There are still three games left in the NFL playoffs and four teams are still alive in the race to become the Super Bowl champion. But for the 28 teams that are already at home, it’s already the offseason. This means that it is time to change both rosters and coaching staffs.
Across the league, there are a ton of teams looking for a new offensive coordinator. Actually there is
13 (THIRTEEN!) 12 (Twelve!) current offensive coordinator vacancies (after Patriots Bill O’Brien). Because there are so many of them, we are here to play matchmaker and assign candidates to job openings.
It’s worth remembering that there are five teams that still have head coaching openings, making it nearly impossible to pick an offensive coordinator for them. So we won’t make a game for the Broncos, Cardinals, Colts, Panthers or Texans just yet. That leaves us with
eight seven teams as you see fit: Buccaneers, Chargers, Commanders, Jets, Rams, Ravens and Titans.
Before we give it a shot, let’s do some cleaning. As best I can, I have compiled a list of candidates who have either been interviewed for one of the aforementioned openings, have been requested to interview, or are rumored to be a potential candidate. That list is extensive. Here it is in alphabetical order:
|Adrian Klemm||Oregon AHC|
|Ben Bloom||Browns running game coordinator|
|Bobby Slowik||49ers pass game coordinator|
|Brian Angelichio||Vikings pass game coordinator|
|Brian Johnson||Eagles QB coach|
|Byron Leftwich||Former Buccaneers OC|
|Chad O’Shea||Browns pass game coordinator|
|Charles London||Falcons QB coach|
|Chris Foerster||49ers Olympic coach|
|Dan Pitchers||Bengals QB coach|
|Darrell Bevell||Dolphins QB coach|
|deaf channels||Seahawks QB coach|
|Drew Petzing||Browns QB coach|
|Erik Bieniemy||Chiefs OC|
|Eric Studesville||Dolphins AHC/RB coach|
|Frank Reich||Former Colts HC|
|Greg Olson||Ram’s senior assistant|
|Greg Roman||Former Ravens OC|
|Jerrod Johnson||Vikings Asst. QB coach|
|Joe Brady||Bills QB Coach|
|Justin Outten||Broncos OC|
|Keenan McCardell||Vikings WR coach|
|Ken Zampese||Commander’s QB Coach|
|Kevin Patullo||Eagles pass game coordinator|
|Clint Kubiak||Broncos pass game coordinator|
|Luke Steckel||Titans TE coach|
|Marcus Brady||Former Colts OC|
|Matt Nagy||Chiefs QB Coach|
|Mike LaFleur||Former Jets OC|
|Nathaniel Hackett||Former Broncos HC|
|Nick Caley||Patriots TE coach|
|Pat Shurmur||Former Giants HC|
|Pep Hamilton||Texans OC|
|Scott Turner||Former commanders OC|
|Shawn Jefferson||Former Cardinals AHC|
|Shea Tierney||Giants QB coach|
|Stump Mitchell||Browns RB coach|
|Thomas Brown||Ram’s AHC|
|Tim Kelly||Titans pass game coordinator|
|Todd Monken||Georgia OC|
|Troy Walters||Bengals WR coach|
|Zach Robinson||Rams QB coach|
For matchmaking purposes we will try to stay within the realm of realism as much as we can. For example, based on his history, we know with near certainty that Bill Belichick will choose someone with whom he has a past connection to be his offensive coordinator. So we’re not going to match the Patriots with e.g. Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, although Johnson is considered one of the top candidates this cycle. They haven’t even requested an interview with him, and all the coaches they’ve requested so far have the previous connection to Belichick. (Update: The PatriotsBill O’Brien, as predicted below.)
In fact, we won’t match Johnson with any team in the space below. That’s for a specific reason: It seems very likely that if Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen lands a head coaching job this offseason (he’s in the running for several openings), Nick Sirianni would promote Johnson to offensive coordinator. It would be much better for Johnson’s career to stay in Philly to coach one of the best offenses in the league than to leave and coach an inferior quarterback and supporting cast. So is Bengals quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher, who seems like a likely promotion candidate if offensive coordinator Brian Callahan gets a head coaching job. (It’s also true, to a lesser extent, of Giants quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney, whose offensive coordinator Mike Kafka is getting a job.)
With all that in mind, let’s get to it…
Buccaneers: Georgia OC Todd Monken
This one involves a projection of Tom Brady returning to Tampa. Otherwise, it doesn’t make much sense for Monken to leave a very comfortable job with the two-time defending national champions to make the jump back to the NFL. If Brady is back, though, the Bucs could look to Monken, who served as their offensive coordinator under Dirk Koetter before Bruce Arians took over. The offense was explosive down the field with Jameis Winston throwing to Mike Evans (among others), and after Tampa mostly lost that element of its offense last season, Monken could help rediscover it.
Chargers: Former Colts HC Frank Reich
Reich has proven time and time again that he can get the best out of quarterbacks. He was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when Carson Wentz was an MVP candidate and Nick Foles won the Super Bowl. He got strong play out of Andrew Luck (for one season) and Jacoby Brissett, oversaw an overall improvement from Philip Rivers in his last NFL season (compared to his last season with the Chargers), and made Wentz look competent. again in Indianapolis (before falling off the track again this year in Washington). Bringing him in to work with Justin Herbert would allow a budding star to take the next step in his development. He would also hopefully give Herbert access to more of the field than former offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi did.
Commanders: Rams AHC Thomas Brown
One thing we do know about Commanders coach Ron Rivera is that he values a strong running game. That makes Brown, a former running backs coach turned tight ends coach, a good fit. The Rams gave all their assistants permission to look for jobs elsewhere while Sean McVay considered his future, but Brown seems like the most likely candidate for a move up. He has long been considered an up-and-coming coach and a potential future coordinator or head coach. Here we give him that shot.
Jets: Bills QB coach Joe Brady
It wasn’t that long ago that Brady was a hot name not only for offensive coordinator positions, but head coaching positions. That was before he was fired as Panthers offensive coordinator by Matt Rhule, which doesn’t seem like much of an accusation anymore. He spent last season as Josh Allen’s quarterbacks coach and was Joe Burrow’s position coach in college. He also spent time with the Saints in 2018 and 2019 (Drew Brees) before his time at LSU. So he has experience working with a lot of different types of quarterbacks and having a hand in explosive, downfield-threatening offenses and those working closer to the line of scrimmage. He’s not straight from the Shanahan/McVay coaching tree as New York’s former offensive coordinator, but with Robert Saleh as defensive coach, he may be open to running a different style of offense.
Patriots: Alabama OC Bill O’Brien
As previously mentioned, every candidate the Patriots have talked to for this opening has a past connection to Bill Belichick. Klemm was the first draft pick of the Belichick era in New England. McCardell played for Belichick in Cleveland. Caley is the Patriots’ current right end coach. And Jefferson spent the last few years coaching under Kliff Kingsbury, who was a Belichick draft pick in New England. However, we’re betting the Pats go back to O’Brien, who was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2011 and an offensive assistant, wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach before that. He also spent the last two seasons working for Nick Saban, and we know how much Saban and Belichick love to trade assistant coaches back and forth. It’s questionable whether Belichick is really looking to reinvent the wheel offensively this late in his career, so we think he’ll go with a familiar face who has experience in the role.
Update: O’Brien has beenby the Patriots.
Rams: Former Jets OC Mike LaFleur
From the looks of things, it’s already heading towards this actually happening. It makes sense. LaFleur is the brother of Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who was the offensive coordinator with the Rams for one season. Both LaFleur brothers worked with Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta, and Mike came with him to San Francisco. He spent the last two seasons with the Jets, headed to New York with former Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh so LaFleur could call a player for the first time. (Shanahan calls plays, of course.) The Rams could throw a curveball by going with a coach who isn’t from the Shanahan/McVay tree at all; they did when they brought in Brandon Staley to manage the defense after parting ways with Wade Phillips. But McVay has been much more open to incorporating brand new ideas (rather than repeating his plan in creative ways) on defense than on offense. He’s much more likely to bring in someone who knows the system well and tries to tweak things to make the offense more efficient and explosive. LaFleur fits the bill.
Ravens: 49ers pass game coordinator Bobby Slowik
Under former offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the Ravens consistently had one of the most efficient running games in the NFL. Being able to build a scheme around Lamar Jackson – arguably the best rushing threat at the quarterback position in league history – will do that for you. Early in Roman’s tenure, the Ravens were able to marry that running game with a strong, downfield passing attack predicated largely on play action. But the passing concepts became increasingly stale in recent seasons, and Baltimore’s offense took several steps back. Enter Slowik, who has experience incorporating the pass into run-heavy San Francisco offenses. He also spearheaded the passing game under Kyle Shanahan in what was the most efficient season of Jimmy Garoppolo’s career until he got hurt, and of course in the last two months with Brock Purdy under center. That seems like a good foundation for the Ravens to exploit.
Titans: Falcons QB coach Charles London
London is a very interesting candidate, and a particularly good fit for Tennessee. First of all, he’s familiar with the scheme they’ve run in recent years, having spent the last two seasons working under former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith in Atlanta. Before he did that, however, London was a longtime running backs coach. That’s likely a plus for Mike Vrabel, who wants his team to be committed to running the ball — especially as long as they still have Derrick Henry. But the experience London gained working with quarterbacks should also come in handy, as the Titans will likely be looking for a replacement for Ryan Tannehill soon, and will need someone to coach the next guy.