Even before the NFL season comes to its official end in Super Bowl 55, the league’s seven head coaching vacancies have all been filled. The final opening closed late on Wednesday, when the Houston Texans decided to bring David Culley — a veteran coach who most recently worked as assistant head coach, wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator in Baltimore — aboard as their new head coach.
With Culley becoming the first coach to be hired by long-time New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio, the full list of transactions looks as follows. All seven coaches hired this year are first-timers, by the way.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Urban Meyer. A little over two years after announcing his retirement, Meyer will be back on the sidelines this fall to work his first ever NFL job. The long-time Florida and Ohio State head coach who won three national championships in the college ranks, will preside over the Jaguars’ rebuild — one that will start with drafting quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall in April.
New York Jets: Robert Saleh. It did not take long for the Jets to find a new head coach after firing the unsuccessful Adam Gase. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who held his previous role for the past four years and helped the team reach a Super Bowl along the way, will be asked to end the longest playoff drought in the league.
Atlanta Falcons: Arthur Smith. The long-time Tennessee Titans assistant was getting plenty of love on the head coaching market this year: five teams interviewed him, but he eventually decided to become Dan Quinn’s successor in Atlanta. Smith will have his work cut out for him given that the Falcons went just 4-12 and are in a challenging financial position should the salary cap decrease as expected.
Los Angeles Chargers: Brandon Staley. In just one year as the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator, Staley developed into a viable head coaching candidate in the league — so much so that the crosstown Chargers decided to bring him aboard after firing Anthony Lynn. The 38-year-old led the top scoring defense in the NFL last year, and now will try to help his new team win behind Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Herbert.
Detroit Lions: Dan Campbell. Patriots fans may remember Dan Campbell as the Miami Dolphins’ interim head coach in 2015. After he spent the next five seasons in New Orleans as assistant to head coach Sean Payton and tight ends coach, he has now been hired by the Lions. While his odd introductory press conference caught the eye, Campbell has assembled a quality staff in Detroit that features Anthony Lynn (offense) and Aaron Glenn (defense) at the coordinator positions.
Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Sirianni. Philadelphia did interview with Patriots assistants Josh McDaniels and Jerod Mayo for its open head coaching job but eventually went Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni. The biggest question for the 39-year-old will be whether or not he can salvage the career of former first-round draft pick Carson Wentz as the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
Houston Texans: David Culley. While Smith, Staley and Sirianni are among the youngest head coaches in the NFL, David Culley is on the other end of the spectrum: at age 65, he becomes the fourth oldest head coach in the league. Regardless of his age, his credentials as a long-time assistant in the league are certainly impressive.
From the Patriots’ perspective, the Culley hire on Wednesday makes official what has already been known ever since the Eagles decided to go in a different direction: Josh McDaniels and Jerod Mayo will return to New England for another season. McDaniels will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator for a 10th straight year and 13th overall, while Mayo again will play a vital role on the defensive side of the ball.
They and the rest of the Patriots will also meet five of the new head coaches this season: New England will play the Jets twice and host the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium; the team will also travel to Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots are 59-18 against new coaching hires.