LOS ANGELES, December 26, 2013 — The NFL Coaching Carousel is about to spin. The Houston Texans already fired Gary Kubiak, and now interim coach Wade Phillips is on the hot seat. 13 of 32 teams have had rumors about coaching changes, although some of these rumors have zero credence or rationale.
Black Monday in 2013 comes on December 30. An analysis of each NFL situation where even the slightest mention of a coaching change occurred allows for ranking these coaching situations.
Not going anywhere:
Atlanta Falcons, Mike Smith—The Atlanta Falcons in four decades never had consecutive winning seasons before his arrival. He led the Falcons to five straight winning seasons including the best record in the NFC twice. Last year they were less than ten yards from a trip to the Super Bowl. This year the roof caved in and the Falcons fell to a likely 4-12 record. Injuries took their toll, but they are expected to rebound next year. Smith has plenty of rope left, and he deserves it.
New York Giants, Tom Coughlin—He will leave when he decides to leave, and not one day earlier. He led a pair of Giants teams that were not that special to a pair of Super Bowl wins. This year the team began 0-6, yet Coughlin held the team together and they won four straight games. The players fight hard for him, and the Giants are successful because they show plenty of patience with coaches. Coughlin will retire when he wants to retire, and right now he still has the competitive fire.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin—He led the Steelers to two Super Bowls, winning one. This year after several trips to the playoffs the roof caved in and the team began 0-4. Tomlin held it together and the 7-8 Steelers even have a slim chance of making the playoffs. Pittsburgh is another organization that loves continuity. Chuck Noll stayed for 22 years and Bill Cowher 15 more. Tomlin is respected by the organization and in the locker room. He will be given time to turn things around.
Deserve to stay and probably will:
Dallas Cowboys, Jason Garrett—Garrett is always about to be fired because everyone knows Jerry Jones coaches the team. The let two years saw Dallas lose their division and miss the playoffs in the final week. This year they have another do-or-die Week 17 game. If the Cowboys win the game, Garrett is fine. If they lose, Garrett will probably still be allowed one more year, although his assistants may not be so lucky.
Miami Dolphins, Joe Philbin—The only reason Philbin could possibly be let go is if the bullying scandal involving Richie Incognito blows up further. Philbin took a bunch of losers and has them moving in the right direction. The Dolphins have not been relevant for several years, and Philbin has them one win from a playoff birth. Even if Miami loses in Week 17, 8-8 is still a vast improvement. Replacing Philbin would be a surprise.
Deserve to be fired but will stay:
Oakland Raiders, Dennis Allen—Consecutive 4-12 seasons should get almost any coach fired. The late Al Davis was criticized in his later years for being impatient. His son Mark owns the team and is committed to being more patient. Raider greats such as John Madden are defending Allen. Allen came in during salary cap hell, and General Manager Reggie McKenzie has done an excellent job eliminating bloated contracts. Yet Allen also inherited a team that finished 8-8 the previous two years before he arrived. The Raiders are getting worse, and Allen is determined to implement dink and dunk West Coast Offense without the personnel to do it. Good coaches adapt to their players. Allen is making a mess of the quarterback situation. He had no head coaching experience, and the results on the field are what they are. He may survive because Mark Davis will overcompensate for past overreactions.
Very close call, could go either way:
Tennessee Titans, Mike Munchak—Munchak is a “company man” who has been with the Tennessee Titans and their formerly named synonym Houston Oilers for 32 years. The team went 9-7 his first year and then regressed. His quarterback Jake Locker has gone down with injuries. He was hired by the late Bud Adams, and the Adams family now owning the team has no sentimental attachment to him. A leaked report had him interviewing for the Penn State job, but that could be a false report to damage Munchak. A close call merits a coach be given one more year. Munchak may survive, but if he dos significant changes to his staff will be imposed on him.
Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins—Shanahan had total control of the roster and in four years has a losing record. The team fell badly since winning the division last year. The relationship between Shanahan and franchise quarterback RGIII is strained. Shanahan won two Super Bowls, and has not forgotten how to coach. Snyder is an impatient owner, but one thing that may save Shanahan is money. He has one year left on his deal that pays him $7 million in 2014. Snyder may refuse to extend Shanahan’s contract, and force Shanahan to quit rather than accept lame duck status.
Deserve to stay but will be fired:
Detroit Lions, Jim Schwartz—The Lions were 0-16 when he took over. In three years he turned them into a 10-6 playoff team. They fell back to 4-12 last year and missed the playoffs again this year after a 6-3 start. The Lions have not played to their potential, and at times are undisciplined. Yet they were garbage when he took over. He deserves more time to turn it around again. The Ford family are terrible owners, so making a terrible decision is what terrible owners do.
New York Jets, Rex Ryan—This is a situation where even a good coach cannot win with players who are losers. Rex Ryan got the Jets to consecutive AFC Title Games without a good quarterback. Ryan, like his father Buddy, is one of the all time great defensive minds. Ryan wants to run the ball and play defense. Quarterback play has been dreadful, and that is not his fault. He does not teach butt-fumbling in practice. General Manager John Idzik will probably fire Ryan because Ryan was hired by the previous GM. Idzik was forced to keep Ryan for one year, and now wants to bring in his own guy. Ryan is capable of turning it around, but somebody needs to draft him some decent offensive players.
Deserve to be fired and will be fired:
Minnesota Vikings, Leslie Frazier—Last year the Vikings went 10-6, but that was with Adrian Peterson having a year for the ages. The quarterback play has been awful, but Frazier is supposed to be a defensive mind and the defense is unimpressive. Frazier is a calm, quiet guy, which is often mistaken for being “soft.” While this is unfair, the Vikings may want to bring in a coach who screams and kicks over water coolers to bring some intensity to this team. Minnesota is on their way to 4-11-1 this year and shows no signs of improving.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Schiano—He should be the first one to go. He is abrasive, and disrespectful of other coaches and players. Rushing the quarterback on a kneel-down play was bush league, and whoever released Josh Freeman’s medical records should be in jail, not just fired. Schiano denies any knowledge of that act. The Bucs started 0-8 this year, but ager winning four of five they went back to losing. Schiano was a college coach, and he belongs back in the college ranks. Like Josh McDaniels and Charlie Weis, he is trying to act like Bill Bellichick without having the wins first to back up the attitude. He may be the least likable coach in the NFL.
Houston Texans, Wade Phillips—He may be the most likable coach in the NFL. He is simply a great defensive coordinator who does not win games as a head coach. To judge him based on a couple of losses this year would be unfair. His entire career has been parlaying fantastic defensive coordinator performances into head coaching positions that do not bring wins. Owner Bob McNair needs to make a big splash to keep fans interested, and Phillips is a stable good guy who excites nobody.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities.
Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
Follow us on Twitter @wtcommunities
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.