Who are the next NFL head coaching candidates?

In the NFL, one thing is certain, there will be turnover at the Head Coaching position at the end of the season. This past off season, we saw an unusually high number with eight head coaches being fired. In 2012, the number was five and in 2011 there were four. How many coaches will either be fired or retire after this season remains to be seen, but there is a quality group of coaches for the owners to choose from.

Lovie Smith

In Lovie Smith’s last season in Chicago, the Bears had a 10-6 record. He was fired because the Bears hadn’t been living up to expectations making the playoffs once in six seasons since their 2006 Super Bowl run. Still, Smith was able to win three division titles, got to two NFC Championship games, and a Super Bowl while in Chicago. That’s a pretty strong resume. Lovie is a player's coach. Both his players and coaches hold him in high regard. He has reportedly been interviewed by USC for their position, and it is a lock that he will be a head coach somewhere in 2014.

Jon Gruden

Every time there is a coaching vacancy, Gruden’s name pops up. He stated, a few weeks ago, that he would like to be a head coach one more time. He has had opportunities the last few years but always seems to turn them down. Has he been away from coaching too long? 2008 was the last year he was on an NFL sideline.

Greg Roman – San Francisco Offensive Coordinator

Roman has coached in the NFL for 15 years, has been highly successful, and is very well respected by his peers. The 49ers' offense is among the top in the NFL, and Roman has done a tremendous job developing quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He will be on a number of owners' short lists.

Todd Bowles – Arizona Defensive Coordinator

Bowles has been a coordinator on three different teams (Miami, Philadelphia, and Arizona). He is also credited with righting the ship in Miami, when he went 2-1 as their interim head coach at the end of 2011. Todd is well liked by his players and highly effective as a coordinator. He has been interviewed for a number of openings in the past, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his opportunity. Maybe this year?

Dave Toub – Kansas City Special Teams Coordinator

Toub is recognized around the league as the top special teams coordinator in the business. He’s worked his magic for nine years in Chicago and this year in Kansas City. Like Bowles, he has interviewed in the past for Head Coaching opportunities and should also interview this year, but the key to landing any head coaching gig lies with the owner deciding if you are the right fit. Mark my words, Dave Toub will be a successful head coach in the NFL.

Pep Hamilton – Indianapolis Offensive Coordinator

Hamilton is in his first year as offensive coordinator at Indianapolis. He won’t be there long. He is one of the brightest, young, offensive minds in the league. He spent a number of years in the NFL as a quarterback coach before going to Stanford, first as quarterback coach, and then as offensive coordinator. He helped develop Andrew Luck at Stanford before he became the number one pick in the 2012 Draft.

Kevin Sumlin – Head Coach Texas A&M

Sumlin’s name has been tossed around in the last couple of years. He has been a head coach at two different colleges (Texas A&M and Houston) and has won in both places. Before he became a head coach, he had a successful run at Oklahoma as offensive coordinator. Sumlin may be one of the top candidates this year.

David Shaw - Stanford Head Coach

Shaw has already coached at both the NFL and college level. He has spent seven years at various positions in the NFL and was offensive coordinator at Stanford before being elevated to head coach in 2011. He has done a remarkable job as head coach at Stanford. Because he has an NFL background, he will high on a number of owners' short lists.

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