Top 5 Candidates for Lions Head Coaching Job

Eric Bieniemy

Getty Eric Bieniemy after a big win by the Chiefs.

The Detroit Lions face a long road ahead as they plot what to do following a huge weekend shakeup in the front office and with the coaching staff.

There’s a long way to go before the Lions hire a coach, and plenty of names will come and go in the process as it plods along in the coming weeks and months. Detroit will likely have to hire a general manager before a coach, but there still hasn’t been a better time than the present to consider who the next boss might be in the Motor City.

As it stands now, which names are the top names for the Lions to remember? Here’s a look at the early list.

Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs’ Offensive Coordinator

There’s no question that Bieniemy is going to be one of the most coveted candidates this offseason and arguably the coach who gets the most love on the open market this offseason. Why does Bieniemy make sense for the Lions? He’s the top offensive mind on the market and the Lions are coming off an experiment with a defensive minded head coach. In the event the Lions want to keep Matthew Stafford, Bieniemy could be a great mind to help him over to the next level. Should the Lions start over at quarterback, he could help in that discussion as well. He fits both the rebuild and win now approach, which is what the Lions could be looking to mesh in the next few years.

Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers’ Defensive Coordinator

There’s no doubting the passionate Saleh is a great option for the Lions considering his ability to command a room and also given the fact that he’s a Michigan native and grew up a fan of the team. This almost makes too much sense from that standpoint, and it would be interesting to pair Saleh with a general manager he would be familiar with in Ed Dodds. Expect Saleh to be a big name on the list for the Lions and very high moving forward once the decisions are made about who leads the team up top.

Arthur Smith, Tennessee Titans’ Offensive Coordinator

A big reason for the resurgence of the Titans the last few seasons has been Smith, the man who has risen through the ranks to become the team’s offensive coordinator. The Titans play smash mouth football with the run game, are physical up front and use a great down field passing game. Smith has won with Ryan Tannehill, so it’s more than possible that the Detroit personnel could fit him and his style like a glove. This would be an interesting hire given the Lions strengths as well as Smith’s own personal strengths as a coach and coordinator.

Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts’ Defensive Coordinator

For the last several years, Eberflus has looked like a rising star in the coaching ranks, and Detroit saw firsthand how swarming and tough his defense can be in 2020. Eberflus has been the reason the Colts have looked like a transformed team the last few seasons leading one of the best groups around this year statistically, and as a result, he’s going to get plenty of coaching consideration this season. Will Detroit trust another defensive minded boss? That’s hard to say, but the personality of Eberflus could be just different enough that it would work better than Matt Patricia. That’s especially true if he’s paired with a general manager he’s comfortable with.

Kevin O’Connell, Los Angeles Rams’ Offensive Coordinator

O’Connell, a former backup quarterback, is looked at as perhaps another Sean McVay in the making given the work he has done in Los Angeles. Getting O’Connell in for an interview to gage what he’s learned from the Rams and if he can be the next offensive boss to take on a job and become the next big thing. Whether the Lions stick with Matthew Stafford or not, someone like O’Connell could be an ideal match for the team in terms of re-shifting their approach and being able to maximize their offensive potential.

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