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Chargers Announce Firing of GM A.J. Smith and Norv Turner

Norv Turner, Billy Volek

The beat goes on in the NFL, with Monday’s coaching changes, the latest being the official one in San Diego, where GM A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner were fired.

“I thank A.J. and Norv for the determination and integrity they brought to the Chargers each and every day,” said team President Dean Spanos.

“Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning. My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal.”

The Chargers were another team that underperformed this past season, finishing the season 7-9.

Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves Relieved of Duties

Ken Whisenhunt
The Arizona Cardinals have relieved both head coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves of their respective duties.

Graves began his personnel journey with the USFL and the Philadelphia Stars 1982-1983, and spent time in the Chicago Bears personnel department from 1984 to 1996. He’s been GM of the Arizona Cardinals since 2003.

In that time, he drafted WR Anquan Boldin, WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Steve Breaston, DT Antonio Smith, DT Darnell Dockett, MLB Karlos Dansby, MLB Daryl Washington, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Patrick Peterson, and DE Calais Campbell. Ultimately, it was he was fired for his inability to find O-line and QB. The Cardinals could promote one of their other personnel men in Steve Keim or Jason Licht (rumored to possibly be the next Browns GM).

Ken Whisenhunt led the team to Super Bowl XLIII, but had lost consecutive games to the San Francisco 49ers by 4, 15, 19, 31 and 16 points each. Arizona beat the 49ers by two points last season, and have lost to them by 21 and 14 points this season. The Cardinals missed the postseason for the third consecutive year. Whisenhunt will be a hot candidate to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers as offensive coordinator if Todd Haley leaves, or possibly to be offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. He may even get head coaching interviews. Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton will be offered an interview for the head coaching job.

One issue to having Ray Horton paired with Norv Turner calling plays is that Norv wants to go somewhere with an established QB. Quarterback Kevin Kolb has looked good to me, but his health issues understandably may concern new head coaches and offensive coordinators.

Now that Ken Whisenhunt, Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner and Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey have been fired, it seems the next two to be relieved of duties will be Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey. Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak is coming back for 2013.

Hit “Like” or the Facebook share button if you believe the Cardinals have the dynamic nucleus to be a postseason contender quickly.

BREAKING: Bears Have Already Requested A Possibly Controversial Interview

NFL Network’s Jay Glazer
is reporting that the Chicago Bears have contacted the Denver Broncos and asked permission to interview offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Crazy irony #1: Mike McCoy is the guy Josh McDaniels hired to take the offensive coordinator spot that Jeremy Bates had. Jay Cutler’s refusal to speak with McDaniels started the moment Jeremy Bates was fired in 2009. Cutler felt betrayed, given what McDaniels had told him about the direction of the offense and Cutler’s role. Cutler and wideout Brandon Marshall, both traded by the Broncos, recently each said that they don’t want Jeremy Bates to leave. Only Jay said anything positive about Mike Tice, and it was rather weak. Would Cutler want out again if he thinks Bates is slighted, or will he just see it as part of the business?

Crazy irony #2: Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s decision to choose the Broncos was based mostly on a comfort level, and probably also based a little bit on play-calling power. However, he also was very interested in stability after what he thought was a poorly-timed and unfair firing of Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis. He asked both Mike McCoy and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on the spot if they planned on jetting, to gauge their body language and confidence in their answers. They both said they wanted to stay. Now, both will be getting head coaching interest.

Hit “Like” or the Facebook share button if you think it’s time the Bears finally hire a head coach with an offensive background.

Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach

Bob Stoops, Jon Gruden, Kyle Shanahan Could All Interview For Bears Job

Kyle Shanahan

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport
is reporting the Chicago Bears have fired head coach Lovie Smith.

Smith was as 81-63 in regular season games and 3-3 in the postseason as head coach, but went 1-5 against eventual postseason teams down the stretch. One win is all the Bears needed to get into the playoffs. Instead, they missed it for the second straight season. The only postseason win Smith had since January 2007 was against the 8-9 Seattle Seahawks. Smith talked in his first press conference in 2004 about beating the Packers. They’d lost 6 straight to them.

Of the 12 possible firings today, I felt like Lovie Smith and Pat Shurmur were the ones I’d fire only if I was near certain I could replace them with quality coaches.

The reason I’d be careful is that Lovie Smith (with Rod Marinelli) and Pat Shurmur (with Dick Jauron) had their defenses playing at a high level. Obviously, that hasn’t been enough lately. Yet, with both teams playing hard for their coaches and improving every week, I thought both the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears should make sure that – if they fired their coaches – they wouldn’t replace them with just anybody. Ultimately, the Browns offense will improve by removing vanilla guys like Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress.

Potential interviews include another former Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, as well as Super Bowl champion and ex-Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, recently-fired Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (familiar with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler through his dad).

The issue with Jon Gruden – irrespective of how much he’s learned while sitting out – is that he is the anti-Lovie Smith. Lovie was huge on developing trust and getting players to want to play hard for him. Many Buccaneers players were happy to see Gruden leave.

Anyone who thinks Rex Ryan should have been fired must understand that he’s probably going into the same box that Lovie was placed in: New GMs want their own coach. Rex will have to earn it, if he even makes it to February.

There may be interviews for Lovie Smith with other head coaching openings. Lovie Smith is going to make money if he sits out, as all head coaching contracts are guaranteed and he had one year left. DC Rod Marinelli is sure to get another defensive coordinator job, while OC Mike Tice will be a TE, OL, or QB coach somewhere.

Hit “Like” or the Facebook share button if you think it was time to see if someone else could get the Chicago Bears farther.

Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach

Bears fire Lovie Smith


The Chicago Bears have fired Head Coach this morning one day after missing the playoffs. The Bears started this season 7-1 and did not make the post season for the fifth time in six seasons.

Lovie Smith, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, was 81-63 over eight regular seasons and was 3-3 in the playoffs.

Smith was under contract through 2013, and general manager Phil Emery did not speak to the coach in contract talks on an extension during the season.


Cleveland Browns release statement on Shurmur and Heckert Firings

NFL: Preseason-Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns

“We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future,” said Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam.  “I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide.  They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers.”

“This decision was not an easy one because of my relationship with Tom and Pat and the fact that they are both quality people,” said Browns CEO Joe Banner.  “Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do.  On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships.   I have a great deal of respect Tom and Pat, and I want to wish them and their families nothing but the best.”

“I leave the Browns feeling very good about many of the things we accomplished here and the direction in which I believe this team is headed,” Heckert said.  “Having been around this franchise growing up, I was really excited for the opportunity to come here three years ago, and I want to thank Randy Lerner and Mike Holmgren for making that possible.  I also want to acknowledge many of the hard-working people in the Browns organization, especially our player personnel staff, who are outstanding at what they do and supported me immensely in my role.  I wish the team nothing but the best as they move forward.”

“I am extremely proud of the players on this team, who I felt made tremendous strides and helped to make the Cleveland Browns relevant again,” Shurmur said.  “I want to thank them, as well as my entire coaching staff for making the past two years enjoyable. My coaches are outstanding teachers and even better men. They helped me lead these players through a unique time of transition. This group of players will achieve success soon, and there will be a part of me that will feel very good when that happens.

“I want to thank Randy Lerner, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert for bringing me in and having the faith in me to lead this football team.  I am disappointed that we did not win more games, but I do know the Browns are on their way to becoming a consistent winner. I appreciated the time spent with Jimmy (Haslam) and Joe (Banner), and wish them all the best as they provide a new vision for the Cleveland Browns.”

Eagles fire Andy Reid

Andy Reid

The Philadelphia Eagles have fired Head Coach Andy Reid after 14 Seasons. The Eagles finished 4-12 this season after starting 3-1.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie will address the media at noon. “Andy Reid won the most games of any head coach in Eagles history and he is someone I respect greatly and will remain friends with for many years to come,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “But, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Coach Reid leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon. And we are very excited about the future.”

Reid was due to make $6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract. The 54-year-old Reid, who was hired to coach the Eagles in 1999, is 130-93-1 in 14 seasons with the franchise.