NFL coaching carousel in full spin cycle

Just as intriguing as the NFL playoff matchups is the league's coaching carousel.

While much of the football world is focused on Green Bay, New England, Indianapolis and Dallas, another part is tracking the doings in cities with coaching questions.

Here's a look at the coaching carousel:

Washington Redskins

After Monday, Washington's coaching situation becomes the most pressing, and intriguing, in the league.

RedskinsHall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs sounded wishy-washy on whether he was willing to continue on in Washington. He spoke with his family Sunday about whether he should continue coaching, and was scheduled to meet Monday night with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

Gibbs has one year remaining on his contract. The feeling within the organization throughout the season was that he would return. But Gibbs did not sound convincing Monday.

He made it sound as if he and Snyder have plenty to discuss. Gibbs never has wanted to leave Snyder, who has treated him royally, in an unfair position. But Gibbs said he believes these Redskins are on the right path, with the right quarterback and the right personnel. If ever there were a time to walk away, this might be it.

Gibbs said he would push to get resolution as soon as possible. But it's also entirely possible that Gibbs has his mind made up and Snyder won't be able to talk him out of it. Plenty more to come here.

Baltimore Ravens

Time is not a constraint for the Ravens. They will take as much of it as they need. They plan to interview eight to 10 candidates before deciding whether they want to speak to any again. But the process is in full swing.

After spending Monday meeting with Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the Ravens will spend Tuesday with a candidate that has flown under the radar but who many believe is a leading contender for the vacant Baltimore job.

Eagles special teams coach John Harbaugh, brother of Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, will interview with Ravens officials Tuesday. Multiple league sources believe he is high on Baltimore's wish list, just as Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is.

Harbaugh never has met Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, but the Eagles special teams coach's rah-rah style is expected to go over well with Baltimore. He recently interviewed for the UCLA head coaching job that went to former Baltimore offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel.

If Harbaugh were to land the job, he would be expected to bring Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur along as his offensive coordinator.

There is another candidate that cannot be overlooked. The Ravens also are expected to interview Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, whose team was eliminated from the playoffs Sunday in San Diego. Baltimore is familiar with Schwartz and his style; the Ravens and Titans have squared off against each other in the playoffs.

Schwartz is regarded as one of the game's bright young defensive minds, and Baltimore wants to spend time with him as well.

Miami Dolphins

Evidence continues to mount that Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano is the prohibitive favorite to become the Dolphins' next head coach.

The Dolphins hired as their quarterbacks coach Ole Miss offensive coordinator David Lee, who worked with Bill Parcells and Sparano in Dallas. It would be hard for the Dolphins to present assistant coaches to not-yet-hired head coaches if they weren't familiar with them.

Lee's hiring is the most recent sign that Sparano will be the Dolphins next head coach.

Nevertheless, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier arrived in Miami on Monday night and will spend Tuesday interviewing with the team. Following him, the Dolphins are scheduled to talk with Ryan.

But if the choice is anybody other than Sparano, it would be the equivalent of an upset of the New England Patriots.

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta spent Sunday into Monday interviewing Eagles general manager Tom Heckert for the same job with the Falcons. The interview is said to have gone extremely well, and Atlanta could announce its hire as early as Tuesday and possibly by Wednesday.

Also up for the job is Packers personnel analyst to the general manager John Schneider.

Atlanta is expected to interview one more general manager candidate in the next 24-48 hours, after it wraps up its interview with former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan for its vacant head coach job. Ryan also interviewing for the head coaching job in Baltimore, but is not considered a favorite there.

The Falcons have been tight-lipped about their entire process, having been turned down by Bill Cowher and Bill Parcells. But they are moving closer to a resolution on a general manager, which would precede their head coaching hire.

Oakland Raiders

How Oakland's coaching staff will look next season is uncertain. What is certain is that there are significant questions surrounding the Raiders. As usual, they start with their head coach.

When Lane Kiffin took over one year ago, he did so with assurances that he could pick and choose his assistant coaches. If Kiffin had his choice, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan would not return to Oakland next season. But the Raiders already have announced that Ryan, respected in league circles and with one year remaining on his contract, will come back.

It has intensified the staredown and standoff between Kiffin and Raiders owner Al Davis. As the season went on, Kiffin felt more and more emboldended to stand up to Davis and request things be done the way he felt they should. How these two will hash out their differences is one of the biggest coaching questions of this off-season.

For now, the belief is that Kiffin will return. But with unpredictable Oakland, which often has waited to make coaching moves, anything is possible.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden has one year remaining on his contract. Teams typically do not like coaches to head into a season as a lame duck; last season, the New York Giants handed a modest one-year extension to Tom Coughlin.

Those close to the situation expect Gruden to receive an extension this off-season. Not only is Gruden expected to return, but the feeling is his defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, will as well. The senior Kiffin's contract expired after Sunday's wild-card loss to the Giants.

Despite the conjecture, the senior Kiffin will not be united with his son in Oakland. The Buccaneers will likely do everything possible to retain one of the finest defensive coordinators in the history of football and maybe the most important assistant coach the franchise has ever had.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners want an experienced coordinator leading their offense. They've identified four men: former Cowboys head coach Chan Gailey, former Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz, former Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron and former Ravens head coach Brian Billick.

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