Every year, you can expect a bunch of coaches to be fired after the last week of the regular season on the day that has been called Black Monday in the league. Seemingly before that day even comes, there are plenty of jobs in the NFL that are surrounded by rumors of new coaches coming in.
Some of the rumored names to become part of the NFL’s coaching fraternity each year come from the college ranks, but most of them come in the form of coordinators that are already in the league. Many of the head coaches you see in the NFL now were at one point offensive, defensive or even special teams coordinators within the league that caught the eye of front offices.
With jobs certain to open up for the 2016 season, there are plenty of current coordinators that are surely going to be brought in for interviews for the head coaching positions. Here are 15 current coordinators that you could be seeing at the helm of an NFL sideline when next season rolls around.
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15 Josh McDaniels
The first coordinator on our list already has experience as an NFL head coach, but he was young and fairly inexperienced at the time when he was in charge of the Broncos in 2009 and 2010. McDaniels was the Patriots quarterback coach and then offensive coordinator between 2004 and 2008, and served a year as coordinator for the Rams in 2011 before coming back to New England. Clearly, McDaniels has learned something as the offensive coordinator and Tom Brady’s quarterbacks coach, so it’s only a matter of time before he gets another shot at being a head coach, especially since he is not yet 40 years old.
14 Greg Roman
Greg Roman started out as a football coach two decades ago when he was only 23 years old, starting as an offensive line assistant with the young Carolina Panthers franchise. Since then, Roman has been an assistant with the Texans, Ravens, Stanford University and San Francisco before landing his current position as an offensive coordinator with Buffalo. Roman worked wonders for Colin Kaepernick for a time in San Francisco, and has helped make Tyrod Taylor look pretty good this season. At only 43 years old, it will eventually be time for Roman to get a shot as a head coach, and it could be in 2016.
13 Tom Clements
While he is older than a lot of the other candidates on our list, it’s a bit of a surprise that Tom Clements hasn’t gotten an NFL head coaching job yet. Clements has been coaching quarterbacks for a long time, starting out with Notre Dame in the 1990’s before moving to the NFL and coaching for the Saints, Chiefs and Steelers before becoming Buffalo’s offensive coordinator in 2004. Since then, Clements has moved to Green Bay and was their quarterbacks coach for five years and has been serving as the offensive coordinator since 2012. Maybe Aaron Rodgers deserves most of the credit for his success, but you could say the same thing about Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels.
12 Kris Richard
Kris Richard is one of the hottest names to be tossed around right now as a future head coach, but his age is working a little against him right now at only 36 years old. Richard joined the Seahawks coaching staff in 2010 and worked his way to becoming the defensive backs coach in 2012, helping form the “Legion of Boom” secondary. In 2015, Richard was promoted to the defensive coordinator role and appeared to be in line for a future head coaching position. The defense has cooled off a bit since he has taken over the position, but the team is still in the top 10 in yards allowed in 2015.
11 Vic Fangio
It seems like it has been years now that Vic Fangio has had his name pop up as a head coaching candidate, and perhaps he will finally get his shot in 2016. Fangio is a long time coordinator in the NFL, starting out for the Saints as a linebackers coach for eight years, serving as a defensive coordinator or assistant for the Panthers, Colts, Texans, Ravens and 49ers before getting his current position with the Bears. Fangio helped to turn the 49ers defense around while in San Francisco and has helped the Bears achieve more than many experts thought they would in 2015 so far, so perhaps he will get a head coaching gig sooner rather than later.
10 Harold Goodwin
Another young gun on the list, Harold Goodwin is only 42 years old and has really established himself as a coordinator over the past three seasons. Goodwin got his first NFL job with Chicago as an assistant, and in 2013 was given the offensive coordinator position in Arizona. The Cardinals were struggling on offense until Goodwin came as part of the Bruce Arians staff, and the Cards are currently leading the league in offensive production this season. The top offense in the league always makes the coordinator a hot name, which means we could see Goodwin landing some interviews after the Cardinals season is over.
9 Ben McAdoo
Ben McAdoo is another former Packers quarterbacks coach that has received a lot of attention as a potential coach, and he has been the New York Giants offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. McAdoo is only 38 years old, and it’s hard to teach a quarterback new tricks when he is only four years younger, but that’s what he has done with Eli Manning. Manning’s revival as a passer (as evidenced by his reduced turnovers) can be partially credited to McAdoo, which should garner him some attention from front offices around the league.
8 Frank Reich
Frank Reich was a star quarterback at Maryland and played in the NFL for more than a decade. While he was most known for leading the biggest comeback in NFL history as a Buffalo Bill, Reich has been making a name for himself in the coaching ranks. Reich was Peyton Manning’s quarterbacks coach in Indianapolis before becoming the Arizona wide receivers coach for a season. Now, Reich is the offensive coordinator in San Diego (after being their quarterbacks coach) and has helped revive Philip Rivers’s career, making him one of the highest rated quarterbacks in the NFL. Leading the fourth ranked offense in the league could help Reich land a job despite the team struggling overall.
7 Darrell Bevell
After the success that the Seattle Seahawks have put together over the past few years, a lot of people assumed that Darrell Bevell was going to grab a head coaching job when defensive coordinator took the lead job in Atlanta. Instead, Bevell has stayed on with the Seahawks as the offensive coordinator, a position he has held since 2011. Bevell was the Vikings offensive coordinator for five seasons before that, so he has plenty of coaching experience in the NFL. After helping Russell Wilson develop into a star quarterback, Bevell will surely be looked at to help another franchise groom their signal callers.
6 Matt Patricia
Teams have a lot of interest in coordinators for good teams, and Matt Patricia is one of them. Despite that other Bill Belichick disciples haven’t found much success as head coaches in the league, Matt Patricia will surely be another one that gets a chance at being a head coach. At 41 years old, Patricia is a youngster on the list, but his image is unmistakable and teams look for a face to their franchise. After coaching under Belichick for the past 12 seasons, there’s no doubt that Patricia has learned something valuable about coaching, and teams are looking for the next multi-Super Bowl winning coach.
5 Hue Jackson
One of only two coaches on our list with head coaching experience, Hue Jackson never really got a fair chance after spending just one season as the head coach in Oakland in 2011. Jackson has plenty of experience in the NFL, serving as the offensive coordinator for the Redskins, Falcons, Raiders and now Bengals while serving as an assistant in plenty more places along the way. As the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, Jackson has helped Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense become one of the best in the league in 2015, so teams might be eager to give the 50 year old another chance to lead their franchise.
4 Teryl Austin
Another 50 year old to add to the list, Teryl Austin coached in college football for over a decade before making his debut in the NFL as the defensive backs coach for Seattle in 2003. Austin had the same position in Arizona from 2007 to 2009 before returning to college for a year as Florida’s defensive coordinator, then coming back to the league as Baltimore’s secondary coach and is now the Lions defensive coordinator. In Austin’s first year, the Lions had one of the best defenses in the league and he was interviewed for head coaching positions. The unit has taken a step back in 2015, but Austin wasn’t part of the chopping block as it was the offense that was blamed, meaning that Austin will likely still have value in 2016 for a head coaching vacancy.
3 Adam Gase
A Michigan born man that went to college in the state also got his first NFL coaching job there with the Lions in 2003 as a scouting assistant. Gase worked his way up the ranks to quarterbacks coach in 2007 before taking a job as an assistant with San Francisco. Since then, Gase served three different positions for the Broncos over six seasons, eventually becoming their offensive coordinator in 2013 and is now holding the same position for the Bears. Chicago was supposed to have one of the worst offenses in the league this season, but they have looked fairly decent despite a multitude of injuries and criticisms of Jay Cutler. He would be one of the youngest coaches at 37 years old, but Gase is likely to be one of the first people called for an interview this offseason.
2 Sean McDermott
Sean McDermott started his NFL coaching career with the Eagles back in 1999 and was working up the ranks so fast that he was thought to be their eventual head coach, but that changed in 2010 when the defensive coordinator was fired after things started to go south. McDermott landed on his feet in 2011 when he became defensive coordinator of the Panthers and he has held the position ever since. The Panthers have only finished outside of the top 10 in total defense in one year under McDermott, and that was in his first season, so he gets a pass. That sort of defensive consistency is treasured in the NFL, which means McDermott could be a target for teams looking for defensive help.
1 Kyle Shanahan
Kyle Shanahan practically grew up with the NFL as his father, Mike Shanahan, was a longtime NFL head coach with Denver and Washington. Kyle coached alongside his father in Washington as the offensive coordinator from 2010 to 2013, and was with the Texans for four seasons before that. Since leaving Washington, Shanahan has been the offensive coordinator for Cleveland and now Atlanta. Shanahan has been able to turn running backs you’ve never heard of into stars (just like his father), and finds new ways to develop offenses. There’s no doubt that he will eventually land a head coaching job, but it’s just a question of whether or not he is ready since he would be the youngest head coach at only 35 years old. It’s not if, it’s just when.
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