Pat Shurmur

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 1-27-23 (3:53pm 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)

Commanders Interview Pat Shurmur For OC; Darrell Bevell, Charles London On Radar

After a season off, Pat Shurmur is back in the offensive coordinator mix. The veteran assistant/HC is meeting with the Commanders for their OC vacancy Tuesday. The team’s search is starting to come into focus.

In addition to Shurmur, Washington wants to interview Miami quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell and Atlanta QBs coach Charles London, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson and the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala (Twitter links). The team has either interviewed or has requests out to all three options. Commanders QBs coach Ken Zampese is also on the radar to succeed Scott Turner.

[RELATED: Jim Caldwell Turns Down Commanders Interview Request]

Considering what happened after the Broncos did not retain Shurmur, his work during two seasons in Denver looks a bit better. The Broncos finished 23rd in scoring under Shurmur in 2021 but dropped to last in the Nathaniel HackettRussell Wilson 2022 one-off. Shurmur, 57, has been an OC for four teams — the Rams, Eagles, Vikings and Broncos — dating back to the late 2000s and enjoyed HC opportunities with both the Browns and Giants.

Although Shurmur went two-and-done as a head coach in Cleveland and New York, his most notable OC run came in Minnesota. The Vikings losing starter Sam Bradford and still going 13-3 — behind a stunning season from Case Keenum, who finished first in quarterback DVOA — in 2017 put Shurmur back on the HC radar. The Broncos won seven games with Teddy Bridgewater as their starter in 2021, before losing each of Drew Lock‘s starts that year. The 2022 season marked Shurmur’s first year out of the NFL since 1998. Landing the Commanders gig would put Shurmur one notch away from the NFC East cycle, as Shurmur was an Andy Reid staffer in Philly for 10 years prior to beginning his run as a play-caller.

Bevell, 53, brings similar experience but is also in the running for the Jets’ OC position. The Jets are planning an interview, and the veteran OC is viewed as a frontrunner for the Gang Green gig. Bevell has not earned any HC opportunities like Shurmur has, but he is a Super Bowl-winning OC who spent this season overseeing a breakthrough from Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins saw the former No. 5 overall pick show considerable improvement, throwing 25 touchdown passes despite only finishing 12 starts. Known mostly for his seven-year role in Seattle, Bevell has been in the NFL since 2000. He may well finish this year’s hiring period with his fifth OC chance.

London, 47, does not hold similar experience. The Falcons assistant has not been a coordinator previously and arrived in Atlanta in 2021 after coaching the Texans and Bears’ running backs from 2014-21. The Georgia native has spent the past two seasons working under Arthur Smith and OC Dave Ragone but has generated some coordinator interest recently. The Dolphins and Rams interviewed London for their OC posts last year.

Commanders Committed To Sam Howell As QB1

Plenty can change over the next few months, but at the moment, the Commanders are preparing as if Sam Howell will be their starting quarterback in 2023. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports writes that the Commanders are telling potential offensive coordinator candidates that Howell is expected to be the team’s QB1 when they open camp.

[RELATED: Commanders Contact Jim Caldwell About OC Job]

While the Commanders seem to be making it clear that they won’t be making a big splash at the position (either via free agency, trade, or with the No. 16 in the draft), ESPN’s John Keim cautions (on Twitter) that Howell still has to win the job. As Keim notes, “other options will be discussed” for the position, while Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports still expects the front office “to really look at QB options this offseason” (Twitter link).

After being selected in the fifth round of the 2022 draft, Howell spent most of his rookie campaign behind Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. He started the Commanders’ Week 18 win over the Cowboys, completing 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 169 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also added another 35 yards and a touchdown on five carries. As Nicki Jhabvala tweets, the Commanders front office likes the idea of having a starting QB on a rookie contract, and they’re apparently confident enough in what they saw in 2022 to hand Howell the reigns in 2023.

While the writing was on the wall, this report seems to indicate that Wentz will be one-and-done in Washington. The organization has an easy out on his contract that will leave them with no dead cap. Meanwhile, Heinicke has continued to find himself in Ron Rivera‘s dog house, a strong indication that the fan favorite isn’t part of the team’s plans for 2023. Further, Rivera didn’t really give either of the two QBs a ringing endorsement when discussing the position earlier this week.

“It comes back to the one question that’s looming over everybody, and that’s the quarterback position,” Rivera said (via Vacchiano). “I was kind of hoping that we had found a solution. And who knows? We may not. We may have.”

Speaking of the team’s offensive coordinator search, Jhabvala tweets that the organization is “getting a list together” of potential candidates to replace Scott Turner. Pat Shurmur is the latest addition to the grouping, with Jhabvala pointing out the coach’s ability to develop young QBs. The former Giants and Browns head coach most previously served as the Broncos offensive coordinator during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Commanders QBs coach Ken Zampese was previously mentioned for a possible promotion to OC, while former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell declined the team’s interview request.

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.

Broncos Fire HC Vic Fangio, Will Not Retain OC Pat Shurmur

The Broncos have fired head coach Vic Fangio, per Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Fangio lasted three seasons in his post but failed to get his club to the playoffs in that time, so GM George Paton felt compelled to make a move. Mike Klis of 9News.com reports (via Twitter) that the team will also part ways with OC Pat Shurmur.

Denver lost its 2021 finale to the Chiefs last night, and in his postgame presser, Fangio lamented the fact that the other three clubs in the AFC West boast a top-flight quarterback, something the Broncos did not have during his tenure. Denver did select Drew Lock in the second round of the 2019 draft, Fangio’s first as a head coach, and while Lock presently looks like another QB misstep in the John Elway-as-GM era, the inability of Fangio and his staff to develop the Missouri passer certainly contributed to Fangio’s demise.

Offensive ineptitude was, unfortunately, a hallmark of the Fangio regime. As Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post observes, the Broncos failed to score 20 points in a game 29 times in Fangio’s 49 games as head coach, and after a bottom-five showing in terms of both total offense and points per game in 2019, Fangio fired then-OC Rich Scangarello and replaced him with Shurmur, who had just been axed as head coach of the Giants.

The Broncos’ offensive output marginally improved during Shurmur’s time as OC, but it was simply not enough for either him or Fangio to keep their jobs (Shurmur’s contract was reportedly for two years, so Denver will simply let his deal expire). Fangio’s refusal to pull play-calling duties from Shurmur caused some locker room tension earlier this year, and while Shurmur was a hot offensive coordinator candidate before he accepted the post with the Broncos, his stock has likely dropped quite a bit.

Fangio, though, should land on his feet. We previously heard that the acclaimed defensive mind, who has served as DC of the Panthers, Colts, Texans, 49ers, and Bears, would be in high demand for a defensive coordinator position if he were to be fired by the Broncos, so he can probably expect a few interview requests in short order. The Broncos finished the 2021 campaign with a top-three defense in terms of points allowed per game.

Paton will have full authority to select the next head coach, as team president/CEO Joe Ellis confirmed in a statement. Paton’s reputation, along with the Broncos’ history and a roster that appears to be just a quarterback away from legitimate contention — something that Paton will try to rectify this offseason — should allow the club to attract any number of top-tier candidates. Albert Breer of SI.com identifies Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett and Cowboys DC Dan Quinn as possible targets, and Quinn and Paton do have a history that dates back to their days with the Dolphins in 2005.

However, Paton may elect to move forward with an offensive-minded candidate, which could give the edge to Hackett or someone like Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich. Though the Broncos could be sold as soon as the spring (per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports), the imminent prospect of new ownership is not likely to deter candidates for the HC job.

Fangio’s statement on his dismissal can be found here, and Paton’s can be found here.

Broncos OC Pat Shurmur In COVID-19 Protocols, Unlikely To Coach In Week 10

Coming off their best performance of the season, the Broncos are unlikely to have their play-caller for Week 10’s follow-up effort. Pat Shurmur is in the team’s COVID-19 protocols, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Denver’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, Shurmur is not expected to be with the team when it faces the Eagles on Sunday. This opens a clear play-calling void for the Broncos, who have won two straight to reach 5-4. Shurmur tested positive for COVID-19, Vic Fangio said Friday.

Shurmur’s former lieutenant with the Giants, Mike Shula, looms as a clear prospect to call plays. Shula has been the Broncos’ quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons. While Shula served as Shurmur’s OC with the Giants from 2018-19, he spent the previous five seasons calling the Panthers’ plays as their OC. With that stint including Carolina’s 15-1 season, Shula certainly makes sense as an emergency play-caller here.

Shula will relay plays to Teddy Bridgewater, per Fangio (via 9News’ Mike Klis, on Twitter). It should then be expected the former OC will call plays Sunday, though Fangio said Friday he is not certain who will do so.

The Broncos also have former head coach Mike Munchak as their offensive line coach and ex-OC Curtis Modkins coaching running backs, giving the team other options for Sunday. The Broncos certainly will not be the first to go into a game without their play-caller due to COVID, with the Browns and Cardinals having also done so since the pandemic began.

Denver has run into a few coronavirus issues recently, one of which sidelining Noah Fant for last week’s game in Dallas. Fant and guard Netane Muti are off the team’s COVID list, though linebacker Justin Strnad, offensive lineman Austin Schlottmann and IR-stationed cornerback Michael Ojemudia were placed on the list this week. Drew Lock also tested positive in Dallas and flew back to Denver separately Sunday.

Latest On Broncos HC Vic Fangio

Vic Fangio has been on the hot seat since the offseason, and his seat has gotten a bit warmer during an active four-game losing streak. While the Broncos head coach has certainly lost the trust of the fans, it sounds like he’s also losing his locker room. According to Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com, “Fangio’s message is growing stale” and the HC is quickly losing a “segment” of his squad.

The latest hit was when the Broncos let the Browns’ backups beat them on Thursday Night Football. As Beasley writes, Fangio’s refusal to pull play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is one topic of contention. Denver has only scored 64 points over the past four games.

“We have to rally,” Fangio said (via Beasley). “We have to overcome our injuries. They can’t use them as excuses. We have to get back to playing better football as a team. Make more first downs, which will lead to touchdowns on offense. Play the run better on defense so that you do not get so many third-and-ones and third-and-twos.

“We just have to play better, and we have to coach better. I do not want to be remiss in saying that. We have to coach better, and we have got to adjust to what we have right now.”

Fangio went 12-20 through his first two seasons as head coach, including a disappointing 5-11 record in 2020. While the coach seemed to acknowledge that he’d on the hot seat, he also said his only focus is ending Denver’s losing streak.

“I’m not worried about my coaching status,” Fangio said (via Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press). “What I’m worried about is this team and doing anything and everything we can to get our guys coached up to play better. And that’s my only focus.”

Teddy Bridgewater Discusses Broncos QB Competition

The Broncos may have made a trade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but that doesn’t mean the veteran is going to run away with the starting gig. Rather, he’ll have to compete with 2020 starter Drew Lock, with head coach Vic Fangio recently saying that the two signal-callers will split reps during OTAs and training camp.

[RELATED: Broncos To Split QB Reps 50-50 Between Lock, Bridgewater]

While Bridgewater has the experience on his side, he’s not taking anything for granted as he competes with Lock for the top spot on the depth chart. Rather, the 28-year-old said he’s always had the mindset of having to compete for his job.

“Every day I wake up, I consider myself competing for my job,” Bridgewater told the team’s website. “I think that’s the mindset of everyone who plays this game. Whether I was penciled in as being the starter or if I had to compete, my mindset is this is a competition. … In this league, so much happens.

“Of course, that’s my mindset [to start], but at the same time, I have to take it one day at a time and continue to be the best teammate I can be today and let tomorrow take care of itself.”

Lock only has 18 career starts to his credit, but it’s been a mixed bag when he’s under center. In 13 games last season, the Missouri product threw 16 TD passes against a league-worst 15 picks, leading to a poor 75.4 quarterback rating. Bridgewater was a a little better in his lone season in Carolina, but his 2020 campaign can fairly be characterized as disappointing as well, especially when measured against the three-year, $63MM contract he signed with the Panthers last offseason. Bridgewater ultimately finished the campaign having completed 69.1-percent of his passes for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

For what it’s worth, Bridgewater doesn’t have much catching up to do when it comes to scheme, as the quarterback worked with Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur when the two were in Minnesota.

“It’s helped a lot,” Bridgewater said. “There is some carryover from my days in Minnesota, but at the same time, a lot has changed. I’ve been in a couple of different systems. I see players that I’m familiar with and it’s been a smooth transition with the install.”

Coaching Notes: Shurmur, Jets, Rams

Michigan State continues to look for a replacement for Mark Dantonio, and Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the school was eyeing veteran coach Pat Shurmur.

Fortunately for Denver, the 54-year-old is staying put. Klis notes that Shurmur is “all in” on the Broncos organization, and he’ll continue as the team’s offensive coordinator. It wasn’t even a month ago that Shurmur replaced Rich Scangarello in the role.

Shurmur is best known for his stint as the Giants head coach, but he actually got started in the coaching ranks at Michigan State. He started off as a graduate assistant before coaching tight ends, offensive lineman, and special teams. In total, Shurmur was with the school between 1988 and 1997.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • The Jets announced this evening (on Twitter) that they’ve added Leigh Torrence as an assistant defensive backs coach. Brian Costello of the New York Post observes that Torrence played for Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams when the two were in New Orleans (Twitter link). The 38-year-old spent the past two seasons as a defensive assistant with the Saints.
  • Jonathan Cooley is joining the Rams coaching staff as a defensive assistant/quality control coach, reports Bruce Feldman of The Athletic (on Twitter). The former Akron cornerbacks coach was selected by the NFL for the 2019 Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.
  • We learned earlier tonight that the Jaguars were adding former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as their new quarterbacks coach.

Extra Points: Dak, Shurmur, Browns, 49ers

Dak Prescott‘s second contract has been a front-burner matter in NFL news cycles for nearly a year, but the Cowboys and their starting quarterback remain apart on terms. The four-year starter’s demands were north of $30MM AAV last year, and they were believed to be in the range of Russell Wilson‘s $35MM-per-year amount. While it’s uncertain if the Cowboys are comfortable getting to that figure, they will not have to go too much higher. Prescott is not asking to become the league’s first $40MM-per-year player, Jay Glazer of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Patrick Mahomes is the leading candidate to get there first, but while the Chiefs’ superstar passer is barely a month into his extension-eligible period, Prescott is 13-plus months into that window. After talks centering around a $33MM-per-year accord broke down during the season, the franchise tag now looks like a real possibility.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • After Joe Woods agreed to become the Browns‘ defensive coordinator, he has already secured one 49ers assistant to make the trip to Cleveland with him. Woods will bring in 49ers pass rush specialist Chris Kiffin to serve as Browns defensive line coach, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). The son of longtime NFL DC Monte Kiffin and younger brother of Lane Kiffin, Chris spent the past two seasons with the 49ers. Previously Lane’s DC at Florida Atlantic, Chris has spent most of his career at the college level.
  • The 49ers appear to have a replacement lined up. Aaron Whitecotton will join San Francisco’s defensive staff, per Marvez. A Bills assistant for three seasons, Whitecotton worked with 49ers DC Robert Saleh for four seasons in Jacksonville prior to relocating to Buffalo.
  • Despite indicating his coordinators would return for the 2020 season, Broncos HC Vic Fangio‘s change of heart led for a Rich Scangarello-to-Pat Shurmur transition. Fangio decided a few days after making that proclamation he would fire Scangarello, and Shurmur will become the Broncos’ fifth offensive coordinator since 2016. The ex-Giants and Browns HC’s experience pushed Fangio to hire him. “The experience was an extra crumb that Pat has,” Fangio said, via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala (subscription required). “I think Pat’s in his early 50s (54) and has coached 20 years, but if he was in his early 40s and coached 10 years, he still would have been the right guy for the job. … Once I decided to make the move, he was the first guy I called.” Fangio and Shurmur coached against each other in the NFC North for two seasons from 2016-17, when Shurmur was Minnesota’s OC.