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TallySaint 11-11-2005 09:33 AM

When Coaches Fall, Who's in Line to Replace Them?
Notebook: When coaches fall, who's in line to replace them?

By Pete Prisco
CBS Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!

The talk among league personnel people is that this could be one of the biggest coaching massacres we've seen in a while come season's end.

The speculation is as many as 10 head coaches could be fired or opt to leave after the season. Among the jobs that could be open are Houston, Minnesota, St. Louis, Oakland, the Jets, New Orleans, Kansas City, Baltimore, Detroit, Tennessee and Green Bay. Jets coach Herm Edwards and Titans coach Jeff Fisher aren't expected to fired, but there is talk both could look to go elsewhere.

Saints coach Jim Haslett could also return if he wants, but his decision will likely depend on what the Saints opt to do next season.

At any rate, a lot of turnover is expected.

Now comes the big question: Where in the heck will the replacements come from?

Unlike past years where we had obvious candidates, such as Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati two years ago and Nick Saban for the Dolphins last year, this year's pool isn't quite as clear. In fact, some personnel people think it might be tough to fill those jobs without a bunch of retreads taking some of them.

So we thought it a good time to take a look at some potential head coach candidates from around the NFL and the colleges.

We'll start with the college coaches.

Pete Carroll, Southern California. If he wasn't interested in going to San Francisco last year, it's doubtful he'll go this time. If he was interested, he'd be at the top of every team's list -- and rightfully so.

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma. Teams have thrown money at him in the past, and he has turned them down. But there is some talk that his wife has grown tired of Oklahoma and Stoops might be open to leaving. His team is down some this year, so maybe the timing would be right.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa. Word is he's not ready to leave. He wants to wait until his son graduates in a year. Look for him to be a hot candidate in 2007.

Mack Brown, Texas. If Haslett doesn't go back to the Saints, and they leave New Orleans for San Antonio, Brown might make sense there. If his Longhorns win the national championship -- and it's possible -- Brown could be ready to make the move to the NFL.

Jeff Tedford, Cal. He is considered one of the bright offensive minds in college football, and the NFL needs more of those.

Urban Meyer, Florida. He's one year into this job, so his NFL days might be a year or two away.

Charlie Weis, Notre Dame. Would be on the list if he hadn't signed that long-term extension.

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech. Does he ever really want to leave?

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland. He has worked in the NFL, and he's an offensive wizard. That has to mean something.

NFL Candidates

Al Saunders, Chiefs offensive coordinator. Could follow Dick Vermeil if he retires in Kansas City or could be somebody the Rams go after when Mike Martz is let go. Don't count his being the Chiefs coach as a lock. There's talk the Chiefs could look at Herman Edwards, the Jets coach, as a potential replacement if Vermeil does retire as expected.

Gary Kubiak, Broncos offensive coordinator. He was a hot candidate a few years back, but that cooled some in recent years. Now that he has Jake Plummer playing at a high level and the Denver running game is clicking, Kubiak is hot again. Some personnel people wonder if he really is committed to being a head coach.

Brad Childress, Eagles offensive coordinator. Childress is a highly respected offensive mind who is ready to be a head coach. There's talk he could be the next coach of the Green Bay Packers if Mike Sherman is let go. The one knock on him is that his offense doesn't run it enough. But maybe that's because they don't have the pieces to do so. His handling of the Terrell Owens situation could help, too.

Russ Grimm, Steelers offensive line coach. So what if he isn't a coordinator? He still has the makeup teams like in a head coach, a fiery personality who understands when to push and when not to push. Grimm's time is coming.

Jim Schwartz, Titans defensive coordinator. He's playing games with one hand behind his back because of the youth of his defense, but Schwartz was impressive in his interview with San Francisco last year. He takes a cerebral approach to things, which helps in his interviews.

Ken Whisenhunt, Steelers offensive coordinator. He's a riser to watch in the coming years, if not next spring. Has done a nice job with Ben Roethlisberger.

Ron Meeks, Colts defensive coordinator. He leads the top-ranked defense on the best team, so he will get a look. Some might think Tony Dungy's defensive background will hold Meeks back, but Meeks does coordinate the defense.

Ron Rivera, Bears defensive coordinator. This former Bears linebacker has his unit playing good football. His attacking style will play well if a team opts to hire him. His star is rising.

Jerry Gray, Bills defensive coordinator. A former NFL safety, Gray was kept from one staff to the next with the Bills, which says something about him as a coach. The Bills aren't as good as they've been on defense this year, but injuries have contributed some to that.

Gregg Williams, Redskins defensive coordinator. We still feel he got a bum rap in Buffalo and might have deserved another year. He has done a great job with the Redskins defense and might be ready to get another head-coaching shot.

Scott Linehan, Dolphins offensive coordinator. He took some heat for calling a pass that was picked off late last week, but he is still considered one of the better offensive minds. It's hard making chicken salad out of chicken dunk, and that's what he's dealing with playing Gus Frerotte at quarterback.

Jim Fassel, Ravens offensive coordinator. He probably deserves another chance, but it's not like the Baltimore offense has lit it up since he has taken over. In fact, it's regressed. But it's hard to play without a quality quarterback.


Euphoria 11-11-2005 09:46 AM

RE: When Coaches Fall, Who
My money right now is on Mack Brown... I like him getting some of that talent on the college level over to NO, I mean he sees and scouts them...

TheDeuce 11-11-2005 12:54 PM

RE: When Coaches Fall, Who
ANYBODY BUT MACK BROWN.... I lived in Texas for 18 years and was constantly surrounded by UT news and notes. This guy might be good at recruiting high school kids to play college ball, but he is a bad X's and O's kinda guy, and even worse, an awful BIG GAME COACH. He lost to OU for like 6 years in a row when all they had to do is beat the Sooners once and they probably would have gone to the National Championship. Many sportswriters and radio hosts in Texas constantly refer to how Mack Brown consistently gets top 3 recruiting classes in the nation and never capitalizes on them. He's like a blackhole of talent, his players come out of high school very highly touted, but they never develop... Hmmmm that sounds familiar (haslett and the current regime). What we don't need is another coach who can't develop his players and can't make the smart coaching decisions.

xan 11-11-2005 01:02 PM

RE: When Coaches Fall, Who
Childress. Hands down.

TallySaint 11-11-2005 01:03 PM


Many sportswriters and radio hosts in Texas constantly refer to how Mack Brown consistently gets top 3 recruiting classes in the nation and never capitalizes on them. He's like a blackhole of talent, his players come out of high school very highly touted, but they never develop...

This seems to be a re-occuring topic whenever Brown is mentioned. Where he had some success at North Carolina, many think he could have done better with the talent.


Euphoria 11-11-2005 01:18 PM

thats why you have Offensive and Defensive Coordinators for...

TheDeuce 11-11-2005 01:50 PM

For what? The guy can't coach, he can recruit. In the NFL, recruiting high schoolers isn't all that important

spkb25 11-11-2005 02:49 PM

i wouldn't mind fassel. i wish fisher would get fired and we would hire him

TallySaint 11-11-2005 03:52 PM


wish fisher would get fired and we would hire him
Really? Why?

A decent team with the addition of Chow is going nowhere fast. Perhaps it takes a year or two for that combo to mesh. I will say that Titan's injuries may have contributed to a coupla' challenging seasons. I like his demeanor and attitude. He's a good one. I'm just not sold on him, yet.

He would certainly be a step up from Haz. No argument there.


TallySaint 11-11-2005 04:10 PM

.... where Fisher's name may pop up for coaching elsewhere, I'd be very surprised if the Titans sent him on his way - in the near future, anyway. They really like him. And rightly so.

My 2 cents.



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