Commentary

Ranking the NFL coaching openings

In a quarterback-driven league, the best job 'opening' is currently in Indy

Originally Published: January 6, 2012
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Jim CaldwellZuma Press/Icon SMIJim Caldwell may not be the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts much longer.

As of this writing, four NFL head-coaching jobs are currently open -- Jacksonville, Miami, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. While Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay described Jim Caldwell's chances to return as head coach as "not outside the realm of possibility" earlier this week, there's a sense that when the Colts land a new general manager, they may well be in the market for a new coach. So the question is: What's the most appealing situation for a new coach to walk into?

I was asked to rank these, and a lot of factors go into it. Some include:

• This is a quarterback-driven league; what's the QB situation you inherit?

• If you want to make scheme changes, is the personnel versatile enough?

• What does the young talent look like, and how are you set up in the draft?

• Is this a situation where you can truly win early, and if not, can you stick around?

Obviously, a lot more goes into it, from location and weather to what kind of decision-making clout the coach will have as well as the working relationship with the GM and team president. It all plays a part. But let's concentrate on the known and consider the pros and cons of each opening.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst