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Top 10 Hottest NFL Head Coaching Candidates Of 2014

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Top 10 Hottest NFL Head Coaching Candidates Of 2014

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Black Monday came and went in the NFL, and it was a doozy. Five head coaches were let go including the Washington Redskins' Mike Shanahan, Rob Chudzinski of the Cleveland Browns after just one season, the Detroit Lions' Jim Schwartz, Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings, and last but not least Greg Schiano after only his second season on the job

Head coaching in the NFL is truly a bottom line business. If you don't have success quickly, regardless of roster turnover or extenuating circumstances, you are usually gone just as fast as you came. The harsh reality is that coaches are treated similar to players.

If you don't get the job done they will find someone who will. Black Monday may be the tip of the iceberg. Look for a few more shakeups in the head coaching world before the NFL postseason comes to a close.

What all this means is that new hotshot coaches will step to the forefront. Everyone is looking for that cutting edge, innovative candidate similar to the gold the Philadelphia Eagles struck with Chip Kelly.

College coaches used to be frowned upon by the NFL, but not anymore. Just look at the success of guys like Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, and the aforementioned Kelly. They turned mediocre to bad programs into playoff contenders practically overnight.

There was no long, strenuous rebuilding process; success followed them right from college to the pros. A precedent has been set. Never have organizations dipped into the world of college football as much as they are now.

Of course there are always the hot up and coming young pro assistants as well. It should be another fascinating offseason of coaching hires. Let's take a look at the top 10 hottest head coaching candidates of 2014.

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10. Bill O'Brien

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Bill O'Brien has done a tremendous job with a Penn State Nittany Lion program that was in complete and total chaos before he got there. He has the feel of a leader of men both on and off the field. He will no doubt be at the top of most team's wish lists. Look for the Houston Texans armed with talent on both sides of the ball and the No. 1 pick to land his services.

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9. Kevin Sumlin

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Kevin Sumlin is another coach who has the look and feel of a professional head man. He will remind many of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin both in appearance and in his no nonsense approach. If and when Sumlin decides to make the jump to the pros someone will be getting a heck of a head coach.

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8. David Shaw

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David Shaw has done a wonderful job with the Stanford Cardinal football program. He is a young, dynamic offensive mind. He has said he wishes to stay at Stanford, but when the pro teams line up for him it may be too tempting. Shaw will be a special NFL head coach someday.

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7. Pep Hamilton

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Pep Hamilton came over from the Stanford program and has done an excellent job getting Andrew Luck to play at an even higher level this season. This man knows his offense. He is a young, exuberant mind that seems poised to be a future head coach.

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6. Lovie Smith

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Lovie Smith was unceremoniously booted from his head coaching position with the Chicago Bears despite a 10-6 record. This certainly hasn't stopped him from being a hot name this offseason. Smith is a wizard of a defensive mind, and if he is paired with a solid offensive coordinator some team will get a heck of a coach. Look for the Bucs to be the front-runners for his services.

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5. Josh McDaniels

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Josh McDaniels is getting great production out of a New England Patriots offense minus Wes Welker to free agency, Aaron Hernandez to off the field behavior, and Rob Gronkowski due to injury. What he has done with a patchwork offensive group has been remarkable, and there's no doubt he will get another crack at being a head coach. The Cleveland Browns have already set up an interview with him. The question is does he want to leave his cushy position as offensive coordinator with the great Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? Time will tell, but if he does he looks like the front-runner for the Browns job.

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4. Adam Gase

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Adam Gase has stepped right on in replacement of former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and all he's done is overseen the top scoring offense in NFL history. Granted, Peyton Manning has a ton to do with that, but Gase looks like a rising offensive mind in the business. Look for him to get a head coaching opportunity either this year or next.

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3. Jay Gruden

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Jay Gruden has gotten his Bengals offense to take the next step. They have scored the second most touchdowns in the league and are a highly efficient unit. Much like his brother Jon, Jay knows his offense. They are also similar in demeanor. Gruden won't accept mediocrity and is a motivator of men. Some team will get a heck of a head coach if they hire this man.

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2. Greg Roman

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Greg Roman is one of the most innovative offensive minds in football. He caught the whole league off guard with his read option concepts last season utilizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a deadly weapon. The Niners haven't missed a beat this year either. Roman should be at the top of any team's list looking for an offensive coach.

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1. Ken Whisenhunt

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Ken Whisenhunt has gotten the San Diego Chargers to operate at an extremely efficient rate. The Chargers have their offense to thank for their late season run and playoff berth. There's no doubt that with head coaching and playoff and Super Bowl experience, Whisenhunt will be a hot name for teams look for an established coach. Whiz will get snapped up quickly.