Nathaniel Hackett

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

The NFL experienced a busy offseason on the coaching front. A whopping 10 teams changed coaches during the 2022 offseason, with the Buccaneers’ late-March switch pushing the number into double digits.

Fourteen of the league’s 32 head coaches were hired in the past two offseasons, illustrating the increased pressure the NFL’s sideline leaders face in today’s game. Two of the coaches replaced this year left on their own. Sean Payton vacated his spot in second on the longest-tenured HCs list by stepping down from his 16-year Saints post in February, while Bruce Arians has repeatedly insisted his Bucs exit was about giving his defensive coordinator a chance with a strong roster and not a Tom Brady post-retirement power play.

While Bill Belichick has been the league’s longest-tenured HC for many years, Payton’s exit moved Mike Tomlin up to No. 2. Mike Zimmer‘s firing after nine seasons moved Frank Reich into the top 10. Reich’s HC opportunity only came about because Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts in 2018, but Indianapolis’ backup plan has led the team to two playoff brackets and has signed an extension. Reich’s seat is hotter in 2022, however, after a January collapse. Linked to numerous HC jobs over the past several offseasons, McDaniels finally took another swing after his Broncos tenure ended quickly.

As 2022’s training camps approach, here are the NFL’s longest-tenured HCs:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2025
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018; extended through 2026
  11. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019; extended through 2027
  12. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  13. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  14. Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team): January 1, 2020
  15. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  16. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  17. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  18. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  19. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  20. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  21. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  22. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  23. Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos): January 27, 2022
  24. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  25. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  26. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  27. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  28. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  29. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  30. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  31. Lovie Smith (Houston Texans): February 7, 2022
  32. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022

Broncos Notes: Offensive Line, Veteran CB Search, Javonte Williams

With OTAs and mandatory minicamp finished across the league, organizations and media members alike have had the chance to break down some of the elements of the offseason which have stood out the most to them. In the case of the Broncos, 9News’ Mike Klis has detailed some of his key observations.

Among those is the plethora of variances in the team’s offensive line combinations during practices. Klis notes that the most commonly-used unit comprised Garett Bolles and Dalton Risner on the left side, with Lloyd Cushenberry III at center and Quinn Meinerz and Calvin Anderson occupying right guard and right tackle, respectively.

There are a number of other options being plugged into various positions, though. Included among those is Netane Muti, who has seen work with the other starters while filling in at both guard positions, as well as Graham Glasgow, who recently returned to practice to compete for a starting role. Lastly, Klis lists Billy Turner as a veteran who is “expected to play” somewhere along the o-line. The 30-year-old came back to the Broncos on a one-year, $5MM deal this offseason, but is also the linemen most experienced in working with new HC Nathaniel Hackett. 

Here are a few other notes from that same Klis piece:

  • Cornerback had the potential to be an area of need, at least in terms of depth behind Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darby and K’Waun Williams, at this point in the offseason. However, Klis cites the play of Michael Ojemudia during the spring as cause for optimism that the team’s best option for the No. 4 role may already be on the roster. The 2020 third-rounder is set to compete with Damarri Mathis, whom the Broncos drafted in the fourth round this year, for that spot. A number of veteran free agents could still “wind up on GM George Paton’s radar,” Klis notes, however.
  • To no surprise, running back Javonte Williams is expected to “bump up to the 1A role” in 2022. In his rookie season, the North Carolina alum produced over 1,200 scrimmage yards despite splitting carries with Melvin Gordon, who signed a one-year deal to stay in Denver. Given his the former’s efficiency, and the seven-year age gap between the two, Williams is the logical candidate to assume a larger workload going forward.

 

AFC Rumors: Colbert, Browning, Broncos

Current Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert, who will be stepping down from his role after the 2022 NFL Draft, held a conference call with reporters today that produced quite a few nuggets of information.

Colbert expounded a bit on their moves to replace longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He explained that Pittsburgh didn’t want to sacrifice draft capital in order to add a veteran quarterback, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN. This led them to target Mitchell Trubisky, who they were able to sign in free agency for a very reasonable price. Pryor reported that he went on to say that signing Trubisky does not preclude them from taking a quarterback in the Draft.

Colbert claimed they have starters at every position except for strong safety, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, while failing to mention any specific targets to fill the role. Kaboly did note that Colbert said they’ve focused on targeting “young veteran players” in free agency.

Commenting on his eventual replacement, Colbert said they’ve completed the first round of interviews with 16 candidates and that they intend to start the second round of interviews after the Draft, according to Pryor.

Here are a few other rumors from the AFC, these concerning the Broncos of Mile High:

  • With the addition of linebacker Alex Singleton, the Broncos will give linebacker Baron Browning a look at outside linebacker, according to Mike Klis of 9News. Browning went back and forth a bit between the positions at Ohio State, so he should be able to make the switch without too many issues. He’ll work with new outside linebackers coach Bert Watts.
  • Klis also reported that new Broncos’ quarterback Russell Wilson will have a say in the tailoring of the new offense. Wilson’s lack of agency in Seattle was a great frustration for the veteran quarterback and new Broncos’ head coach Nathaniel Hackett will make sure that isn’t the case in Denver.

Denver Emerging As Premier QB Destination

We wrote a bit earlier today on the Broncos being among multiple AFC teams who “have trade compensation lined up with the Packers,” in relation to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Well, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Denver has emerged as a prime location for many of the league’s veteran quarterbacks looking for a potential change of scenery.

The Broncos recently hired former Packers’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to replace Vic Fangio, who failed to accomplish a winning season in three years with the Broncos. The former Green Bay staffer represents an obvious and strong connection for Rodgers. Should Rodgers decide to move on from the Packers, having a play-caller that he’s familiar with could add some allure to the Mile High City. Another intriguing aspect that could bring a star quarterback to Denver is the addition of former Vikings’ offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak as passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Kubiak just helped Kirk Cousins turn in one of his best seasons in Minnesota.

Hackett and company inherit an impressive roster posed to perform. The defense is comprised of veterans like outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, safety Justin Simmons, defensive end Shelby Harris, and cornerback Ronald Darby. There are a number of free agents that Denver would like to bring back like cornerbacks Bryce Callahan & Kyle Fuller, defensive back Kareem Jackson, inside linebacker Josey Jewell, and outside linebacker Malik Reed. Even if they fail to bring some of those names back, the Broncos saw impressive seasons last year for youngsters like cornerback Patrick Surtain II, linebacker Baron Browning, defensive end Dre’Mont Jones, and safety Caden Sterns. The list of defensive players above may not overwhelm you with stardom, but, together, the Broncos defense ranked third in the league in points allowed and eighth in the league in yards allowed.

In addition to a brand new offense and stacked defense, Denver boasts a nice array of young offensive weapons. An impressive receiving corps is led by veteran 26-year-old Courtland Sutton, young star Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick, who has broken out a bit over the past two seasons. The Broncos also have two talented, young receiving tight ends in Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam. Any quarterback looking to join in on the fun would potentially have the benefit of a two-headed rushing attack that was 79 yards short of a combined 2,000-yard rushing season. Running back Javonte Williams enjoyed a healthy dose of carries in his rookie season, and there is mutual interest in bringing back Melvin Gordon.

Rodgers is obviously a name to keep an eye on as the decision on his future in Green Bay looms on the horizon. He has said that he will let the Packers know of his intentions before the franchise tag deadline so they can figure out how to deal with free agent wide receiver Davante Adams. In addition to Rodgers, though, keep an eye out for Denver to make moves on other quarterbacks searching for greener pastures. Russell Wilson has long been rumored to be interested in moving on from Seattle, and Deshaun Watson is still searching for a new home.

Whether Rodgers, Wilson, Watson, or some other under-the-radar name, look for the Broncos to make a move for a star quarterback. If they are able to find the right fit, the move could bring them into contention for what could easily turn into the toughest division in football.

AFC Coaching Notes: Bengals, Broncos, Texans, Jaguars

While Super Bowl LVI didn’t go the way the Bengals wanted, their 2021 postseason run demonstrated that they are set to be a force in the AFC for years to come. One of the results of their success is not only an expected contract extension for head coach Zac Taylor, but a number of assistants on his staff as well.

As Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network writes, the list of coaches receiving new deals includes at least five names. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receivers coach Troy Walters is listed; he jumped into coaching almost immediately after an eight-year playing career, and has worked with the Bengals’ wideouts since joining the team in 2020. The other offensive assistant is tight ends coach James Casey, who has coached that position (after playing it himself in the NFL) since 2017. He has been in Cincinnati for the past three seasons.

Defensively, new deals are forthcoming for linebackers coach Al Golden and defensive line coach Marion Hobby. The former has been coaching since 1993, between the college and NFL ranks, including the last two years with the Bengals. The latter is equally experienced, and coached the position in Cincinnati this year, after four seasons doing the same in Jacksonville and Miami. Wilson adds that strength and conditioning coach Joey Boese is the final name on the list.

Here are some other coaching notes from around the AFC:

  • Nathaniel Hackett‘s new staff continues to take shape in Denver. Wilson tweets that Tyrone Wheatley is the new running backs coach. He has previously coached the position at four colleges, including Michigan, as well as the Bills and Jaguars. He was most recently the head coach at Morgan State.
  • The other offensive addition in Denver is Jake Moreland, who is taking over as tight ends coach, according to 9News’ Mike Klis (Twitter link). The 45-year-old’s first NFL coaching gig came with the Jets this past season, serving as an assistant offensive line coach. Klis notes that his background is the same as fellow newcomer Ben Steele.
  • Defensively, the Broncos are adding Bert Watts to their staff. He was most recently the associate head coach at Auburn, but he also held the titles of special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. The latter will be his purview in Denver, where he was an assistant in 2012 (Twitter link via ESPN’s Dan Graziano).
  • The Texans have made an interesting hire on their offensive staff. Wilson tweets that Ted White, who was a quarterback during the days of NFL Europe, and also in the CFL, has been hired as an offensive assistant. His coaching career includes stints at five college programs, and most recently in the XFL, with a background in working with QBs.
  • Graziano tweets that Jacques Cesaire is coming to Houston as their defensive line coach. The former Charger defensive end began coaching in San Diego in 2015, also spending two years with the Bills as an assistant at that same position.
  • Finally, Deshea Townsend is being hired by the Jaguars, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). This comes as a surprise, since he was expected to join the Vikings’ staff, but changed course due to a perceived sense he’ll get a “bigger role within the defense” in Jacksonville (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press). He has previously worked with cornerbacks with five different teams, including four in the NFL, Chicago being the most recent.

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

Coaching Rumors: Saints, Texans, McDaniel, Giants, Broncos

The Saints began their cycle of head coaching interviews this week, conducting meetings with the following candidates: former Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson (1/30; hired by Jaguars), former Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores (2/1), Lions’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn (2/2), their current special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi (2/3), their current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen (2/4), and Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (2/6).

New Orleans also requested permission to interview Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. There were some early reports that permission had been granted, but that hasn’t been confirmed and nothing has been scheduled, as of yet. ESPN’s Saints’ reporter Mike Triplett also mentioned that current offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael was offered an opportunity to interview for the position, but Carmichael declined. Despite being a part of Sean Payton‘s staff since Payton’s tenure in New Orleans began back in 2006, it appears Carmichael has no interest in running the show in the Big Easy. Whether he has retirement or another destination in mind or he is just comfortable in his role, Carmichael will not be the Saints’ next head coach.

Here are a few more notes from the ongoing coaching searches and staff changes throughout the NFL, starting with the other head coaching vacancy:

  • Houston recently narrowed their list of head coaching candidates down to three: Brian Flores, former quarterback Josh McCown, and Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Well, according to USA Today’s Josina Anderson, the Texans are now down to two candidates, with Gannon being informed Saturday that he will not be receiving the head coaching position, leaving Flores and McCown as the two remaining names.
  • New Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel reportedly has interest in holding on to some of the defensive assistants currently under contract in Miami, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. This includes current defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, who followed Flores to Miami from New England. The lack of staff turnover would be a positive for a defensive unit that played well during the team’s seven-game win-streak in the back half of the season.
  • The Giants were able to add a piece to Brian Daboll‘s new staff while missing out on another today. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweeted out that Andy Bischoff will become the Giants’ new tight ends coach. Bischoff followed David Culley from Baltimore to Houston and will make the lateral move over from the Texans with their head coaching position still in the air. Unfortunately, the Giants did not get their running backs coach, as Bruce Feldman of The Athletic tweeted out that Deland McCullough has turned down Daboll’s offer, choosing instead to remain the running backs coach at Notre Dame, believing it gives him the best opportunity to eventually become a head coach.
  • New Broncos’ head coach Nathaniel Hackett is also looking to fill out his staff. The Broncos are planning to interview Jon Embree who most recently held the position of tight ends coach/assistant head coach in San Francisco. Embree parted ways with the Niners after being asked to take a 60 percent pay cut after San Francisco’s NFC Championship loss. The man who has coached George Kittle since he was drafted in 2017 would be a nice addition to Hackett’s system.

Packers Promoting Stenavich To OC

With former-offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett leaving to become the head coach of the Broncos and quarterbacks coach/passing-game coordinator Luke Getsy expected to join Matt Eberflus‘ new staff as the Bears’ offensive coordinator, the Packers needed to move quickly to start rebuilding their offensive staff. The first such move was reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport in a tweet this evening announcing that Green Bay will be promoting offensive line coach and running game coordinator Adam Stenavich to be the team’s new offensive coordinator.

Stenavich got his first NFL opportunity in 2017 as the 49ers assistant offensive line coach after some college coaching stints at Michigan, Northern Arizona, and San Jose State. After two seasons in San Francisco, Stenavich got hired in Green Bay at his most recent position before getting today’s promotion.

The Packers had previously denied the Broncos’ request to interview Stenavich and this most recent report confirms the suspicions that soon followed that denial. Stenavich will be shouldered with the burden of building a new offensive coaching staff. It is expected that, after being denied Stenavich, the Broncos will pursue Hackett’s former tight ends coach Justin Outten to become the offensive coordinator in Denver, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter).

In three seasons with Stenavich as the run game coordinator, the Packers have ranked 15th (2019), 8th (2020), and 18th (2021) in the NFL in total rushing yards. Combining the rushing offense’s inconsistency from year to year with questions in the air about quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ future, Stenavich could have a difficult task in front of him following a season where the Packers’ offense helped Green Bay to the NFC’s only first round bye.

Broncos Hire Nathaniel Hackett As Head Coach

The first domino has fallen in the 2022 head coaching hiring cycle. The Broncos have hired Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach, as first reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

Hackett, 42 has been the offensive coordinator in Green Bay since 2019. While he hasn’t handled play-calling duties during that time, he is credited to a large degree with the high level of play QB Aaron Rodgers has sustained well into his thirties, and the Packers’ three-straight 13-win seasons.

Prior to his time in Green Bay, he had established himself as one of the best young offensive minds in the league during stints in Buffalo and Jacksonville. He interviewed with the Jaguars once already, and had a second meeting scheduled for today. That sped up the hiring process for Broncos general manager George Paton, who “stepped in Wednesday night to get a deal done”, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Hackett will take on a HC role for the first time in his career, both at the college and NFL levels. Meanwhile, he marks the fourth coach hired by Denver since 2016, a stretch that includes five consecutive losing seasons. The offense-based background for Hackett represents a departure from that of the recently-fired Vic Fangio, as well as Dan Quinn, the Cowboys’ DC who has been the hottest name in this year’s hiring cycle and was a finalist for this job.

For the Packers, QB coach Luke Getsy, who also interviewed in Denver, is the favorite to take over as their OC. Meanwhile, this news strengthens the case for Byron Leftwich to get the Jacksonville gig.

Here’s how Denver’s HC search ended up looking:

Be sure to check in on our Head Coach Search Tracker for all the latest updates as more vacancies begin to be filled.

Jaguars Schedule Second Nathaniel Hackett HC Interview

After some buzz about Nathaniel Hackett remaining in the mix for Jacksonville’s HC position, the current Packers OC indeed will meet again with his old team.

Hackett has a second Jaguars interview scheduled for Thursday, according to the Florida Times-Union’s Gene Frenette (on Twitter). A former Jaguars OC, Hackett joins Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich and Colts DC Matt Eberflus as the known finalists for this position.

Leftwich and Eberflus have already conducted two interviews apiece with the Jags. News surfaced about Jags GM Trent Baalke backing Eberflus, while Leftwich has built momentum over the past day. Hackett remaining in play adds an interesting wrinkle, given his past with the team.

Hackett is also one of three finalists for the Denver HC job. He went through his second Broncos interview Tuesday. Cowboys DC Dan Quinn and Rams OC Kevin O’Connell join Hackett in that mix. A Jacksonville landing would be quite interesting for Hackett, who worked as the Jags’ OC from 2016-18. The Jags fired Hackett from that post late in the 2018 season, the team’s last with Blake Bortles at quarterback.

While Hackett has transitioned to a non-play-calling OC role with the Packers, he called Jags plays before his ouster. The 42-year-old assistant has been in the mix for Aaron Rodgers‘ late-30s re-emergence on the MVP scene, though Matt LaFleur has called Green Bay’s plays since the two arrived in 2019. Son of former NFL OC Paul Hackett, Nathaniel also served as Jacksonville’s quarterbacks coach during the latter part of Gus Bradley‘s HC tenure as well.