Three Defensive Coordinators that could be head coaches in 2022

Leslie Frazier is one of the defensive coordinators that deserves a head coaching gig

By: Menachem Ickovitz

As the old adage goes, “Defense wins Championships.” With that being said, many teams will be looking for new head coaches this off-season and there are some very worthy candidates who are currently defensive coordinators.

Listed below are three defensive coordinators you should know about if your team is looking for a new head coach. Additionally, there will be a bonus defensive coach mentioned below, however, he is not the defensive coordinator for his team, therefore he goes in the “bonus” section.

Jonathan Gannon, Philadelphia Eagles

Jonathan Gannon might be young, but he has plenty of NFL coaching experience. Gannon is highly respected having coached under numerous head coaches and was one of the many options teams were looking at last off-season. Additionally, he has also served as a scout for the St. Louis Rams from 2009 – 2011, so he has an understanding of all aspects of team building.

An interesting possibility consists of a team looking for a new general manager and head coach. Gannon would be a great fit with Ed Dodds, who is currently the assistant GM with the Indianapolis Colts. Gannon was with the Colts from 2018 – 2020.

Leslie Frazier, Buffalo Bills

Leslie Frazier has the advantage of having been a head coach before so he understands everything that is involved. He took over for Brad Childress during the 2010 season with the Minnesota Vikings. While his 21 – 32 – 1 head coaching record is not good, he did lead the Vikings to the playoffs in 2012.

Frazier is currently the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. The Bills’ defense is ranked first in points differential and yards differential. Additionally, they rank third in interceptions.

Frazier is the type of coach who will instill discipline and if given the opportunity to coach a team with a good quarterback, something he did not have in Minnesota, he can lead a team to the playoffs.

An interesting team to keep an eye out for is the Chicago Bears. Frazier played for the Bears from 1981 – 1985. Additionally, teams often look for the opposite of what they just had as a head coach. The Bears currently have Matt Nagy, an offensive coach so they might look to replace him with a defensive coach and Frazier would be a good fit.

DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco 49ers

DeMeco Ryans is a rising star in the coaching ranks.He’s been with the San Francisco 49ers since 2017 and was named defensive coordinator in 2021 after former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was named head coach of the New York Jets.

As a player, Ryans played for the Houston Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles. In his 10 year career he compiled 939 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 41 passes defended. He was considered a smart player and good teammate, two qualities that have helped him in his young coaching career.

If he doesn’t get a job this off-season, be prepared to hear his name a lot next off-season.

Bonus Coach: Jerod Mayo, Inside Linebackers Coach, New England Patriots

The defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots is head coach Bill Belichick, however, Jerod Mayo is an intriguing head coaching candidate. Mayo has been the inside linebackers coach with New England since 2019.

Prior to coaching in New England he played for the Patriots from 2008 – 2015. He had an excellent reputation for film study and working hard to be a better player. He may not get the chance to be a head coach this upcoming cycle, but he should be in consideration.

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