NFC North: Scott Loeffler
The Detroit Lions' plan to interview San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera on Tuesday doesn't suggest the team is in a tremendous rush to name its next head coach.
Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the presumed top candidate, is due for a second interview Monday. But unless something unexpected occurs, Schwartz will have to wait at least a couple of days before learning whether he will be offered the job. In addition to interviewing Rivera, the Lions might also wait on Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan or Arizona assistant head coach/offensive line Russ Grimm.
There are no other known suitors for Schwartz, which might give the Lions some flexibility in this situation. But two NFL teams, Cleveland and Denver, already have concluded their coaching searches. Their new coaches have begun hiring assistant coaches. The longer the Lions' process continues, the fewer options they'll have for attracting a high-caliber staff.
Perhaps that's why the Lions retained 14 of their 18 assistants after firing coach Rod Marinelli last month. One of those assistants, quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, has resigned to join the staff at the University of Florida. But the rest could provide at least a fallback option for the Lions' next coach.
UPDATE: Rivera said recently he was perhaps too focused on his head coaching aspirations while serving as Chicago's defensive coordinator. Here's the story from Brad Biggs of the Chicago-Sun-Times.