Each season we see coaches fired, retire, or step down. Some coaches have been tenured longer than others, coaches like Jim Harbaugh, Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, and Pete Carroll have been head coaches for their respective teams for what seems like an eternity.
This is likely due to their success for an extended period of time. Some teams have been searching for a coach to change their luck or culture for many years. With some teams have already given up on their coaches mid-season via firing, here are some new potential head coaching candidates we will see in 2021.
The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history. Their offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is a large reason for that. In Andy Reid’s Air Raid style offense that has been the best offense in the league for the last three years, Bieniemy has been the offensive coordinator.
Former and current players and colleagues have constantly spoken about how loved he is and his presence as a coach. Both Andy Reid and Brian Flores have spoken on his phenomenal coaching ability and potential. Bieniemy is a long-time NFL coach with a history as a running backs coach including coaching Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles.
He also coached two different stints at Colorado as running backs coach and offensive coordinator. Even with a lengthy coaching career, Bieniemy has never been a head coach. Bieniemy is no doubt great at his craft, and considering how high powered and fun to watch the Chiefs have been under his influence, expect the same from any team that lands him.
The 49ers have built their team identity around running the football and phenomenal team defense. A large amount of credit belongs to defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. In his four years as Defensive Coordinator, the 49ers rank top five in yards allowed two years in a row and went a Super Bowl last year.
Saleh coached under Pete Carrol, and at 41 years old is very high energy and respected by his peers. Saleh won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013, where he served as a defensive quality control assistant to the league’s best defense.
With a coaching history that dates back to 2002, Saleh is a very experienced coach, but similar to Bieniemy, if hired, would have his first head coaching job. Considering how successful Saleh has been in his more pivotal coaching roles, a head coaching job could likely continue his success on a larger scale.
With teams coached and assisted by Saleh having strong defensive play, there is great upside to a young coach with a history of winning and strong player development. Robert Saleh has earned respect as a coach and likely a spot as a coach In the near future if not next year.
If you would like to know the reason for the huge leap Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills offense made this year, look no further than Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll. With 20 years of coaching experience including serving under Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, Daboll has established himself as one of the best offensive minds in the NFL, as well as being responsible for unlocking Josh Allen’s potential as a passer.
Former offensive coordinators have a strong job market including Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Matt Nagy, and Zac Taylor all finding head coaching jobs after being offensive coordinators. Along with Daboll being a great offensive mind, he has five super bowl wins with New England proving his winning culture.
Daboll has been able to modify his schemes based on personnel which is great for a new head coach. His player development can be shown through the progress made in Josh Allen’s passing efficiency and completion percentage from his rookie year to now.
As a play-caller, in five of his seven seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator, his offenses ranked 11th or better in rushing yards per game, which includes the past two seasons in Buffalo where that phase ranked ninth and eighth in 2018 and 2019.
Giving Daboll a lead role on a team could instantly boost the production of an offense, as well as develop younger players. If Daboll is not a head coach in 2021, expect him to be leading a team in the near future.
With many teams in the market for new coaches after disappointing 2020 campaigns, these three candidates could serve a role in the rebuild and rebranding of many clubs. All have strong resumes and a history of success only time will tell if their strengths and success will translate at a head coaching role.