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Which NFL Head Coaching Candidates Are Waiting in the Wings for Job Openings?

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIISeptember 17, 2012

Which NFL Head Coaching Candidates Are Waiting in the Wings for Job Openings?

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    Last year, coaches like Mike Mularkey and Chuck Pagano got a fair amount of interest around the league during the offseason.

    Now with the Jaguars and Colts, respectively, both coaches are doing their best to restore programs like the teams once had.

    Looking ahead to next season, a number of high-profile assistant coaches are certainly waiting for job openings.

Cam Cameron

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    Cam Cameron has done a great job changing the identity of the Ravens from an all-defensive squad to a balanced team with firepower on offense.

    His development of quarterback Joe Flacco has done wonders for the coach's own stock around the league and he'll be a hot candidate come the 2013 offseason.

    John Harbaugh certainly doesn't want to see his offensive coordinator go, but Cameron will get serious looks as a head coach.

Perry Fewell

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    A few years back, once-Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was aggressively pursued by multiple NFL teams thanks to his ability to create innovative game plans.

    Fewell, like Spagnuolo, is one of the only defensive coaches in the NFL (along with Jim Schwartz) who is able to bring serious pressure on the quarterback from a 4-3 defensive front.

    It's easier to build a 4-3 team than it is to build a 3-4 team, so look for wallet-minded owners to pursue Fewell and allow him to build a defense as a head coach.

Marty Mornhinweg

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    After a rough game, calling plays against the Browns, Eagles offensive coordinator likely sat down with quarterback Michael Vick and the two figured out how to carve up a vaunted Ravens defense.

    How Vick plays will determine just how much interest the head coach-to-be will garner this offseason.

    Mornhinweg's name has been mentioned many a time as a head coaching candidate, but with Mike Mularkey finally getting his own gig, this offensive coordinator is due.

Jay Gruden

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    The high-flying Bengals offense was back to its old self on Sunday, putting up 34 points on a rather underrated Browns defense.

    Jay Gruden, the man behind Cincinnati's newly-enjoyed offensive success, should be able to keep his foot on the gas pedal all season with Andy Dalton and AJ Green.

    His brother, Jon, has a good track record in coaching (understatement of the year) and this young coordinator figures to get looks of his own this offseason.

Rob Ryan

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    Love or hate him, Rob Ryan is from the Buddy Ryan school of defense and he's made a real difference as the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys.

    Ryan looks to follow a path similar to his brother Rex, who's had measured success despite sub-par quarterback play and below-average pass-rushers.

    With more talent than he's ever had on a defense, Rob Ryan should be able to show other NFL teams that he's ready for a head coaching gig.

Joe Vitt

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    With the Saints already 0-2, it's not that difficult to see the team being mired in misery when Vitt's suspension is up.

    Should this interim coach turn things around for New Orleans and lead the team to a playoff berth, he'll prove his mettle as a legitimate head coach in the league.

    Teams may get interested in Vitt, but he needs to do well in limited time with the Saints first.

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