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Writeup on 12 Potential 2020 Head Coach Candidates
Published at 11/14/2019
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Pete Carmichael, Saints Offensive Coordinator (Age: 48)

Career History: Browns Tight Ends Coach 2000, Redskins Offensive Assistant 2001, Chargers Offensive Assistant 2002-2003, Chargers Assistant Wide Receivers Coach 2004-2005, Saints Quarterbacks Coach 2006-2008, Saints Offensive Coordinator 2009-2019

Pete Carmichael has cultivated a reputation for being one of the most creative offensive minds in all of football. As a 28-year old, Carmichael got his start as an assistant in Cleveland under his father, OC Pete Carmichael Sr, before spending four years under HC Marty Schottenheimer in Washington and San Diego. Carmichael then landed a job under new Saints HC Sean Payton in 2006. As the Saints' quarterbacks coach from 2006 to 2008, Carmichael was tasked with improving the play of QB Drew Brees, who had been written off by some after a tenuous tenure and gruesome injury with the Chargers. Carmichael did so with flying colors, as the 27-year-old passer improved from being cast off in 2005 to making First Team All Pro in 2006. Brees then went on to have successful seasons in 2007 and 2008, prompting the Saints to promote Pete Carmichael to offensive coordinator in 2009. Success shortly followed, as Carmichael's 2009 offense would finish ranked number 1 in total offense, and, despite a defense that finished ranked number 25 in total defense, the Saints won the Super Bowl that season. Since that historic 2009 season, Carmichael's offense has hardly taken a step back. From 2009 to 2018, the Saints' offense ranked number 1 or number 2 in total offense seven times, and Carmichael has not been afraid to tailor his offense to his personnel. Carmichael's offense puts pressure on safeties and prioritizes favorable down-and-distance combinations in the passing game by emphasizing the short-passing game and the screen game, it puts pressure on linebackers by ensuring that its running backs and tight ends have extensive route trees, and it primarily utilizes zone blocking.

 

Brian Daboll, Bills Offensive Coordinator (Age: 45)

Career History: Patriots Defensive Assistant 2000-2001, Patriots Wide Receivers Coach 2002-2006, Jets Quarterbacks Coach 2007-2008, Browns Offensive Coordinator 2009-2010, Dolphins Offensive Coordinator 2011, Chiefs Offensive Coordinator 2012, Patriots Assistant Coach 2013, Patriots Tight Ends Coach 2014-2016, Alabama Offensive Coordinator 2017, Bills Offensive Coordinator 2018-2019

Brian Daboll may not be the hottest head coach candidate amongst casual fans, but it has become clear over the past decade that he consistently excels in situating his unit to succeed and getting good development from his personnel. Daboll started out as a defensive assistant under Patriots HC Bill Belichick before taking a job as the Patriots wide receivers coach from 2002 to 2006. During his tenure, Daboll not only developed young WR Deion Branch into an above-average starter, but he also got above-average production from relative unknowns including WR David Patten, WR David Givens, and WR Reche Caldwell, as well. Daboll's work with mediocre talent earned him a position as quarterbacks coach of the Jets, where, in 2008, he coached QB Brett Favre to a Pro Bowl appearance at the age of 38. Daboll then got an opportunity to be offensive coordinator of the Browns under HC Eric Mangini. In 2010, with QB Jake Delhome, QB Seneca Wallace, and rookie QB Colt McCoy at the helm, Daboll got creative and converted RB Peyton Hillis from a fullback into a halfback, resulting in a breakout season with over 1000 yards rushing and over 400 yards receiving. Moreover, that season, Daboll got good production out of aging T John St. Clair and IOL Floyd Womack, who complemented T Joe Thomas and IOL Alex Mack to form one of the better offensive lines in football. Daboll then had two single-year stints, one with Miami and the other with Kansas City, as an offensive coordinator with low-quality quarterbacks. Daboll then spent 2014 through 2016 as the Patriots tight ends coach, and TE Rob Gronkowski made First Team All Pro in two of those three seasons. This performance earned Daboll a job as the Alabama offensive coordinator in 2017, where he coached good seasons from QB Jalen Hurts and freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa on his way to a National Championship victory. Buffalo hired Daboll to be its offensive coordinator in 2018, and despite perhaps lackluster statistics, its offense was dynamic with rookie QB Josh Allen's big arm and running ability, with WR Zay Jones' big-play ability, with the emergence of undrafted rookie WR Robert Foster. Additionally, QB Josh Allen made big strides with his mechanics, as his footwork and arm angles were definitely more consistent in his rookie years than they were at Wyoming. Daboll's offense seems to have finally taken off in 2019, as the additions of WR John Brown, WR Cole Beasley, IOL Mitch Morse, and IOL Jon Feliciano and the further development of QB Josh Allen have allowed for Daboll to have more freedom in his offensive playcalls. Daboll runs a hybrid offense between traditional Erhardt-Perkins dropback concepts and modern West Coast misdirection and play action concepts, which allows him to specifically mold his weekly gameplans to his opponents and his available personnel.

 

John DeFilippo, Jaguars Offensive Coordinator (Age: 42)

Career History: Giants Offensive Quality Coach 2005-2006, Raiders Quarterbacks Coach 2007-2008, Jets Quarterbacks Coach 2009, San Jose State Quarterbacks Coach 2010, San Jose State Offenvie Coordinator 2011, Raiders Quarterbacks Coach 2012-2014, Browns Offensive Coordinator 2015, Eagles Quarterbacks Coach 2016-2017, Vikings Offensive Coordinator 2018, Jaguars Offensive Coordinator 2019

John DeFilippo has been around the league for a while, and he has cultivated a reputation for being a so-called quarterback-whisperer. DeFilippo got his start with the Giants as an offensive quality control coach in 2005 under HC Tom Coughlin, where he worked to develop second-year QB Eli Manning into one of the more reliable quarterbacks in football. DeFilippo's work with Manning landed him the title of quarterbacks coach of the Raiders in 2007, where he worked under HC Lane Kiffin and OC Greg Knapp to develop rookie QB JaMarcus Russell. Though Russell never became a franchise quarterback, he did have the best two years of his career in 2007 and 2008 under DeFilippo before falling off in 2009 without DeFilippo. In 2009, DeFilippo took a job as the quarterbacks coach of the Jets, where he worked with rookie QB Mark Sanchez. DeFilippo spent two years with San Jose State before retaking the Raiders quarterbacks coach position between 2012 and 2014. In 2012, DeFilippo helped to orchestrate a good year from QB Carson Palmer, who threw for over 4000 yards for the first time since 2007. DeFilippo worked under OC Greg Olson with second-round rookie QB Derek Carr in 2014, who performed well in his first season despite a lackluster supporting cast. DeFilippo's work with Palmer and Carr earned him the Browns offensive coordinator job in 2015, where he worked for a year before becoming the Eagles' quarterbacks coach under HC Doug Pederson and OC Frank Reich in 2016. DeFilippo helped transform QB Carson Wentz from a raw North Dakota St prospect into a proficient passer off the bat in 2016, and then into a Second Team All Pro in 2017. Further, in 2017, after Wentz went down with a late-season injury, backup QB Nick Foles filled in masterfully, leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory. This impressive feat led to DeFilippo becoming the Vikings offensive coordinator in 2018, where he led QB Kirk Cousins to a career high in completion percentage and WR Adam Thielen and WR Stefon Diggs to career highs in receiving yards. In 2019, DeFilippo became the Jaguars offensive coordinator under HC Doug Marrone, and history repeated itself -- this time, QB Nick Foles went down early with a serious injury, and backup QB Gardner Minshew took over without missing a beat. DeFilippo is a pass-happy coordinator who has been around a diverse set of offensive minds, including Brian Schottenheimer, Greg Olson, Tom Cable, Doug Pederson, and Frank Reich, so he has a wide arsenal, including run-pass options, Air Raid concepts, screens, and varied shotgun looks, to tailor his offense particularly to his quarterback's skillset.

 

Matt Eberflus, Colts Defensive Coordinator (Age: 49)

Career History: Toledo Outside Linebackers Coach 1994-1998, Toledo Defensive Backs Coach 1999-2000, Missouri Defensive Coordinator 2001-2008, Browns Linebackers Coach 2009-2010, Cowboys Linebackers Coach 2011-2017, Colts Defensive Coordinator 2018-2019

Matt Eberflus hasn't necessarily always been amongst the so-called hottest candidates, but his work, especially over the last few years, may warrant head coach consideration. Eberflus got his start at the age of 23 as a defensive assistant at Toledo in 1994, where he would stay for seven years before becoming Missouri's defensive coordinator in 2001. That year, Eberflus produced the great IDL Justin Smith, who became the number four overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft and played 14 seasons in the NFL. Under Eberflus', the Missouri defense improved for four straight seasons, culminating in a dominant which yielded less than 20 points per game on average. Eberflus had a respectable tenure as defensive coordinator at Missouri before moving to the NFL and becoming the Browns linebackers coach in 2009. Eberflus spent two seasons under HC Eric Mangini and DC Rob Ryan in Cleveland before following Ryan to become the Cowboys linebackers coach in 2016. That season, under Eberflus, 24-year-old LB Sean Lee recorded over 100 tackles, and EDGE DeMarcus Lawrence recorded 19.5 sacks and made First Team All Pro. Further, Eberflus worked to develop young LB Bruce Carter, who eventually became a good starter for the Cowboys. In 2014, following LB Sean Lee's season-ending injury, Eberflus was forced to start LB Bruce Carter, LB Anthony Hitchens, a fourth-round rookie, and LB Rolando McClain, who was previously seen as a draft bust and had spent the previous year in retirement. Nevertheless, Carter, Hitchens, and McClain still performed well as a unit in 2014 under Eberflus, as the unit combined for 8 interceptions and 15 pass deflections, and each starting linebacker recorded over 80 tackles. In 2016, the Cowboys promoted Eberflus to defensive pass game coordinator, where he took on some playcalling responsibilities. That year, under Eberflus, LB Sean Lee recorded 175 tackles and made First Team All Pro, and the Cowboys went 13-3 and won the NFC East. In 2018, the Colts hired Matt Eberflus to be their defensive coordinator, and he immediately began to implement a turnaround. In his first year with Indianapolis, Eberflus transformed Indianapolis' defense from being ranked number 30 in total defense to being ranked number 11 in total defense, and he coached second-round rookie LB Darius Leonard to make First Team All Pro. Eberflus' defense has continued to perform well in 2019. Matt Eberflus has a wide defensive arsenal from working with other defensive minds such as Rod Marinelli, Kris Richard, and Monte Kiffin, and with Indianapolis, he runs a zone-heavy, 4-3 defense with frequent blitzes and a high percentage of cover 2 calls.

 

George Edwards, Vikings Defensive Coordinator (Age: 53)

Career History: Cowboys Linebackers Coach 1998-2001, Redskins Linebackers Coach 2002, Redskins Defensive Coordinator 2003, Browns Linebackers Coach 2004, Dolphins Linebackers Coach 2005-2009, Bills Defensive Coordinator 2010-2011, Dolphins Linebackers Coach 2012-2013, Vikings Defensive Coordinator 2014-2019

George Edwards has bounced around the league a lot since his first NFL job in 1998, but he has quietly been very successful. Edwards got his start in Dallas in 1998, and he shortly developed LB Dexter Coakley into one of the best coverage linebackers in the entire league. With Edwards as his position coach, Coakley made the Pro Bowl in 1999 with 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 6 tackles for loss. In 2002, Edwards was responsible for overseeing a dominant Redskins' linebacking crew under DC Marvin Lewis that included LB Jim Trottier and LB Lavar Arrington, the latter of whom recorded a career-best 11 sacks that season. At the age of 36, Edwards got his first chance to run a defense with Washington before catching on with Cleveland as their linebackers coach in 2004. Edwards' career really took off from 2005 through 2009 as the linebackers coach of the Dolphins, as he oversaw a dominant linebacking group consisting of LB Zach Thomas, EDGE Joey Porter, and EDGE Jason Taylor. Edwards helped coach the Dolphins through a 4-3 to 3-4 scheme switch, and he developed LB Channing Crowder from a round 3 draft choice into a good starter on day one. Edwards' developmental abilities landed him a job in Buffalo as defensive coordinator in 2010 and 2011, where he ran a dynamic defense with young stars such as IDL Kyle Williams, IDL Marcell Dareus, LB Paul Posluszny, S Donte Whitner, and S Jairus Byrd. Edwards then spent two years with the Dolphins before reuniting with HC Mike Zimmer in Minnesota. In 2014, Zimmer and Edwards transformed Minnesota's defense from being ranked number 31 in total defense to being ranked 14 in total defense. In each of 2016, 2017, and 2018, Zimmer and Edwards' defense ranked top 4 in total defense, constantly shape-shifting their vast array of talent including EDGE Danielle Hunter, EDGE Everson Griffin, IDL Linval Joseph, LB Anthony Barr, LB Eric Kendricks, CB Xavier Rhodes, S Harrison Smith, and S Anthony Harris to specifically attack their opponent. Edwards runs a 4-3 defense with lots of MOFC coverages and pattern-match concepts, and he likes to crowd the line of scrimmage and the A gap to make offenses have to account for the threat of the blitz.

 

Mike McDaniel, 49ers Offensive Run Game Coordinator (Age: 37)

Career History: Broncos Coaching Intern 2005, Texans Offensive Assistant 2006-2008, Sacramento Running Backs Coach 2009-2010, Redskins Offensive Assistant 2011-2012, Redskins Wide Receivers Coach 2013, Browns Wide Receivers Coach 2014, Falcons Offensive Assistant 2015-2016, 49ers Run Game Coordinator 2017-2019

Mike McDaniel figures to draw some interest for head coach positions due to his associations with great offenses and great offensive minds. McDaniel spent three years as an assistant under Gary Kubiak in Houston and two years coaching in the UFL before finding an assistant job under HC Mike Shanahan and OC Kyle Shanahan in Washington at the age of 28. The Washington staffs that McDaniel was a part of were loaded with great offensive minds aside from the Shanahans, as well, as they contained quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur and tight ends coach Sean McVay as well. In 2011, with QB Rex Grossman, RB Roy Helu, WR Santana Moss, WR Jabar Gaffney, and TE Fred Davis as the primary skill position players and with a patchwork offensive line riddled with injuries, the Redskins ranked number 16 in total offense. The Washington staff would showcase its versatility over the next two seasons, as it molded its offense to fit the skillset of young QB Robert Griffin III, finishing ranked in the top 10 in total offense in 2012 and 2013. McDaniel was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2013, and he coached WR Pierre Garcon and WR Leonard Hankerson to career highs in receiving yards that season. In 2014, McDaniel followed OC Kyle Shanahan to Cleveland to become their wide receivers coach. That season, under McDaniel, WR Andrew Hawkins set a career-high mark for receiving yards despite being thrown to by QB Brian Hoyer and QB Johnny Manziel, and undrafted rookie WR Taylor Gabriel emerged as a dynamic receiving weapon. McDaniel then followed OC Kyle Shanahan to Atlanta to become an offensive assistant in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, WR Julio Jones led the league in receiving yards, RB Devonta Freeman and RB Patrick DiMarco made the Pro Bowl, and the Falcons finished ranked number 7 in total offense. In 2016, the Falcons had a historic offense, as QB Matt Ryan won the MVP award and made First Team All Pro, WR Julio Jones made First Team All Pro, IOL Alex Mack made Second Team All Pro, they ranked number 2 in total offense, and they made Super Bowl LI. This showing earned Kyle Shanahan a head coach position with San Francisco, and, as Shanahan did not hire an offensive coordinator, Mike McDaniel is considered to be his top offensive assistant in San Francisco as his offensive run game coordinator. In 2017 and 2018, Shanahan and McDaniel's offensive unit finished ranked in the top half of the league in total offense, despite starting QB CJ Beathard, QB Brian Hoyer, and QB Nick Mullens for a combined 24 out of 32 games. Shanahan and McDaniel molded their offense around TE George Kittle, whose 2018 receiving yards mark is currently the all-time most receiving yards for a tight end in a season. The tandem managed to get good production out of relative unknowns such as RB Matt Brieda, WR Dante Pettis, T Mike McGlinchey, and IOL Laken Tomlinson. Finally, in 2019, with starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan and McDaniel appear to have put together the pieces, as their offense is amongst the most prolific in the league this season. Mike McDaniel comes straight from the Shanahan branch of the West Coast Offense, so he could be expected to run an outside zone running scheme, to heavily utilize play action and misdirection, and to stretch the field with screens and bootleg throwbacks, while also tailoring his offense to fit his personnel.

 

Josh McDaniels, Patriots Offensive Coordinator (Age: 44)

Career History: Patriots Personnel Assistant 2001, Patriots Defensive Assistant 2002-2003, Patriots Quarterbacks Coach 2004-2005, Patriots Offensive Coordinator 2006-2008, Broncos Head Coach 2009-2010, Rams Offensive Coordinator 2011, Patriots Offensive Coordinator 2012-2019

Even as a young coach, Josh McDaniels has a diverse, successful coaching resume, having spent time on offense, defense, and as an NFL head coach, and having won six Super Bowls. McDaniels got his start in 2001 under HC Bill Belichick as a personnel assistant for the Patriots at the age of 25. McDaniels would spend three years as an assistant for the Patriots, mostly on the defensive side of the football, before being promoted to the Patriots quarterbacks coach in 2004 at the young age of 28. That year, under McDaniels, 26-year-old QB Tom Brady had the most efficient year of his career up to that point, and the Patriots went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl. McDaniels spent 2005 as Brady's quarterbacks coach before his promotion to offensive coordinator in 2006. During McDaniels' first stint as the Patriots offensive coordinator, McDaniels' unit finished ranked top five in total offense twice, including a historic 2007 season, where his offense finished ranked number 1 in total offense, and the Patriots went undefeated in regular season games. This success prompted the Broncos to hire McDaniels to be their head coach in 2009. McDaniels spent two seasons as the head coach of the Broncos, and the Broncos finished ranked in the top half in total offense each year, despite starting QB Kyle Orton and a pedestrian offensive line in the vast majority of games. McDaniels' Broncos would finish 4-12 in 2010, largely due to a defense which finished ranked number 32 in total defense, prompting the Broncos to fire McDaniels. Josh McDaniels then had a one-year stint with the Rams in 2011 before returning to be the Patriots offensive coordinator in 2012, a position in which McDaniels remains currently employed. From 2012 to 2018, McDaniels' Patriots finished ranked in the top 10 in total offense in six of seven seasons, QB Tom Brady made the Pro Bowl in each season, the Patriots averaged over 12 wins per season, and the Patriots won the Super Bowl three times. McDaniels' offense has continued to perform at about the same clip in 2019. McDaniels runs the Erhardt-Perkins offense perhaps better than any other offensive coach in history, creating mismatches with deceptive formations and personnel groupings and consistently staying ahead of his opponents with mid-season and in-game adjustments, so he should continue to garner massive interest for any team with a head coach vacancy in 2020.

 

Urban Meyer, Former Ohio State Head Coach (Age: 55)

Career History: Illinois State Outside Linebackers Coach 1988, Illinois State Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers Coach 1989, Colorado State Wide Receivers Coach 1990-1995, Notre Dame Wide Receivers Coach 1996-2000, Bowling Green Head Coach 2001-2002, Utah Head Coach 2003-2004, Florida Head Coach 2005-2010, Ohio State Head Coach 2012-2018

Urban Meyer probably falls into the category of college coaches that could get an NFL head coach job easily if they express interest, and for good reason. Meyer got his start at the age of 23 as the Illinois State outside linebackers coach in 1988. Meyer would remain an assistant coach for 13 years before landing a head coach position with Bowling Green in 2001. Meyer improved Bowling Green from a 2-9 team to an 8-3 team in year one, and he went 9-3 in year two averaging over 40 points scored per game. Meyer then went on to orchestrate a similar turnaround in Utah, improving the 5-6 team to a 10-2 team in year one and going 12-0 in year two while averaging over 45 points scored per game. Meyer's quarterback in 2004, QB Alex Smith, came in fourth place in Heisman voting and became the number one overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft. Meyer's work with Bowling Green and Utah earned him a premier head coach position with the Florida Gators from 2005 to 2010. During this 6-year span, Meyer went 65-15, winning 2 BCS Championships and producing four offensive round-one draft picks in QB Tim Tebow, WR Percy Harvin, IOL Maurkice Pouncey, and IOL Mike Pouncey, along with other notable offensive draft picks such as WR Riley Cooper, TE Aaron Hernandez, and T Marcus Gilbert. Meyer resigned from the Florida head coach position after the 2010 season due to health reasons, but he resurfaced as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2012. In that very first year, Meyer transformed Ohio State from a 6-7 team to a 12-0 team. Meyer would ultimately go 83-9 with Ohio State, winning a National Championship and producing notable offensive players including QB Dwayne Haskins, QB Cardale Jones, RB Ezekiel Elliott, RB Carlos Hyde, WR Michael Thomas, WR Terry McLaurin, WR Parris Campbell, T Taylor Decker, and IOL Billy Price. Meyer, long-considered to be an offensive guru, prefers to run an offense with a mobile quarterback to incorporate read option plays, but at its core, Meyer's offense is a vertically-oriented, pass-happy attack with a gap-blocking scheme in the run game.

 

Greg Olson, Raiders Offensive Coordinator (Age: 57)

Career History: 49ers Quarterbacks Coach 2001, Purdue Tight Ends Coach 2002, Bears Quarterbacks Coach 2003, Lions Quarterbacks Coach 2004, Lions Offensive Coordinator 2005, Rams Offensive Coordinator 2006-2007, Buccaneers Quarterbacks Coach 2008, Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator 2009-2011, Jaguars Quarterbacks Coach 2012, Raiders Offensive Coordinator 2013-2014, Jaguars Offensive Coordinator 2015-2016, Rams Quarterbacks Coach 2017, Raiders Offensive Coordinator 2018-2019

After many years of being an assistant under some of the most respected NFL minds of our generation and successfully working with many young quarterbacks, it may finally be time for Greg Olson to break through and get a head coach job opportunity of his own. Olson started his NFL career at the age of 38 as the quarterbacks coach of the 49ers under HC Steve Mariucci in 2001. Under Olson, QB Jeff Garcia made the Pro Bowl, and the 49ers went 12-4 and made the postseason. Olson spent 2002 with Purdue before becoming the Bears quarterbacks coach in 2003. Olson then took the Lions quarterbacks coach job in 2004, where he coached QB Joey Harrington to the most efficient passing season of his career. Olson then had a one-year sting as the Lions offensive coordinator before becoming the Rams offensive coordinator in 2006. Under Olson in 2006, the Rams finished ranked number 6 in total offense, and QB Marc Bulger made the Pro Bowl and had the most efficient passing season of his career. In 2008, Olson became the quarterbacks coach of the Buccaneers under HC Jon Gruden. In 2009, the Buccaneers promoted Greg Olson to offensive coordinator, and in 2010, 22-year-old QB Josh Freeman had the best season of his career, as he threw for 3451 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions, and he led the Buccaneers to a 10-6 season. Olson's work in Tampa Bay landed him the Raiders offensive coordinator job in 2013. During his stint with the Raiders, Olson worked closely with QB Derek Carr, who captured the starting quarterback job in his rookie season as a second-round pick. Olson then took the Jaguars offensive coordinator job in 2015. That season, 22-year-old QB Blake Bortles had the best season of his career, as he threw for 4428 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. Olson then took the Rams quarterbacks coach job under HC Sean McVay in 2017. That year, Olson worked closely with 22-year-old QB Jared Goff, who transformed from a presumed draft bust into a Pro Bowl player in a single season. Raiders HC Jon Gruden then hired Olson to be his offensive coordinator in 2018. Greg Olson has consistently proven that he will get the most out of his quarterbacks, so he could generate some interest from teams who wish to develop their young quarterbacks.

 

Kris Richard, Cowboys Defensive Pass Game Coordinator (Age: 40)

Career History: Seahawks Assistant Defensive Backs Coach 2010, Seahawks Cornerbacks Coach 2011, Seahawks Defensive Backs Coach 2012-2014, Seahawks Defensive Coordinator 2015-2017, Cowboys Pass Game Coordinator 2018-2019

Despite being only 40 years old, Kris Richard's resume might be the most impressive of any aspiring head coach's in the NFL today. As Seattle's cornerbacks coach in 2011 and defensive backs coach in 2012 and 2013, Richard transformed CB Brandon Browner from a CFL player to an NFL Pro Bowler in a year, he developed CB Byron Maxwell from a sixth-round pick to a solid starter, and he developed CB Richard Sherman from a fifth-round pick to an all-time great. During Richard's time as defensive backs coach of the Seahawks, CB Richard Sherman and S Earl Thomas each made First Team All Pro three times, and S Kam Chancellor made Second Team All Pro once. In 2015, Richard was promoted to defensive coordinator of the Seahawks, a position in which he remained for three years. From 2015 to 2017, Richard's defense finished ranked number 2, 5, and 11 in total defense, respectively, and the Seahawks made the divisional round of the playoffs in two out of three years. In 2018, Richard left Seattle to take a job with Dallas as the defensive backs coach and the defensive pass game coordinator, an important position which included the responsibility of playcalling. Under Richard in 2018, Dallas' defense ranked number 7 in total defense, and CB Byron Jones transformed from a safety to making a Second Team All Pro as a corner in one year. With Richard calling plays once again, Dallas' defense has continued to perform at a high level in 2019. Kris Richard, like Pete Carroll, Gus Bradley, and Dan Quinn, is a zone-heavy coach who primarily uses cover 3, and in his front seven he uses a 4-3.

 

Robert Saleh, 49ers Defensive Coordinator (Age: 41)

Career History: Texans Defensive Intern 2005, Texans Defensive Quality Coach 2006-2008, Texans Assistant Linebackers Coach 2009-2010, Seahawks Defensive Quality Control Coach 2011-2013, Jaguars Linebackers Coach 2014-2016, 49ers Defensive Coordinator 2017-2019

Robert Saleh has been all over the country in his 15-year NFL coaching career, and he has cultivated a reputation for being an innovative defensive mind. Saleh got his start as a 25 year old as a defensive intern for the Texans under HC Dom Capers and DC Vic Fangio. Saleh stuck with the team for four years before being named the Texans assistant linebackers coach in 2009. That season, 22-year-old LB Brian Cushing and 24-year-old LB DeMeco Ryans both qualified for the Pro Bowl. Saleh then took an opportunity to coach under HC Pete Carroll as a defensive quality control coach in 2011. Saleh was part of the Seahawks' defensive staff for a dominant three-year stretch, the last of which saw the Seahawks finish ranked number 1 in total defense, resulting in a Super Bowl victory. In 2014, Saleh followed Gus Bradley to Jacksonville to become the Jaguars linebackers coach, a position in which he would remain for three seasons. In Saleh's first year with the team, he oversaw fifth-round-rookie LB Telvin Smith record over 100 tackles and develop into a good coverage player as well. Saleh would then coach LB Telvin Smith and LB Paul Posluszny to successful seasons in 2015 and 2016 before HC Kyle Shanahan poached him to be the 49ers defensive coordinator in 2017. In 2017, Saleh improved the 49ers defense from being ranked number 32 in total defense to being ranked number 24 in total defense. Saleh's unit finished ranked number 13 in total defense in 2018, with 24-year-old IDL DeForest Buckner recording 12 sacks and qualifying for the Pro Bowl. Saleh's defense has gotten off to a dominant start in 2019, pairing a swarming defensive front consisting of EDGE Nick Bosa, EDGE Arik Armstead, IDL DeForest Buckner, and LB Kwon Alexander with a surprising secondary consisting of CB Richard Sherman, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, and S Jimmie Ward. Robert Saleh primarily runs a Seattle 3 defense like the one he learned under HC Pete Carroll, but he mixes in two-deep looks as well with some wide-9 and stacked alignments in the front seven.

 

David Shaw, Stanford Head Coach (Age: 47)

Career History: Eagles Quality Control Coach 1997, Raiders Quality Control Coach 1998-2000, Raiders Quarterbacks Coach 2001, Ravens Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers Coach 2002-2004, Ravens Wide Receivers Coach 2005, Chargers Passing Game Coordinator 2006, Stanford Offensive Coordinator 2007-2010, Stanford Head Coach 2011-2019

David Shaw falls into the select groups of people that could probably generate NFL head coach offers for multiple teams the instant that he shows interest, and for good reason -- Shaw has consistently produced high-level offensive results ever since he started coaching football. Shaw got his NFL start in 1997 at 23 years old as a quality control coach on an Eagles offensive staff headlined by OC Jon Gruden and quarterbacks coach Sean Payton. Shaw followed Gruden to become a quality control coach for the Raiders from 1998 to 2000 before finally being named the Raiders quarterbacks coach in 2001. Under Shaw in 2001, QB Rich Gannon made the Pro Bowl, leading the Raiders to 10 wins and the second round of the postseason. In 2002, Shaw went to Baltimore to become the Ravens quarterbacks and wide receivers coach under HC Brian Billick. Shaw spent four years in Baltimore before becoming the Chargers passing game coordinator in 2006. That season, with Shaw, the Chargers finished ranked number 4 in total offense, going 14-2 and winning the AFC West. Shaw then took the opportunity to become the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Stanford University, under HC Jim Harbaugh in 2007. Shaw transformed Stanfords offense from scoring 10.6 points per game in 2006 to scoring over 40 points per game in 2010. Shaw was named Stanford's head coach in 2011. Between 2010 and 2018, Shaw's team finished in the top 10 three separate times, his offense scored over 30 points per game four separate times, and he had an overall winning percentage of 0.759. Shaw has produced NFL offensive talent during his Stanford tenure as well, including QB Andrew Luck, RB Christian McCaffrey, TE Zach Ertz, and IOL David DeCastro. If David Shaw were to jump back to the NFL, he would certainly present new challenges for defensive coordinators, as he combines traditional West Coast staples with spread concepts in ways unlike current NFL offensive play callers with impressive flexibility on a week-to-week basis.




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