Mike Holmgren has been on the top of everyone's list since the discussion began. However, there are a few other people Randy Lerner should consider interviewing before jumping on the Holmgren bandwagon.
Here is a shortlist of non-Holmgren candidates and coaches they might hire:
- Tony Dungy: By far one of the class acts of the NFL over the past few years. His ability to take a troubled personality and use his guidance to help Mike Vick was evidence enough that he has the ability to be a leader off the field. I feel he would be a great choice, possibly better than Holmgren. Possible coaching hires: Eric Mangini could stay for a year, but I could see Dungy bringing in a younger coach with a willingness to work with other people.
- Bill Cowher : He has a powerful, winning attitude and hasn't really shown a desire to coach again. Maybe that is because he wants a front office position. He has also always had a good eye for potential and a proven formula for developing that potential. Also, Mangini would most certainly be removed from his coaching role if Cowher came in. Possible coaching hires : Jim Haslett, he worked under Cowher and is hoping to coach again.
- Mike Shanahan : A great coach in Denver, an intense presence and a reputation for winning. Not to mention, his ability to sign great players from free agency, as well as the NFL draft. Possible coaching hires : Jon Gruden, for some reason, Gruden is the first guy who comes to mind when I think compatibility with Shanahan.
- Mike Ditka : I can't help it, this guy exudes a winning personality. Say what you want about how things went down in New Orleans when he was coaching there, but he knows football as well or better than almost anyone. Possible coaching hires : Jon Gruden, if there is one guy that can get Gruden based on levels of respect and adaptation it would be him.
- Marty Schottenheimer : He was once the coach of the Browns, he has a great football mind and pulls no punches when making teams into winners. He would be a reach, but he is one of the better reaches (other than Ditka, of course). Possible coaching hires : Who knows... Bernie Kosar?