With the 2013 season over for the 20 teams who missed out on the NFL playoffs, those organizations are looking towards next season – while teams like the San Francisco 49ers start their playoff push.
Six of the teams (Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Cleveland Browns) fired their head coaches one day after the final game on “Black Monday.” With the 49ers clinching the playoffs for the third straight season, those teams will be looking at Jim Harbaugh’s coaching staff to see which of his assistants might be a good fit as head coach.
The top-two candidates on the 49ers staff for NFL head coaching jobs are offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. So far, only Roman has been rumored for head coaching vacancies, with reports saying he is a candidate for the Vikings opening. There was also a report that Roman “would be very, very interested” in the Lions job.
From @MikeSilver: If Lions do make change, they’re going to want offense. 49ers OC Greg Roman “would be very, very interested in this job.”
— NFL Media PR (@InsideNFLMedia) December 29, 2013
Out of the six current vacancies, the Lions job is the most attractive for Roman and any other candidate because of their talent on offense and defense. In addition, Detroit holds the No. 10 overall draft pick in 2014.
The NFL rules say “an assistant coach on a playoff team cannot interview until after the wild-card round if his team plays during that weekend.” Most of the teams will be looking to find their new head coach as soon as possible. As in the past two seasons the longer the 49ers stay alive in the playoffs, the less likely Roman will find an NFL head coaching job.
Even though Roman has never been a head coach at any level and he has been criticized this season for his play calling in the 49ers passing game, he will be interviewed. He is one of the reasons why the 49ers have made the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. His work in helping develop Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick into reliable starters at quarterback could make him attractive to teams needing help with their QB’s development.
Then there are coaching vacancies, or soon to be, at the college level. Roman previously interviewed for the Penn State opening two years ago that ultimately went to current HC Bill O’Brien. The irony here is that if O’Brien leaves for an NFL head coaching job, Roman would be a serious candidate to replace him at Penn State.