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NFL head coaching searches: It may be too soon for Kris Richard, too late for Darrell Bevell

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Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

In the coming weeks, NFL head coaching jobs will come available and names to fill those positions will be thrown around both willy and nilly. Some will be baseless rumors, some will be serious and still never come to fruition, and both coordinators for the Seattle Seahawks (and possibly an assistant or two) will be among the rumors. But is now the right time for either? First, which coaches could get fired between now and early January?

Most obviously, it seems like a former Seahawks coordinator could be the first to go. Former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is a historically bad 14-45 in four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rather than showing a little improvement this year after going 5-11 a year ago, the Jags have gotten even worse and owner Shahid Khan may actually have run out of patience. I admire how long he stuck with the process but Jacksonville is terrible and need to start from scratch.

I don’t think that the Cleveland Browns are going to fire Hue Jackson after one season (it wouldn’t be the first time it happened to him) but it’s not like a potential 0-16 record can’t be discussed.

Marvin Smith has had a lot more time with the Cincinnati Bengals than Bradley’s had with the Jags and while he’s had some good regular seasons, there are still zero playoff wins. That won’t change this season with the Bengals at 3-7-1. What’s it going to take?

Speaking of one season, the San Francisco 49ers are 1-10 and Chip Kelly might prefer to go back to college (Oregon is available) rather than pursuing a long road with the 49ers, a team that needs a quarterback and a whole lot more.

The Chicago Bears are 2-9 and John Fox could potentially have gotten his last chance as an NFL head coach.

I though the Green Bay Packers should have moved on from Mike McCarthy a couple years ago after they lost to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game (really) and if they miss the playoffs this season, his time could come to an end and so too could that of GM Ted Thompson.

I also don’t see why the Indianapolis Colts are sticking with Chuck Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson but I still don’t think they’ll make any changes, shockingly.

It’s probably not Mike McCoy’s fault that the San Diego Chargers waited too long to sign Joey Bosa but that move will cost them a chance to make the playoffs and McCoy hasn’t produced anything significant during his time with the team.

The LA Rams seem to be holding steady with Jeff Fisher. That’s all I can say.

I was surprised that the Carolina Panthers didn’t fire Ron Rivera after the 2014 season and now they’re free-falling a year after losing the Super Bowl. This season has been a major disappointment and not changing direction with the players they have — even if it means keeping Rivera and firing the GM Dave Gettleman --- would be a new mistake.

I don’t know that I’d say there are any other possibilities barring something non-football like a scandal or health scare. I don’t think the Pittsburgh Steelers are going anywhere with Mike Tomlin but they won’t make a change there. So what does this all mean for Seattle?

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has had interviews in the past and a pretty good track record for rushing the ball between 2011-2015, plus helping Russell Wilson develop into a top-5 QB. There’s also the progress of receiver Doug Baldwin and some pretty innovative ways of scoring, even if there have been some duds lately. And that’s really the problem for Bevell now: The best time for him to get a job was probably after 2014 when the Seahawks were going to their second Super Bowl in as many seasons. Seattle’s running game is nonexistent, their offense inconsistent, the o-line a complete mess, the calls sometimes questionable. I am on Bevell’s side. There are plenty of #firebevell haters out there, but I’m not one of them. I think he’s a great coaching candidate for the Jags if they decide to stick with Blake Bortles or will start developing a new QB, or the Panthers, the Niners, the Bears, and maybe the Browns if they want someone to work with RGIII or a Deshaun Watson rookie type guy. Then there’s the Packers, who play in Bevell’s backyard there in Wisconsin. If I had to take a reach, I’d say that Bevell to Green Bay makes sense. However, I don’t know that this will be the year that Bevell gets his shot, that may have been two years ago.

Defensive coordinator Kris Richard has the Seahawks as the number one scoring defense for the fifth season in row (his second) and he now has nine years coaching under Pete Carroll. There’s no head coach candidate better suited to bring “Carroll Philosophy” to another organization than Richard, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But is it too soon? Richard is still only 37, and he has just two years as a d-coordinator. The defense is very good but not quite “elite” as it was in the past. I’m not sure that falls on him so much but let’s also not kid ourselves: the defense is really f%$^ing good. They just have a couple bad drives per game and the calls on third down seem ... wrong a bit too often. Another year in the job might be needed but Richard will probably get three or four interviews, I’m guessing. I can’t think of any team listed above that wouldn’t be interested. However, the LA native and USC alum might prefer the Rams if they came calling. That’s probably a dream of sorts and maybe a nightmare as a NFC West rival. Also coaching an NFL defensive juggernaut (historically) like Chicago might be a challenge he’d be interested in.

As far as assistants go, Tom Cable is someone you always have to talk about. I think he’s in line to keep things rolling for Seattle should the time come for Carroll to retire and is happy where he’s at even if fans loathe the idea. Cable has head coaching experience and has six years under Carroll as the assistant head coach. Going back to the Bay (previously coached the Oakland Raiders) with the 49ers or taking on the job at Carolina or Jacksonville could make some sense? He might get an interview, but I doubt there will be any noise there.

Also, teams looking for defensive coordinators like when the Raiders plucked Ken Norton from the Seahawks last year: Assistant Rocky Seto has been with Carroll since his first season at USC. That’s about 15 years. He’s been on defense with Seattle since 2010 so nobody knows it better than him. He got passed over for defensive coordinator in 2015 when Richard got the job but if Richard leaves now, it could be Seto’s time. I don’t think he’d leave Carroll for a defensive coordinator job somewhere else unless it was a really, really good opportunity. He’s 40, so he has lots of time to wait for a great job, but also he’s 40 and probably wants to finally run some sort of show on his own.

They could also hire Bradley to be the defensive coordinator for 2017.

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