A look into the 2006 coaching futures index reveals nine candidates, one of whom is likely to take over the helm of the Detroit Lions with high hopes he can be the one that turns around this floundering franchise.
Scout.com takes a look at the most likely candidate and if their stock is rising or falling
Mike Martz (Rams) - steady: Martz pronounced himself fit to coach again after being sidelined with endocarditis, but the St. Louis Rams continue to ride the rapids with former defensive coordinator Joe Vitt. Martz said he didn't know if he could co-exist with Rams director of player personnel Jay Zygmunt who is entrenched with the front office.
"This is the best I've felt. And when you feel this good, you feel like you should be working." The Lions will have to fight off the Kansas City Chiefs who feel Martz would be an outstanding successor to Dick Vermeil, should Vermeil retire.
Al Saunders (Chiefs) - rising: A 23-year NFL coaching veteran, Saunders has come to prominance after becoming a disciple of the Vermeil/Martz spread offense. As offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, they led the NFL in offense in 2004. The Chiefs (8-4) surge toward yet another playoff berth has Saunders as the hot candidate as far as coordinators go. The one fear, is he another Marty Mornhinweg?
Sean Payton (Cowboys) - rising: Payton nearly got the head coaching job with the Raiders two season ago when they hired Norv Turner. Payton turned around his floundering stock when he was dumped as the Giants offensive coordinator by signing on with the Cowboys where he was named assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach. The golden boy of this search, his combination of youth, knowlege and success will make him a hot commodity in 2006.
Donnie Henderson (Jets) - rising: It's tough to sell the fans and ownership on the defensive coordinator of a 2-10 team, but Henderson has the Jets defense playing tough and keeping his team in the game. A tough-talking, hard-charging taskmaster, Henderson may be the kind of disciplinarian Matt Millen wants on the Lions sidelines.
Brian Billick (Ravens) - steady: Billick is supposed to be an offensive guru but could never do anything with Kyle Boller as quarterback. That bodes the question can he rehabilitate Joey Harrington or will he try to change his stripes and become a defensive guru? One thing Billick has on his size that's big and gaudy - a Super Bowl ring.
Jim Fassel (Ravens) - falling: Fassel in his current role as the Ravens offensive coordinator isn't lighting up the scoreboard. Still, Fassel's name is on the list because of a successful head coaching stint for at least part of the time in New York. If you can win in New York, you can win anywhere.
Brad Childress (Eagles) - falling: Childress, in his 7th season with the Eagles and 4th as offensive coordinator is given a lot of credit for Philadelphia's success. But with Donovan McNabb sidelined, Terrel Owens suspended and Mike McMahon at quarterback, Childress appears pretty average as a coordinator now. Injuries have a way of doing that to you. But, strike one, Childress runs the West Coast Offense and two, he can't win with Mike McMahon either.
Herman Edwards (Jets) - falling: It's really tough to sell fans and ownership on the head coach of a 2-10 team, but he has one big plus, Matt Millen loves him. Edwards had instant success in the Big Apple only to be sidlined by the ineptitude of GM Terry Bradway, who allowed several key free agents to walk. Now with injuries and a depth-poor team, Edwards is likely to take the fall, but may need a year off to rehabilitate his image.
Dan Reeves (Broncos) - newly listed: You might think c'mon, Reeves is ancient history, but with Washington's Joe Gibbs and Dallas' Bill Parcells back on the sidelines, don't laugh. Reeves is younger than Gibbs and Parcells and is one of the winningest coaches in NFL history. Will the Lions give him a call? They could do worse.
Dick Jauron - trading halted: Jauron was a candidate as long as he took president Matt Millen's marching orders; develop the young players. Jauron's response was to start aging Jeff Garcia and keep Dan Orlovsky and Charles Rogers inactive. Stanley Wilson, Bill Swancutt and Keith Smith were hardly even bit players. Telling the GM to stuff it isn't the way to get consideration.
Off the market: Tim Lewis, Giants Failed to interview when Steve Mariucci got the job.