As Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn continues his evaluation of Jim Caldwell and the rest of the front office staff, teams around the league are finishing up their head coach searches. The Dolphins signed fan favorite Adam Gase, the Browns nabbed Hue Jackson, the 49ers selected Chip Kelly, the Buccaneers are expected to promote their offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and the Giants promoted their offensive coodinator Ben McAdoo. With those coaches out of the picture, who is left for the Lions if they choose to let Caldwell go?
Josh McDaniels - Offensive coordinator - Patriots
McDaniels comes with some pretty heavy luggage after a rough two years as the head coach in Denver. He has also been linked to the Tennessee Titans job already, but since he won't be allowed to interview until the Patriots are out of the playoffs, he's still up for grabs. McDaniels has been outstanding as an offensive coordinator in New England and many believe he is poised to give head coaching another shot. I know a lot of Lions fans are hesitant to touch the fiery McDaniels, but this article from Pats Pulpit makes a pretty strong case for McDaniels' innovative mind.
Todd Haley - Offensive coordinator - Steelers
Buzz around Haley has been surprisingly quiet this offseason. Since the Steelers are still in the playoffs, Haley can't be interviewed until Pittsburgh has been eliminated, but even so, no rumors of interest has followed Haley's name.
Haley, like McDaniels, is a fiery personality who had a failed stint as a head coach. He went 19-26 leading the Chiefs from 2009-2011, but has thrived as the Steelers offensive coordinator since then. He emerged as a strong candidate for the Dolphins job directly after Miami fired Joe Philbin, but they eventually decided on Adam Gase.
Matt Patricia - Defensive coordinator - Patriots
If McDaniels is unavailable or Quinn is uninterested in the offensive coordinator, the Lions could opt for the other Patriots coordinator. Like Quinn, Patricia has spent his entire NFL career with the Patriots, rising from an offensive assistant in 2004 to his current position as defensive coordinator in 2012. The Browns received permission to interview Patricia earlier in the offseason, but landed Hue Jackson before completing the interview.
Teryl Austin - Defensive coordinator - Lions
This is a dream scenario for many Lions fans, as Austin has drawn head coaching interest ever since turning Detroit's defense around in 2014. The Lions defense took a huge step back in 2015, but Austin had the crew playing at a respectable level down the stretch of the season. Again, Austin was a hot name in coaching searches this season, but the conversation has cooled and it seems unlikely at this point Austin lands anywhere else as a head coach.
Still, this feels like a long shot. If Quinn decides to can Caldwell, I don't see him looking within the organization to find his replacement.
Tom Coughlin - Former head coach - Giants
Speaking of long shots, Coughlin is still meddling about potentially looking for a head coach job. After stepping down from the Giants job this year, he has interviewed with the 49ers and Eagles, but the 49ers found their man in Chip Kelly and Coughlin pulled himself from consideration in Philly.
There hasn't been anything linking Coughlin to Detroit and the Giants haven't exactly been a shining example of success under Coughlin (28-36 over the past four season). That being said, Coughlin brings the experience that none of these other candidates can boast, and he has a couple Super Bowl titles to his name.