Predicting the Panther Head Coaching Candidates - the Playoffs

Scott Halleran

Over the past month and a half, we've looked through the available coaching candidates that the Panthers may interview if they choose to go in a different direction in 2013. They've been evaluated by category, and this time the top choices from each category are pitted head to head.

In the past several weeks, CSR has published articles that looked at different head coaching possibilities. Typically an NFL coach is hired from the Offensive Coordinator or Defensive Coordinator ranks, unless they have prior head coaching experience. We've put all those together, presented the most likely candidates, and the readers have voted on each one.

Here are the different articles that have been written:

All in all, 22 different candidates were presented. From that, the top candidates in each article, decided by reader votes, have been consolidated here. We now have a list of eight candidates for the 2013 coaching job for your review (no, we're not math challenged. If two coaches were within 5% of each other, both are presented).

So take a look, and tell us who you would like to see coaching Carolina in 2013.

Bill Cowher, CBS Sports, Analyst

If Bill Cowher came to coach in Carolina, the collective reaction from the fan base would probably not belong on a family blog. He would command instant credibility and respect in the locker room, and have the Panthers playing with discipline and intensity. Assuming he could get a decent Offensive Coordinator, he would have a real shot at putting together a string of successful seasons. The only concern is whether it would take him over 10 years to win it all in Carolina like it did in Pittsburgh, and if he would have the energy to maintain the focus required to do so.

John Gruden, ESPN, Analyst

All Chucky jokes aside, Gruden would make an already formidable Carolina offense into one that was downright scary. He's known for being innovative already, and he's spent the last several years studying the spread offense. If anyone could bring the concepts to the NFL successfully, Gruden could. There is a question on whether he would want to play WCO too much, and Cam Newton isn't known for his short-to-midrange accuracy. And inheriting a top five Tony Dungy defense isn't happening for him this time around.

Jack Del Rio, Denver Broncos, Defensive Coordinator

Del Rio is probably the most popular ex-Coordinator in Panther history, largely due to the fact he was only here for a year. He had a good run in Jacksonville as their head coach, and is still well respected around the league. The biggest concern would be with him declaring that Anderson would be the starter while Newton sat for a year, right before starting Newton, cutting Anderson, and promoting Clausen to the number two. And if things started to go south, he would start coming in at 9am, which is no way to win in the NFL.

Chip Kelly, Oregon, Head Coach

Nothing would prompt Athlon to declare the Panthers as pre-season Superbowl champs quite like bringing Kelly to Carolina. His offense would be quick to the line, no-huddle, and rapid-fire. It would also be designed from the ground up to take advantage of Cam Newton's skill set. And it would look really good, too, up until week three when NFL Defensive Coordinators figured out what he was doing and shut it down.

Mike McCoy, Denver Broncos, Offensive Coordinator

Right now he's coaching Peyton Manning, so it's almost like he doesn't really have a job at all. But McCoy did good work in Carolina with Jake Delhomme, and is known for managing to make a Tim Tebow led offense look fairly respectable. His track record shows a coordinator who's very adaptable to different situations, and he would likely work to create schemes that would lend themselves well to personnel on both sides of the field. The only concern here is whether he's ready to take the next step.

Greg Roman, San Francisco 49ers, Offensive Coordinator

Roman is a former Quality Control coach at Carolina, from the Dom Capers era. He's risen through the ranks and has experience all over the offense. He's versatile and very detail oriented. He also made Alex Smith look like a star, until he brought Colin Kaepernick along to outshine him. He won't last long as an assistant, but he's never worked on the defensive side and he's never worked closely with defense-first coach like McCoy has.

Casey "Gus" Bradley, Seattle Seahawks, Defensive Coordinator

Monte Kiffin called him "one of, if not, the finest football coaches [he had] ever worked with." That's pretty stout praise for a defensive coordinator, and there's no denying the impact he's had in Seattle. It's only a matter of time before someone makes him the head coach somewhere, and it's likely that he'll be good at it. But the Panthers have already hired four coaches who came from the Defensive Coordinator side. Are they really looking at a fifth?

Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers, Head Coach

Rivera is 3-9 in games that actually mean something, but for the second year in a row the team is looking good late. He's 3-1 in his last four games, and one of the wins was against the 12-2 Atlanta Falcons. Of course, the loss was to the 2-12 Kansas City Chiefs, but let's not dwell on that. The point is, once he starts coaching loose, like there's nothing to lose, he does well. The question is, can he start coaching like that in September rather than November?

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