We try to avoid advocating specific candidates for specific jobs, because we’re in no position to make a full and fair and complete assessment of candidates. Also, too many others in the media feel compelled to try to help candidates, for obvious access-and-info-related reasons.
But I will say this: If I were hiring a head coach in today’s NFL, I’d hire an offensive coordinator over a defensive coordinator.
The reason is simple. If you hire a defensive coach and the team does well, you’ll quickly be looking for a new offensive coordinator, because he’ll soon be a head coach somewhere else. If you hire an offensive coach, it will take a lot more to lose the defensive coordinator. (Case in point: Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen can’t get a sniff.)
Although plenty of defensive coordinators (Tony Dungy is the best example) give off a clear head-coach vibe, plenty of defensive coordinators have a rough-and-tumble air, from the Ryan twins to Wink Martindale and his Kenny Powers mullet to others whose demeanor is less CEO than GFY.
The Falcons, for example, arguably should have hired Kyle Shanahan (pictured) instead of Dan Quinn in 2015; after Shanahan left to coach the 49ers, the team went south and is still trying to recover.
One reason great offensive coaches don’t lose defensive coordinators is that teams lean toward offensive coaches. And for that reason great defensive coaches are more likely to lose their offensive coordinators.
So as the six teams with vacancies look for coaches, it makes sense to look for offensive coaches. Especially if the team has a quarterback who needs to be properly managed and groomed. Otherwise, the person responsible for managing and grooming the quarterback may do it so well that he gets a promotion somewhere else.