Sunday, December 28, 2014

NFL's Black Monday Is A-Comin'

Black Monday in the NFL is the date, right after the end of the regular season, that sees coaches and general managers fired.  Some years, there is a huge chopping block.  Other years, it is rather calm.

To me, this will be one of those calmer years.  Sure, there will be firings, but not to the insane extent that we've seen before.  So who is on the hottest of seats?


Jim Harbaugh, 49ers:  This hasn't been a secret all year long.  Not only were there grumblings in September that Harbaugh had worn out his welcome, but the Niners would put up a disappointing 8-8 record.  With suitors in Oakland and Michigan waiting for him, he shouldn't be out of work long.

Rex Ryan, Jets:  Ryan has been barely holding onto this job the last two years and this horrid 4-12 season makes the decision so much easier.  Like Harbaugh, Ryan will land on his feet somewhere.

Marc Trestman, Bears:  Chicago shockingly took the Dumpster Fire Award away from the Redskins this season, and that's not an award you want to win.  That franchise is a mess.  The once proud defense is in shambles and an offense filled with playmakers looked pedestrian.

Mike Smith, Falcons:  Smith has been one of the most successful coaches in Falcons history and was Coach Of The Year in 2008.  But his history of poor game management and the team's shocking fall into the abyss makes it where Atlanta must move on.  With your job on the line, it doesn't help to get spanked at home by a division rival in a winner-take-all game.

Tony Sparano, Raiders:  This comes with a caveat.  Sparano is an interim coach and Oakland will replace him if they feel they can find a better coach.  However, there is some sentiment in the organization that Sparano has the team on track and could retain the job if no big name wants the gig.


Tom Coughlin, Giants:  They cannot fire Coughlin due to his two titles in New York.  They can, however, decide to "retire" Coughlin if they feel they need to move in a new direction.  Right now, they aren't saying they want to move on.

Joe Philbin, Dolphins:  Philbin has been given a vote of confidence by management.  Heck, he survived the Dumpster Fire Of The Year award for 2013 so he can survive an 8-8 season without the drama.  But if a guy becomes available that they'd want, I can see them dismissing Philbin in a heartbeat.

Gus Bradley, Jaguars:  Like last year, the Jags lack of success isn't Bradley's fault.  This roster is bare and to expect anyone to be able to turn this around immediately is laughable.  Don't fire Bradley because you'll have a hard time finding someone else who will take over this roster.


Jay Gruden, Redskins:  The Redskins had yet another poor season and the quarterback position ... one which Gruden has a background at success ... is in even more disarray.  Gruden must show some sort of progress and direction in this offense (and maybe some coaching changes) if he wants to be around longer than 2015.

Mike Pettine, Browns:  The Browns were the toast of the league in the middle of the season, but reality set in.  Still, Pettine did a fine job in Cleveland.  What will define him, however, is how he handles Johnny Manziel and the offense.

Ken Whisenhunt, Titans:  Fans in Nashville don't want another season like this.  Still, Whisenhunt is safe for now and the Titans will have a high draft pick and maybe a new franchise QB.  How he handles that determines if he will make it to Year 3.

Doug Marrone, Bills:  Marrone actually hasn't done a bad job in Buffalo, considering they dragged Kyle Orton out of retirement to be their starting QB and ended up 9-7.  Still, the Bills have a lot of talent on that roster with no clear direction at the quarterback spot.

Ron Rivera, Panthers:  Rivera has won back to back NFC South titles ... something that has never been done.  Still, the Panthers finished 7-8-1 and Rivera is a bad season away from being replaced.

Mike McCoy, Chargers:  That late season slide is rather troubling.  The Chargers have that feel of "we're pretty good but we could be better" which means all eyes will be on the head coach.

Jeff Fisher, Rams:  This division is lethal and the Rams have hung tough.  They really need to find an answer at QB.


Chip Kelly, Eagles:  Injuries at quarterback and an off year by Shady McCoy put them just out of the playoffs.  Still, Kelly's way has worked.

Mike Zimmer, Vikings:  Think about this:  Adrian Peterson missed nearly the entire season with his off field troubles plus starting a rookie QB and Zimmer got the Vikings to a 7-9 record in that division.

Andy Reid, Chiefs:  Reid had the Chiefs on the doorstep for a playoff berth but didn't get it done.  Still, nice things are happening in KC.

Bill O'Brien, Texans:  He isn't a made man like most in this category, but O'Brien got the Texans to a 9-7 record after just winning two games a year ago.

Mike Tomlin, Steelers:  People always try to bring him down, but he just won an AFC North title.

John Fox, Broncos:  If Peyton likes him, Fox is coaching.

Bruce Arians, Cardinals:  He could win the Coach Of The Year award again and brought the Cardinals the most wins in franchise history.  Yeah, he's not going anywhere.

Jim Caldwell, Lions:  Caldwell brought much-needed discipline to the the Lions and it paid off with a 11-5 record.  See, he can coach without Peyton Manning!

Jason Garrett, Cowboys:  Jerry Jones has backed him this whole time and it has paid off with a NFC East division title.  So Garrett has Jones' complete trust right now.

Chuck Pagano, Colts:  Another AFC South crown for Pagano.

John Harbaugh, Ravens:  This isn't the Harbaugh you're looking for.

Mike McCarthy, Packers:  Still waiting for a street in Green Bay to be named after him.


Marvin Lewis, Bengals:  Hard to put a guy who has never won a playoff game in this category, but he's got owner Mike Brown's complete confidence.  The Bengals have been to the playoffs six times in Lewis' tenure, including the last four seasons in a row.

Pete Carroll, Seahawks:  This coaching job may be even better than last year's.

Sean Payton, Saints:  He will leave before they fire him.

Bill Belichick, Patriots:  The gold standard.

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