Detroit Lions appear in waiting game for their next head coach

Have GM Bob Quinn and the Lions settled on a candidate whose team is still in the playoffs? AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

The Detroit Lions' coaching search has hit a lull. Candidates have been interviewed. At least two can’t be hired until after this weekend, and that’s only if the Minnesota Vikings or New England Patriots lose.

When Bob Quinn fired Jim Caldwell on Jan. 1, the general manager said he would do a thorough search, with no timetable on when he’ll make a hire. Of course, he couldn’t really put one together, because some candidates had postseasons to coach in.

Here’s where things stand, 11 days after the Lions let go of Caldwell.

Who they’ve interviewed: The Lions interviewed six candidates for the position: Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, ex-Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur,Green Bay Packers associate head coach Winston Moss, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

It’s been a week, though, since Detroit has conducted an interview -- Patricia’s, last Friday.

Coaches they’ve requested to interview: The only known request yet to be filled is Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who had three other interviews this week. There has not been a known interview set up with Wilks, and the Lions have announced every other candidate interview upon its conclusion, so until there is something otherwise, it seems the interview list might stop at six.

Interestingly with Wilks, he was supposed to interview Thursday with the Indianapolis Colts and then didn’t.

But there’s always a chance something changes and the Lions end up interviewing Wilks if he doesn’t nab one of the other jobs out there.

Where things stand: It all seems like a bit of a standstill right now for the Lions. They can’t conduct second interviews -- if they wanted to -- with Patricia or Shurmur either until their teams are eliminated from the playoffs or during the week between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. If Detroit wants Vrabel and Vrabel wants Detroit, the two sides could come to an agreement at any point since the Texans are out of the playoffs.

There have been rumors about Patricia and the Giants, as well, and there is some logic there considering he’s a New York native (although he’s from upstate, not near New York City) and spent most of his life living in Syracuse or east of it.

Austin is out, having taken the defensive coordinator job with the Cincinnati Bengals. During a news conference in Cincinnati on Thursday, he said the Lions job “probably wasn't going to happen because of what happened to us as a staff,” likely meaning because he was part of the fired Detroit staff.

Shurmur has also interviewed in Arizona and with the Giants, and like Patricia with the Patriots, he can’t officially be hired until after Minnesota’s postseason run ends. Moss and Cooter have had no other interviews and at this point appear to be long shots for the job.

Vrabel also interviewed with the Colts.

What’s next: If the Lions are set on Patricia (or Shurmur, for that matter), then they wait. Eventually, some moves are going to start happening, and once they do, it should lay everything out for what happens in Detroit. Keep an eye the Giants job, though, as New York seems to be the Lions’ top competition for Patricia.