Earlier this week, we wondered whether the Texans had placed the cart before the horse by interviewing coach Jim Caldwell before hiring a General Manager. The NFL has now given the green light to an expansion of this practice.
Tuesday’s memo allowing teams with coaching vacancies to interview candidates working for other teams does not allow General Manager candidates working for other teams to be interviewed. Why one and not the other? If anything, front-office executives currently have less on their plates than coaches, who are smack dab in the middle of getting ready for Week 16, followed promptly by Week 17.
The three teams currently looking for coaches also are looking for General Managers. There’s limited value in interviewing coaching candidates without a G.M. in place, unless the coach will be hired before the G.M.
The decision to let teams get a head start on interviewing assistant coaches employed by other teams also could cause teams that plan to fire their coaches at the end of the season to do it now, allowing them to participate in the open season on coaching interviews.
Remember this, however: The assistant coach’s current team can deny the request. At this point, most head coaches surely would prefer that the assistant coach focus on preparing for Week 16 and Week 17, especially if the assistant coach would first have to find time to prepare for an interview that he didn’t think could or would happen until after January 3.