Black Monday came in the NFL and to no surprise five coaches faced the chopping block. One coach Gary Kubiak was fired three weeks ago, leaving six vacancies in the NFL right now. While there are still questions about a few more coaches who are facing the ax, here are those that have already lost their job:
Washington Redskins– The Redskins had a terrible season faced with humiliating losses, injuries and a coaching ineptitude that never improved. Mike Shanahan brought in his son Kyle to be the offensive coordinator which only created more problems. When players questioned coaching decisions Kyle made, going to his father would only create further issues and tension within the team. Shanahan’s decision to sit RGIII for the last three games of the season only created more problems, and would lead to his ultimate demise. This team is in need of a serious overhaul on the offensive and defensive line and in need of a fresh perspective at head coach. Art Briles, Jay Gruden, Darrell Bevell and Russ Grimm are likely candidates but don’t rule out owner Daniel Snyder looking to the college ranks to get his next head coach.
Detroit Lions– Pre-season predictions had the Lions as a potential playoff contender in the NFC North. On paper this team is young, talented and very promising on both sides of the ball. Despite the talent, the young team lacked discipline, becoming one of the most penalized teams in the league. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has seen his production start to drop off and the lack of a top quality number two receiver has been very costly. On defense the secondary has been suspect and given up leads in multiple games. Complaints of Jim Schwartz’s lack of disciplining and developing his players led to his inevitable firing. They also fired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and receivers coach Tim Lappano.The team will need to work on their secondary and receiver issues and figure out how to do so with their enormous cap problem. Lovie Smith, Bill O’Brien, Jon Gruden and Ken Whisenhunt are the most likely candidates for this vacancy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers– Bucs didn’t just fire head coach Greg Schiano but general manager Mark Dominik as well. When Schiano started out 6-4 last season things looked very promising, but when they finished losing five out of their last six, the wheels fell off. They started this season losing their first eight games and getting rid of QB Josh Freeman who turned into a complete bust as a leader of the team. Add to this an MRSA outbreak and an injury to RB Doug Martin, and this team was doomed to fail. Bucs are fine on cap space for next year and don’t have major issues to address, but they will need to get their house in order quick and find a new GM and HC quickly. Lovie Smith, Bill O’Brien, Adam Gase and Mike Zimmer are all possible candidates for head coach.
Minnesota Vikings– The Vikings had an explosive defense just two years ago, but now their defense is less than stellar and their offense is atrocious so the firing of head coach Leslie Frazier was not a surprise. QB Christian Ponder has proven to be a major disappointment. Bringing in QB Josh Freeman was an enormous mistake and QB Matt Cassel has been underwhelming. This team will need to fix their defense and find a franchise quarterback to fix their most glaring problems. Darrell Bevell, James Franklin and Kevin Sumlin are the candidates being discussed for head coach.
Cleveland Browns– The firing of head coach Rob Chudzinksi after just one season completely surprised the Browns fans and players. While the team finished just 4-12 the Browns were expected to struggle this season as they try to rebuild. They lack a franchise quarterback, and traded away their top running back for a first round draft pick this coming season. They do not have a good number one wide receiver and need to make major changes on their defense. Salary cap is not an issue but they will need to resign their center Alex Mack who is a free agent this off-season. Josh McDaniels, Lovie Smith, Kevin Sumlin and Ray Horton are all considered candidates for this job.
Houston Texans– The Texans fired head coach Gary Kubiak three weeks ago. This is after the team started out 2-0 and went on to lose the next 14 straight games. This team had issues at quarterback with Matt Schaub struggling before being injured and then being replaced by Case Keenum who would also struggle and be replaced by Schaub. RB Arian Foster would be sidelined most of the season with a back injury and the often injured LB Brian Cushing would be out for the season with a broken leg and torn LCL. Texans will have to find a quality second wide receiver and a good secondary to get back to being competitive in the AFC South. Jon Gruden, Jay Gruden, Greg Roman and Tom Cable are all possible candidates for the job.
Atlanta Falcons– The Falcons did not fire head coach Mike Smith but did fire their offensive line coaches Paul Dunn and Pat Hill and defensive line coach Ray Hamilton. After a dismal 4-12 season this was not surprising. Their offense struggled after WR Julio Jones went out and RB Stephen Jackson never took off. The defense allowed more points than in previous seasons and will quickly have to addres their line issues on both sides of the ball.
So far no other coaches have been fired but this doesn’t mean every coach remaining is safe. There are still questions in Tennessee and Dallas that need to be addressed, so there may still be more to come very soon.