Leslie Frazier

2024 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

After a crowded carousel previously stopped, the 49ers opened their defensive coordinator position. Here is how the NFC champions’ search looks:

Updated 3-2-24 (10:00am CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dave Ragone)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Ken Dorsey)

  • Joe Brady, interim offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (Bills): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed

Carolina Panthers (Out: Thomas Brown)

  • Marcus Brady, senior offensive assistant (Eagles): Interview requested
  • Brad Idzik, wide receivers coach (Buccaneers): Hired

Chicago Bears (Out: Luke Getsy)

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Brian Callahan)

  • Andy Dickerson, offensive line coach (Seahawks): To interview
  • Dan Pitcher, quarterbacks coach (Bengals): Promoted

Cleveland Browns (Out: Alex Van Pelt)

Las Vegas Raiders (Out: Mick Lombardi)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Kellen Moore)

New England Patriots (Out: Bill O’Brien)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Pete Carmichael)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Brian Johnson)

  • Jerrod Johnson, quarterbacks coach (Texans): Interviewed
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Interviewed 1/23
  • Kellen Moore, offensive coordinator (Chargers): Hired

Pittsburgh Steelers (Out: Matt Canada)

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Shane Waldron)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Dave Canales)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Tim Kelly)

  • Nick Holz, passing game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Thad Lewis, quarterbacks coach (Buccaneers): Interviewed
  • Eric Studesville, associate head coach/running backs coach (Dolphins): Interview requested

Washington Commanders (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Chip Kelly, former head coach (Eagles/49ers): On team’s radar
  • Kliff Kingsbury, senior offensive analyst (USC): Hired

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Ryan Nielsen)

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Mike Macdonald)

  • Zach Orr, inside linebackers coach (Ravens): Promoted

Buffalo Bills

  • Bobby Babich, linebackers coach (Bills): Promoted
  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Sean Desai, former defensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview

Chicago Bears (Out: Alan Williams)

  • Joe Barry, former defensive coordinator (Packers): To interview 1/27
  • Chris Harris, secondary coach (Titans): To interview
  • Eric Washington, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Bills): Hired
  • Terrell Williams, assistant head coach/defensive line coach (Titans): To interview

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Dan Quinn)

Green Bay Packers (Out: Joe Barry)

Jacksonville Jaguars (Out: Mike Caldwell)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Derrick Ansley)

  • Jesse Minter, defensive coordinator (Michigan): Hired

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Raheem Morris)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Vic Fangio)

New England Patriots

  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Promoted
  • Michael Hodges, linebackers coach (Saints): To interview
  • Tem Lukabu, outside linebackers coach (Panthers): To interview
  • Christian Parker, defensive backs coach (Broncos): Interviewed

New York Giants (Out: Don Martindale)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Sean Desai)

  • Mike Caldwell, former defensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Vic Fangio, former defensive coordinator (Dolphins): Hired
  • Ron Rivera, former head coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/22

San Francisco 49ers (Out: Steve Wilks)

  • Gerald Alexander, safeties coach (Raiders): Interviewed 3/1
  • Daniel Bullocks, defensive backs coach (49ers): Interviewed 2/28
  • David Merritt, defensive backs coach (Chiefs): To interview
  • Nick Sorensen, defensive passing game specialist (49ers): Promoted
  • Brandon Staley, former head coach (Chargers): Interviewed

Seattle Seahawks (Out: Clint Hurtt)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Shane Bowen)

  • Brandon Lynch, cornerbacks coach (Browns): Interviewed 1/30
  • Dennard Wilson, defensive backs coach (Ravens): Hired

Washington Commanders (Out: Jack Del Rio)

  • Joe Cullen, defensive line coach (Chiefs): Considered a candidate
  • Joe Whitt, defensive backs coach (Cowboys): Hired

Seahawks To Add Leslie Frazier To Staff

After a year off, Leslie Frazier will return to an NFL staff. The former Vikings head coach and Bills defensive coordinator will take a job in Seattle. Mike Macdonald is adding the veteran defensive coach to his staff, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets.

Macdonald has counted Frazier as a mentor, per Pelissero. Frazier and Macdonald coached together on the Ravens’ 2016 staff. Set to become the NFL’s youngest active HC, Macdonald will bring in one of the most experienced defensive staffers available. Frazier, 64, will become an assistant head coach in Seattle. Four teams pursued Frazier for an AHC role, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson.

[RELATED: Commanders Offered Macdonald HC Job?]

The Chargers and Raiders interviewed Frazier for their HC positions last month, and while he never profiled as a strong candidate to land a top job during this year’s cycle, the veteran staffer certainly makes sense as an assistant. Frazier spent six seasons as the Bills’ DC, primarily holding play-calling responsibilities. Effectively forced out after last season, Frazier expressed a desire to return to coaching in 2024.

Frazier also interviewed for the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator position. That remains unfilled, pointing to Miami informing the recent AFC East DC he was no longer in the running for the job. With Macdonald set to call plays for the Seahawks, it is worth wondering if he will hire a defensive coordinator or if this Frazier hire will double as a de facto DC appointment.

Macdonald, 36, was not yet a position coach during Frazier’s season in Baltimore. Seattle’s new HC worked as a quality control assistant under Frazier that year; the latter was the team’s DBs coach in 2016. Macdonald took over that job in 2017, following Frazier’s Buffalo exit. Macdonald continued to rise within the Ravens’ organization. By 2022, both he and Frazier were NFL DCs.

Sean McDermott cut Frazier’s run as Buffalo DC short, moving on from the former NFL DB months before axing OC Ken Dorsey. Like Dorsey, Frazier’s units ranked well statistically. The Bills ranked first and second in scoring defense in 2021 and ’22, respectively, doing so largely without Tre’Davious White‘s services. Frazier’s 2022 defense also lost Micah Hyde early, and Von Miller suffered what looks like a career-altering ACL tear on Thanksgiving 2022. The Bills struggled to stop playoff opposition that year, coming after the terrifying Damar Hamlin situation, and Frazier was out soon after the team’s divisional-round loss to the Bengals. After going without a DC in 2023, McDermott promoted Bobby Babich to fill that role this week.

Going from the NFL’s oldest active head coach (Pete Carroll) to the youngest, the Seahawks now have a 35-year coaching veteran on their staff. Much of that experience came in the NFL. Frazier worked as an NFL staffer from 1999-2022. He went 21-32-1 as a head coach, with the Vikings’ ill-fated Christian Ponder first-round pick being their defining move during that period. Frazier did oversee a Minnesota playoff berth in 2012, when Adrian Peterson stormed to MVP honors. Frazier has also served as a DC for the Bengals and Buccaneers during his career.

2024 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

The Commanders’ hire has wrapped this year’s cycle. Barring a team making an 11th-hour change, the 2024 HC carousel has come to a stop. The final breakdown produced five defensive coaches being hired compared to three with backgrounds on offense. Many teams are still searching for offensive and defensive coordinators, however.

Updated 2-1-24 (10:37am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Jerod Mayo, linebackers coach (Patriots): Hired

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Dolphins To Interview Leslie Frazier For DC Job

After most recently serving as the Bills defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier could end his coaching hiatus by joining an AFC East rival. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Dolphins are interviewing the veteran coach for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

Frazier’s six-year stint as the Bills defensive coordinator came to an end following the 2022 campaign, with head coach Sean McDermott opting to call the defensive plays himself for the 2023 season. Frazier ended up spending this past year out of football, but it didn’t take long for him to return to the coaching carousel. He interviewed for the Chargers and Raiders head coaching vacancies this offseason, and now he’s set to take a meeting for Miami’s coordinator opening.

Buffalo’s defense was up-and-down during Frazier’s time with the organization, but the Bills still finished with one of the league’s best defenses in three of the coach’s six years. This included a 2021 campaign where the Bills defense finished first in both points allowed and yards allowed. The team continued that production into 2022, finishing second in points allowed and sixth in yards allowed. However, following a divisional-round loss where the Bills allowed three scores to the Bengals, McDermott decided to make a change.

Prior to his stint in Buffalo, Frazier was also the defensive coordinator with the Bengals, Vikings, and Buccaneers. He parlayed his role in Minnesota into a head coaching gig, a job he held for three seasons. The Vikings went 10-6 and earned a playoff birth in 2012, but the team otherwise went 8-23-1 in his two full seasons as Minnesota’s head coach.

The Dolphins allowed Vic Fangio to leave for Philadelphia earlier this month, opening a major hole on their coaching staff. Frazier will be the fifth candidate to interview for the job, with the veteran coach joining:

Raiders Kick Off Head Coaching Search, Schedule Interview With Leslie Frazier

Leslie Frazier, a former head coach in Minnesota and an experienced defensive coordinator, is making an attempt to return to coaching in the NFL after stepping away from the sport for a year. Frazier made it clear that his intention was to return to the league as a head coach, and after sitting out the 2023 season, he is getting a few opportunities. After interviewing today with the Chargers, Frazier has reportedly been scheduled for another interview, this one with the Raiders, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

This officially kicks off the search for the Raiders’ new head coach. Obviously, interim head coach Antonio Pierce, who took over for the fired Josh McDaniels and went 5-4 in his place, is considered a favorite for the job. Pierce did an admirable job in replacement duty for McDaniels and won the support of many players and staff during his tenure. While there’s likely been internal discussions about his potential future with the team, an official interview has not been reported.

Likewise, both University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and former Patriots head coach Bill Belichick have been linked to Las Vegas as potential candidates or interests, but neither has officially interviewed with the team. Unless one of the three interviews with the Raiders before Tuesday (when Frazier is scheduled to interview), Frazier will officially be the first candidate interviewed for the job.

Frazier was most recently the Bills defensive coordinator from 2017-22, serving as the team’s primary play-caller during this span, until Sean McDermott decided to go in another direction following a one-sided home loss to the Bengals to close out the 2022 season, opting instead to call plays himself. Nevertheless, Frazier — no longer under contract with the Bills, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler — is back in the mix.

Prior to his 2023 hiatus, Frazier had worked as an NFL assistant or head coach for 24 straight years. The Bills initially framed his departure as the veteran stepping away with the possibility of a return, but it was later believed that McDermott made the call to move on from his six-year defensive lieutenant.

Frazier has been a regular candidate for head coaching gigs over the years, interviewing for the Bears, Dolphins, and Giants’ jobs in 2022. The Texans interviewed Frazier in 2021, and the Colts met with him in 2018. Promoted from the interim job in Minnesota to official head coach in 2011, Frazier went 21-32-1 while leading the Vikings. Much of that time came when first-round bust Christian Ponder quarterbacked the team. Minnesota’s 2012 squad, spurred by MVP Adrian Peterson, still found their way to the playoffs.

Frazier, 64, is on the older end of the spectrum for candidates looking for a head coaching job. While this could be considered a hurdle, two of the abovementioned candidates are 71 (Belichick) and 60 (Harbaugh), so until the field of candidates expands, age shouldn’t be considered much of an issue, though the oldest a head coach has ever been when hired was Bruce Arians at 66 years old.

If age or other factors preclude Frazier from finding a role as a head coach, he could still find his way back to the league as a coordinator. A number of teams are expected to be looking for defensive coordinators this offseason. The Jaguars fired their defensive staff. Some teams with head coaching vacancies like the Seahawks and Titans, have seen their coordinators receive interview requests to coach elsewhere. And teams like the 49ers, Ravens, Panthers, Rams, and Lions could find themselves in need of a defensive play-caller should their own be hired away as a head coach. Whether as a head coach or a defensive coordinator, Frazier should have a good chance to find himself back on an NFL sideline in 2024.

Leslie Frazier To Interview For Bolts’ HC Job

After a year out of football, Leslie Frazier said recently he is ready to return. The former Vikings HC and Bills DC is back on the radar, with ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reporting the Chargers will interview him for their top coaching job.

Frazier served as Buffalo’s defensive coordinator from 2017-22, being the team’s primary play-caller during this span. But Sean McDermott went in another direction last year, opting to call plays himself for a team that had endured a one-sided home loss to the Bengals to close out the 2022 season. Nevertheless, Frazier — no longer under contract with the Bills, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler — is back in the mix.

Prior to his 2023 hiatus, Frazier had worked as an NFL assistant or HC for 24 straight years. The Bills initially framed his departure as the veteran stepping away, with the possibility of a return, but it was later believed McDermott made the call to move on from his six-year defensive lieutenant. Frazier is now eager to head elsewhere and vie for a head coaching job.

I want to be able to be a part of this hiring cycle. I would love to be able to interview with an owner or organization for one of the head coach vacancies,” Frazier said, via CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. “And I’m basing it on my past experience as a head coach who took a team to the playoffs, the success I’ve had in the NFL as a coordinator. And hope that would warrant me that opportunity.”

The Bills ranked in the top four in scoring defense three times from 2019-22, doing so with key personnel injured. Tre’Davious White went down on Thanksgiving 2021, and Von Miller suffered what appears to be a career-altering ACL tear on Thanksgiving 2022. The Bills played most of last season without Micah Hyde as well. That said, Buffalo suffered a crushing loss in Kansas City in the 2021 divisional round. The team’s defense crumbled late in a shootout, losing on the first possession of overtime. The team then could not match the Bengals in a 27-10 divisional-round defeat the following year. McDermott removed Frazier from the equation soon after.

Frazier has been an HC carousel regular, interviewing for the Bears, Dolphins and Giants’ jobs in 2022. The Texans interviewed Frazier in 2021, and the Colts met with him in 2018. Promoted from interim Vikings HC to their full-time leader in 2011, Frazier went 21-32-1 as Minnesota’s HC. Much of that time came when first-round bust Christian Ponder quarterbacked the Vikings. Minnesota’s 2012 team, spurred by MVP Adrian Peterson, still ventured to the playoffs.

It would not surprise to see Frazier also end up back on the DC radar, given his experience. Frazier’s age also places him as the oldest candidate on the Bolts’ interview list, though Bill Belichick (71) and Jim Harbaugh (60) are on the radar. Bruce Arians, at 66, is the oldest NFL HC ever hired.

Latest On Bills HC Sean McDermott, GM Brandon Beane

The Bills entered the 2023 season on the short list of Super Bowl favorites, but Buffalo currently sports a 5-5 record and has a difficult schedule over the remainder of the campaign. With the team already having moved on from offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, it is fair to wonder if even more significant changes could be on the horizon.

Both Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post and Dianna Russini of The Athletic (subscription required) used the terms “scapegoat” and “scapegoating” when describing Dorsey’s recent dismissal. As Russini writes, head coach Sean McDermott told reporters that he fired Dorsey following the Bills’ narrow loss to the Broncos last week because he felt his team could not walk back into the locker room without knowing something had changed. That is about as blunt as a coach will be when it comes to publicly assigning blame, and since the team has bid adieu to both of its top coordinators in less than a year — longtime defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier stepped away in February — the pressure is squarely on McDermott to right the ship (interestingly, La Canfora said the Frazier situation was fueled by panic-stricken scapegoating, which suggests that his exit was not entirely voluntary, as had been presumed).

Scapegoat or not, Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News believes it was the right call to part ways with Dorsey, whose scheme lacked creativity and whose play-calling had become predictable in Skurski’s eyes. That said, while Skurski believes McDermott will be on the hot seat if the Bills miss the playoffs, he does not believe McDermott will be fired. After all, Buffalo snapped its 17-year playoff drought in McDermott’s first season at the helm in 2017, and McDermott has posted a 67-40 regular season record while failing to qualify for the postseason field just once from 2017-22. La Canfora also hears from rival execs that McDermott has built up enough goodwill to survive one disappointing campaign.

However, additional staff shakeups should be expected. McDermott took over defensive play-calling duties in the wake of Frazier’s departure, and the Bills have slipped from sixth in the league in total defense in 2022 to 17th in 2023. While injuries have certainly played a major role in that regression, McDermott’s failed decision to call an all-out blitz in the Denver loss and the subsequent special teams snafu that allowed the Broncos a second chance at the game-winning field goal support one rival GM’s belief — as articulated to La Canfora — that Bills ownership will not allow McDermott to continue as de facto DC and defensive play-caller in 2024.

That same general manager does not believe that the Buffalo offense will find its footing under interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The GM said Brady’s scheme was proven to be a flawed one during his brief stint as OC with the Panthers, though Albert Breer of SI.com reports that most people within Carolina’s organization saw Brady as an imaginative and detail-oriented coach, and that Brady’s ouster was fueled primarily by a personality clash with then-head coach Matt Rhule. Still, should the Bills’ offense falter under Brady’s stewardship, Skurski believes McDermott will also be looking for a new offensive coordinator in the offseason.

GM Brandon Beane, who came to Buffalo alongside McDermott in 2017, also seems like a good bet to keep his job, as Skurski suggests. While La Canfora reports that team ownership is getting a bit restless, it should be noted that both Beane and McDermott were handed thru-2027 extensions earlier this year. Their contract situations and their track records may afford them the chance to return the Bills to powerhouse status, but if Buffalo misses the playoffs in 2023 and does not exhibit marked improvement in 2024, Beane and McDermott will likely be looking for new employment.

Leslie Frazier: “My Goal Is To Be A Head Coach”

After spending the past six years as the Bills defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier announced that he’d be stepping away from coaching for the 2023 campaign. While the long-time coach indicated that he’d consider returning in 2024, it’s starting to sound like he’ll only be pursuing head coaching opportunities during the next hiring cycle. While attending the league’s coaching “accelerator program,” Frazier told Albert Breer of SI.com that he’ll consider HC jobs next offseason.

[RELATED: Bills DC Leslie Frazier To Step Away]

“I really feel good about where I am,” Frazier told says. “I think my reasons for stepping away were the right reasons; I feel good about it. It just gives me a chance to see things from a different perspective, get recharged again and reenergized.

“And, hopefully, an owner will give me a chance to talk to him about an opportunity. If that doesn’t happen, I’m good. I’ve had a good career. I’m good. My goal is to be a head coach. I know I don’t have much time left, I’m at an age where it seems like owners are going younger and younger, but I think I have some things I can bring to the table. We’ll see what happens.”

Frazier also told Breer that he’ll spend some of his free time attending OTAs and training camps around the league. The coach also intends to keep close tabs on the 2023 campaign in an effort to “look at what’s happening around the league, make sure I stay up on any new trends.”

The coach’s defenses in Buffalo generally ranked top-10 in yards and points allowed, putting him firmly back on the head coaching radar. In recent years, the 64-year-old has been connected to HC jobs with the Colts, Texans, Giants, Dolphins, and Bears. Those latter three opportunists all came last offseason, and Frazier was a finalist for the Giants job before it was ultimately offered to fellow Bills coach Brian Daboll.

Frazier’s only head coaching opportunity came with the Vikings, when he guided the team to a 3-3 record after taking over for Brad Childress in 2010. Following a 2011 campaign that saw the Vikings go 3-13, the coach helped led the team to the playoffs in 2012. Frazier was fired as Minnesota’s head coach following a 5-10-1 campaign in 2013.

Bills DC Leslie Frazier To Step Away

Yet another team will make a coordinator change this offseason. The Bills will need a new defensive coordinator; Leslie Frazier is planning to step away from the team.

Frazier informed GM Brandon Beane last week he wanted to take a step back from football, Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN.com tweets. The Bills announced their six-year DC’s departure but noted the 63-year-old assistant plans to return in 2024. This could create an unusual situation regarding Sean McDermott‘s right-hand man, but that role will indeed involve new personnel next season.

The former Vikings HC had become the Bills’ play-caller on defense, and the team had consistently produced top-tier units. The Bills have ranked first or second in scoring defense in three of the past four years, finishing second in that category this past season. That placement came despite the team losing Micah Hyde in September and seeing Von Miller‘s Thanksgiving Day ACL tear shut him down. Several other key Buffalo starters missed time during an ultimately disappointing season for the AFC East champs, who struggled in a one-sided playoff loss to Cincinnati.

McDermott may well step in as the Bills’ play-caller on defense, Beane adds. That would make for a simple transition, and the team will have former McDermott Panthers coworker and recent Carolina interim DC Al Holcomb on staff as a senior defensive assistant. Defensive backs coach John Butler is also well-regarded, and KPRC’s Aaron Wilson notes the former Penn State DC coming in and replacing Frazier in what could amount to an interim DC role would be logical (Twitter link).

A former Bears defensive back in the early 1980s, Frazier has been on NFL coaching staffs since 1999. He quickly rose to the DC level, being part of Marvin Lewis‘ Bengals rebuild before serving in that same position with the Vikings in the late 2000s. Minnesota tabbed Frazier to replace Brad Childress in 2011, and Tampa Bay employed him as its DC from 2014-15. This Bills role has brought HC interest, though no interviews came this year. Frazier hesitancy regarding his coaching future may have contributed to no such meetings taking place, and it will be interesting to see if he steps back in as Buffalo’s DC in 2024.

Latest On Panthers’ HC Plans

The Panthers’ climb back into relative contention — due to the NFC South’s collective struggles — stands to boost Steve Wilkschances of becoming the first interim HC to stay on as his team’s full-time leader in six years. But that is not considered the most likely path for the Panthers.

Carolina may be set to conduct an expansive search to replace Matt Rhule. The team is being linked to wanting an offensive-minded assistant, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, while also valuing experience. Previously mentioned as wanting to replace Rhule with someone that has head-coaching experience, Panthers owner David Tepper continues to be linked retread options as well.

Frank Reich, Dan Quinn, Marvin Lewis and Leslie Frazier — in the event an unlikely intra-division trade for Sean Payton is a no-go — are being mentioned as names on the Panthers’ radar, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com adds, while also noting the team should be expected to be connected to up-and-coming OC types. This sets up a wide-net scenario for the Panthers, which makes sense after Tepper prioritized Rhule in 2020 and gave him a mega-deal to come up from the college ranks. While the Panthers will be free of that seven-year, $62MM contract by next year, Tepper’s initial hire proved to be a misstep.

When a September report indicated Tepper was seeking a former head coach to replace Rhule, Reich was not yet available. The five-year Colts HC being on the market and hoping to secure a second chance could change the equation. Frazier is also believed to be on the Colts’ radar, in the event they want a more experienced option compared to Jeff Saturday.

Quinn, Lewis and Frazier are each defensive-minded options. Quinn, who signed a Cowboys extension after his stint on this year’s coaching carousel, interviewed with five teams for HC jobs this year and turned down a Jaguars interview opportunity. In his sixth season as the Bills’ DC, Frazier joined Quinn in interviewing for the Bears, Dolphins and Giants jobs this year. The ex-Vikings HC has also rebuilt his stock to the point he could receive a second chance nearly 10 years after his first one ended. Holding by far the most coaching experience of this lot, Lewis (16 years as the Bengals’ HC) has not been a mainstay on recent coaching carousels. He spent the past three seasons on Herm Edwards‘ Arizona State staff. The Sun Devils fired Edwards during this season.

The Panthers have employed five offensive coordinators during Tepper’s five-season stay, twice making changes in-season. Going with an offense-oriented coach would make sense for stability and quarterback development, as the team would not run the risk of its play-caller being hired away. The Panthers have never hired an NFL OC to be their head coach, going from Dom Capers to George Seifert to John Fox to Ron Rivera to Rhule. Though, Rhule’s background — almost all of it at the college level — was on the offensive side of the ball.

Carolina sits one game behind Tampa Bay for first place in a division featuring four sub-.500 teams, but Wilks is 4-4 since replacing Rhule. The Charlotte native and former Cardinals one-and-done HC has increased his chances of getting a long look at the full-time gig, but Breer expects Tepper to go with his own coach once the hiring period begins. It will be interesting, however, if the Panthers turn this rally into a playoff berth. That would stand to make Tepper’s decision more difficult.