The teams that fell short of expectations this past season, but didn’t fire their head coach, often designated their offensive and defensive coordinators as sacrificial lambs. So while there were only five head coaching positions that opened up, there is lots of movement among assistant coaches.
Minnesota said goodbye to defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after their disappointing playoff loss to the Giants, and former Dolphins head coach Mike Flores is taking his place. Flores was the linebackers coach with the Steelers last season.
Flores was on the schedule to get a second interview for the Arizona Cardinals empty head coaching position, but instead of holding out for that job he joins the staff of Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota. Flores started in the scouting department of the Patriots in 2004, and he was with New England for four of their Super Bowl titles.
With Sean Payton as the new head coach in Denver, the Broncos allowed defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero out of his contract. He was not unemployed long, with him joining Frank Reich’s new staff in Carolina. Evero was also linked to the opening in Minnesota.
Evero’s defense was top-10 in total defense in spite of a number of injuries for the Broncos, and that put him on the short list for head coaching jobs this hiring cycle. He interviewed with the Cardinals and Colts, and for the Panthers head coach position, before it was given to Reich.
Things didn’t work out so well for Vic Fangio as an NFL head coach. But everyone agrees that as a defensive coordinator he is one of the very best in the business, and those talents have been taken to South Beach. He is the new DC for the Dolphins, replacing Josh Boyer after the defense underperformed in 2022.
Fangio was a defensive coordinator with the 49ers and Bears, and in 2018 he was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. That season his Bears defense led the NFL in points allowed and ranked third in total defense.
Joe Lombardi was the sacrificial lamb for the Chargers meltdown in Jacksonville, and Dallas said goodbye to Kellen Moore after the Cowboys were knocked out of the playoffs by the 49ers. Moore is now the new offensive coordinator with the Chargers, and it has L.A. fans excited about the future for Justin Herbert.
With Lombardi as his offensive coordinator, Herbert averaged just 3.8 air yards per attempt this season. That ranked behind Daniel Jones, Tyler Huntley, and Mike White. Under Moore, Dak Prescott averaged 4.7 air yards per attempt, which was just behind Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts.
It’s already been decided that head coach Mike McCarthy will be the new play-caller in Dallas, but the new offensive coordinator is Brian Schottenheimer, a former OC with the Rams and Seahawks. Last season he was a coaching analyst with the Cowboys a year after working as the Jaguars passing game coordinator.
Seattle did rank in the top-10 in scoring in all three years that Schottenheimer was the OC. HIs last season in 2020, however, they dropped to 17th in total yards.
The offense was a big problem for the Jets this season, but Rams head coach Sean McVay does not believe that it was offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s fault. Out in New York, LaFleur has been hired by the Rams, where his brother Matt LeFleur was the quarterbacks coach five years ago.
Mike LaFleur was the OC in New York for two seasons, and he was the passing game coordinator with the 49ers before that, when San Francisco made it to the Super Bowl.
Taking Mike LaFleur’s place in New York is Nathaniel Hackett, who failed to make it even a full season as the Broncos head coach. Prior to that Hackett was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay, where he worked for Mike’s brother Matt, as well as working for Aaron Rodgers.
Hackett was the OC for Rodgers’ back-to-back MVP awards and the Packers back-to-back NFC Championship appearances in 2019 and 2020. He was also in the AFC Championship Game in 2017 as the offensive coordinator of the Jaguars.
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Tanner Kern breaks down the biggest news from the NFL world, discusses fantasy football stategy, and gives his future bets for the 2022 season on the debut of the CHFF Show.