The dominoes continue to fall in NFL head coaching searches, as serious movement began throughout the league on Thursday. The Chicago Bears are hiring Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as the team’s head coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Former Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is being hired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 27, 2022
Earlier in the day, it was reported that the Denver Broncos were finalizing a deal to hire Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator (and former Jaguars offensive coordinator) Nathaniel Hackett. With Eberflus and Hackett now off of the table — two of the three reported finalists for the Jaguars — all eyes turn back to Byron Leftwich.
Hackett was reportedly heading to Jacksonville for a second interview with the team on Thursday, but the Broncos stepped up and got the deal done before that happened. Eberflus had a second interview with the Jaguars on Jan. 18.
Big Cat Country reported late on Tuesday night that Leftwich was expected to land the open head coaching job in Jacksonville, as our sources informed us, although nothing was confirmed or announced by the team. Multiple outlets, including Schefter have since reported that Leftwich is still the frontrunner for the job as of Thursday morning.
And with Matt Eberflus in Chicago and Nathaniel Hackett in Denver, Byron Leftwich is the leader in the clubhouse in Jacksonville, though the process remains fluid.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 27, 2022
However, talks reportedly hit a snag between Leftwich’s camp and the Jaguars’ brass. Chris Porter of First Coast News reported that the hangup was a power struggle about roster control between the two parties. According to Porter, Leftwich wants current general manager Trent Baalke out of the organization, and wants to bring in Adrian Wilson for the GM role. Wilson currently works as vice president of pro scouting for the Arizona Cardinals.
Source tells me that Byron Leftwich is the #jaguars pick but the hold up is over who will have control of the roster. Leftwich wants Trent Baalke out and the #Jaguars to hire Adrian Wilson who is the Vice President of pro scouting with Cardinals. https://t.co/TBlgdwaMEk— Chris Porter (@ChrisPorterFCN) January 27, 2022
Later on Thursday, Mike Jurecki, the digital content coordinator for AZCardinals.com reported that the Jaguars were “close to hiring” both Wilson and Leftwich.
Hearing the Jaguars are close to hiring Adrian Wilson as their GM and Byron Leftwich as HC.— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) January 27, 2022
Other wildcards for the head coach position include Vic Fangio, who was recently fired by the Broncos, and possibly Darrell Bevell who served as interim head coach for the Jaguars after Urban Meyer was fired in December. Bevell first interviewed for the full-time job on Jan. 10, but nothing about a second interview has been reported as of yet for Bevell.
As for Fangio, he apparently interviewed for the Jacksonville job on Monday, according to Schefter, although it was not reported until Thursday. Schefter notes that Fangio is a candidate for the job.
When the Jaguars private plane was in Denver on Monday, it wasn't there to take Nathaniel Hackett to Jacksonville for an interview; it was there to pick up former Broncos HC Vic Fangio, who has interviewed for Jaguars' HC job, per league sources. Fangio is a candidate for Jaguars— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 27, 2022
Also reported by Schefter on Thursday afternoon, the New Orleans Saints have requested permission to interview Leftwich for the team’s head coaching vacancy as well.
Saints have requested permission to interview Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich for their head coaching job, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 27, 2022
This whole coaching search for the Jaguars has been an odd saga to say the least. Hopefully it will come to an end in the coming days.