You know, when you fire your head coach it can be kind of like dumping your significant other. You know it’s the right move, and you’re ready to go and find a new mate. (OK maybe you also want to be single for a while first but that doesn’t really work for this metaphor, so shut up.) You gussy yourself up, you hit the singles market, and begin searching around.
Then, inevitably, you begin to realize you’re not the only single person out there. Suddenly you begin to judge yourself against those others also looking for a mate. You hit the gym and work on your tan, you double-check your wardrobe, maybe get a new haircut. Because YOU MUST BE THE MOST DESIRABLE SINGLE OUT THERE!
The Vikings are hitting that stage right about now. We’re not the only dude trolling the club for chicks. (Hey, I’m a guy, so that’s the angle I’m writing from. That said, I actually hate clubs.) We’re in competition for our new soul mate, and that competition consists of the Texans, Redskins, Lions, Browns, and the Buccaneers. But it gets worse. We kinda let ourselves go- we’re a bit pasty, our hair is totally out of style, our clothes haven’t been updated since the mid 2000’s, and our midsection… well, she ain’t what she used to be.
OK OK enough of the metaphor. Here’s how I see the various teams in the hunt for a new head coach ranking in terms of ‘desirability’- that is, a place where a coach with options would WANT to land: Texans, Lions, Redskins, Browns, Vikings, Buccaneers. That’s right, we’re second from bottom. The Texans have the #1 overall draft pick; that’s always huge for a head coach, and to me it warrants them being atop the list. They have other very good pieces too, in terms of Andre Johnson and JJ Watt (amongst others). Couple all that with the head start they got on the search, and I feel Texans land whomever they want- be it indeed Bill O’Brien or someone else.
The Lions and Redskins both have solid quarterbacks already in place. Sometimes head coaches want “their own guy” but I think the vast majority would be just fine rolling with Matthew Stafford and Robert Griffin III. The Lions lead that head-to-head however by two virtues: having a MUCH better defense, and also actually having a first round draft pick. The Browns may not have a quarterback or the first overall pick, but they do have two first round draft picks, and they could probably be leveraged to move up and nab someone if they wanted- or, they could roll with Brian Hoyer/ someone else and use those two picks to beef up whatever other positions they wanted. Again, muy attractive-o to an incoming head coach.
The Buccaneers are the only team less desirable than us, in my opinion, because they bring very little to the table that we don’t, and they are missing a few things we have. Granted, you MIGHT think Glennon could be their QBOTF- something we absolutely do NOT have on our roster- but I doubt too many are going to be that hyped about him. They may have Darrelle Revis, Vincent Jackson, et al, but we in turn have Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Brian Robison, and a slew of recent first round picks on our roster who have all shown that they can be centerpieces to a new team in every phase of the game. I just don’t think the Bucs really have a roster that can boast that as fully as we do.
What hurts us is the absolute lack of an answer at quarterback. And there’s no two ways around that. At the LEAST the Browns can say “well Brian Hoyer looked OK, maybe he deserves another shot!”. Who do we have that we can even come close to saying that about? Matt Cassel? Yeah, no. Josh Freeman? Dude’s gone regardless but it would be a ‘no’ again anyways. Christian Ponder? //falls over laughing hysterically//
Rick Spielman has his work cut out for him. Honestly, if you ask me, that would explain why he emphasized a long coaching search- not just to be thorough, but I’m sure he’s realized this predicament as well and knows it won’t happen tomorrow. The question of course comes down to this- are there five or six NFL quality head coaching candidates out there? My gut says no. There is easily a list of around 10 candidates one could put together, but several of them might not be interested regardless (commentators like Jon Gruden [who F you if you think is a good idea anyways] and college coaches like Les Miles [LOL just kidding… oh now I made myself sad] might not want to leave their current jobs for any NFL team), and several more might be busts. Don’t forget, many of us were excited for Leslie Frazier when he came aboard. Sometimes you miss, plain and simple.
The only positive I truly feel we have going in this regard is- and stay with me here- Rick Spielman. Why? It’s not because he’s a HC scouting guru, it’s because his very job depends on this. Granted you can say the same of other teams on this list and their respective GMs, but desperation to keep one’s job is a powerful motivator, and I’m hoping it leads to him making an amazing selection and sales pitch. Chances are good Spielman might have to say that his intention is to sell the farm and do whatever it takes to move up as high as possible to land a very good QB. (Who? Dunno. Won’t be Bridgewater, he’s a Texan, bet on that.) He’ll likely have to offer the incoming guy a chance to confer with him about who that QB will be, which is fine by me because he proved he needs help after the Ponder fiasco.
Maybe we can point out that we’re not as in strong of a need of a great QB because of Adrian Peterson (hell, he got us to the playoffs with Christian Ponder behind center), but I’m betting most coaching candidates will still see the star RB’s age and not be too swayed. Maybe we can argue that a new defensive scheme and a strong draft in that department can create a shutdown D that can work well with a weaker QB. Maybe Greg Jennings can hook the guy up with a lifetime supply of Old Spice.
Whatever it is we do, we have our work cut out for us, folks. Because no two ways around it, we’re not the best hunk in the club, and the lights are awfully dim- we gotta be reeeeal careful about who we pick up before we take her out into the light.