NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Vacant Head-Coaching Positions

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIJanuary 5, 2014

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  San Diego Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt looks on against the New York Giants at Qualcomm Stadium on December 8, 2013 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Giants 37-14.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Houston Texans made the first big splash in terms of NFL hirings when they pegged former Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien as the successor to Gary Kubiak.   

Multiple NFL teams are still in search of their next head coach, and their respective searches are beginning to overlap. Several candidates are looking for their next opportunity to coach in the NFL. This has led them to interview with multiple teams.

Sorting out the head-coaching vacancies around the league can be a lot like piecing together a puzzle. It's all about which coaches fit the philosophies of each respective organization. Once a few more hirings are made, the rest will likely fall into place.

For now, here are some rumors surrounding a few of the head-coaching vacancies in the NFL.


Detroit Lions

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 30:  Head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the sidelines before their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 30, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Gett
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

League sources have told Jason La Canfora of that the Detroit Lions plan on interviewing San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt once he becomes available to do so. The earliest would be next week, should his Chargers get eliminated by the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 5.

Adam Schefter of adds more to the story: "The Detroit Lions' head coaching job is Ken Whisenhunt's to lose, sources close to the situation told ESPN."

La Canfora cites Detroit's goals of hiring a coach with previous experience, and Whisenhunt certainly fits the bill. He took the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl back in the 2008-09 season. This would also explain why Jim Caldwell, former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, has been interviewed.

Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reports that Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops might also be an option, though that would deviate from La Canfora's reports of the team seeking an experienced NFL coach.

Of the several options on the table, Whisenhunt appears to be the best option. The Lions are an inconsistent team in need of leadership that can provide a winning atmosphere. Whisenhunt can certainly do just that.

The Lions have all the potential in the world. They just need to harness it.


Cleveland Browns

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Bob Stoops celebrates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 45-31 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns are a mess. NFL coaching opportunities are few and far between, and it will take a truly special candidate to step up and try to fix the Browns.

Cleveland thinks it has narrowed its search down to two such candidates.'s Dan Hanzus reports that Bob Stoops and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are the leading candidates for the job.

DENVER - AUGUST 21:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos leads his team against the Detroit Lions during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 21, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Lions defeated the Broncos 25-20.  (Photo b
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

McDaniels is famous for his failure as Denver Broncos head coach in 2008 and most of 2009. He compiled an 11-17 record over that period and was fired after Week 13 in 2009. His poor showing as a head coach led to his movement back to the ranks of NFL assistant.

Stoops has previously been courted by NFL organizations, though he never returned such interest. This season, it looks like he'll get serious about pursuing a new opportunity.

While Stoops doesn't fit what the Lions are supposedly looking for, he's probably the best option for Cleveland, and he has the ability to establish order and leadership to a team needing a new identity.

After all, what better example is there than his Oklahoma team's upset over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl?


Washington Redskins

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 30:  Perry Fewell, Defensive Coordinator for the New York Giants looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Jim Caldwell is also an option for the Washington Redskins if he loses out to Ken Whisenhunt in Detroit, reports Mark Maske of The Washington Post.

The Redskins are also looking at an NFC East assistant, as the Associated Press is reporting (via FOX Sports) that New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will interview for Washington's coaching vacancy.

Fewell has been at the helm of the Giants defense since 2010, and he has done his best with—at times—limited personnel. His only head-coaching experience came in 2009, when he served as the interim head coach of the Buffalo Bills for the final seven games. His tenure began in Week 11 and he finished the season 3-4.

Washington ranked No. 15 in the NFL in terms of total yards per game allowed (354.1), and hiring a defensive-minded coach might be the best route to take. That would give Fewell the advantage over Caldwell.

That being said, hiring an offensive-minded coach like Caldwell—who is currently the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens—would help Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and the rest of Washington's younger weapons.

This is one of the more intriguing coaching vacancies available.