The coaching rumor mill

With only the head coach position open in Cleveland and San Francisco, the speculation has been working overtime. The names of candidates are popping up from every angle and we have the latest news and notes about the Browns and 49ers search, as well as other news items regarding possible coaching changes heading into the offseason.

San Diego Chargers: With Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer inking a new two-year deal with the Chargers, the process of extending the contracts of assistant coaches can begin. Schottenheimer would like to retain all members of his coaching staff, but at the present time indications are two assistant coaches may move on once the season ends following the Super Bowl. With the expiration of his contract, veteran offensive line coach Hudson Houck could become a hot coaching candidate due to his vast experience and tremendous job in revamping the Chargers line in and during the 2004 season........

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers will turn up the heat on their coaching search in the next week or so. Defensive coordinators Romeo Crennel of New England and Mike Nolan of Baltimore are believed to have been solid in interviews with the organization, but neither is believed to have excited the San Francisco brass. Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, however, does appear to be a candidate that has excited the organization. His youth, experience, and personable personality, along with his ability to relate and communicate with the players of this age make him a strong contender for the spot. Also, speculation remains that former 49ers offensive coordinator and current Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren may leave the Seahawks' organization and the 49ers are believed to then have an interest, although it appears Holmgren has won a power struggle in Seattle after the firing of team president Bob Whitsitt. The 49ers are considering bringing in a few more candidates this upcoming week before making any final decisions, and could take a look at New York defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson now that the Jets have been bounced from the playoffs.......

Cleveland Browns: The Browns have interviewed numerous candidates for the vacant head coach spot. Intern head coach Terry Robiskie interviewed for the spot, along with New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress, former Miami defensive coordinator and intern head coach Jim Bates, Pittsburgh assistant head coach and offensive line coach Russ Grimm. Crennel is believed to be the front-runner for the position, as reported by various media outlets. According to league sources, Crennel is a solid finalist for the position, but the organization has not settled on one specific candidate at this time........

Tennessee Titans: Despite speculation throughout the season there would be change within the structure of the organization, everything remains status quo at the present time. While General Manager Floyd Reese and Head Coach Jeff Fisher have had their share of issues regarding player personnel, Bud Adams, owner of the Titans, has not forced changes upon the organization. Speculation remains in league circles which indicates Fisher could be available for the right compensation package. Moving Fisher would alleviate the tension between the coach and front office, while permitting the organization to promote either offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger or defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to the head coach position. The 49ers could make a move on Fisher if the word is indeed out that he is available.......

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings playoff win over the Green Bay Packers solidified the return of Head Coach Mike Tice for the 2005 season. Despite picking up the option on Tice's 2005 contract at the end of December, he has been on the hot seat. Also, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's name is surfacing in rumors regarding a position with the Miami Dolphins on Nick Saban's staff........

Baltimore Ravens: With the firing (mutual parting) of offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, the Ravens have been in pursuit of an offensive coordinator that has the ability to be imaginative, as well as solid in game-planning. Team advisor Jim Fassel has become the number-one candidate to run the Baltimore offense, as the veteran coach has not garnered any significant interest on the head coaching front this early off-season........

New England Patriots: If defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is hired to be the head coach in Cleveland or San Francisco this off-season, expect head coach Bill Belichick to name Eric Mangini as his replacement. Mangini, one of the up and comers in the game is a pure disciple of Belichick........

New York Jets: Now with the season ended for the Jets, expect offensive coordinator Paul Hackett to be relieved of his duties. Under the direction of Hackett, the Jets' offense has been terribly inconsistent, predictable and unimaginative........



Niners Digest Top Stories