For the second night in a row, we have news of an NFL hiring to report. On the final night of 2013, the Houston Texans hired Penn State's Bill O'Brien, and on the first night of 2014, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Lovie Smith to be their next head coach.
This news is quite notable for the Detroit Lions given that they reportedly had quite a bit of interest in Smith. They were expected to interview him at some point, according to the Free Press, and Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday that the Lions were "pushing very hard" to speak with him. They won't get a chance, though, as Smith is now off the market.
I personally was never all that high on Smith simply because I want an offensive-minded coach to take over the Lions. That said, Smith does seem to have a clear plan as he returns to the head coaching ranks. Former California head coach Jeff Tedford is expected to be his offensive coordinator, while former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier is expected to be his defensive coordinator. Bringing that type of a coaching staff to a division that Smith and Frazier know quite well would have been very interesting.
With Smith landing in Tampa Bay, I remain hopeful that the Lions' main target will end up being San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt once they actually get a chance to talk to him. He's busy preparing for a playoff game right now, but he's definitely at the top of my list of potential candidates.