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NFL Teams Can Start Interviewing Coaching Candidates in Week 16, Just Sayin’

Chicago Bears

That time of the year, when we start hearing whispers about potential coaching changes, has arrived. And while we’re still a little far out from actual, wholesale changes, the rumor mill is already spinning and we shouldn’t ignore potential movement on the horizon.

With that in mind, ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler present a lay of the land as we enter Week 12. It’s an ESPN+ insider piece, Fowler and Graziano make references to the Chicago Bears’ coaching situation as something worth keeping an eye on.

Graziano writes “situations being watched closely by people around the league who track these things” include the Bears, Broncos, Jaguars, and Vikings. Fowler also name-checks the Bears’ situation as one worth watching. Although, Fowler’s Bears inclusion comes with the caveat that Nagy will perhaps get the rest of this season to showcase he is the right coach for Justin Fields. In other words, that bye week dismissal some might be craving isn’t in the offing.

But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be cognizant of what could be coming down the pipeline.

Check this out: NFL is now allowing teams to interview head-coaching candidates during the final two weeks of the regular season. This might look like a small measure, but it’s one that could have significant implications.

Remember, head-coach candidates employed by other teams had limitations on when they could interview. Candidates employed by playoff teams with bye weeks could do virtual meetings. While other candidates had to wait it out until their respective teams were eliminated from postseason play. Over the years, we’ve seen some teams feel like they were getting burned by not getting the type of head start earlier hires were getting. And we’ve seen some coaches not get opportunities because impatient teams didn’t want to wait it out for an interview. All in all, this feels like a step in the right direction for the advancement of coaches worthy of promotions.

Naturally, there are hurdles that must be cleared before getting the ball rolling on such a process. For instance, a potential head-coach interview candidate must get consent from the team currently employing them before said interview. And once a coach gets said clearance, they could be eligible to interview for any open head-coach opportunity. That’s a big part of this, too.

So, what constitutes an “open” head coaching position?

“A position is considered ‘open,'” writes NFL.com’s Nick Shook “if the head coach that started the season is no longer employed by the club, or has received notice he will no longer be with the club in the following season.”

Cool, cool, cool. That’s simple enough.

This a most noteworthy change that came about during last month’s league owners meetings. And it is one that could help candidates who would have otherwise had to wait out a lengthy period. Plus, it could help teams be aggressive in picking a directions for the franchise. Because if a team isn’t bringing back its current coach, using Weeks 16-17 for a leg-up on interviews makes sense.

In the end, this is good to know as we go into the final stretch of this football season.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.