Vance Joseph

Matt Patricia Still In Play For Broncos; Sean Payton Discusses Vic Fangio Pursuit

The NFL’s coordinator carousel is slowing down, after nearly two months of spinning. The ride left Matt Patricia without a position, with the Patriots hiring Bill O’Brien after using the longtime defensive staffer in the strange role of de facto offensive coordinator.

Another Patricia path closed when the Broncos hired Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator, bringing back the veteran coach four years after firing him as head coach. Patricia, however, is still in play to work under Joseph. Sean Payton confirmed Tuesday he plans to meet with Patricia about a staff position.

He and I are gonna talk this week, and I wouldn’t rule that out, though. If that were to possibly come to fruition, it would be for a few things,” Payton said, via the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers. “I’d certainly want to talk to Vance and our defensive coaches, but I know Matt well enough to know how smart he is and what he can contribute.”

Patricia, who also joined Rex Ryan and Sean Desai as candidates for the Broncos’ DC gig, has spent the past two-plus seasons back with the Patriots. Bill Belichick rehired him, following a rough go of it as Lions HC, and installed his longtime lieutenant at different positions. Patricia spent time in an executive role upon coming back to New England and was given significant responsibilities on offense last season, working as Belichick’s top assistant on that side of the ball. That unorthodox plan did not work out, and O’Brien’s arrival left Patricia in limbo. His Pats contract expired. Patricia’s Lions contract expiring also may have played a role in the veteran looking for a role outside of New England.

Payton and Patricia have not worked together; the latter spent 14 years with the Pats — six as DC — before landing the Lions’ top job. The Broncos are keeping two holdovers on defense — DBs coach Christian Parker and D-line coach Marcus Dixon — and have already added Greg Manusky and Michael Wilhoite to head up their inside and outside linebackers, respectively. Patricia, 48, would make sense as a senior defensive assistant, but Joseph will have to sign off on one of his competitors for the DC job joining the staff.

Although Payton made the rare move to bring a fired HC back to the same team that ousted him, he confirmed he wanted Joseph’s Broncos HC successor — Vic Fangio — to come back. Payton and Fangio were linked to joining forces back in December, but the latter received a host of opportunities and ended up signing a three-year deal with the Dolphins. Fangio is set to be the league’s highest-paid DC.

Do I think he would have been a great asset for us? Yes. We were planning, in this year/wave, if the right scenario came up we’d work together,” Payton said. “I think [the Denver fit] was just a little unique because it wasn’t too long ago he was here, but certainly I tried, talked to him, tried to twist his arm. I’m excited for his opportunity in Miami.”

Payton’s Patricia and Fangio comments made for an interesting morning for Joseph, who agreed to rejoin a team that sacked him four years ago. The initial report of Fangio agreeing to terms with the Dolphins surfaced Jan. 29; the Broncos hired Payton on Jan. 31. While Fangio’s Dolphins agreement did not become finalized for a stretch, it can be assumed Payton still attempted to pursue him for the Denver job. This all occurred before Joseph entered the picture. The Broncos’ Joseph interview request did not come out until Feb. 16. Payton confirmed Joseph’s time as Arizona’s defensive coordinator — a post the recent Cardinals HC candidate called “a tough job for a number of years” — did well to vault him past Denver’s other DC candidates.

Fangio, 64, coached the Broncos from 2019-21. Unlike Joseph, who was not with the team during GM George Paton‘s tenure, Fangio lost his job at the conclusion of Paton’s first season with the team. The Scranton, Pa., native worked with the Eagles as a consultant last season but planned on making a full-fledged DC return in 2023. The Dolphins paid him handsomely to do so.

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

Broncos To Hire Vance Joseph As DC

Vance Joseph is coming back to Denver. The former Broncos head coach will make a quick return, agreeing to join Sean Payton‘s staff as defensive coordinator, Peter Schrager of reports (on Twitter).

This hire will come barely four years after the Broncos fired Joseph following a two-year HC run. While unusual, a coach coming back so soon is not unprecedented. Joseph beat out the likes of Rex Ryan, Matt Patricia and Sean Desai for the job. Joseph will again play the lead role in helming Denver’s defense, doing so under Payton this time around.

Joseph, 50, received extensive interest from the Eagles as well. He went through a two-day interview with Philly brass; that wrapped Wednesday. Despite a rocky history with the Broncos, Joseph kept the door open for a return. The University of Colorado alum has not worked with Payton previously, but these two will be the top coaches in the Broncos’ organization going forward. Payton will call plays offensively, and Joseph will now step into Denver’s defensive play-calling role.

The Broncos went 9-7 under Gary Kubiak in 2016; their decline began to hit under Joseph over the next two seasons. Denver went 5-11 and 6-10 in 2017 and ’18, respectively, though quarterback trouble did more to sink those teams than defensive issues. While the Broncos’ defense did dip from its Wade Phillips-overseen apex, Joseph immediately landed the Cardinals’ DC job upon being axed. It is not known if the Eagles offered Joseph their DC position, but the Broncos’ new ownership — as evidenced by the Payton hire — certainly would be in position to win a bidding war for a coach. Joseph left his Eagles interview believing he had a good chance at either that job or the Denver opening, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets.

The Cardinals interviewed Joseph for their HC position early in their lengthy search process but ended up preferring two other DCs — finalists Jonathan Gannon and Lou Anarumo. Gannon and Joseph soon came to an understanding, one that led the Cardinals to replace him with the NFL’s youngest active coordinator — 29-year-old Nick Rallis. The Cardinals took on water from all sides last season, with their defense ranking 24th in DVOA despite J.J. Watt‘s bounce-back finale. But Joseph’s unit played a major role in Arizona’s 2021 playoff voyage; DVOA ranked the 2021 Cardinals’ defense sixth. The metric placed Arizona’s 2020 defense, which did not have Chandler Jones for most of the season, 10th overall.

Joseph is the second former Broncos HC to return to the team as a defensive boss over the past 10 years. Phillips, Denver’s head coach from 1993-94, came back in 2015 and helped steer the Kubiak-led team to a Super Bowl win. This reminds more of the Chiefs rehiring Gunther Cunningham four years after firing him as head coach. Cunningham coached the Chiefs from 1999-2000, being promoted from DC, but he returned to his previous coordinator role under both Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards. Unlike those circumstances, when the same GM was in place (Carl Peterson), the GM who fired Joseph — John Elway — is no longer in a regular role with the team. Payton and George Paton are running the show. New ownership is also in place, with the Rob Walton-led group taking over last year.

I’m over it. It was never a sore spot,” Joseph said (via Denver7’s Troy Renck) of being fired as Broncos HC in 2019. “That’s a great opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. It didn’t work out, but I wasn’t the first guy and I won’t be the last. There were never any ill feelings. It was just a job. It didn’t get done and you move on.”

Justin Simmons and Josey Jewell are the only Broncos cogs left from Joseph’s first run with the organization. The Broncos ranked 10th and fifth, respectively, in defensive DVOA under Joseph from 2017-18. His 11-21 HC record aside, Joseph has shown an ability to lead upper-echelon defenses. He will now bring four additional years of experience back to Denver. Joseph’s experience helped sell Payton, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Phillips also reached out to Joseph before his interview with Payton, Jeff Legwold of notes.

Ryan obviously brings more experience than Joseph, but the ESPN analyst — reported as the favorite for this job days ago — has also been out of the league since the Bills fired him late in the 2016 season. Desai, who also interviewed for the Eagles’ DC job, has one season of coordinator experience. Joseph has been a head coach or D-coordinator for seven combined seasons. This will be his fourth opportunity to lead a defense.

Defensive backs coach Christian Parker also interviewed for the job, Legwold notes, adding Mike Zimmer interviewed for a separate position on staff. Kris Richard, whom Payton hired with the Saints in 2021, also interviewed for the gig. Parker would appear to be a candidate to stay, while Zimmer — previously mentioned as a candidate to team with Payton again — could be in play for a senior defensive assistant-type position. Joseph should still be expected to have input in how Denver’s defensive staff looks.

AFC Coaching Notes: Ventrone, Browns, Broncos, Joseph, Raiders, Dolphins, Texans

After the Colts changed coaching staffs, Bubba Ventrone will have an opportunity to land on his feet. The Indianapolis special teams coordinator is on track to interview with the Browns, and’s Stephen Holder tweets the Colts are expecting to lose him to the Cleveland job. Ventrone spent five seasons in Indianapolis and is a well-regarded ST coordinator. The Browns are also interviewing Giants assistant special teams coach Anthony Blevins, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets. That meeting is expected to commence via Zoom today, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The Browns fired ST coordinator Mike Preiffer earlier this week. Blevins has been with the Giants for the past five years.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Prior to the Cardinals making Nick Rallis the NFL’s youngest active coordinator, at 29, the Broncos had him on their radar. Denver showed interest in the former Philadelphia linebackers coach, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. Rallis is a cool 31 years younger than the favorite to land the Denver job (Rex Ryan), but the Broncos are still eyeing Vance Joseph. Despite being fired after two seasons as Denver’s HC, Joseph is interested in coming back, Renck adds. The Eagles also have eyes on the ex-Cardinals DC; they are finishing up a two-day interview Wednesday.
  • The Colts are hiring University of Cincinnati offensive coordinator Tom Manning as their tight ends coach, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. This will be a reunion for Manning, who was on Frank Reich‘s first Colts staff as tight ends coach. Manning had recently accepted Cincinnati’s offer to be its OC, coming over after a four-year stay on Matt Campbell‘s Iowa State staff. The ex-Cyclones OC drew interest from multiple NFL teams, per Wilson.
  • The Browns will look to the college ranks as well. They are set to hire Utah State defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda to be their safeties coach, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel (Twitter links). Prior to his two-year run in Utah, Banda spent the previous two seasons as the University of Miami’s co-DC.
  • To fill their safeties coach post, the Dolphins are adding Eagles assistant Joe Kasper, Cameron Wolfe of tweets. Kasper joined the Eagles’ staff in Nick Sirianni‘s first year; this will be a move up the ladder, bringing positional responsibilities Kasper’s way for the first time.
  • The Raiders fired defensive line coach Frank Okam, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. A former NFL D-lineman, Okam came to Las Vegas after two years on Matt Rhule‘s Carolina staff. The Raiders struggled on defense for most of the season, dropping from 14th to 28th in total defense. Rather than can DC Patrick Graham, the team is moving on from one of his lieutenants.
  • In addition to ST coordinator Frank Ross, the Texans are also retaining wide receivers coach Ben McDaniels, Wilson writes. The younger brother of Josh McDaniels, Ben has been with the Texans since Nick Caserio‘s 2021 arrival. While Ben McDaniels has never worked for the Patriots, Caserio has been close with Josh McDaniels for many years. The Texans promoted Ben McDaniels from assistant wideouts coach in 2022.

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.

Eagles Interested In Vance Joseph For DC

5:15pm: Joseph’s meeting with Gannon did not yield a shared understanding between the two, apparently. Anderson reports that the veteran has been told he will be released (Twitter link).

4:56pm: Gannon was scheduled to meet with Joseph today, and made a comment which could leave the door open to the latter being retained. Gannon said that if Joseph’s vision for the unit “blends with mine, we’ll go from there” (Twitter link via ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss). Joseph figures to have a few options to choose from in the closing stages of the 2023 hiring cycle, but he would represent a highly experienced staffer for Gannon in his first HC posting should the two find common ground.

10:24am: After losing their defensive coordinator to the Cardinals, the Eagles are interested in speaking with Arizona’s four-year DC. Philadelphia wants to meet with Vance Joseph, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets.

Although a formal interview request has not yet emerged, that is the expectation here. The Cardinals have Joseph under contract and could block any DC request, though it is unclear if Jonathan Gannon would do so. The defense-oriented coach will likely be moving on from Joseph and most of his staff.

Joseph, 50, looks to be a popular name late in this year’s hiring period. The Broncos, who employed him as their head coach from 2017-18, have already submitted an interview request. A Joseph request will depend on Eagles internal meetings Thursday, per Anderson, but the team does not have an obvious in-house replacement the way it might on offense. QBs coach Brian Johnson and passing-game coordinator Kevin Patullo are in place as candidates to replace Shane Steichen, but the Eagles were interested in Vic Fangio and Jerod Mayo for Gannon’s old job. Both coaches are now off the market. Fangio is now a highly paid Dolphins DC, and Mayo agreed to stay in place as Bill Belichick‘s right-hand man on that side of the ball.

The Cardinals interviewed Kliff Kingsbury‘s DC to potentially replace him, but Joseph did not advance far in that process. The team had three other DCs — Gannon, Lou Anarumo, Brian Flores — as finalists, though Flores turned down a second interview to take the Vikings’ DC position. Joseph should soon be available for what would be his fourth run as either a defensive coordinator or a head coach leading a team’s defense.

A former Dolphins DC and Broncos HC, Joseph has seven years’ experience as a leader on defense. But he has been an NFL assistant since 2005. Joseph’s 2020 and 2021 Cardinals defenses ranked 10th and sixth in DVOA, respectively, though last season’s unit — J.J. Watt and Zach Allen‘s production notwithstanding — encountered rougher waters during a woeful season in Arizona. The Cards’ 2022 defense slotted 24th in DVOA during a 4-13 season — one that featured most headlines coming from the offensive side of the ball.

Were the Eagles to consider an in-house candidate, defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson has surfaced as the early preference. But the team is still early in its search. The Eagles just became the first team since the Bengals in 2014 to see both their offensive and defensive coordinators land HC jobs in the same offseason.

Broncos Request DC Interview With Cardinals’ Vance Joseph

Vance Joseph‘s status in Arizona remains in limbo, but with Jonathan Gannon likely to make changes (and already connected to other names on the defensive side of the ball), it appears likely the veteran coach will be elsewhere in 2023. On that note, Joseph has received an unusual request.

The Broncos are interested in interviewing him for their defensive coordinator position, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter). Joseph has spent the past four years in Arizona, trekking south after the Broncos fired him in 2019. Joseph remains under contract with the Cardinals, who could block the move. But the fact the Broncos are seeking this interview in the first place offers intrigue.

While Joseph is not long removed from his two-year tenure as Denver’s head coach, the Broncos do have a new regime in place. John Elway hired Joseph in 2017, famously going with the defense-oriented leader after a process that included a Kyle Shanahan interview, and pulled the plug after Joseph’s 11-21 tenure. The Broncos now have George Paton in place as GM and Sean Payton running the show as head coach. The team features new ownership as well.

It would be interesting to see if Joseph goes through with the interview, but it would not be unprecedented to see a team’s former head coach return as its defensive coordinator. It’s happened twice in the AFC West in the not-so-distant past. The Broncos brought back Wade Phillips in 2015, doing so after firing him as HC (to pave way for Mike Shanahan‘s 1995 hire). Less time had passed for the Chiefs, who rehired Gunther Cunningham — their head coach from 1999-2000 — as DC in 2004. Cunningham stayed on as DC under Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards for five seasons.

The Cardinals interviewed Joseph for their HC position early in their lengthy search process but ended up preferring two other DCs — finalists Gannon and Lou Anarumo. Joseph, 50, oversaw DVOA’s 24th-ranked defense in 2022 but had more success in previous seasons. Despite the Cards missing J.J. Watt for much of the season and having issues at cornerback, their 2021 defense ranked sixth in DVOA. In 2020, the metric measured Joseph’s Cards defense as the league’s 10th-best unit. In Denver, Joseph’s 2017 defense — which still featured some troops from the team’s Super Bowl-winning unit — ranked third in yards allowed. Though, the franchise’s quarterback issues that sank Vic Fangio initially keyed Joseph’s Denver ouster. Justin Simmons is the only defender left on the roster who played under Joseph.

Denver’s DC search has gone in a few directions. The most notable names now connected to it are Rex Ryan and Sean Desai, and Mike Zimmer has now been connected to both the Broncos and Cardinals. Ryan may now be the favorite here, despite having not coached since 2016. But Joseph — an ex-Colorado Buffalo — would certainly be an interesting addition to Denver’s mix.

Coaching Notes: Cards, Kingsbury, Chargers

Mentioned as a candidate to reunite with Sean Payton, Mike Zimmer also may be under consideration for another reunion. Jonathan Gannon, one of Zimmer’s original hires with the Vikings back in 2014, appears to have the veteran coach on his radar for his Cardinals staff, Howard Balzer of tweets. Eagles linebackers coach Nick Rallis also may be on Gannon’s radar to head to Arizona, per Balzer. Gannon spent four seasons on Zimmer’s Minnesota staff, working as the Vikings’ assistant defensive backs coach. Rallis, 29, was on Zimmer’s Vikes staff from 2018-20, before joining the Eagles. It will be interesting to see if Zimmer, 66, has multiple options to return to an NFL post.

As for Gannon’s Cardinals staff as a whole, some of Kliff Kingsbury‘s assistants are in limbo. Vance Joseph and others have not been informed of their future with the Cards, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets. Joseph was initially a candidate to replace Kingsbury and interviewed for the job, but the four-year Arizona DC did not reach the finalist stage.

With all five HC positions now filled, here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Back from Thailand, Kingsbury has now met with multiple teams. After interviewing for the Texans’ OC post, the four-year Cardinals HC met with the Ravens. The sides discussed an unspecified staff position, Anderson tweets. This Sunday interview of sorts did not produce an agreement. Kingsbury is still in line to collect considerable cash from his 2022 Cardinals extension, but the Texans and Ravens hired others — Bobby Slowik, Todd Monken, respectively — to run their offenses.
  • Staying in Baltimore, Monken will have input in how the next Ravens offensive staff looks, per Anderson. The Ravens, as should be expected given their situation, followed through with their pledge to involve Lamar Jackson in the OC search as well (Twitter links). Monken, who collected two national titles while at Georgia, last coached in the NFL as the Browns’ OC in 2019.
  • Justin Herbert‘s 2023 brain trust will consist of ex-Cowboy staffers. After hiring Kellen Moore, the Chargers are adding Doug Nussmeier as quarterbacks coach, Dianna Russini of tweets. Nussmeier, an OC at five college programs from 2008-17, was with the Cowboys for five seasons — the past three as QBs coach. The 52-year-old assistant had multiple offers for 2023 NFL gigs, per Russini (on Twitter).
  • As the Broncos cycled through head coaches over the past several seasons, they kept Zach Azzanni in place. A Joseph hire back in 2018, Azzani stayed on as wide receivers coach under Vic Fangio and Nathaniel Hackett. Azzanni interviewed with both the Bills and Jets for the AFC East clubs’ respective wide receivers coach roles over the past two days, Tom Pelissero of notes (on Twitter). While these meetings could signal Payton has other plans for this job, Pelissero adds the Broncos could still retain the highly regarded position coach to work for a fourth HC.
  • The Broncos will lose one of their quality control staffers to the Cowboys. Ramon Chinyoung is leaving Denver to become Dallas’ assistant offensive line coach, per 9News’ Mike Klis (on Twitter). The Cowboys are also hiring Will Harriger as an offensive assistant, Todd Archer of tweets. Harriger, who spent last season as a USC assistant, has worked with both Brian Schottenheimer and Dan Quinn. Harriger previously served as the Seahawks’ assistant quarterbacks coach from 2016-18 and later was part of Quinn’s Falcons staff.
  • Shortly after the Broncos interviewed Rex Ryan for their DC job, the ESPN analyst’s son is in the mix for a title bump. The Jets requested an interview with Seth Ryan for their wide receivers coach position, according to’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). A third-generation NFL coach, Seth is currently the Lions’ assistant receivers coach. Just 28, Ryan has an NFL assistant for four seasons. He has been with the Lions for the past two. Although Azzanni is also in the mix for this Jets job, Seth Ryan working for his father’s former team is on the radar.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers, Broncos and Texans’ hires, this year’s vacancy count sits at two. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-14-23 (1:30pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Coaching Rumors: Payton, Flores, Evero

By far the biggest name on this year’s coaching carousel, Sean Payton looks to have seen his momentum stall a bit. While Payton is interviewing with the Cardinals today, his candidacy has not produced a second interview anywhere yet. The Panthers met with Payton this week but just hired Frank Reich. While the Texans remain on the radar for the longtime Saints HC, Jeremy Fowler of does not get the sense much momentum is present for such a partnership. The Broncos have been connected to other names recently as well, but that path may be dwindling as well. There might not be a place for Payton — as odd as that sounds, given his track record — on this year’s market, Ian Rapoport of offers (video link)

Trade compensation being required to land the Super Bowl XLIV-winning HC, with the price varying from a first-rounder and other early picks to two first-rounders, has affected teams’ plans here. Payton, 59, has also been mentioned as waffling on this year’s lot of jobs. Returning to FOX for another year and surveying the 2024 market, when two jobs he has long been connected to (Chargers, Cowboys), could be available might be what comes out of this run of interviews. Payton remains in this year’s mix, but buzz has died down.

Here is the latest from the coaching landscape:

  • Regarding the Cardinals‘ search, Brian Flores remains firmly in the mix. GM candidates received the impression Arizona is high on the three-year Miami HC-turned-Pittsburgh linebackers coach, Fowler notes. Previously mentioned as a frontrunner — due partially to the Cards hiring ex-Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort as GM — Flores may have a right-hand man on defense lined up. Some around the league expect the ex-Dolphins HC to bring Gerald Alexander, Miami’s defensive backs coach for the past three years, with him to Arizona, per Fowler. With the Dolphins looking for a new DC, Alexander may be on the move anyway. While ESPN colleague Dan Graziano points to Vance Joseph and Aaron Glenn remaining strong candidates, Flores has generated the most buzz to this point. Flores has also interviewed for the Falcons and Vikings’ DC posts.
  • Raheem Morris booked a second HC interview with the Colts and also met with the Broncos and Texans. Should the Rams‘ DC land a second HC opportunity, Albert Breer of notes Ejiro Evero is the team’s top candidate to replace him. The Denver DC is no lock to be available. He is under contract with the Broncos, who blocked a Falcons DC interview, and has gone through second HC interviews with the Colts and Texans. Denver could pass on retaining Evero by hiring a defensive-minded coach, of course. Evero came to Denver from Los Angeles; he spent five years on Sean McVay‘s staff.
  • The Browns considered bringing in Vic Fangio for a DC interview, Mary Kay Cabot of notes, but they stood down and ended up hiring Jim Schwartz. Cleveland having run a 4-3 defense in recent years may have been a reason for passing on a Fangio meeting, Cabot offers. Fangio has remained quite popular still, having interviewed for three DC jobs — the Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers — already.
  • The Bills are making a change to their defensive staff. They fired safeties coach Jim Salgado, Alaina Getzenberg of tweets. Salgado had been on McDermott’s staff throughout the head coach’s six-season tenure.
  • Giants DC Don Martindale is attached to a three-year contract, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Giants thought enough of the veteran coordinator, whom the Ravens did not bring back last year, they gave him the three-year deal as opposed to the more common two-year pact. Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey also received extensive interest from other teams, with Duggan adding the Chargers joined the Panthers in offering him their ST coordinator jobs. McGaughey, who has been with the Giants since 2018, turned down a Bears interview and opted to stay and work for Brian Daboll.