Saleh, Bieniemy among Lions' first four head coaching targets


The Lions are kicking off their search for a head coach with four of the hottest names in the industry, highlighted by the hottest name locally.

The team has requested interviews with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach Dan Campbell, according to Ian Rapoport. Detroit will also interview interim head coach Darrell Bevell this week, according to Albert Breer.

Saleh is the name we all know. The Dearborn native has been connected to the Lions' head coaching job since the team fired Matt Patricia. Saleh took over the worst defense in the NFL after the 2016 season and has turned it into one of the best. He'll interview with Detroit on Thursday.

Bieniemy is a well-known name, too. Of course he is. He's presided over the most explosive offense in the NFL over the last three seasons. And he served as the Chiefs' running backs coach for five seasons before that. His interview comes Monday.

Smith, 38, is one of the younger coordinators in the NFL. In two seasons in charge of Tennessee's offense, he's turned Ryan Tannehill into one of the best quarterbacks in the league and established a lethal rushing attack behind Derrick Henry.

Campbell, who played tight end for the Lions from 2006-08, has been assistant head coach of the Saints since 2016. New Orleans just locked up its fourth straight division title. Campbell also won a Super Bowl with the Saints during his playing days. Both Smith and Campbell are expected to interview next week.

Of note: None of the aforementioned coaches, excluding Bevell, has been a head coach at any level.