With most of the league already home for the off-season, head coach firing’s have come and gone as well. In this piece, we will take a look at each opening and talk through some of the best fits for each. You’re not going to see trendy college names here(*cough cough* Harbaugh) because I think the league is starting to move away from that, at least this offseason. We have an extensive list, so let’s jump right into it.
Jacksonville Jaguars, 2021 Record 3-14
What a train wreck the one year Urban Meyer era was in Jacksonville. Jacksonville needed a reboot badly from skipping out on team flights to go to bars, kicking kickers, passing blame to his assistants, and everything else in between. Bill O’Brien has been rumored to be a top guy for them, and as a Titans fan, that’s hilarious. But from a football standpoint, the guy who imploded the Texans isn’t what the Jags need.
To me, the best for Jacksonville would be Doug Pederson when he took over the Eagles way back when he quickly righted that ship and got them to their first Super Bowl victory. I don’t know how far Jacksonville is away from that level, but Pederson would get them on the right track.
Best fit: Doug Pederson, Former Eagles HC
New York Giants, 2021 Record 4-13
Joe Judge was billed as a culture builder when the Giants brought him in two seasons ago. And after two years, the team was in a tailspin, rudderless with no direction. Thankfully the Giants cut their losses and moved on. It isn’t easy to gauge what direction they’re going to lean, seeing as they’re looking for a GM currently as well.
The first thought is to hire a proven culture builder. Lucky for them, the Dolphins just let one of the better ones go. Brian Flores would be a slam dunk hire as stagnant as the Giants were. Come in to get the culture right and build the roster the right way, and New York could be cooking.
Best fit: Brian Flores, Former Dolphins HC
Chicago Bears, 2021 Record 6-11
THANK GOD Justin Fields is free of Matt Nagy. Now get the right guy to help him flourish. Many guys are billed as offensive guys in the coaching carousel, but few have proven to be good with a young QB. Enter Brian Daboll, current OC of the Buffalo Bills.
Josh Allen’s growth under Daboll as OC has been outstanding, and Fields is cut from the same cloth, if not even more dynamic than Allen. Daboll’s propensity for empty sets and spreading the defense out is something Fields would be all too familiar with dating back to his Ohio State days. Maximizing Fields has to be priority number one for Chicago.
Best fit: Brian Daboll, Bills OC
Denver Broncos, 2021 Record 7-10
The Broncos are tricky. Considering their quarterback issues throughout the season, I thought Vic Fangio had done enough to earn at least another year. Alas, one of the more talented rosters around is up for grabs. Their defense continues to be top tier; they can’t seem to get the offense right.
That’s where Eric Bieniemy comes in. Bieniemy has Colorado ties, an extensive offensive pedigree, and is one of the most well-respected coaches in football. The bigger concern in Denver will be who is under center in 2022, be it a rookie or another year with another vet, but I would trust Bieniemy to game plan up success for whoever their QB is next year.
Best fit: Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs OC
Minnesota Vikings, 2021 Records 8-9
I’ve been calling for Mike Zimmer’s head for two seasons now. No roster with this much talent should struggle to be around .500. That being said, this isn’t an easy one. I’d love to find someone out of the Shanahan or McVay tree to plug-in here for Kirk Cousins, but it’s just not there right now. I don’t think the Vikings are going to jump back on the defensive coach train, considering how the last few years under Simmer have gone.
I do, however, like the idea of giving Kellen Moore a shot with an established QB, WR core, and running game. The DC hire would have to be right, but Moore could be a fantastic combination with the weapons MIN has.
Best Fit: Kellen Moore, Cowboys OC
Miami Dolphins, 2021 Record 9-8
Call this the most shocking opening of the 2022 head coach hiring cycle. Brian Flores was let go after producing back-to-back nine-win seasons. Some national media has cited a power struggle between Flores and Miami management, but letting go of one of the most promising young head coaches in football is always a head-scratching move. That being said, priority number one has to be putting the right guy in place to maximize QB Tua Tagovailoa.
We’re going to get our first and only repeat here, but my favorite fit would be Brian Daboll again. Daboll has shown he can work with young QB’s, and Tua’s quick game out of Daboll’s empty sets should help you find out quickly if Tua has enough to be the guy long-term.
Best fit: Brian Daboll, Bills OC
Las Vegas Raiders, 2021 Record 10-7
Who expected the Raiders to make the playoffs after the John Gruden fiasco midseason? Not I. But they’re here and still playing good football. This isn’t officially an opening yet, with interim Rich Bisaccia righting the ship and keeping the team afloat. Reports around the organization have been that Bisaccia has been the driving force in keeping the Raiders moving forward, and I think that’s enough to warrant dropping the interim tag and him getting the full job time moving forward.
Best fit: Rich Bisaccia, Raiders Interim Head Coach