I want to start by saying that this is the worst job of the year, and I take no pleasure in it. The coaching staff isn’t just made up of head coaches, people we clap our fists on and blame for every problem and people who accept a healthy, seven-figure salary in exchange for such criticism. The coaching staff is made up of people who put in exceptionally long hours of mindfulness. They are people who do not get to see their family for most of the year. Those who try to hold on to the rest of their lives to climb that ladder are, undoubtedly, one of the cutest, chaotic and political businesses in our American ecosystem. The guys who sometimes have to accept the best coaches move up the line of high school fields, and the worst guys coordinating professional defenses for 10 times the money, because they’re the right person’s friend.
And their Jobs aren’t made easy by reading things like this, which can often add paranoia and cynicism into a fold that already includes sleep deprivation and wondering whatever nagging questions you’ll get from family members. whether they will have to pack up and move again at the end of the season.
To they Guys, we’re sorry.
The fact is that NFL coaching machines are big business. As we saw with the Dolphins molestation scandal, some owners will do whatever it takes to secure the coach they want, and they care very little about the impact on their employees. Many of the people whose job it is to help head coaches place vacancies are already looking at a layout similar to the one we’ll present here.
I would divide non-first year coaches into three categories:
- in questionWhich means it’s fair to wonder if the team will make a change.
- if the weather turns badWhich means if the team performs in a kind of serious, overly poor way, we’re going to start talking about a coaching change, although it may not happen.
- nothing to see here, which should be self-explanatory. You’ll see Bill Belichick there.
In each of these categories, there’s going to be some wiggle room, as indicated by the blurbs. Each category certainly has a fringe tier, which coaches can quickly find themselves in elsewhere.
On the bright side, one of my conversations regarding the carousel in 2023 was that it should be less active. There are 10 “new” head coaches in ’22. There are some coaches from last year who have done well. And teams that know they’re out of the Sean Payton Sweepstakes may be sitting on their hands.
All that said, life changes. Who knew in early January (outside a few people) this might finally be the year the Peyton-to-the-booth rumors were true? Who knew Raiders owner Mark Davis would have no choice but to break up with his beloved John Gruden?
Anyway, let’s look under the hood and see what we see.
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys:Let’s be honest: If Jerry Jones has a crack at Peyton, he’s taking it. They have one of the most sought-after young offensive minds in football, with Kellen Moore on staff, and Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator. If the Cowboys perform moderately poorly, there’s no way it can’t get complicated.
Matt Roulette, Carolina Panthers: The return of the rule in 2022 was a bit of a personal surprise. While the Panthers could easily have scored a low-seeded playoff run in the NFC, it seems to have one of the safer predicted openings at the moment. While Roulette missed out on a mind-boggling college carousel, his name was certainly bound for some top openings. He might like the NCAA atmosphere.
Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons: Smith said it himself: “If you don’t win the game, there’s going to be consequences.” To his credit, he’s not just a Kyle Shanahan copycat and he may have some unique plans for Marcus Mariota. Realistically, though, he’s short on firepower in a tough division.
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks: Carol turns 71 next week. While he is playful and youthful over half his age, one has to wonder what kind of appetite exists for short-term rebuilding.
if the weather turns bad
Cliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals: As I’ve written before, the Kingsbury expansion was a bit shocking. Even if he has just signed a new deal, another late-season fallout may leave the Cardinals wondering if they are in right hands with the quarterback, who is difficult to cut through at least 2026.
Robert Saleh, New York Jets: I personally don’t think there’s a lot of smoke here. As I’ve written before, I believe the Jets finally understand what a horrific mess their personnel department was left with in the post-Mike McCagannon era. That means Saleh and GM Joe Douglas need time. All that said, New York is a unique market, and sometimes the owners of said market find themselves succumbing to public pressure.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers: It’s one of the most desirable jobs in football, and Staley has been refreshingly fearless in his approach. While it’s hard to imagine anything changing, it’s also not hard to imagine some serious behind-the-scenes hype for a gig like this one.
Kevin Stefansky, Cleveland Browns: Stefanski was the top choice for the Browns’ strategy director Paul Depodesta, who eventually seems to be a bit in the captain’s chair in Cleveland calling shots. It is unlikely that Brown will shift gears; However, the signing of Deshan Watson has made matters very complicated. What if, somewhere along the way, Watson decides he needs a different coach? At the moment, Watson has more power than anyone in the building named Haslam.
Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions: A job we all hope Campbell will keep up with, because he plays the role so well and really cares about his players. However, Detroit went all out this season and faced the logical breaking point for many franchise tentpoles after this season.
nothing to see here
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: The greatest coach in modern NFL history gets to keep coaching where he wants and for as long as he wants.
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs: Despite some awkward staff turnover, Reed seems plugged in for Patrick Mahomes’ golden years. While retirement is never out of the question for the 64-year-old, Reid shows no signs of slowing down.
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens: Assuming the Ravens return with a healthy roster, Harbaugh is in a position to run the show for the foreseeable future. He would also be the perfect head coach to shepherd the Ravens into what is undoubtedly going to be a weird Lamar Jackson contractual saga.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers: Tomlin will get bored of coaching at Pittsburgh before the Steelers organization gets bored of him. He will make some serious magic while resting in Kenny Pickett in 2022.
Mike Wrabel, Tennessee Titans: After the team’s loss to the Bengals in the playoffs, Vrubel said with certainty: He’s going to be here for a long time.
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers: With 13 wins in each of his first three seasons, LaFleur is on the doorstep of a career-defining Super Bowl journey. While nothing is ever too comfortable in Green Bay, the Packers are in a good place at LaFleur.
Zack Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals: Taylor signed a post-Super Bowl extension until 2026. The Bengals were unwilling to part with him after six wins in two seasons. There’s no shot they’ll get rid of him anytime soon.
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers: While the atmosphere in San Francisco can be hot at times, Shanahan is the most imitated head coach in football at the moment. It appears, even as she insists on Trey Lance, that she has earned some staying power.
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Ramso: Rams will keep McVay as long as possible, whether it’s until the end of the Matthew Stafford era or some benchmark down the road.
Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills: McDermott has the Bills in pole position for the Super Bowl ring. While one could argue that the coaches paid the price for not meeting those expectations, McDermott is an institution in Buffalo right now.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders: The franchise is not yet in a position to change coaches, and it can be difficult to see who wants to coach there versus who they want to coach there. The Riviera is stable and can handle the heat.
Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts: While I debated whether to bump Reach, right now, Matt Ryan’s trick seems like a multiyear experiment. It would be hard to imagine Ryan signing something like this if he thought Reich would be gone after a year. Still, another late-season fall without Carson Wentz would raise eyebrows.
Nick Siriani, Philadelphia Eagles: Siriani turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises in the NFL last year. With a dynamic young staff, Eagle could potentially elevate NFC East a milestone.
Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings:O’Connell would be a more convincing test of “Sign McVay’s OC Strategy”. While we make fun of it from afar, it has largely worked for teams that have gone with the most casual game plan in coaching.
Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After the burn in New York, Bowles was always going to think twice about diving into a bad coaching position for his second shot. While the energy around the team is a bit strange right now, there’s no chance the Buccaneers see Bowles as a potential one-end.
Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins: Assuming that Ownership doesn’t stumble into another molestation scandal, McDaniel will get his shot. Here’s hoping his like-minded, engaging approach around the league takes hold.
Matt Eberfluss, Chicago Bears: The Bears are struggling from a personnel standpoint, but Aberfluss has maxed out bad units before. He is playing in 2022 with little money from the house.
Lavi Smith, Houston Texan: Texans can’t fire another coach after one season and maintain their status as a respectable organization in the NFL (if we can call it that now).
Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos: Hackett cleaning the building in Denver, pouring energy and positivity into some pretty dark spaces. A Broncos franchise that for decades used to operate in a way that just got a facelift.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders: McDaniels’ staff is full, he has a top-10 quarterback and is the best receiver in football. AFC West is brutal, but it should put a strong foot forward in 2022.
Doug Pedersen, Jacksonville JaguarsAs we often say MMQB PodcastAs long as Pedersen doesn’t do anything illegal and runs a non-descript franchise, he’ll be fine. And he’ll probably fare a lot better, with some initial optimism from Jacksonville surrounding a more familiar offense in line with Trevor Lawrence.
Brian Dabol, New York Giants: Dabol has a pair of potential future head trainers as coordinators and a franchise ready to finally press the pause button and take a breather after the Eli Manning era. It’s going to take some time, but can combining the best philosophies of the Ravens, Chiefs and Bills pay dividends?
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints: Allen got a second chance after Patton’s surprise retirement. While his first head-coaching job went south at Oakland, the Raiders were an impossible position for a youth coach at the time. The Saints will stick to what they’re familiar with now, and Allen has been one of football’s top coordinators for nearly a decade.
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