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NFL coaches fired: Top choices to replace departed coaches

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There were a number of NFL coaches fired this week, but a team that released their coach over a month ago has chosen a replacement. According to ESPN on Jan. 1, Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien will take the job as the new head coach of the Houston Texans.

The move was not surprising for people who follow O'Brien's career, as he took over the Penn State job after the Joe Paterno controversy and helped the school move on, taking a Penn State program that had no chance to make a bowl game and leading them to a 15-9 record in his time there.

The move was slightly surprising because Houston owner Bob McNair wanted someone with NFL experience, and while O'Brien was an assistant under Bill Belichick from 2007 to 2011 he has never been a head coach in the NFL.

His hire will start the wheels turning now on the other positions left open by the NFL coaches fired this week.

The teams now looking for new NFL coaches include the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay also fired their general manager, and will likely hire that position before interviewing head coaching possibilities.

Here is a look at who the teams might be looking at to step into an NFL coaching position.

The Cleveland Browns could be looking at Josh McDaniels, Ray Horton, Norv Turner, Jim Schwartz, and Dan Quinn.

The Washington Redskins might look at Art Briles, Jay Gruden, Jon Gruden, Adam Gase, Lovie Smith, Mike Zimmer, Greg Roman, and Ken Whisenhunt.

The Minnesota Vikings will possibly look at Adam Gase, Jack Del Rio, and Jay Gruden, although rumors are they might want a former college coach.

The Detroit Lions have three names on their short list, including Mike Zimmer, Jay Gruden, and Adam Gase.

It is a pretty good bet that Jay Gruden, the brother of former NFL head coach Jon Gruden will get a lot of attention and might be a leading candidate to pick up one of the jobs. Former NFL coach Jack Del Rio is someone else who should be a leading candidate as well. Right now, none of the NFL coaches fired are likely to be back with another NFL team as a head coach next season.

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