Their watchword is discipline. Matt Millen wants it in Detroit, John Shaw wants it in St. Louis. But executives in search of coaches who'll crack the whip shouldn't call the man who turned the Cowboys into champs in the '90s. "I'm not going back into coaching," Jimmy Johnson said on Sunday. "I've told [several owners], 'I've enjoyed the good life too long. You don't want me.'" Here are the top 10 candidates--including a couple of taskmasters at the top--for what should be between six and 10 vacancies.
1. Tim Lewis, Giants defensive coordinator Maestro of a relentless pass rush; just 44 but a 19-year college and pro coaching vet.
2. Gregg Williams, Redskins defensive coordinator Deserves a second chance after 17-31 stint as coach of the Bills (2001-03).
December 26, 2005
3. Pat Hill, Fresno State coach (above) Former Bill Belichick assistant in Cleveland who has built an offensive powerhouse.
4. Russ Grimm, Steelers assistant Joe Gibbs disciple who'd install conservative, ground-hugging offense and intimidating D.
5. Al Saunders, Chiefs offensive coordinator Dick Vermeil's handpicked successor; why hasn't Carl Peterson embraced him?
6. Eric Mangini, Patriots defensive coordinator At 34, he's been an NFL assistant for 11 years; another Belichick protégé.
7. Maurice Carthon, Browns offensive coordinator Has ties to Belichick and Bill Parcells; impressive job with little talent in Cleveland.
8. Mike Martz, Rams coach On the outs in St. Louis, quarterback guru is worth considering despite hard-to-work-with reputation.
9. Dan Reeves, Texans consultant Friends say at 61, Reeves (career record 204-174-2) wants one more ride on coaching carousel.
10. Jim Schwartz, Titans defensive coordinator "Smartest coach I've ever played for," veteran DE Kyle Vanden Bosch says.
With a 24-20 loss in Miami on Sunday, the Jets finished with an 0-8 record away from home this year. They didn't even take a lead on the road in 2005 until 9:05 was left in the third quarter against the Dolphins, when Doug Jolley's 60-yard touchdown catch put New York ahead 17-10.
1 It's probably too early to say this, but watching Chargers rookie pass rusher Shawne Merriman go after the quarterback, all frenetic and relentless, makes me think of another guy who used to suit up for San Diego: Junior Seau.
2 Seattle linebacker Lofa Tatupu would have to disappear for the last two weeks of the season to not get my vote for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
3 The more I see of the Steelers' Troy Polamalu, the more I'm convinced that he's the best safety in football--and I would most likely feel that way even if Baltimore's Ed Reed had been healthy for the 2005 season.
Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, every week at SI.com/football.