Three coaches with connections to the New England Patriots were included on a 12-man list of recommended candidates for head coaching vacancies in 2018. Current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, and former Patriots linebacker and current Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel were all listed, per Mike Lombardi and Pro Football Talk.
Other names include Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and special teams coach Dave Toub; Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz; Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator George Edwards; and Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell, Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
Five of these coaches are from the AFC and seven are from the NFC. Six are from the offensive side of the ball, five are from the defensive side, and one is from special teams. McDaniels started his current role in 2012 and is joined by Patricia as the two longest tenured coordinators on this list. Toub has held his position with the Chiefs since 2013.
The list is a hodgepodge of retreads (McDaniels, Schwartz, Shurmur, technically Campbell), rising stars (Nagy, DeFilippo, Cooter, Vrabel), and established coordinators (Toub, Patricia, Edwards, Wilks).
With the successes of Sean McVay (rising star), Doug Pederson (established coordinator), and Doug Marrone (retread) in 2017, it shows that teams can look in many directions for a successful head coaching option.
Around seven positions are expected to open over this offseason and so not all on the list will receive a head coaching offer. I would expect McDaniels, Vrabel, and Toub to be atop many wish lists, and I’m a little surprised that Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin wasn’t on the list.
But the odds are pretty good that at least one new head coach in 2018 will have a deep connection with the Patriots.