Where the Commanders' offensive coordinator job ranks among NFL's other openings

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Where Commanders' coordinator job ranks among other openings originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Commanders are one of 13 NFL teams that'll ultimately feature a new offensive coordinator in 2023 after you combine the operations that currently have an opening at the position or that are still searching for a head coach who'll then go on to build out a fresh staff after being hired.

As of Monday, Washington has interviewed four candidates for the role and is reportedly interested in chatting with at least one other person. No frontrunner has appeared to emerge, though.

So, while Ron Rivera remains on the lookout for a replacement for Scott Turner, where does the job rank among the other ones that are presently available around the league? Here's a first-to-worst list, which is divided into tiers.

The "Answer on the first ring" tier

The Chargers undoubtedly own the most appealing offensive coordinator gig in the sport, thanks mostly to the presence of Justin Herbert. Having the opportunity to work with Herbert, who can rip a fastball like he's a Major League closer, could set someone up for future work as a head coach. Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Rashawn Slater are other talented pieces in place in Los Angeles.

Their neighbors in the Rams, meanwhile, also boast an enticing post. Sure, the fact that Sean McVay is the primary play caller may hurt a bit, yet even after a challenging 2022, McVay's name still carries tons of weight, making him a hell of a reference for any résumé. And when healthy, that Matt Stafford-Cooper Kupp connection is lethal.

The "Let's please keep Lamar in purple" tier

Lamar Jackson's relationship with Baltimore sounds like it requires some repairing, but assuming he sticks with the organization, the Ravens take the bronze medal in this ranking. Jackson is uniquely skilled when he's physically right and, aside from Herbert, is the only MVP-caliber quarterback in need of a new assistant coach.

Yes, the skill players aren't the most impressive bunch, but Baltimore will inevitably try to improve those spots. Lastly, John Harbaugh is one of the game's longest-tenured coaches, which speaks to the competitive stability of the Ravens as a whole.

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The "I'm fairly excited... but who's the quarterback again?" tier

Those with a feel of Tom Brady and Tampa's thinking appear to believe that Brady will move on this offseason. Regardless, the Buccaneers figure to be in the market for a solid veteran signal-caller to fill in for Brady, employ a productive (and, to be fair, aging) collection of pass-catchers and are fortunate enough to call the weak NFC South home.

Then there are the Commanders, who check in at fifth on the list.

On the positive side, the trio of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel lead a wide receiver corps that is just begging to be maximized. In the backfield, Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson make up a promising pair of running backs.

On top of that, whomever Rivera hires will have total control of the offense, since Rivera is a defense-first leader and also a delegator in general.

Of course, there are serious drawbacks, beginning with the unclear ownership situation and how that ties into Rivera's regime. If Washington is eventually sold, then the incoming owner(s) might very well opt to dismiss Rivera as soon as possible (and, in turn, clean out the rest of the staff). That doesn't even touch on the enormous hole at quarterback — perhaps Sam Howell can plug it? — and a shoddy offensive line.

Success is definitely possible with the Commanders, as their job is far from the most barren/most hopeless. That said, the vague direction of the club is something that'll indefinitely impact all facets of the squad, including the offensive coordinator hunt.

The "I'm hoping to capitalize on the Bill Belichick brand" tier

Maybe he's been surpassed by McVay (along with the likes of Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan), but Bill Belichick's reputation speaks for itself and becoming a part of his network can be a valuable experience.

The Patriots, however, were one of the least explosive units in 2022, as Mac Jones regressed and everyone but Rhamondre Stevenson failed to contribute all that much. Therefore, Belichick's aura tops the perks of landing in New England — and even that isn't as well-regarded as it once was.

The "If we nail the draft, this could actually be fun" tier

Before he was fired, Lovie Smith burned Houston's path in terms of scoring the No. 1 draft pick for April. The Texans nonetheless sit at No. 2 (and No. 12 for that matter), so coming away from that event with a prized passing prospect is entirely tangible. Hitting on that selection will be paramount, but if Houston does, a rapid turnaround in a down AFC South is quite possible.

The Panthers aren't as rich in draft capital as the Texans, but Carolina possesses the ninth pick and can stay there if someone they love is falling to them or look to trade up to assure that they secure their preferred target. And like Houston, this team's division is rather paltry and 2023 expectations will be measured.

The "Fine, I'll take it because only 32 of these chances exist" tier

Derrick Henry's going to decline at some point, right? Between that worry and having to decide between trusting Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis or Josh Dobbs under center, the Titans are firmly in the bottom half of these rankings. At least Mike Vrabel has developed into a respected head man.

The Jets have assembled a defense that ought to make their comrades on the other side of the ball's life easier, but who's starting for New York? Zach Wilson, Mike White, or a quarterback who'll be identified later? Should the Jets procure a Derek Carr-like solution, they'll fly up this list. Until then, they're grounded down here. (Two plane puns in two sentences, awesome!)

Whoever ends up in Denver will be tasked with fixing Russell Wilson. If Wilson's disastrous 2022 was mostly because of Nathaniel Hackett's cluelessness, then the Broncos are primed for better days. Hackett's failures notwithstanding, what Wilson put on tape was awfully concerning, which suggests he was culpable for Denver's issues as well.

Kyler Murray's torn ACL complicates his short-term future and the constant questions about his approach affect his long-term outlook. That's why the Cardinals are so close to the bottom (the dearth of competency all around Murray stings, too).

Finally, it's the Colts' turn. Indy has Jonathan Taylor and... um... hopefully a spacious office with a nice nameplate on the desk? Indianapolis was once a bastion of consistency. Not anymore.