2016 Head Coaching Candidate Review

The 2016 NFL head coaching hiring cycle is now complete following the Titans’ promotion of interim HC Mike Mularkey to the full-time job. Seven new head coaches were named, but as our head coaching search tracker shows, many more candidates were a part of interview processes around the league. Let’s take a look at some of those coaches who didn’t land a job this year (but who could certainly be candidates again at this time next season):Teryl Austin (vertical)

  • Teryl Austin – Lions DC: Like he was in 2015, Austin was among the most popular candidates on the interview circuit, as he was scheduled to interview for five of the seven vacancies (Browns, Dolphins, Eagles, Giants, and Titans). Instead, he’ll return to Detroit under head coach Jim Caldwell, who will remain with the club for as least one more season. Austin, whose defenses have finished in the top half of the league in terms of DVOA in each of the past two years, should be a viable head coaching candidate again in 2017.
  • Tom Coughlin – former Giants HC: After resigning in New York, Coughlin didn’t opt for retirement, instead interviewing for both the 49ers and Eagles head coaching jobs. In fact, the Philadelphia gig was likely his for the taking, but Coughlin withdrew his name after realizing that most of his former assistants would be staying with the Giants (and new HC Ben McAdoo). Coughlin will be 71 years old when the 2017 season begins, so his days as a head coach are probably over.
  • Doug Marrone – Jaguars OL coach: Marrone has been on the hunt for a head coaching job ever since opting out of his Bills contract following the 2014 season. He met with the Browns, Dolphins, Giants, and Titans but, as he did last year, failed to land a new gig. He’ll once again lead Jacksonville’s offensive line (and serve as the club’s assistant head coach) this season.
  • Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia – Patriots OC/DC: Between the two, McDaniels and Patricia only ended up taking one interview (Patricia with the Browns). But both coaches were hot names on the coaching market as a result of being key figures in New England’s success. The Dolphins requested interviews with both (neither went), and both were considered strong candidates for the Titans vacancy. Spending another season under the tutelage of Bill Belichick isn’t the worst outcome, however, and both will look for top jobs again next year.
  • Sean McDermott – Panthers DC: For a coach who has lead one of the league’s best defenses for the past five year (including a No. 3 DVOA finish this season), McDermott didn’t garner that much interest. He interviewed with the Browns and Buccaneers, and was also linked to the Giants and Eagles jobs. McDermott never seemed close to landing a head coaching job, however, so another season in Carolina is in the cards.
  • Anthony Lynn – Bills RB coach: Lynn — who is also an assistant head coach with Buffalo — might have the least name value of anyone on this list, but he did interview for two jobs (Dolphins and 49ers). Former NFL scout Dan Hatman recently tweeted that Lynn “has head coach written all over him,” so perhaps the 2017 cycle will be kinder to his prospects.
  • Mike Shanahan – former NFL head coach: 2016 marked the second consecutive season that Shanahan was linked to the 49ers’ head coaching position, and of course, the second consecutive that San Francisco chose another candidate. He also interviewed for the Dolphins job. At 63 years old, it’s doubtful that Shanahan will be a candidate for vacancies next year.
  • Mike Smith – former Falcons HC: After sitting out the 2015 season, Smith interviewed for both the Dolphins and Giants jobs, and was mentioned as a candidate for the 49ers and Buccaneers gigs. As it stands, he will be heading to Tampa Bay, albeit as Dirk Koetter‘s new defensive coordinator.
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