Matt Nagy

AFC West Notes: Waller, Chiefs, Broncos

Darren Waller came up in trade talks last year, generating Packers interest ahead of the deadline, and the veteran tight end missed a big chunk of the Raiders‘ season due to a nagging hamstring injury that may or may not have irked some with the team. This came after the Raiders reached a three-year, $51MM extension with the former Pro Bowler just before the season. Despite Waller’s disappointing slate and the team moving on from Derek Carr, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes the Silver and Black are not looking to move on from the talented tight end (subscription required).

Waller’s $12MM cap number checks in considerably lower than Chandler Jones‘ ($19.3MM), but Howe adds the latter is also unlikely to be moved. The Raiders did not receive what they had hoped from Jones, who totaled just 4.5 sacks and seven QB hits in his Las Vegas debut. The Raiders would save $9MM-plus by trading Jones, 33, but the ex-Cardinals All-Pro’s trade value may not be especially high right now. Jones still has $16MM in guarantees remaining on his three-year, $51MM deal.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Chiefs had once eyed Mike Kafka to succeed Eric Bieniemy as OC, per’s Albert Breer, but they had envisioned the latter landing a head coaching job. Bieniemy famously failed to do so and ended up leaving for a play-calling role in Washington after five years. This proved too long for Kafka to wait; he is now the Giants’ play-caller and joined this year’s HC carousel. Benefiting from the past two offseasons’ events, Matt Nagy replaced Kafka as QBs coach and has since replaced Bieniemy. Nagy’s Bears HC shortcomings notwithstanding, Breer adds he is seen as a possible Andy Reid heir apparent in Kansas City. Reid shot down retirement rumors after Super Bowl LVII, but the future Hall of Famer will turn 65 this month and is going into his 25th season as a head coach.
  • Graham Glasgow, Ronald Darby and Chase Edmonds loom as cut candidates for the Broncos, who have some needs to fill in free agency. It is possible the Broncos release all three, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Denver restructured Glasgow’s contract in 2022 and saw him become needed after injuries to guard Quinn Meinerz and center Lloyd Cushenberry. But the team can save $11MM by releasing Glasgow. The team can add $9.6MM by cutting Darby, who suffered a torn ACL in October. Rookie Damarri Mathis fared decently replacing the veteran opposite Patrick Surtain II. The Broncos picked up Edmonds at the deadline from the Dolphins; they can save $5.9MM by releasing the ex-Cardinals starter. Denver should be able to add a veteran for cheaper, given this year’s crowded running back market, and Sean Payton favorite Latavius Murray is likely a candidate to be re-signed.
  • For what it’s worth, Russell Wilson‘s office is no longer in use. The space that drew considerable attention as the former Seahawks star struggled in Denver has been cleaned out, Mike Klis of 9News notes. While Broncos players did not necessarily voice issues about Wilson’s office, it attracted scrutiny during a 5-12 season. Wilson previously agreed to stop using it during the season’s final two weeks.
  • Kyle Van Noy wants to stay with the Chargers, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper, who notes the versatile linebacker should have a chance to return. The Bolts signed Van Noy to a low-cost deal late in the 2022 offseason. His role expanded after Joey Bosa‘s groin injury, and the 13-game starter hit the five-sack mark for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Conversely, Morgan Fox will probably depart in free agency, Popper adds. Fox registered 6.5 sacks and likely will price himself out of Los Angeles, as the Bolts want to re-sign right tackle Trey Pipkins and linebacker Drue Tranquill.
  • Mecole Hardman recently underwent groin surgery, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The November injury kept the contract-year wide receiver out of Super Bowl LVII. Hardman will attempt to get healthy ahead of a free agency bid, with Howe adding he will need around two months to recover (Twitter link). The Chiefs have Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster set to hit the market. Mutual interest exists between the Chiefs and Smith-Schuster.

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

Chiefs Promote Matt Nagy To OC

A week after Eric Bieniemy‘s departure, the Chiefs will make their expected transition. They announced Friday they are promoting Matt Nagy to offensive coordinator.

This will be Nagy’s second time in this role. Although the former Bears head coach returned to Kansas City to be the team’s quarterbacks coach, he earned HC attention in the first place after a two-year stint in the Chiefs OC role from 2016-17. Now, the Chiefs will ensure continuity despite their five-year OC leaving.

Two Andy Reid OCs from his Chiefs tenure have become head coaches; Doug Pederson left for Philadelphia in 2016 and Nagy departed for Chicago in 2018. Bieniemy interviewed for more than 10 HC jobs from 2019-23 but did not follow his predecessors. The 10-year Reid assistant instead opted to join the Commanders as their play-calling OC. Bieniemy was no longer under contract with the Chiefs, but Reid provided endless endorsements. The Chiefs will now shift back to Nagy.

This will be Nagy’s first crack at running a Patrick Mahomes-directed offense. Nagy earned the Bears gig after coordinating two Alex Smith-run attacks, but Nagy has coached Mahomes for two years — in 2017, when he was Smith’s backup, and again in 2022. Moving from Bieniemy to Nagy as Reid’s right-hand man (and non-play-calling OC) should be a seamless transition for the Super Bowl champions. Reid had given Nagy play-calling responsibilities at points during his previous OC tenure, and it will be interesting to see if that happens again — especially since the lack of steady play-calling duties was a major factor in Bieniemy’s high hurdle to HC jobs.

The Titans wanted to interview Nagy for their OC role, requesting meetings with he and Bieniemy. Outside interest came, but’s James Palmer notes (via Twitter) the two-time Chiefs assistant wanted to stay in Kansas City. Given Reid and Mahomes’ presences, that interest certainly makes sense. Nagy, 44, has been the expected Chiefs succession plan here for a bit now.

Although the Chiefs went 12-4 in 2016, when Nagy shared OC duties with Brad Childress, their offense ranked 20th. That prompted the 2017 trade-up for Mahomes, but Kansas City’s offense took a noticeable leap in Smith’s Missouri finale. Childress exited after the ’16 slate, leaving Nagy alone at the position; the Chiefs finished as the league’s fifth-ranked total offense and ranked fourth in offensive DVOA in 2017. Smith notched his first and only 4,000-yard passing season, throwing 26 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. That season featured Kareem Hunt winning the rushing title and Tyreek Hill morphing from part-time receiver to a starter and Pro Bowler. Travis Kelce began his tight end-record run of seven straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons under Nagy as well, starting that streak in 2016.

Nagy ended his Chicago stay as a punching bag, giving up play-calling duties at multiple points and being run out of town after a 6-11 2021 season. But he did earn Coach of the Year honors in 2018, guiding a Mitch Trubisky-quarterbacked team to a 12-4 record and the Bears’ only NFC North title over the past 12 years. Nagy’s largely Trubisky-restricted squads underwhelmed over the next two seasons, as his seat warmed, though the Bears only completed one sub-.500 season under Nagy.

The Chiefs have steadily lost coaching talent under Reid. This list now includes Bieniemy and Mike Kafka. But Nagy will enter his seventh season with the Chiefs in 2023. Provided the team uses its franchise tag on left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.., it should have its top four offensive linemen back. Kansas City has Kelce, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Kadarius Toney under contract, and JuJu Smith-Schuster has expressed interest in staying as well. Despite Bieniemy’s exit, the Chiefs should not exactly be at risk — barring a Kelce freefall at age 34 — of declining much on offense.

Mutual Interest Between Commanders, Eric Bieniemy; Chiefs Eyeing Matt Nagy Promotion

Eric Bieniemy and the Commanders look to be moving toward a deal. The longtime Chiefs offensive coordinator is back at the NFC East team’s facility Friday and is believed to have interest in leaving Kansas City for Washington, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

While it would represent a somewhat strange development for the five-year Chiefs OC to leave a place where he has won two Super Bowls, teams have continually overlooked him for head coaching gigs. This OC-to-OC move would allow Bieniemy to have full play-calling responsibilities for the first time.

The sides began their meeting with a Wednesday-night dinner, and Albert Breer of tweets he and the Commanders will discuss contract matters and staffing Friday. The process is likely to conclude with Bieniemy becoming the next Commanders OC, Rapoport tweets. If Bieniemy leaves his post under Andy Reid, Rapoport adds (via Twitter) Matt Nagy is the favorite to replace him as the Chiefs’ next OC. Other teams showed interest in Nagy this offseason, but’s Mike Garafolo tweets the ex-Bears HC received indications he was next in line to become Reid’s right-hand man on offense.

Both Nagy and Doug Pederson rode Kansas City’s OC position to HC opportunities — in Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively — but no such path has formed for Bieniemy, leading to widespread criticism. The Chiefs have employed Bieniemy as their OC throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ starter tenure, and while numerous HC interviews occurred, a chance to lead a team remains elusive. A move to a play-calling post, then, emerged on the radar as a potential stepping stone for the 10-year Chiefs assistant.

Bieniemy, 53, interviewed for the Colts’ HC job this year but said prior to Super Bowl LVII he had not met with any teams about their OC gig. Both the Commanders and Ravens wanted to speak with the Reid lieutenant about their play-calling positions, but Baltimore hired Todd Monken for the job. Washington, however, has kept its job open for more than a month. Bieniemy has been the Commanders’ top choice for a while, and despite Ron Rivera being on the hot seat and the franchise potentially nearing a sale, the two-time Super Bowl-winning OC is close to relocating.

The Chiefs extended Bieniemy on a one-year deal during the 2022 offseason. Even if his contract were not up, the Chiefs could not block a Bieniemy Commanders interview due to the job coming with play-calling responsibilities. Reid has retained those in Kansas City, which has played a role in the assistant not landing a top coaching gig. Bieniemy’s inability to do so, despite others securing such opportunities in recent years without play-calling pasts, has led to the intense scrutiny regarding the NFL’s hiring practices. That is unlikely to cease if Bieniemy lands in Washington, but it appears the former NFL running back is ready to test himself as a play-caller for a scuffling team.

Rivera fired three-year OC Scott Turner on Jan. 10 and interviewed several candidates, but the search slowed. Bieniemy waited until after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII win to interview, passing on a Titans meeting in the process. Rivera and Reid have been in contact, Breer adds.

Whereas the Chiefs are coming off a season in which their offense ranked No. 1 in DVOA despite the team trading All-Pro Tyreek Hill, the Commanders ranked 28th. Even in traditional metrics, Washington’s offense did not rank inside the top 20 during Turner’s tenure. Quarterback issues played a large part in that, though Turner drew criticism as well during the 2022 season.

While Bieniemy leaving the comforts of the Reid-Mahomes setup for uncertainty in Washington obviously brings considerable risk, the Commanders do roster some skill-position talent. Terry McLaurin and first-round pick Jahan Dotson are signed through 2025, with Curtis Samuel‘s contract running through the ’23 season. Brian Robinson also showed promise during his rookie campaign, despite suffering gunshot wounds in August.

Nagy served as Reid’s OC for two seasons — 2016-17 — after Pederson left for Philadelphia. Reid did give him a play-calling role for a bit, and the Bears hired him after Alex Smith‘s final K.C. season. Nagy earned Coach of the Year honors after helping the Bears to a 12-4 record and their first NFC North title since 2010. The operation went south soon after, with the team’s Mitch Trubisky draft choice doing well to sink Nagy. The Bears finished 8-8 in 2019 and 2020, but their 6-11 2021 mark led to Nagy’s firing. He quickly resurfaced in Kansas City as quarterbacks coach, and it looks like the Chiefs will ensure continuity by promoting him to replace Bieniemy.

Latest On Ravens’ OC Search

Baltimore is one of several NFL teams slowly working their way through the process of finding a new offensive coordinator. New updates have emerged with respect to who they are targeting to replace Greg Roman.

In a detailed piece breaking down where things currently stand, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes (subscription required) that three candidates for the position have interviewed twice with head coach John Harbaugh. Two of those (Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Vikings pass game coordinator Brian Angelichio) have been well known in the search so far, but another name has been added to the mix.

Bobby Engram has met twice to discuss the Ravens’ OC vacancy, per Zrebiec. The 50-year-old is currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wisconsin, but he spent considerable time in Baltimore prior to that. Engram was the Ravens’ wide receivers coach from 2014-18, and then worked with the team’s tight ends for three seasons after that. He also has experience with the Steelers and 49ers, but has not been an OC at the NFL level.

Other finalists will also include Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales and Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten. Those two are set to interview for the second time this week, which will bring the list of second interviewees to five. As Zrebiec notes, however, Harbaugh could conduct second interviews with other candidates not mentioned here, or he could ever hire a name that has yet to interview for the gig. A number of Chiefs and Eagles assistants could be of interest to the Ravens (Zrebiec specifically calls out Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, senior offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy and wide receivers coach Joe Bleymaier; and Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson and pass game coordinator Kevin Patullo).

The Ravens wouldn’t be able to talk to any of those coaches until after the Super Bowl. That means the organization could decide to wait at least another week to make a hire, although they may end up moving quickly on one of the existing candidates if they determine he could sign elsewhere.

Latest On Jets’ OC Search

JANUARY 15: The Jets are interviewing Marcus Brady today, per Rapoport (via Twitter).

JANUARY 14: The Jets made headlines earlier in the week when they parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. That leaves the team with a significant hole to fill on offense during the coming weeks, but there is no shortage of names being floated around with respect to his potential replacements.

The early favorite appears to be Darrell Bevell. The Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator represents the name mentioned most often for the Jets’ OC vacancy, Connor Hughes of SNY tweets. The 52-year-old is in his first season with Miami, but spent the previous 15 campaigns as an offensive coordinator. That tenure included a stint as the Seahawks’ OC from 2012 to 2017, which earned him a Super Bowl ring.

That time also included overlap with current Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who was a defensive assistant at the time. Bevell saw time with the Vikings as their OC prior to his Seattle stint, and occupied the same role with the Lions and Jaguars. His experience as an interim head coach with the latter two teams – coupled with his role in revitalizing the Dolphins’ offense this year – has made him a potential HC candidate in this year’s cycle.

While it remains to be seen if New York will interview Bevell for the position, they have done so with Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The meeting took place yesterday, as Patullo prepares to continue his work with the NFC’s top seed. He has been with Philadelphia for the past two seasons, after a three-year stint alongside Nick Sirianni with the Colts in a similar role; he also spent one season with Gang Green prior to that.

The Jets have also requested an interview with Nick Caley, per Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). He is currently the Patriots’ tight ends coach, a title he has held since 2017. The 39-year-old has exclusively worked in New England during his NFL coaching career, but he spent a decade in the college ranks prior to joining Bill Belichick‘s staff in 2015. Rapoport had previously named Caley as a name to watch, alongside Eagles QBs coach Brian Johnson and former Colts OC Marcus Brady (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer tweets that Bills QBs coach Joe Brady is another potential candidate. He notes that the Jets are “doing homework” on the 33-year-old, who was highly-touted after his work in college (particularly with LSU) when he took on the Panthers’ OC job in 2020. That, much like Matt Rhule‘s tenure in Charlotte, did not go according to plan, however, and he was fired midway through his second season with the team. Brady was hired by the Bills shortly thereafter, as he began the process of rebuilding his stock.

Each of the above names comprise a list of candidates along with the likes of ex-Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett, Rams offensive assistant Greg Olson and Chiefs QBs coach Matt Nagy. That trio, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, could all be in the mix, though he adds (via Twitter) that veteran Gary Kubiak is not expected to be a part of the Jets’ search. New York’s process of replacing LaFleur will be worth watching as the team looks to take another step forward on offense in 2023.

Titans Request OC Interviews With Eric Bieniemy, Matt Nagy

The Titans have a vacancy at offensive coordinator after firing Todd Downing, and two candidates for the post have emerged. As Jeremy Fowler of reports, Tennessee has requested permission to interview Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and senior assistant/QBs coach Matt Nagy (Twitter link).

Bieniemy, of course, has been a fixture on the head coaching interview circuit in recent years. He has been unable to land an HC gig as of yet, and while he recently interviewed for the Colts’ head coaching position, it does not appear that the four other clubs who are in need of a new bench boss have him on their shortlist.

Since being promoted from running backs coach to offensive coordinator in 2018 — the year that Patrick Mahomes became the Chiefs’ starting quarterback — Bieniemy’s offense has never finished worse than sixth in either yards per game or points per game. Kansas City finished first in both categories in 2022 en route to the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

Many reasons have been floated for the 53-year-old’s inability to land an HC job, including his race — Bieniemy is Black — and unimpressive interviews. From an on-field perspective, it could be that other teams believe head coach Andy Reid and Mahomes have been more critical to KC’s offensive output over the past five years than Bieniemy, especially given Reid’s significant influence in the offense’s design and execution (though former QBs coach/passing game coordinator Mike Kafka earned a promotion in 2022, when he joined Brian Daboll‘s first staff as the Giants’ offensive coordinator).

Perhaps having success outside of the Reid/Mahomes shadow would give Bieniemy a better chance to secure a head coaching post, although a lack of success in a new setting would obviously damages his HC prospects. The Titans, who have an uncertain quarterback situation, who are presently light on skill-position talent outside of running back Derrick Henry, and who are in the midst of a GM search following Jon Robinson‘s surprising ouster, may not give Bieniemy the best chance to pad his resume. Indeed, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that Bieniemy remains focused on HC opportunities.

Nagy, meanwhile, was able to parlay his efforts as the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Reid into a head coaching job with the Bears in 2018. After a successful first season in Chicago, Nagy’s outfits struggled over his next three years on the sidelines, and he was fired at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign. Nagy has been mentioned as a name to watch in the Jets’ present OC search, and there have also been reports that he could one day succeed Reid as Kansas City’s head coach.

Per Anderson, Nagy has yet to confirm Tennessee’s request.

AFC West Rumors: Payton, Munchak, Nagy

With a young, top-flight QB in Justin Herbert and a talented roster surrounding him, the Chargers would appeal to almost any head coaching candidate. The team has once again dealt with major injury problems this year, but the decision-making of second-year HC Brandon Staley and the defense’s poor performance under Staley, a former defensive coach and coordinator, has led some to question his job security.

While it would be highly surprising to see Staley dismissed in-season — after all, as of the time of this writing, the club is 3-2 — Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post suggests that the Bolts could be willing to move on if the 2022 season does not “provide an acceptable outcome” (for a team like Los Angeles, an acceptable outcome presumably means at least a postseason berth). If Staley is indeed ousted, one longtime NFL personnel exec who has worked with former Saints head coach Sean Payton says the Chargers job is the one that Payton really wants.

Payton, 58, surprisingly stepped away from the Saints in January after having served as New Orleans’ head coach since 2006. He has left the door open for a return to the sidelines, and in July, it was reported that the Chargers would be one of his preferred teams, along with the Dolphins and Cowboys. Payton is said to be looking for a club that plays its home games in a warm weather city and that boasts a strong QB situation and roster, and the Chargers check all of those boxes. Plus, since the team is in the AFC, the Saints — who still hold Payton’s rights — may be willing to trade their Super Bowl-winning coach to LA.

However, Payton is also seeking control over personnel decisions, and Chargers GM Tom Telesco has been with the club since 2013. It would be interesting to see if team ownership would ask Telesco to cede at least some of his authority if a Payton acquisition becomes a possibility, and if Telesco would be willing to do so.

Now for more from the AFC West:

  • The surprising performance of rookie Jamaree Salyer means that the Chargers have a viable solution at LT in the absence of Rashawn Slater, as Daniel Popper of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Originally drafted as a guard, Salyer was appointed as Herbert’s blindside protector in Week 4 after Slater was placed on IR, and he played quite well in the team’s victory over the Texans. Then, in a Week 5 win over the Browns, Salyer held his own against Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, so Los Angeles should not have to make a move for a left tackle while it waits for Slater to return (which could happen at the end of the season).
  • Speaking of left tackles, Broncos LT Garett Bolles went under the knife on Wednesday to repair his broken right fibula, per Mike Klis of Bolles suffered the injury during Denver’s Week 5 loss to the Colts, and he will miss the remainder of the season. As Klis notes, Bolles’ $2MM injury guarantee for 2023 will be triggered, but given that the 2017 first-rounder is due to earn $14MM in salary in 2023 — a modest sum for a top left tackle — that presumably won’t matter too much.
  • Broncos rookie HC Nathaniel Hackett is under plenty of heat at the moment, and there are rumors that he may not even make it through his first season as a head coach. In light of his early difficulties, pundits are revisiting Hackett’s construction of his coaching staff, which included the decision to part ways with Denver’s former O-line coach, Mike Munchak, and replace him with Butch Barry (who had never worked as a lead OL coach in the NFL). Hackett made the move for schematic reasons, but as Peter King wrote in his weekly FMIA column on Monday, Munchak wanted to stay in Denver, and in addition to his reputation as one of the game’s best OL coaches, he is also a respected leader who has HC experience of his own. In hindsight, retaining a veteran influence like Munchak might have been the better decision.
  • The Bears relieved Matt Nagy of his head coaching duties at the end of the 2021 season, and he subsequently rejoined the Chiefs as quarterbacks coach/senior offensive assistant. Nagy put himself on the HC radar as the QBs coach and offensive coordinator for Kansas City from 2013-17, and he also worked under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid when both men where with the Eagles. It’s clear that Reid thinks highly of Nagy’s abilities, and a league source tells Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network that Nagy could eventually succeed his mentor as head coach of the Chiefs. Reid, 64, is under contract through 2025, and though he has said he is open to coaching into his 70s, it is feasible that he could end his Hall of Fame career before then. By the end of Reid’s current contract, Nagy will have had time to distance himself from the disappointing end to his Chicago tenure, and he may even find himself back as Kansas City’s OC if Eric Bieniemy ever lands his own head coaching post.
  • Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. is set to serve the final game of his four-game suspension on Sunday, and as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports writes, the league initially pushed for the maximum six-game ban. The union advocated a two-game suspension, and the two sides met in the middle at four games before the matter reached the jointly-appointed disciplinary officer, Judge Sue L. Robinson. Gay missed time due to injury in 2021 but finished the season as a top-25 ‘backer in the eyes of Pro Football Focus, and his return should provide a boost to KC’s defense.

Chiefs Hire Matt Nagy As QBs Coach

One day after the Bears’ former general manager found a new home, their ex-head coach has landed his next NFL job. The Chiefs have hired Matt Nagy as their new quarterbacks coach, adding the title of senior offensive assistant, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

[Related: Chiefs To Retain OC Eric Bieniemy]

The move marks a reunion for Nagy and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. The pair worked together with the Eagles, as Nagy began his coaching carer in Philadelphia immediately after his playing days were over. Reid brought Nagy onto his Chiefs staff as well, hiring him to be the team’s QBs coach in 2013, a position he held for three seasons.

Nagy then got promoted to OC, the role he had for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The latter campaign saw the Chiefs transition from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes as their starting QB, so there will be a degree of familiarity on that front for Nagy.

The 43-year-old’s success in Kansas City got him his first HC gig with the Bears. After winning Coach of the Year in his first season, though, things started to go south. A 12-4, division-winning campaign was followed up by consecutive 8-8 seasons, as it became clear that Mitch Trubisky would not be the franchise signal caller he was drafted to be. The 2021 campaign, which saw the team go 6-11 and featured an underwhelming rookie season for Justin Fields, led to an increasing amount of blame for the offense’s struggles being shouldered by Nagy, who was fired at the end of the year.

Interestingly, Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reports that Nagy “had several coaching opportunities with similar titles”. He adds that Nagy “was passionate about getting back into coaching” right away, leaving Kansas City as the most logical location for him to do so. He will replace Mike Kafka, who was hired to be the new OC for the Giants earlier this month.

AFC Coaching Notes: Colts, Bills, Jaguars, Ravens

Since Frank Reich was able to land defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to replace Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus, Bradley has begun the process of putting his staff together. Today Bradley added longtime defensive backs coach Ron Milus to coach his secondary, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Milus first started coaching defensive backs at his alma mater, the University of Washington, about eight years after playing cornerback there. He held the college position for seven years before getting an NFL coaching opportunity in 2000. Since then, Milus hasn’t spent a season out of work with stints in Denver, Arizona, New York (Giants), St. Louis, Carolina, San Diego, and Las Vegas. His longest stint was with the Chargers, spending eight years in southern California and transitioning with the team to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that Milus was retained when Bradley joined the Chargers’ staff. He followed Bradley to Las Vegas and will join him once more in Indianapolis.

Here are a few other coaching notes from around the AFC starting with another bit from the Hoosier State:

  • In addition to Milus, Mike Chappell of Fox59 reports that Indianapolis is also in the process of hiring linebackers coach Richard Smith, who worked with Bradley and Milus in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Smith has coached in the NFL since he debuted for the Houston Oilers in 1988 coaching special teams and tight ends. He found his niche as a linebackers coach in 1997 for the 49ers and has had three short stints as a defensive coordinator in Miami, Houston, and Atlanta.
  • ESPN’s Yates also tweeted out a report that the Bills have added former QB Kyle Shurmur on staff in a defensive quality control position. After four years at Vanderbilt, Shurmur signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chiefs, spending time on their practice squad as well as on the Bengals’ and Washington’s practice squads. He was released by Washington a little over a month ago and that appears to mark the end of his playing career. He seems to be following in the footsteps of his father, Pat Shurmur, and joining the coaching track.
  • A castaway from the Matt Nagy Bears’ staff, outside linebackers coach Bill Shuey will not be without work for long as Curtis Crabtree of NBC Sports reports that Shuey is joining Doug Pederson‘s staff in Jacksonville in the same role. Shuey and Pederson had two separate tenures together in Philadelphia.
  • Pederson also made a crucial move of retaining running backs coach Bernie Parmalee. Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tells us that keeping Parmalee was a priority for Pederson, especially due to his strong relationship with star running back James Robinson.
  • Baltimore has hired Rob Leonard as outside linebackers coach, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley (Twitter). Leonard will replace Drew Wilkins who left to join Brian Daboll‘s staff in New York. Leonard spent the past three seasons in the same position with the Dolphins. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic adds that former Michigan analyst Ryan Osborn will follow Mike Macdonald to the Ravens for a quality control position. Osborn is credited with having a role in the development of Wolverines’ EDGE players like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.