Despite only being the Detroit Lions' defensive coordinator for one season, Teryl Austin has generated a lot of interest from NFL teams looking for a new head coach in recent weeks. At least four teams are known to have requested permission to speak with him, and at least three of those teams have already interviewed him. What's more, those interviews reportedly went extremely well.
Continue to hear Teryl Austin thriving in these NFL interviews. SF, ATL, and BUF all very impressed by the Detroit defensive coordinator— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 10, 2015
Given the buzz Austin was generating over the weekend, it seemed that his chances of landing a head-coaching job were increasing. As it turns out, though, the opposite might actually be true. The Buffalo Bills, one of the teams that interviewed Austin, reportedly hired Rex Ryan on Sunday, and it looks as though some of the other teams with interest in Austin are beginning to go in a different direction:
At this point would not be surprised to see Quinn to NY, Bowles to ATL, Kubiak or M. Shanahan to CHI, Del Rio or Sparano to OAK— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 11, 2015
And if the 49ers ended up promoting one of their internal candidates that wouldn't be a surprise, either.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 11, 2015
You have to figure that Todd Bowles will land one of these head-coaching vacancies, and it seems that Atlanta is the most likely landing spot for him right now. If San Francisco misses on Bowles, Austin could still be an option there, but not if the 49ers instead promote someone from within. That would leave only the Chicago Bears, which requested permission on Friday to speak with Austin, but it looks like they are also focused on other candidates for the time being.
Bears prepared to make a major push for Ravens OC Gary Kubiak, per source. Kubiak now free to talk with teams about HC vacancies.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2015
With nothing set in stone at this point, it's still too early to pencil Austin in as the Lions' defensive coordinator for 2015. However, the Bills' move to hire Ryan is an encouraging first domino for the Lions in the coaching carousel. There may still be three teams left that have Austin in the mix, but recent reports certainly suggest that he could be the odd man out this year. That would obviously be disappointing for Austin, but he's clearly on his way to becoming a head coach at some point, and it would be great news for the Lions if he's back in Detroit for at least one more season.
UPDATE: Austin's interview with the Bears is reportedly scheduled for Tuesday.