Much like the Super Bowl, the Draft, and the Jets missing the playoffs, there’s a different ritual in every NFL season.
The Coaching Carousel.
It’s already spinning with two openings, in Las Vegas and Jacksonville, forced by the departures of two disgraced coaches, Jon Gruden and Urban Meyer. It could also strike Chicago, Minneapolis, Charlotte and New York. There are even rumors that one of the best professional coaches of the past decade, Pete Carroll in Seattle, may have exhausted his welcome.
Let’s reject that one; Carroll has earned the right to determine when he leaves the Seahawks. Yes, he is the oldest coach in the NFL and it has been his worst season. But Carroll has a way of thinking, just like Sean Payton in New Orleans, John Harbaugh in Baltimore, and Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh. All elite coaches with Super Bowl rings whose teams are in trouble. None deserve to be fired.
As for the others, here’s a closer look – assuming David Culley in Houston, Dan Campbell in Detroit, and Vic Fangio in Denver are safe.
When asked if he was worried about job security, Fangio replied, âI don’t care. And I know you think that’s a standard answer. But for a lot of reasons, I don’t care. And these reasons are personal to me. But do I agree that it is definitely out there and that it could happen? Absoutely. But do I care? I don’t care at all, for so many reasons.
It seems the most likely change, despite Nagy having a four-season winning record, 33-32 in last week’s comeback victory in Seattle. The main problems in Chicago were:
– The quarterback’s lack of development. It will be Justin Fields’ team that moves forward, whoever the coach is. But decisions on Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles – the winning QB last Sunday – and Andy Dalton have caused a regression in attack.
– A defense that has also declined from a near championship caliber big play unit to an average unit.
– A serious lack of discipline in all aspects of performance on the pitch.
Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson would appear to be a wise option if Nagy is released.
There is no doubt that Zimmer is a solid coach, but his talented team have underperformed and struggled in close games. Simply put, the Vikings cannot end.
While Zimmer would almost certainly be swallowed up as a defensive coordinator if he did become available, his D was not notable in Minnesota.
There is also the question of whether, after eight years there with a good track record but declining returns, if it is time for a new approach.
At the end of his second consecutive losing season in Carolina, the man who turned Temple and Baylor around in college heard “Fire Rhule” chants on Sunday when the Panthers were routed by the ravaged Buccaneers through injuries. In fairness to Rhule, the team started 3-0, then lost their most important player, running back Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers have never been the same.
Chances are Rhule, in year two of a $ 60 million contract, gets at least one more season. He insists that things are not that depressing.
âThere’s a process going on underneath and everyone’s like, ‘It’s not working, Matt. It’s not working, Matt. ‘ But when I see all the good things happening, I think it works, âhe says.
Very similar to Rhule’s situation, the Giants coach is heating up on all sides at the end of his losing second season. This year it was about developing Daniel Jones, but the quarterback’s neck injury, the sidelining of some key players throughout the attack and general unease in the last few games added to the reviews.
New York did not score more than 10 points in the first half, an indictment of preparation and execution. It’s also the third consecutive hiring of coaches the Giants could have missed: Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur and Judge.
He probably deserves one more shot, but the uncertainty with Jones is an albatross for the entire franchise.
The Gruden redux was a flop, ending ignominiously. The Raiders could use someone less mercurial and able to handle the modern dressing room. A strong voice with a winning pedigree in the NFL sounds best. Someone with the same mold as a Tomlin or a Payton.
Too bad the team left Jack Del Rio in 2018 when they tackled Gruden.
This one should be easy for owner Shad Khan. Don’t go with a college coach, don’t go with the big name that has no credibility in the NFL, and realize that Trevor Lawrence needs a quarterback whisperer.
Former Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich, now offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay, and prominent OC Eric Bieniemy, key to Patrick Mahomes’ development, did the trick. As would an available Super Bowl winner, Pederson.
AP Pro Football writer Arnie Stapleton and sports writer Steve Reed contributed.