Monday, Jan. 9
Broncos Send Out HC Interview Requests
The Broncos have started requesting interviews with candidates for their vacant head coaching position. On Monday, they requested to interview Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (NFL Media), Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris (ESPN) and 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans (ESPN).
Quinn was one of the hot names on the coaching market during the 2022 hiring cycle and is likely to be one of the most highly sought-after coaching options once again in 2023. As coach of the Falcons, Quinn compiled a 43-42 career record and took the team to Super Bowl LI.
Morris spent three seasons as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-2011, compiling a career record of 21-38. Rumors continue to swirl around Rams coach Sean McVay and his future with the team. Morris is as one of the likely options to step in for McVay should he retire or choose to step away for a time.
Ryans, a 38-year-old former NFL star, is the lone candidate linked to Denver thus far that would be making his NFL coaching debut. He’s guided the 49ers’ defense to near the top of the NFL leaderboards in most major categories.
It was reported last week Denver would be interviewing Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and former Saints coach Sean Payton for its head coaching position as well.
Texans Start Issuing Interview Requests
The Texans filed their first interview requests of the cycle on Monday, which included Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, NFL Media reported.
The Texans fired Lovie Smith after one season with the team on Sunday night.
Johnson led one of the most exciting and improbably successful offenses of the 2022 season, helping the Lions achieve their first winning season since 2017. Detroit finished fifth in the league in points per game up from their 25th overall finish in 2021.
Gannon led an Eagles defense that finished the season with a historic 70 sacks, tying them for third most in a season with the 1987 Chicago Bears.
Evero led a Denver defensive unit that allowed just 21.1 points per game, good for 14th in the league. An especially impressive feat considering Denver finished the season with just five regular season wins and 12 losses, tied for the league’s sixth-worst record.
Vance Joseph In Play for Cardinals Job
Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is likely to be a serious candidate for Arizona’s vacant head coaching position, sources told NFL Media.
Despite going 11-21 in his two seasons as head coach of the Broncos, Joseph is well thought of in the Cardinals’ facility and around the league. He has coached in the NFL for nearly 20 years.
Titans Fire OC, Other Assistants
The Titans fired offensive coordinator Todd Downing, offensive line coach Keith Carter, secondary coach Anthony Midget and offensive skill assistant Erik Frazier, the team announced.
“I want to thank Todd, Keith, Anthony and Erik for their service and commitment to our team over their time here in Tennessee,” coach Mike Vrabel said in a statement. “Each of them made an impact on our organization, were dedicated to the process and loyal members of our coaching staff.”
This comes after the Titans completed their late-season collapse, which included seven straight losses to the end season. In those games, the Titans’ offense scored more than 20 points just one time.
Downing had some trouble off the field this season, too. He was arrested for driving under the influence after the team’s win against the Packers on Thursday, Nov. 17.
Browns Make Coordinator Change
The Browns fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods on Monday morning after three seasons with the team, the team announced.
Later on Monday, the Browns requested permission to interview Seahawks associate head coach for defense, Sean Assai (NFL Media). The Browns also requested permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers to interview defensive assistant and former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores for the open position (ESPN). After being fired by the Dolphins, Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, alleging the league unfairly treats minority coaches and executives.
The Browns have similarly requested permission to interview Patriots defensive assistant Jerod Mayo for the vacant position of defensive coordinator, NFL Media reported.
Woods’ defense showed signs of improvement in 2021, but they finished 19th in points allowed, 12th in yards, 25th in rush yards and seventh in passing yards allowed this season.
“I’d like to thank Joe for his hard work and dedication in his three seasons as our defensive coordinator,” head coach Kevin Stefanski wrote. “I will always have the utmost respect for Joe, the person, and the coach. Unfortunately, we didn’t perform up to our standards enough this season, and we all share in that responsibility. We all wish Joe and his family the best in the future.”
Woods was also reportedly one of the reasons edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney decided to leave the team before their final game against the Steelers on Sunday.
Falcons’ DC Retires
Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees is retiring, the team announced. The 73-year-old just finished his second season as the Falcons’ defensive coordinator. Atlanta is expected to conduct a “wide search” for its next defensive coordinator.
“You appreciate all the work and the sacrifice,” coach Arthur Smith said. “We all get paid to do this and we’re lucky as hell, but there are sacrifices you have to make. Dean’s a guy who has coached at every level and had success. He has impacted a lot of lives and he has impacted the game.”
The Falcons ranked 23rd in points per game allowed and 27th in total yards per game allowed this season.
Belichick Will Return in 2023
Patriots coach Bill Belichick will return to the team for the 2023 season, he told reporters. The Patriots finished with an 8-9 record after their loss to the Bills on Sunday, which eliminated them from playoff contention. Next year will be Belichick’s 24th season.
“Turning the page to next season will begin later today,” Belichick said in his press conference. “We’ve got to have better results, that’s the bottom line.”