Hamilton, Shanahan Head Coaching Candidates

Every offseason, a number of head coaches will lose their jobs after disappointing their fan bases and owners alike, creating turnover among head coaches. Many of these vacancies will be filled by notable head coaches. For example, if Rex Ryan does get fired, as it seems he will, he might be a candidate for another opening around the league.

Even over the last few seasons, former head coaches like Lovie Smith and John Fox were fired from their long time jobs. The coaches had taken the Bears and Panthers to the Super Bowl, and remained competitive in their divisions, but eventually the teams moved on from the highly regarded coaches. Smith took over the Buccaneers this past offseason after only a year away from football, while Fox got the head job for the Broncos and subsequently helped sign Peyton Manning and turning the team’s fortunes around quickly.

You can also bet that Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher will have their names floated for potential head coaching gigs. Another recent Super Bowl loser got a job as a head coach this past offseason in Titans‘ new leader Ken Whisenhunt. However, Whisenhunt first reasserted his value as a coordinator, immediately turning around the fortunes of Philip Rivers and the Chargers‘ offense.

The Chargers’ head coach during Whisenhunt’s lone season with the team, was of course first time head coach Mike McCoy. McCoy, who came off of the record setting Broncos’ staff and coached under Fox, was among the hottest coordinators in the NFL that offseason, and the Chargers could not have been happier with the team’s success in his short tenure there.

Bruce Arians has the Cardinals at 8-1 and in first place in the NFC, after leading the team to a 10-6 record last season and narrowly missing the playoffs. Arians got the job after a year as the offensive coordinator under another first year coach Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis. Pagano, like Arians, has known nothing but success as an NFL head coach.

This offseason, while many teams will kick around the same old names, but a few will be aggressive in going after some of the next group of hot coordinators around the league.

The big name on that list midway through the 2014 NFL season is none other than Colts‘ offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. Like Arians, Hamilton has taken superstar quarterback Andrew Luck and maximized his talents, producing a efficient and high-powered offense despite lacking an offensive line of pedigree or a reliable running game.

Hamilton has his Colts’ focused, and has not had time to think about his future away from the team, writes Conrad Brunner of 1070theFan.com“I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” he said. “I’ve barely had enough time to take a break to step away from watching Patriots film.”

It is that intensity that has him as a rumored favorite for the 49ers’ job should Jim Harbaugh leave the team. Hamilton also could be considered for the Giants job if the team does not retain Tom Coughlin going forward.

Hamilton may be getting most of the hype, but there is plenty of time left in the season for other candidates to emerge or even overtake the top spot. Already, another AFC offensive coordinator is challenging Hamilton in Browns‘ coach Kyle Shanahan, reports Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via Twitter). Shanahan’s ability to squeeze the most out of Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and now Brian Hoyer has put him in a position to be considered for a premium NFL job.

This offseason a handful of coaches will leave their teams, and some of those jobs will be filled by big name former head coaches. Even still, both Hamilton and Shanahan, as well as other lesser-known coordinators from around the league will get their chances to interview for high profile jobs.

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