NFL Head Coach Openings: Analyzing teams' vacancies and who can land the top jobs
The Carolina Panthers hired Frank Reich on Thursday, almost three weeks after the 2022 regular season concluded, filling their first open head coaching position in the NFL. The Panthers' recruitment period was substantially longer, and out of the three teams that fired their head coach throughout the season, they did it first.
Luckily, many qualified people are easily obtainable for organizations with openings. The most prominent choices have vast experience, notably leading their previous clubs to a Super Bowl.
Additionally, some talented assistants seem prepared to advance, and ex-players who are well-positioned to make a seamless move to coaching.
Analyzing all NFL vacant head coaching vacancies and potential employees
#1 - Arizona Cardinals
After a disappointing 2022 season, Kliff Kingsbury was fired by the Arizona Cardinals. Despite the squad being devastated by injuries this season, Kingsbury only managed a 28-37-1 record in his four years as head coach and watched his team get destroyed in its only postseason game.
Kyler Murray needs to be elevated, and the Arizona Cardinals need a manager who will do that. Michael Bidwell, the team president, informed journalists that Murray might have little influence over the hiring process for a new head coach.
A defence that finished second-to-last in points allowed during the regular season will also need to improve significantly under the new coach. As a result, the team may decide to hire a defensively oriented coach next, drastically changing their approach after almost five years of working with offensive mastermind Kingsbury.
They reportedly screened several coaches for the position. Sean Payton, Vance Joseph, Brian Flores, Dan Quinn, Aaron Glenn, and Ejiro Evero have all been mentioned as possible successors in Arizona.
#2 - Houston Texans
The Houston Texans can accelerate their rebuild thanks to their abundance of draft picks. With their victory in Week 18, they forfeited their right to the first overall selection in 2023, but still have a chance to select a top quarterback with the second overall pick. There are several intriguing and talented stars in the squad, but Houston still has a lot of needs, most notably the need to improve a dismal offensive line.
However, persuading talented applicants that they have the discipline to see a rebuild through may be the Texans' hardest challenge in the recruiting process since they have used two coaches in the last two seasons.
If his meeting with the team goes smoothly, DeMeco Ryans, the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, may take over as head coach of the Houston Texans. He is among the most famous coaching prospects available. Ryans played linebacker for Houston and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
#3 - Denver Broncos
The roster suggests that high expectations will be placed on a new head coach, which seems plausible given some of the candidates under consideration. Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh, both experienced and accomplished managers, are the two leading candidates for the position.
Given that Russell Wilson is coming off his worst season of his career, the next head coach must improve the offense.
#4 - Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have started a different signal-caller at the start of each of the last five years as they have yet to find a passer to step into the boots of Andrew Luck.
Ben Johnson, the offensive line coach for the Detroit Lions, has so far been mentioned as a possibility for the Colts' position.
Despite having all recently experienced bad seasons, the Colts still have many talented youngsters like Jonathan Taylor and Shaquille Leonard. They also hold the fourth overall pick in the draft, allowing the coach to select a new quarterback. Another possible advantage for a new coach is that the Colts compete in the inferior AFC South.
Shane Steichen, Eric Bieniemy, and Brian Callahan are among the interviewees for the role so far.