Pros & Cons of Each Remaining NFL Head Coach Candidate
The head coaching carousel in the National Football League continues and spin around and around.
However, most of the remaining vacancies have now been filled, with Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator Mike McCoy being named head man for the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday and the Chicago Bears set to announce Marc Trestman as their new head coach on Wednesday according to The Chicago Tribune.
With that said the biggest surprise of the entire coaching switcheroo also came on Wednesday, as Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who had previously indicated he was staying in Eugene, will instead become the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports.
That leaves only two slots still open, and as the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars continue to look for their next head coach here's a look at the pros and cons of some of the top names still being bandied about.
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Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator Bruce Arians did an excellent job standing in for Chuck Pagano with the Colts this season, helping to guide Indianapolis to the playoffs while Pagano was away from the team due to treatment for leukemia.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the 60-year-old Arians was one of the finalists for the Bears' job, and Arians is a well-respected offensive mind who has nine seasons of experience as a coordinator at the NFL level, including a Super Bowl win with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008.
In fact, the biggest knock on Arians isn't really one, as although he's never technically been a head coach in the NFL, he did go 9-3 this season in that capacity with the Colts.
However, with Marc Trestman hired in Chicago Arians may well be headed back to Indianapolis for another year, although the Cardinals are reportedly now interested in interviewing him according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
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Darrell Bevell is considered one of the up-and-coming young offensive minds in the NFL, and the 43-year-old is a hot name in coaching circles after successfully implementing the read-option offense with quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.
Another of the reported finalists for the head job in Chicago and a candidate for the vacancy in Arizona, Bevell is in his second season as offensive coordinator in Seattle, and prior to that he spent five years in the same capacity with the Minnesota Vikings.
However, like many of the younger names on this list Bevell is an unknown commodity as a head coach, having never served as one at any level.
Former Baltimore Ravens' head coach Brian Billick recently hopped back into the head coaching discussion, as ESPN reports that Billick was one of a number of candidates interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles' vacancy.
Billick was head coach of the Ravens for nine years from 1999-2007, compiling an 85-67 career record that included a win in Super Bowl XXXV, and although the Ravens won that game with defense, Billick built his reputation on the offensive side of the ball.
With that said though, Billick has been out of coaching entirely since leaving Baltimore, and while it''s not like Billick has been living in a cave since then, five seasons is a long hiatus from the sidelines.
It appears that Billick may have to keep on waiting, however, as rumors swirled earlier in the week that indicated that the Eagles were leaning hard towards offering their head-coaching job to Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
That, of course, was until Kelly swooped in and took the job in the City of Brotherly Love, but all is not lost for the 46 year-old Bradley, who is believed to be on the Jaguars' radar as well according to ESPN.
In a year where offensive coaches appear to be all the rage, Bradley may well be the exception to the rule, probably due in large part to the fact that in each of the past two seasons the Seahawks have finished in the top 10 in the NFL in total defense.
No, not that one. His brother.
Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is the brother of Super Bowl champion coach Jon Gruden and has directed a Cincinnati offense that helped the Bengals advance to the playoffs the past two years, the first time in 30 years the team has accomplished that feat.
After withdrawing his name from consideration for head-coaching vacancies a year ago, Gruden has made the rounds this season, interviewing with the Cardinals, Eagles, and Jaguars.
However, it's worth noting that Gruden has only two years of experience as a coordinator at the NFL level, and while the Bengals did make the playoffs in each of the past two years their offense ranked in the bottom half of the NFL both times.
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It really doesn't appear that Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator Todd Haley even wants to be an NFL head coach again, at least not right now.
The 45-year-old Haley, who spent three seasons as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs before being fired during the 2011 season, recently interviewed for the head-coaching job with the Cardinals but made "steep demands" according to Gerry Dulac of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that may have all but eliminated him from consideration.
That may be for the best, as for all the success Haley has had as on offensive coordinator (including a Super Bowl trip with Arizona in 2008) his tenure in Kansas City was a disaster and Haley has a reputation for rubbing his players the wrong way.
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By all indications Ray Horton will be staying in Arizona, either as the Cardinals' next head coach or as their defensive coordinator, as Horton was interviewed for, but also passed over for, the head jobs in Buffalo and Cleveland.
Horton's aggressive 3-4 defenses in Arizona have been one of the few bright spots during two years of dismal football in the Valley of the Sun, but a lack of experience and the apparent prevalence of a preference for offensive coaches this year may well leave the 52-year-old out in the cold.
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No coach on this list has more head-coaching experience than Lovie Smith, who guided the Chicago Bears to a 10-6 record in 2012 but was fired after the team failed to make the playoffs.
In nine seasons as the head man in the Windy City, Smith compiled an 84-66 record that included three NFC North titles and a trip to Super Bowl XLI, where the Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
However, despite that resume interest in Smith as a head coach among NFL teams has been lukewarm at best, which either shows that his reputation as an underachiever extends beyond the Bears' front office or just hammers home yet again that 2013 isn't the year to be a defensive-minded coach looking for work.
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If you need any further proof that being a head coach in the NFL can be a fleeting gig consider the fact that Ken Whisenhunt is the third coach on this list who share a Super Bowl appearance and pink slip in common.
Whisenhunt served as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals for six years before being fired at the end of the season, taking the team from NFC West doormats to within inches of victory in Super Bowl XL.
However, since the departure of quarterback Kurt Warner the Cardinals went right back to being doormats, and the stagnation of the franchise and a moribund 49-53 career record have seemingly combined to quell interest from teams in giving "Whiz" another shot as a head coach in the NFL.