With six NFL head coaching jobs suddenly open after Black Monday's firing squad went to work following the end of the regular season, there's plenty of speculation and rumors about who will land the vacant positions.
Here's a quick list of the five coaches who were fired on Black Monday, courtesy of NewsBreaker:
NFL coaches fired so far: - Shanahan (REDSKINS) - Frazier (VIKINGS) - Chudzinski (BROWNS) - Schiano (BUCS) - Schwartz (LIONS) (@espn)— NewsBreaker (@NewsBreaker) December 30, 2013
Of those five teams, it seems Detroit would be the most attractive destination. Featuring one of the league's most talented offensive rosters and a solid corps of defenders, the Lions could become an instant contender with a new coach in 2014.
Houston isn't on that list, as the Texans fired Gary Kubiak during the season.
However, the Texans provide another attractive job opportunity, featuring one of the best defenses in the league and an offense with elite playmakers. The only thing missing is a quarterback and a better run of luck in the health department for a quick turnaround.
Here's a look at the latest rumors regarding some of these vacancies.
Bill O'Brien Appears Locked in as Houston's Next Head Coach
Before Black Monday's firings occurred, Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman said Penn State's Bill O'Brien would be the hottest candidate for the open jobs:
[E]very NFL team that will be in search of a head coach this offseason has him on its wish list.
And I mean every team. All will want to speak to O'Brien. Team officials say he's desired not because of some innovative offense or the way he develops quarterbacks. It's because of the total package. It's taking a dead program and making it whole again.
Houston was the first team to look for a new head coach, and it appears Freeman's comments were spot on after the latest rumors from team headquarters.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen called O'Brien's potential move to Houston "imminent" on Dec. 30, per Jason Bristol:
Backing up that rumor, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle acts like the deal is practically done with these comments:
Teams who fired coaches might be checking on Bill O'Brien and find out he's closing in on a new job in Houston.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) December 30, 2013
If I'm Bill O'Brien, I want some veteran NFL coaches, including a couple who were head coaches, on my Texans staff.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) December 30, 2013
Based on Freeman's analysis on what O'Brien brings to the table, he seems like the perfect fit for Houston. This team was buried six feet under in 2013 and needs a jolt of new life.
Tampa Bay Appears Eager to Land an Old Pro
After enduring the Greg Schiano Era for the past two seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer appears ready to bring in a seasoned pro.
Here's what Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer said after the team fired Schiano, via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com:
The results over the past two years have not lived up to our standards and we believe the time has come to find a new direction. Mark has been a valued member of our organization for two decades and we respect the passion he showed for the Buccaneers during his time here. We thank Greg for his hard work and effort the past two seasons, but we feel these moves are necessary in order to achieve our goals
Schiano's style didn't sit well with NFL players, which is likely why former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith is being considered a favorite to land the vacant job, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Former Bears HC Lovie Smith is considered the favorite for the Buccaneers HC job, based on multiple league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 30, 2013
Schefter also notes former Houston coach Gary Kubiak as another option, per his sources:
Another coach the Buccaneers are considering is former Texans HC Gary Kubiak, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 30, 2013
Both coaches are well respected by players and coaching peers around the league, and they both have a proven track record of producing winning seasons in the NFL. Smith is a defensive-minded head coach, while Kubiak's talents lie on the offensive side of the ball.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the Bucs, because in addition to a new head coach, the team will need to hire a new general manager after firing Mark Dominik. There's plenty of talent on the roster, however, and it's a great opportunity to build a franchise up into a playoff contender.
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