Every year, an average of seven teams make a change at head coach. There have been 29 head coaching changes since 2012 with those moves being made by 21 different teams. That’s a lot of turnover, to say the least.
This upcoming offseason won’t be any different as there are a handful of guys already on the hot season. By year’s end, teams such as the Jaguars, Chargers, Packers, Rams and Lions could be looking for new faces to lead their respective teams, and there will be plenty of names ready to fill those roles.
The top candidates typically come from current coordinators, be it offensive or defensive. Adam Gase landed a head coaching gig last offseason, as did Hue Jackson.
So who will be the next to follow in their footsteps in 2017? Let’s take a look at five candidates:
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsKyle Terada
Darrell Bevell, Seattle Seahawks
Darrell Bevell joined Pete Carroll and the Seahawks in 2011 when Seattle wasn’t the powerhouse it is today. Since Russell Wilson took over as the starter in 2012, they’ve been a bit underrated offensively due to the fact that their defense garners most of the attention. Seattle has ranked in the top 10 in points each year since Wilson was drafted (besides this season) with Bevell scheming an offense that suits his mobile quarterback.
Bevell has never dabbled in head coaching opportunities before, but that could change next season. He has ties to the Packers, being an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach from 2000 to 2005. Should Mike McCarthy be fired in the offseason, the Packers would be in the hunt for a new head coach. Rodgers would probably prefer to stick with Edgar Bennett, his current OC, but Bevell would be a name to watch if the first domino were to fall.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY SportsBob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Linehan, Dallas Cowboys
Scott Linehan was put in an unfair situation in his first year as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator a year ago. Tony Romo was hurt, DeMarco Murray was gone, Dez Bryant was injured. Dallas limped to a 4-12 record only to undergo a complete turnaround this season. And my, how different things are in 2016.
The Cowboys are third in yards, fourth in points, first in rushing and are 8-1 – all of this with rookies at quarterback and running back. Linehan has done a remarkable job devising a game plan and scheme that suits Dak Prescott’s game. While he’s certainly great in the pocket, Linehan has drawn up more moving pockets, more read-option, and simpler reads for Prescott than he would have with Tony Romo under center. He took a seemingly disastrous situation with Romo and Bryant injured yet again and turned Dallas into the league’s best team.
Linehan had a brief head coaching stint with the Rams from 2006-08, going 11-25 in that span. He rebounded by working with Matthew Stafford and the Lions for a few years before joining the Cowboys last year. Dallas would love to have him back in 2017, but he might choose to test the waters as a head coach somewhere.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsMatthew Emmons
Jim Schwartz, Philadelphia Eagles
At first glance, Jim Schwartz’s track record doesn’t appear to make him a strong head coaching candidate. He’s 29-51 as a head coach in his career, leading the Lions to one winning season (and playoff berth) in five years. In his two seasons as a defensive coordinator since then, however, he’s done a fantastic job. The Bills were fourth in yards and points defensively in 2014, while the Eagles are currently sixth and third, respectively.
Schwartz is a defensive line guru with his Wide 9 scheme, and it’s carried over from his past couple years in Detroit to now in Philadelphia. He’s a defensive-minded guy, and if he finds himself in the right situation with strong personnel along the front four, he could excel as a head coach. A team with young pieces like Jacksonville could benefit from his prowess on D.
Of course, you have to consider the fact that he may not want to leave his current place in Philadelphia after just one year, but redeeming himself as the top guy could be something he desires.
Kyle Shanahan, Atlanta Falcons
The son of the revered Mike Shanahan has been an offensive coordinator since 2008, when he began his journey with the Texans. He had a rough stretch for a few years in Washington and a disastrous campaign in 2014 with the Browns, but outside of those seasons, he’s been relatively successful. His teams have finished in the top 10 in yards six out of his nine years as an offensive coordinator, finding his groove with the Falcons the past two seasons.
The Falcons have the second-best (if not the best) offense in the league this year, scoring the most points per game. He’s finally meshed with Matt Ryan after a rocky 2015 campaign, and for that reason he may not leave Atlanta. He’d be smart to, though.
Shanahan has never been a head coach, and that’s OK. He’s 39 years old and has plenty of years ahead of him, but he can be the sort of coach Adam Gase is for the Dolphins: A young, offensive mind who can elevate the play of his players on that side of the ball.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots
Josh McDaniels has been a hot commodity since rejoining the Patriots in 2012. After a brief (and disappointing stint) with the Broncos from 2009-10, McDaniels has increased his odds of getting another head coaching gig thanks to his stellar track record in New England. His team has ranked in the top 11 of yards per game in each of the past five seasons, finishing in the top six in points every year, as well.
He’s done an admirable job developing Jimmy Garoppolo and put a near-perfect game plan in place for him when Tom Brady was suspended. McDaniels is in a great situation with the Patriots, but he’ll absolutely receive a boatload of calls from teams this offseason.
There’s a good shot he lands elsewhere in 2017 with a handful of teams likely searching for a new head coach next season. The Jaguars, Bears and possibly the Chargers could be in that group.