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Tag:Bruce Arians
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:17 pm
 

Arians retired after not getting new contract

Yes, Bruce Arians retired but only after Pittsburgh didn't offer him a new contract. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

First, there was speculation that Bruce Arians might not return as the Steelers' offensive coordinator. Then the word on the street was that he would retire. A day later, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that he would've been fired if he didn't leave.

Today, we finally hear from Arians, who spoke to the York Daily Record (Pa.) about his final days with the organization. He said he retired when he "wasn't offered a contract." After that, "it was an easy decision for me."

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Arians added that team president Art Rooney II didn't give him a reason. "I can't answer that question," he said. "Only the people there can. That's the business. I know the job we did as a staff. I don't have any regrets."

Arians was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007, head coach Mike Tomlin's first year with the Steelers. In four of five seasons, Pittsburgh was a top-10 offense, according to Football Outsiders (and the only year they weren't, 2008, they won the Super Bowl). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger flourished under Arians, but the Steelers got away from what they had previously been known for: running the ball.

Last week, Rooney was asked if he wanted Arians back in 2012.

“Well, that’s really Mike (Tomlin's) decision," he told KDKA's Bob Pompeani. "I mean, and that’s the process Mike’s involved in right now is talking to all of the coaches about where they are and where they are with their contracts, so I think that’s something – I’ll leave it to those guys to kind of work out where we’re going on that front.”

Rooney was also asked about the perception that Roethlisberger and Arians' had more a "father-son relationship instead of a boss-employer relationship." (No idea why this matters but apparently it does.)

“Well, I think first you have to look at the success that they’ve had," he said. "With Bruce and Ben, we’ve had a pretty good run here, so I’m not sure that I would complain too much about what the relationship has been and it’s been a productive one and that’s the key part of the puzzle.”

It was Roethlisberger who helped save Arians' job several years ago when there were first discussions of letting him ago. Big Ben reportedly tried again this time with no success.

"He's not happy," Arians said, "but that's part of the business."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac wrote over the weekend that the decision to part ways with Arians seemed to come from Rooney, and Tomlin told Arians several times that he wanted him back in 2012.

Arians told the Daily Record that he has already been contacted by five or six teams but didn't go into specifics.

The most obvious choice? Steelers West: the Arizona Cardinals. CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Craig Morton writes that "Arians does have Steelers ties to multiple Cards coaches (including Ken Whisenhunt, Russ Grimm, Ray Horton and former Steelers player-turned-assistant Deshea Townsend). Arizona has a vacant QBs coach position."

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Posted on: January 21, 2012 7:29 pm
 

Report: Bruce Arians was set to be fired

Bruce Arians would not have been retained (Getty).

By Josh Katzowitz

Before Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians retired, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters in a postseason presser that he wanted both of his coordinators to return in 2012. Arians, in fact, told people he would be back next season. That obviously won’t happen now that Arians isn’t returning.

But the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has some interesting insight into what forced Arians to make that call. According to the paper, the organization was not going to renew Arians’ contract, and in essence, was going to fire him without officially having to fire him.

“That decision,” writes reporter Gerry Dulac, “appears to have come from team president Art Rooney II, even though coach Mike Tomlin told Arians several times since the playoff loss in Denver that he wanted him to return next season.”

Now, it appears Tomlin was overruled by his boss.

The only statement released by the Steelers on the matter was this one paragraph from Tomlin:

“Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching. I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

That’s it. No quotes from Arians. No quotes from Rooney.

On the face of it, that statement leans more toward dismissal than a happy retirement. And considering that Arians wasn’t popular with the fanbase, though he put together a more-than-solid offense this season and though Ben Roethlisberger has helped save his job in the past, the Post Gazette opines, “Apparently, the Steelers hierarchy agreed with many of his detractors.”

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: January 20, 2012 12:28 pm
 

Steelers OC Bruce Arians retires

AriansBy Josh Katzowitz

We told you a couple days ago that although Steelers coach Mike Tomlin originally said he expected offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to return for the 2012 season, Arianw was thinking about retiring.

The decision has been made, and Arians has told Tomlin that he, in fact, will retire.

“Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching,” Tomlin said in a statement released by the team. “I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

Though he wasn't well-liked among part of the Steelers fan base -- truly, though, that's not unusual for any NFL offensive coordinator -- Arians had success in Pittsburgh, helping transform the run-heavy organization into more of a passing squad.

The unit has rarely been inside the top-10 in NFL offenses since Arian took over in 2007 (the Steelers continue to be an annual playoff team because their defense is always one of the best around), but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger trusted in Arians.

"If he were, I don't want to say 'allowed,' but his preference would be to throw the ball more, use the weapons we have and throw it," Roethlisberger said last April. "Mine's the same way.

"But we both think the same in the no-huddle, that we call a lot more runs because we know that's what we're supposed to do. And I don't know if that's 'supposed to' from the fans, the media, the owner, who knows? But it's just a feeling that you have that we better run the ball some. So we do think alike in a lot of those ways."

But Pittsburgh Post Gazette columnist Bob Smizik wrote last week that a change needed to be made. Somebody who was less buddy-buddy with Roethlisberger or more like somebody who could get the most out of him.

"They need a coach with a different mentality -- not necessarily in philosophy, but in style -- than Arians," Smizik wrote. "They need someone to come in, take over and show Roethlisberger there’s a different way, a better way to play quarterback."

So, what happens now? Obviously, there's a high-profile NFL offensive coordinator job open that will likely entice much interest around the league. While there was speculation that running backs Kirby Wilson -- who's still in critical condition after being badly burned in a house fire -- was the next in line to take over that job, Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder writes that the team most likely will look outside the organization for a replacement.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:32 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 9:38 pm
 

Report: Arians might not return to PIT in '12

Bruce Arians might not return to Pittsburgh next season (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

Bruce Arians has a healthy core of Steelers fans who want to see the Pittsburgh offensive coordinator leave their fair city behind. This bit of news, then, might take away part of the sting endured when the Broncos upset the Steelers in the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette writes that Arians might not return for the 2012 season. It’s unclear whether Arians would be forced out of his position since his contract is expiring or if he simply would voluntarily retire.

The latter might be more likely. Arians was thinking about retiring after last season, in part because of health issues. Coach Mike Tomlin said last week that Arians and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau would return next season, so it doesn't sound like Tomlin was displeased with him.

Arians has been Tomlin’s offensive coordinator the past four seasons, and for the last three years, the team hasn’t ranked lower than the 14th-best offense in the league (including a No. 7 ranking in 2009). Under Arian’s leadership, the Steelers have transformed from a run-first squad into a team that tries to take advantage of Ben Roethlisberger’s abilities in the pass game.

"If he were, I don't want to say 'allowed,' but his preference would be to throw the ball more, use the weapons we have and throw it," Roethlisberger said last April. "Mine's the same way.

"But we both think the same in the no-huddle, that we call a lot more runs because we know that's what we're supposed to do. And I don't know if that's 'supposed to' from the fans, the media, the owner, who knows? But it's just a feeling that you have that we better run the ball some. So we do think alike in a lot of those ways."

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:00 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 1:13 pm
 

Latest coaching rumors, news (Week 3)

Black Monday, part III

By Josh Katzowitz

Coaching news and rumors don't slow down just because there's football. If you missed all of last week's action, hit it here to catch up on Black Monday, week one and Black Monday, week two and then scroll down. Make sure to bookmark this page as we'll be updating it throughout the week with the latest news and rumors.

FRIDAY
12:30 p.m. ET
  • Looks like the speculation concering Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was true. He told Mike Tomlin he will retire.
THURSDAY
11:50 p.m. ET
  • Ah, the old switcharoo. Now that Steve Spagnuolo has taken the Saints offensive coordinator job, the circle is complete. He replaces former New Orleans offensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who left to take the Rams offensive coordinator job to work for Jeff Fisher, who replaced Spagnuolo as head coach. What does it all mean? Nothing, except the NFL is a crazy business.
10:55 a.m. ET
  • Although it appears that former Chiefs coach Todd Haley wants to coach in Arizona and that the Cardinals want Haley to coach for them, the Arizona Republic reports the two sides are having a difficult time making that happen. There's an open spot for a quarterback coach, but it sounds like Haley wants more responsibility than that.

WEDNESDAY
9:40 p.m. ET
  • After firing Jim Caldwell, the Colts have begun to prowl for their next head coach. First on the agenda: Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael.
  • There is now a question whether Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will return to Pittsburgh next season. His contract is up, and it sounds like he might decide to retire from the game.
7:30 p.m. ET
  • Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, one of about 300 candidates for the Raiders head coaching position, has decided to decline his chance to interview with Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie, according to the Denver Post. McKenzie seemingly will still interview Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.
  • As the Tennessean reports, Mike Reinfeldt has been promoted to senior executive vice president/chief operating officer and moved Ruston Webster to general manager.
TUESDAY
10:40 p.m. ET
  • Though it's been thought that Packers assistant head coach Winston Moss has a good shot to land the Raiders job, Oakland will interview at least four more candidates. That includes Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Bears defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.
  • As Rapid Reporter Dan McLellan writes, Chargers offensive line coach Hal Hunter has been named San Diego's new offensive coordinator. “Hal has been an important part of our offense since I’ve been here,” coach Norv Turner said. “He has a complete understanding of what we want to do in the run and the pass.”
7:45 p.m. ET
  • One defensive coordinator domino has been knocked down as the Falcons have hired Mike Nolan to replace the departed Brian Van Gorder. Which could open up Steve Spagnuolo heading to New Orleans to replace Gregg Williams as Saints defensive coordinator.
  • According to the Florida Times-Union, former University of Florida and University of Illinois head coach Ron Zook will interview Wednesday for the Jaguars special teams coach.

5:30 p.m. ET

  • The Dolphins are down to three head coaching candidates -- Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, Miami interim coach Todd Bowles and Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. You can now eliminate Mike Zimmer and Dave Toub from consideration.

MONDAY

5:15 p.m. ET

3:50 p.m. ET

  • Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has made the lateral move to become the defensive coordinator for Jeff Fisher in St. Louis. Yep, it'll be a good old fashioned Titans reunion party in St. Louis

11:30 a.m. ET

  • Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy did such a good job with a Tim Tebow-led offense that he'll be interviewed by the Dolphins for their head coaching job.

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:32 am
 

Film Room: Broncos vs. Steelers wild-card preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


It hardly seems fair that a 12-win team has to go on the road to face an eight-win team, but the NFL’s playoff seeding system is designed to reward division champions. That includes the rare division champion that enters the postseason on a three-game losing streak.

Here’s a breakdown of what many expect to be a massacre.


1. Broncos offense has no prayer
We covered everything there is to know about the Broncos’ offense last week in preparation for their Week 17 bout with the Chiefs. Nothing has changed. It’s clear that press-man coverage can overwhelm Denver’s passing attack, as the receivers don’t have the quickness to separate and Tim Tebow doesn’t have the mechanics, timing or confidence to fit balls into tight windows.

It’s rare to see the zone-based Steelers play press-man coverage, though they did so with great success against the Patriots in Week 8. Usually, shutdown corner Ike Taylor (yes, SHUTDOWN corner) plays press coverage against the opposing team’s top wideout (in this case, Demaryius Thomas), while William Gay, Keenan Lewis and/or Bryant McFadden play a variation of zone on the other side.

If Dick LeBeau wants to bait Tebow into interceptions, the Steelers may still stick with their traditional approach:

This shot from Super Bowl XLV illustrates the Steelers’ traditional approach to coverage: Ike Taylor playing press-man against the opposing team’s top receiver (Greg Jennings) on one side, with the rest of the secondary playing zone on the other (you can tell it’s zone by how cornerback Bryant McFadden is lined up off the line and with his body open slightly towards the inside).

The Broncos don’t have a threatening tight end, so Tebow would be throwing into heavy zones against athletic corners. If LeBeau wants to pressure Tebow with James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley and bait him into the usual slew of incompletions, he can play man-to-man. Whatever LeBeau chooses will work; we’re talking about the league’s top-ranked pass defense against the league’s most inept passing quarterback.

Lately, Denver’s read-option run game has still produced yardage, though only because of the high volume of carries. If the Broncos couldn’t muster more than three points by running against Kansas City’s 3-4, they can’t be expected to muster ANY points running against Pittsburgh’s.

A key to Denver’s run game is getting offensive linemen clean to inside linebackers. No three-man defensive line does a better job at protecting its inside linebackers than Pittsburgh’s. That’s why Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior are able to play with their ears pinned back.

2. A roll of the dice
Because it feels a little too simplistic to declare the Broncos’ chances at moving the ball to be zero (even if they are), we’ll use this section to present creative ideas for how the Broncos might – MIGHT – manage to muster a semblance of offense on Sunday.

The first idea is to just throw deep and hope luck tilts your way (a cornerback falls down, a ref calls pass interference, two Steelers collide while going after the same easy interception, etc.). Don’t count on Denver doing this, though. It goes against everything John Fox has stood for since turning to Tebow, and it also requires that, you know, Tebow actually throw downfield accurately.

Another idea is to draw up trick plays. Lots of trick plays. Problem is, a defense as experienced and disciplined as Pittsburgh’s is not going to bite. You might make chance-taker Troy Polamalu pay for a gamble once or twice, but more likely he’ll make YOU pay even more for YOUR gamble.

A third (and stronger) idea is to run the ball outside. In the past, outside running was guaranteed to fail against the Steelers. This season, however, Timmons and Farrior have not been as sharp in lateral run defense. That’s why Pittsburgh has struggled a bit against zone teams. The Broncos no longer have a zone run game (it left shortly after Shanahan departed), but it might not be crazy to hastily install one given that their usual approach will not work anyway.

Denver’s lack of running back speed is an issue here, but again: their usual approach will not work anyway!

3. Pittsburgh’s passing attack
As lopsided as this matchup seems, the final score could be tight given that Pittsburgh’s offense might have trouble against John Fox’s and Dennis Allen’s defense. Don’t be surprised if the Steelers come out throwing in an effort to build a quick lead that forces the Broncos to go to the air early.
 
Against the Browns last week, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians chose to spread the field with 3 x 2 empty backfield sets on passing downs. This may have been to get the ball out quickly so that Ben Roethlisberger would not have to make plays on his bum ankle. Though Roethlisberger has gotten much better in his presnap reads and sudden decision making, his natural inclination is still to extend the play. Thus, Big Ben still held the ball plenty long last week.

He won’t be able to do that this week, though – not under the same gameplan, anyway. Offensive tackles Max Starks and Marcus Gilbert may have been be able to handle Browns defensive ends Jayme Mitchell and Jabaal Sheard on an island (Sheard just barely, actually), but they won’t have a snowball’s chance against Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller.

If Roethlisberger is to buy time for his receivers downfield, his offensive tackles will need running backs and tight ends to chip-block, if not stay in completely and double-team. Something else to keep in mind: Miller, D.J. Williams and Brian Dawkins all excel as inside blitzers. Blitz pickup is an area in which the Steelers interior line, particularly left guard Chris Kemoeatu, struggles.

Brown's emerged as one of Pittsburgh's best receiving options. (Getty Images)

4. The passing matchups
Even though protection could be a problem, it’s possible the Steelers will still spread the field and let Roethlisberger run around and make plays. We’ve seen them before give up piles of sacks this way but make up for it with big plays.

The Broncos have a good secondary now that undrafted rookie Chris Harris has blossomed at nickel corner, but they’re thin and inexperienced at safety and vulnerable with Jonathan Wilhite at dime corner.

If the Broncos decide to eliminate Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh’s new No. 1 receiver) with Champ Bailey, there will be big-play opportunities for Mike Wallace against the limited-ranged safeties. If Bailey defends Wallace, Andre Goodman can spar with Brown but probably not for as long as Roethlisberger can extend the play. Chris Harris will be tested by Emmanuel Sanders’ speed, and Wilhite will have fits trying to defend Jerricho Cotchery underneath.

As much as the Broncos might like their secondary, they can’t expect it to be the league’s first unit that sustains coverage against the Steelers’ prolonged improvisational plays. Thus, when the Broncos do blitz, don’t be surprised if they bring the kitchen sink to ensure that Roethlisberger goes down or throws hot.

5. Steelers run game
Rashard Mendenhall will be missed, but the Steelers can tread water with Isaac Redman. The third-year running back doesn’t have Mendenhall’s corner-turning speed and acceleration, but in confined areas he shows looser hips than you’d guess. Where Pittsburgh’s backfield woes will really show up is in the pass game. Mewelde Moore’s absence (foot injury) leaves them without a prominent openfield dumpoff receiver.

But this is a relatively minor issue. The primary job of the Steelers’ backfield is to pound the rock when called upon, which Redman and straight-line back John Clay are capable of doing. Also, Pittsburgh’s offensive line, especially with the superb pull-blocking skills of Kemoeatu, is capable of moving the pile down the stretch.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the wild-card games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:56 am
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Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:58 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Potential head coaches

Zimmer (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s getting to be about that time. Christmas? Yes, of course. Hannukah? Naturally. Festivus? It depends on your syndicated TV viewing habits. The carousel of coaches who are fired and hired, changing the courses of several franchises for the foreseeable future? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Personally, I hate to see any coach drawing the pink slip, but as Bum Phillips once said, “There’s two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired." Jack Del Rio knows of what Phillips speaks -- he’s already been asked to vacate the Jaguars premises. And there will be plenty more firings to come.

As colleague Will Brinson pointed out in this week’s Sorting the Sunday Pile, at least seven coaches (Steve Spagnuolo, Andy Reid, Jim Caldwell, Raheem Morris, Tony Sparano, Todd Haley and Norv Turner) are on the hot seat, and that means there’s a strong possibility a whole mess of new coaches will be needed. Like last year, when I presented my list of potential coaches*, many of the candidates are career assistants who have never had a chance at a head coaching slot. Some you’ve seen in this role before. All, though, deserve a chance --- or another chance -- to run a team of their own. And who knows, maybe they’d be the one to turn around a franchise in need of a jump-start.

*Only two from last year’s list made it this list (Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer), and with Leslie Frazier, Jim Harbaugh and John Fox in new jobs, I’ve also dropped candidates like Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron from consideration.

10. Bruce Arians: I had Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the list last year, though I figured that’s not going to happen at this point, but why shouldn’t teams take a look at Arians, Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator? He was the head coach at Temple in the 1980s -- his record is an unshiny 21-45 -- but the paradigm shift made by the team since he’s been offensive coordinator is impressive. The Steelers are no longer a smashmouth, pound-the-rock offense. No, with Ben Roethlisberger and a trio of talented young receivers, the Steelers have entered the 21st century with their offense. There was talk Arians was a contender for the Ole Miss job, and it sounds like these people also would be rooting for Arians to get a head coaching job.

9. Joe DeCamillis: Before you say, “Why in the hell would you hire a special teams coach to be your head coach?” remember that John Harbaugh followed a similar path -- he spent nine years as the Eagles special teams coach and didn’t spend one second as a coordinator -- and it seems to have worked out OK for the Ravens. Plus, as CBSSports.com Pete Prisco said in a recent chat, DeCamillis, the Cowboys special teams ace, is organized and passionate. And if Prisco says he’s OK, it must be true.

8. Rob Chudzinski: He hasn’t spent much time as an NFL offensive coordinator, but he’s performed his finest work this year. Sure, he has some talent on his hands (Cam Newton and Steve Smith, obviously), but the work he’s done with Newton this season has been impressive. It’s difficult to remember this now, but Newton was considered a raw specimen with only one year of major college football before the Panthers took him No. 1 in the draft. But with Chudzinski’s help, Newton oftentimes plays amazing football for a rookie. It’s doubtful anybody will take a chance on Chudzinski at this point, but he’s one to keep an eye on in the future.

7. Chuck Pagano: While the Ravens offense has been in a state of flux this season, there’s little question about the effectiveness of Baltimore’s defense, which is ranked third in the league in points allowed and yards. Pagano is only in his first season as a coordinator, taking over this season for Greg Mattison, but the Ravens have been more effective this year (they were 10th in the league in yards in 2010). Pagano might need more seasoning, but he’s a guy who could ride Baltimore’s wave, particularly if the Ravens go deep into the playoffs, into a possible new job.

6. Brian Billick: There are plenty of reasons not to hire Billick. Like he said recently, he’s not young and he’s not cheap. But if you’re not necessarily looking to hire somebody for the next three decades and you have some money to spend, why wouldn’t you take a look at Billick? Yes, he’s pompous (though very good while being interviewed, and I like him on the NFL Network), but he’s also confident in his abilities. As well he should be. In nine years in Baltimore, he went 80-64, and you might remember that he won a Super Bowl title. It would take a special owner to turn to Billick, but I think it could be a very good choice.

5. Wade Phillips: The job Phillips has done in Houston this year has convinced me that Phillips deserves another chance at a head coaching job. Obviously, things didn’t end well in Dallas -- do they ever with Jerry Jones, though? -- but did you know he has a better winning percentage (.573) than Jeff Fisher (.542) and Brian Billick (.556)? And that in his nine full seasons as a head coach, he only had one losing record? There’s no doubt that Phillips knows what he’s doing as a defensive coordinator, and we know Phillips can win as a head coach as well. He’s deserving of another chance.
Ryan
4. Rob Ryan: This is what I wrote last year: “We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns (now Cowboys) defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?” Indeed Josh from 2010, it would be pretty awesome.

3. Russ Grimm: He was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year as a player. Now he deserves his own team to run. He was nearly selected to follow Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh -- and some believe he was offered the job before the Steelers rescinded the offer and gave it to Mike Tomlin -- and for now, Grimm is an assistant head coach to Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona. You’d think Grimm would get his chance eventually, but he has to wonder how much longer he’ll have to wait.

2. Jeff Fisher: If you were going to hire a former head coach and you had an infinite amount of money to woo even the most resistant of people, you might go with Bill Cowher as the first choice. But my second choice probably would be Fisher. For 17 seasons with the Oilers/Titans, he recorded a 142-120 record, and he came ever so close to a Super Bowl victory. Aside from Cowher, I’m not sure there’s another former head coach out there that would command as much instant respect as Fisher.

1. Mike Zimmer: After a one-year slip-up, when the team was ranked 24th in the NFL in points allowed, the Bengals, once again, are one of the top units in the league. This, even after losing top cornerback Johnathan Joseph to the Texans and after failing to re-sign starting linebacker Dhani Jones. Zimmer has received effective play from youngsters Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, and though there are no legit stars on defense, somehow Zimmer keeps making the case why somebody (anybody?!?) should give him a job. It’s time for Zimmer to have his shot.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com