'Tis the season for Christmas lists. And lists of head-coaching candidates.
If Rex Ryan is fired at the end of the season, the New York Jets are sure to have the following names on their radar:
1. Darrell Bevell, Seattle Seahawks, offensive coordinator: After five straight defensive-minded head coaches, the Jets figure to pick an offensive guy to oversee the rebuilding of that side of the ball. Bevell is an obvious candidate because he worked with general manager John Idzik, a former Seahawks executive. Bevell's stock has soared with Russell Wilson's rise to stardom.
2. Ken Whisenhunt, San Diego Chargers, offensive coordinator: Whisenhunt was the Arizona Cardinals' coach from 2007 to 2012, working alongside then-general manager Rod Graves, now Idzik's right-hand man in the Jets' front office. He was only 45-51 in Arizona, but he won an NFC Championship. Whisenhunt, who won a Super Bowl ring as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator, has helped revive Philip Rivers' career in San Diego. He's a former Jets player and assistant coach.
3. Greg Roman, San Francisco 49ers, offensive coordinator: Spies say Idzik spent time with Roman at the scouting combine last February. They've never worked together, but Roman is a rising name in the coaching ranks. It helps having Jim Harbaugh as a mentor. Roman grew up in the Atlantic City area.
4. Lovie Smith, former Chicago Bears coach: Another name from Idzik's past. Smith was a Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant coach when Idzik worked in the front office. He had a long run as the Bears' coach (81-63, with one NFC Championship), but he's a defensive-minded coach who has been criticized for not being able to develop an offense.
5. Bill O'Brien, Penn State: Owner Woody Johnson looks down the Turnpike and sees how a former college coach, Chip Kelly, has revived the Philadelphia Eagles with his cutting-edge offense. O'Brien is from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, having spent five years as a New England Patriots assistant.
ICYMI: The Jets worked out several free agents Tuesday, including CB Brandon Burton (Minnesota Vikings/Buffalo Bills), C Nick McDonald (Green Bay Packers/Patriots), OL Ryan Miller (Cleveland Browns) and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (Oakland Raiders/Steelers). ... Former Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff offers his take on the blocked punt and criticizes the lack of talent on special teams. ... Our weekly film breakdown.