Detroit Lions potential coaching candidates to replace Jim Schwartz

The Detroit Lions joined the NFL’s “Black Monday” extravaganza by firing five-year head coach Jim Schwartz. Following the announcement, a slew of potential candidates to replace Schwartz surfaced – many of whom have also been named to other teams’ watch lists.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke likes Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, and Jon Gruden as early names to watch in the search. More candidates will likely surface as the hunt wears on.

From the sound of it, the Lions believe that the search should be pretty easy. President Tom Lewan stated that his team’s position is “the single most attractive” opportunity in the NFL.

“I think this will be one of the most if not the single most attractive coaching opportunities in the National Football League,” Lewand said. “That starts with our ownership. I think it also continues with the talented people we have in this organization.”

Whoever the Lions tab as Schwartz’s replacement will be able to compete immediately. With Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, the offense has a solid foundation. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are also attractive pieces on the defensive side of the ball.

There are a few positions that need to be shorn up, as is typical with any team on the coaching market. For the Detroit, it’s a case of a team failing to maximize its potential, not a rebuilding project.

Schwartz coached the Lions to a 7-9 finish in the 2013 season.