Last week, SportsLine oddsmakers listed Detroit's Matt Patricia as the clear-cut -250 favorite to be the next NFL head coach fired, and we projected that Patricia was going to be a goner if the Lions were embarrassed at home on Thanksgiving by the Houston Texans. That's precisely what happened, and principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp canned Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will be the team's interim head coach, but he's not considered a top candidate for the full-time gig. SportsLine offers odds on whom the team's head coach will be to start next season.
There's no question whom most Lions fans want first and foremost: Current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. He wouldn't even have to move from Ann Arbor, which is only about 40 miles from Ford Field in downtown Detroit.
Harbaugh has one year left on his contract, which is extremely unusual in that top head coaches like him don't go into a lame-duck year like 2021 would be if he doesn't get an extension. There have been plenty of rumors that Harbaugh and Michigan will agree to mutually part after this hugely disappointing season. Jets ownership is known to covet Harbaugh. Maybe the Bears owners, too.
49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh would make plenty of sense as the 41-year-old is from Dearborn, Mich. (suburb of Detroit), still has family in the area, grew up a Lions fan, played collegiately at Northern Michigan and coached at both Michigan State and Central Michigan. Perhaps the one thing working against Saleh is that he's a defensive coordinator and the Lions may not want to go in that direction because Patricia was a former DC in New England.
Some in the media have speculated that Saleh could bring Adam Peters with him to be the new GM – Peters is the current vice president of personnel for the Niners.
Probably every team that has a head coaching opening this offseason will want to talk to Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who is the hottest coordinator candidate out there. He could be intrigued by working with QB Matthew Stafford and young running back D'Andre Swift.
Other NFL offensive coordinators who could be considered are Buffalo's Brian Daboll, Baltimore's Greg Roman, Dallas' Kellen Moore, Carolina's Joe Brady, Tampa Bay's Byron Leftwich, Tennessee's Arthur Smith and New England's Josh McDaniels, although it seems doubtful the Lions would go after another former Patriots coordinator. Daboll is from neighboring Ontario and worked as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1998.
Could the Ford Family take a big swing and try for another big-name college coach if Harbaugh says no? Look at what Florida's Dan Mullen has done with Kyle Trask. The stock of Iowa State's Matt Campbell has never been higher. Would Lincoln Riley be ready to leave Oklahoma? How about Urban Meyer? He grew up close to Detroit in Toledo, Ohio, but seems more likely to take the University of Texas job if he leaves TV.
Bevell is on this list as he said Monday that team president Rod Wood told him he could become a candidate for the full-time job, but Bevell knows the next "five weeks are going to be telling."
Detroit is a 3-point dog in Chicago on Sunday via the William Hill Sportsbook NFL odds.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Favorites to be next full-time Lions head coach
- Robert Saleh +500
- Jim Harbaugh +600
- Eric Bieniemy +700
- Brian Daboll +900
- Matt Campbell +1200
- Darrell Bevell +1300
- Joe Brady +1500
- Arthur Smith +1600
- Dan Mullen +1800
- Urban Meyer +2000
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