By virtue of two of the most catastrophic head coaching departures in the history of the NFL, the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars can start tracing their finger around a silver lining on Monday.
That’s when both franchises can officially get a jump on the rest of the league in vetting their next head coaching hire, thanks to a significant rule change that will allow teams to open their interview process with some prospective head coaches earlier than ever before. It impacts candidates that are currently employed with teams, like coordinators and positional assistants, and opens a window for virtual interviews with two weeks left in the season.
But there’s a catch: The interviewing team either has to have changed its coach since the start of the season, or it has to have informed the current head coach that they won’t be moving forward with the franchise next season.
Thanks to the resignation of Jon Gruden and the firing of Urban Meyer, the Raiders and Jaguars both meet that criteria. So starting Monday, they can reach out to other NFL teams and ask permission to interview assistant coaches.
That’s a sizable edge for both those franchises, effectively giving them a two-week head start on any franchises that are inclined to drag their feet on a decision. But there’s also a flip side to the change — motivating some teams to pull the rug out on their head coach sooner rather than later, in hopes of eliminating the edge that the Raiders and Jaguars now have. Which means that ownership is now faced with a simple tactical decision: If a franchise is leaning toward a firing, what’s the point in waiting two more weeks if it means potentially falling behind for some of the league’s hottest candidates?
With that in mind, here are the teams that could be staring at head coaching changes, and whether some might be mulling over an early jump on a firing next week.
Raiders and Jaguars
Don’t expect either Rich Bisaccia in Las Vegas or Darrell…