Inside Slant  


Coaching carousel begins spinning; Fisher a hot commodity


The first day of the NFL's annual coaching and management carousel had one surprise -- the Indianapolis Colts overhauling their front office -- but otherwise went off largely as expected.

Let's examine a few of the things I'm hearing as it relates to coaching and front-office movement:

» There was limited action with any of the A-list coaches looking for jobs. The one exception was Jeff Fisher. And the St. Louis Rams began their courtship of Fisher shortly after parting with coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney, according to league sources. If Fisher ends up in St. Louis, it could be with a young executive like Lake Dawson, whom he knows well from Tennessee, or Les Snead of the Atlanta Falcons joining him there as the general manager. The presence of quarterback Sam Bradford and Fisher's ties to the Rams' front office are strong factors in St. Louis' favor.

» The Miami Dolphins have interest in Fisher as well, but league sources believe it is not nearly as likely he lands there. Miami could end up with a less-experienced coordinator, those sources said, as it embarks on what could be a long process. The Dolphins already have GM Jeff Ireland in place, at least for now, which is less preferable for Fisher, according to sources.

» The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after canning Raheem Morris, are likely to go in a more-experienced direction, and I continue to hear former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman as a possibility. Falcons coordinator Mike Mularkey, who began his career in Tampa, could interview there as well.

» In Jacksonville, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Mularkey are among those interviewing with the Jaguars. Some NFL executives believe Chudzinski could be the favorite in Jacksonville (and the Dolphins are likely to speak to him as well). Developing Blaine Gabbert will be paramount. I continue to hear the Jags are interviewing interim coach Mel Tucker for the full-time gig, and if nothing else, they want to keep him as the defensive coordinator.

» The Kansas City Chiefs could pinpoint Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy as a possible coordinator/coach-in-waiting should they be unable to land Josh McDaniels from St. Louis, sources said. (According to league sources, the Rams would like to retain McDaniels as offensive coordinator to stay with Bradford.) McDaniels would be a candidate in Kansas City if Romeo Crennel is promoted as many expect, and New England coach Bill Belichick also would welcome him back if Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien departs for Penn State or the Kansas City opening himself.

What's next for the Colts?
What does the surprising house-cleaning by Colts owner Jim Irsay mean for the future
of Peyton Manning in Indy? Our analysts debate. More ...

» The Colts presented the first real surprise of the offseason and now are something of a wild card. Owner Jim Irsay was not going to begin contacting candidates until Monday night and could go in several directions. An experienced personnel man is an option -- Irsay went that way when he hired Polian -- or he could completely retool with a younger front office. Regardless, no one I spoke to believed that Jim Caldwell, coming off a 2-14 season, would end up coaching the team in 2012.

» There still could be changes coming to the Jets' staff, regardless of what was said at the news conference Monday. Schottenheimer could leave for a head-coaching job or even a coordinator position, which is possible.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora



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