2019 NFC Coordinator Carousel: A Look at Coaching Changes

Dirk Koetter is embarking on his second stint as the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator

The NFC made fewer head coaching changes compared to the AFC this offseason, but that doesn't mean the offensive and defensive coordinator ranks haven't changed much overall. Arizona, Green Bay and Tampa Bay hired new head coaches, which typically results in new coordinators, although the Packers' retained defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

 

Additionally, Chicago had to hire a new defensive coordinator after Vic Fangio left to become Denver's head coach. And while several underperforming teams made a change at one or both of their coordinator spots, Dallas, which won the NFC East, also decided to shake things up on their staff. In total, half of the NFC made at least one significant coaching change this offseason. Here is a rundown on all the coordinator changes in the NFC:

 

Arizona Cardinals, Offensive Coordinator

Old: Mike McCoy

New: Kliff Kingsbury/Tom Clements

 

The Cardinals offense will be firmly in the hands of its new head coach, who will attempt to live up to his reputation as an offensive savant. Clements, who will serve as passing game coordinator and QB coach, saw an 11-year stint with the Packers end after the 2016 season. He will be Kingsbury's highest-ranking offensive assistant.

 

Arizona Cardinals, Defensive Coordinator

Old: Al Holcomb

New: Vance Joseph

 

Joseph returns to his defensive roots after a failed two-year run as Broncos head coach. In his sole season as an NFL coordinator (2016), Joseph oversaw a Dolphins defense that was among the league's best at creating negative plays, forcing the fourth-most turnovers in the NFL during a 9–2 run to close the season.

 

Atlanta Falcons, Offensive Coordinator

Old: Steve Sarkisian

New: Dirk Koetter

 

Koetter is another fired head coach who is benefiting from the NFL's commitment to recycling. After posting a 19–29 record in three seasons in Tampa, Koetter is returning to Atlanta for a second tour of duty with QB Matt Ryan as Falcons coordinator, taking over an offense that has stumbled through two seasons of inconsistency since the franchise's Super Bowl appearance.

 

Atlanta Falcons, Defensive Coordinator

Old: Marquand Manuel

New: Dan Quinn

 

This one falls under the category of “If you want something done right…” Quinn, the head coach in Atlanta, fired Manuel after the Falcons' 7–9 season and installed himself as the defensive coordinator, a position he held in Seattle (2013-14) and at the University of Florida (2011-12). Quinn's 2013 Super Bowl-winning defense was the first since the '85 Bears to lead the NFL in fewest points allowed, fewest yards allowed and most takeaways.

 

Chicago Bears, Defensive Coordinator

Old: Vic Fangio

New: Chuck Pagano

 

The former head man in Indianapolis, Pagano inherits one of the NFL's best defenses from Fangio, now the head coach in Denver. Pagano spent a successful season as Ravens defensive coordinator in 2011, leading Baltimore's defense to a third-place finish in both yards allowed and points allowed, and he's set up to succeed with a Bears unit led by Khalil Mack.

 

Dallas Cowboys, Offensive Coordinator

Old: Scott Linehan

New: Kellen Moore

 

This is one of the more intriguing offseason hires, as Moore ascends to the coordinator job after a single season as Dak Prescott's position coach. If anyone can maximize Prescott's strengths, it's Moore, who is not far removed from holding the clipboard as Dak's backup and who earned his QB's trust in 2018.

 

Detroit Lions, Offensive Coordinator

Old: Jim Bob Cooter

New: Darrell Bevell

 

Bevell brings a boatload of experience after 12 seasons as an offensive coordinator in Minnesota (2006-10) and Seattle (2011-17). A largely successful run in the Pacific Northwest was tarnished by a questionable play call on the goal line Seattle's Super Bowl XLIX loss to New England. After a year out of the NFL, Bevell will try to reignite his career in Motown.

 

Green Bay Packers, Offensive Coordinator

Old: Joe Philbin

New: Nathaniel Hackett

 

The offensive coordinator in Jacksonville from 2016-18, Hackett looked like a rising star when the Jags led the NFL in rushing in 2017 only to be purged during the following season's backslide. Hackett's new boss in Green Bay, head coach Matt LaFleur, was the offensive coordinator in Tennessee, so it will be interesting to see just how much control over the Packers offense Hackett will be allowed to exert.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Offensive Coordinator

Old: Todd Monken

New: Byron Leftwich

 

The fast-rising Leftwich is only three years removed from an internship with the Cardinals that was his first introduction to coaching at any level. The former QB for the Jags, Falcons, Steelers and Bucs, Leftwich spent part of last season as the offensive coordinator for the Cards but was fired as part of a staff purge in Phoenix.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Defensive Coordinator

Old: Mike Smith

New: Todd Bowles

 

Bowles' tenure as Jets head coach began with a promising 10–6 record in 2015 before spiraling into injury- and personnel-fueled dysfunction. Bowles enjoyed some success as a defensive coordinator in Arizona, earning AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2014 after fielding the league's fifth-ranked defense.

 

Washington Redskins, Offensive Coordinator

Old: Matt Cavanaugh

New: Kevin O'Connell

 

O'Connell earned a promotion from QB coach/passing game coordinator to offensive coordinator after former coordinator Cavanaugh was kicked upstairs to a “senior offensive assistant” role. Head coach Jay Gruden is an obvious fan of O'Connell's, locking him in with a promotion to prevent his poaching by another franchise.

 

 

(Top photo courtesy of www.atlantafalcons.com)

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