10 NFL Coaching Candidates Waiting for Someone to Screw Up
Eight NFL franchises parted ways with head coaches during and following the 2010 season, and many more coaches will probably find the hot seat this year.
Coaches like Jack Del Rio, Gary Kubiak and Tony Sparano are already on it and will likely be let go if their respective teams fall short of the playoffs yet again.
This article looks at the 10 best coaching candidates that teams will consider if their current coaches falter in 2011.
10. Bill Musgrave
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Bill Musgrave is the current offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings and has held various offensive coordinator or assistant positions since 1997.
Most recently, he was quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for the Atlanta Falcons, where he helped develop Matt Ryan.
Musgrave has a lot of experience and a lot of success developing quarterbacks and running offenses, and if he has a successful stint rebuilding the offense in Minnesota, he may very well have a shot at a head coaching job by the end of the year.
9. Russ Grimm
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In 2007, after the Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to replace Bill Cowher, Russ Grimm was one of the finalists as a head coaching candidate, but the Steelers went with Mike Tomlin.
Grimm has been an assistant coach since 1992 and has even won a Super Bowl ring as a coach (Super Bowl XL with the Steelers).
Grimm is currently an offensive line and assistant head coach for the Arizona Cardinals. Grimm has had success as a coach with the Redskins in his career and has been considered for head coaching positions in the past, so he very well could get offered a head coaching job if a team ends up wanting a fresh start.
8. Brian Schottenheimer
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Although still young at age 37, Brian Schottenheimer has held assistant coaching jobs since 1997 and has been the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets since 2006.
The son of Marty Schottenheimer, who had modest success as an NFL coach, Brian is a well-respected offensive coordinator who will very likely have a shot of becoming a head coach someday.
7. Rob Ryan
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Another coach that has a family history of successful head coaches, most recently his brother Rex, Rob Ryan is currently the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.
Like his brother, Rob isn't afraid to talk to the media, but also like his brother, he is respected by his players, regardless of his sometimes loud and boisterous personality.
If the Dallas Cowboys defense has a bounce-back year with Rob Ryan at the helm, his services may be requested somewhere in the NFL as a head coach.
6. Gregg Williams
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Gregg Williams should have been the choice to become the head coach for the Washington Redskins when he was defensive coordinator, but not only did Dan Snyder give the job to Jim Zorn, he fired Williams, who ended up joining the Saints in 2009.
Of course, in 2009, the Saints defense would turn a corner under Williams en route to a Super Bowl title.
Williams is seen as one of the best defensive minds in football and could easily be a major head coaching candidate if a team were to need a head coach by the end of the year.
5. Brian Billick
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After an eight-year reign as head coach for the Baltimore Ravens, Brian Billick was let go in 2007 despite leading them to a Super Bowl win in 2001.
Billick has been a television NFL analyst since then, but it seems that every year there is talk of Billick possibly looking at getting a head coaching job somewhere.
If Billick wants to return to the NFL, any team would be glad to have the Super Bowl-winning coach.
4. Bill Cowher
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Bill Cowher is another veteran NFL coach who found much success, leading the Steelers to two Super Bowls, winning one.
In 2007, Cowher stepped down as head coach of the Steelers after 15 years with the team. Although he did retire, there were rumblings last year that he might want to coach with the Giants or Dolphins if they were to hire a new head coach.
If Cowher's interest in either of those teams is still strong, both of those teams could potentially be looking for head coaches by the end of this year.
3. Perry Fewell
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Fewell is currently the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants and has been talked about as one of the top coordinators who could rise up as a head coach, especially given the fact that he already served as an interim head coach for the Buffalo Bills in 2009.
Given the fact that Tom Coughlin could be on the hot seat this year if the Giants struggle, Fewell could easily step in and take over the team, given his history as a successful coordinator.
2. Jon Gruden
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Jon Gruden led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl (XXXVIII), and throughout his career in the NFL, he has garnered a very positive and respected reputation.
Gruden has kept himself busy after being fired by Tampa Bay in 2008.
Currently, he is an analyst for ESPN and seems happy with his place right now, but Gruden is a good enough coach for any team to give him an offer that could send him back to the sidelines.
Next year, if a team is looking for a head coach to turn their franchise around, Gruden should be at the top of the list.
1. Jeff Fisher
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Last year, Jeff Fisher was the longest-tenured coach in the NFL.
Now, he is unemployed after a very rough year in Tennessee, in which he and his quarterback butted heads to the point that both are now no longer with the team.
Despite the ugly departure in Tennessee, there will be a team that will look to Fisher to take a head coaching job next year. He had a long career as head coach with the Titans, in which he was just yards short of leading the Titans to a Super Bowl win.