NFL Rumors: Latest Chatter Regarding Head-Coaching Vacancies

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IDecember 31, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears smiles at fans before a game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on October 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 13-7.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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:

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

Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien walks on the field prior to the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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

Dec 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith reacts to play against the Detroit Lions during 2nd Half of a game at Ford Field. Bears won 26-24.     Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

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

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:

Schefter also notes former Houston coach Gary Kubiak as another option, per his sources:

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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