Rex Ryan

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

Rex Ryan Emerging As Denver’s Top DC Candidate

FEBRUARY 19: The Broncos interviewed Vance Joseph on February 17, and Ryan got a second interview on February 18, as Adam Schefter of tweets. Mike Klis of 9News confirms that both Joseph and Ryan are in the “second round” of the process, though he adds that a decision is not necessarily imminent and that Payton may choose to interview another candidate or two before making a final decision (Twitter link). Per Schefter, Ryan would only leave ESPN “for the perfect situation.”

Troy Renck of Denver7 adds (via Twitter) that Joseph’s interview lasted eight hours, and that Ryan’s interview was also a lengthy one. Both men have made strong impressions.

FEBRUARY 15: Despite not coaching in the NFL since 2016, Rex Ryan is reportedly emerging as the Broncos’ top candidate to serve as Sean Payton‘s first defensive coordinator in Denver, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The former NFL defensive coordinator and head coach would be making his first appearance on an NFL sideline since being fired by the Bills two years into a five-year contract.

Before leaving the NFL, Ryan had been coaching football since 1987, when he served as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky. After two years in the position, Ryan earned his first defensive coordinator position (along with a title of assistant head coach) at New Mexico Highlands University. The next year, Ryan would coach for a more notable school, serving as defensive coordinator at Morehead State.

Ryan would continue his rapid ascent from there, earning his first NFL job, with a little help from his father (and head coach in Arizona) Buddy Ryan, after four years at Morehead State. He spent two years as the defensive line and linebackers coach for the Cardinals before returning to the college ranks as defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. After two years with the Bearcats, Ryan served as defensive coordinator for Oklahoma for a year before returning to the NFL.

This time, Ryan’s move to the NFL would be permanent. Ryan accepted the job of defensive line coach for the Ravens, the team that would employ Ryan for the longest tenure of his career. Ryan coached a defensive line that helped the Ravens boast the best defenses in Baltimore history and, arguably, some of the best defenses in NFL history. He was rewarded with the defensive coordinator position five years later in 2005.

After a 2007 season that saw the Ravens finish 5-11, head coach Brian Billick and the rest of the staff were laid off. Ryan, being the coordinator of a defense that still ranked sixth in yards allowed despite the abysmal record, was an obvious candidate to replace Billick, but the job would go to current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who wisely chose to retain Ryan as defensive coordinator and promoted him to assistant head coach, as well. In his final season with the Ravens, Ryan led the league’s second-best defense in terms of yardage allowed (third-best in points allowed), assisting Harbaugh and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco in becoming the first rookie head coach and quarterback combo to advance to the AFC Championship game. In his ten years with the Ravens, the team never finished worse than sixth in the league in yards allowed.

Ryan’s performance in 2008 resulted in his first head coaching position as he was hired to replace Eric Mangini in New York. Ryan essentially copied and pasted his last year in Baltimore during his first year with the Jets. On the back of the league’s top defense in yards and points allowed, the Jets went 9-7 and became the league’s second rookie head coach and quarterback duo to advance to the AFC Championship game with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, one year after his former team accomplished the same feat. It was also the Jets’ first appearance in the league’s penultimate round of the playoffs since 1998.

In his second season as head coach of the Jets, Ryan would lead New York to the AFC Championship game for the second year in a row after going 11-5 in regular season play. The regular season and playoff success would end there, though, as the Jets would go a combined 26-38 in the next four seasons, culminating in the 4-12 season that would lead to his dismissal from the Jets, despite the support of players.

Seeing the coaching potential still present in Ryan, the Bills quickly scooped him up about two weeks later to be their next head coach. In two years in Buffalo, Ryan went 15-16, failing to make the playoffs in both years and getting fired before he could finish his second season with the team. He made a few interesting hires while head coach there, hiring his fraternal twin brother, Rob Ryan, as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator and hiring his former player and star safety Ed Reed as his defensive backs coach in 2016.

After exiting the coaching ranks of the NFL following his departure from Buffalo, Ryan has served as an analyst and broadcaster for ESPN . He reportedly interviewed with the Broncos this past weekend, marking the first time his name has come up in league circles in quite a while. He doesn’t seem to have much of a past connection to Payton, besides the fact that Payton hired his twin brother, Rob, to serve as defensive coordinator for a three-year stint following Payton’s year-long suspension. Regardless, if Denver chooses to employ Ryan after seven years out of the league, we’ll get the opportunity to see if he is still one of the league’s most respected defensive minds in coaching.

Broncos Interviewed Rex Ryan For DC Position

With Sean Payton in place in Denver, attention is turning to the assistants brought in to comprise his first Broncos staff. A notable name has been added to the list of candidates to lead the team’s defense.

Rex Ryan interviewed recently for Denver’s defensive coordinator position, per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer (Twitter link). The news puts him on the radar for what would be his first coaching role in seven years. Ryan has most recently served as a broadcaster with ESPN.

The 60-year-old started his NFL coaching career in Baltimore, spending six seasons there before being promoted to defensive coordinator. He held that post for four years, establishing himself as one of the league’s top defensive minds and earning head coaching interest along the way. He was hired to lead the Jets in 2009, and had an encouraging start to his tenure in the Big Apple. The Jets made two straight AFC championship game appearances, and Ryan had a 28-20 record after the 2011 campaign. Things took a turn for the worse as time went on, though, and he was fired after the 2014 season.

Ryan immediately followed that up with a tenure as the Bill’s HC lasting less than two seasons. He was let go after Week 16 in 2016, and has not taken a coaching job at any level since. His name as popped up as a potential DC candidate a few times over the years, including Kansas City in 2019. Ryan and Payton have not worked together in their respective careers, though the latter has spent considerable time working with Rob Ryan in New Orleans.

Broncos brass made it clear they wanted Payton to keep DC Ejiro Evero, who impressed in his first season with the team last year. However, he was let out of his contract and allowed to head elsewhere, quickly landing in Carolina. The Denver position is one which is appealing, given the presence of several high-end players the unit boasts. Ryan is joined by Brian Flores – who took the DC job in Minnesota – and Sean Desai as known candidates for the position in Denver.

Troy Renck of Denver7 reports that Payton spent time yesterday interviewing candidates for the team’s special teams coordinator vacancy (Twitter link). As the coaching cycle winds down, the Broncos’ staff should become clearer in the near future.

Redskins Rumors: Gruden, Keenum, Brown

Jay Gruden does not anticipate returning to the sideline this season but will look at re-entering the coaching carousel in 2020, John Keim of reports. Gruden’s Redskins contract runs through the 2020 season. The former Bengals offensive coordinator has not ruled out returning to an OC post, if no franchise wants to give him the keys just yet. The recently fired Washington HC, who half-expected his firing to come after the Redskins’ Week 4 loss to the Giants, also addressed reports of discord between his staff and the team’s front office.

I have mixed emotions about it,” Gruden said of the personnel issues, via Keim. “At the end of the day, if you’re not the GM, you have to accept the fact that you don’t get everything you want. You accept the players given to you. I had input in some areas, but there are some major issues there. It’s that way with most coaches. You don’t have that total say. It’s something you have to overcome and work with the guys you have.”

Here is the latest out of Washington, shifting first to how the team plans to handle its quarterback situation going forward:

  • New Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan is expected to turn the starting quarterback job back over to Case Keenum, provided that his injured foot allows him to play (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). The Redskins have a date with Miami next, a match between two of the league’s 2019 cellar dwellers. Washington started Colt McCoy against New England and used Dwayne Haskins for much of its Week 4 loss to the Giants. Haskins still figures to see more time as a rookie, but for now, Washington will turn back to its Week 1 starter.
  • While Haskins hovered at the epicenter of one of the reported disputes between Washington’s staff and front office, current Eagles linebacker Zach Brown was the subject of another debate. After the 2017 season spent on a one-year deal with Washington, Brown had garnered consistently high Pro Football Focus marks but could not entice a team to hand him a long-term deal. Gruden and his staff wanted to let Brown walk, but the Redskins instead re-signed him at three years and $24MM, Albert Breer of notes. Brown made it one year into that contract, with the Redskins returning the former Titans and Bills ‘backer to free agency earlier this year. The Redskins are carrying $3MM in dead money this year because of the Brown release.
  • Despite the Redskins profiling as one of the league’s most dysfunctional organizations, Rex Ryan said he would sign up if it was offered to him. During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, the former Jets and Bills HC said “of course” he’d take a job that “people are going to be lined up for,” via Earl Forcey of 106.7 The Fan (video link). The Bills fired Ryan in December 2016, late in his second Buffalo season. The Redskins currently employ his brother, Rob Ryan, as inside linebackers coach. But with a new staff likely taking over in 2020, that setup may well be in its final months.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Chiefs To Consider Rex Ryan For DC Job?

Former Jets and Bills head coach Rex Ryan is a name to watch for the Chiefs’ newly vacant defensive coordinator position, according to’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Schefter notes that Ryan has been approached about other DC openings in recent years. 

[RELATED: Chiefs Fire DC Bob Sutton]

This may be a report to take with a grain of salt. It’s not clear whether Chiefs sources indicated the team’s interest to Schefter, or whether Schefter has received word from others around the situation such as Ryan himself, who is a fellow ESPN employee. Nonetheless, Ryan offers the kind of strong defensive pedigree and boisterous energy that the Chiefs may require.

Last year, the Chiefs tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks, but they was unable to pressure Tom Brady when it really counted on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Chiefs axed veteran DC Bob Sutton, opening up one of the most appealing DC jobs in the NFL.

In late December, Ryan was said to be contacting potential assistants in the event that he were to become the Dolphins’ new head coach. Those talks, apparently, were premature – Ryan never landed an interview in Miami.

AFC Coaching Rumors: Jets, Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins, Browns

Two coaches fired after the 2017 season look to have secured additional interviews about possible 2019 top jobs. Jim Caldwell will interview with the Jets, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. Chuck Pagano is now expected to interview with the Broncos, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Caldwell has already met with the Packers and been connected to the Browns’ wide-ranging search as well.

Here’s the latest from the AFC’s side of the coaching carousel.

  • Another year, another issue with the Jets‘ OC. After John Morton‘s stay in New York featured conflict, apparently Jeremy Bates‘ did as well. A growing frustration sprouted about Bates’ play-calling, something Jets GM Mike Maccagnan became aware of, Vacchiano reports. Bates is now in limbo after Todd Bowles‘ firing, and one agent suggested the Jets would have had to fire their OC if they wanted to land impact free agents on offense. Jermaine Kearse was also not happy with Bates’ work, per Vacchiano. The Jets may have more than one major hire to make in the coming weeks. Bates spent 2017 as New York’s QBs coach before taking over for Morton.
  • The expansive Browns search thus far does not include Josh McDaniels, Mary Kay Cabot of tweets. A Cleveland-area native, McDaniels was part of the Browns’ turbulent 2014 coaching search that ended with Mike Pettine. The Bengals have requested a meeting with McDaniels, but he has not yet accepted. McDaniels can interview this week because of the Patriots’ bye week.
  • The Broncos are monitoring Mike McCarthy, but no interview is as of yet scheduled, Klis tweets. McCarthy has been connected to just about every opening thus far. The 13-year Packers coach may sit this cycle out, unless he sees a perfect fit, Ian Rapoport of notes (video link).
  • Rex Ryan contacting possible assistant coaches about the Dolphins‘ vacancy appears to have been premature. He is not in the running to land the Miami job, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). This would have been Ryan’s third AFC East job. The former Jets and Bills coach has not been mentioned on Black Monday as a candidate for any of the eight openings.
  • The latest Leonard Fournette incident appears to have cost a coach his job. The Jaguars fired running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley on Monday, Tom Pelissero of tweets. Jacksonville is retaining Doug Marrone but is looking for a new offensive coordinator, so there will now be another position available. Wheatley just finished his second season as the Jags’ RBs coach.
  • In addition to Wheatley, the Jags are canning three other assistants — defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and defensive line coach Marion Hobby, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). Both Fewell and Flaherty spent extensive time with Tom Coughlin on Giants coaching staffs. This was Hobby’s first NFL job.

Coaching Rumors: Rex Ryan, Gase, Dolphins, Harbaugh, Broncos

There will be a ton of coaching rumors in the coming days, and we’ve already seen our first post-season firing. We’ve got a whole new round of notes ready, including an interesting tidbit about a very high profile name. Former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan is reportedly telling potential assistant coach candidates that he expects to land an interview with the Dolphins, sources told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Ryan is an out of left field name who hasn’t been talked about much recently, but he’s apparently eager to get back into coaching. One important caveat here is that there’s no guarantee Adam Gase gets fired by the Dolphins, but Ryan is apparently expecting him to. Salguero notes that Ryan is also a candidate for the University of Miami’s open job, and that Ryan is telling associates he has a “solid chance” to land one of the two jobs, but that he’d prefer the Dolphins one. If Ryan somehow ends up coaching the Dolphins next year, it’ll be the third AFC East team he’s led.

Here’s more on the coaching carousel:

  • Speaking of Gase, there have been conflicting reports about his job security recently. For his part Gase denied thinking about it much after his team’s blowout loss to the Bills, saying “I mean I’m not even thinking about that right now because we just got drummed on the road”, according to Cameron Wolfe of (Twitter link). Wolfe also notes that Gase said he didn’t speak much with owner Stephen Ross, who was in the locker room after the game.
  • We heard earlier today that multiple teams were considering trying to trade for Ravens coach John Harbaugh, and now we have a better idea of which teams. The Dolphins and Broncos are two teams that have expressed interest in trading for Harbaugh, according to Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders (Twitter link). While he notes the Buccaneers haven’t yet been linked, he thinks they “could get into the mix” eventually. The Ravens won the AFC North today, but Harbaugh could still be available, especially if Baltimore goes one and done in the playoffs.
  • It’d already been reported that Ron Rivera was likely safe in Carolina, and now it’s official. New owner David Tepper has informed Rivera personally that he’ll be back coaching the team in 2019, a source told Albert Breer of (Twitter link). It was a disappointing season for the Panthers after they completely collapsed after jumping out to a 6-2 record, but the explanation of injuries and Rivera’s track record with the team saved his job for at least another year.

Latest On 2018 Spring League

The 2018 Spring League is scheduled to get underway next week, with practices starting next Wednesday and games beginning on April 7. Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is the most high-profile former NFL player involved in the endeavor, but other NFL notables are also participating, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Running backs Ben Tate and Lorenzo Taliaferro, receiver Stephen Hill, defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu, and defensive back Al Louis-Jean are among the ex-NFLers who will take part in the Spring League, per Florio. Meanwhile, former NFL defensive backs coach/Rex Ryan disciple Donnie Henderson will lead the league’s East team.

The Spring League is a developmental effort comprised of four teams which involves four games in April. The league began in 2017, and notable ex-NFLers such as Greg HardyKellen Winslow, and Ahmad Bradshaw were among the participants.

Jets Notes: Watson, Wilkerson, Sanchez

Did the Jets make a franchise-altering mistake by not taking quarterback Deshaun Watson? Some within the organization believe that’s the case, particularly those who lobbied hard for him during the draft, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes. Mehta hears that some Jets officials were willing to trade a 2018 first-round pick plus Muhammad Wilkerson to move back into the first round to select Watson.

One can’t help but wonder whether the inclusion of Wilkerson in a trade offer would have helped the Jets’ chances. Wilkerson was once one of the league’s best values on the defensive line, but that went out of the window when he signed a five-year, $86MM extension before the start of last season and regressed sharply in 2016. Jets fans can dream about a scenario in which a future first-round pick, Wilkerson, and perhaps other draft considerations would have been enough to sway the Browns or Saints, but it’s hard to totally buy into that idea.

Here’s more on Gang Green:

  • After the Bills managed to unload Marcell Dareus, Rich Cimini of wonders aloud if the Jets could move Wilkerson before Tuesday’s trade deadline. He rightly concludes that a trade is highly unlikely. Aside from his onerous contract, Wilkerson’s production has still not returned to 2015 levels and he is dealing with multiple nagging injuries.
  • Recently, former Jets coach Rex Ryan said that he never saw Mark Sanchez as a “franchise quarterback,” but felt that he was good enough to “win with.” Those comments stand in stark contrast with what he wrote in his 2011 book, as Mike Florio of PFT notes. Ryan wrote that Sanchez was going to be “extraordinary in the NFL” and explained the thought process behind trading up to the No. 5 pick in the draft to get him. Ryan, it seems, is looking to rewrite history a little bit. This all may be part of an effort to to work his way back towards becoming an NFL head coach, but that seems unlikely at the moment.

AFC East Notes: Bills, Ryan, Jets, McCown

The Bills parted ways with Rex Ryan last December in part because of the coach’s declaration that the season was over when the playoffs were still in reach, Albert Breer of The MMQB writes. Ryan was believed to be on the hot seat in Buffalo, but that incident apparently sealed his fate. Months later, the Bills have a new head coach in Sean McDermott and Ryan has a new job as an analyst for ESPN.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • New Jets quarterback Josh McCown said his understanding is “it’s full competition between the three” QBs currently on the roster, meaning that he’ll duke it out with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty for the main gig (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). McCown, 38 in July, has $6MM fully guaranteed on his Jets deal. The Cowboys also wanted him, but they didn’t offer nearly as much.
  • Jets owner Woody Johnson says he will judge his team based on development this season rather than wins and losses, as USA Today’s Andy Vasquez writes. “Really, the way I want to be judged, hopefully from the fans’ standpoint, is just watch how we improve during the year,” Johnson said Tuesday on ESPN Radio. “Look at each individual on the team and if they’re getting better, that’s a mark of progress. That’s what we’re looking for.” That could be good news for coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan since the Jets’ roster is among the worst in the league.
  • Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler didn’t get the long-term deal that he wanted, but he reported to the team’s voluntary workouts this week.
  • Dolphins running back Damien Williams wants a raise, but he doesn’t have much leverage.