New NFL Defensive Coordinators in the 2018 Season

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

Life has never been terribly stable for an NFL defensive coordinator, but now they move around constantly, with a ton of turnover. It wasn’t even as bad as it was for offensive coordinators, but 13 defensive coordinators find themselves with new teams for the 2018 season. Among the new faces on these sidelines are some old NFL standbys, in addition to a slew of new faces getting their first big shot to make their coaching imprint. A new defensive coordinator who stumbles upon the right formula can sometimes really help turn a team around. Let’s take a look at the 13 defensive coordinators with new teams in the 2018 season.

Al Holcomb (Arizona Cardinals): Holcomb inherits a defense that actually made some strides last season, forced to pick up the slack for a struggling and injured offense. Holcomb spent a decade at the college ranks, before moving to the NFL in 2009. He spent the last five seasons as the Panthers’ linebackers coach, earning his first high-profile coaching position this season.

Don Martindale (Baltimore Ravens): A former coordinator with the Broncos, the 55-year old Martindale spent the last 6 seasons with the Ravens as linebackers coach, hired from within to coordinate a “D” that still has firepower, but was inconsistent last season. A Harbaugh confidante, Martindale has also coached along head coach John’s father in the college ranks.

Eric Washington (Carolina Panthers): Yet another positions coach promoted to coordinator from within, Washington served as the Panthers’ defensive line coach since 2011. He previously served in that capacity for the Chicago Bears and gets his first shot to run a defense at the age of 48.

Teryl Austin (Cincinnati Bengals): Starting as an assistant in the college ranks in the early 90’s, Austin slowly moved up the coaching ladder and joined the NFL in 2003. After bouncing around the league as a positions coach, including a one-year run as coordinator for the Florida Gators, Austin became the Lions’ defensive coordinator in 2014. Four seasons later, he joins the Bengals in the same capacity.

Paul Pasqualoni (Detroit Lions): Finishing as the 27th ranked defense last season, Detroit’s defense will now be led by the 68-year old Pasqualoni. A coach in the college and pro ranks since the 70’s, Pasqualoni was previously the defensive coordinator for the Dolphins from 2008-09. The veteran coach’s career is highlighted by a 14-season run as the head coach of Syracuse from 1991-2004.


Mike Pettine (Green Bay Packers): Pettine, 51, takes over a Green Bay defense that was squarely below-average last season. After a pair of stints as defensive coordinator for the Jets and Bills, Pettine was put in a tough spot as head coach of the Browns from 2014-15. It didn’t quite work out and he resurfaces with the Packers with another chance to make his mark.

Romeo Crennel (Houston Texans): The 70-year old Crennel’s coaching career began during the Nixon administration. The former head coach for the Browns and Chiefs has been coaching in the NFL for nearly 40 seasons. This isn’t much of a change for the Texans, as Crennel was their coordinator from 2014-16, before serving in the capacity of assistant head coach last season.

Matt Eberflus (Indianapolis Colts): The 30th-ranked Indy defense has been eroding over recent seasons and they’re hoping some new leadership will change things. Eberflus worked on the staff of his alma mater Toledo for 9 seasons, followed by an 8-year run as Missouri’s defensive coordinator. He has spent the last decade as a positions coach around the league, including the last 7 seasons on the Cowboys’s staff.

Brian Flores (New England Patriots): At 37, Flores is considered a rising defensive mind. He has come up through the ranks under Bill Belichick, serving as a positions coach for over a decade for the Patriots. Oddly, Flores will call defensive plays, in effect making him the defensive coordinator, but will not officially be called the defensive coordinator. The Patriots can be unconventional that way.

James Bettcher (New York Giants): The wheels really came off last season, with a Giants’ defense that had looked like they gotten their act together sunk to 31st in the league. Bettcher, 40, comes in for his second coordinator job, having worked the last three seasons as the head of the Arizona Cardinals’ defense.

Paul Guenther (Oakland Raiders): Guenther, 46, comes to the Raiders to join John Gruden’s staff. The Raiders defense was below-average last season and Guenther will try to do what he helped do with the Bengals defense. On the Cincinnati coaching staff with Marvin Lewis the last 13 seasons, including the last four as defensive coordinator, Guenther tries his luck with the Raiders.

Ken Norton, Jr. (Seattle Seahawks): The former three-time Super Bowl Champion as a player, Norton, Jr. gets his second coordinator gig, following a three-year run with the Oakland Raiders. Norton, Jr., 51, has previously worked with Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, first on the USC staff and then as linebackers coach with the Seahawks from 2010-14.

Dean Pees (Tennessee Titans): Pees will lead a Titans’ defense that has upside, but some holes that need to be plugged. Following a quarter-century run as a coach in the college ranks, Pees moved on the NFL, eventually earning jobs as the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinators. Twice, he has led Super Bowl-winning defenses. Bet on a football game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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