Just when you thought that the NFL regular and post-season was interesting enough in and of itself, it isn’t hard to forget about what typically happens during the NFL playoffs: coaching changes.
Let’s be clear here: There will most certainly be some coaching changes. Where those changes actually take place is anyone’s guess; however, I have an idea as to who stays and who goes:
Dallas Cowboys – I think that Jerry Jones really wants Wade Phillips to succeed. But I think the bottom line is that if Dallas goes to the playoffs, Phillips stays. No playoffs? Then look for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to finally get his chance. GONE
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Raheem Morris is in the unenviable position of gtetting the shipwreck that is the Buccaneers corrected, which isn’t easy with the injuries and the rebuilding that’s taking place in Tampa. It would be unfair to hire Morris for a year just to let him go as he wouldn’t get a fair shake. But then again, the Glazers are unpredictable. STAYS
Cleveland Browns – It’s official, Mike Holmgren’s in town. And because he will be here for awhile, 2011 should be interesting. I am getting this hunch that if head coach Eric Mangini at least gets the Browns on the road to respectability, he stays. If 2010 mirrors this season, then he’s good as gone. STAYS – FOR NOW
Oakland Raiders – It sucks to be Tom Cable. He has this perenially underachieving football team that he has to coach for 16 weeks – which is more punishment than employment. But I digress. Anyways, because
The Cryptkeeper Al Davis runs the show in Oakland, you never know what’s going to happen. GONE
Chicago Bears – It wasn’t that long ago when current head coach Lovie Smithwas untouchable. Fast forward to 2009 and apparently, Smith is feeling the heat. But I am not convinced that the reason the Bears regressed this season is 100% Smith’s fault. If Chicago wants to issue pink slips, perhaps Jerry Angelo and some of Lovie’s staff is a better starting point. STAYS
Carolina Panthers – John Fox is a living example of what happens when the team’s upper management makes some mistakes and the coach, as per custom, gets assessed the blame – unfairly. While the yearly win-loss record is roller coaster-like, Fox is one of the better coaches in the league. And don’t think for one moment that some other NFL team wouldn’t snap him up in a NY minute, should owner Jerry Richardson decide to let Fox go. If anything, general manager Marty Hurney needs to go. STAYS
Washington Redskins – Now that it’s common knowledge that current head coach Jim Zorn is gone after this season, everyone is wondering who the next HC will be. I (and probably you) often hear about Jon Gruden and even Mike Shanahan possibly coaching in D.C. The thing here is that Gruden will probably stay in the broadcasting booth for at least one more year, while Shanny would want some input regarding personnel decisions. Besides, he strikes me as more an AFC kind of head coach.
Buffalo Bills – Like in the case of the Redskins, the Bills current head coach, Perry Fewell, is keeping the sidelines heated for whoever takes over next season. Which should make for interesting speculation around water coolers everywhere. Ralph Wilson has said that he will spend large getting a head coach; with Wilson stating that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Mike Shanahan get hired by Buffalo during the offseason.
Houston Texans – Bob McNair is one of the more respected owners in the NFL; however, McNair will be tested as to whether he wants to keep head coach Gary Kubiak after this season. Kubiak is 29-33 since his hiring, which is hardly a decent return for his time at the reins. I’m thinking that even if the Texans go 9-7, Kubiak will be released. Which brings us back to Shanahan. This team has the offense and a decent defense (which will get better depending on the next NFL draft). I fully expect Shanny to land here if Buffalo doesn’t snap him up first. And the irony isn’t lost here in saying that should Shanahan wind up here, it’s like the father saying to his son, “Let me show you how it’s done.” That’s right, Kubiak was the OC in Denver while Shanahan coached there. GONE