NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Top 2022 Head Coach Candidates

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 17, 2022

NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Top 2022 Head Coach Candidates

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    Rich Schultz/Associated Press

    There are eight NFL teams conducting searches for new head coaches. That list includes the Las Vegas Raiders, who lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card Round on Saturday and will have to decide whether they want to give interim head coach Rich Bisaccia the job full time or go a different direction.

    It's also always possible that a team that exits the playoffs earlier than expected could decide to fire its head coach.

    There's already a ton of buzz surrounding the ongoing coaching searches. No team has yet to make a hire over the past week, but there have been plenty of interviews conducted, and rumors are swirling about potential fits.

    Here's some of the latest surrounding the NFL coaching carousel.

Could Cowboys Replace McCarthy with Moore?

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    The Dallas Cowboys' 2021 season came to a disappointing end Sunday, when they lost 23-17 to the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card Round.

    It was Dallas' first playoff game since Mike McCarthy became head coach in 2020. And there's been speculation about whether he will be back in Dallas for the 2022 campaign. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could consider a coaching change after the team fell short of a run to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys haven't made it past the divisional round since the 1995 season.

    There's a potential in-house replacement for McCarthy too: offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

    "If this season doesn't end the way Jerry thinks it should, don't be surprised if Kellen Moore is their next head coach much sooner [rather] than later," a source told La Canfora. "He does not want to lose him."

    The Cowboys could be in danger of losing Moore if they don't promote him. La Canfora reported that Moore has already interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars' head-coach opening, and he is also scheduled to meet with the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings.

    Moore, a 33-year-old former NFL quarterback, became Dallas' QBs coach in 2018 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019. Perhaps he will soon get an opportunity to lead the Cowboys if they part ways with McCarthy, who is 18-15 over his two seasons in charge.

Quinn Currently 'Favorite' to Land Broncos Job

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    Brett Duke/Associated Press

    Moore isn't the only Cowboys assistant who has been drawing interest in the coaching market. Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has also frequently been mentioned in rumors, and it appears he may be getting closer to landing a new job after little more than a year in Texas.

    NFL Network's Tom Pelissero recently reported that Quinn "remains the favorite" to become the Denver Broncos' next head coach. Quinn is scheduled to meet with Denver, but he also has several other interviews lined up, per Pelissero.

    Quinn has prior head-coaching experience, going 43-42 while leading the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-20. He guided the Falcons to the NFC title and a Super Bowl appearance during the 2016 season, but he was fired after Atlanta got off to an 0-5 start in 2020.

    It's not a certainty that Quinn will be hired by Denver, though. Pelissero reported that the Broncos had a "strong interview" with Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on Saturday morning.

    According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Denver will also meet with New England Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo later this week. That's the only interview on Mayo's schedule, per Rapoport, but there are expected to be one or two more taking place.

    The Broncos are looking for the right coach to succeed Vic Fangio, who was fired after going 19-30 over three seasons in Denver.

Flores, Daboll May Be Targets for Giants

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    After going 4-13 this season, the New York Giants will soon undergo a lot of change. General manager Dave Gettleman has retired, while Joe Judge was fired after two seasons as head coach.

    New York will find a new GM before hiring a head coach, but that doesn't mean there aren't candidates for the latter opening. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported that former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll have been "the subject of some discussion inside the Giants organization for quite some time."

    Vacchiano also noted that Flores and Daboll are "both on the shortlists of several of the Giants' nine GM candidates." So it seems likely that New York could try to interview both in the near future, even if it's not clear who will be the general manager.

    However, the Giants may need to act fast if they hope to land either Flores or Daboll. Vacchiano also noted that Flores has already interviewed with the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans, while Daboll has met with the Bears and Dolphins.

    Flores and Daboll have both been featured in plenty of coaching rumors of late. Flores was fired by Miami at the end of the season after going 24-25 across three years in charge. Daboll has never been an NFL head coach, but he's been Buffalo's offensive coordinator since 2018.

    The Giants' next head coach will be tasked with trying to get the franchise back on track, as they have had a losing record in five consecutive seasons and in eight of the past nine.