Nine NFL teams hired new head coaches for the 2022 season, and only one of them was promoted from within the organization.
Six of the nine hires were offensive-minded coaches, and four are getting another shot in leading the sidelines.
But while all teams already have a head coach, some candidates were left in the dark again.
They have impressive credentials that qualify them to lead a team, but teams choose somebody else.
When the next job opening comes up, these three mentors must get strong consideration.
3. Jim Caldwell
Jim Caldwell’s last stint as an NFL head coach came when Brian Flores hired him as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach in 2019.
Unfortunately, health issues forced him to take a leave of absence, and he hasn’t been hired by any team since.
Caldwell attended head coaching interviews for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears this year.
However, those teams eventually hired Doug Pederson and Matt Eberflus, respectively.
It’s fascinating that he hasn’t been a strong candidate since his last head coaching stint in 2017 with the Detroit Lions.
He was a head coach for seven NFL seasons and only had two losing campaigns.
Justin Fields deserves Jim Caldwell.
Trevor Lawrence deserves Leftwich.
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) February 3, 2022
He led the 2015 Detroit Lions to a 7-9 record and the Peyton Manning-less 2011 Indianapolis Colts to a 2-14 mark.
Caldwell made the playoffs four times and lost Super Bowl XLIV to the New Orleans Saints.
The Iowa alum also led the Lions to consecutive winning seasons in 2016 and 2017.
It’s a feat that the team hasn’t done since the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
Detroit also went 11-5 in 2014 after taking over from Jim Schwartz.
2. Byron Leftwich
For a while, it looked like the Jaguars would hire Byron Leftwich after the messy ending of Urban Meyer’s tenure.
That possibility created excitement among the team’s fans, who saw him play quarterback for their beloved team.
However, the Jaguars took a step back and signed Pederson instead.
Team owner Shahid Khan didn’t grant his request to replace general manager Trent Baalke with Adrian Wilson.
Leftwich knew how Baalke had a hand in Jim Harbaugh’s departure from the San Francisco 49ers.
Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich is expected to remove himself from consideration for the Jaguars HC job per @NFLSTROUD.
Rich Bisaccia and Doug Pederson remain strong candidates for the job. pic.twitter.com/KPuJL3RF21
— PFF (@PFF) February 3, 2022
Therefore, all he asked was to have a general manager he could work with.
Instead, Leftwich returns as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It seems like fate brought him back to Tampa because there’s much work needed for the Super Bowl LV Champions.
With Tom Brady retired, the team’s new starter must learn the nuances of his system and run it to perfection.
1. Eric Bieniemy
Eric Bieniemy can’t get a break even if he is always a top candidate during hiring cycles.
It’s difficult to fathom why teams avoid him, especially when the Kansas City Chiefs became one of the team’s highest-scoring offenses under him.
“Eric Bieniemy doesn’t call plays” they say. pic.twitter.com/razubCIQ2j
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) January 30, 2022
The team has gone to four consecutive AFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls.
However, the Chiefs front office must do everything to re-sign him because his contract ends this season.
Keeping him as one of Andy Reid’s deputies will maintain the Chiefs’ contender status for years to come.