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Sunday, January 11, 2009
Schwartz presumably the Lions' top choice


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

It's only logical to assume that Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is the Lions' top candidate to be their next head coach. One thing appears perfectly clear, however: The process is already starting to intensify as other teams move to fill their openings and begin assembling coaching staffs.

That's the upshot of Chris Mortensen's Sunday report on ESPN: Schwartz is traveling to Detroit to meet with Lions owner William Clay Ford. When the process began, team president Tom Lewand said: "I would anticipate [Ford] will be involved as we narrow the list of candidates."

Because Schwartz is the first known candidate in the second round, it's a reasonable guess that he's the Lions' first choice. Although this is his first trip to the Lions' facility; his first interview took place in Nashville, Tenn., during the Titans' playoff bye week.

But we've been hearing the Lions are impressed with at least two of their other candidates: New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Are the Lions planning to bring them back for second interviews as well? That is not entirely clear, but we should know soon.

Spagnuolo's season ended Sunday and the coaching wars will heat up quickly this week. Frazier is under consideration by both Denver and St. Louis, while Spagnuolo's name has been mentioned in multiple cities as well. If Schwartz is not their choice, or they can not agree to terms with him, the Lions will have to move quickly to avoid missing out on all of their top choices.