Since Jim Schwartz was canned a couple days ago, there have been a number of names thrown around regarding the opening for the Detroit Lions. That list lost one candidate when Penn State coach Bill O’Brien agreed to coach the Houston Texans next season. Here are some of the remaining potential candidates and rumors.
The Lions are reported to be consulting the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel in their search for a head coach. John Madden, Bill Polian and Tony Dungy are among members of the panel.
The Lions have been rumored to have been trying to set up interviews with both Tom Cable and Jim Caldwell.
Cable is currently an assistant with the Seahawks, but his experience as a head coach in Oakland would appeal to the Lions’ needs for a head coach. More recent reports regarding Cable have been mixed, stating that the Lions may not be looking at him. It’s all speculation at this point, though.
Caldwell is the current offensive coordinator with Baltimore and there have been reports that the Lions have been trying to set something up with him. Caldwell served as the Colts’ quarterbacks coach for a few seasons, before taking over as head coach. Caldwell’s resume includes a 14-2 season that ended with a loss in the Super Bowl to the Saints. Maybe Caldwell could bring some of his head coaching experience as well as his knowledge of the quarterback position to help a struggling Matthew Stafford.
One of the remaining favorites for the Lions job is Ken Whisenhunt, the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. Whisenhunt has close ties with Lions’ GM Martin Mayhew, as they were teammates on the Washington Redskins back in 1989-1990. His experience working with Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner and Phillip Rivers could benefit Matthew Stafford as well.
Lovie Smith is a guy that Lions fans should know well from his time with the Chicago Bears. He has had success in his head coaching experience, including reaching the Super Bowl with the Bears. After being fired after the 2012 season, Smith has not coached in the NFL since. Smith is a proven winner that could make for a good fit with the Lions in the long term, however it appears he’ll be coaching in Tampa Bay next season.
Bengals’ offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is emerging as another potential target. With the offensive fire power that the Lions have, Gruden could make the most of the talent currently in place. Gruden does not have head coaching experience and is still pretty young for a coach in the league, but it could work out well for both parties.
At this time, Whisenhunt is the guy I would go with. He has connections with the Lions and has had experience as a head coach. His successes turning around struggling franchises (Arizona, for example) as well as his ability to work well with quarterbacks make him a very appealing option. With a quarterback as talented and inconsistent as Matthew Stafford, it will be key to get a guy that can get the most out of the former No. 1 pick.
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