The coaching carousel spins round and round. Every year, there are between 5 and 10 coaching vacancies in the NFL, give or take. This years opportunities stand at 6 so far. There are a couple teams in “limbo” as far as what they will do. There always seems to be 1-2 that pop open suddenly. Let’s take a look at the teams and possible replacements.
Arizona Cardinals: In a stunning, but long rumored move, head coach Bruce Arians is stepping away from football, and retiring, to spend more time with family. Arians has had some health concerns as of late, and coaching football doesn’t help one live the healthiest of lifestyles.
The Cardinals job is kind of a “ready to win” position. They probably need a QB, but they have a solid defense, and premiere running back. I could see them going with a more veteran coach such as Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who could bring a veteran QB with him from free agency. A defensive mind could fit at well.
Chicago Bears: In probably one of the worst kept secrets, the Bears parted ways with veteran head coach John Fox. There have been rumblings going into the season, but when the Bears lost to Green Bay after a bye week, without Aaron Rodgers being present, it seemed to shift uncomfortably towards Fox’s departure. The rumor mill has been churning furiously as to his heir apparent.
My pick: is Kansas City Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub, who has ties to Chicago when he worked as Lovie Smith’s Special Teams guru. I don’t think he is a favorite. My gut tells me it will be someone from the Saint’s organization as Ryan Pace has a fixation on that. My fear is Josh McDaniels being hired.
Detroit Lions: I was particularly surprised hearing they parted ways with head coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell had a winning record during his 4 seasons in the Motor City. I suppose a level of stagnation has crept in, but it was hardly Caldwell’s fault. The trendy thing is to go with the opposite of what you had, so they might go for a defensive guy.
I heard the mumbles of Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patrica being the front runner for the Lions, I could see that. I would not like this very much. I don’t have a gut feeling on this, other than Patricia, who would would make it tough for my Bears to play them twice a year.
Indianapolis Colts: Head coach Chuck Pagano had kind of a dysfunctional relationship with the GM for a couple years now. Looks like he finally wore out his welcome. The Colts had a bad year, mostly due to Andrew Luck never making it back from offseason shoulder surgery. Not many teams have winning seasons with their backup QBs starting the entire year.
The Colts are allegedly interested in Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, and Patriots offensive mind, Josh McDaniels. McDaniels makes a lot of sense, as he will have a great QB to work with. McDaniels has a track record of stirring up the pot. I’m not sure he will work well with the current GM. I could see another offensive guru, Pat Shurmur perhaps, or another hot offensive candidate. Dave Toub would probably do great in Indy.
New York Giants: The Giants launched head coach Ben McAdoo after he decided benching two time Super Bowl champion, Eli Manning was the right move. Manning ended his streak of starts, and was inserted back into the lineup after McAdoo was replaced. The ended up parting ways with GM Jerry Reese too. McAdoo did not complete his second year with the Giants.
The Giants are a mess. They are kind of primed for a guy like McDaniels, who would either have input on the GM or possibly have/share GM duties. He’s definitely high strung, and will most likely ‘write his own ticket’ as the top offensive candidate. This would make me very happy. Having to hire a GM*, and a head coach could slow down the process, and make them an ideal candidate to wait for a possible Super Bowl team. This puts McDaniel right in that time frame.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders fired head coach Jack Del Rio after a 6-10 season. Most likely to make room for John Gruden to come back to coaching. As a fan of the Raiders, this makes me happy and a little worried at the same time. I love Chucky, but I am in the camp that Gruden got particularly fortunate going up vs his former team in the Super Bowl. His record after that season is less than stellar.
If not Gruden: Perhaps one of the hot young coordinators/QB coaches. Eagles coordinator Frank Reich, or QB coach John DeFilippo could help get Derek Carr back on track. It doesn’t make much sense to fire Del Rio, if they didn’t have at least some kind of deal with Gruden in place. So, I am not going to speculate a whole bunch with this one.
Guys I like: In no particular order: Dave Toub, John DeFilippo, Frank Reich, Darrell Bevell (Seahawks OC), Steve Wilks, Vic Fangio (Bears DC), Mike Vrabel (Texans DC).
I’m hoping my Bears act soon so whoever they hire can put a decent staff together. If the Bears lose Fangio, perhaps they can hire Jack Del Rio, who is a solid defensive mind.
Dream team: Dave Toub as HC, Mike McCoy as OC, Fangio as DC. Not sure Fangio would stay in Chicago, he really deserves a shot to be a head coach somewhere. I think he would fit in great in Indianapolis, Detroit, or Arizona.
*The Giants hired GM Dave Gettleman late last week.