The First Day of NFL Coaching Interviews
Changes made by the league will allow NFL coaching interviews to begin as early as today, December 23, 2020. Previously, teams had to wait until the regular season ended before talking to any potential candidates that were still on other teams. The slight adjustment this year allows for virtual interviews to take place until the coaching candidates team and the hiring team are no longer playing, per Grant Gordon’s article.
Teams must also adhere to the new changes to the Rooney Rule. Each team must interview at least two external minority candidates for head coaching jobs, one for coordinator jobs and one for general manager jobs. So, who are some teams that could start interviewing coaches today?
Expectations in Atlanta were high at the start of the season, even after a poor showing in 2019. Alas, they did not come to pass. After an 0-5 start, both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were shown the door. To replace Quinn, the Falcons promoted Raheem Morris to the head position. Since taking over as the head man, Morris has gone 4-5 and has earned an interview for the head coaching job. Morris has done a solid job and surely deserves the interview, but some other candidates may be a better fit in Atlanta.
3. Robert Saleh
Saleh was a hot candidate in 2019 and should be back at the top of many lists in 2020. While the 49ers’ defense might not be as dominant as last year in terms of points allowed (giving up 352 this season already compared to 310 all of last season), the offense’s play has not helped matters. The defense is still in the top five in total yards allowed and is in the top 15 in turnovers caused. Saleh has a passion for the game and could even bring some of his own people with him. Does Atlanta want to go straight back to the defensive coordinator route, though, right after Quinn and then Morris?
2. Arthur Smith
Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has catapulted to the top of a lot of candidate lists with the work he has done in Tennessee, and rightfully so. Smith has Ryan Tannehill playing at a top-five level. Both A.J. Brown and Corey Davis have blossomed under Smith. With Matt Ryan at the helm and Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in place, Smith could continue to light up defenses, just in a different conference.
1. Eric Bieniemy
Bieniemy will be at the top of many lists again. He should have had a head coaching job by now. Bieniemy has helped scheme one of the most creative offenses over the past three years and could do wonders with Atlanta’s talent. Learning from Andy Reid and designing gameplans for Patrick Mahomes has surely prepared him for this moment.
Much like Atlanta, Bill O’Brien and the Texans came into 2019 with playoff expectations. Also just like Atlanta, they now have a new head coach. Romeo Crennel will get an interview, as he has done a decent job in the wake of the O’Brien disaster. The Texans have already interviewed former head coach Jim Caldwell, as well. This could be one of the most attractive jobs in the league, with the young and dynamic DeShaun Watson at the helm. Most jobs would require the head coaching candidate to help identify a quarterback of the future, so a job where a great one is already in place makes it much easier to succeed.
3. Josh McDaniels
McDaniels will once again be on most teams’ lists, and the Texans should at least bring him in to talk. We all know the last coach they hired was from New England, and that could work against McDaniels, but Houston shouldn’t allow it to. McDaniels has shown he can lead an offense when there is a talented quarterback at the helm, regardless of the talent in place around him. He has also shown the ability to adapt to his personnel. Imagine what he could do with a talented crew of receivers and an ultra-talented quarterback.
2. Eric Bieniemy
See above. Giving Bieniemy Deshaun Watson after he got to coach Mahomes might just be unfair.
1. Matt Eberflus
Eberflus has done a phenomenal job as the defensive coordinator in Indianapolis earning his shot to run a team. He could come in and help turn a once-dominant defense back around and get the Texans back to the playoffs. He just needs to get himself a solid offensive coordinator to run that side of the ball as he gets his feet wet as a head coach.
The Matt Patricia experiment failed miserably in Detroit. Once again, a former New England assistant has flamed out. Rumors abound regarding the status of franchise quarterback Matt Stafford, and new leadership is in place. With all these changes happening at the same time, this could be one of the least attractive jobs in the NFL.
3. Lincoln Riley
This is a long shot, but Riley may be willing to make a move to the NFL if complete control is given. Detroit might be the team that is willing to do it. Eventually, Riley will get a shot in the NFL if he wants it, but this might not be the best route to take.
2. Eric Bieniemy
Bieniemy is on each of these lists and he definitely should be based on everything said above. Could this be the team that takes the package deal of John Dorsey and Bieniemy? Dorsey is a strong personality that has demanded full control in the past, so once again, this might be the place to go in order to get it. Dorsey can evaluate talent and draft but has left a trail of bad cap moves with his last two teams. He has also kept the wrong coach more than once, (Hue Jackson, Freddie Kitchens). Has he learned from his mistakes?
1. Robert Saleh
All of the stuff from the Atlanta paragraph applies here. Saleh has also played a large part in a rebuild in San Francisco, meaning he understands what it takes to start from scratch with a football team.
Thanks for reading my article about the NFL coaching interviews opening up today, Follow me on Twitter for more great content @WeirdJBronavich.
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