It’s that time of year when heads start to roll; Those heads belong to National Football League Head Coaches. The phrase ‘The Coaching Carousel’ will soon be in full effect within various media outlets, I promise not to use it.
As it stands with three regular season games remaining, three NFL Head Coaches have lost their job and no doubt their will be more to follow, not to mention the various co-ordinators up and down the league who will be shown the door.
Jacksonville’s Jack Del Rio was first to go closely followed in quick succession by the Chiefs Todd Haley and the Dolphins Tony Sparano. So before we get onto replacements, who else is on the hot seat.
The Colts are still winless, but because of the injury to Peyton Manning, Jim Caldwell seems to be getting a pass. The fact is this team still has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and should have been able to win at least 3 games, that said it looks like Caldwell is safe for the time being. The Rams have only managed 2 wins all year despite being many people’s favourite to win the weak NFC West. The Rams have also been hit by injuries but the reality is this team did not have enough talent to begin with. Unlike most teams in this position the Rams do have a franchise Quarterback in Sam Bradford but it would be a surprise if current head man Steve Spagnuolo was still around to start the re-building process early next year.
Maybe the biggest coaching move could come in Philadelphia where the dream just became a nightmare for Andy Reid with many Eagles fans wondering after 13 years at the helm, is his time now up? One of the strangest coaching decisions of last off season was the Eagles appointment of Juan Castillo at Defensive Co-ordinator. This guy hasn’t coached defense for around 20 years and the person who made this choice should also be fired. Regardless of whom the Head coach is, Castillo has to be replaced as the Eagles defense has struggled but is loaded with talent. That wide nine defensive line strategy may also need a re-think. Maybe Castillo’s position could be filled by Jack Del Rio, but if the Patriots have any sense then they’ll also make a move for Del Rio, in order to help the worst defense in the NFL, its unlikely Del Rio will get another shot as the head man so soon.
Another tough choice must be made in the capital. If Mike Shanahan gets to keep his job in Washigton he surely must fire his son, Kyle as Offensive Co-ordinator. The Redskins will be hoping for a shot at Andrew Luck in the draft and maybe Dan Snyder is already working on trading up should he need to, but they’ll need an upgrade at the O/C position.
It would be a major surprise if San Diego didn’t part ways with Norv Turner. A team with that much talent should be playoff regulars not outsiders. The good news for Turner is that there should be an offer from somewhere to become Offensive Co-ordinator should he choose to effectively take a step down which he’ll probably have to at this point.
Other coaches whose seat maybe feeling a little on the hot side are, Leslie Frazier in Minnesota. The Vikings have only won 2 games all year but they have been competitive in most of them and this may save Frazier for now. Jason Garrett has only had one full season at the top in Dallas but seems to still be living off that one year that everyone had him down as the next offensive genius. However Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has assured him his job is safe for now.
Another young coach whose time is running out is Tampa’s Raheem Morris. The Bucs posted a 10-6 record last year but have taken a step backwards and his job is very much on the line as the Bucs have just collapsed in the second half of the season.
So who are the potential suitors for all these proposed job openings?
I’m sure phone calls are already being made to some former NFL coaches who are currently out of game. Bill Cowher’s name always comes up around this time of year, although he hasn’t expressed a great desire to head back to the NFL anytime soon. It was rumoured that if he was to return it would have to be to a team that had the pieces in place to win almost immediately but jobs like this don’t come around very often. Maybe the Dallas Cowboys next year would be the most likely destination should Jason Garrett be out the door, but the longer Cowher stays away the less likely it will become that he will return. John Gruden is another name that will no doubt be thrown into the mix and he could be a good fit for the Chiefs, but again rumours suggest he maybe off to the college game before he heads back to the NFL. A perfect head coach for the Jaguars would surely be Jeff Fisher and apparently several teams have expressed an interest in him and he seems keen to return. If Philadelphia part ways with Andy Reid, Fisher could also be a prime target for the Eagles who, with all those ego’s would need a big name experienced coach to keep them all in check or alternatively clean house altogether…watch this space…
Bringing coaches from the college game hasn’t worked out to well in recent years, yes Bobby Petrino I’m looking at you, even Nick Saban failed and rushed back to the NCAA. There have been plenty of other instances of this kind of failure from college coaches so I wouldn’t expect a rush to bring anyone over, but the one name I’ll throw out there is Boise State’s Chris Peterson. Peterson’s record as the head man in Boise is a very impressive 72-6 including 5 bowl appearances winning 3 of them.The Dolphins have stated that they are looking for the next young Don Shula, is this their man?
Another former NFL head coach and current Atlanta Falcons Offensive Co-ordinator Mike Mularkey’s name has been mentioned in respect of the current position in Jacksonville. Mularkey failed in his last stint as the top man in Buffalo but can point to helping to the success that is current Falcons QB Matt Ryan although Mularkey seems to have somewhat lost his way in an offense that now boasts so many weapons and therefore a head coaching appointment for Mularkey would come as a bit of a surprise.
The New Orleans Saints defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams may also be looking to get back to the position he last held in 2003 also in Buffalo. Although Williams’s defense was pivotal during the Saints Superbowl run they haven’t been able to re-produce that kind of form since and you wonder if the chance has passed him by. Some other current defensive Co-ordinators who could be line for a promotion could include San Francisco’s Vic Fangio, Pittsburgh’s Bruce Arians and the more likely, Cincinnati’s Mike Zimmer who have all been consistent over the last few years.
The rush for ex New England Patriots coaching staff may have died down after the likes of Crennel, Wiess, Mangini and more recently Josh McDaniels, who all failed outside of New England. That said I expect to see Josh McDaniels return to the league in 2012 although the likelihood being he’ll have to prove himself as a coordinator again before he gets another shot at the big time.
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