- ESPN staff writer
- Previously a college football reporter for CBSSports.com
- University of Florida graduate
- Joined ESPN in 2011
- New Jersey native and author of two published novels
As the 2020 NFL season heads into the final two weeks, there are three head-coaching jobs officially open — the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons — with more sure to come in the weeks ahead.
There are many intriguing candidates this year, from candidates rising up the offensive and defensive coordinator paths to those from the NCAA ranks to former NFL head coaches looking for their next shot.
Who will get each job? Let’s break down each opening and come to consensus on whom we’d hire for each club. We also added our picks for the jobs with the 1-13 New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, who are likely to be looking for a new coach soon.
The situation: The Lions fired coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn after a 4-7 start. Patricia’s record was 13-29-1 since taking over as the Lions coach in 2018. Quinn had been the team’s GM since 2016, and the Lions were 31-43-1 during his tenure.
Graziano: I can’t figure out whether the Lions’ job is a good one or a bad one for potential candidates. On one hand, the Ford family has a history of being stable, patient owners. On the other, this is the first time Sheila Ford Hamp has been in charge, so can we be sure she’ll run the team the way her parents have? On one hand, you have a legit franchise QB in Matthew Stafford. On the other hand, you’re probably going to have to preside over a rebuild that includes a change at QB at some point during your tenure — maybe even in the first year. Lots of uncertainty here.
Fowler: Exactly, Dan. Top candidates probably won’t look at this job as the most desirable one in the lot. Lack of success looms large, too, with 14 wins since 2018 and no playoff wins since 1991. But the rumblings are strong that Ford Hamp will shake things up in a big way, from structure to culture, which is a positive. There’s genuine curiosity with the Lions as to whether Stafford is up for another reset with a new coach in Detroit. Either way, the new guy should have a mix of creativity and discipline.
What do you think of the early Robert Saleh buzz?
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