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Despite rough year, Lions DC Teryl Austin remains top head coaching candidate

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Things haven’t gone his way this year, but Teryl Austin could still catch a head coaching gig somewhere.

NFL: Preseason-Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, we asked Detroit Lions fans which of the coaches had the hottest seat through the first 12 games of the season. Predictably, the vast majority voted for head coach Jim Caldwell.

The coach to get the least amount of votes was defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who only received 13 percent of votes.

That makes a lot of sense, too. While Austin has had his fair share of issues this year, he’s undoubtedly the Lions coach with the best reputation. For the past few years, Austin’s name has continually come up in the head coaching carousel as other teams look to fill their vacancies. In 2016, Austin scored interviews with four different teams—though he only believed he was a serious candidate for two. Last year, the Chargers and Rams requested interviews with the defensive coordinator.

Though we’re still a month away from the annual coaching searches across the NFL, Teryl Austin is already being named as one of the more prominent candidates to score a promotion.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance—a group of former players and administrators who promote diversity in the NFL—sent out their annual recommendations for minority coaches to all 32 teams this week. Austin was one of four coaches they recommended:

Austin has not been all that successful with the Lions lately. Detroit’s defense ranked 32nd in DVOA last year and is just 20th through Week 13 this year. However, some argue that he’s been dealt a tough hand with a roster full of subpar players and even less depth.

Back when the Lions had a more talented defensive roster in 2014, Austin’s defense ranked third in DVOA and was one of the most feared in the league. However, the Lions never seemed to adjust to losing Ndamukong Suh and DeAndre Levy, among others.

Only time will tell if this is the year Austin will finally get his shot as a head coach, but for now, it appears he still has a good enough reputation to be among those considered.