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The NFL's annual coaching carousel is about to start spinning, with some coaches expecting to learn their fate following their season finales on Sunday. On average, six coaches are fired each year and league sources anticipate that to be the case again this year.
Houston has already fired coach Gary Kubiak, while several other clubs will be finalizing their decisions on their coaches, many by Monday. The Vikings began back channeling with coaching candidates -- Penn State's Bill O'Brien among them -- several weeks ago, and, having not extended Leslie Frazier a year ago and with him coaching out his option year, Frazier is widely expected to be let go. Several member of Detroit's staff expect major changes there, including coach Jim Schwartz being let go. Oakland is staring at another 4-12 year and owner Mark Davis explored other coaching options after Dennis Allen's first season with the Raiders and sources said the club has also done the same this year.
The Buccaneers began trying to take the temperature of A-list coaching candidates regarding their job back in November, according to league sources, and while Greg Schiano won a few games since then that team could be staring at a 4-12 record as well, and Schiano and GM Mark Dominik could end up elsewhere in 2014. Schiano, according to sources, has kept an eye on a possible return to college coaching, knowing he could be out in Tampa, as has Titans coach Mike Munchak, with that team under new management now and Munchak approached by Penn State in the past about an opening there.
And Redskins coach Mike Shanahan will finish last in the mediocre NFC East for the third time in four years and has clashed with players. His son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, has been a figure of division within the organization, sources said, and owner Dan Snyder must decide whether or not he would allow Shanahan to finish his contract, worth $7 million, with major staff changes, or just let him go. Several executives, approached about the situation in Washington, believe Snyder will be hiring a new head coach, but, as is the case in all of these scenarios, nothing has been conveyed to the staff to this point one way or the other.
In some cases, it's expected teams will continue to quietly reach out to potential candidates to gauge their ability to upgrade from their current coaches before going ahead and firing their current staffs. This is not viewed as a very deep year for coaching candidates, which could complicate certain scenarios where an owner would be inclined to make a move but could be stuck with a list of job prospects that underwhelms him.