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Half of NFL teams changed offensive coordinators during the 2019 offseason

Is there any other position in the league with a lower retention rate?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have a mostly new coaching staff in 2019, led by head coach Matt LaFleur. When Mike McCarthy got the boot, it was all but assured that the team would make a change at several key assistant positions, particularly offensive coordinator. In comes Nathaniel Hackett, ready to take over the position held last season by Joe Philbin.

However, the Packers are one of a huge number of teams to make a change at the OC position this offseason. In fact, Mike Clay of ESPN published a table on Thursday that illustrates how a whopping sixteen teams — exactly one-half of NFL franchises — have changed offensive coordinators since the end of the 2018 season. By contrast, 11 teams hired new defensive coordinators this year, while eight franchises switched head coaches.

Several of the individuals in new offensive coordinator positions for 2019 have held that job elsewhere in the past, including Hackett, who occupied the Jaguars’ OC job to start 2018. In total, nine of the 16 new hires have NFL coordinator experience, and one of those nine, Dirk Koetter of the Falcons, was a head coach last year (for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). That still means that seven individuals will hold an NFL offensive coordinator job for the first time this fall, however.

Perhaps the most amazing part of this chart, though, is how brief an OC’s tenure tends to be in this league. Only three have been in their current jobs for three or more seasons, and only two for more than that. Pete Carmichael, Jr. of the Saints is the longest-tenured coordinator, taking that job with the Saints in 2009. Next is Josh McDaniels in New England, who returned to that post in 2012. After that, Ken Whisenhunt has the next-longest tenure, taking over the Chargers’ offense in 2016, followed by 2017 hires Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan — both head coaches who also coordinate their teams’ offenses.

That’s just five men in their current OC jobs for more than one season. 27 OC hires have been made since the end of the 2017 season.

These job openings will often arise because of head coaching hires. Former offensive coordinators are hired on as head coaches more frequently than their defensive counterparts in the modern NFL. In addition, when a team changes its head coach, the new hire almost never retains the previous OC. Finally, teams with sluggish offenses or units that do not live up to lofty expectations often seem willing to pull the trigger on their OCs midseason — as seen by Hackett’s firing in in Jacksonville and the Vikings canning John DeFilippo in 2018.

The Packers, meanwhile, will have their third offensive coordinator in as many years in 2019. Edgar Bennett had the job for three seasons from 2015 to 2017, but Mike McCarthy allowed him to leave last offseason and brought back Joe Philbin for the job. Now Hackett takes over, and he will presumably hope to have enough success with the Packers to stick around for a few years — or to get a head coaching job of his own.