New Offensive Coordinators for the 2017 NFL Season
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
The life of a coordinator in the NFL can be a topsy-turvy one. Often the first pieces to fall, coordinators move around the league at an alarming rate. Just this season, nine new offensive coordinators will be on the sidelines with their new teams. They are often the scapegoat when the offense falters and good coordinators are usually viable candidates for vacant head coaching jobs. So both failure and success are major contributors leading to so many offensive coordinator vacancies throughout the league. Let's take a look at all the 2017 offensive coordinator positions hires in the league.
Rick Dennison (Buffalo Bills): The former Denver Broncos player spent a lot of time with his former team in the coaching capacity, last serving as offensive coordinator with Denver for the past two years. It was his second stint with the team in that capacity. Dennison, 58, has also coordinated the Houston Texans offense during his 20-year coaching career.
John Morton (New York Jets): The new offensive coordinator of the Jets looks to get the suffering New York offense on the right track. At 47, the former Western Michigan player was a practice squad veteran who also played in Europe and Canada, before focusing on coaching. After working as a receivers coach in the college and pro ranks over the past decade-plus, Morton gets his first coordinator gig with the Jets.
Nathaniel Hackett (Jacksonville Jaguars): The son of former NFL coach Paul, the 37-year old has established himself as a bright young offensive mind in the game, having previously served as coordinator for Buffalo and Syracuse under Doug Marrone, the new head coach of Jacksonville. He is also familiar with the Jaguars' personnel, serving as quarterbacks coach for Jacksonville over the past two seasons.
Mike McCoy (Denver Broncos): McCoy returns to his old stomping grounds to get the Denver offense on the right track. He did, after all, help get Denver to the playoffs with Tim Tebow at QB and has shown to be quite adept in this role. McCoy didn't catch many breaks in a 4-year tenure as Chargers' head coach, watching injuries and waning local support spoil what was a positive start.
Todd Downing (Oakland Raiders): Only 36, the new offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders has been an assistant in the NFL ranks for over a decade. He made his name as a quarterbacks coach, serving in that role with Oakland for the past two seasons, following stints in Detroit and Buffalo in the same capacity. He is credited for doing fine work with Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr.
Matt Cavanaugh (Washington Redskins): The 60-year old played for 14 seasons in the NFL, mostly as a backup quarterback. He then got into coaching, first serving as an offensive coordinator back in 1997 with the Bears. After serving as a quarterbacks coach for the past 7 years, he gets his fourth coordinator gig with the Redskins.
Steve Sarkisian (Atlanta Falcons): The 42-year old former Canadian League player returns to the coaching ranks after his untimely exit from the Trojans in 2015. After a one-game gig with Alabama, it was assumed he would become their new coordinator, before this job opened up, with Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan off to San Francisco. This is Sarkisian's second job in the NFL, having served as Oakland's quarterbacks coach in 2004. Once considered a bright coaching talent, Sarkisian looks to rebuild his brand and is certainly stepping into a favorable situation with the defending conference champion Falcons.
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Matt LaFleur (Los Angeles Rams): After knocking around in Michigan for a number of seasons, the 36-year old first became part of the NFL coaching ranks in 2008. He became the Redskins' quarterbacks coach in 2010, serving in the same role with Notre Dame and then with the Falcons over the past two seasons. He now joins Sean McVay's staff in LA and will have his work cut out with what was the laughingstock of NFL offenses in 2016.
Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): Another Atlanta assistant who parlayed the Falcons success into a high-profile gig. The offensive mastermind of Atlanta caught some flack for how he ran the offense in the Super Bowl, which cost the Falcons a shot at glory. He still did a lot of things right. The son of former Super Bowl champion coach is the head coach of the 49ers, but will also take on the responsibility of running the offense, as he tried to revamp a franchise that has fallen on hard times over the past two seasons.