The NFL Coaching Carousel 2011

I want to take a look at the comings and goings in the NFL coaching world to date.

First, the easy ones.

John Fox (Carolina Panthers). Saw it coming, as did the entire world, and probably a few worlds we haven’t discovered yet.

Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals). It would be a major shock if he kept his job.  Decision is supposed to be made on Tuesday (1/4/11).

Leslie Frazier (Minnesota Vikings). I called it, but not a hard one to make.  He deserved it and keeping him was the right move for the Vikings at the right time.

Eric Mangini (Cleveland Browns). I admit I didn’t make this call, but I did think about it. Mike Holmgren came in a year ago and decided to keep Mangini around for the 2010 season.  I thought the Brownies showed a little progress this year.  They still have a ton of holes on their roster.  Hardly Mangini’s fault.  However, he has a overall coaching record of 33-47 and a .413 winning percentage with the NY Jets and the Browns.  This fall under the category of, “You’ve had your chance, now please step to the back of the line.”

On the fence.

Jeff Fisher (Tennessee Titans). He has one year left on his contract.  That’s usually enough for an owner to eat if he wants a guy out the door.  Bud Adams is taking his time, and maybe letting Fisher dangle a bit.  My guess is that Adams has been putting feelers out to see who might be interested before he pulls the trigger.  Maybe Adams will keep Fisher just long enough so that all the other prime coaching vacancies will be filled.  Clearly, Fisher would be very high on the list of many owners looking for a fresh face on their sideline for the coming season.  It’s also clear that there has been some friction between Adams and Fisher the last couple of seasons, mainly over the handling of Vince Young.  Gee, an owner being spiteful to a coach?  That’s never happened before.

Tom Cable (Oakland Raiders). Ok.  So Tom Cable was the bottom of the barrel when he was hired to manage dysfunction central, also known as the Oakland Raiders.  Al Davis was going through coaches like a fat guy goes through napkins at an all-you-can-eat bar-b-que rib joint.  Despite Cable’s own indiscretions, he’s brought a glimmer of respectability to this once proud franchise.  The team is finally starting to move in the right direction, partially from playing in the volatile AFC West, and Al Davis wants to make a change.  Unless he has some hot-shot coaching candidate hiding under his desk, I don’t see who he can get who will be better than Cable.  No one thinks Tom Cable is going to bring a Superbowl to Oakland, but Al needs to give Cable at least one more year to clean that pig up before he looks for someone better willing to dance with it.

Eric Studesville (Denver Broncos). Don’t get too comfortable.

Jason Garrett (Dallas Cowboys). All indications are that Jason Garrett will be named the permanent head coach of the Cowboys.  Not the way I saw it going down, but it’s not a bad move either.  Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, invested a lot of  time and money in Garrett and Jason showed he has what it takes.  My problem is with Jones and his handling of the Rooney Rule.  Jerry has all but said Garrett will be the coach, but umm, he needs to interview a few black guys first before he makes it official.  What a farce!!  I’m not going to debate the merits of the Rooney Rule right now, but Jerry Jones is clearly disregarding it and his token efforts to “abide” by the rule is distasteful and weak.

Tony Sparano (Miami Dolphins). I didn’t think Sparano was on the hot seat, but his fins have clearly underachieved.  Bill Parcells hired the little known Sparano.  Parcells then proceeded to shuffle to the chairs on the deck and decided he didn’t want to be in Miami anymore.  Sparano was left with a rag-tag roster and new Dolphins owners want to clean house.

Jim Tomsula (San Francisco 49ers). Clearly a place-holder.  The 49ers are going after Jim Harbaugh, HARD!  Harbaugh has a lot of choices, including staying at Stanford.  If San Fran doesn’t land him, they’ll be scrambling and will probably settle on a coordinator, someone from the offensive side of the ball.  One thing for sure, it won’t be Tomsula.

Staying put.

Tom Coughlin (NY Giants). A good non-call by the Giants owners. Coughlin has really changed his style. He won a Super Bowl for the G-Men just a few short years ago.  Injuries and free-agent departures left too many holes in the team.  Coughlin is a good fit for this team and to a man, the players like and respect him.

Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville Jaguars). The Jags showed a little life this season.  Maurice Jones-Drew had a MVP-type season, but didn’t have enough gas in the tank to carry the team all the way to a division title and a playoff berth.  Late season injuries to MJD and QB David Garrard were just too much to overcome.  Wayne Weaver gave his long-time coach a one year reprieve and a win or else ultimatum.

Gary Kubiak (Houston Texans). This one is a head-scratcher.  The Texans is clearly a talented team on both sides of the ball.  Kubiak had been the coach for 5 seasons.  His record is 37-43 and a .463 winning percentage.  I wouldn’t have given him one more year, but then again, I don’t have a billion some dollars to piss away like Bob McNair does.  There’s something to be said for maintaining stability.  There’s also something to be said for enough is enough.


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