Monday, January 4, 2016

The Shield: Black Sunday preceded Black Monday

It's black Monday in the NFL and we already know several coaches that are either going to be let go or have been let go.

1. Cleveland Browns: Both the Head Coach and GM have been fired.
2. San Francisco 49ers: The Head Coach has been fired.
3. Indianapolis Colts: The Head Coach has been fired.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: The Head Coach and GM (same guy) have been fired.
5. Miami Dolphins: Are not expected to retain Interim Head Coach.

Still to be decided:

1. Detroit Lions - Amazingly, they have not made a decision on Head Coach Caldwell.
2. New York Giants - Seem to be having trouble deciding on firing Tom Coughlin.

In a normal year I would say that both of these guys would be gone, but this is not a normal year and there's a chance the pool of available coaches won't yield a significant improvement over either of them. Yes, even as bad as both of them are.

More Detail:

1. Cleveland.  Any discussion surrounding Cleveland begins and ends with the tale of Johnny Manziel. While I think Mssr. Football has the physical talent to be a competent NFL quarterback it's becoming increasingly clear that he doesn't have the mental maturity of a gnat.  Here's the problem for Cleveland. They are going to release Manziel (who I think will then go and sign as a back-up in Dallas) and they are going to try and draft a QB with the 2nd pick in the draft.  Given their history of incompetence Christian Hackenberg is about to have his career ruined.

2. San Francisco. It's no secret that I did not like Jim Tomsula as a head coach. I think the placement of him in the position by Trent Baalke was to provide the GM with a ready-made fall guy when the team fell apart this year. From that standpoint, he did his job. He was also screwed over royally by Baalke and Jed York to the point that the team could struggle for years.  I'm also starting to think that there's more to all of those retirements than we're being told.  Something is rotten in the front office of the 49ers, and I don't think Chip Kelly or (God forbid) Mike Shanahan are the solutions to solving it.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Speaking of organizational dysfunction, are we surprised that Jim Irsay looks like a fool? by all accounts, the Colts are keeping GM Grigson and firing HC Pagano this despite the fact that it was seemingly Grigson who was the main driver behind the Trent Richardson fiasco that set the team back several years.  This is not to say that Pagano is a good coach (he's not) but he was hamstrung at every turn by organizational error.  This is good news for the pathetic teams in the AFC South, because the team that dominated for years appears to be in the process of a long-term implosion.

4. Rumor is now circulating that Kansas City Chiefs OC Doug Pederson is the leading candidate to replace Chip Kelly. It also appears that the Eagles interviewed former player Duce Staley, despite having Pederson targeted as a potential coach all along.  I expect you'll see more of these Rooney Rule interviews as more teams begin the evaluation process and are forced to put forth appearances.  It's too bad, because there are a host of quality minority candidate who, as far as I can tell, aren't getting the calls to interview.

5. The Fins are Hot on the chase for Gase. and appear to be quietly clearing the path for him. They are also interviewing former NFL Head Coach Mike Shanahan, Rooney Rule compliant candidate Teryl Austin and current interim HC Dan Campbell.

6. Shanahan: Is there a job out there that Shanahan is not interested in?  I've seen that he's "reached out" to almost every team that's fired their coach.  I've a feeling this guy is going to turn up somewhere like a bad penny and ultimately get hired.

7. Detroit.  The Lions are trying to rebuild their front office first but are having trouble getting people to agree to interview. I don't blame the prospective candidates. This is a mess of an organization with clueless ownership whose team infrastructure was destroyed during the Matt Millen error. They should be focusing all of their resources on Trent Kirchner from Seattle.

Finally: There are a ton of conventional wisdom head coaching candidates out there and of them I really like Hue Jackson, Adam Gase and Raheem Morris.  Of those three I'm betting you won't find Morris listed too often because of his disastrous tenure at Tampa Bay.  What people need to realize is that he was saddled with Josh Freeman, who is now out of football, and most of the talent that Lovie Smith is enjoying wasn't there when Morris was.  I always thought Morris was a good HC who got a raw deal from Tampa Bay and would like for him to get another chance.

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