Lions could tap Whisenhunt quickly

The SportsXchange

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew could move quickly to hire the team's next head coach with a focus on experience.

San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt became available Sunday, when the Denver Broncos dismissed their AFC West rivals from the playoffs in the divisional playoffs.

Former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak and former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak also interviewed with the Lions, as did Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who was a head coach with the Indianapolis Colts and a Duke University.

Whisenhunt was head coach of the Arizona Cardinals prior to joining the Chargers. Prior to the six-year stint with the Carinals that included a Super Bowl appearance, Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004-'06.

The Cleveland Browns, who interviewed Whisenhunt twice last offseason, and Tennessee Titans also met with the 51-year-old before the Chargers' weekend playoff game at Denver.

San Diego was fifth in total offense in 2013. Whisenhunt was vital in the development of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and helped Philip Rivers rediscover his Pro Bowl form in Mike McCoy's first season as head coach in San Diego.

The Lions are including quarterback Matthew Stafford in parts of their interviews. His development is directly tied to Detroit contending in the future, Mayhew has said, and Jim Schwartz's replacement will be hired with that in mind.

Kubiak, fired in December after eight seasons with the Texans, is one of the candidates to replace Jim Schwartz, who was ousted after the season.

The Texans were 2-11 when the 52-year-old Kubiak was dismissed by the Texans last month. He had guided Houston to back-to-back AFC South titles the past two seasons, but the Texans slumped to 2-14 after a 2-0 start in 2013.

Munchak interviewed Wednesday, the Lions confirmed. Earlier reports indicated the interview would take place Friday.

The 53-year-old Munchak was fired by the Titans on Saturday after posting a 22-26 record in three seasons as coach. The nine-time All-Pro guard also is mentioned as a candidate for the head-coaching job at Penn State, his alma mater.
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