We’re starting to hear early reports of coaching searches falling into place, with the Broncos reportedly heavily in on Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, and the Jaguars being “impressed” with Josh McDaniels and setting their sights on former Falcons HC Mike Smith. Given that those are two of the most desirable jobs on the market, the rest will probably begin to fall into place shortly after.
There’s still plenty of time left and Kyle Shanahan has been flitting about interviewing for jobs, but if these gigs are filled relatively quickly, he could be left without his ideal gig, or any kind of head coaching gig at all.
I’d be the last person to tell Shanahan not to go for a head coaching job if he wants one, but the reality is that certain jobs are more desirable than others. You sometimes only get one or two shots at those jobs in the NFL, and as we saw in 2015 for Shanahan, it doesn’t take more than a half season of poor performance to take the shine off your star. I have little doubt that if he really wanted to, Shanahan could end up leading the 49ers, in particular, given how starved they are for a quality coach.
There were rumors heavily linking Shanahan to the Denver job, where the talent is legitimate, he’d have the chance to follow in his dad Mike’s footsteps, and he can reasonably expect to start winning right away. If Joseph lands that job, he’s left with bad situations due to poor drafting and free agency (Rams), a losing culture that starts at the top (49ers), and an aging franchise quarterback with a so-so supporting cast (Chargers), to say nothing of the weirdly mediocre Jaguars.
If Shanahan really wants a shot at a head coaching gig, he may be stuck with the Rams 49ers, or Chargers as choices, in other words. There’s little reason to believe his offense is going to fall off a cliff in Atlanta next year and hurt his chances of landing a job in the 2018 offseason, however, so Shanahan might be tempted to burnish his accomplishments and then jump back into the market next year. I’ll go ahead and say that if he doesn’t get the Broncos, Jaguars, or Rams jobs, he’ll be back.
And I am hopeful Shanahan will stick around for at least another year and help drive what I sincerely hope will be a repeat performance in 2017. Every job that fills up now helps ensure that outcome, and makes the prospect of spending another season assaulting the league with the help of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, and the rest of the gang more appealing.