the Bucs signed Fournette to a three-year, $21MM deal in March 2022, the running back has changed agents (Twitter link). The seventh-year running back is now with GSE Worldwide.
  • North Carolina’s tight ends coach, John Lilly will be making an NFL move in the same state. The Panthers will keep Lilly in North Carolina, bringing him in to coach their tight ends, Person tweets. Lilly, who worked on the 2019 Browns’ staff, overlapped at Georgia with new Panthers OC Thomas Brown in 2015. He has 30-plus years’ experience at the college and pro levels.
  • Former Colts staffer Brian Decker will follow Frank Reich to Carolina. The Panthers announced Decker is now the team’s vice president of development, a role Darin Gantt of notes will involve evaluating and developing players and coaches. A 22-year military veteran, Decker joined the Colts in 2017 and was in on the interviews that produced Reich’s hire.

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,’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.

Chargers Fire OC Joe Lombardi

Significant changes have been made to the Chargers’ coaching staff, though not necessarily the one many have been anticipating. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Shane Day have been fired (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network). The team has confirmed the moves.

Lombardi was hired in January 2021 to serve on head coach Brandon Staley‘s staff. The former came to Los Angeles after two different stints with the Saints serving as their QBs coach. His work alongside Drew Brees certainly made him an appealing candidate to help usher in the Justin Herbert era with the Chargers, though his results have been varied.

The Chargers had one of the best offenses in the league in 2021, with the team ranking fourth in yards and fifth in points per game. Herbert and the team’s array of pass catchers accounted for much of that success, as Los Angeles ranked second in the league in yards gained through the air. The team fell short of the postseason after a wild season-finale loss to the Raiders, however, leading to questions regarding their defensive performance and Staley’s in-game management.

This year, a number of moves made in the offseason — including further additions on the offensive line — led to increased expectations for Lombardi’s unit. The Chargers once again ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in terms of yardage, but their scoring fell to the middle of the pack. Running back Austin Ekeler helped lead the way as a number of injuries weighed down their efficiency through the air, but the team nevertheless seemed well-positioned to win this past week in Herbert’s postseason debut.

The Chargers were well on their way to doing just that when they raced to a 27-0 lead over the Jaguars on Saturday night. During the second half, however, the tide started to turn as Jacksonville worked their way back into contention. Lombardi’s play-calling down the stretch — which saw Ekeler receive only 13 total carries on the night, in spite of his pair of early touchdowns and the team’s large advantage on the scoreboard — drew heavy criticism. Now, Staley has responded by parting ways with the 51-year-old coordinator in a major shake-up to his staff.

Lombardi came to the Chargers with two years of OC experience dating back to his time with the Lions. Detroit put up underwhelming totals during his tenure there, something which, coupled with this unceremonious exit from Los Angeles, will hurt his chances of landing another OC role in the future. Day, meanwhile, has also had his two-year stint come to an end. He served as the Chargers’ passing game coordinator in addition to his duties coaching Herbert and the team’s other signal-callers. The 48-year-old position coach has been an offensive assistant with six different NFL teams, and will now look for his next opportunity on the sidelines.

Today’s move means there are now six offensive coordinator vacancies around the NFL. This one is likely to be the most coveted, considering the presence of Herbert, Ekeler, a high-end pairing of wideouts in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and a rebuilt offensive front. While the search for Lombardi’s successor will be a key storyline for the Chargers, this news also strongly points to Staley’s job being safe, something which the team’s players advocated for in the wake of the weekend’s defeat.

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints created nine full-time vacancies available this year.

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

Updated 2-7-22 (1:45pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Texans Interview Hines Ward, Joe Lombardi For HC Job

The Texans continue to move swiftly in their search to replace David Culley. They interviewed two more candidates Saturday, meeting with Chargers OC Joe Lombardi and Florida Atlantic wide receivers coach Hines Ward.

These meetings come after the Texans’ Brian Flores interview Friday. Flores has been the candidate most closely linked to the job and should still be considered the favorite, though GM Nick Caserio end up meeting with Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo as well. Ward being interviewed meets the Rooney Rule requirement for the Texans, who have now met with two minority candidates.

[RELATED: 2022 Head Coaching Search Tracker]

A former star Steelers wide receiver, Ward has only been a full-time staffer since 2019. He coached wide receivers for two years under Adam Gase with the Jets. While he also serves as a special assistant to the head coach at Florida Atlantic, Ward’s coaching background would not seem enough to make him a serious candidate. But the four-time Pro Bowler has been around the game for a rather lengthy stretch.

The Chargers brought Lombardi over from the Saints to be their OC. Under Lombardi, Justin Herbert topped 5,000 passing yards this season and is the AFC’s Pro Bowl starter. Lombardi has three seasons’ worth of OC experience, with the previous two coming under Jim Caldwell in Detroit from 2014-15.

Unlike Flores, Lombardi does not have a tie to the Patriots, having spent most of his coaching career with the Saints. This is Lombardi’s first connection to a head during this year’s HC hiring period.

Chargers RB Austin Ekeler Discusses New OC Joe Lombardi

With Joe Lombardi now serving as the Chargers offensive coordinator, it’s easy to assume that the offense will see a handful of changes. While the running game will surely see some new wrinkles, running back Austin Ekeler is confident that he’ll have another chance to lead a successful running backs corps.

“I think that’s something that I’ve learned about Joe coming in like this man is going to get his playmakers in space and situations where they can be successful,” Ekeler said during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via’s Kevin Patra). “I think you see that as far as the running back position with Kamara with the Saints. They would give him the ball any way they could, and he was making plays. And it just depends on me, right? As far as, hey, if coach is going to trust me with the ball, my hands are going to make sure I make it work, make him right. If I don’t do that, we got a lot of other talent on the team too. So I like it, ’cause it’s putting the pressure on me. I love that ’cause now I’m betting on myself to go out there and make plays. I have no doubt about that.”

Ekeler mostly served as backup during his first few seasons in the NFL, but following a breakout 2019 campaign where he finished with more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage (and with Melvin Gordon officially out of the picture), the 26-year-old finally had an opportunity to start full time in 2020. Unfortunately, Ekeler was limited to only 10 games, and his 530 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown were his lowest marks since his rookie season.

The team will return a similar running back depth chart in 2021, with Ekeler leading a grouping that includes returnees Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley (plus sixth-round rookie Larry Rountree III).

Chargers To Hire Joe Lombardi As OC

Brandon Staley continues to flesh out his inaugural Chargers staff. Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi is in line to become Los Angeles’ offensive coordinator, sources told Adam Schefter of (Twitter link).

We heard a couple of days ago that Seattle also had interest in Lombardi for their opening. As Schefter points out there’s a connection here, as Staley and Lombardi are both Dayton alums. Lombardi was an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach with the Saints from 2007-13, then was hired to be Detroit’s OC in 2014. The grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi was fired after just a season and a half of coordinating for the Lions.

He promptly rejoined Payton’s staff as quarterbacks coach, and has served in that role ever since. Obviously his first stint as an OC didn’t go as planned, but he’ll be walking into a great situation here for any play-caller. Not only will he have Justin Herbert at his disposal, but weapons like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and potentially Hunter Henry if he’s re-signed.

Bolts, Seahawks Eyeing Joe Lombardi For OC

The Saints have lost two assistants this month, seeing Dan Campbell take Aaron Glenn with him to Detroit. They may be set to see a third depart. The Chargers and Seahawks have requested interviews with Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi, The Athletic’s Jeff Duncan tweets.

Lombardi has been with the Saints for the past five seasons, catching on with New Orleans after the Lions ended his OC tenure after less than two years in 2015. The Saints have seen some interesting developments transpire at quarterback during Lombardi’s tenure.

After Drew Brees endured his first significant injury as a Saint in 2019, backup Teddy Bridgewater led the team to five straight wins. This season, Brees’ broken ribs brought New Orleans’ Taysom Hill experiment to the forefront. To the surprise of some, the former UDFA showed promise as a passer. Hill completed 73% of his passes at 7.7 yards per attempt and continued to mix in as a gadget player in the games in which Brees started.

Lombardi, 49, has a clear connection with the new Chargers staff. He worked as Mercyhurst’s offensive coordinator and QBs coach from 2002-05. One of Lombardi’s pupils at the Division II school during that time — newly hired Bolts HC Brandon Staley. The fast-rising coach transferred to Mercyhurst from Dayton in 2005, playing under Lombardi as a senior. Lombardi left the college ranks after that season, joining the Falcons as an assistant.

Lombardi is the second name mentioned as a Bolts OC candidate. The Rams blocked the firstKevin O’Connell — from interviewing for the job. After the Lions went 11-5 with Lombardi as OC in 2014, they fired him after starting 1-6 the following year.

The Seahawks have been connected to big names since splitting with three-year OC Brian Schottenheimer. Anthony Lynn, Adam Gase and Doug Pederson have discussed the position with Pete Carroll. While Pederson indicated he will not coach next season, Lynn and Gase remain unattached. Lynn is also in the mix for the Lions’ OC position. The Seahawks have also interviewed Raiders running backs coach Kirby Wilson, who worked with Carroll at multiple stops, for the post.