Fox Sports: Top NFL assistants
3 Cowboys assistants on this list, which isnt a big surprise considering all 3 got seriosu interest for HC's after the 03 season...
SCOUT'S HONOR: Top NFL assistants
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Brian DeLucia / Special to FOXSports.com
Posted: 3 hours ago
Brian DeLucia ranks the best current candidates for whatever brand of coach you have a taste for with his 2004 NFL Coaching Prospect Rankings. Here are his top current assistant coaches in the NFL.
BRAD CHILDRESS, Eagles offensive coordinator
Not only has he helped in Donovan McNabb's development, but was able to win with A.J. Feeley for a stretch of games back during the 2002 playoff stretch drive. Has solid teaching skills and has been part of some good programs in the past. Possesses a good relationship with players. Is gradually becoming more assertive with his personality and won't be shaken by tough moments. Carries the same low key personality as Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
MAURICE CARTHON, Cowboys offensive coordinator
Is a good football man who has learned the coaching trade under Bill Parcells. Will run a tight ship and knows how to motivate people. He's upfront and honest dealing with players, but also relates well to their issues. Gets respect as a former player and knows what it takes to win a championship.
CHARLIE WEIS, Patriots offensive coordinator
Has gotten the most from his talent in New York and New England. Carries a presence about himself as a leader. He simply does a great job putting his players in a position to utilize their strengths. Weis displays excellent motivational skills and isn't afraid to push players. He holds his players accountable to high standards. Owners are attracted to him because he's not afraid to open up the passing game. His experience as an assistant has been under Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, a huge plus for Weis.
ROMEO CRENNEL, Patriots defensive coordinator
Like Weis, also worked under Bill Parcells in New York and now Bill Belichick in New England. Has an underrated defensive mind. Is an exceptional communicator and really receives a high level of respect from players. His leadership skills and vision for the big picture are no longer underrated. Crennel is no longer a sleeper as I mentioned the past few years. He's clearly on the map for some opportunities in the near future. In the right situation, he'll be a solid head coach.
SEAN PAYTON, Cowboys quarterbacks coach
Is young and energetic with a good offensive mindset. Generally liked by the players. Has produced good results working with quarterbacks. Has a knack for putting players in a position to succeed on offense. Has an arrogance that does turn off some people. The question that needs to be answered is how he would handle a whole team from a discipline standpoint. Working with Bill Parcells and having his endorsement is a plus.
MIKE HEIMERDINGER, Titans offensive coordinator
Has really grown as an offensive coordinator the past few years. Has been successful in his transition of the Titans' run-based offense to becoming a passing-oriented team around Steve McNair. Titans head coach Jeff Fisher has given him a lot of freedom with the offense. Heimerdinger is a taskmaster with his players. Displays a lot of toughness and isn't afraid to hold his players accountable. Has benefited by working under two solid programs led by Mike Shanahan and Jeff Fisher on his resume.
SCOTT LINEHAN, Vikings offensive coordinator
Brings a fresh approach and energy, which is needed in a league where too many veteran assistants are stuck in old beliefs. Linehan does a solid job in putting his players in a position that plays to their strengths. He's an excellent teacher and has done a lot of positive work with Daunte Culpepper. He also deserves credit for his work at overcoming the adversity of dealing with injuries with his offensive personnel in 2003. I mentioned last year that Linehan could be on the fast track to becoming a head coach. A big season from the offense and a push into the playoffs will begin opening doors for him.
MIKE MCCARTHY, Saints offensive coordinator
Has a solid offensive background — especially from his Green Bay days. Has a positive track record with quarterbacks. Plus McCarthy did a good job a few years ago when the Saints didn't have as many weapons. He's very smart and has been a good teacher on the practice field. Sees the big picture well, which is critical for a head coach.
MONTE KIFFIN, Buccaneers defensive coordinator
He may not get a lot of headlines and mention for NFL head coaching gigs, but that doesn't mean Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress is not qualified to run a team.
This season will prove to be a solid test for Kiffin as the Buccaneers have tweaked their personnel on defense. Kiffin always has his defense ready to play and he excels at making adjustments. He's an excellent motivator and is highly respected by his players. His communication and organizational skills are exceptional. Kiffin sees the big picture and would make a solid head coach given the right circumstances, but getting him out of Tampa Bay has proven difficult.
TIM LEWIS, Giants defensive coordinator
His defensive units in Pittsburgh went through some struggles the past couple years, but many around the league like his intelligence. Lewis is a solid football guy with an underrated defensive mind. He has the respect of players and knows how to put them in positions to succeed. Isn't afraid to implement new ideas and makes good adjustments on the field. A fresh start with the Giants could prove to be a boost for his career.
JERRY GRAY, Bills defensive coordinator
Gray's defense in Buffalo finally made a breakthrough last season with more personnel to work with. Also having Dick LeBeau for a season helped too. Shows a lot of intelligence and works very hard on the small details. Will hold his players accountable, but is respected by them. Has a chance to become another Tony Dungy.
TED COTTRELL, Vikings defensive coordinator
Coming off a tough tenure as defensive coordinator of the New York Jets. He did a solid job pulling the Jets out of some in-season struggles because he adjusts well to the strengths of his players. Earned a solid reputation for his work in Buffalo. Is unquestionably a very smart defensive coach. Brings a lot of energy and is well-respected by his players. He can lean hard on his players at times when they aren't showing enough effort. Isn't afraid to use young players on the field. Could be a lot like Ray Rhodes. His work with Minnesota will be watched very closely this season and has an opportunity to work back into the top portion of some team's list.
MIKE ZIMMER, Cowboys defensive coordinator
Has done a great job with the Dallas defense, even when he was given limited personnel to work around. His defense is now really dangerous since he finally has the ideal players. He sold himself to Bill Parcells and also was enticed to stay in Dallas rather than take the Nebraska job. His ability to see the big picture and get a lot from average personnel earn him high grades. Zimmer also demands a lot from his players.
ED DONATELL, Falcons defensive coordinator
Took the fall for the defensive struggles in Green Bay (especially the infamous "4th & 26" play against Philadelphia in the playoffs), but did a solid job without having the luxury of enough cornerstone players. Still gets a lot of respect from people around the league because the Packers defense could have become a bigger liability over the past couple years. Has displayed that he's creative and innovative at times. Having a resume that includes time in Denver and Green Bay has to be nothing outside of positive. His work in Atlanta will be watched closely in the next couple years.
GREG BLACHE, Redskins defensive coordinator
Has gotten consideration by a few teams. Has earned high respect for his ability as a defensive coordinator with the Bears. His leadership and motivational skills are strong. Blache demands a lot from his players. But the question remains whether he has the overall communication and management skills to run a whole team while sustaining a successful program. He has an opportunity to learn a lot from Joe Gibbs with the Redskins.
JIM JOHNSON, Eagles defensive coordinator
I've always had high respect for Johnson as a defensive coach during his tenures in Indianapolis and Seattle. And the job he's done in Philadelphia has been remarkable. Johnson loves to be aggressive and make things happen. His players play for him. He doesn't prefer young players. But I have doubts on his ability as a head coach in today's environment. His personality is much better suited as a coordinator.