NFL COACHING CHANGES
So Black Monday has come and gone leaving 7 NFL head coaches to ring the New Year without a job. Many teams are in a state of flux right now as their owners and remaining GMs try and right the ship to be competitive in a league designed to make you average. Some of these teams might have even settled for that. Here’s a rundown of those let go and more importantly the first reports on who the team might be interested in as a replacement.
Arizona Cardinals : Ken Wisenhunt
Wisenhunt was let go along with the teams GM, Rod Graves, after going 45-51 in the last 6 years. He did take the franchise to a Super Bowl with Kurt Warner, but has since imploded under poor quarterback play.
In the hunt: Team president Michael Bidwill has announced the Cardinals will interview Andy Reid for their head coaching vacancy. Their own defensive coordinator Ray Horton, and offensive coordinator of the Broncos, Mike McCoy, are also in the mix.
San Diego Chargers: Norv Turner
As expected, the Norv Turner/A.J. Smith era is over in sunny California. Norv took over a 14-2 team that couldn’t make the final push in the playoffs. He was able to get the team to 3 AFC championship games but zero Superbowl appearances. With a 59-43 record over 6 years, the Chargers failed to even make the playoffs this year as the team is trending in the wrong direction.
In the hunt: As per NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi the Chargers are interested in Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Apparently Chuck Pagano is supportive of Arians fielding calls for HC positions.
Buffalo Bills: Chan Gailey
The Bills let go of Chan Gailey after 3 years and 16-32 record. After bringing in an upgrade in talent, Gailey was unable to turn around the Bills defense.
In the hunt: Lovie Smith is reportd to have targeted the Bills as a team he would like to coach.
Chicago Bears: Lovie Smith
The Bears started 7-1 this season, but finished with a 3-5 record over the second half. Their 10-6 record this year caused them to miss the playoffs for the 5th time in 6 years, coupled with two division rivals making the playoffs, led to Lovie’s demise.
In the hunt: The Bears are set to interview Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Mike McCoy of the Broncos and Keith Armstrong of the Atlanta Falcons are also reported to have interviews for the HC position.
Cleveland Browns: Pat Shurmer
Shurmer and GM Tom Heckert were both relieved of their duties on Monday. Shurmer had the Browns playing respectable but with only 9 wins in two seasons. It was a quick hook but new owner Jimmy Haslam is cleaning house and starting over.
In the hunt: Dirk Koetter, Falcons OC, is set to interview for the job this week. There are rumblings of a Chip Kelly fit here as well.
Philadelphia Eagles: Andy Reid
Andy Reid was let go after a marathon tenure of 14 years and 19 playoff games. The team took on an influx of talent through free agency in 2010. The “dream team” went 8-8, but then slid to 4-12 in 2012 with arguably one of the most stacked rosters in the NFL.
In the hunt: Falcons DC Mike Nolan is already set to interview for the Eagles vacancy. Many have pointed to the Eagles as a landing spot for Chip Kelly as well.
Kansas City Cheifs: Romeo Crennel
Crennel was let go after two season and a 4-15 record. The Chiefs defense thrived under his 3-4 scheme and kept them in many games. The offenses ineptitude led by poor quarterback play and injuries, proved to be too much to overcome. The replacement for Todd Haley is now being replaced.
In the hunt: Falcons offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter is set to interview with the Chiefs along with the Eagles and Browns.
What this means for the Titans
The Titans retained head coach Mike Munchak, with Bud Adams saying that he just needs the right people around him. The Titans fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer mid season and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray managed to hang on, at least for now. The Titans would be wise to upgrade these positions if possible, but that remains to be seen. It all depends on who’s left standing when the carousel stops.
Let’s not forget that Jon Gruden, Bill Cower, and Jay Gruden (Bengals OC) are still out there as well, and Chip Kelly is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. It’s likely that Reid and Smith both find new jobs as head coaches, but Wisenhunt is a maybe. The rest will either hit the college trail or return to coordinating. The Titans would be remiss to not look at Wisenhunt, Crennel, and Turner as possible coordinators going forward. I believe any fan would be ecstatic over one of these hires.
Let there be caution, however, on making change for changes sake. Tom Moore may be convinced to stay on as offensive coordinator, which would be a huge upgrade over Palmer/Loggains. Crennel would be a fabulous get as well, but if Romeo goes elsewhere, Gray may be the best alternative.
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