Another “Black Monday” has passed, and it has left us with 6 head coaches left without a job, which only means that there are 6 coaching positions just waiting to be filled. During the week you’ll hear all the candidates set for interviews for these jobs, but right now I’m just going to rank these positions from best to worst, along with who I think could be the best possible candidates for these jobs.
1. New York Giants
The Giants organization have everything a new coach would want in a job. They have a franchise quarterback already in place, they have a front office that knows how to draft quality players, and they also have ownership that is patient enough to take several years to build a winning program. As if you’d need any more proof of the latter, with the Giants employing Coughlin 12 seasons even though of the last 7 he only made the playoffs once.
As for potential candidates, the obvious is current Saints coach Sean Payton. It’s no secret around the NFL that Payton is keeping his eye on other jobs, and if the Giants are willing to pay the right compensation, we could be seeing Payton wearing Giant blue next year. If not, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept some continuity by hiring their current offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Eli seems to have a good relationship with him over these past 2 seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with continuing a good relationship.
2. Tennessee Titans
This might be a surprise that the Titans land near the top of any list other than draft order, but they seem to have a solid foundation. Marcus Mariota should excite any head coach coming in, and they have some solid weapons around him already in Dorial Green-Beckham and Delanie Walker. Just get some pieces on the defensive end and they could be a playoff team in a few seasons.
This position is likely going to take a while to be filled only due to the fact that the Titans decided not to renew the contract of their now former GM, so they’ll likely decide to hire new front office management before they pull the trigger on a head coach.
The obvious connection for a head coach here is Chip Kelly, but it’s really hard for me to see any owner taking on that kind of personality right now. Especially with the way things ended for Kelly in Philadelphia. So the name I’m going to go with here is Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. He’s had previous head coaching experience with the Oakland Raiders, and he’s gotten Andy Dalton to play some of the best football of his career. If he can put Dalton in a position to play that well, I could only imagine what he’d do with Marcus Mariota.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
The only problem I have with this job is the locker room. From all the reports, it seems that Chip Kelly contaminated that locker room so bad, it’s going to take a great job to gain the trust of any new coach. As well as the fact you’re likely going to have to start over at quarterback makes this a likely rebuild for any new head coach. Lucky for the new coach, owner Jeffrey Lurie in the past (Andy Reid) has shown he can be patient with a coach if he believes it’s going in the right direction.
I think a slam dunk candidate here would be Hue Jackson. Similar to the Tennessee job, Jackson could do great things. It would also be a great step to regain the trust in the locker room having a coach the players could easily relate to. Another great candidate would be current Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. McDermott worked for the Eagles under Andy Reid from 1999-2011, so bringing back some familiarity could be a good thing for the Eagles.
4. San Francisco 49ers
I think I’m shocking myself here putting the Niners at #3 on this list, but after CEO Jed York’s press conference today I’m willing to do it. I don’t think he regrets firing Jim Harbaugh, but I do think he sincerely wishes he could have went about hiring the last coach differently. Which leads me to believe he’s going to be patient with the next coach. It’s going to be a long rebuild for this team, especially if they do decide to part ways with Colin Kaepernick so York is going to need that patience.
When looking at the reports that Chip Kelly is interested in this job, it’s really laughable. Of course from a football standpoint, Kelly and Kaepernick could be a match made in heaven. But Kelly is basically just Jim Harbaugh without the khakis, so that’s why I don’t see him landing in San Francisco. I could definitely see the 49ers try to take the Stanford route again, but I think David Shaw could easily wait to find a better job.
So after all of that, in the end, I think they’ll be looking for a more experienced coach after the failure of rookie Jim Tomsula, so this could be Mike Shanahan’s or Sean Payton’s job.
5. Miami Dolphins
When looking at the rosters, Miami is much better than San Francisco. But when I look at the front office, Miami might be more inept than San Fran. Pumping money where it doesn’t belong, and ownership putting all their faith into Mike Tannenbaum, who absolutely flamed out with the New York Jets. Like I said, the Dolphins have a very talented roster on paper, but I believe, with this group of management, if you don’t make the playoffs in your first 2 seasons you’ll be looking for another job. Which makes this unattractive.
The Dolphins have already requested interviews with Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, but they likely won’t go. So I think this will be the job that Adam Gase fills. He put in some decent work with Jay Cutler this season, so I could see him doing some good work with Ryan Tannehill and the bevy of weapons around him.
6. Cleveland Browns
Easily the worst job in all of football. With a front office that’s shown to be impatient (5 head coaches since 2008), and a roster devoid of talent, and a headcase quarterback soon to be out the door, the Browns might have to beg someone to actually take this job.
The Browns are the team other than the Redskins and the Cowboys that are always trying to make the biggest splash and then fail miserably. This time I could actually see them hiring a big name coach, although for the wrong reasons. If he were to get another job this upcoming season, this would be the team Chip Kelly gets. The owner wanted to draft Johnny Manziel in the first place, so I could see Kelly convincing the owner Jimmy Haslem that he can be the coach that turns Manziel into a star.
While I am surprised, I’m glad to see that Chuck Pagano got to keep his job with the Colts. Getting to an 8-8 record while playing through 5 quarterbacks, a god-awful offensive line, and a below average defense, is a great coaching job. Also it was easy to see from a far that the players loved to play for him. Now it’s up to GM Ryan Grigson to draft well over these next 4 seasons.
It looks all but assured that Sean Payton won’t be the head coach of the Saints next season, which also likely means the end of Drew Brees’s tenure there. Don’t be surprised if this is where former Syracuse and Bills head coach Doug Marrone gets back into the game due to his previous relationship with GM Mickey Loomis.
Another job to potentially watch out for is the Detroit Lions job. Ownership has given all indications that Jim Caldwell will remain head coach, but they have also said that they will eventually leave that decision up to the new GM.
Article by Thomas Mooney