Update on NFL Coaching Searches

As of this minute there are five NFL Head Coaching vacancies. The Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Denver Broncos are all beginning their search for new leaders. Let’s take a quick look at who the candidates are for each team.

The Detroit Lions – The hapless 0-16 Lions fired their coach, Rod Marinelli, the day after their season ended. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Lions coaching candidate list looks like this:

Dolphins’ assistant head coach/secondary coach Todd Bowles

Redskins’ secondary coach Jerry Gray

Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

Titans’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz

Vikings’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier

Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett

That’s quite a list. So far, they’ve only met with Spanuolo and Jason Garrett is merely rumored to be on the list. I’ll admit, there are names on here that I’ve never heard before. Spagnuolo and Garrett seem to be the biggest names to me. If I were running the Lions, I don’t think I’d want to hand control of an 0-16 team over to a first year head coach. If he is a 1st time coach, at least make him have coordinator experience before. Maybe that’s just me and we can get a Lions fan to weigh in.

St. Louis Rams – The Rams have had Jim Haslett as their interim Head Coach ever since firing Scott Linehan during their bye week. Haslett’s first two games were wins over the Redskins and Cowboys, but seemed to be blown out in their last 10 and finished 2-14. Go Rams. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports these candidates:

Cowboys’ wide receivers coach Ray Sherman

Dolphins’ assistant head coach/secondary coach Todd Bowles

Packers’ assistant head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss

Vikings’ assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier

Ravens’ assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Rex Ryan

Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett

Jim Haslett, current interim Head Coach

Jim Fassel, former New York Giants Head Coach

As you can see, this list is very similar to the Lions’ list. That should concern me. I don’t know who I want. The players have come out and said how much they like Jim Haslett, but at 2-10…eh. It’s not like we’re going to have a Dolphins’ like turn around under any of these guys. I think the new coach will be around for three years, max.

Cleveland Browns – The Browns fired Romeo Crennel after sputtering to a 4-12 record the year after posting a promising 10-6 record. The Browns’ quarterback dilemma between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson worked itself out and no one threw for more than 9 touchdowns or completed more than 51% of his passes. Good work , guys. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports this list:

Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

Current Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker

Titans’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz

Ousted Jets coach Eric Mangini

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

Not quite as long of a list and it includes some new candidates. The name that obviously jumps off the page is Eric Mangini. That seems like it would be an odd choice since he was just fired from the late-fading New York Jets. Another odd name is Mel Tucker. The Browns ranked 26th in defensive yards per game last year and 16th in points allowed per game. Not exactly promotion material.

The New York Jets – The Jets fired the aforementioned Eric Mangini
after stalling to a 9-7 record. Since Mangini has been fired, there has been much talk about tensions in the locker room. Bill Cowher was rumored to be the man in New York, but that turned out to be false. The Jets have now turned their attention elsewhere. The New York Post provides this list:

Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

Ravens’ defensive coordinator Rex Ryan

Former Broncos’ Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Vikings’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier

The Jets have quickly tabbed Spagnuolo as their favorite. He is already in New York and has proven he can coach well there. Whoever the coach ends up being, he’ll have to first decide what to do with Brett Favre and the divided locker room. After that, he is inheriting a team that went 9-7 which is clearly more attractive than, say, 0-16 or 2-14.

Denver Broncos – The Broncos surprised everyone when they fired Mike Shanahan after 14 years. To me, this is the most attractive job out there because of the franchise quarterback and because the fans aren’t disenfranchised quite yet. This list comes from Rocky Mountain News:

Bucs’ defensive coordinator Raheem Morris

Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett

Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach Bob Stoops

Many of the same names for the Broncos. Two noticeable omissions are Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer. I would think an established coach would be willing to step in and take over a pretty good team.  The team has also contacted Bob Stoops, which I think would be a bad move on both parts.  Stoops could follow in the successful footsteps of Steve Spurrier, Bobby Petrino, and Nick Saban.  He’s got a pretty good gig in Oklahoma, so I don’t see much coming of that.

Spagnuolo has now appeared on every team’s list, so my guess is that he’s going to end up on one of these teams (Jets are my guess). Someone may take a chance on Jason Garrett, but I don’t know how well he’d do in St. Louis, Cleveland or Detroit. OC of the Cowboys wasn’t exactly a highly respected position this year. More will come out after the playoff weekend when some of the interviews take place. I’ll have some more updates then.

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