Here’s a Thursday afternoon roundup of the NFL head coaching rumor mill:
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals are one of three teams interested in former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid. The Cardinals were scheduled to meet with Reid on Thursday, however, ESPN reports that Reid is “on the verge” of being hired by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cardinals have requested permission to interview Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator from 2007-08. The Cardinals have had extensive talks with defensive coordinator Ray Horton about their head coaching vacancy and are planning on meeting with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy over the weekend.
Buffalo Bills: CEO Russ Brandon is leading the search for a new coach and interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt on Tuesday and spent Wednesday with Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The Bills are also planning interviews with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who will be available to meet with NFL teams following Thursday night’s Fiesta Bowl, and have requested permission to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. According to Howard Simon of Buffalo radio station WGR, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith will interview with the Bills this weekend. The Bills have also been linked to Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone.
Chicago Bears: GM Phil Emery has been busy lining up candidates for the head coaching vacancy. Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis have ties to Emery and will interview for the position. A failure to develop the offense was a main reason cited for Lovie Smith’s dismissal, so it comes as no surprise that current offensive coordinators are on the Bears’ radar screen. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements were mentioned in previous days. On Wednesday, New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael was added to the list.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns No. 1 choice is reportedly Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who will interview with the team, possibly as early as Friday. The Browns’ search committee – owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner – are in Phoenix, the site of Thursday night’s Fiesta Bowl, and while they were in town, they interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt on Wednesday after interviewing Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Tuesday night. Other candidates for the Browns’ opening include Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone and Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien.
Kansas City Chiefs: As noted above, the Chiefs appear to be on the verge of landing former Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who interviewed with team on Wednesday. That meeting went so long – nine hours, according to the Kansas City Star – that Reid had to delay his scheduled visit to the west coast to meet with both the Cardinals and San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs have already talked with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who signed a two-year extension to remain with the Falcons, and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
Though the KC Star reports that current GM Scott Pioli sat in on the interview with Reid, CEO Clark Hunt is leading the search and has not committed to keeping Pioli with the franchise. If Reid is hired, the coach could push for the addition of Tom Heckert as GM. Heckert spent the last three seasons as GM of the Browns before he was fired earlier this week and spent nearly a decade in the Eagles’ personnel department where he worked closely with Reid.
Philadelphia Eagles: Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are competing against former Eagles president and current Browns CEO Joe Banner for the services of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Both clubs, as well as the Bills, are lining up interviews with Kelly, whose up-tempo, no-huddle offense caught the attention of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick who, as Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reported in October, adopted Kelly’s one-word play calls. The Eagles reportedly interviewed Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong on Wednesday night and have plans to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien’s name has been linked to the Eagles’ job, but that may be due more to O’Brien being interested in the NFL than the NFL being interested in O’Brien, who interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coaching vacancy last offseason.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are prioritizing their search for a GM, a which is being conducted by team president Dean Spanos with the aide of consultant Ron Wolf. Thus far, the team has interviewed its current director of player personnel Jimmy Raye and are also expected to meet with San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gable, Indianapolis Colts vice president of football operations Tom Telesco, Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell and Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Steve Keim.
As for the head coach, the Chargers have long been linked to former Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who is from Southern California. The Chargers were thought to be heading in a direction other than Reid, but multiple reporters for NFL.com report that the Chargers and Reid will meet over the weekend. Of course, that could be a not-so-subtle way to get the Chiefs to make a substantial offer to Reid in order to cancel that interview. Another name linked to the Chargers’ job is Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who did a phenomenal job this season as an interim head coach while Chuck Pagano received treatment for leukemia.