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Where the Detroit Lions’ Coaching Search Stands, Week One Edition: One Interview, Plenty of Rumors

January 6th, 2014 at 9:21 AM
By Max DeMara

Today marks the end of one week since the Detroit Lions fired their former head coach Jim Schwartz. Since Monday, there's been one interview and several levels of speculation regarding who might take over as Detroit's new boss.

'064 Oklahoma v Washington' photo (c) 2006, Billy Adams - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Things will likely pick up this week considerably with regards to interviews, but for now, there looks to be four top candidates for the Lions' job, with Oklahoma's Bob Stoops perhaps playing the role of a major dark horse from the collegiate level. Here's where things have been and where they could be heading as a new week begins.

1. Ken Whisenhunt, OC, San Diego Chargers. Look for Whisenhunt, apparently Detroit's top candidate if reports are true, to interview this week after his Chargers moved on beating the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. A report Sunday morning from ESPN's Adam Schefter indicated that the job was Whisenhunt's to lose. Another report by CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora said that the former Arizona Cardinals' head coach was already trying to assemble a staff, considering he felt highly of the Lions' job. Though he can't officially be hired until the Chargers are eliminated, watch his name closely in the coming days. The Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans also reportedly interested in talking with Whisenhunt. 

2. Jay Gruden, OC, Cincinnati Bengals. Additionally on Sunday within Schefter's same ESPN report about Whisenhunt, it was revealed that Gruden was also atop Detroit's wish list. Now that Cincinnati is out of the playoffs, Gruden is fair game for interviews as well as hiring, and might also be the Washington Redskins' top choice according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Expect the Lions to speak with Gruden this week, though, as they do their diligence with their assembled list.

3. Mike Zimmer, DC, Cincinnati Bengals. Reports from Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo indicate that despite the fact Zimmer doesn't have any head coaching experience and possesses a defensive background, the Lions are interested in talking with the successful defensive coordinator this week. Like Gruden, Zimmer is fair game to be spoken with or hired, and might draw interest from the Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, as well.

4. Jim Caldwell, OC, Baltimore Ravens. Friday, Caldwell interviewed with the Lions and the talks went well, which was obvious thanks to the positive discourse after the fact. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford even sat in on the interview. Considering his experience as a former head coach, Caldwell was a good place for the Lions to start. After the first round of interviews is complete, watch and see if Caldwell comes back for round two, which will tell the story about if he's a finalist for the job.

5. Bob Stoops, Head Coach, Oklahoma Sooners. Saturday, Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel indicated on Twitter that sources told him Stoops could be "in play" both with the Lions and Cleveland Browns. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer indicated that reports of a Browns interview this week with Stoops to be false on Cleveland's end, but there has been nothing yet discounting the Lions' possible desire to become involved with Stoops. Watch him closely as the week goes on week, as well.

Others to potentially watch in the week ahead: San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Adam Gase, Bob Stoops, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Greg Roman, Jay Gruden, Jim Caldwell, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Zimmer, NFL

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