Monday, January 02, 2006

The Coaching Carousel Hits Warp Speed

Do you think he made this face when he got the pink slip in the mail?

Heads are rolling, and coaching opportunities are aplenty this afternoon in the National Football League.

24 hours ago, we knew of two openings - the Detroit Lions, who fired Head Coach Steve Mariucci in November, and in Kansas City, where Dick Vermeil is retiring. Since last night, the following jobs have also become vacant:

Minnesota Vikings - fired Mike Tice
St. Louis Rams - fired Mike Martz
Green Bay Packers - fired Mike Sherman
New Orleans Saints - fired Jim Haslett
Houston Texans - fired Dom Capers

Additionally, Norv Turner is expected to be canned by the Raiders, Bill Parcells is considering retirement instead of a 4th season in Big D, there are whispers that Marty Schottenheimer may not have a future in San Diego, Herm Edwards could leave the Jets, and there is even talk that Tony Dungy could retire on the heels of his family tragedy. It would not be a surprise if 1/3 of the league changed coaches this off-season.

Mariucci's a good coach who never really had a chance with poor personnel in Detroit, and Vermeil had some success in KC, but probably underachieved the past couple of years.

As for the five who have been canned today, they all had plenty of opportunities to achieve success (some of them did), so I don't think any of them are being forced out unfairly. Between the five of them, they had been in their current positions for an average of just over five years, ample time to establish yourself. I would agree that Haslett was in a terrible position this year, but in his previous five years with the Saints had failed to make them more than an average club. As for the Mikes, Sherman and Martz's clubs perennially underachieved, and had a penchant for losing to lesser teams in the playoffs, while the 2005 season showed that Tice couldn't keep his club disciplined. Dom Capers coached a team that was never playoff-caliber, but consistently blew games that they should have won (at least 3-4 of them this year). I don't feel any of these five coaches deserved more time in their current positions. While they all underachieved, I do hope they find success in the future, with some of them even having a shot at being Head Coaches once again as soon as this season.

As for the next batch of NFL Head Coaches, the rumor mill is already circling around the top Coordinators in the league, and high-profile College Coaches like Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. We'll have to wait and see what other jobs open up before projecting who will be coaching where, but for now I'll give my opinion on what type of coach each team needs.

Detroit Lions
Someone with a lot of patience, and who likes to collect Blue-Chip Wide Receiver prospects.

Kansas City Chiefs
Someone who can keep the team motivated and focused. They have great coordinators calling plays on both sides of the ball, so someone who's more of a manager would be a great fit.

Minnesota Vikings
A disciplinarian of the Bill Parcells variety to keep these kids focused on the field, not the cruise ship.

St. Louis Rams
Someone who will call plays on offense that suit the skilled players, rather than someone who's busy trying to prove he's an offensive genius.

Green Bay Packers
Someone's who's a great teacher of the game, since this team will be rebuilding for the next few years.

New Orleans Saints
Same as the Pack. They're going to be building around Matt Leinart as soon as they draft him in April, so someone to mentor him would be ideal.

Houston Texans
A smarter play-caller than Dom Capers, and someone who can find creative ways to get soon to be franchise player Reggie Bush the ball.

One non-coaching related note. The NFL Draft Order shapes up nicely in that every team in the Top 5 is picking in a slot where the best player available will also fit a need. Houston needs talent everywhere, so Reggie Bush is a given; New Orleans needs a QB, so they'll take Leinart; the Titans need to get younger on the O-line, so they'll take D'Brickashaw Ferguson from Virginia, the Jets and Packers need help on defense, so the likes of AJ Hawk from The Ohio State University and Tamba Hali from the Pennsylvania State University are great fits. This being said, the Texans still need an offensive line to keep David Carr from becoming a corpse, and Reggie Bush from getting hammered every time he touches the ball, and I'm still pissed that the Niners missed out on #1 due to their two game winning streak to end the year. Somehow, they've ended up with the 7th pick, but luckily it's a deep draft, even before we factor in the Juniors who are opting in.


At 4:56 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Why wouldn't the Texans trade down to get an O-lineman who can protect Carr and help Davis? My guess is there will be teams dying to get Bush, and who will therefore give up more than they should in return.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Bush is such an exceptional talent that you'd be crazy to pass on him. Texans General Manager Charlie Casserly, who appears to be keeping his job, pretty much said they're taking Bush unless they get a Herschel Walker-like package in return.

On that note, am I the only one hoping that the Packers hire Mike Ditka as the Coach/GM? After the package he put together to secure Ricky Williams, he might offer his team's entire draft for the rest of the decade to get Reggie Bush.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

I just hope Favre retires. Simmons comments about him being the white Aaron Brooks are dead on.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Alex said...

From the Associated Press, Saints GM says replacing Haslett won't be difficult.

Sure they're talking about the process of finding a coach, not the actual merit, but this headline was the highlight of my morning. Kudos to whoever came up with it.

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Another update: Norv Turner was canned today.


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