This has been one of the stranger coaching carousels that we’ve seen. Definitely the strangest since Marty Schottenheimer was fired by San Diego after posting a record of 14-2 (and losing in the first round of the play-offs. Again). In addition to the 3 head coaches and 7 coordinators fired during the season, we had 2 coaches fired whose teams had drafted franchise QB’s 1 & 2 in the draft – which is usually at least a one year pass for mediocre coaches, a currently employed head coach publicly petitioning for the head coaching position on another team THAT STILL HAD THEIR HEAD COACH, another first-time coach fired after only one year (that only happens occasionally), and 2 coaches were fired (or forcibly retired, in the case of Tom Coughlin) just so that the team could promote one of their coordinators the position otherwise they would have been head coach candidates. And let us not forget the Strange Case of Coach Pagano and General Manager Ryan Grigson. So let us start there.
In Indianapolis, we had a situation where the Head Coach Chuck Pagano had his contract expiring, one would believe that was because he couldn’t work with his General Manager Ryan Grigsen. Since no deal had been done, everyone assumed that he was gone. Additionally, New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton was actively campaigning to be their next head coach. I would say that only the Irsay’s could create such a circus, however I don’t think that they even crack the 10 worst owners much less the top 5. (Actually, a lot of the ownership groups have gotten decidedly better over the past few years, so they are almost certainly within the top 10 worst franchises now.)
Then on the morning of Black Monday, Jim Irsay woke up with the startling revelation that he had an NFL caliber coach and that he didn’t need to get a big splashy name like Sean Payton. So he sat down with Pagano and Grigsen and they all kissed and made up and now everything is hunky-dory. Go figure. They still have the worst offensive line in the league and will probably get Andrew Luck killed before long. Last season was Luck’s worst as a pro – even before he got hurt. I think that he didn’t put in the effort to stay one of the top QB’s, because he was unhappy about the situation and tired of getting the shit beat out of him every week because of the crappy O-line.
Rating: B+ for keeping Pagano who hasn’t had the best chance due to the personnel that he’s been given by Grigsen. I would probably give a D for keeping Grigson, but if they can agree to work together to get the right players, this could actually be a good thing. Continuity is usually a good thing. Usually.
The New Orleans Saints are in a weird state currently. Their GM works for them part-time and works for the other professional sports team that the Bensen’s own, the New Orleans Pelicans NHL franchise, the other time. Also, their future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees is without a contract.
So it’s not totally crazy that Head Coach Sean Payton might see another more desirable situation. However, when Irsay decided to play nice with both Pagano and Grigson, Payton had some fences to mend.
New York Giants
So after years of mis-management and underperformance – interrupted by 2 ridiculously improbable Super Bowl wins – the Giants have finally broken ties with Head Coach Tom Coughlin. It was billed as Coughlin retiring, but that was questionable at the time and has been repudiated in everything that has happened since.
The Giants have failed to make the playoffs in each of the last x years except for the 2 years that they won the SuperBowl. Winning the Super Bowl counts for a lot, but when you can’t even make the playoffs year after year, there’s gotta be a breaking point. Add in that Coughlin was 70, 5 years older than the next oldest head coach – the ever youthful Pete Carroll. The Giants lost at least 4 games by game mismanagement and should have lost a couple more, but their opponents (Dallas) managed it worse.
Before bringing in Ben McAdoo as their offensive coordinator, their offense was moribund. And Coughlin was going to demand that he be able to keep the previous OC, Kevin Gilbride, until Gilbride announced that he was retiring. The offense started out poorly under McAdoo, but once Eli got the hang of it by the second half of the season, it started clicking and has continued to perform admirably.
Going back to the year they won the Super Bowl, Coughlin was almost certainly going to be fired. Just making the playoffs wouldn’t have been enough to save his job. However, winning the Super Bowl is guaranteed to save anyone’s job.
To punctuate the situation, the Giants promoted the offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to Head Coach and he essentially kept the exact same coaching staff as they had last year. I think ‘spitting bullets’ is an appropriate metaphor for Coughlin’s current state. So much so, that he actually interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles job where he’d be able to play the Giants two times every year.
Miami Dolphins – A+ for getting rid of Joe Philbin (although they shouldn’t have even brought him back this year). A+ for getting one of the hottest coordinators for the last 2 or 3 years. This is after they have been spurned by multiple coaches over the last 5-8 years.
Tennessee Titans – C- for keeping interim head coach Mike Mularky as their new head coach. Although I am not as negative on Mularky as some. I thought that he was doing a pretty good job in Buffalo, but wasn’t given the time to bring it together. However, his last 2 HC opportunities turned into complete disasters, so, although I’m not totally negative, I don’t think that things will turn out any better. Especially when he proclaims that he’s bringing back an offense from the 90’s?
Philadelphia Eagles – How Leonard Tose allowed Chip Kelly to have all personnel decisions in Philly is beyond me. That does not work with ANYONE not named Bill Belicheck. Especially with a ‘wet behind the ears’ college head coach like Kelly. But he got what he wanted. And now Kelley’s gone back to the west coast. (More on him later). A- for Doug Pederson, but if you wanted Andy Reid why’d you get rid of him in the first place?
Indianapolis Colts – A+ for coming to their senses and getting Pagano and Grigson on the same page.
New Orleans Saints – D+ for being totally clueless and letting this situation develop with no repercussions.
New York Giants – A- for getting rid of Coughlin and holding onto McAdoo. Downgraded for keeping Spagnuolo as the defensive coordinator.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – A for realizing that keeping Dirk Koetter was their first priority. Kudos for also getting rid of Head Coach (and de facto defensive coordinator) Lovie Smith whose defenses have been subpar since the last couple of years in Chicago.
San Francisco 49er’s – D As usual for the current regime, they hired just any guy as their coach and he failed miserably. Now the’ve picked up the failed college coach/retread and will spin the dice with him.
Cleveland Browns – Disappointed that they got rid of Pettine who started out well, but the reports tell of a man over his head. B+ for trying to use the Moneyball approach to building the team. A+ for luring Hue Jackson over as his head coach. D- to all the Cleveland fans who have been disparaging Haslam since he bought the team as “same old Browns”.
Detroit – ??? for keeping Caldwell after Jim Bob Cooter.
San Diego – ??? Why keep mcCoy? Good plan to bring Wisenhunt back.
Rams – D for keeping Fisher and Snead, but Kronke’s attention has been on getting the LA move approved. No what?
Atlanta – after starting 5-0, going 1-10 for the rest of the season is tres troubling.
Dallas – No more excuses for Jason Garrett
Buffalo – Rex Ryan with brother Rob Ryan is an armed thermonuclear device.
Cincinnati – Marvin Lewis is already the second longest tenured coach in the league. He has even said that he would retire after the season if they won the Super Bowl – and I believe him. There are reports that he was offering the Head Coaching position to Hue Jackson after he retired next year, to keep him from leaving. That Jackson split for the dumpster fire in Cleveland speaks volumes about Jackson’s view of Mike Brown’s ownership/management.
Jacksonville – It appears that Gus bradley has one more year to turn it around in Jacksonville. Can you say ‘hot seat’.