Here’s a an initial list of NFL coordinators of high regard, past coaches of fan interest and a couple names from the college level to consider.
NFL Coordinators/Position Coaches
Josh McDaniels - OC, New England Patriots
McD is going to be perhaps the biggest name in the upcoming offseason. He’s 40-years old with head coaching experience and coming out of a good five-year run under Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.
Matt Patricia - DC, New England Patriots
Patricia has also been touched by the all-knowing hand of Belichick. Just 42, the former aeronautical engineering major from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is known as one of the more brilliant minds among the coaching ranks.
Kyle Shanahan - OC Atlanta Falcons
The 36-year old worked his way through the NFL ranks before becoming offensive coordinator for dad Mike with Washington. Now overseeing the Falcons’ offense for the second year, the younger Shanny has turned Atlanta’s O into one of the best, if not the outright best, in the entire NFL.
Jim Schwartz - DC Philadelphia Eagles
If Kroenke wants to maintain schematic stability even while moving on from Fisher, you’d have to think Schwartz could be at the top of the search list. Schwartz served as Fisher’s defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans for eight years before a five-year turn as the head coach with the Detroit Lions.
Teryl Austin - DC, Detroit Lions
Austin came up in the college ranks before a three-year stint as the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary coach prepped him to take over the defensive reins in Detroit. His first season as Lions DC saw him push the Lions as a top 5 unit. While the seasons since haven’t seen the performances match that year, he’s well regarded as a manager of personalities as well as plays.
Jim Bob Cooter - OC, Detroit Lions
Fans are keeping a watchful eye on the young offensive mind for the Lions. Unlike Austin who, at 51, has more of a managerial mood, Cooter is looked at as a more creative play designer than a people manager.
Darrell Bevell - OC, Seattle Seahawks
He’s being churned out by the NFL Head Coach Development Factory. Six years climbing the ladder with the Green Bay Packers before OC stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Seahawks have him in position to take the top job somewhere soon.
Scott Linehan - OC, Dallas Cowboys
This would just be uncomfortable. The St. Louis Rams head coach from 2006-08, Linehan’s time was hardly memorable, though the larger issue was personnel management. In Dallas where he hasn’t had to worry about that, he’s turned the Cowboys’ offense into a legit top unit in 2016. Hard to see this one happening...
Sean McVay - OC, Washington Football Persons
McVay is just 30-years old but has been a rising star for Washington since joining the staff in 2010. His work to find a functional on-field support structure for QB Kirk Cousins is one of the more lauded jobs in the NFL.
Harold Goodwin - OC, Arizona Cardinals
The Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and now the Cards have all helped steer this former O-lineman toward his future as a potential HC. Does Cardinals HC Bruce Arians want to hold his crew together though to build a post-Carson Palmer blueprint out?
Sean McDermott - DC, Carolina Panthers
Guiding your team to a Super Bowl tends to do this to your career.
Vance Joseph - DC, Miami Dolphins
Joseph got a late start on the coaching circuit due to a short NFL stint as a UDFA in 1995 out of Colorado. He went back to his alma mater after his pro career waned and began a 17-year run to his current spot.
Perry Fewell - DB Coach, Washington Footballmen
Fewell, the St. Louis Rams’ DB coach from 2003-04, has held down defensive coordinator duties twice including one stint in Buffalo that left him a seven-game run as interim head coach in 2009.
Kris Richard - DC, Seattle Seahawks
This one might be the glamour pick. Richard was a star corner at USC under then-Head Coach Pete Carroll before being drafted in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Once his NFL career ended, he joined back up with Carroll as a graduate assistant at USC for 2008 and 2009. He followed Carroll up to Seattle climbing up the coaching staff ranks before being handed the DC keys in 2015.
Todd Haley - OC, Pittsburgh Steelers
The former Kansas City Chiefs head coach has rebranded after five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Pittsburgh can take their 6-5 record into the playoff push and get to the postseason, Haley’s stock might shoot through the roof if they do it on the back of the offense.
Anthony Lynn - OC, Buffalo Bills
The former NFL running back is another one of those personality candidates. Were Jared Goff not around and Todd Gurley were the face of the offense, Lynn would be a more likely option.
Paul Guenther - OC, Cincinnati Bengals
Guenther is another brilliant mind who seemingly came out of nowhere to rise up the NFL ranks. His three years at defensive coordinator and thin resume prior might not suffice for Kroenke who has an avowed preference for steady experience.
Bill Musgrave - OC, Oakland Raiders
Musgrave has a huge resume with tons of experience up and down the offensive side of the coaching staff going all the way back to his first OC gig with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1998.
Mike Shula - OC, Carolina Panthers
Another in the Brian Schottenheimer, Kyle Shanahan family of sons of head coaches. Has had to rebrand after not quite four seasons as the head coach of Alabama. Given the success of his successor, I doubt Tide fans are all that upset about how things worked out. That being said, is he ready to be handed full head coaching duties again?
Steve Spagnuolo - DC, New York Giants
Former NFL Head Coaches
This name gets tossed around a lot, but I think it’s more name recognition that anything. Turner took on the head coaching gig for seven years with Washington in the late 1990s, a two year-stint with the Oakland Raiders and a six-year run with the San Diego Chargers. So I get that the visibility he has among longtime NFL fans prompts many of the calls for his name.
But we just fired Jeff Fisher for his lousy career in the NFL just one game short of the all-time record for most losses by any coach ever. Turner is the only coach in the top 40 most experienced head coaches of all time with a losing record.
Turner was fired midway through his seventh season with Washington after just one playoff appearance. His time with the Raiders was a disaster. And while things started out well with the Chargers, that was largely due to Turner taking over what had been a 14-2 team with a Hall of Fame-caliber running back in LaDanian Tomlinson with his QB position solved in Philip Rivers (and if you’re trying to make the Jared Goff-Todd Gurley comparison, slow ya gott damm roll, boi).
Jon Gruden/Bill Cowher/Brian Billick/Mike Shanahan/Tom Coughlin/Tony Dungy/Dick Vermeil/Mike Martz/Steve Mariucci
I’ve seen these names get tossed around at TST or on social media. I’d guess the chances at any of these happening would be very low. But here, they’re on the list.
Jim Harbaugh - HC, Michigan
I’ve been treating this one with HEAVY skepticism. Harbaugh has it all in Ann Arbor - status, personal history, early success and salary to boot. He’s stacking up a quality roster and is headed toward another strong recruiting class headlined by one of the best quarterback prospects in the country.
And yet SI’s Albert Breer said something off-air to FOX Sports mouthwordmaker Colin Cowherd prompting Cowherd to remark “that Jim Harbaugh to the Rams rumor is a very real thing.” This will likely be the top target for fans from the college level.
Nick Saban - HC, Alabama
Go to a mirror. Tell the person you see to stop.
David Shaw - HC, Stanford
There’s certainly an argument here. That the Rams hosted Shaw and other members of the Stanford football team at practice this week makes it one interesting option to consider.
Current NFL Head Coaches
Pete Carroll - HC, Seattle Seahawks
I mean, if Kroenke really wanted to sell the team to LA...
There’s certain to be much more to come on this front with a head coaching vacancy in Los Angeles Being a huge, huge, draw. The circumstances of the team heading into the 2017 offseason aren’t the most inviting, but it will nonetheless be an intriguing sell following the conclusion of the 2016 season.