Seven teams are looking seven coaches, as of right now. That number could get increased, as there are multiple teams without a GM who currently have the incumbent coach still on board (Carolina, NY Jets, Jacksonville, Tennessee). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as one team’s trashed coach could prove to be another’s treasure, particularly in the cases of Andy Reid and Lovie Smith. Where will teams look? It is a coaching carousel, and it goes around and around in a circle. No, seriously, it says so in the title to this post–so picture Andy Reid riding on the elephant while Mike Holmgren pleads for the operator to stop it so he can get on. Here’s our completely serious assessment of the situation.
Kansas City: The Andy Reid tour begins here. Clark Hunt did not fire Scott Pioli, but said he would conduct the search himself, and the new coach would be involved in the decision on Pioli. Buyout money may be involved, and the guess here is that Pioli is kept around in some capacity (in charge of picking up wrappers at the stadium?) to earn his keep. Meanwhile, the chances are pretty good that Hunt goes after a big name, from Reid, to retired coaches like Bill Cowher, to at least placing a call to Nick Saban while he prepares for the national championship game. Mike Holmgren would also like Hunt to know he is still alive.
Philadelphia: From Reid’s suitor today to his past employer. The Eagles are rumored to be hot after Chip Kelly, in competition with Cleveland. Kelly will have his choice of running his offense with Nick Foles or Brandon Weeden, a truly enviable position. Doug Marrone is another college coach who will be in the mix, and the Eagles are rumored to be interviewing Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Atlanta special teams coach Keith Armstrong. Sadly, there have been no rumors surrounding Atlanta assistant strength and conditioning coach Jonas Beauchemin, so we’ll start banging that drum, since Koetter is staying in Atlanta. They should invite them all so the entire Falcons staff can use up those drink coupons.
Arizona: After he stops in Kansas City, Andy Reid is heading to Arizona where some have said he is almost certain to be the next coach. Can he manage changing his clocks, especially when it comes to living in Arizona once daylight savings time hits elsewhere? He promises to fix Kevin Kolb. This means making him look good in a preseason game so the Cardinals can then trade him for draft picks. Ray Horton, here’s who, also did excellent work with the defense in Arizona, and is also a candidate. Presumably he wants to break every quarterback currently on the roster permanently.
Cleveland: New owner Jimmy Haslam and new president Joe Banner also have a GM position to fill, which could impact the coaching search. Earlier rumors of Michael Lombardi linked Josh McDaniels to the job, which would be awesome. The number of names linked to Cleveland is larger than the number of people who actually want to live in Cleveland at this point, from Saban to Chip Kelly to lots of coordinators from Ray Horton to Kyle Shanahan.
Buffalo: The big news out of Buffalo is that they are forming a Moneyball-style analytics department. Buffalo has gone with the retread model in recent years, with Chan Gailey and Dick Jauron. They might find with coaching hires that the perceived riskiest picks, assistant coaches with no coordinator experience, and college coaches, have been most successful (think a younger Andy Reid or John Harbaugh). I fully expect Buffalo’s analytics to settle on recently fired Chicago coach Lovie Smith to improve their offense.
San Diego: Why would you want to come to San Diego when you never get a fair shake and get canned after missing the playoffs three straight years when you are considered a playoff contender every year? Former Packers GM Ron Wolf is heading the search for a new GM and coach. Norv Turner thinks he got everything out of the talent on the roster, though, so there is no place to go but down.
Chicago: Phil Emery ousted Lovie Smith to get his guy in place, and offered a lengthy press conference setting forth his vision. He’s in charge now, and the new coach will likely be a NFL assistant brought in to work with the offense. Mike McCoy, who made lemonade out of Tim Tebow, and lemon drop martinis out of Peyton Manning, is rumored to be the target.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]