2022 NFL Head Coaching Candidates

2022 NFL Head Coaching Candidates
2022 NFL Head Coaching Candidates

The NFL is a brutal business if wins can’t be produced.  Coaches are being fired quicker than ever if they can’t turn out winning seasons and this year is no different.  Ownership and the fans demand quicker and quicker turn-around times.  The 2022 NFL head coaching candidates have plenty of familiar names and some new ones to look at. However, the vacancies may not be as abundant as you would think. Let’s take a look at the potential open spots.

Current Vacancies

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders navigated through the e-mail scandal and Jon Gruden “stepping down” by appointing interim head coach Rich Bisaccia.  Since Gruden left the Raiders are 3-5 and very unlikely to make the playoffs.  Being in Las Vegas there is a big market and the Raiders will most likely want to bring in an inspiring head coach.  Their offense is one of the top passing offenses in the NFL led by Derek Carr at quarterback.  Josh Jacobs has also shown plenty of potential at the RB spot.  The defense has also looked improved at times this year, creating a pass rush for the first time since trading Khalil Mack.  The Raiders will be a sought after destination.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Urban Meyer experiment seemed anything but pleasant for Jacksonville and right around midnight on December 15th they made the announcement they were cutting ties.  From hires that quit a day after being hired, bringing Tim Tebow in, and questionable dance partners, Meyer brought a bunch of negative headlines.  Still, with a young promising QB in Lawrence, and RB in Etienne, Jacksonville should be a desirable location.

Most Likely Vacant

Chicago Bears

Most of the Chicago fan base is just waiting for Matt Nagy to be gone.  After success his first year, he’s turned in some .500 years and not been the offensive guru as promised.  From Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and now Justin Fields, his offense has yet to remain consistent.  With Justin Fields entering his 2nd year next year, a strong running game led by David Montgomery, and promising players on defense, Chicago should give a new coach an exciting opportunity.  However, with how hungry the fan base is, the new coach will need to come in and make quick improvements.

Other Potential Vacancies

Houston Texans

While David Culley was just hired, he has not been able to navigate the poor roster he has inherited.  Deshawn Watson drama aside, the Texans have managed just two wins.  They’ve also scored the least amount of points and allowed the 3rd most points.  It would be unusual for the Texans to give up on Culley so quickly however with all the outside drama, however in an NFL that demands wins, it is very possible the Texans are looking for somebody new.

New York Giants

Reports continue to say that Joe Judge will be back and it’s possible the firing of Jason Garrett will be enough of a chance for him to keep his job.  However, the Giants have not been good and he’s turned in a 10-19 record through the past two years.  With poor offensive line play, Daniel Jones not reaching the next level, and a slew of injuries, New York may look to go into full rebuild mode.

Minnesota Vikings

There may not be a more up and down team than the Minnesota Vikings.  One week they’re crushing a team and putting up great offensive numbers and the next week they look like fools.  If the Vikings fail to make the playoffs, Mike Zimmer may find himself out of a job.  Coaching the Vikings since 2014, Zimmer is 70-54-1 as a head coach and 2-3 in the playoffs.  The Vikings have plenty of talent so their inability to push farther into the playoffs and make a super bowl may fall on Zimmer and clear room for a new coach.

Carolina Panthers

Jumping from college coaching success at Baylor, Matt Rhule hasn’t been producing much success in Carolina.  With a record of 10-19, Rhule was given a fresh start at quarterback with Sam Darnold this year.  While they started 3-0 and things looked ready to turn around, it was proven the Panthers struggle to win games without Christian McCaffrey.  Sure, losing a top player hurts, but a head coach has to be able to navigate injuries and not rely on one player, putting Rhule on the hot seat.

The Rest

The Dolphins and Broncos may look to take a chance if they can’t fail to make the playoffs.  Since taking over in Miami, Brian Flores is 21-24 with no playoff appearances.  Vic Fangio has led the Broncos to a 19-26 record and John Elway may look to take a chance.  The Lions most likely won’t move on from the knee-biter Dan Campbell, however, they were the last team to win a football game this year and show little signs of improvement.

Even if the 49ers miss the playoffs, Kyle Shanahan will probably still be there given all the injuries he has had to manage throughout his tenure.  However, in 4 years as coach, he has a 36-41 record, with a 2-1 postseason record.  Lastly, the Seahawks have struggled more this year than we have seen in the past.  It is possible they are searching for a new head coach next year as Pete Carroll turned 70 years old in September. Carroll has had plenty of success including a Super Bowl win, however, it may be time for Seattle to make some changes to get back to their winning ways in a very tough NFC West division.

The Top 2022 NFL Head Coaching Candidates

1. Eric Bieniemy

Current Role:  Offensive Coordinator
Current Team:  Kansas City Chiefs
Coaching experience:  20 years
Strengths:  Culture, Success on offense, Running Backs
Potential Teams:  Raiders, Jaguars, Bears

One of the top names that may have a head coaching opportunity is Eric Bieniemy.  Bieniemy has had a lot of success on offense.  He was a running back in the NFL for 8 years and has experience as a running back coach, assistant head coach, and offensive coordinator in both the college and NFL.  Bieniemy was a National Champion and consensus All American as a player and a Super Bowl Champion and was named Sporting News Coordinator of the Year in 2020 as a coach.  In his first year as offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, their offense was 1st in yards per game and points scored. Andy Reid continues to speak highly of Bieniemy and vouches for him as a 2022 NFL head coaching candidate.

Bieniemy has a lot going for him including the culture he would bring to a team.  He is very respected by the league and his players.  Bieniemy has also had a lot of success coaching running backs and offense in general.  His defensive experience is limited so he will need to bring on a strong defensive coordinator candidate and may be best suited on a team that already has an established defense.  Another thing that may make teams wary is that he doesn’t currently call the plays.  Teams may also be hesitant that the last offensive coordinator from Reid, Matt Nagy, hasn’t found as much success.

2. Byron Leftwich

Current Role:  Offensive Coordinator
Current Team:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coaching experience:  4 Years
Strengths:  NFL playing experience, Quarterback Understanding
Potential Teams:  Bears, Dolphins, Jaguars

Former players that have success as coaches often rely on their experience and ability to relate to the players.  With no position being more important than quarterback, former quarterback Byron Leftwich has been able to do that.  Leftwich played quarterback in the NFL for 9 years.  He has had experience as a quarterback coach and has spent the last few years as the offensive coordinator for Tampa.  He has a super bowl ring as a player and coach.

Leftwich is a great 2022 NFL head coaching candidate for a team with a young developing quarterback.  His ability to relate to the players, coach quarterbacks, and find success on offense, in general, are huge positives for him.  His coaching experience is a little limited but he makes up for it with playing experience and a great understanding of the NFL.  Leftwich would be a great candidate to help Justin Fields of the Bears, Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins, or Trevor Lawrence of the Jaguars.

3. Todd Bowles

Current Role:  Defensive Coordinator
Current Team:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coaching experience:  24 Years
Strengths:  NFL experience, Defense, Head Coaching experience
Potential Teams:  Raiders, Vikings, Seahawks

Leading the Buccaneers to a top 10 defense the past years, Todd Bowles may be at the right time to find another head coaching job.  Bowles has experience as a secondary coach, defensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and head coach, ranging over 24 years.  He also played cornerback in the NFL for 7 years.  Bowles is a Super Bowl champion as a player, executive, and coach.

Bowles is well respected around the league and highly talked about by Bruce Arians as a 2022 NFL head coaching candidate.  He has a strong defensive mind and would most likely be best suited on a team that has a well-established offense.  Even though he did not find much success as head coach of the Jets, nobody that has taken over has been able to turn that organization around either.  Teams with a lot of offensive weapons that could use more improvement on defense such as Raiders, Vikings, and Seahawks would be a good fit.

4. Brian Daboll

Current Role:  Offensive Coordinator
Current Team:  Buffalo Bills
Coaching experience:  19 Years
Strengths:  Winning Culture, Great Offensive mind
Potential Teams:  Jaguars, Bears, Texans

Few coaches have done more for their careers the past couple of years than Brian Daboll.  Even running a completely different type of scheme than Josh Allen was used to in Wyoming, he has helped Allen become a star.  Daboll has experience as a wide receivers coach, quarterback coach, tight ends coach, and offensive coordinator. He’s coached on 5 Super Bowl-winning teams, won a National Championship with Alabama in 2017, and was named the 2020 AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

Daboll is another candidate who will have the most success if he can bring in a strong defensive coordinator candidate.  He has a lot of experience at the college and NFL levels and has had a lot of success everywhere he has been.  Daboll can bring a strong offensive mind to a team that needs offensive help such as the Jaguars, Bears, or Texans as a 2022 NFL head coaching candidate.

5. Josh McDaniels

Current Role:  Offensive Coordinator
Current Team:  New England Patriots
Coaching experience:  17 Years
Strengths:  Head Coaching experience, Winning Culture
Potential Teams:  Texans, Jaguars, Giants

One of the names that seemingly pops up every year as a potential head coach is Josh McDaniels.  With 17 years of coaching experience as a quarterback coach, offensive coordinator, and head coach, McDaniels is a very intriguing candidate.  He has helped the Patriots win 6 super bowls and has been able to work with not only Bill Belichick but players like Tom Brady.

McDaniels has interviewed for a head coaching job every year since 2018 but never left the Patriots during that time.  His previous head coaching record left a lot to be desired as he went 11-17 with the Broncos.  However, McDaniels may be doing his best work yet, as he has helped develop rookie Mac Jones and helped the Patriots continue to win games.  Belichick, whose opinion is highly respected, has compared McDaniels to coaches like Nick Saban.  McDaniels will help improve any team’s offense, bringing a winning culture and strong offensive mind as a 2022 NFL head coaching candidate.

6. Kellen Moore

Current Role:  Offensive Coordinator
Current Team:  Dallas Cowboys
Coaching experience:  4 Years
Strengths:  NFL experience, Quarterback Experience, and Relationships
Potential Teams:  Bears, Broncos, Giants

One of my favorite 2022 NFL head coaching candidates is Kellen Moore.  Moore was an elite college quarterback, winning 50 games at Boise State, the most of any FBS starting QB.  He played 5 years in the NFL but the success never translated.  However, playing his last year for the Cowboys, he was immediately signed as their QB coach position, and then promoted to offensive coordinator.  Jumping from the NFL right to coaching is rare and shows he was highly thought of by the Cowboys.

While Kellen Moore doesn’t have any coaching awards yet he is decorated in college football awards.  He has designed a strong offense for Dallas and creates truly great offensive schemes that helps his team succeed.  Moore is able to relate to quarterbacks and brings the knowledge and experience to any room with a young developing quarterback.  Moore could end up being an excellent head coach and if it doesn’t happen this year, making the jump to head coach seems all but guaranteed.  Teams would be wise to get out ahead of that and interview him as soon as possible.


7. Matt Campbell

Current Role:  Head Coach
Current Team:  Iowa State Cyclones
Coaching experience:  18 Years
Strengths:  Culture, Head Coach Experience
Potential Teams:  Raiders, Jaguars, 49ers

The first current college coach on the 2022 NFL head coaching candidate list is Matt Campbell.  Campbell has 18 years total experience as an offensive line coach, offensive coordinator, and most recently head coach.  He was coach at Toledo before taking a job at Iowa State.  Campbell is 77-48 overall and 4-3 in bowl years.  He has won MAC coach of the year, 3 time Big 12 coach of the Year, and 2 time AP coach of the year.

Campbell is an intriguing candidate who has turned down NFL jobs in the past.  While college coaching success hasn’t always translated to NFL success, he possesses great character and plenty of experience.  One reason he may be ready to move forward is quarterback Brock Purdy graduating and entering the draft.  Perhaps Campbell is ready to coach a new quarterback prospect but at the NFL level.

8. Luke Fickell

Current Role:  Head Coach
Current Team:  Cincinnati Bearcats
Coaching experience:  21 Years
Strengths:  Defense, Ability to turn teams around
Potential Teams:  Raiders, Lions, Texans

One of the best stories in college football this year is the Cincinnati Bearcats making the college football playoffs.  A big reason for their success is head coach Luke Fickell, who finds himself coming up more and more in the 2022 NFL head coaching candidate talk.  With 21 years of coaching as a defensive line coach, special teams coach, linebacker coach, and head coach, Fickell has plenty of experience.  He has a 54-21 record and is 2-2 in bowl games.  He was the 2021 Home Depot Coach of the Year, 3 time AAC Coach of the year, AFCA assistant coach of the year, and AFCA regional coach of the year.

Fickell has a strong defensive mind and has been proven to bring success to programs.  Just like Campbell, this doesn’t always translate to the NFL, however, Fickell has a lot of experience in football to lean on.  I could see him taking a job on a team looking for a turnaround such as the Lions or Texans.  Even a team like the Raiders that may want to wash their hands and create a culture change may be a good fit.

9. Doug Pederson

Current Role:  N/A
Current Team:  N/A
Coaching experience:  15 Years
Strengths:  NFL experience, Head Coaching Experience, Post Season Experience
Potential Teams:  Raiders, Jaguars, Broncos

Earlier in the season, Doug Pederson announced that he has a strong interest in throwing his name in the 2022 NFL head coaching candidate pool.  Pederson played quarterback for 13 years in the NFL before starting a coaching career.  He started as a quarterback coach and then an offensive coordinator before becoming a head coach.  Pederson was the head coach of the Eagles for 5 years, leading them to a 42-37-1 record.  His time there was highlighted by a 4-2 post-season record and a Super Bowl victory.

Pederson is a very well-rounded coach who excels at getting the most out of his quarterback.  His offensive scheming has been considered very ingenious.  Pederson has experience playing and coaching in the NFL.  One of the things he has excelled at is navigating injuries and succeeding at the next man up mentality.  Of the expected head coaching candidates Pederson has the most head coaching experience, making him an intriguing option.

10. Leslie Frazier

Current Role:  Defensive Coordinator
Current Team:  Buffalo Bills
Coaching experience:  33 Years
Strengths:  NFL experience, Defensive Mind, Head Coaching Experience
Potential Teams:  Bears, Texans, Seahawks

With the most coaching experience among the 2022 NFL head coaching candidates, Leslie Frazier could find himself with another opportunity as a head coach.  He played cornerback in the NFL and has 33 years of experience coaching as a defensive backs coach, defensive coordinator, and head coach.  Frazier spent years as the head coach of Trinity International University but also brings 3 years of experience as head coach in the NFL.

While his 21-32-1 regular season and 0-1 post-season record don’t jump off the board, his ability to produce a strong defense does.  Frazier will need to find himself a strong offensive coordinator to maximize success if he gets a second opportunity to be a head coach.  The Bills have had a top defense under his tutelage and he can build a defense a team can lead on for any team.  Frazier played his NFL career in Chicago and even though the Bears may need more offensive help, bringing in a former Bears player may be just what they need to help turn the franchise around and to hold off the starving fan base.

More Candidates

Of course, there’s always bound to be surprises in the NFL.  Here’s a look at all of the potential 2022 NFL Head Coaching Candidates.

Coach Current Job Experience Head Coach Experience Best Fit
Brian Daboll OC – Bills 19 Total Years None Jaguars, Bears, Texans
Byron Leftwich OC –  Buccaneers 4 Total Years None Bears, Dolphins, Seahawks
Doug Pederson N/A 15 Total Years 5 Years (Eagles) Raiders, Jaguars, Broncos
Eric Bieniemy OC – Chiefs 20 Total Years None Bears, Raiders, Jaguars
Jerod Mayo Linebackers Coach – Patriots 2 Total Years None Raiders, Lions, Jaguars
Josh McDaniels OC – Patriots 17 Total Years 2 Years (Broncos) Texans, Jaguars, Giants
Kellen Moore OC – Cowboys 4 Total Years None Bears, Broncos, Giants
Kevin O’Connell OC – Rams 6 Total Years None Jaguars, Giants, Texans
Leslie Frazier DC – Bills 33 Total Years 3 Years (Vikings) Bears, Texans, Seahawks
Luke Fickell Cincinatti Bearcats Head Coach 21 Total Years 4 Yeas (Cincinnati – CFB) Raiders, Lions, Texans
Matt Campbell Iowa State Cyclones Head Coach 18 Total Years 9 Years (Toledo, ISU – CFB) Raiders, Jaguars, 49ers
Matt Eberflus DC – Colts 25 Total Years None Seahawks, Lions, Panthers
Mike Kafka Quarterback Coach – Chiefs 4 Total Years None Giants, Broncos, 49ers
Nathaniel Hackett OC – Packers 18 Total Years None Raiders, Jaguars, Texans
Raheem Morris DC – Rams 22 Total Years 1 year (Interim – Falcons) Giants, Lions, Texans
Ryan Day Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach 19 Total Years 4 years (Ohio State – CFB) Bears, Seahawks, Jaguars
Todd Bowles DC – Bucs 24 Total Years 4 Years (Jets) Raiders, Vikings, Seahawks

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