Two Names Heavily Favored To Be Detroit Lions Head Coach Next Season

December 22, 2020

The Detroit Lions have had a hard time finding the right head coach in recent years. Things seemed to be trending upward under Jim Caldwell, but ownership grew impatient after four seasons.

There were high hopes for Matt Patricia when he came over from the Patriots. But he was cut loose once the team fell to 4-7 this season (his third year). 

In their first game under interim head coach Darrell Bevell, Detroit looked a lot better. They actually recorded a win (34-30 over the Bears). But then the last two games have not been that great, making his chances bleak. 

So—who is going to be next?

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The job may not be the most appealing compared to some of the other available ones. But when it comes down to it, a head coaching job in the NFL is a head coaching job in the NFL. A worthwhile candidate is going to want the job.

But who?

Local lawmakers have encouraged the team to hire San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. All the team has said, though, is that it will be casting a wide net in its search, including coaches at the collegiate and NFL level.

With great candidates at both levels of the game, the Lions front office will have its work cut out for it.

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Who Are Considered Some of the Detroit Lions’ Top Choices?

Saleh is a great choice for the Detroit Lions and one of two favorites, according to the oddsmakers at FanDuel (+200). He has done a tremendous job turning the 49ers defense into one of the more formidable units in the league (when healthy).

The Lions defense does need a lot of help, which he could give.

However, in today’s NFL, it is easier to win games and get fans excited with a better offense. It may make more sense if the Lions go for more of an offensive-minded coach or a former head coach.

Current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is the other favorite at FanDuel (+200) even though he is still employed. He was a defensive-minded coach in college and the NFL, but his teams always had good offenses as well. The Lions may like how he had the Packers number when he coached the 49ers.

But he still has a job right now. Fans and the media may think Michigan should part ways with him. However, there has been no indication from the university or Harbaugh that they will part ways anytime soon.  

Neither ‘favorite’ looks like a great choice, but there are quite a few promising candidates out there.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (+700) is going to be in demand this year. But he will not be available for interviews for a couple of months. If the Lions wait and he signs with someone else instead, they will miss out on the other top candidates.

Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith (+1100) has been discussed as a potential head coach candidate once the hiring cycle begins.  Darrell Bevell’s name (+1200) will be in the conversation. But if he goes 1-4 as the interim head coach, he will not get the job.

With the job Brian Daboll (+1600) has done with the Buffalo Bill’s offense, he will be a popular head coach candidate this year.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich (+1600) has garnered some attention. But teams may want to see him get some more experience first.

From the college ranks, Lincoln Riley’s name (+1100) has come up in many conversations with the work he has done at Oklahoma. Other college coaches given odds are Dan Mullen (+1700), Matt Campbell (+2000), David Shaw (+2500), and Urban Meyer (+2100).

Dabo Swinney’s (+2600) name will come up. But it is hard to see him leaving Clemson for a reclamation project like the Lions.

So – Who Should You Bet On?

Betting Play: Arthur Smith to be the next head coach of the Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Lions are not going to want a head coach that will need time to acclimate to the position. That rules out anyone in the college ranks. If the front office is smart, they are going to focus on offensive-minded coaches.

Improving the offense is the quickest way to make the team more exciting, if not more competitive. That means the defensive coordinators are out.

Eric Bieniemy is going to be the hottest name in every head coaching search. But he is more likely to end up in Houston with a quarterback like Deshaun Watson than Matthew Stafford.

The top candidates will be Arthur Smith, Brian Daboll, Joe Brady (+1400), and Byron Leftwich.

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