A little more than 24 hours after Black Monday, we have our first idea of how teams will go about replacing their fired head coaches.
Five in all — the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers — are conducting coaching searches.
Here’s the latest, team by team, on how those searches are going:
Atlanta Falcons: After firing head coach Mike Smith, the team wasted no time requesting permission to interview five current NFL coordinators, all of whom work for teams in the playoffs: Teryl Austin (Detroit Lions defensive coordinator), Todd Bowles (Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator), Adam Gase (Denver Broncos offensive coordinator), Josh McDaniels (New England Patriots offensive coordinator), Dan Quinn (Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator). The three youngest candidates — Gase (36), McDaniels (38) and Quinn (44) — can interview immediately because their teams have byes. The two oldest candidates, Austin (49) and Bowles (51), can’t be interviewed until their respective teams are knocked from the postseason. The Falcons also will interview Rex Ryan, per the New York Post, and he’d have to be viewed as a strong candidate for the job.
Chicago Bears: In addition to seeking a new head coach after firing Marc Trestman, the Bears also will need a new general manager after also firing Phil Emery. The team has enlisted former Baltimore Colts and New York Giants GM Ernie Accorsi to help guide the search. It appears that the order of business will be to hire the general manager first, before signing a head coach, although it’s not clear if the new GM would have input in hiring the head coach if it occured in that order. Chicago Tribune’s Rich Campbell is reporting that three early candidates have emerged — Baltimore Ravens director of pro personnel Vince Newsome, New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson — who have been recommended to Accorsi by Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten. Ross, Newsome and Dawson each would satisfy the league’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching jobs, as well as top front-office vacancies.
New York Jets: Like the Bears, the Jets are seeking both a head coach and a GM — after firing Ryan and John Idzik — and some of the names for those searches, which appear to be going on concurrently, are starting to leak out. According to ESPN New York, there are seven known GM candidates with whom the team has sought interviews: Seahawks director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner; Baltimore Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton; Houston Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnon; Philadelphia Eagles director of pro personnel Rick Mueller; Cleveland Browns executive chief of staff Bill Kuharich; and Jets senior director of football administration Rod Graves. According to the New York Post, there are at least six known head-coaching candidates the team will speak with: Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles; Seahawks offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable; Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak; Jets assistant head coach/running backs Anthony Lynn; San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich; and Quinn.
Oakland Raiders: Interim head coach Tony Sparano did well enough taking over for the fired Dennis Allen to earn himself an interview for the permanent job, and he’s confident enough in his abilities to have said after the season, “This is my team.” That remains to be seen, and it won’t become his team (if it does at all) before the team goes through a series of interviews with other candidates. Among the known ones, culled from various media reports: 49ers tight ends coach Eric Mangini, Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Bowles. What do they have in common? Head-coaching experience — all of them have been NFL head coaches, with Bowles having served three games as interim head coach with the Miami Dolphins after he — circle-of-life irony — replaced Sparano in 2011.
San Francisco 49ers: In addition to his Falcons interview, Ryan will meet with the 49ers, which would be a fascinating match following the Jim Harbaugh era. Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo first reported that the Niners also will meet with Quinn. He’ll be the first outside candidate the team speaks with after interviewing former Harbaugh lieutenant, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. It’s believed, too, that 49ers D-line coach Jim Tomsula, who is well-respected in the team’s locker room, will vie for Harbaugh’s departed post. Other names connected to the search: Quinn, Bowles and McDaniels, who was believed to be a strong candidate in 2011 in case their No. 1 preference didn’t accept the job. That No. 1 choice, of course, was Harbaugh.
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