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Offseason Lowdown

The Coaching Carousel: AFC

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The 49ers' hire of Jim O'Neil as their defensive coordinator officially shut the coaching carousel down for 2016. There are still some positional coach openings to fill, but, for the most part, coaching staffs are set. Here is a rundown of the biggest changes across the league. 

The NFC rundown can be found here.

Last Update: 1/27/2016 4 p.m. EST

Make sure to bookmark the Rotoworld News Page for up to the second breaking news. I also occasionally tweet about football @RMSummerlin. 

New Organization
Cleveland Browns
The easiest information to parse from the Browns’ offseason so far was the firings of coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer. The pair reportedly had a dysfunctional relationship and led the team to a 10-22 record overall and a 3-18 mark over the final 21 games of their tenures. Letting them go makes perfect sense. Hiring Sashi Brown, a former lawyer, to essentially be the general manager and Paul DePodesta, a former baseball GM best known for his role in the book “Moneyball,” to assist him were decisions which reside considerably further outside the box.

The Browns are not finished acquiring staff, and they will bring in a vice president of player personnel to lead the scouting department. The quality of that hire will be adversely affected by Brown’s, DePodesta's and new coach Hue Jackson's control over the final roster, with teams able to deny their top candidates an interview with the Browns because the position is not a general manager job. For instance, Cleveland was denied permission to speak with Bears director of college scouting Joe Douglas because the job is considered a lateral move. Ex-Lions GM Martin Mayhew and ex-Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey interviewed for the position, and Cleveland will likely have to rely on candidates like those to fill the spot. 

More importantly, the structure of the organization means the decision-making process will be as convoluted as ever, which is saying something for Cleveland. The Browns should be lauded for thinking outside the box, but the complexity of the flowchart could bring the whole thing crashing down.

On the coaching side, Cleveland landed their man when they hired Hue Jackson. The second-most sought after candidate, Jackson is a great offensive mind who routinely gets the best of his players. In addition to coaching responsibilities, Jackson will reportedly have some control over the final roster. With Johnny Manziel reportedly out the door -- for that matter, even if he sticks around -- Jackson's first order of business will be finding a new quarterback, which could come in the form of Memphis QB Paxton Lynch or Cal QB Jared Goff with the No. 2 overall pick. If either of those quarterbacks land in Cleveland, Jackson should be trusted to get the most out of them. After many years of suffering, the Browns seem to have gotten the coaching search right this time around. 

Browns ownership had hoped to retain OC John DeFilippo, but Jackson does not plan to hire an offensive coordinator. DeFilippo has already interviewed for the coordinator job in St. Louis and the head-coaching vacancy in San Francisco before Chip Kelly was hired. He ended up as the QBs coach in Philly. Ex-Colts OC Pep Hamilton was brought in with an associate head coach/offense title. Ex-Vikings RBs coach Kirby Wilson was hired as the running-game coordinator. 

Cleveland brought in ex-Titans DC Ray Horton for the same position on their staff. Horton is a good coordinator who the Browns are still paying for his one-year stint with the team in 2013, so it makes a lot of sense to bring him back. Cleveland finished bottom six in both total defense and points allowed last season.  

GM Sashi Brown: Confirmed he has final say on the roster. A former lawyer with no known scouting background. 
HC and OC Hue Jackson:
8-8 with the Raiders in 2011, his only season as head coach. Offenses have finished top seven in rushing attempts and touchdowns each of his last four seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator and top seven in rushing yards three of those years.
DC Ray Horton
: Browns DC in 2013. Titans DC the last two seasons. Titans defense played well before injuries took hold last season. 

Tennessee Titans
After firing Ken Whisenhunt midseason, the Titans decided not to renew former GM Ruston Webster’s contract following the season. Webster had Marcus Mariota fall into his lap, but he struggled as a drafter during his time in charge, taking notable draft busts like Jake Locker, Justin Hunter and Bishop Sankey in the early rounds.

The Titans moved quickly to set up interviews in their attempt to fill the open GM spot, interviewing six people before landing on Bucs director of player personnel Jon Robinson as their new general manager. Robinson spent the last two seasons with the Bucs, but he made his name in 12 seasons with the Patriots. 

Robinson is theoretically a good hire, but ESPN's Ed Werder reports one of the reasons he emerged as the lead candidate was "his willingness to retain" interim coach Mike Mularkey on a permanent basis, and that is exactly the move the Titans ended up making. Mularkey is 4-21 in his last 25 games as a head coach and 18-39 overall. Choosing him with as many upside options as there were available is an incredibly unimaginative move, especially considering how attractive the Titans job could be to prospective coaches. Sorry Titans fans. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported one of the conditions of Mularkey's hire is he would have to bring in a new offensive coordinator, and that man is ex-Falcons WRs coach Terry Robiskie. Robiskie is a respected position coach, but he has not been a coordinator since 2004 and most of his experience came with the Los Angeles Raiders from 1989-1992. This has the look of a one-and-done staff. Ex-OC Jason Michael is staying on as QBs coach in a hope to have some consistency for Marcus Mariota

Perhaps sensing the futility on the horizon and reportedly upset with his faux interview, DC Ray Horton left for the same position with the Browns. Dick LeBeau was officially promoted to coordinator. 

GM Jon Robinson: With the coaching situation unsettled and the No. 1 overall pick, Robinson will have to make two huge decisions in his first three months on the job. 
HC Mike Mularkey
2-7 as interim head coach. 4-21 in last 25 games as a head coach.
OC Terry Robiskie:
Has coached all but one season in the NFL since 1982. Los Angeles Raiders offensive coordinator from 1989-1992. Last coordinator job in 2004 with Cleveland. 
DC Dick LeBeau:
Finished 12th in total defense and 27th in points allowed. Defense was better than the numbers before injuries took their toll. 

New Coach
Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins did get a new general manager in Chris Grier, but the man really calling the shots is still Mike Tannenbaum, who became the executive vice president of football operations last January after six months as a consultant for owner Stephen Ross. Tannenbaum said new coach Adam Gase would have control over the 53-man roster, but that would be a lot to put on the plate of a first-year head coach. Tannenbaum should still be the guy.

On the coaching side, Miami landed their top candidate when they signed Gase to a five-year deal the first week of the offseason. A strong offensive mind who coaxed an efficient season out of Jay Cutler and helped Peyton Manning to some of his best performances, Gase’s main task will be to elevate Ryan Tannehill from the average quarterback he is to the franchise quarterback he is paid like. It will not be an easy task, but Gase’s history suggests he is up to the challenge.

Gase has already begun to build his staff, with former Bengals DBs coach Vance Joseph brought in to coordinate the defense. Joseph was in the running for the Broncos coordinator position last cycle, but the Bengals blocked him from interviewing. With his contract up in Cincinnati, Joseph will get his chance to run a defense. Miami also brought in longtime Colts assistant Clyde Christensen at offensive coordinator. Gase will call plays, but Christensen is a good coach who will offer a veteran ear for Gase to bounce ideas off.  

Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi is the only assistant expected to be retained. Gase was expected to decide the future of former interim coach Dan Campbell, but Campbell made the decision to move on.  

GM Mike Tannenbaum: May not have the title, but he is running the show. The driving force in the questionable decision to extend Ryan Tannehill to a lucrative deal with two seasons of control remaining. Jets GM from 2006-2012.
HC Adam Gase:
Will be the youngest head coach in the league, but he has three years of coordinating experience with the Broncos and Bears. Bears finished 21st in total offense and 23rd in points scored last season, but the skill positions were decimated by injuries. Led Peyton Manning to two of his best statistical seasons while with the Broncos.
OC Clyde Christensen:
Gase will call the plays, but Christensen offers a veteran ear on the offensive side. 
DC Vance Joseph:
Has been a DBs coach in the NFL for 10 seasons. Spent the last two coaching the Bengals' elite secondary. 

New Coordinator
Buffalo Bills
GM Doug Whaley got a new deal and coach Rex Ryan got a vote of confidence, but the duo could be entering their final year in Buffalo. Owner Terry Pegula reportedly gave each a playoff-or-fired ultimatum after the season. Ryan’s stay in Buffalo will be a short one if he cannot break the playoff drought.

The one point of contention was the status of DC Dennis Thurman, but that situation appears to be resolved. Rex hired twin brother Rob Ryan as the assistant head coach/defense, and while Thurman will likely keep the defensive coordinator title, Rob and Rex are expected to run the defense. Rob has a poor history as a defensive coordinator, but perhaps the Bills' talent and Rex's guidance can help him solidify the unit. 

The Bills made history by hiring Kathryn Smith, the first full-time female coach in NFL history, as quality control/special teams coach. 

GM Doug Whaley: Held the position since 2013. Main force behind the selection of E.J. Manuel in the first round. Had several big free agent hits last offseason including Tyrod Taylor and Richie Incognito.
HC Rex Ryan
8-8 in first season with Bills. 46-50 in six seasons with the Jets.
OC Greg Roman:
Finished 13th in total offense and 12th in points scored. Offense looked electric when all of Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins were healthy.
DC Dennis Thurman:
Finished 19th in total defense and 15th in points allowed. Jim Schwartz-led defense finished 4th in both categories in 2014. Likely will be the coordinator in name only next season. 

Cincinnati Bengals
To add insult to a senseless and heartbreaking playoff loss, the Bengals lost OC Hue Jackson to the Browns head-coaching vacancy. DC Paul Guenther was also a candidate for a promotion, but it looks like he will be sticking around.

With Jackson gone, QBs coach Ken Zampese was promoted to offensive coordinator. Zampese has been the QBs coach in Cincinnati since 2003, so he has worked with Andy Dalton for the quarterback's entire career. That familiarity is likely what made Zampese the top candidate. 

In addition to Jackson, the Bengals lost DBs coach Vance Joseph, who was hired as the defensive coordinator in Miami under Adam Gase

Ex-Redskins DC Jim Haslett was brought in as the LBs coach, ex-Dolphins OC Bill Lazor was brought in to coach the quarterbacks, and ex-Dolphins DC Kevin Coyle was brought back to coach the defensive backs.   

GM Mike Brown: Brown, owner since 1991, has the title, but director of player personnel Duke Tobin appears to play a key role in the front office. Tobin has been with the organization since 1999.
HC Marvin Lewis
112-94 with seven playoff appearances in 13 seasons. 0-7 in the playoffs. Job is safe despite another playoff loss.
OC Ken Zampese:
Has been the QBs coach in Cincinnati for the entirety of Andy Dalton's career. 
DC Paul Guenther:
Finished 11th in total defense and 2nd in points scored. Defense kept the team relevant after Andy Dalton’s injury. Secondary among the best in the league.

Indianapolis Colts
It looked as if the Colts were headed for a complete organizational shakeup late in the season, but coach Chuck Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson were both surprisingly handed extensions on Black Monday. Interim OC Rob Chudzinski will also be sticking around, but DC Greg Manusky got the boot. Ravens LBs coach Ted Monachino was brought in to replace Manusky, but Pagano is expected to take on a bigger role on the defensive side.

The team also made changes to their assistants, most notably bringing in ex-Dolphins coach Joe Philbin as the offensive line coach and ex-Jets OC Brian Schottenheimer to coach the quarterbacks.  

GM Ryan Grigson: Held the position since 2012. Outside of the Andrew Luck pick, which was as soft as softballs get, Grigson has struggled. The Colts have one of the least talented rosters in the league.
HC Chuck Pagano
41-23 with three playoff appearances in four seasons. Teams have consistently over-performed their talent.
OC Rob Chudzinski:
Took over for Pep Hamilton in Week 9. Earned a head coach job in Cleveland in 2013 after successfully guiding Cam Newton through his first two seasons in the league.
DC Ted Monachino:
Worked as the Ravens LBs coach from 2010-15. Worked with Pagano in Baltimore.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Coach Gus Bradley kept his job despite another disappointing season, but he was forced to fire DC Bob Babich, who he coached under at North Dakota State. After striking on out ex-Lions coach Jim Schwartz, DL coach Todd Wash was promoted to take the position. With an inexperienced coordinator at the helm, Bradley should play a much larger role on defense this season. 
 
GM David Caldwell:
Held the position since 2013. Appears to have hit big on Blake Bortles.
HC Gus Bradley
12-36 in three seasons. 2016 will be make-or-break.
OC Greg Olson:
Finished 18th in total offense and 14th in points scored in first season as Jacksonville’s coordinator. Blake Bortles took giant strides under his leadership. With young weapons all over the field, this offense could ascend into the upper echelons next season.
DC Todd Wash:
Run-game coordinator in 2015. Run defense improved from 27th to 15th. 

Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid acolyte Doug Pederson is headed to Philadelphia, leaving open his old coordinator spot in Kansas City. With Pederson gone, the Chiefs made the unorthodox decision to name "Spread game analyst" and ex-Vikings coach Brad Childress and QBs coach Matt Nagy co-offensive coordinators. It is an odd decision, but it makes more sense considering Reid handles many of the coordinator duties. Childress has not coordinated an offense since 2012, but he parlayed his coordinator work under Reid in Philadelphia into a head coaching job in Minnesota from 2006-2010. Nagy has been an assistant under Reid since his AFL career ended in 2008. 

GM John Dorsey: Held the position since 2013. Landed Marcus Peters in the first round this season, but has a mostly poor draft record.
HC Andy Reid
48-31 with two playoff appearances in three seasons in Kansas City. 161-110-1 with a Super Bowl appearance in 17 seasons as a head coach.
OC Brad Childress and Matt Nagy:
Reid will continue to call the plays. 
DC Bob Sutton:
Finished 7th in total defense and 3rd in points allowed. Has led a top-five scoring defense all three seasons in Kansas City.

San Diego Chargers
Coach Mike McCoy survived another disappointing season, but he was forced to make a big change to his coaching staff. OC Frank Reich was fired on Black Monday after two seasons of reasonable success despite constant injuries along the offensive line. Ex-Chargers OC Ken Whisenhunt was brought back to fill the same position. The offense finished in the top 12 in both points and yards under Whisenhunt in 2013, with the rushing offense finishing 6th in attempts in 13th in yards. The efficiency was not great, but the running game has not even approached those levels in the two years since, finishing bottom 11 in both attempts and yards each year. 

GM Tom Telesco:
Held the position since 2013. Potentially whiffed on Melvin Gordon in the first round, but landed a keeper in Denzel Perryman in the second of the 2015 draft.
HC Mike McCoy
22-26 with one playoff appearance in three seasons. 2016 will likely be make-or-break.
OC Ken Whisenhunt:
 Finished 5th in total offense and 12th in points as the coordinator in 2013. 
DC John Pagano:
Finished 20th in total defense and 21st in points allowed. Has been with the organization since 2002, but he is on the hot seat.

Status Quo
New England Patriots
Both OC Josh McDaniels and DC Matt Patricia received interested, but they will be staying put for at least another season. 

GM and HC Bill Belichick187-69 with six Super Bowl appearances and four championships in 16 seasons.
OC Josh McDaniels:
Finished 6th in total offense and 3rd in points scored. Top five in points scored each of the last four seasons.
DC Matt Patricia:
Finished 9th in total defense and 10th in points allowed. Top ten in points allowed each of the last four seasons.

Pittsburgh Steelers
OC Todd Haley may have gotten some interest if the Steelers had not made the playoffs. He crashed and burned in Kansas City, but his personality has reportedly mellowed during his time with the Steelers. Haley should get a second shot to be a head coach at some point. 

GM Kevin Colbert: Held the position since 2000. Organization has won two Super Bowl championships and appeared in a third during his reign.
HC Mike Tomlin
92-52 with a Super Bowl championship and another appearance in nine seasons.
OC Todd Haley:
Finished 3rd in total offense and 4th in points scored despite being without Ben Roethlisberger for four games and Le’Veon Bell for 10.
DC Keith Butler:
Finished 21st in total defense and 11th in points allowed in his first seasons as coordinator. Has been with Pittsburgh since 2003.

Baltimore Ravens
Two teams including the Eagles reportedly “covet” John Harbaugh, but he is not going anywhere. Neither is DC Dean Pees nor OC Marc Trestman. Trestman returning means Joe Flacco will start the season with the same offensive coordinator for the first time in four years. The team did lose LBs coach Ted Monachino to the Colts defensive coordinator position.

Assistant GM Eric DeCosta was, as usual, linked with a couple front office openings, but he will, as usual, stay put. DeCosta is the heir apparent to GM Ozzie Newsome.

GM Ozzie Newsome: Held the position since 2002 and has been the de facto GM since 1996. Two Super Bowl championships over that span. King of the compensatory pick.
HC John Harbaugh
77-51 with a Super Bowl championship in eight seasons. 2015 was Harbaugh’s first losing season as a head coach.
OC Marc Trestman:
Finished 14th in total offense and 25th in points scored in first season with Ravens. Every important skill player suffered a season-ending injury.
DC Dean Pees:
Finished 8th in total defense and 24th in points allowed. Has never had a team finish lower than 17th in total defense in eight years as coordinator between New England and Baltimore. His defenses have four top-eight finishes.

Denver Broncos
After making big changes last offseason, it would be surprising if there were any shakeups this time around.

GM John Elway: Held the position since 2012. Built the best defense in the league.
HC Gary Kubiak
12-4 in first season with Broncos. 61-64 in eight seasons with the Texans from 2006-13.
OC Rick Dennison:
Finished 16th in total offense and 19th in points scored. Long-time Kubiak disciple.
DC Wade Phillips:
Finished 1st in total defense and 4th in points allowed. Became a defensive coordinator for the first time in 1981. Leads perennially top-10 units. One of the best coordinators in the league.

Houston Texans
Houston had a bad end to the season Wild Card weekend, but overall it was a solid year for a team without a quarterback. Finding a signal caller will be goal No. 1 this offseason.  

GM Rick Smith: Held the position since 2006. Three playoff appearances in that span.
HC Bill O’Brien: 
18-14 with one playoff appearance in two seasons. Patriots offensive coordinator in 2011. Made people believe Christian Hackenberg is a first-round quarterback, which is as impressive as any Super Bowl victory.
OC George Godsey:
Finished 19th in total offense and 21st in points scored. Difficult to have an effective offense without a quarterback.
DC Romeo Crennel:
Finished 3rd in total defense and 7th in points allowed. Back-to-back top-seven finishes in scoring defense.

New York Jets
The Jets missed the playoffs after a heartbreaking loss to Rex Ryan of all people in Week 17, but they are building a strong program. Everyone should be back next season.

GM Mike Maccagnan: First year as general manager.
HC Todd Bowles
10-6 in first season as head coach. One of the most aggressive defensive play callers in the game.
OC Chan Gailey:
Finished 10th in total yards and 11th in points scored in first season with Jets. Got the most out of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
DC Kacy Rodgers:
Finished 4th in total defense and 9th in points allowed in first season as coordinator.

Oakland Raiders
Oakland faded down the stretch, but the entire staff is expected back in 2016.

GM Reggie McKenzie: Held the job since 2012. Struggled early in his tenure, but hit on Derek Carr and has done a good job acquiring talent the last two seasons.
HC Jack Del Rio
7-9 in his first season with Raiders. 68-71 with two playoff appearances in nine seasons with the Jaguars from 2003-11.
OC Bill Musgrave:
Finished 24th in total offense and 17th in points scored. Offense faded over the second half of the season.
DC Ken Norton:
Finished 22nd in total defense and 22nd in points allowed. Has some building blocks, but needs a talent infusion in the secondary.

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.