Pep Hamilton

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

Pep Hamilton On Chiefs’ Radar

Pep Hamilton is a coaching free agent again, following another offensive coordinator stay with an AFC South team. The former Colts and Texans OC also turned down an opportunity to interview for the Buccaneers’ play-calling gig.

The veteran assistant, who spent the past two years in Houston, may have a chance to land with this NFL period’s top offense. The Chiefs are exploring the prospect of hiring Hamilton, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets. This year’s assistant coach carousel figures to spill into March, and Hamilton now has two stints as an NFL OC on his resume.

The Chiefs just lost Eric Bieniemy, their offensive coordinator of the past five years, to the Commanders. Play-calling duties eluded the 10-year Kansas City assistant, who was unable to follow in Doug Pederson or Matt Nagy‘s footsteps in using the Chiefs’ OC position as a springboard to a head coaching job. Nagy is expected to replace Bieniemy as Kansas City’s OC, a role he held from 2016-17, but the Chiefs must interview at least one external minority candidate before filling their position. While Hamilton would qualify, it appears the 46-year-old staffer is a candidate to land another position on Andy Reid‘s staff.

Nagy spent this past season as the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach. Hamilton has held that role with six teams — the Texans, Chargers, Browns, Bears, 49ers and Jets dating back to 2004 — and a host of teams have sought OC interviews with the ex-Jim Harbaugh assistant in recent years. Following a brief stint as a head coach in the XFL’s second incarnation, Hamilton being Justin Herbert‘s position coach in his Offensive Rookie of the Year season elevated the coach’s stock. A stay with Patrick Mahomes likely would do the same. Houston’s offense did struggle over the past two seasons, ranking 30th in scoring each year, but the rebuilding team did not exactly feature plus personnel.

David Girardi served as the Chiefs’ assistant QBs coach last season, being promoted from the quality control level in 2022. But Hamilton’s experience would seemingly open the door to him being Nagy’s replacement — assuming the ex-Bears HC lands the OC job — or being brought on in a senior offensive assistant-type capacity.

Texans Expected To Hire Cory Undlin; Team Will Not Retain Pep Hamilton, Others

Former Lions defensive coordinator and two-year DeMeco Ryans lieutenant with the 49ers, Cory Undlin will come over from San Francisco to join Ryans’ staff in Houston. The Texans plan to hire the veteran NFL assistant, Aaron Wilson of KPRC reports.

Previous reports pegged the Texans as interested, and Wilson notes the team intends to hire Undlin as its secondary coach and defensive passing-game coordinator. Undlin spent the past two seasons as the 49ers’ secondary coach; his contract expired after the 2022 season. He is the latest 49ers assistant to join Ryans’ Texans staff.

That staff will not include Pep Hamilton or offensive line coach George Warhop, per Wilson. The Texans retained special teams coordinator Frank Ross, who was a David Culley hire and former Nick Caserio Patriots coworker, but they will have new coordinators (Bobby Slowik, Matt Burke). While Hamilton stayed on under Lovie Smith under a different position, moving from quarterbacks coach to OC, he is out in Houston after two seasons. Warhop joined the Texans last year.

A two-time NFL OC, Hamilton, 48, turned down the opportunity to interview for the Buccaneers’ play-calling post. It will be interesting to see where the ex-Colts play-caller lands. For a second straight season, the Texans finished 30th or worse in both scoring and total offense. While the Texans were not exactly equipped with many notable starters, the team’s struggles helped key another shakeup.

Warhop, 61, has been an offensive line coach in the NFL since 1996. The Texans are eyeing former Colts O-line coach Chris Strausser for the job, Wilson notes, adding the team is also eyeing current Browns defensive line coach Chris Kiffin as well. A Frank Reich hire in Indianapolis, Strausser coached the Colts’ O-line for the past four seasons. Although that unit produced three Pro Bowlers at various points, it regressed in 2022. Kiffin has been with the Browns since 2020 but has interest in joining the Texans. The second-generation NFL coach was on the 49ers’ staff from 2018-19, serving as San Francisco’s pass rush specialist.

Undlin, 51, checks both boxes for the current Texans, having worked with both Ryans and Caserio. Undlin collected a Super Bowl ring in his first NFL season, working as a low-level assistant in New England in 2004, and was the Eagles’ DBs coach during their Super Bowl LII-winning season. His Lions DC stay under Matt Patricia lasted one season (2020).

Ryans has now added Undlin, Slowik, Stephen Adegoke (safeties) and Nick Kray from the 49ers. An effort to poach defensive line coach Kris Kocurek failed. Ryans’ staff will also not include tight ends coach Tim Berbenich, assistant D-line coach Kenyon Jackson, quarterbacks coach Ted White, linebackers coach Miles Smith and select other staffers, Wilson adds. This is not exactly surprising, given the Texans’ struggles and six-year commitment to Ryans.

Bucs Begin Round Of OC Interview Requests

4:36pm: The Bucs are also set to meet with Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The team attempted to secure a meeting with Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Hamilton declined the meeting.

The former Vikings OC, Kubiak became a key figure during Nathaniel Hackett‘s disastrous season. Hackett gave the second-generation coach the play-calling reins late in the season; this marked the second straight year Kubiak held that responsibility. Kubiak, 35, has less experience running an offense compared to Cooter and Hamilton, and more candidates will emerge soon. Hamilton returned to an OC role this season — after being the Chargers’ QBs coach in 2020 and Texans’ QBs instructor in 2021 — but Houston axing Lovie Smith will likely lead him elsewhere.

4:06pm: Jim Bob Cooter is back on the offensive coordinator radar. Being out of the play-calling mix for the past four seasons, the former Lions OC received an interview request Tuesday.

The Buccaneers want to meet with the Jaguars’ passing-game coordinator about their OC role, Jeremy Fowler of tweets. The Jags made tremendous strides this season, with Trevor Lawrence showing signs of becoming the star talent he was pegged to be when he went No. 1 overall last year.

The Lions had promoted Cooter to OC when he was just 31, bumping him to their play-calling post during the 2015 season. Matt Patricia kept Cooter on following Jim Caldwell‘s firing but moved on after his first Detroit season. Cooter, 38, has bounced from Jets to the Eagles to the Jags in the years since. Todd Bowles was out of New York by the time Cooter arrived in 2019, but the ex-Jets coach has made him the first known candidate for the Bucs’ OC position.

Bowles fired Byron Leftwich last week, moving on after inheriting the Bruce Arians hire in 2022. The Bucs’ offense, which was a top-seven unit under Leftwich from 2019-21, nosedived this season. Tampa Bay fell from second to 25th in points and second to 15th in yardage. Leftwich’s successor may well not have Tom Brady to coach in 2023, either. Although the 45-year-old legend regressed in 2022, he still provided considerable value to the Bucs over the past three seasons. If Brady plays in 2023, various reports have pointed to that 24th season coming elsewhere.

Cooter coaxed some quality Matthew Stafford seasons in Detroit; the longtime Lions QB finished eighth in QBR in each of Cooter’s first two years as OC. This past season marked Cooter’s first chance to work with a quarterback since his Detroit days, and Lawrence — after a rocky start — rebounded to lead the Jaguars to the playoffs. Jacksonville’s Lawrence-led wild-card comeback — the third-largest deficit overcome in the postseason — points their long-term arrow up after a disastrous Urban Meyer experiment in 2021. Doug Pederson calls the Jags’ plays, and Press Taylor is the team’s OC. That opens the door for Cooter, with other OC openings likely coming soon as teams make their HC choices.

Texans Officially Hire Lovie Smith As HC

As expected, the Texans have hired Lovie Smith as their new head coach. The team announced that their defensive coordinator has earned the promotion to HC. We heard earlier today that the organization was moving towards hiring Smith as their next head coach.

“The last couple of seasons have been disappointing, but I believe in the vision Nick Caserio has for our football team moving forward and I see the pieces coming together,” said Texans Chair and Chief Executive Officer Cal McNair (via the team’s website). “Our goal here is to create an environment that’s conducive to winning on a day-to-day basis and compete for championships. I’ve had an extreme amount of respect for Lovie for years now and that only grew with the work he did last season and throughout this process. I’m excited for him and his family as we continue to evolve as an organization.”

Smith brings a wealth of experience to the table, having been a head coach for 16 of the past 18 years between the NFL and NCAA ranks. His longest stint on any one sideline was as HC of the Bears between 2004 and 2012. That stretch included a Coach of The Year award, along with a Super Bowl appearance not long after. From then on, though, his time in Chicago generally went downhill; an unsuccessful two years as the HC in Tampa Bay (which came after interviewing in Houston) certainly didn’t help his chances of another opportunity to lead an NFL team. 2021 was his first and only season as the DC in Houston, a year in which the defense did show signs of improvement.

Smith wasn’t initially considered to be a candidate for the gig, with Dolphins HC Brian Flores, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and recently retired quarterback Josh McCown all considered as favorites at one point. Smith only emerged as a legitimate candidate this past week.

The team also announced that they’ve promoted Pep Hamilton to offensive coordinator and will retain Frank Ross as their special teams coordinator. Hamilton, 47, has had a long coaching career, including a three-year stint as the Colts offensive coordinator. He joined the Texans last offseason, catching on as the team’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was considered for the OC job in Jacksonville this offseason.

Texans Moving Towards Hiring Lovie Smith As Head Coach

One day after his name was added to the list of finalists for the job, defensive coordinator Lovie Smith is close to being officially hired as the head coach of the Texans. As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (via Twitter), Houston is “moving towards” hiring Smith. 

[Related: Texans Considering Lovie Smith For HC]

The 63-year-old has gone from being out of the picture with regards to the vacancy to the likely hire in a matter of hours. While it was believed that the three finalists for the position were former Dolphins HC Brian Flores, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and recently retired quarterback Josh McCown, it came out recently that the latter two were out of the running for the position.

The presence of Flores as a finalist came, of course, with the fact that his lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams was ongoing. Flores has made it clear he would carry on with the suit even if he had been hired by Houston or any other team. That won’t be the case, in Houston at least, as the Texans are sticking with an internal candidate to replace David Culley.

Smith brings a wealth of experience to the table, having been a head coach for 16 of the past 18 years between the NFL and NCAA ranks. His longest stint on any one sideline was as HC of the Bears between 2004 and 2012. That stretch included a Coach of The Year award, along with a Super Bowl appearance not long after. From then on, though, his time in Chicago generally went downhill; an unsuccessful two years as the HC in Tampa Bay (which came after interviewing in Houston) certainly didn’t help his chances of another opportunity to lead an NFL team. 2021 was his first and only season as the DC in Houston, a year in which the defense did show signs of improvement.

Meanwhile, Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo tweets that McCown could still find himself on the Texans’ sideline this year. While that is a “possibility”, he adds that “those talks have yet to really happen”. He also states that Pep Hamilton is expected to remain on staff, becoming the new offensive coordinator.

With Smith seemingly in place, here’s what appears to be the final look at the Texans’ HC search:


Jaguars Request Interview With Pep Hamilton For OC

The list of names being connected to Doug Pederson‘s staff in Jacksonville is growing. The team has requested an interview with Pep Hamilton, the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator with the Texans, for their offensive coordinator role (Twitter link via USA Today’s Josina Anderson). 

[Related: Candidates For Doug Pederson’s Jaguars Staff]

Hamilton is the first name to be listed as an option for OC, as Press Taylor is thought to be a candidate for a lesser role on the offensive staff. Hamilton, 47, has more than two decades of coaching experience across the NCAA, NFL and even XFL. His most common job title in the NFL has been QBs coach, though he has also been the passing game coordinator in his one season in Houston. His work in the pro and college ranks earned him an interview request from the Panthers last month, but he turned it down.

Despite the external interest, Hamilton may not have to leave Houston to become an OC for the first time since 2015. As ESPN’s Sarah Barshop reports (via Twitter), Hamilton “is expected to be Houston’s offensive coordinator” if Lovie Smith is indeed hired as the team’s head coach. His availability to Jacksonville, or any other interested team, would therefore depend on what the Texans do in the coming days.

Pep Hamilton Expected To Pass On Panthers OC Interview, In Play For Texans’ OC Role

Expanding their search to include some former head coaches, the Panthers are not expected to meet with one of their preferred candidates. Texans quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton is expected to pass on an interview with the Matt Rhule-led team, Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 tweets.

The former Colts OC might have another option. Despite the Texans axing David Culley and OC Tim Kelly, Hamilton remains on the radar to rise to the offensive coordinator role under the next Houston head coach, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets.

This would certainly be an interesting move, as head coaches frequently bring in their own OCs. It is not known if the Texans would insist their next coach keep Hamilton on staff, but Wilson adds that the veteran NFL assistant looms as a “strong” in-house replacement option. Hamilton has no history with the Patriots, making 2021 his first season under GM Nick Caserio.

It would make sense to keep a familiar voice on staff for Davis Mills, who showed considerable progress once named the team’s full-time starter in December. Although the Texans’ offense ranked 30th this season — featuring evolving skill-position personnel and Laremy Tunsil missing most of the year — Mills rebounded after a difficult start, steering the team to an upset win over the Chargers and finishing the season with a three-touchdown, no-interception game in a narrow loss to the Titans.

The Texans are looking for an offensive coordinator for the first time in three years. They promoted from within previously, elevating Kelly to the role in 2019. Kelly, however, had an extensive history under then-HC Bill O’Brien. Hamilton, 47, has been with five teams — the Browns, Michigan, the XFL’s D.C. Defenders, the Chargers and Texans — since his three-year Colts OC run ended after the 2015 season. Hamilton mentored Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert in 2020. The Panthers have interviewed seven candidates, including former HCs Jay Gruden and Ben McAdoo, for their OC position.

Mike Groh, Pep Hamilton Land On Panthers’ OC Radar

Two AFC South staffers became the latest to emerge in the Panthers’ hunt to fill their offensive coordinator post. Colts wide receivers coach Mike Groh and Texans quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton are the latest to surface on the radar for the job.

The Panthers sent out an interview request for Hamilton and have interviewed Groh, Ian Rapoport of tweets. These assistants join former HCs Bill O’Brien and Jay Gruden, along with Vikings OC Klint Kubiak, in the mix to succeed Joe Brady.

Both Groh and Hamilton have OC experience at the NFL level and at major colleges. Hamilton has bounced around a bit, but the current Houston assistant was a play-calling OC in Indianapolis for three seasons (2013-15) under Chuck Pagano. During those seasons, Andrew Luck helped the Colts to the divisional round and AFC championship game. A former Stanford OC and Michigan passing-game coordinator, Hamilton has been with the Chargers and Texans as QBs coach over the past two years, which respectively saw a dominant debut from Justin Herbert and a quality late-season run from Davis Mills.

A non-play-calling OC with the Eagles from 2018-19, Groh did not retain his duties into 2020 under Doug Pederson. Groh, who has spent the past two years as the Colts’ wideouts coach, was previously the OC at Virginia in the 2000s before finishing his college run at Alabama in 2012. He has been in the NFL since.

Texans Plan To Hire Pep Hamilton As QBs Coach

A candidate for a few offensive coordinator positions, Pep Hamilton will instead join David Culley‘s first staff in Houston. The Texans are hiring the former Colts OC as their quarterbacks coach, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

Hamilton spent the 2020 season as the Chargers’ QBs coach but received interest from three AFC teams for their respective OC posts. The Dolphins, Steelers and Titans interviewed Hamilton for those jobs. While two remain unfilled — Miami’s and Tennessee’s — Hamilton is expected to head to Houston.

The Texans are moving swiftly in filling out Culley’s first staff. They are eyeing ex-Bears and Buccaneers HC Lovie Smith for a defensive role and have current reserve quarterback Josh McCown in mind for an offensive position. McCown interviewed for Houston’s HC job but may well begin his coaching career as a Texans assistant.

Hamilton, 46, was Indianapolis’ OC from 2013-15. The Colts made the playoffs twice in that span, with the latter season featuring Andrew Luck leading the NFL with 40 touchdown passes. This past season, Hamilton mentored Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Justin Herbert. The other two high-ranking Bolts staffers behind Herbert’s rise, Anthony Lynn and Shane Steichen, respectively landed OC gigs with Detroit and Philadelphia. Hamilton appears set to land on his feet as well.

The Dolphins have seen each of the external candidates for their OC post commit elsewhere. Clemson OC Tony Elliott will not leave the ACC program, Mike McDaniel received a promotion to become the 49ers’ OC, and the Steelers promoted Matt Canada to their OC position.