McCarthy's in, coaching carousel taking spin

Now that the Green Bay Packers have stolen Mike McCarthy away from the 49ers to be their new head coach, and with preparations for the NFL draft coming quickly and free agency on the horizon, other coaching vacancies around the NFL are expected to be filled quickly.

Here's what we're hearing from some of the other teams that still are looking for their next head coach:

DETROIT LIONS: Many league observers feel that Steelers' assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm will wind up being offered the head coach job from President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Millen after Pittsburgh's season is over. Millen is looking for a disciplinarian type of head coach who can motivate his players to raise their level of play. The two played together with Washington and Grimm is said to have learned a lot about offense under head coach Joe Gibbs and offensive line coach Joe Bugel.

HOUSTON TEXANS: Of all the candidates to fill the vacant head coach position, Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has been most impressive in the interview process and it's expected that he'll be named the new head coach once Denver is finished with the playoffs. Kubiak turned down interviews over the last few years because he thought he wasn't ready but he now feels that he's ready to take the next step in his career. It doesn't hurt that he played his college ball at Texas A&M. An interesting side note is that Houston has asked prospective candidates to break down USC RB Reggie Bush's game film.

NEW YORK JETS: The team has a list of six candidates (Jim Haslett, Donnie Henderson, Joe Vitt, Mike Martz, Eric Mangini, Mike Tice) to fill its vacant head coach job. According to a league source, the Jets will likely offer Mangini the job provided his interview goes well. Officially, the team can't offer him the job to him until the Patriots are out of the playoffs. Because Mangini would be one of the hot head coach candidates next year and would have many more choices of jobs, it's uncertain whether he would accept an offer from the Jets this year.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: The team has an interesting group of candidates to fill the vacant head coach job: Fresno State's Pat Hill, Sean Payton, Donnie Henderson, Mike Sherman, Mike Martz, and Russ Grimm. The Saints are looking for someone who can handle the working conditions and situation that the team has been under since the summer. Henderson had an impressive first interview and is expected to get a second one soon.

ST. LOUIS RAMS: According to a league source, the team had Washington assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams at the top of its list to fill the vacant head coach position. With him now out of the mix, the Rams have interviewed a bunch of different offensive and defensive assistants (at least 10) but don't look to be close to finding a replacement. The Rams appear to be in disarray and lacking direction in their search.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: If defensive coordinator Wade Phillips gets a head coach job this year, look for former Minnesota defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell to be at the top of the team's list to replace him. Cottrell, who was a finalists for the 49ers' vacant position in 2003 after Steve Mariucci was fired, has extensive experience coaching the 3-4 defensive scheme.

Anybody seen Mariucci lately, anyway? Once a hot commodity, the guy can't even get an interview anymore. It was a slap in the face he wasn't one of the several coaches interviewed by the Packers before McCarthy was hired in Green Bay, where Mariucci had heavy sentiment in his favor. Talk about a guy who's stock has fallen off the charts - Mariucci once was revered in Green Bay and still is by Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who reportedly was upset Mooch couldn't even get a sniff.


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