Two weeks later, no coaching vacancy has been filled

Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints
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Three coaches were fired during the season. Two joined them on Monday, January 9.

In 15 days since then, no one has made a hire.

We’ve seen how it happens in the past. Once the first domino falls, others follow. For now, the process generally is shifting from a broad wave of first interviews to a more narrow set of second interviews. Then, decisions will be made.

Some ultimately may wait to make a hire until after the Super Bowl, like the Vikings did a year ago with Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. If someone wants 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, or Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, that could be the case.

The biggest name in the current cycle, of course, is available to be hired at any time. And four of the five teams (Broncos, Texans, Cardinals, Panthers) have interviewed or will interview Sean Payton.

It’s unknown what Payton wants. He could choose to go to the Broncos, a team that has a great fan base, a strong tradition of winning, ownership with chasm-deep pockets, and a quarterback situation that won’t be blamed on Payton if he can’t rectify things in 2023. Which basically gives him a redshirt year.

Payton could end up with the Panthers, if he prefers a clean slate at quarterback — and if owner David Tepper is willing to dig deep financially and to give the Saints the enhanced package they’ll want for Payton’s rights. One real attraction in Charlotte comes from the fact that, while the AFC West is one of the best divisions in football, the NFC South currently is not.

Payton also could land in Houston. That’s the closest approximation to New Orleans. A team with very limited success in 20 years of NFL football. Payton could become the same kind of hero there that he is in New Orleans.

Arizona seems like a longer shot, given that they’ve already hired a G.M. And there’s a lingering vibe that Brian Flores is the favorite there, especially since new General Manager Monti Ossenfort (like Flores) has Patriot Way DNA.

The presence of entrenched General Managers in Denver, Charlotte, and Houston also becomes a factor. They naturally won’t want to have their status diminished, and potentially their employment jeopardized, if Payton shows up and takes over. That could give the likes of George Paton, Scott Fitterer, and Nick Caserio, respectively, an interest in trying to nudge the process away from Payton.

Still, Payton is the key. Once he lands with a team, the others likely will begin to fall into place.

Along the way, someone may decide to take a look at Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, who continues to do an excellent job against some of the better offenses in the NFL. If the Bengals can neutralize Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, and company on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, maybe one of these five teams should wait until the day after the Super Bowl to bring Anarumo in for an interview.

40 responses to “Two weeks later, no coaching vacancy has been filled

  1. Guarantee you the league office implemented some kind of new review related to coaching hires due to Robinson litigation.

  2. I think teams are tired of still having to pay former coaches that they missed on. No problem with taking your time and trying a bit harder to get it right.

  3. Most likely reason for the lull is teams are actually following the spirit (and not just the letter) of the Rooney rule – with one eye on the Flores lawsuit.

  4. And yet 2 weeks ago you were whining about how there needs to be a hiring freeze and how people miss out by being successful blah blah blah but missing the fact(every yr when you bring it up) that if people want someone they will wait but it does no good to put teams who want to move ahead further behind in their planning.

  5. casualfan says:

    January 24, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    Most likely reason for the lull is teams are actually following the spirit (and not just the letter) of the Rooney rule – with one eye on the Flores lawsuit.
    ———
    Disagree. The most likely reason is Sean Payton. When Harbaugh pulled his name out of consideration it essentially became a 1 man race with 1 proven head coach available and with the majority of the teams with openings hoping to get him it’s likely a holding pattern until he makes a decision. I could be wrong but I’d say when Payton makes his decision then things will go pretty quickly

  6. Agree with the Payton thing, the Rooney rule things and the Flores lawsuit. They are all happening simultaneously.

  7. Payton worked well with Mickey Loomis. As long as the GM can work well with Payton and accept that he knows a little about player evaluation, there should be no problem with any existing GM’s.

  8. Maybe they’re waiting for Brian Flores to get hired, so that they won’t be accused of racism.

  9. If someone filled a vacancy quickly, as with Sean Payton, that team would be pilloried for not during their due diligence under the Rooney Rule.

    Maybe things are going exactly as they should.

  10. Could be two more coach firings that Payton is waiting to open up, Bills clean house bring in Payton and his GM as a desperation move to get over the hump and being the AFC Saints might not want as much. And as always the Cowboys which basically comes down to his ego being big enough to deal with Jerry. One issue over looked with the Broncos is giving up their remaining draft capital and Russ’s contract and entitlement is going to make it difficult to actually improve the roster that was one of the worst in the NFL.

    Money is on the Cowboys or sit out the year, if he wanted any of the crap jobs already out there he would have already taken it.

  11. Which is a good thing. Imagine getting married after the first date and then wondering why you get divorced every 2-3 years. These teams are making critical franchise decisions after barely meeting these people.

  12. I think its a combination of everyone waiting n Payton and everyone being really careful of the Rooney Rule.

  13. Jerry isn’t going to fire MM. MM is the perfect coach for him—knows just enough to stabilize a franchise but doesn’t have that extra self-pride that you need to be the very best at what you do. Because if he did, he wouldn’t put up with Jerry. (And if Jerry was a top GM, he would understand just how big the problem is and not settle for less than Payton.)

  14. pmwdfw says:
    January 24, 2023 at 6:20 pm
    Jerry isn’t going to fire MM. MM is the perfect coach for him—knows just enough to stabilize a franchise but doesn’t have that extra self-pride that you need to be the very best at what you do. Because if he did, he wouldn’t put up with Jerry. (And if Jerry was a top GM, he would understand just how big the problem is and not settle for less than Payton.)
    ——————————————————
    If Mike McCarthy is the problem, why would one want to hire Sean Payton? McCarthy’s record in Green Bay is darned near identical to Payton’s in New Orleans. Both produced exactly one Super Bowl over 13 and 15 season respectively despite having HOF or future HOF quarterbacks during their tenure. Both coaches’ teams routinely underperformed in the playoffs leaving their fans disappointed. Payton in Dallas would generate lots of excitement and stories, but probably no additional silverware in the trophy case.

  15. I think it’s funny that Sean Payton has to go begging for a Head Coaching job just like everyone else!

  16. It’s going to be hard to have a Paton and Payton in the same organization. One’s gonna have to go.

  17. AndyB says:
    January 24, 2023 at 6:46 pm
    pmwdfw says:
    January 24, 2023 at 6:20 pm
    Jerry isn’t going to fire MM. MM is the perfect coach for him—knows just enough to stabilize a franchise but doesn’t have that extra self-pride that you need to be the very best at what you do. Because if he did, he wouldn’t put up with Jerry. (And if Jerry was a top GM, he would understand just how big the problem is and not settle for less than Payton.)
    ——————————————————
    If Mike McCarthy is the problem, why would one want to hire Sean Payton? McCarthy’s record in Green Bay is darned near identical to Payton’s in New Orleans. Both produced exactly one Super Bowl over 13 and 15 season respectively despite having HOF or future HOF quarterbacks during their tenure. Both coaches’ teams routinely underperformed in the playoffs leaving their fans disappointed. Payton in Dallas would generate lots of excitement and stories, but probably no additional silverware in the trophy case.
    —————————————————————————————————
    No doubt both are limited by whatever they can coax out of their QB. But I think just the difference in style and demeanor would result in extra attention to detail, which could have helped this season in Green Bay or Jacksonville where you had a two TD lead in the third quarter and failed to close out a win. A win or two there could get you a higher seed and a home game or two. And maybe SP pulls Dak aside after the Pollard injury and says whatever you do make sure we get points here; don’t risk a six-point swing in what wound up a seven-point loss.

  18. Complain about the unfairness of guys who are still working to fill jobs, and then complain about no vacancies being filled before all of these candidates are done coaching. Make it make sense.

  19. I think most teams are balking at paying Payton 20 million waiting for this week’s games to end to pluck the coordinators from one of the 4 left and let’s be real he is not worth 20 million a year….

  20. Several major candidates cannot be interviewed currently under the league rules. Who would guess coordinators and staff on playoff teams are more likely to fill the vacancies?

  21. It is simple. ALL of the potential Coaching Candidates are Cautiously waiting, not wanting to accept the Head Coaching Position of any available Team while the number One Vacancy the Head Coaching Position at the Denver Broncos, has not been decided.

    It may take some time, but when Future HOF QB Russell Wilson decides who to Partner with, the rest of the Vacancy will fill quickly…

  22. Isn’t it interesting that Dan Quinn has been out Campaigning for the Broncos’ Head Coach Position? He knows from his experience as the DC at Seattle, that Good defenses HAVE TO practice against Excellence, such as Future HOF QB Russel Wilson, in order to control lesser Quarterbacks on Sundays….

  23. Teams with Vacancies have made Confidential offers to potential Head Coaches, but have not & will not receive responses until Future HOF QB Russell Wilson decides who the lucky one is..

  24. Sean Payton should wait until next year. Jets, Commanders, Chargers, Cowboys, Browns, Bills could all have openings depending on how things shake out.

  25. Payton had one superbowl in like 13 years with a hof QB. Lots of missed playoffs and underperforming teams along the way. As an owner/gm I’m not sure I’d give up a few premium draft picks and 15-20 mil a year when a guy like Doug Pedersen just went to Jacksonville for nothing. Coaching definitely matters…but winning superbowls has more to do with the talent on the field

  26. The track record of coaches owners fell in love with and just went through the motions of a hiring process ain’t the best. Urban Meyers flamed out in less than a year. Gruden left in disgrace after several losing seasons. Point is owners, like a lot of regular people, often fall in love with the hype and persona a coach projects and ignores traits and practices that makes them not a fit for their organization (or NFL for that matter).
    The fact they haven’t actually hired anyone yet means a couple of things. One, they are focusing on coaches currently in the playoffs and are waiting to interview them. Two, owners have learned doing their due diligence serves a purpose. Several actually. It’s good PR for one. They actually can rest assured they have a decent coach for another. All in all, it’s good the NFL ownership is behaving in a professional manner rather than an ‘old boys’ club.

  27. It wouldn’t bother me if nobody gets hired until after the super bowl. I don’t think it’s the best thing for a guy to be coaching in the super bowl when all his players know he’s leaving for another job. I’m sure they have a reason why that’s not the case, but I don’t think it would hurt to wait.

  28. Wait. What?

    With Brian Billick, Butch Davis, Hue Jackson, and Marc Trestman just sitting out there?

  29. texansmakemedrink says:
    January 24, 2023 at 8:05 pm
    Several major candidates cannot be interviewed currently under the league rules. Who would guess coordinators and staff on playoff teams are more likely to fill the vacancies?

    ==========================
    ===================================

    Coordinators on playoff teams can be and have been interviewed.

  30. As said, it all depends on the first domino. In past years if that domino was in a deep playoff run and a decision was made (DQ) i
    It was leaked behind the teams and the other teams knew to move on. So, I expect this year the top dominos are in the championship games and undecided. OR could it be all the new HC’s will be from the final 4 teams?

  31. 2 reasons:

    1. Sean Payton has the selection of the litter;
    2. DeMeco Ryans is still in the playoffs and he won’t interview yet. He is definitely
    getting one of these openings ala Payton.

  32. Why rush to hire someone if the guy you want is possibly coaching in the SB. Your team won’t be any better for 2 weeks of work. I never got that.

  33. Nobody wants to go first and be added to Brian Flores law suit against the NFL. They are all waiting for the Cardinals to hire him, so they can hire their own coach without getting sued.

  34. Sean Payton is overrated as a HC. Just ONE SB with a HOF QB? Please. And having to give up draft capital with a huge guaranteed salary over his desired number of years? No thanks. Players win games, coaches often blow them. There are plenty good coaches ready to be HC. They sure look better when they have good players performing and executing for them.

  35. Flores is a DC – not a HC. His offensive staff in Miami was brutal. He had “2” OCs and the QB coach was calling plays. So bad.

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