The list of candidates to take over for former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs is rather lengthy one as several defensive coordinators find themselves unemployed a week following the end of the 2008 regular season.
The Saints may not look at any of those discarded coaches, though, as several possible candidates are still in the playoffs. That means the Saints may wait a while to hire a new defensive guru.
Here are a couple of names the Saints could ponder to run the defense:
Dave McGinnis, Titans assistant head coach/linebackers coach – The former Cardinals head coach has been in Tennessee since 2004 and has helped turn the Titans into one of the stoutest units in the NFL. The Titans run a 4-3 defense and with the Saints already primed to run that scheme, McGinnis, 57, could slide in without much trouble.
Sean McDermott, Eagles secondary/safeties coach – The 34-year-old Eagles coach has spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia and has been a hot name throughout the coaching search progress among several teams. It might be just the boost of energy the Saints defense needs.
Gregg Williams, former Jaguars defensive coordinator – Williams just wrapped up his one and only year in Jacksonville and will probably be the most high-priced coordinator on the market. He became the highest-paid coordinator in league history while in Washington making $3 million per season before leaving in 2006. Williams’ style would be a welcome change in New Orleans.
Joe Vitt, Saints linebacker coach – Vitt has coach just about every position in his lengthy coaching career. The 54-year-old veteran has been on the Saints staff since Payton arrived in 2006 and while fans may not like it if the Saints promoted from within, Vitt certainly has the know-all for the job.
Bill Sheridan, Giants linebacker coach – Sheridan may be next in line to become the Giants’ defensive coordinator if or when Steve Spagnuolo lands a head-coaching job somewhere else once the Giants are eliminated from the postseason. Sheridan, 49, may only be in his fourth year in the pros, but he’s helped mold the Giants into a Super Bowl contender.
Mike Nolan, former 49ers head coach - The Packers could be the front-runner for Nolan's services already so Nolan may be a longshot. Nolan coached the vaunted Ravens defense once Marvin Lewis left Baltimore and has coached in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. If the Saints want Nolan, they better move quick.