The defensive coordinator pool of head-coaching candidates in the NFL is better than you think.
With certainly more than two jobs opening up, expect for a few NFL defensive coordinators to be named full-time head coaches ahead of next season.
After seeing 10 teams make a change at head coach last offseason, we cannot possibly expect for that number to be matched in 2023. The candidate pool is not that deep and it takes some time to be replenished. Fortunately for teams looking for a new head coach this offseason, it may not be a better time to hire a defensive-minded head coach, as that side of the ball may have more to offer.
Here are some of the top defensive coordinators today who may become head coaches tomorrow.
NFL hot seat watch: 5 defensive coordinators who could become head coaches
Another deep Cincinnati Bengals playoff run would be massive for Lou Anarumo
It is not just Joe Burrow that has led to the Cincinnati Bengals‘ return to prominence over the last two seasons. They have a strong, versatile and underrated defense coordinated by Lou Anarumo. Schematically, his defenses are never put in situations to fail. More importantly, Anarumo sets up his defensive players to make plays in big time moments. He has a tremendous feel for the game.
In his mid-50s, we are probably going to see Anarumo get his shot to lead an NFL team, either in 2023 or 2024. Sadly, it may come down to brand recognition. A year after getting to the Super Bowl, people are only starting to realize how great this guy is as a coach. He will need to align himself with a strong offensive coordinator, but Anarumo has the presence to lead an NFL team.
Of the two jobs open, Anarumo is not a bad fit for the Carolina Panthers or the Indianapolis Colts.