All NFL Head Coach Openings Filled
The final four NFL head coach openings of the 2022 offseason have been filled as the Hoston Texans, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Minnesota Vikings have all made their decisions official.
The Houston Texans were linked to several candidates, including former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and former NFL quarterback Josh McCown, and wound up promoting defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. Smith has been around the game for a long time and has been the head coach for the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as the University of Illinois.
His most successful stint was in Chicago, where he spent eight seasons, won an NFL Coach of the Year award and led the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance. His success did not continue in Tampa and he was fired after two seasons. He went on to spend five years at the University of Illinois and compiled a - record before being fired.
Overall he is 89-87 as a head coach.
Smith was the Texans defensive coordinator last season, so it does not really make sense that they fired David Culley after only one season as a head coach, unless Culley really was just a lame duck like many have thought since his hiring was announced, With most of the staff expected to stay the same, it feels like a lateral move and that Smith is really getting a one year audition. I would not be surprised to see the Texans searching for another head coach next offseason.
The Miami Dolphins decided to hire 49ers' offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel. McDaniel has a long coaching history on the offensive side of the ball and just finished his first year as the offensive coordinator in San Francisco after Mike LaFleur left for the New York Jets.
McDaniel started his career as an intern with the Denver Broncos and is one of several former Washington Commanders assistants from the Mike Shannahan Era that have become head coaches in the league. He joined San Francisco as the team's Run Game Coordinator in 2017 after brief stints with the Browns and Falcons.
The 49ers gave had a strong running game to lead their offense under their current coaching staff, and McDaniel's role in developing the scheme should pay dividends in Miami.
The Dolphins have an opportunistic defense, but their offense has needed great field position to start successful drives. With an offensive head coach now in the fold, that should change. Plus, there is a solid group of running backs that can take a load off the passing game while QB Tua Tagovailoa continues to develop at the pro level. So, McDaniel's background seems like a perfect match.
The New Orleans Saints also promoted a coach from within the organization. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will succeed Sean Payton in New Orleans. He was picked over several rumored candidates like Flores, Detroit's Aaron Glenn, Kansas City's Eric Bienemy, and Tampa's Byron Leftwich.
The situation is slightly different than the Houston situation because Allen was part of a staff that has been successful during its time in New Orleans. While the offensive coordinator position is up in the air for now, the rest of the staff should be able to stay intact.
Allen previously served as the head coach of the Okaland Raiders from 2012 to 2014. and compiled a 8-28 record. While he was not successful in that situation, he has had time to learn from Payton and see what he may have done wrong the first time. After all, we've seen several head coaches figure it out on the second chance. . Plus, Allen has been an elite coordinator and the New Orelans defense has improved each year under his watch.
Finally, the Minnesota Vikings made the hiring of Rams' offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell official on Monday. The team had settled on him for a couple of weeks, but league rules prohibited the move from becoming official while the Rams were still playing.
O'Connell is considered one of the bright, young, innovative minds of the NFL and spent parts of five seasons as a backup quarterback with the Patriots, Lions, Jets, Dolphins, and Chargers. He was hired to coach quarterbacks in Cleveland in 2015 and really got his big chance in Washington.
Jay Gruden hired him to the same position in 2017 and O'Connell quickly earned promotions. The tile of passing game coordinator was added to his responsibilities in 2018 and he became the offensive coordinator the following season. Gruden was fired after that campaign and Ron Rivera did not retain O'Connell on his staff.
Since that point, O'Connell has been in charge of the LA Rams offense that had a phenomenal year en route to a Super Bowl title. In Minnesota, his quarterback won't be as good, but he has great receivers to work with and a much better stable of running backs. The defense was a really big issue for the Vikings, so if Ed Donatell and the rest of the staff on that side of the ball can get things settled, the Vikings will have made a terrific move.