Now that the San Diego Chargers have been bounced out of the playoffs, teams can now start speaking with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and go after him with increased vigor. Whisenhunt is definitely the top head coaching candidate left on the open market, and what makes him especially attractive is the fact that he has a good head coaching stint with the Arizona Cardinals that included a Super Bowl appearance. He also did a great job back in the day as the Pittsburgh Steelers OC, and he did an excellent job this season with the Chargers of calling plays and helping to get big seasons out of the likes of Philip Rivers, King Dunlap, and Ryan Mathews.
In short, Whisenhunt is the guy that everyone wants, but its’ always looked like the Detroit Lions are the clear-cut favorite to land him. I mean, they hold the best coaching vacancy available, and the Lions have shown plenty of interest in him. There’s also the fact that the Lions want an offense-minded head coach who has previous head coaching experience and can take Matthew Stafford to the next level, thus Whisenhunt fits the bill.
There is one other team to watch for, though, as a darkhorse in the race for Whisenhunt, and that team is the Tennessee Titans. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Titans interest is “real and viable” and cannot be “discounted”, so the Lions have some competition and aren’t guaranteed to lock up a signature from Whisenhunt. Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the favorite for the Titans gig, but the Titans would have to wait until the Seahawks are eliminated from the playoffs to talk to him and Whisenhunt is the better candidate anyway.
Ironically, the “Plan B” for the Lions if they do end up striking out on Whisenhunt is Mike Munchak, who recently had an excellent interview with the Lions.