It will be no surprise when the Carolina Panthers fire John Fox. Some wonder why he hasn’t been fired already. The truth is, Fox is a good guy who is being shown the respect of his owner by allowing him to finish out the season. (now watch he will get canned this week). Interim coaches rarely do much in the league at least not to the point that it really matters.
Take Jason Garrett in Dallas. The Cowboys look like a different team entirely since Wade Phillips was fired. That is more of a case of Phillips losing his team rather than coaching himself out of a job.
In the case of Fox, his teams misgivings are a result of young players not performing, injuries, lack of a QB, and the list on defense is quite extensive. While the team is ultimately Fox’s responsibility, what he has given to this team in his tenure should earn him the right to finish out the season and then move on. Jump to page two to look at the top names on the replacement list.
Bill Cowher - He is on top of everyone’s list at the moment. Many believe that Cowher is the no-brained choice to succeed Fox in Carolina. An NC native who lives a short few hours away from Charlotte, Cowher would coach at home for all intent and purposes. He would inherit a team that really isn’t that far from being turned around completely.
Others believe that owner Jerry Richardson would never pony up the money it would take to bring Cowher in. Likely more than 8 million a year. That may be true but this is one opportunity that Richardson won’t get again. Cowher will be costly and he won’t give a “home town discount” to stay in North Carolina.
Still, he has to be the number one choice to fill the position.
Jon Gruden - Gruden has to be growing tired of the Monday night ESPN booth. A Super Bowl winning head coach who built the last solid Raiders team and then left to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl.
Gruden is an offense coach and the Panthers are built to be an offensive team capable of exploding each week. He is very good with young QB’s which is what Andrew Luck will need in a new HC at this level.
Gruden won’t come anywhere near as expensive as Bill Cowher but he will also be sought after by more teams which means that the competition level for his services may actually be more competitive than Cowher’s.
Jim Harbaugh – HC Sanford. Harbaugh is a highly disciplined head coach who runs an NFL style offense and defense. His transition to the NFL level should not be that difficult. Harbaugh represents the cream of the next generation head coach in the NFL. Young, enthusiastic, and smart. The question is will the Panthers look at Harbaugh as an immediate impact coach or will they view him as the future coach and take the lumps early in his career? It may be a good idea to go after this guy if they fail on Cowher. Harbaugh would have the immediate benefit of knowing the QB the Panthers are likely to take.
Jeff Fisher - Fisher has not been fired from his Tennessee job but there is speculation that he will be. I only put his name on this list because “IF” he were to be fired, his name would be one of interest.
Here is a list of the top remaining HC candidates (Potentially in some cases) from Football’s Future.
Leslie Frazier: Current Interim Vikings HC/Former DC
Background: Defensive 4-3)
Strengths: Player reliability, discipline, Defensive mind
Learned under: Tony Dungy and Jim Johnson
Jason Garrett- Interim Cowboys HC/Former OC LIKELY TO STAY WITH DALLAS
Strengths: Multiple Formations, Play calling, creativity
Learned under: Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips, Jimmy Johnson
Brian Schottenheimer-Current Jets OC
Strengths: Formation Variety, Play calling, Creativity
Learned under: Marty Schottenheimer(Father), Rex Ryan
Russ Grimm- Current Asst.Head Coach Cardinals/Offensive Line Coach
Background: Offensive Line
Strengths: Developing Offensive line, Tough attitude
Learned Under: Bill Cowher
Perry Fewell – Current defensive coordinator for the New York Giants
Background: Defensive (4-3)
Strengths: Players Coach, reliability, Vocal
Learned Under: Lovie Smith, Tom Coughlin
Marty Mornhinweg – Current offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles
Background: Offensive (West Coast Offense)
Strengths: Personnel Groupings, utlizing talent
Learned under: Andy Reid
Ron Rivera – Current defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers
Background: Defense (4-3 and 3-4 experience)
Strengths: Defensive Schemes
Learned Under: Lovie Smith, Buddy Ryan, and Jim Johnson
Rob Ryan — Current defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Brown
Background: Defensive (4-6, 3-4, 4-3)
Strengths: Firey Personality, Defensive creativity.
Learned Under: Buddy Ryan (father)
Gregg Williams – Current defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints
Background: Defensive (4-3)
Strengths: Defensive Mind, Aggressive
Learned Under: Jeff Fisher
Marvin Lewis – Current coach of the Cincinnati Bengals
Background: Defensive (4-3)
Strengths: Defensive sets and stratergy
Learned Under: Brian Billick, Bill Cowher
Dom Capers – Current defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers
Background: Defensive (3-4)
Strengths: Attacking style defense, teacher of the game
Learned Under: Bill Cowher, Tom Coughlin, Mike McCarthy
Brian Billick – Current analyst for FOX
Strengths: Offensive creativity, game planning
Learned Under: Dennis Green
Hue Jackson Offensive Coordinator –Raiders
Strengths: QB Coach, Offensive play calling, playing towards team strengths
Winston Moss- Asst.HC/LB’s Coach- Packers
Background: Defense (LBs) 4-3 and 3-4
Strengths: identifying with players, aggressiveness
Learned Under: Mike McCarthy
Bill Musgrave-Ast. Head Coach/QB coach-Falcons
Strengths: QB development
Learned Under: George Seifert
Pete Carmicheal JR.-Offensive Coordinartor-Saints
Strengths: Play Creativity, Offensive Knowledge
Learned Under: Sean Payton