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Insider

Top head coach candidates

12/31/2013

Black Monday brought four NFL head coach firings, as Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan were let go. They joined Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who had previously been let go.

As each of those six teams begin their searches for a new head coach, we take a regular look at the top candidates for each franchise:

Houston Texans

  • Bill O'Brien: Things can change quickly in NFL coaching searches -- remember when all signs pointed to Andy Reid joining the Arizona Cardinals before he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs? -- but ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen have pegged the Penn State coach as the "overwhelming favorite" to replace Kubiak at this point.

  • Lovie Smith: The former Chicago Bears head coach was the first to interview for the Texans' opening and could be a fallback option if things fall through with O'Brien.

  • Ken Whisenhunt: The San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator has ties to GM Rick Smith, but the Texans will have to wait to interview him, since the Chargers made the wild-card round of the playoffs. That means it's unlikely he will get into the mix.

Detroit Lions