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NFL coaching rumors 2015: Tracking top candidates for Falcons, Broncos and all the vacancies

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Who will coach your favorite team next season?

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Black Monday has come and gone in the NFL, a day infamous for the cavalcade of head coaches and executives who lose their jobs. It is an awful day for those people and their families, but it is not without a silver lining.

For many other hardworking coaches, the Monday after the regular season is over marks the beginning of their ascension into the big chair. Assistants, after toiling in obscurity for years or even decades, finally receive their chance to take command of an NFL team, a lifelong dream rarely realized in professional football.

The hiring process can be tricky, however. Many of the top candidates work for playoff teams, and organizations looking for new head coaches must carve out time in an already packed schedule. NFL rules also create limitations. Teams in the market must move quickly on coaches whose clubs are currently on bye. They must also make sure to meet the league's equal opportunity hiring policies (e.g. the Rooney Rule).

After the messy hiring period concludes, many coaches will become the new faces of NFL franchises. Here are the high-profile candidates for those positions.

Head coaching vacancies and candidates

Atlanta Falcons

Adam Gase

Dan Quinn

Doug Marrone

- Josh McDaniels

Keith Armstrong

Rex Ryan

Todd Bowles

Teryl Austin

Buffalo Bills

- Rex Ryan (hired)

Adam Gase

Hue Jackson

Josh McDaniels

Dan Quinn

Darrell Bevell

Frank Reich

Greg Roman

Jim Schwartz

Kyle Shanahan

Mike Shanahan

Pat Shurmur

Pep Hamilton

Teryl Austin

Chicago Bears

- John Fox (hired)

Teryl Austin

Adam Gase

Gary Kubiak

Dan Quinn

Mike Shanahan

Todd Bowles

Doug Marrone

Denver Broncos

- Gary Kubiak (hired)

- Jack Del Rio

Rick Dennison

Adam Gase

Doug Marrone

Dan Quinn

- Vance Joseph

New York Jets

Todd Bowles (hired)

Anthony Lynn

Dan Quinn

Doug Marrone

Frank Reich

Gary Kubiak

Jim L. Mora

Tom Cable

Jon Robinson

Sean McDermott

Oakland Raiders

Jack Del Rio (hired)

Eric Mangini

Mike Shanahan

Pat Shurmur

Pep Hamilton

Scott Linehan

Todd Bowles

Darrell Bevell

San Francisco 49ers

Jim Tomsula (hired)

Adam Gase

Dan Quinn

Gary Kubiak

Josh McDaniels

Jim L. Mora

Kyle Shanahan

Mike Shanahan

Rex Ryan

Teryl Austin

Todd Bowles

Vic Fangio

General manager vacancies and candidates

Chicago Bears

- Ryan Pace (hired)

Brian Gaine

Chris Ballard

Lake Dawson

Mark Ross

Vince Newsome

New York Jets

Mike Maccagnan (hired)

Bill Kuharich

Chris Grier

Rod Graves

Rick Mueller

Trent Kirchner

Chris Ballard

Eric DeCosta

Ryan Pace

Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Ballard

Brian Gaine

Chris Grier

Ed Marynowitz

Chris Polian

Sheldon White

Eliot Wolf

About the coaching candidates

Teryl Austin

It's rare for an assistant to spend one year as a coordinator and then jump up to the big chair, but that's exactly what could happen with Detroit's Teryl Austin. Like Mike Tomlin in 2006, Austin took over a defense that was talent-rich but leadership-poor and molded it into an elite unit. The Lions were by far the best team in the league at stopping the run, and were far better against the pass than expected.

Strengths: Austin specializes as a secondary doctor. He took a group that featured 34-year-old Rashean Mathis and unproven Darius Slay at corner and consistently squeezed quality play from them.

Weaknesses: While Austin has been great for the Lions, he only has one season of coordinator experience at the NFL level.

Interested teams: Austin interviewed with the Falcons and 49ers and later sat down with the Bears and Bills, according to Jason La Canfora.


Teryl Austin, Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Darrell Bevell

The Seattle Seahawks have become a powerhouse, but most of that credit has been given to the team's stellar defense. However, it's offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell who might be close to securing his first head coaching job after four seasons at the helm of the Seattle offense.

Prior to joining the Seahawks, Bevell also served as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings from 2006-10 and a quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers from 2003-05.

Strengths: The Seahawks aren't an offensive juggernaut, but the team has finished in the top 10 in points scored in three consecutive seasons. Quarterback Russell Wilson has led a conservative system that has focused on limiting mistakes and taking shots when they're there. The running game is the real strength for the Seattle offense, which has finished in the top four in the league in rushing yards for three straight seasons, including the top spot in 2014. Bevell also coached the No. 1-ranked rushing offense of the Vikings in 2007.

Weaknesses: Bevell's offenses have relied on few mistakes in the passing game and a grind-it-out style rushing game. Given the direction the NFL is headed, teams might be more prone to find an aggressive play caller who relies more on an air-raid style passing attack that goes after opposing secondaries.

Interested teams: The Bills interviewed Bevell during Wild Card weekend, per Ian Rapoport. Buffalo later hired Rex Ryan.

Todd Bowles

Todd Bowles earned accolades for his work as the Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator this season. Under Bowles' leadership, the Cards weathered a long list of injuries at every level of the defense but remained an aggressive, effective unit. They overcame the losses of players like Daryl Washington, Calais Campbell, John Abraham, Darnell Dockett and Patrick Peterson for varying lengths of time. The Cards signed Bowles to a nice extension earlier this year, so he can afford to be selective.

Strengths: Bowles' aggression is his calling card, and any potential interest should bank on a dynamic defensive-minded coach coming in to right the ship. Bowles also has previous experience as an interim coach for the Miami Dolphins and finished with a 2-1 record.

Weaknesses: The Cardinals suffered a slide at season's end, and their defense has been carved up more recently. Bowles was a much hotter name at midseason than he was after Week 17. In addition, his aggressive tendencies could keep him from looking like a mature, balanced head coach. He's interviewed and been passed over for jobs in the past.

Interested teams: The 49ers are rumored to be interested, as are the FalconsJets and Raiders. Bowles was a safety for the Niners in 1991. The Jets will interview Bowles on Wednesday, per Adam Schefter. Bowles will then interview with the Bears on Thursday and the 49ers on Friday. He was supposed to interview with the Falcons on Thursday, but a family death required owner Arthur Blank to reschedule the interview for Saturday. Update: The New York Jets hired Bowles as head coach.

Tom Cable

Cable was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2008-10 before being relieved of his duties. Cable has been working with the Seattle Seahawks since, serving as the offensive line coach and assistant head coach. When he was running the show in Oakland, Cable managed to coax an 8-8 season out of the Raiders after going 4-8 and 5-11 during his first two years.

Strengths: Cable has experience and a long history in the NFL. When in Oakland, the players enjoyed being around him. Locker room friction never became public, which is an impressive feat in a place like Oakland. Cable also wouldn't cost a frugal franchise much money, given his resume.

Weaknesses: When he was a head coach, Cable had a record of 17-27. Granted, Cable was in Oakland, but it means that Cable is, at best, unproven. He has also been toiling in the assistant ranks without much fanfare in recent years.

Interested teams: Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Jets were interested. The Jets later hired Todd Bowles.

Jack Del Rio

Unlike many candidates on this list, Jack Del Rio has worked as a head coach before, leading the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-11. During that span, the Jags delivered winning records three times and an overall mark of 68-71. Del Rio has spent the spent the last three seasons in Denver building the Broncos into one of the league's better defensive teams.

Strengths: Del Rio has turned a handful of young players into defensive stars in Denver, including Von Miller and Terrance Knighton.

Weaknesses: Sustaining success was an issue for Del Rio in Jacksonville. Over the last four seasons there, the Jaguars went 23-36.

Interested teams: The Raiders will interview Del Rio, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Update: The Raiders hired Del Rio as head coach.


Jack Del Rio with the Jaguars in 2011, Photo credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Vic Fangio

The San Francisco 49ers are among the teams looking for help, and have a potential in-house candiate. Vic Fangio has served as the team's defensive coordinator under former head coach Jim Harbaugh for his entire four-year tenure with the team. Fangio served under Harbaugh at Stanford for a year before that, but recently said he would not join him at the University of Michigan. Fangio is a longtime NFL coordinator who has also served as a DC for the Texans, Colts and Panthers.

Strengths: The experience is certainly there for Fangio and he's long been known for his dynamic work with linebackers. He spent years learning under Dom Capers, Jim Mora and Jim Harbaugh, but has yet to call his own shots.

Weaknesses: Fangio has earned little buzz as a head coach in waiting despite 28 years of experience.

Interested teams: The 49ers interviewed Fangio as an internal candidate before hiring Jim Tomsula. Update: Vic Fangio has been hired as the Bears' defensive coordinator

Adam Gase

Adam Gase is the 36-year-old offensive coordinator behind Peyton Manning's Broncos. He replaced Mike McCoy two years ago when the San Diego Chargers hired McCoy to be their head coach. Denver finished first or second in scoring in each of Gase's two years calling the offense. Teams such as the Cleveland Browns approached him last offseason, but Gase elected to stay put at that time.

Strengths: Gase runs a potent offensive attack that has evolved from a pass-heavy approach to one that features C.J. Anderson and Denver's other talented tailbacks.

Weaknesses: It's unclear how much credit Gase is due for the offensive success. Manning runs the show on the field and often changes the call at the line.

Interested teams: He interviewed with Bears, 49ers and Falcons over Wild Card weekend, according to Adam Schefter, as well as the Bills, per Ian Rapoport. Gase coached for the Niners in 2008. The Bears, 49ers and Bills have since hired head coaches.


Adam Gase with Peyton Manning, Photo credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Pep Hamilton

Hamilton is wrapping up his second year as offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. He joined the Colts after two successful seasons as the offensive coordinator at Stanford. He has nine years of NFL experience, having previously coached quarterbacks and wide receivers with the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. The Colts finished the regular season No. 6 in scoring offense and No. 3 in total yards.

Strengths: Guiding a top 10 scoring offense will always help an offensive coordinator's chances to become a head coach.The Colts improved as an offense in his second season, another selling point. Andrew Luck put up some prolific passing numbers in Hamilton's offense.

Weaknesses: Despite some success with the counting stats, Indianapolis' offense was far from the top of the league in terms of efficiency. The Colts ranked 17th in offensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The rushing attack was once again a major weakness.

Interested teams: The Raiders interviewed Hamilton on Sunday after the Colts' Wild Card win, according to Adam Schefter. However, it was an informal 1-on-1 discussion rather than a full interview says Ian Rapoport. The Raiders have since hired Jack Del Rio.

Hue Jackson

Jackson received a head coaching opportunity in the past, but it lasted just one year and his dismissal by the Oakland Raiders is a move that the team is still criticized for. With success as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, Jackson is back in the head coaching conversation and could get another opportunity sooner rather than later.

Strengths: Jackson was a well-liked head coach with the Raiders in 2011 and led the team to an 8-8 record before getting fired. The Raiders haven't earned five wins in a season since then. Jackson coached up the Bengals' running game, which finished the 2014 season with the second-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL. Strong rushing offenses have been a hallmark of Jackson's career and earned him a promotion to head coach with the Raiders after the team finished with the second-ranked rushing offense in 2010.

Weaknesses: For all the success Jackson has had with the Raiders and Bengals at running the ball, the passing offenses have been lackluster. In today's NFL that can be unattractive for teams with head coaching openings and teams are generally more prone to go for a defensive coach or an offensive mind that can develop a top-flight passer. Jackson hasn't proven he can provide that.

Interested teams: The Bills requested to interview Jackson, per Adam Schefter. The Bills have since hired Rex Ryan.

Vance Joseph

Joseph is a 42-year-old former player, who has been coaching since 1999. After a two-year NFL career as a defensive back, Joseph began his odyssey on the sideline at the University of Colorado as a graduate assistant. After bouncing around from Wyoming to Colorado, and then to Bowling Green as an assistant, Joseph broke into the NFL in 2005 with the San Francisco 49ers. Walker lasted until 2010 with the 49ers as a defensive backs coach before moving onto the Houston Texans in the same role from 2011-13 and last year, the Cincinnati Bengals.

Strengths: Joseph is only 42 years old. If he pans out, he can become the answer at head coach for the next 20 years. Joseph is also a former player, so communication should not be an issue. Anytime you have a guy who has been in the trenches, it always makes for instant respect in the locker room.

Weaknesses: Unlike the other Denver candidates such as Gary Kubiak, Mike Shanahan, Teryl Austin and Adam Gase, Joseph has never been a coordinator or head coach at any level. Joseph is well-regarded as one of the best defensive backs coaches in the league, but he might need to have more than that to impress a general manager with the resume of John Elway.

Interested teams: The Broncos requested an interview with Joseph, per Mike Klis.

Gary Kubiak

Kubiak is a name that will keep popping up until he earns a second head coaching job. A former backup quarterback of John Elway, Kubiak has NFL experience on the field and the sideline. Kubiak is currently serving as the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Under Kubiak, Baltimore ranked 12th in total offense during the regular season.

Strengths: Kubiak is known for his quarterback friendly offensive system, one that made Matt Schaub into a reliable NFL starter (until the wheels came off in 2013). Kubiak runs a zone blocking scheme that leans heavily on play action passing.

Weaknesses: Kubiak's track record as a head coach included just two trips to the playoffs, and a 2-2 record in the postseason. He may be a better offensive coordinator than head coach.

Interested teams: Denver is interested in Kubiak, where he was a quarterback and offensive coordinator, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Update: Gary Kubiak has been hired by the Broncos.

Scott Linehan

Linehan is another one of the few candidates on this list who has some head coaching experience in the past, leading the St. Louis Rams to an 11-25 record from 2006-08. While he was unsuccessful during his time as a head coach, he has coached some of the NFL's most prolific offenses during his time as an offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings from 2002-04, Miami Dolphins in 2005 and the Detroit Lions from 2009-13.

After Jim Schwartz was fired by the Lions at the end of the 2013 season, Linehan was out of a job too and he headed to Dallas to become the Cowboys' passing game coordinator.

Strengths: Linehan's offensive system has found plenty of success at multiple stops during his coaching career, but it might be his play calling that receives the most praise. That was put in the spotlight in 2014, when the Cowboys improved from 16th in total offense to seventh under the tutelage of Linehan and Tony Romo began being talked about as a MVP candidate.

Weaknesses: For all the successes of Linehan's offenses through the years, that was entirely absent during his time with the Rams. After finishing with an 8-8 record and top-10 offense in his first season with the team, the Rams won three of the last 20 games Linehan coached, and the offense dipped to 28th and 30th in points scored in 2007 and 2008.

Interested teams: Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the Raiders requested to interview Linehan. The Raiders have since hired Jack Del Rio.

Anthony Lynn

Lynn is one of the younger head coaching candidates on the market at 46 years old. He retired as a player in 1999, and joined the Denver Broncos' coaching staff in 2000 as a special teams assistant. Lynn has been a running backs coach at every stop since, serving on the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2000-02, the Dallas Cowboys from 2005-06, the Cleveland Browns from 2007-08, and New York Jets from 2009 to now.

Lynn is one of the few Jets coaches who have not been let go, and for good reason. The running game was perhaps the Jets' best asset. In 2014, the Jets ranked third in the NFL averaging 142.5 yards per game, and tied for sixth at 4.5 yards per carry.

Strengths: Familiarity with the Jets organization would be at the top of the list. Lynn's longest stay at any one organization -- as a player or coach -- has been in New York. It's clear he is well respected, too, if owner Woody Johnson is willing to retain him and throw out practically everyone else.

Weaknesses: Lynn has never been a coordinator at any level, much less a head coach. He would be a major reach by the Jets if they are actually serious about hiring him. He may be retained by the next staff, and could soon be taking a promotion either way.

Interested teams: Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets would interview Lynn. The Jets have since hired Todd Bowles.


Anthony Lynn, Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Mangini

Mangini hasn't been a head coach since he was fired by the Cleveland Browns following the 2010 season. He has five years of head coaching experience, including two winning seasons. He got off to a good start with the Jets in 2006, finishing 10-6 and making the playoffs. He went 4-12 and 9-7 in subsequent seasons before taking over in Cleveland. He was fired by the Browns following a pair of 5-11 seasons. Mangini spent some time as an analyst at ESPN before becoming an assistant coach with the 49ers.

Strengths: Unlike a lot of candidates, Mangini does have experience as a NFL head coach. He has some experience coaching both sides of the ball, but is predominantly a defensive coach. He was defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator in New England under Bill Belichick before taking over the Jets.

Weaknesses: Despite his pedigree, Mangini hasn't had a ton of success as a head coach. He was criticized for being too strict with players in Cleveland, with some players filing grievances with the NFLPA due to rigorous practices. It may take a different approach to win over the locker room and get the most out of players.

Interested teams: The Raiders planned to interview Mangini, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. The Raiders have since hired Jack Del Rio.

Doug Marrone

Marrone is the most recently available of the coaching candidates after opting out of his contract with the Buffalo Bills on New Year's Eve. That came after his second season with the Bills, neither of which resulted in a trip to the postseason, although the team's 9-7 record in 2014 represented the first time in a decade that the Bills finished with a winning record. Prior to joining the Bills, Marrone was the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints from 2006-08 and the head coach of Syracuse from 2009-12.

Strengths: The former NFL offensive lineman led one of the NFL's most prolific offenses during his time with the Saints. While that team passed the ball often and finished top three in the NFL in passing yardage in all three of his seasons in New Orleans, no team ran the ball more than the Bills in 2013. He's an offensive mind who coaches to the strengths of his teams and has proven adept at taking advantage of his team's abilities.

Weaknesses: What he hasn't proven is that he can overcome his team's offensive deficiencies. While the Bills finished with a winning record in 2014, that was on the back of a strong defensive performance. The offense found a little more success through the air in 2014 than in 2013, but the ability to run the ball took a significant step backward and the development of E.J. Manuel hasn't occurred in Buffalo.

Interested teams: Marrone interviewed with the Falcons and was considered a favorite to replace Rex Ryan as head coach of the New York Jets before they hired Todd Bowles.

Josh McDaniels

Few candidates are as polarizing as Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. He has a track record of success as a playcaller that dates back to 2007, the year New England set every offensive record imaginable. However, McDaniels is also the guy who sank the Broncos after taking over for Mike Shanahan in 2009. Still, he has successfully rebuilt his image since returning to the Patriots and could have a more successful second chapter, à la his mentor and boss Bill Belichick.

Strengths: Tom Brady has experienced his greatest success with McDaniels calling the offense. McDaniels also has presumably learned from the mistakes he made in Denver.

Weaknesses: There were so many mistakes with the Broncos -- including a videotape scandal of his own -- he couldn't make it through two full seasons before getting fired in Week 13. Also, he drafted Tim Tebow in the first round.

Interested teams: Both the Falcons and and the 49ers reportedly interviewed McDaniels over Wild Card weekend. The Niners have since hired Jim Tomsula.

Sean McDermott

McDermott cut his teeth with the Philadelphia Eagles, spending a decade as an assistant before taking over as the defensive coordinator in 2009. He was fired two years later after a rough 2010 season but was promptly hired by the Carolina Panthers, who have been one of the league's best defenses since his arrival.

Strengths: Despite his lack of success in Philly, McDermott is one of the league's best defensive minds. The Panthers have finished in the top 10 in total defense in each of the last three seasons.

Weaknesses: McDermott has 15 years of NFL coaching experience, but none of it has come as a head coach. In fact, he's never been a head coach at any level of football.

Interested teams: So far he's only been linked with the Jets, who planned to interview him, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano. The Jets have since hired Todd Bowles.

Jim L. Mora

The 53-year-old UCLA head coach has plenty of coaching experience at the NFL level, which is really what helped land him the Bruins gig in 2012. Prior to that, Mora had spent 25 years in the NFL in some kind of coaching capacity, mostly as a defensive coordinator or secondary coach. From 2004-06, he was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons while compiling a 26-22 record that included an NFC Championship appearance in 2004.

After he was fired from the Falcons, Mora become an assistant head coach under Mike Holmgren with the Seattle Seahawks. Once Holmgren retired, Mora took over as head coach for the 2009 season. He went 5-11 and was fired after one year.

Strengths: Unlike most candidates, Mora actually has experience as an NFL head coach, so there should be little adjustment if he returns to the league. He has an extensive defensive background and has guided UCLA to three straight seasons of nine wins or more, the program's best three-year stretch since the late '80s.

Weaknesses: Mora has been out of the NFL for five years now, and his last stint was nothing to be proud of: A 5-11 record with the Seahawks that saw them miss the playoffs for just the second time in seven seasons. He has a 31-33 record overall in the NFL with just one postseason appearance, so the upside might not be very high with him.

Interested teamsManish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets are looking into the buyout details of Mora's contract with UCLA. Peter King of SI reported the 49ers were interested, but ended up hiring Jim Tomsula. The Jets planned to interview Mora but ended up hiring Todd Bowles.

Dan Quinn

The 44-year-old defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks was a popular name on the coaching carousel last season after Pete Carroll's staff held up the Lombardi Trophy. Quinn's reputation has only grown stronger after another stellar season by the Seattle defense. Michael Bennett called this year's unit "the best defense to ever play football." That line reads nicely on Quinn's résumé.

Strengths: Quinn stepped right in after Gus Bradley left for Jacksonville, and elevated the defensive rankings to league-leading status. The Seahawks led the league in points allowed (254) and yards allowed (4,274) and it wasn't even close.

Weaknesses: It's hard to top the last two years for Quinn, but his ability to serve as a franchise's point man will come into question in these interviews. Quinn was DC for the University of Florida before joining Seattle and that's it for his coordinator experience. Several other candidates will have more impressive tenures to point toward.

Interested teams: The Bears, Falcons, Jets and 49ers are all reportedly interested in Quinn. He was on staff for San Francisco from 2001-04 and has already interviewed for the 49ers' opening. Quinn interviewed with the Jets and Bears on Friday, and then the Falcons and Bills on Saturday, per Albert Breer and Adam Schefter. The Bears, Bills, Jets, and 49ers have all hired head coaches since.

dan quinn

Dan Quinn, Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Reich

Reich is shooting up the coaching ranks after getting back into the NFL in 2008. Reich retired from being an NFL quarterback in 1998 and took 10 years away from the business until returning as an offensive assistant with the Indianapolis Colts. Reich stayed with the Colts until moving on to the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. Reich has been with the San Diego Chargers since 2013, becoming the offensive coordinator this season.

Strengths: Reich was a player, so he has a firm grasp of what players will respond to. One of the best backup quarterbacks ever, Reich is proving to be a smart offensive mind on the sideline as well. Reich is only 53 years old, making him a long-term candidate should things work out.

Weaknesses: Reich has only been a coordinator for one season, and never a head coach. Reich's experience is limited and could hold him back when going up against veteran coaches in the market. The other problem is San Diego's offense, which ranked 18th in total offense despite featuring Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen.

Interested teams: The Jets planned an interview with Reich, per Adam Schefter. Reich interviewed with the Bills as well. Both teams have hired head coaches since then.

Rex Ryan

For the past six seasons, Rex Ryan has guided an often talent-poor New York Jets team to a 46-50 mark. While that record may look underwhelming, Ryan's Jets have gone 4-2 in the playoffs, including two AFC Championship appearances. Around the league, he is regarded as a premier defensive mind and a quality head coach derailed by a lackluster Jets roster.

Strengths: Ryan can manufacture ways to pressure the quarterback without elite pass rushers. For teams looking to turn around their defenses, there are few better options.

Weaknesses: Despite two opportunities to develop the team's highly drafted quarterbacks, Ryan and his staff consistently struggled to squeeze quality play out of Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith.

Interested teams: The Falcons and 49ers have requested interviews. Update: The Bills hired Ryan as head coach.

Kyle Shanahan

It wasn't long ago that Kyle Shanahan was a hot head coaching candidate working under his father in Washington. In 2012, Shanahan helped Robert Griffin III produce one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history. Turmoil tore down the Shanahans in D.C. in 2013, and Kyle resurfaced as the Browns' offensive coordinator last offseason. Shanahan only last one season in Cleveland after requesting, and being granted, his outright release.

Strengths: Shanahan has shown the ability to craft an offense around the unique talents of his quarterback. RG3 likely doesn't win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 without him.

Weaknesses: He did a lot to make RG3's rookie year in Washington something to remember, but Shanahan couldn't figure out how to best implement Johnny Manziel this season. Perhaps that has more to do with Manziel's work habits, but ultimately everything falls on the coaches.

Interested teams: The 49ers have requested to speak with Shanahan but have yet to schedule an interview, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Update: The Niners hired Jim Tomsula as head coach.

Mike Shanahan

Kyle isn't the only Shanahan who could land a new job this offseason. His father, Mike, is looking to return to the league after a year away. The elder Shanahan last coached in Washington, where he oversaw the triumphs and struggles of RG3. When the relationship between coach and quarterback became strained, ownership sided with the player and sent the Shanahans packing. Before that, Mike was the head coach of a two-time champion Denver Broncos team, and the offensive coordinator for the 49ers during their 90s heyday.

Strengths: To start: Three Super Bowl rings. Shanahan worked with Hall of Fame quarterbacks and has been the only man to wring any magic out of RG3. He owns a career coaching record of 178-144. Few coaches with this level of experience and success are ever available.

Weaknesses: Shanahan has his victories, but his last several seasons were largely miserable. He only made the playoffs once in his last seven full seasons as a head coach, and had an ugly 24-40 record in Washington.

Interested teams: The Chicago Bears could be a potential home because of his experience working with Jay Cutler. Chicago is expected to interview Shanahan after the team hires a new general manager. Shanahan has also been linked to the 49ers. The Raiders have also interviewed Shanahan. He interviewed with Bills owner Terry Pegula. The Bears, Niners, Raiders and Bills have all hired head coaches since.

Pat Shurmur

Shurmur has experience in the NFL coaching ranks, having been in the league since 1999. Shurmur broke into the league as an offensive assistant under Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles, before moving on to the St. Louis Rams in 2009. Shurmur was hired by the Cleveland Browns as head coach in 2011 before being fired after two seasons. Shurmur is currently the Eagles' offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly.

Strengths: Shurmur has worked under great offensive minds like Andy Reid and Chip Kelly. He is also young for a head coach at 49 years old. The time in Cleveland can also be looked at as a learning experience, as it was for Bill Belichick once upon a time.

Weaknesses: Shurmur was mediocre at best in Cleveland. During his time with the Browns, Shurmur amassed a 9-23 record, and seemed to be overmatched. The roster certainly did not help -- Shurmer was saddled with Brandon Weeden in his final year at the helm. Still, 9-23 is an ugly mark.

Interested teams: Oakland will interview Shurmur, according to Tim McManus. The Bills have been granted permission to speak with Shurmur as well, according to Mark Maske. Update: The Raiders and Bills have hired head coaches.

Jim Tomsula

Most NFL fans are unfamiliar with Jim Tomsula, but the 49ers assistant is well-regarded around the league. He served as the Niners' interim coach for the last game of the 2010 season. He's so well thought of that when Jim Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco three years ago to replace him, he retained Tomsula for his staff. Tomsula has been with the team since 2007. Before that, he was a coach in the defunct NFL Europe.

Strengths: Tomsula has developed a handful of quality defensive linemen with the 49ers. He is also partially responsible for defensive end Justin Smith's career renaissance in San Francisco.

Weaknesses: Tomsula has never worked as a coordinator at the NFL level. His closest experience is two years calling plays for the Berlin Thunder and one season as the Rhein Fire's head coach.

Interested teams: The 49ers interviewed Tomsula for their vacant head coach position. Update: The Niners have hired Jim Tomsula.

★★★

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