Bates one of the better head coach options

With the coaching carousel starting to turn, Joe Theismann takes a look at the top coordinators ready to move up.

Updated: December 8, 2005, 1:21 PM ET
By Joe Theismann | ESPN Insider
It's starting to get near the time when the coaching carousel starts up, as it does every season. Earlier this week we saw the firing of Detroit Lions' coach Steve Mariucci, and there surely will be other firings, either before the season is over or after.

I don't like speculating as to which teams will be looking for a new coach, because I think it puts too much pressure on a team and coaching staff when a coach is forced to start wondering about his job security because of mere speculation. That said, it is inevitable that some coaches will be either allowed to leave their positions or removed from them. In either case, I've put together a list of assistant coaches around the league who should be considered whenever a position comes open. There are some coaches on this list who already have been head coaches, and there are some who are looking for their first opportunity.

Before I launch into this list, though, I want to specify a head coach's essential requirements for success in the NFL.

The first is the ability to show no ego and to hire the best assistant coaches possible. It's imperative in this day and age to have capable assistant coaches on the sidelines helping make the correct decisions.

A perfect example is the situation that Bill Belichick set up in New England, with Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis as his assistant coaches. As great a coach as Belichick is, he realized he needed top-notch assistants to get the job done, and now the Patriots have three Super Bowl championships to show for the move.

The second is the ability to communicate not only with his players, but also with the media. It's essential for a coach in today's NFL to be media friendly to make sure he's viewed in a positive manner. It may not sound like a big deal, but it is, because no coach wants the media after his head.

Finally, organizational skills are extremely necessary to the success of a head coach. He has to be able to have a four- or five-year plan that he and the organization will follow. That means knowing which free agents to bring in and sign, which rookies to draft and which scouts and coaches are to be hired by the organization.

Those are the three major skills necessary to be coach, and these coaches all have these abilities:


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Joe Theismann

Football analyst
Former college and pro football star Joe Theismann has served as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 1988. He also is frequently heard on ESPN Radio, regularly contributes to ESPN.com and has contributed to the NFL Draft.