I can’t help but wonder who the first managerial casualty will be this NFL season. There’ll no doubt be a valid list of candidates that we’ve all got in mind. And of those there’ll be one or two surprises , of that I’m quite sure. After such a disastrous start to the season , a name that a number of people fill will be on the hot seat , is none other than the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jack Del Rio . Another whose name is also mentioned is John Fox of the Carolina Panthers . And what of the Dallas Cowboys you may well ask , and the future of Wade Phillips ? Well it’s safe to say that Jerry Jones is playing his cards close to his chest. As he’s not about to let anyone know of his plans.
Beleaguered Jacksonville Jaguars’ coach Jack Del Rio voices his displeasure with an official during the game played against the Arizona Cardinals. The Jaguars would end up losing the game 31-17 played Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida.
picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Sam Greenwood …..
Both Fox and Del Rio are amenable individuals and who both have worked steadfastly to try and improve their respective teams over the years. But it’d now appear that if they aren’t able to turn things around for their respective franchises. Then in all certainty there is the likelihood that both coaches will be out of an NFL job by the end of the season , if not sooner. Whether or not them losing their jobs can be justified would be dependent upon the view that you’re taking as to how they’ve gone about doing their jobs. Is there a basis , whereby their teams have improved and remained consistent ? Or have their respective teams regressed and floundered under their management style ? These are the questions one would think that their fans are asking, as well as that of the impartial observer on the outside looking in.
Courtesy of USA Today :
By Sean Leahy of USA Today
Herm Edwards knew when he became head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006 that he had to build a winner quickly.
Win, and win fast, is the mandate NFL head coaches carry into their jobs. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to Edwards when, after a 2-14 season and a three-year record of 15-33, the Chiefs fired him Jan. 23. “When you take those jobs, you’ve got about a three-year window,” Edwards said. “And you know that.”
His dismissal was part of a year in which a record-tying 11 head coaches lost their jobs. That carousel has created upheaval among the ranks of head coaches. Thirteen of the current crop have less than two years’ experience. There are six coaches (Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan) out of work who hold seven of the last 13 Super Bowl titles and who figure to draw interest from the next batch of owners ready to start anew.
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“There’s only 32 of those jobs,” Edwards said, “and there’s a lot of guys who want to be head coaches in this league.”
Long-term stability among NFL head coaches is rare. Only eight teams have coaches with at least five years’ experience in the same job. When Mike Tomlin led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a Super Bowl victory in February, he joined Bill Belichick (New England Patriots) and Tom Coughlin (New York Giants) as the only active head coaches to have won a title.
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Apart from Fox and Del Rio. I think that we can rightfully assume that should Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals fail to get his team into the playoffs. Then it’s fair to say that he too , could also be joining the ranks of the unemployed. The NFL is such a fickle business that if success isn’t forthcoming and immediate. Then the owners and general managers tend to start that whirlwind merry-go-round of abrupt firings. Nevermind the fact that in a number of cases those coaches are still under contract and owed millions of dollars. The comical side of this all, is that coaches are given guaranteed contracts with additional incentives for success. Whereas, the NFL players aren’t afforded such luxuries. NFL players aren’t enhanced with guaranteed contracts when it comes to their compensation. Oh yes , one might say they obtain in large part the bulk of their salaries through the initial signing bonus upon entrance into the NFL. But that’s not always the case for a player who’s drafted in the low first round and lower. Primarily the players that initially afforded the large contracts are those marquee players drafted in the upper echelons of the draft. Do you think that the San Francisco 49ers yet to be signed first round draft pick , Michael Crabtree , still has a problem with this ?
A coach’s tenured span within the NFL isn’t perceived as a long one nowadays. And though there are some exceptions to the rule. They’re now few and far between. Consider this, the longest tenured coach in the NFL at present is Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots , followed by Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans . And of the two , only Belicheck has won a Superbowl. So it either speaks highly of the two coaches, as to their abilities. And also it may well be that their owners prefer stability, rather than that of constant upheaval when it comes to a change in management.
Courtesy of USA Today :
Track what coaches are in and who’s out around the NFL this offseason:
Team Outgoing coach Replacement
Cleveland Romeo Crennel Eric Mangini
Fired on Dec. 29, one day after completing a 4-12 season that failed to live up to high expectations. The Browns won 10 games in 2007 and were expected to compete for a playoff spot in 2008. But Crennel’s team faltered badly, using four starting quarterbacks and failing to score an offensive touchdown in their final six games. Crennel was 24-40 in four seaons. MORE Nine days after being dismissed by the Jets, the Browns welcomed Mangini back. The new head coach was once a ball boy in Cleveland during Bill Belichick’s tenure in the 1990s. “I feel like I should be getting some coffee or picking up some towels or something,” Mangini said as he was introduced. MORE
Denver Mike Shanahan Josh McDaniels
The NFL’s second-longest-tenured coach was let go Dec. 30. Shanahan won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997-98, but failed to make the playoffs the past three seasons. The Broncos blew a three-game lead with three to play this season and lost a play-in game at San Diego in Week 17. MORE The Broncos hired the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, who guided the most prolific offense in league history in 2007 and tutored Matt Cassel in relief of Tom Brady in 2008. McDaniels, 32, will be a first-time head coach. MORE
Detroit Rod Marinelli Jim Schwartz
Fired on Dec. 29, one day after completing the first 0-16 season in NFL history. Marinelli Marinelli started 9-15 through one and a half seasons in Detroit, but went 1-23 in the final year and a half of his three-season tenure. Said Marinelli, “You can’t go 0-16 and expect to keep your job.” MORE The former Titans defensive coordinator was hired on Jan. 15. Schwartz, after an interview with the Lions, told reporters he was not daunted by the rebuilding project. “I don’t shy away from a challenge,” he said. MORE
Indianapolis Tony Dungy Jim Caldwell
Resigned on Jan. 12 after seven seasons with the Colts. Dungy went 85-27 with the Colts and won Super Bowl XLI. He made the playoffs every season of his tenure in Indianapolis. He called his departure a retirement, but acknowledged he could return to the sideline years down the road. MORE Promoted to head coach on Jan. 12 after serving as associate head coach in 2008. Caldwell, a Dungy assistant since 2001 who was designated successor in 2007, said he will be more emotional than Dungy MORE
Kansas City Herm Edwards Todd Haley
Edwards was in limbo from the time former team president Carl Peterson stepped down in December. The team hired Scott Pioli as GM on Jan. 13, then fired Edwards 10 days later. Pioli was non-committal on Edwards’ fate when he was hired. Ultimately, Edwards’ three-season tenure in which he went 15-33 with one playoff loss was not enough to buy him another year with the young Chiefs roster. MORE The ex-Cardinals offensive coordinator was hired Feb. 6. He led Arizona’s fourth-ranked offense to a dynamic postseason and its first Super Bowl berth. The fiery Haley is the first hire for new GM Scott Pioli, who worked with his new coach when both were on the Jets’ staff in the 1990s. MORE
N.Y. Jets Eric Mangini Rex Ryan
Fired Dec. 29 after winning just one of his final five games and missing the playoffs. Team owner Woody Johnson didn’t detail the reasons for canning Mangini, who was 23-25 in three years in New York. “We just felt we could get a better fit with someone else moving forward,” Johnson said. MORE Ryan, the Ravens’ defensive coordinator, was hired Jan. 19, one day after Baltimore lost to Pittsburgh in the AFC title game. Ryan led the Ravens’ second-rated defense in the 2008 season, and signed a four-year deal with the Jets. MORE
St. Louis Jim Haslett Steve Spagnuolo
The Rams announced on Jan. 15 that Haslett, the team’s interim coach who relieved Scott Linehan in September, would not return as head coach. Haslett was 2-10 at the helm in St. Louis in what GM Billy Devaney said was “an impossible situation.” Spagnuolo was the Giants defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, including New York’s Super Bowl-winning 2007-08 campaign. The 49-year-old will be a first-time head coach and takes over a team that ranked near the bottom of the NFL on both offense and defense this past season. MORE
Seattle Mike Holmgren Jim Mora
Announced before the season that he would leave the Seahawks after the 2008 campaign. The team designated Jim Mora as his successor at the time. The Seahawks, four-time defending NFC West champs entering the year, finished 4-12. Holmgren said he would consider a return to football, potentially as a GM, but would likely sit out at least one year. MORE Mora was the assistant head coach/defensive backs the past two seasons in Seattle. He was the head coach in Atlanta from 2004-2006, when he went 26-22. He’ll have to retool a roster that succumbed to many injuries in 2008. MORE
Tampa Bay Jon Gruden Raheem Morris
Gruden and GM Bruce Allen were dismissed on Jan. 16. Gruden was 57-55 in seven seasons with the Bucs, with whom he won Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season. The Bucs started 9-3 in 2008, but lost their final four games — including the season finale against Oakland — to wind up out of the postseason mix. MORE Morris was Tampa Bay’s defensive backs coach last season before being promoted to defensive coordinator when Monte Kiffin left the Bucs to coach with his son, Lane, at the University of Tennessee. Then on Jan 17., just one day after Jon Gruden was fired as the Bucs head coach, Morris was promoted to the job by owner Malcolm Glazer. MORE
Note: Three teams (San Francisco, St. Louis and Oakland) fired their head coaches during the season. The 49ers named interim coach Mike Singletary the full-time head coach and the Raiders decided to keep interim coach Tom Cable. The Rams ruled interim coach Jim Haslett out of contention for the full-time job.
Already this season the speculation is rife as to who’ll be in a a job and who’ll be out of even before midseason. As we embark on week three of the NFL season. There are nine winless teams within the league. As to what that might suggest about those teams. It is all predicated upon how you’d view each of the teams in question. And as much we’d all like to have a view as who’s and who’s out . It’s far too early for us to be whose head will be on the chopping block at this moment in time. Obviously it makes for a great topic of conversation. But I’d like to think also that the coaches in question will be given every chance to prove themselves. Then, and only then , can we judge them on their ability as to how they will fare. Acceptability in some cases, will merely mean a winning season. And for others just garnering a postseason berth in the playoffs will be good enough.
For other failure to accomplish any of goals mentioned and it’s quite rightly that the season ought to be deemed a complete failure !
There are but 32 teams in the National Football League (NFL) and only two will have utlimately have the privilege of meeting in and playing for the Superbowl. And that is the goal that each of the teams strives to meet. For some that journey starts off pleasantly and for others it appears bleak right at the beginning. In the end however, fortunes can change , merely by a coach being instinctive and making a decision that elicits confidence from his team and coaching staff. We’ve seen it happen and it’ll no doubt happen with any one of the teams whose future at present doesn’t on appearance seem all that bright.
Coaches coach , and the players play. But we the fans, can prognosticate and cheer on our teams. The decisions that need to be made , are best left for the GM’s and owners, are really theirs and theirs alone to make . So let them make those decisions and we can but speculate.
In the AFC :
Miami Dolphins 0-2 AFC East
Cleveland Browns 0-2 AFC North
Jacksonville Jaguars 0-2 AFC South
Tennessee Titans 0-2 AFC South
Kansas City Chiefs 0-2 AFC West
In the NFC
Detroit Lions 0-2 NFC North
Carolina Panthers 0-2 NFC South
Tampa Bay Bucs 0-2 NFC South
St Louis Rams 0-2 NFC West