- Several top candidates for head coaching positions are in play with more than one team, creating a situation where a decision in one spot will have a ripple effect elsewhere
- McDaniels and Vrabel have emerged as the leading candidates for the Colts job
- Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is under consideration by the Giants and Cardinals
At some point soon, someone will flip the switch on the NFL boombox playing over this game of musical chairs. And when that happens, there won’t be seats for every candidate riding the coaching carousel.
But there are four key figures right now that are well-positioned—Patriots coordinators Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Waiting for a shoe to drop? Here’s one: The Colts have identified McDaniels and Vrabel as their top two candidates as we move toward this weekend’s divisional-round games, sources say. Indianapolis would like to bring those two back for second interviews, but New England’s presence in the playoff field might make that difficult.
Unless the Patriots are upended by the Titans this weekend, the rules say that McDaniels can’t sit for another Colts interview until after the conference championship games. Where this gets more interesting is that both the Colts’ candidates are in play in other cities.
Vrabel is still very much in the game for the Lions job, having interviewed well in Detroit. The Lions have long eyed Patricia, in large part because he has a strong relationship with Detroit GM Bob Quinn. And as we mentioned back in December, one plus to hiring Patricia would be that he’d keep offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan in place. Hiring Vrabel would offer the same plus.
Meanwhile, McDaniels is still under consideration by the Giants, along with Patricia, Shurmur and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. If Patricia were to land the Giants job, that may open the door for Vrabel in Detroit. If McDaniels were to win the New York job, it could do the same for the Houston defensive coordinator in Indianapolis.
That leaves the opening in Arizona, where Shurmur is a strong candidate. Wilks is under consideration there as well, with the latter potentially bringing Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo along with him as offensive coordinator.
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