And then there were three, specifically, three open NFL head coaching jobs as the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills landed their men Tuesday. The Broncos hired former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as their new head coach. The Bills chose Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.
In Denver, Joseph replaced Gary Kubiak after two seasons. Kubiak stepped down for health-related reasons. Joseph was atop many of the head coaching lists in the league. Joseph coached with Kubiak for three seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Houston Texans.
Excited to announce Vance Joseph as head coach of the Denver Broncos! pic.twitter.com/m87uUn9KXs
— John Elway (@johnelway) January 11, 2017
Joseph only had one year as a defensive coordinator before getting handed the reigns of the Broncos.
The Bills are reportedly going with McDermott. McDermott replaces Rex Ryan, who was fired after two seasons and no playoff appearances. McDermott has been the defensive coordinator in Carolina since 2011 and served in that same capacity under Andy Reid in Philadelphia from 2009-2011.
BREAKING: Buffalo Bills expected to sign Panthers DC Sean McDermott as head coach.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 11, 2017
Joseph and McDermott are the second and third new head coaching hires of the offseason. The Jacksonville Jaguars named interim head coach Doug Marrone their official head coach Monday.
There are a couple of important factors about these moves and we’ll get into the Broncos and Joseph first.
With Joseph as the head coach, he’ll bring in his own people to run the defense. That means Wade Phillips and all or most of his staff are now officially in the wind in spite of two highly successful seasons running the Broncos’ defense. According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport, Joseph is expected to elevate current Denver secondary coach Joe Woods to defensive coordinator. He also reports that Joseph is looking at former San Diego Chargers head coach to return to his old job as offensive coordinator for the Broncos.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2017
For his part, Phillips told Denver’s 1340-AM that he was happy that Joseph got the job. Joseph worked under Phillips in Houston too, so why wouldn’t his one-time protege stick with the old guy running the defense? It’ll be something to watch over the next few days. If Phillips is cut loose he’ll have no shortage of suitors for his talents.
McDermott’s hire is interesting because he comes in with a base 4-3 system he’s run for nearly a decade on a team that Rex Ryan tried to mold into a 3-4 squad. Are the players there for a 4-3? One thing is certain, the discipline issues under Ryan will no longer be a problem under McDemermott. He’s a known hard ass.
McDermott is reportedly also looking at McCoy as his offensive coordinator, but could don’t be surprised to see Norv Turner’s name show up as a possibility.
The Bills’ hire officially closes the book on any silly consideration for interim head coach Anthony Lynn. The very idea he was realistically in the mix was ridiculous from the start.
Rams, Chargers and 49ers still open for business
With those two jobs off the table, the search narrows for the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers.
For the Rams, their primary two candidates (Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan) are off the table until next week, preparing for their respective teams’ divisional round playoff match ups. Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay has recently become a serious contender, but all bets are off if any under-the-table dealings are happening right now with the New Orleans Saints and Sean Payton.
If Sean McVay lands the Rams' HC job, his top option for DC would be Broncos DC Wade Phillips, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2017
The Chargers have a little more flexibility with the guys they’re seriously looking at. Teryl Austin, defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, is free to hire immediately and I think he’s probably the front runner for that job. The Chargers are also seriously looking at New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith.
The 49ers look to be stuck with whoever the Rams don’t want, and even then with the ownership mess there, the top candidates could turn them down. San Francisco is a complete rebuild and the Yorks are notoriously hard to work with. I doubt a top tier young head coach lands there as long as they own the team.
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