By: Eric Thomas
Jim Schwartz is gone and the Lions need to replace him. Let new coach shopping season begin!
We’ve been through this before—boy, have we—and we know how this works. The difference with the offseason of 2014 is that the Lions have a job worth taking. Actual coaches with actual chances of winning will be willing to come to Detroit and coach the football team. Moments after Schwartz’s dismissal, the open position was called “the best available job.” I know, right?
There was a report on New Year’s Eve that Seahawks offensive coordinator Tom Cable had been contacted by officials in Allen Park. The Lions denied it the next day. It’s a relief, because that would have been a bad idea. There are other bad ideas for the next coach of the Lions. Here are five of them:
Mike Shanahan – Seriously, are you crazy? Mike Shanahan isn’t the same guy you remember from Denver—not by a country mile. He’s vanished into a cloud of drama rarely found outside of Russian novels. Suitors might be drawn to the plumage of his resumé: Super Bowl winner, perennial AFC Champion (in Denver), offense capable of producing a 1,000 yard rusher in every season, and that darn Dan Snyder got in the way of his abilities as coach. The part about Snyder is true, but that’s still no excuse. How uncontrollable is Shanahan’s ego? He hired his son as the offensive coordinator. What’s worse? His son is an AWFUL OC and Shanny will NEVER fire his boy. Kyle Shanahan is such a bad OC that he thinks Rex Grossman is a capable quarterback. Yes, THAT Rex Grossman. A recent article in the Washington Post revealed the Redskins organization to be a slightly less reprehensible version of the film “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” complete with Shanahan whining about not being special anymore after RG3 was drafted. No on Shanny. No. No. No. No.
Jon Gruden – This guy won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Bucs; took the Raiders to an AFC Championship game; looks like Chucky; he reportedly got Ron Jaworski banned from the MNF booth. He nearly won us over with that last one. Gruden has been a popular pick for every team since he was fired by the Buccaneers after the 2008 season. Any fan of a failing franchise looks to Chucky like he’s the cure-all for their ills, because he adeptly breaks down the success and the problems of teams with alacrity on Monday Night Football. Lions fans apparently forget that Matt Millen was really good at that too. Color commentary among the best jobs in football. You don’t have to make any decisions. Your entire job is based on your reaction to the choices of others. Really easy to criticize from the booth, difficult in practice. Gruden started out amazing with the Bucs, but the team slowly sunk into mediocrity after his inaugural season, he was fired after repeatedly missing the playoffs. Do you really need that? Luckily, Gruden has denied interest in any coaching job. Problem solved.
David Shaw – Jim Harbaugh’s former offensive coordinator at Stanford and former Quarterback coach from the San Diego Toreros is a hot candidate for the NFL right now, even after he lost to the Spartans in the Rose Bowl.The Cardinal haven’t taken a step back at all since Harbaugh went to the 49ers—they won the Rose Bowl last year. Harbaugh has been awesome as the coach of the 9ers, why not hire his second in command? He’ll be ready for interviews after Jan 1st, has a background coaching QBs and WRs, a position the Lions need DESPERATELY to improve upon, Press pause on that. While it isn’t a crazy idea, Shaw needs more time before we pencil him in as the heir apparent of Harbaugh. The Lions job isn’t a training-wheels gig. This a team with young talent for someone who can make the most out of their ability in a hurry. Shaw has also waved away his interest in leaving the Cardinal this year.
Any Coordinator – Zimmer, Gase, Toubm Roman, Bowles, and Horton—all probably fine football coaches on their own and may be great Head Coaches in the future, but not right now for the Lions. The Lions don’t need someone who needs to establish themselves or their bona fides as a head coach. The Lions need someone with an established track record. They need someone who failed being a head coach and spent a year chewing on his firing, arms folded with a thousand-yard stare at a parade of sunrises and sunsets while examining every choice he made over the course of a year, raising and lowering a bottle of bourbon to his lips, grunting after every drink, and ONLY AFTER THIS— he can emerge a smarter man waiting to apply his lessons in practice. Belichick failed in Cleveland. Coughlin was fired from Jacksonville. The Lions need someone who’s looking to learn from his mistakes. Except Norv Turner. Dear God, not Norv Turner…please not Norv Turner.
Bill Cowher – The Lions fan base doesn’t have the patience for Bill Cowher. When he was the coach of the Steelers, he had all the time he wanted. He went to a Super Bowl, lost it, hung around for about a decade, and then won the whole thing. Cowher went 7-9 and 6-10 in 1998 and 1999, respectively. You’d have a meltdown if that happened. His coaching style is extremely conservative. He hasn’t coached in eight seasons. That’s plenty of time for the game to pass you by. Cowher has a nice job once a week under the lights of on CBS. If you want to hire Cowher so bad, hire Ken Wisenhunt and go with the next best thing. Wisenhunt took the freaking Cardinals to a Super Bowl and almost won it.