NFC North: Jedd Fisch
Conventional wisdom suggests that Pete Carroll will take Southern California offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates with him to Seattle. If that happens, Chicago would lose one of its top candidates to replace Ron Turner as its offensive coordinator.
But Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports Bates might not be Carroll’s first choice. Longtime assistant Norm Chow, who worked for Carroll at Southern California as well with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, is also getting strong consideration. That leaves the Bears in play for Bates’ services.
A Bates-Jedd Fisch reunion in Chicago has been discussed. Fisch, like Bates a former Denver assistant when quarterback Jay Cutler was there, is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota. But Fisch could end up in Washington with former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.
Finally, a word on Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s interview Saturday with the Seahawks. I know many people think Frazier shouldn’t have agreed to what seemed a token interview to satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule requirement. To me, that would have been short-sighted reaction.
First, let’s be clear: The Rooney Rule worked in this case. The rule wasn’t established to prevent teams from prioritizing candidates. Its intent was to force them to cast a wider net. Without the Rooney Rule, Frazier might never have gotten in front of Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. Other than taking four hours out of Frazier’s day, there is no downside to that dynamic.
Even if Carroll ultimately becomes the Seahawks coach, who knows? Maybe some day, Leiweke will be the CEO of another team that doesn’t have strong feelings about a particular candidate. Maybe Frazier’s four-hour effort Saturday would pay off then.
Second, Carroll’s past decision-making has been mercurial. Frazier was wise to put himself in line as a rebound candidate in the event discussions broke down with the Seahawks. It’s happened before. Bill Parcells was once expected to be Tampa Bay’s coach. So was Steve Mariucci.
OK, that’s the end of my Sunday morning rant. Carry on.
As expected, former Denver coach Jedd Fisch has accepted the offensive coordinator job at the University of Minnesota. Earlier this week, Fisch interviewed for Detroit's offensive coordinator job.
The Lions, who hired Gunther Cunningham as their defensive coordinator Wednesday, apparently are waiting to see if New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer leaves the team. Schottenheimer would be a top candidate in Detroit if that happens.
If not, two names floated as possibilities by Adam Schefter of NFL.com include former St. Louis coach Scott Linehan and former Cleveland offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Linehan would be an especially intriguing candidate if the Lions decide to retain quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
Linehan was Culpepper's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach during the 2003 and 2004 seasons in Minnesota, the most productive years of Culpepper's career.
The only confirmed candidate for Detroit's offensive coordinator job appears set to join the University of Minnesota instead.
Former Denver receivers coach Jedd Fisch, who interviewed Monday with the Lions, was traveling Tuesday to the Twin Cities to meet with Gophers coach Tim Brewster. According to my colleague Bill Williamson of AFC West fame, Fisch is expected to accept the job in the next few days.
The Lions were believed to have been interested in former Denver assistant Jeremy Bates, but Bates is joining the college ranks and will coach at USC.
One remaining possibility for the Lions is New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, if he does not remain on the staff under new coach Rex Ryan.
Detroit fans should note that Jeremy Bates, once considered a prime candidate for the Lions' offensive coordinator job, has decided to take a college job at USC. According to my ESPN colleagues John Clayton and Bill Williamson, that makes former Denver receivers coach Jedd Fisch a likely target for new Lions coach Jim Schwartz.
Fisch, 32, worked for Bates last season in Denver and was praised for his rapport with Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall. That was his first season as a full-time position coach in the NFL after serving four years with the Baltimore Ravens and three with the Houston Texans.
Most of the Lions' staff is attending the Senior Bowl festivities in Mobile, Ala. Gunther Cunningham remains the leading candidate to be the Lions' defensive coordinator.