Last week I took a long look at the top GM candidates for this year’s cycle.
This week … you guessed it … it will be the Head Coaches, Offensive Coordinators and Defensive Coordinators. I enlisted a similar set of coaches, executives, agents and league sources in an anonymous poll over the past week, plus to build the best possible roster.
There can always be surprises, but it doesn’t look like there will be a ton of head coach turnover this season. The Raiders and Jaguars will obviously have new head coaches. The Bears will be in the market for one, and the Vikings can. And despite what their respective fan bases may ask for, I’ve been told the Giants and Panthers will be standing tall this offseason.
That said, here is the list in alphabetical order.
Head Coach Candidates
Eric Bieniemy, OC Chiefs: He’s been passed for two consecutive offseason (and you could argue three) for HC jobs. Bieniemy is a key part of what the chefs have going on.
Todd Bowles, DC Buccaneers: Bowles has been at the helm of the league’s best leading defense since 2019 after four years as head coach of the Jets.
Jim Caldwell: The former Colts and Lions head coach should have been on every team’s roster last year and is expected to remain on those rosters this cycle.
Matt Eberflus, Colts DC: Eberflus leads the NFL’s most opportunistic defense that just ended Bill Belichick’s Pats.
Leslie Frazier, Bills DC: The former Vikings head coach was a finalist for the Texans concert last year.
Jerry Gray, Packers DB Passing Coach / Coordinator: Gray could end up being a prominent name in DC if a head coaching position doesn’t arrive. He showed what he can do when he replaced Joe Barry in the Packers’ win over Arizona.
Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett: Aaron Rodgers loves him and Hackett helped Blake Bortles win the AFC title game.
Vance Joseph, DC Cardinals: The former Broncos head coach has the Cardinals among the top 10 defenders in goals and yards this season.
Byron Leftwich, OC Buccaneers: Leftwich is expected to receive multiple interviews this cycle and is ready to lead.
Mike McDaniel, OC 49ers: McDaniel is a follower of Shanahan who worked with Kyle to find creative ways to give the ball to playmakers.
Josh McDaniels, OC Patriots: The way things have turned out in Indianapolis may give many team owners a justified break. However, he won’t jump on just any offer, given his quality in New England.
Kellen Moore, Cowboys OC: Don’t let Dak Prescott’s current slump confuse you. Moore will get a good look at the teams this cycle.
Raheem Morris, Rams DC: Morris fulfilled the unusual duty of coaching both sides of the ball in Atlanta before the team made a turnaround with him as interim head coach in 2020.
Kevin O’Connell, OC Rams: The former NFL QB has been alongside Sean McVay for the past two years.
Doug Pederson: This Super Bowl-winning coach has taken a year off and is expected to be a candidate for the Jacksonville opener.
Dan Quinn, Cowboys DC: He shaped that struggling defense in just a year.
Offensive coordinator candidates
Joe Brady: The former Panthers OC was fired after less than two years in the role, but he’s already received calls and could very well reclaim an OC spot in a few weeks.
Ronald Curry, Saints QB coach: In one season he has coached Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian to a 7-7 record so far.
Ken Dorsey, Bills QB Passing Coach / Coordinator: Dorsey has been the go-to person for Cam Newton and Josh Allen during their respective best seasons.
Josh Gattis, University of Michigan OC: Named the nation’s top assistant coach this year, Gattis has put together an impressive resume in just a decade of training.
Luke Getsy, Packers QB Passing Coach / Coordinator: He’s been with Green Bay since 2019 and would be able to take on the OC position there if Hackett left.
Pep Hamilton, Texans QB Passing Coach / Coordinator: Hamilton was able to guide Andrew Luck and Justin Herbert. Hard to believe he’s not an OC right now.
Mike Kafka, QB Chiefs Coach / Passing Coordinator: The triumvirate of Andy Reid, Bieniemy and Kafka is once again rocking the Chiefs’ offense.
Rams QB assistant coach Zac Robinson: His only coaching experience is three years with McVay in Los Angeles, but he could get a few looks.
Bobby Slowik, 49ers offensive passing specialist: He comes from a family of coaches and has worked a lot in this organization.
Frank Smith, OL Chargers Coach / Race Match Coordinator: Prior to joining the Chargers, he coached Darren Waller in Vegas.
Duce Staley, assistant coach of the HC / RB Lions: The former Eagles big has joined Dan Campbell’s squad this year and is ready for an OC position.
Defensive coordinator candidates
Steelers senior defensive assistant / secondary coach Teryl Austin: The longtime defensive assistant was one of the names that was repeated to me the most for this drill.
James Bettcher, 49ers senior defensive assistant / run game specialist: He carved out a role for himself in San Francisco after being DC with the Cardinals and Giants.
Al Holcomb, Panthers Defensive Play Coordinator: The former DC Cardinals has a Panthers defense that is allowing just 4.1 yards per carry this season.
Jim Leonhard, University of Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator: The former security guard was a star coordinator in Wisconsin and turned down an opportunity with the Packers last season.
Jerod Mayo, ILB Patriots coach: Mayo could easily be on the head coach roster after interviewing for the Eagles concert last season.
Aubrey Pleasant, DBs Lions Coach / Passing Coordinator: He sailed well a trying season with a young and injured secondary.
Kris Richard, Saints DBs trainer: Richard made a name for himself in Seattle before going to Dallas. He now oversees a stingy defensive backfield of the Saints.
Jay Rodgers, Chargers OLB Coach / Race Match Coordinator: A former university assistant who showed promise on the defensive side of the ball.
Eric Washington, Bills DL coach: Washington was the DC of Carolina before joining Sean McDermott in Buffalo, and he operates one of the deepest DLs in all of football.
Cowboys secondary coach / defensive passing coordinator Joe Whitt Jr.: He’s been paired with Dan Quinn in recent years and coached Trevon Diggs.
Christmas song list
Because this week’s notebook is full of lists, why not add one more?
As you and your family gather around the Christmas tree and log, be sure to play these tunes because they are the five best Christmas songs of all time.
“This Christmas” – Donny Hathaway
“May God rest you, happy gentlemen” – Barenaked Ladies (feat. Sarah McLachlan)
“The Christmas song” – Nat King Cole
“All I want for Christmas is you” – Mariah carey
“I saw mom kissing Santa Claus” – The Jackson 5
This list is final for 2021 and we will consider adjustments in 2022.
Pick of week 16
A very solid 12-4 week for your guy here brings me to 150-73-1 on the year. I took the Niners Thursday night. With all the COVID issues circulating in the league, I would like to officially reserve the right to change my choices from the date of this one being posted Friday morning until kick off. Notified?
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS | Flux: Paramount + (Click here)
I don’t like that Lamar Jackson has barely practiced in the past half month. Now that there’s a recording on Tyler Huntley, I think the Bengals are winning.
The choice : Bengals
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS | Flux: Paramount + (Click here)
Bill Belichick has the cheat code. The worst thing that could have happened to the Bills before this game was that the Patriots lost to the Colts the way they did.
The choice : Patriots
- Packers on Browns
- Cardinals on Colts
- Falcons on Lions
- Bucs on Panthers
- Chargers on Texans
- Rams on Vikings
- Jaguars on Jets
- Eagles over Giants
- Seahawks on bears
- Chiefs vs. Steelers
- Raiders on the Broncos
- Cowboys on WFT
- Dolphins on the Saints