After a 12-year run with the Stanford Cardinal, David Shaw is free to land where he wants. The highly-respected head coach announced his resignation from the program following Saturday’s season-ending loss to BYU.
For Shaw, this represents the bitter end to an otherwise brilliant run in Palo Alto. Since taking over for Jim Harbaugh as the program’s head coach back in 2011, Shaw posted a 96-54 record. He led the program to three top-10 finishes with two Rose Bowl wins mixed in.
Unfortunately, the Cardinal did not have a ton of success in Shaw’s final four seasons with the program. That span saw them post a 14-27 record. Prior to that, the innovative offensive mind had put up a 82-27 mark, making Stanford a national powerhouse in the process.
It remains to be seen where the 50-year-old Shaw will land next. What we do know is that he had drawn a ton of interest from NFL teams in the past. Shaw’s loyalty to the Cardinal pretty much ended any thought of him becoming a head coach at the next level. That’s now obviously changed.
Whether it’s as a head coach or a coordinator, Shaw could make the jump to the professional ranks in 2023. If so, here’s a look at four ideal landing spots.
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David Shaw replaces Josh McDaniels with the Las Vegas Raiders
McDaniels’ hot seat is not necessarily on fire after two consecutive road overtime wins, including a thriller against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12. With that said, his Raiders are a mere 4-7 on the season and pretty much out of the AFC Playoff race altogether. Sure owner Mark Davis has given McDaniels a vote of confidence in his first season. But that means very little. If Vegas continues to struggle, a one-and-done tenure for McDaniels in Sin City could be in the cards.
Enter into the equation a coach in Shaw who served as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 1998-2000 before taking over as quarterbacks coach in 2001. All he did that season was help turn Rich Gannon into an MVP candidate after the quarterback was seen as nothing more than a journeyman earlier in his career. It would not be a surprise if the Raiders went back to the drawing board with Shaw should they decide McDaniels is not up to the job.
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Houston Texans turn to David Shaw
Is it possible that Lovie Smith could be one-and-done in Houston? Would the Texans pay another head coach long-term after firing him following one season? These are two major questions that must be asked with the Texans at 1-9-1 on the season and in the midst of an ugly six-game losing streak.
What we do know is that Houston is the odds-on favorite to land the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. It will then be able to choose from Alabama’s Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud from Ohio State to replace the struggling Davis Mills.
What better option than to find an offensive-minded head coach who has had success with quarterbacks in the past? Mind you, we are talking about a head coach who turned Andrew Luck into the No. 1 pick and an NFL MVP candidate prior to his abrupt retirement. That can’t be lost on this.
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San Francisco 49ers bring in veteran assistant
There’s a chance that Shaw looks to up his stock as a top assistant in the NFL. If so, the 49ers make a ton of sense. They are working without a true offensive coordinator this season under Kyle Shanahan following the departure of Mike McDaniel to become the Miami Dolphins’ head coach.
What better opportunity for David Shaw than to land with a talented 49ers team as a play-caller under Shanahan? It would give him the ability to up his stock as a potential NFL head coach following the 2023 season. Perhaps, he’s simply not a fan of the vacancies we’re going to see after Jan. 1. Remaining in the Bay Area could also entice the California native.
Related: Top candidates to replace David Shaw with Stanford
Los Angeles Chargers get Justin Herbert offensive-minded head coach
It remains to be seen if Brandon Staley will be long for the Chargers job. The defensive-minded head coach has his team underperforming with a 6-5 record heading into Week 13. It’s not the type of improvement that the Chargers’ brass had hoped for following a disastrous end to the 2021 campaign.
There’s a scenario in play that suggests Los Angeles will want to bring in an offensive-minded guy to work with stud young quarterback Justin Herbert. He’s the face of the franchise. The Chargers are going to ride or die with him. Why not double down on Herbert by adding an offensive mind like David Shaw? It almost makes too much sense.