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The Early Lead
Posted at 03:19 PM ET, 11/29/2011

Jaguars fire Jack Del Rio; which NFL coach will be next?


Jack Del Rio ... out. (Sam Greenwood / Getty Images)
It’s a little early for the firing of NFL coaches, but the season is nonetheless underway with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ decision to dump Jack Del Rio today.

The move isn’t a surprise — Wayne Weaver, who announced today that he intends to sell the team to Shahid Khan, had said that Del Rio needed to make the playoffs this season — with the team at 3-8 and struggling to fill its stadium. Del Rio is 69-73 including a 1-2 record in two playoff appearances. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will be the interim coach, a point Weaver made clear.

Despite the lack of a coach and the change in ownership, there should be stability in Jacksonville. Khan, who had been a finalist when the St. Louis Rams were up for sale after the death of Georgia Frontieri, will have 100 percent control of the team and has indicated that he intends to keep it in Jacksonville.

Now, though, what about the rest of the coaches who are on the hot seat?

Those feeling the heat (in no particular order): Norv Turner in San Diego, Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis, Tony Sparano in Miami, Todd Haley in Kansas City, Jim Caldwell in winless Indianapolis, Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Tom Coughlin with the New York Giants.

One of the biggest disappointments in the league has been the Chargers and there’s already speculation about a possible replacement for Turner. It involves the first name that’s always mentioned when there’s a marquee opening: Bill Cowher.

The former Steelers coach said a month ago that “I do not plan on coaching next year,” but plans can change. There’s speculation out of Pittsburgh that the Chargers might be attractive to him because, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, “It has everything he wants: A team with talent, a quality quarterback and an owner who will allow him to bring in his own management people. A bonus: His eldest daughter, now married, lives in Los Angeles.”

He’s done TV and coached the Gotham Rogues in the next Batman movie...might as well go back to the real sidelines. But where should he go?

By  |  03:19 PM ET, 11/29/2011

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