Nick Caley

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (3:14pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Pats To Interview Nick Caley, Adrian Klemm For OC Role, Request Keenan McCardell Meeting

3:22pm: A fourth candidate is now in the picture. Adrian Klemm, a former Steelers O-line coach who spent the 2022 season at Oregon, will interview for the Pats’ OC job, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. Klemm has spent most of his career in the college ranks, having served as an O-line coach for SMU, UCLA and now Oregon, but was on Mike Tomlin‘s staff for three seasons.

The 45-year-old assistant has history with the Patriots, having been Belichick’s first draft choice (No. 46 overall) as New England’s HC back in 2000. A backup offensive lineman, Klemm played five of his six NFL seasons with the Pats.

10:02am: Nick Caley‘s docket now includes a second offensive coordinator interview. After he met with the Jets about their vacant play-calling role, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) the Patriots’ tight ends coach is interviewing for the New England gig.

Caley, who will meet with the Pats regarding a promotion Wednesday, has been with the team since 2015. In addition to their interest in promoting Caley, the Patriots also requested permission to interview Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Although Bill O’Brien is believed to be in the lead for the role, the Pats’ Caley interview will be their first for this position. After the team went through with one of the most surprising plans in modern offensive coordinator history this past season by having Matt Patricia serve as the primary play-caller, Bill Belichick is on board with making changes.

The Patriots moved Caley into their tight ends coach role back in 2017 but increased his role following Josh McDaniels‘ departure. While Caley served as a key assistant during a disappointing Pats season, the 39-year-old assistant has previously come up as a potential play-caller for the team. The Patriots have made a concerted effort to ensure Jerod Mayo does not depart. With the Jets now in the mix to poach Caley, will the Pats make a similar move to ensure he stays?

While McCardell is best known for his 17-year career as a wide receiver, he has been an assistant coach since 2010. Most of that work has come in the NFL. McCardell, 53, has served as a wide receivers coach in Washington, Jacksonville and Minnesota. Being the Jags’ wideouts coach from 2017-20, McCardell moved to the Vikings after the organization hired Urban Meyer last year. Despite the Vikings changing regimes this past offseason, Kevin O’Connell retained McCardell. The former Pro Bowler being Justin Jefferson‘s position coach will look pretty good on a resume, though ex-fifth-rounder K.J. Osborn posting 655- and 650-yard seasons over the past two years — after not catching a pass as a rookie in 2020 — also reflects well on McCardell.

McCardell also has a history with Belichick dating back to the latter’s Browns days. The Browns added McCardell in Belichick’s second season (1992) and rostered him for most of the next four seasons. McCardell used the 1995 season — Belichick’s Cleveland finale — as a springboard to a prominent Jaguars run.

Bill O’Brien “Primary Target” For Patriots OC Job

The Patriots are looking to revamp their offensive coaching staff, and it sounds like a familiar face is a favorite for the gig. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston writes that Bill O’Brien is the “primary target” for New England’s offensive coordinator job.

[RELATED: Patriots Will Start OC Interviews Next Week]

Curran notes that there are “other candidates with merit,” but there’s “unanimity on all sides” that O’Brien is the best person for the position. The main thing going for O’Brien is his relationship with the Patriots organization, especially when you consider Bill Belichick‘s penchant for bringing back former assistants. O’Brien spent five years with the Patriots, culminating in him becoming the team’s offensive coordinator. Following head coaching stints with Penn State and the Texans, O’Brien spent the past two years as the offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, a close confidant of Belichick.

Speaking of Alabama, O’Brien also has an advantage over the field thanks to his relationship with Mac Jones. While the QB prepared for the 2021 NFL Draft, he also helped O’Brien learn the Alabama offense following the coach’s hiring. O’Brien could look to add elements of Alabama’s quick-strike offense to the Patriots offense. While the familiar scheme would obviously benefit Jones, the offensive philosophy would also take better advantage of Jones’ game-management skills (vs. his average QB skills).

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Mike Reiss looks at a handful of additional potenital candidates for the offensive coordinator position. After O’Brien, Reiss lists former Jets head coach Adam Gase as a candidate considering his mutual respect with Belichick and his experience with Saban. Reiss also lists Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell, former Jets/Cardinals associate head coach/receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, Cowboys QBs coach Doug Nussmeier, and current Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley as potential targets for the job.

In a surprising press release last week, the Patriots revealed that they would begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates. This follows a 2022 campaign where Belichick opted to go without an OC to replace Josh McDaniels and chose former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to lead the way. The results were ugly, as the inconsistent Patriots offense struggled for much of the year.

Jets To Interview Darrell Bevell, Nick Caley For OC Position

Not long after being mentioned as a key component of the Jets’ offensive coordinator search, Darrell Bevell is indeed in line to interview for the job. The Jets are planning to speak with the Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

In addition to Bevell, the team is planning to meet with Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. The Caley interview will take place Tuesday. The Jets are looking to replace Mike LaFleur, whom the team parted ways with after two seasons last week. LaFleur is expected to join Sean McVay‘s Rams staff.

Bevell, 53, has been an NFL OC dating back to the 2000s. Prior to the rare feat of Bevell becoming the interim HC for separate teams (the Lions and Jaguars) in back-to-back years, he enjoyed more memorable OC tenures with the Vikings (2006-10) and Seahawks (2011-17). Brett Favre‘s former QBs coach was on board as Seattle’s OC during the Russell WilsonMarshawn Lynch partnership’s run, which featured the team’s consecutive Super Bowl berths. The Seahawks fired Bevell following the 2017 season, but he has remained a sought-after staffer. Bevell and Robert Saleh were each on the Seahawks’ staff from 2011-13.

Bevell’s most recent work may be why he is viewed by some as the early favorite for Gang Green’s play-calling gig. Tua Tagovailoa took a substantial leap this season under Mike McDaniel, finishing a concussion-marred campaign third in the NFL in QBR. Tagovailoa threw 25 touchdown passes despite finishing only 12 games. McDaniel calls the Dolphins’ plays, but Bevell provided the rookie HC and first-time OC Frank Smith with considerable experience.

Caley does not bring close to Bevell’s experience, but the Patriots assistant saw a responsibility bump during the team’s unusual post-Josh McDaniels season. Caley, 39, has been New England’s tight ends coach since 2017 and is on the radar for the Pats’ OC role. Though, Bill O’Brien looks like the frontrunner here. Although the Pats may not be wild about Caley joining the Jets, teams can no longer block position coaches from interviewing for coordinator roles.

The Jets also have interviewed former Colts OC Marcus Brady and Eagles passing-game coordinator Kevin Patullo. The Brady interview satisfies the Rooney Rule requirement that the team interview at least one external minority candidate.

Gang Green moved on from LaFleur but is believed to be planning to retain quarterbacks coach Rob Calabrese, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. The team did, however, dismiss offensive line coach John Benton. An NFL O-line coach since 2003, Benton has served in this capacity for five teams. He worked with LaFleur on Kyle Shanahan‘s 49ers staff for four seasons prior to joining the Jets. The Jets are also looking to replace Miles Austin, who is appealing an NFL suspension for gambling, and assistant D-line coach Greg Scruggs. The latter joined Wisconsin’s staff as defensive line coach last week.

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.

Patriots Expected To Shake Up Offensive Staff; Latest On Bill O’Brien, Kliff Kingsbury

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft met this week to discuss the franchise’s outlook, and although rumors of the owner and legendary coach not being on the same page regarding staffing circulated during the season’s final weeks, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran reports the two are believed to be in step when it comes to the coaching situation.

Patriots staffers have not been informed of any changes yet, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, but Curran adds that Kraft did not need to issue any ultimatums to Belichick to shake up his staff after a strange plan helped produce a disappointing season. Following a season that featured Matt Patricia as the Pats’ primary offensive play-caller, changes will be coming to New England’s offensive staff. Several coaches are under consideration to join the offensive staff, per Curran.

[RELATED: Belichick Confirms Return For 24th Patriots Season]

Bill O’Brien has been linked to a New England return, but Curran tweets the Pats and the current Alabama OC have not been in contact yet. That said, Breer adds O’Brien likely “would love” to return to his home state to aid the Patriots. O’Brien was on Belichick’s staff from 2007-11, finishing that stay as the team’s offensive coordinator during Josh McDaniels‘ three years away. Although O’Brien was not on board as the Crimson Tide’s OC until the 2021 season, Breer mentions Mac Jones helped bring the incoming play-caller up to speed on the program’s offense. Robert and Jonathan Kraft are O’Brien fans as well, per Breer.

Belichick has also done some homework on Kliff Kingsbury, whom he drafted in the 2003 sixth round. The recently fired Cardinals HC spent just more than a year in New England, before being waived, but Breer adds Belichick placed the former Texas Tech QB in a de facto quality control role during a rookie year on IR. That said, Kingsbury may be readier to take a break compared to diving back into a high-pressure situation, Breer and ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (Twitter link) offer. Tight ends coach Nick Caley came up previously as a potential McDaniels heir apparent, and he earned increased responsibility — in Year 6 coaching the Pats’ tight ends — following McDaniels’ departure.

It does not appear Patricia and Joe Judge will need to be too worried about losing their places on Belichick’s staff. The Patriots are expected to find roles for both of their de facto offensive coordinators, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com adds. Belichick thrusting both ex-head coaches into new roles impacted the Pats’ fortunes this season. The Pats plummeted from sixth to 17th in scoring offense, from 15th to 26th in total yards and from ninth to 24th in DVOA. It should be expected whoever calls Patriots plays in 2023 will have at least done it before.

Latest On Patriots’ Offensive Coordinator Duties

With former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels departing to take the head coaching gig in Las Vegas, the Patriots will be faced with the task of finding a new play-caller on offense. Well, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, since the role has not yet been filled, it appears that head coach Bill Belichick, offensive assistant Joe Judge, and former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia are all currently sharing the duties of the role

That list of names may be bit surprising. Patricia is currently on staff as a senior football advisor, after a rough tenure in his first head coaching job in Detroit. While Patricia is know for his time in New England as a defensive coach, he began with the Patriots as an offensive assistant and, subsequently, assistant offensive line coach. Many believe that, in his return, he will work mainly with the team’s offensive line, once again.

Judge is another branch of the Belichick-coaching tree that has returned after a less-than-stellar stint as the Giants’ head coach. Judge worked with the Patriots’ special teams unit during his first tenure with the team, adding wide receivers to his docket in his final year before going to New York. Listed on the Patriots’ website as an offensive assistant, it’s presumed that Judge will be working directly with Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, and the other quarterbacks.

Finally, the Hoody, himself. Belichick has never officially held play-calling duties. While it’s generally accepted that he’s always had an influence on the Patriots’ offense, McDaniels was always granted free-reign to call plays. Belichick hasn’t even coached with a focus solely on offense since he was the Lions’ receivers coach back in 1977. Besides that role in Detroit, as an assistant, Belichick has always coached defense and special teams. To his credit, though, in Belichick’s first head coaching job in Cleveland, he was heavily credited for his role in the offensive play-calling, though he claimed it was a group effort.

Besides the three named in Reiss’s article, tight ends/fullbacks coach Nick Caley is expected to take on increased responsibility. Troy Brown is in place to coach the wide receivers and kick returners. Ivan Fears and Vinnie Sunseri both share the oversight of the running backs. And Billy Yates holds the position of assistant offensive line coach.

This whole article may end up being a moot point if Belichick and company bring in an offensive coordinator ready to utilize the Patriots’ existing system and call plays in it. For now, though, the role is seemingly vacant, with Belichick taking a village approach to handle the duties.

Latest On Patriots Offensive Coaching Staff

With Josh McDaniels leaving New England for Las Vegas, the Patriots have a giant hole on their offensive coaching staff. In traditional Bill Belichick fashion, it sounds like the organization may be going with an unconventional route when it comes to McDaniels’ replacement(s). While Belichick hasn’t named an official offensive coordinator, the long-time head coach specifically singled out former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coach Joe Judge “as those whom he will be relying upon to help replace McDaniels,” per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

“We’ve had a lot of coaches take multiple responsibilities. I’m not really worried about that,” Belichick said today when asked about the lack of offensive experience for Patricia and Judge. “I think a good coach is a good coach. Matt is a great coach. Joe is a great coach. They’ll help us no matter what position they coach.”

Patricia had a brief stint as offensive line coach with the Patriots in 2005, but he moved to linebackers in 2006 and ended up staying on defense until getting a head coaching gig in Detroit. Similarly, Judge served primarily on special teams during his first seven years with the Patriots, but he took on the role of wide receivers coach in 2019 before leaving to coach the Giants.

When it comes to a lack of offensive coordinator, the Patriots took a similar route with their defense in 2021, with both Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick guiding that side of the ball (as Reiss notes, Belichick said today “that he doesn’t believe in titles”). The HC noted that all of Patricia, Judge, tight ends coach Nick Caley, and receivers coach Troy Brown will play significant roles in guiding second-year QB Mac Jones and the Patriots offense. However, Belichick was tight lipped when asked who will call plays.

“We won’t be calling any for a while,” Belichick said. “[McDaniels will] be hard to replace, but I feel like we have really good coaches on our staff. … Everybody will have a defined role, like they always do. The offseason is the offseason and once we get on the field coaching players, game-planning and things that, it will all work itself out.”

AFC Notes: Browns, Jets, Mangold, Patriots

Let’s take a quick spin around the AFC:

  • Although he’s in no hurry to find a new club, free agent receiver Andrew Hawkins has already been contacted by “quite a few teams” after being released by the Browns earlier today, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter links). Hawkins asked to be cut loose several weeks ago, but Cleveland decided not to honor his request until today. Hawkins, who managed only 33 receptions in 2016, is now hoping to latch onto a “winning situation,” per Marvez.
  • Nick Mangold‘s release from the Jets came with a failed physical designation attached, tweets Howard Balzer of of BalzerFootball.com. While the specifics matter little to New York, the failed physical designation could interest the clubs that are reportedly expected to pursue Mangold this offseason. Mangold, who is likely to be an option for contending teams, missed eight games with injury in 2016.
  • The Patriots announced that they’ve promoted coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach. Caley will replace Brian Daboll, who left New England to accept the University of Alabama’s offensive coordinator position. Caley has worked for the Patriots for the past two seasons, and spent a decade in the NCAA prior to that.