We’ve reached the midway point of the 2012 regular season, and thus far we have not had any head coaching changes. As Mike Silver pointed out on Monday, several coaches, including three in the NFC East (Andy Reid, Jason Garrett and Mike Shanahan) will be coaching for their jobs over the next eight weeks. Another round of head coaching hires will take place in January. Here’s a mid-season look at the candidates who could and should be preparing for interviews: Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator/interim head coach, Indianapolis Colts – A longtime position coach and coordinator at the NFL level, Arians was thrust into an interim head coaching role when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Whether or not the 60-year-old Arians wants to pursue a head coaching career is unknown — he did “retire” from the Pittsburgh Steelers — but the Colts are 4-1 under Arians, who at the midway point of the season has to be in the discussion for Coach of the Year. Gus Bradley, defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks – The 46-year-old coached linebackers on Monte Kiffin’s staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he was hired by Jim Mora to coordinate the defense in 2009. With Pete Carroll also mentored by Kiffin, it was not much of a surprise when Bradley was one of two assistant coaches retained by Carroll when he took over the Seahawks in 2010. In the last three seasons, the Seahawks have built one of the NFL’s most physical and multiple defenses, which Bradley deserves equal credit for. Bradley could be the in-house heir apparent for Carroll in Seattle, a set-up that didn’t work out so well the last time that organization tried it (Mike Holmgren-to-Mora). Perry Fewell, defensive coordinator, New York Giants – Despite the 50-year-old Fewell being one of the NFL’s top defensive coordinators over the last five-plus seasons, and interviewing for and not getting four openings the previous offseason, none of the seven organizations who were searching for a head coach in 2012 asked Fewell to interview. Oh well. Fewell can find solace in the Super Bowl ring he earned with the Giants last season, a memento won largely on the strength of Fewell’s defense. Ray Horton, defensive coordinator, Arizona Cardinals – A cornerback with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys from 1983-92, Horton has spent the last 18 seasons working as an assistant with the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. Much of Horton’s playing and coaching career has involved working under Pro Football Hall of Fame player and legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, which helped make Horton an appealing candidate for coordinator openings. Hired by Arizona in 2011, the lockout delayed the installation of his defense, but the Cardinals have had one of the league’s top defenses since the midway point of last season. Horton, 52, was on the St. Louis Rams’ interview list in January and will likely be a hot name on the interview circuit in January 2013.
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