Browns hire Mangini; who's next?
The first seat on the NFL's offseason coaching carousel was filled this afternoon when the Browns hired Eric Mangini. That leaves four vacancies the Lions, Broncos, Rams and Jets with potentially two more spots to open (Oakland and Kansas City).
Mangini apparently never made the Lions' short list of candidates, though even if he had it's doubtful the Ohio native would have opted for Detroit. Realistically, his hiring has little effect on the Lions' search.
The Lions have interviewed five candidates thus far with Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier (on Friday) and possibly Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey still to come this week. Four have significant defensive backgrounds (Steve Spagnuolo, Jim Schwartz, Todd Bowles and Jerry Gray), as do candidates Ron Rivera and Rex Ryan who won't meet with the Lions until after this weekend's playoff games if at all.
Mularkey and the other candidate to interview thus far, Dallas' Jason Garrett, are offensive coordinators with ties to adept defensive minds. Mularkey was head coach in Buffalo for two seasons with Gray as his defensive coordinator, and Garrett worked with former Panthers and Texans head coach Dom Capers in Miami.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who the Lions reportedly asked permission to speak with last week, was never contacted by the team, a league source said.
Though the Lions have several candidates in common with the Broncos (Spagnuolo, Frazier, Bowles and Garrett), Rams (Frazier, Ryan, Spagnuolo, Bowles), Jets (Spagnuolo, Rivera, Ryan) and potentially the Chiefs (Schwartz if Scott Pioli is hired as general manager), they don't appear to be in any rush to hire Rod Marinelli's replacement. According to the NFL Network, Schwartz is expected to get a second interview with the Lions, and, assuming the Titans win their playoff opener Sunday, that won't come until the week between the conference championship games and Super Bowl.
More likely, the Broncos or even the Jets make their pick next, while the thorough Lions continue to whittle down their list.