The 5 hottest NFL coaching names and other candidates the Chargers could consider
So the coaching search is underway again, as it is with the five other teams that have made changes at the top. Some of the potential candidates:
Full dance cards
Eric Bieniemy: Kansas City’s offensive coordinator is a key component to the NFL’s top-ranked offense and played a role in the development of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, among the league’s top stars. Chiefs coach Andy Reid is vague when asked what percentage of the plays Bieniemy calls, if any, but is lavish with his praise of the onetime running back. So far, Bieniemy hasn’t bowled over prospective employers the way he ran over linebackers, but it’s highly likely that he’ll end up a coach somewhere.
Brian Daboll: The architect of Buffalo’s high-flying offense has proven he can develop young quarterbacks. Just look at what he’s done with Josh Allen, transforming him from a prototypically built but modestly accurate quarterback at Wyoming into a most-valuable-player candidate. Allen has broken all the significant single-season passing marks in Bills history — and this is a franchise that boasts Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.
Robert Saleh: San Francisco’s defensive coordinator built a formidable beast that got the 49ers back to the Super Bowl and has done a spectacular job even after that smash unit transitioned into a M*A*S*H unit. He has the combination of intelligence, personality and charisma. The native of Dearborn, Mich., likely will wind up as coach of the Detroit Lions.
Arthur Smith: In his second season as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, Smith has shown remarkable and sustained creativity. The Titans are the first team in history with a 2,000-yard rusher and a 3,500-yard passer. They’ve scored at least 30 points in a club-record 10 games and finished the season with the most total yards and first downs in franchise history. He’s extremely popular with his players … and happens to be the son of FedEx founder and chief executive Frederick Smith.
The Big Fish
Urban Meyer: Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida and a third at Ohio State, is rumored to be the atop the list for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who fired Doug Marrone on Monday, and according to ProFootballTalk.com, Meyer is seeking $12 million per year.
Another try at top
Raheem Morris: Morris, onetime coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, got off to a great start as interim coach of the Atlanta Falcons, with his team winning four of its first six games. But the Falcons finished with a five-game losing streak, eroding Morris’ argument to replace Dan Quinn permanently. Morris is seen by many as Quinn 2.0, and Arthur Blank is a team owner who yearns for fresh starts.
Romeo Crennel: Crennel, who formerly coached the Cleveland Browns, replaced Bill O’Brien as coach of the Houston Texans after the team got off to an 0-4 start. The Texans wound up 4-12, with two of those victories against one-win Jacksonville.
After missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons, the Chargers fired coach Anthony Lynn on Monday a day after the team finished the season at 7-9.
Jim Caldwell: Although he hasn’t been a head coach since 2017, Caldwell has met with the Texans to discuss their vacancy. He led Detroit to the playoffs twice in four seasons with the Lions and replaced Tony Dungy in Indianapolis, where he helped guide the Colts to the Super Bowl.
Todd Bowles: Bowles, Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator, has been reunited with Bruce Arians, with whom he worked in Arizona. He’s a highly regarded defensive mind who went 24-40 in four seasons coaching the Jets.
Should get a look
Brandon Staley: Staley learned under Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio and has done a tremendous job this season as defensive coordinator of the Rams. The team finished No. 1 in total defense and in the top five in several categories. Is he the defensive version of Sean McVay?
Brian Schottenheimer: The Seattle Seahawks have been in the top 10 in scoring in each of their three seasons with Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator. He’s the son of former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, who, in a move that still has people scratching their heads, was fired by the San Diego Chargers after a 14-2 season in 2006.
Greg Roman: Roman, Baltimore’s offensive coordinator, built an innovative and productive offense around Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, then did the same with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Mike LaFleur: San Francisco’s passing game coordinator is the younger brother of Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur and has been a top lieutenant of coach Kyle Shanahan for seven years, from Cleveland to Atlanta to San Francisco. Mike’s 34, but youth doesn’t always scare away NFL teams (see: McVay). He could go where Saleh goes and become his offensive coordinator.
Mike McDaniel: As run game coordinator for the 49ers, McDaniel drew up San Francisco’s ground game that paved the team’s path to the Super Bowl in 2019. Shanahan has found him so valuable that he has blocked coordinator interviews with other teams for both McDaniel and LaFleur in previous seasons. A new rule prohibits teams from blocking assistants from coordinator-level interviews.
Nathaniel Hackett: Hackett, the son of former USC coach Paul Hackett, is Green Bay’s offensive coordinator after holding the same title with Buffalo and Jacksonville. Aaron Rodgers touts him as an essential component to the Packers’ success.
Old college try
David Shaw: Teams have tried before, but somebody might be able to pry Shaw loose from Stanford, where he has been coach for the last decade. Before that, he was Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator at the school. Early in his coaching days, Shaw was an NFL position coach, and his dad, Willie, was a defensive coordinator in the league.
The Chargers announced an expected move Monday when they fired coach Anthony Lynn.
Pat Fitzgerald: Northwestern’s coach since 2006 has won two Big Ten West titles over the last three years and is an in-demand NFL candidate. He reportedly turned down an interview with the Carolina Panthers in late 2019, a job that ultimately went to Matt Rhule.
Dan Mullen: He is 29-9 over the last three seasons as Florida’s coach, and his teams have gone 2-1 in bowl games. He’s reportedly interested in an NFL coaching job and is rumored to be on the New York Jets’ list.
Karl Dorrell: The former UCLA player and coach has continued to build his resumé since the Bruins showed him the door in late 2007. He coached receivers and quarterbacks in Miami, Houston and with the Jets, and stepped back into the spotlight last year at Colorado, where he was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
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