Peter King’s Top 15 Head-Coaching Candidates

As we continue to keep you abreast of all the head-coaching buzz around the league, today we share some thoughts from’s Peter King.

In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, King provided a list of 15 names he’s come up with after talking to front-office people around the league in the last two weeks. Many are coaches we’ve already discussed in this space, while other names are new. He breaks them down into college candidates (five) and current NFL assistants (10).

The college names:

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon
David Shaw, Stanford
3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
4. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
5. Doug Marrone, Syracuse

We just wrote about Chip Kelly this morning. By most accounts, he’s going to take the leap this offseason.

Shaw is an interesting name because he has NFL experience. He was the quality control coach with the Eagles back in 1997, before moving on to the Raiders from 1998-2001 (quality control/quarterbacks); the Ravens from 2002-2005 (quarterbacks/wide receivers); and the Chargers in 2006 (wide receivers/passing game coordinator).

Ferentz, too, has NFL experience, having served as the assistant head coach/offensive line coach of the Ravens/Browns from 1993 to 1998. So does Marrone, who was the Saints’ offensive coordinator from 2006-2008 and the Jets’ offensive line coach from 2002-2005.

King says he didn’t mention Bill O’Brien because he doesn’t think the Penn State coach is leaving Happy Valley.

Here are the 10 NFL assistants King mentions:

1. Mike McCoy, Broncos offensive coordinator
2. Mike Zimmer, Bengals defensive coordinator
3. Vic Fangio, 49ers defensive coordinator
4. Perry Fewell, Giants defensive coordinator
5. Dirk Koetter, Falcons offensive coordinator
6. Dave Toub, Bears special-teams coordinator
7. Bruce Arians, Colts interim head coach/offensive coordinator
8. Ray Horton, Cardinals defensive coordinator
9. Kyle Shanahan, Redskins offensive coordinator
10. Clyde Christensen, Colts quarterbacks coach

A lot of names there, and we’ll dive into several of them in the coming weeks, but a few quick notes:

* McCoy is a name you’re going to hear a lot about. He’s been the Broncos’ offensive coordinator for four seasons, and prior to that, worked as an offensive assistant with the Panthers from 2000 to 2008.

* We wrote this morning about the Eagles potentially taking a look at special-teams coaches. Toub served on the Eagles’ staff from 2001 to 2003 as an assistant working with John Harbaugh’s special-teams group and the defensive line. He interviewed with the Dolphins for their head-coaching vacancy last offseason.

* Noticeably missing from King’s list are Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

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  • Jason Hutt

    Josh McDaniels strikes me as a fate worse than another year of Andy. I don’t think he’s far enough removed from the craptastic handling of the job in Denver to be considered again so soon.

  • LostInChiTown

    I like Dave Toub. He always has his group ready to play and the Bears players are excellent at the fundamentals of football – good, sound tackling and blocking, and lots of effort on every play. He knows how to eliminate sloppy play. It also wouldn’t hurt if he brought some defensive coaches over from Chicago.

  • Koy Detmer

    Chip Kelly is a huge risk. Could pay off or could be Steve Spurrier in Washington all over again. David Shaw would be safer, I like the way that Stanford team plays.

    • dan

      Spurrier….ugh….Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, Lane Kiffin….the list goes on and on!

  • Dan S

    What about DCs Mike Pettine or Gus Bradley?

  • The Guru

    The only guy I’d slightly consider from that college list is Shaw from Stanford. Those coordinators are woefully unimpressive. Although Fangio would be interesting. I’m all for changing to the 3-4.

    My first call would be to Bill O’Brien. I know New England assistants have been a bunch of turds, but O’Brien seems to be the best of these (15).

  • Dewey

    Would love to see McDaniels. He’s had his failure, and comes from Belichick’s side. That offense is awesome and clever.

  • BrivkSquadMonopoly

    I think people need to stop thinking about which coach they like and start thinking about which coach FITS. This is not a tough hard nose defense with a run it up the gut running back. This is the fastest team in the NFL. Chip Kelly is a risk with HUGE upside that could potentially reignite Vick’s career. If he could turn this team into an up tempo offense like the Patriots I think it would lead to mistakes in the opponents secondaries and an overall turnaround for the Eagles. Call me crazy but to me it sounds like a win win.

    • jshort

      They’re all huge risks! Anyone of them could turn out to be a Rich Kotite, Ray Rhodes or maybe a Dick Vermeil Buddy Ryan, Andy Reid. Had to throw Buddy in with the good guys, loved the way they played in the regular season.
      We all saw what happened to Green Bay last night. with a few nicked up o-linemen. Personally, I would like to see Andy for another year with a healthy o-line and a few coaching tweaks. I know that’s not going to happen, too many people calling for his head. With what has gone on around him this year, it can’t be screwed on too tight anyway. AR should at least trim that overgrown mustache up. I don’t care who it’s in tribute to, He looks like a dam bum, after 6 losses in a row, shave the thing off for Christ’s sake, it’s bad luck.
      Anyway, if we do have to change coaches, I’d take the flier on Chip Kelly. One thing for sure, the offense would be something to watch. His innovations in the NFL just might be what the doctor ordered. Just my meaningless opinion.

      • jshort

        After the 7th loss in a row, time for all of them to go. Forget what I said about giving him another year. I’d like to see Chip Kelly but whoever they come up with can’t be more lethargic than this.

  • Justin

    Hire Shaw!

  • Philly59

    Im all for the 4-3 defensive guys on the list especially Zimmer he always seems to field a good defense without having the best talent and gets the most out of his players which is something that cant be said for Eagles defensive coaches lately

  • Dan

    If we are going to make a change, then I might go with Perry Fewell (D -coordinator) of the Giants. I think the Eagles need a defensive presence and he might provide that. Not to mention, he knows the Eagles flaws and might be in a better position to address them, knows the Giants well and the rest of the division. Not to mention has a ring by stopping to of the most prolific offenses in the league in Green Bay and New England (they beat them twice each dating back to last season).

  • I really think you need to like Brian Kelly. His resume turning around programs cannot be denied.