Black Monday Discussion Thread 2022
NFL Week 18 - Here's our annual thread for discussing all the Black Monday firings after the NFL regular season ends. We'll keep this thread updated with the latest news starting on Sunday night.
The Denver Broncos have fired head coach Vic Fangio after a 7-10 season and another year of missing the playoffs.
The Detroit Lions will reportedly fire offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.
Not a Black Monday firing, but it will be announced that Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert is retiring after this year's draft.
Chicago has fired head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace.
Minnesota has fired head coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman.
Miami has fired head coach Brian Flores.
New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman announced his retirement, but the team will keep head coach Joe Judge.
Upon further reflection, the Giants will not be keeping Joe Judge after all.
Since Houston waited so long to pull the trigger on firing David Culley, we gave that one its own Extra Points thread.
151 comments, Last at 13 Jan 2022, 10:32am
#76 by justanothersteve // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:48pm
Why? He's shown he can coach in the NFL and he's shown to be an excellent QB mentor. He might be the best person to unlock Fields potential. As a Packers fan I do not want Harbaugh coaching another team in the NFC, especially in the NFC North.
#102 by MilkmanDanimal // Jan 10, 2022 - 5:03pm
Harbaugh's a hot enough commodity to where he'll be an attractive candidate for lots of teams, and, knowing that, why would he choose to go to a team that's consistently bad? At some point, there's a history of terrible organizational decisions that just bleed through year over year, and I don't think a top-tier candidate will have any interest in going places like Chicago, Miami, or Jacksonville. Maybe it's unfair to lump Chicago in with those two franchises, but it's never felt like the Bears were on the cusp of anything, and right now they're a team with a young QB, an awful line, not a lot of skill position players, and a middling defense. If you've been dubbed an Official Offensive Genius like Harbaugh apparently has, why risk that somewhere there are all those holes?
#3 by justanothersteve // Jan 09, 2022 - 11:29am
No surprise. Fangio is a great DC. Head coach is a different skill set and he didn't have it, at least with the collection of QBs he had in Denver. I'm sure he'll be a DC somewhere by the end of January if he wants to be.
#4 by MarkV // Jan 09, 2022 - 11:40am
Fangio completely cost himself his job. He was and is competent as a defensive play caller, but his in game decision making with time and strategy probably cost his teams 4-6 wins. Thats a completely fair reason to fire a decent coach after 3 years imo
#6 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 09, 2022 - 1:52pm
DEN with Drew Lock at QB wasn't going to make a lot of noise in the playoffs no matter who their coach was. DEN's D has played pretty good this year, it seems to me, but not so well as to be able to carry a team all on their own (although you could argue they did play well enough be beat KC that way yesterday, if not for the improbable Q4 fumble).
The main reason to fire Fangio is that his whole tenure he behaved like a DC forced into acting as interim HC. The skills he showed are those of a good coordinator. Too bad they couldn't have kept him as DC, but obviously that couldn't happen. He'll go back to being a good DC somewhere else, I expect, while DEN rolls the dice on someone else.
The main reason to keep Fangio would have been if DEN had a bead on a high end QB, i.e. Rodgers in free agency or a high pick in a good QB draft year. The rest of their team, including skill players on offense, are good enough that with a pending upgrade at QB it might have been worthwhile keeping Fangio who at least isn't a disaster of a HC and provides a high floor to their D. But if you're likely a year or two away on a quality QB, as DEN seems to be, might as well spend those years trying to find the HC of your future, too.
#53 by mehllageman56 // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:54am
The issue with Bienemy has been the skeletons in the closet: the arrests and fight from 1989 to 1993. Since then, he only has the DUI from 2001. Seems a long time, perhaps owners should get over it, or get over what other issue they have. The thing is, he's probably set up to take over for Reid, much like McDaniels in New England. As a Jets fan, I'm happy that McDaniels is in New England and that Bienemy is in KC.
#67 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:17pm
Because it hasn't stopped him from getting this far or even the interviews! Menawhile Vrabel is a literal felon! Matt Patricia! Urban Meyer!
And the whole taking over for Reid is made up nonsense people use to justify putting the ball back in his court. They extended Reid through like 2025 and he's not accepting the interviews for the sake of em in the middle of the playoffs. And you best BELIEVE they'd leak him turning down the jobs to clear the air. All they can say is the vague "doesn't interview well" which anyone can say without specifics. McDaniels has been given two chances and blew both of them.
#73 by mehllageman56 // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:37pm
Pretty much agree with you on this now, it took awhile to come over to your way of thinking on this. There's no harm in interviewing him even if he's going to stay in KC. As far as McDaniels, he only blew one. He rejected the second one because he wanted to be like his mentor. If I were an owner I wouldn't bother with McDaniels at all.
#93 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 10, 2022 - 2:11pm
"Read his wiki" doesn't explain why teams interview him. Being "afraid" would stop them from requesting in the first place! Otherwise it makes no sense.
McDaniels blew his 2nd chance by pulling out after the team hired a bunch of his guys (and they ended up hiring Reich coming off a SB, another excuse against Bieniemy that falls short: "can't wait that long!" Yes you can and it can turn out fine like it did Reich).
EB to Denver and Leftwich to Jacksonville seem like the most obvious fits.
#82 by justanothersteve // Jan 10, 2022 - 1:04pm
Everyone did NOT know Mahomes would be this good. Otherwise, he'd have been a #1 pick like the Mannings, Luck, and Lawrence. Or even worth the risk like Stafford, Mayfield, and Newton. Nine teams passed over Mahomes, including the Bears who drafted Trubinsky. His draft pick is actually somewhat similar to Rodgers except he didn't last until the 20s.
He doesn't get the credit because Reid's history as QB whisperer. Not just Alex Smith and Mahomes. There's McNabb, AJ Feeley, and even Kevin Kolb with the Eagles.
#91 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 10, 2022 - 2:03pm
Because Watson was still on the board.
But this notion that it's essentially ALL Reid is silly. As if that stopped Pederson from getting his chance after 3 years and not as good of offenses. Or Nagy after 1 (!!!!) and also not as good.
Speaking of Reid, you should see how he got his first HC gig.
It's safe to say that teams like the Jets hiring Gase, Jags hiring Meyer, Browns hiring Kitchens, etc over EB were just flat out wrong and deserve to be questioned.
#143 by justanothersteve // Jan 12, 2022 - 4:54pm
Because Watson was still on the board.
Watson has nothing to do with it. He also dropped for reasons known only to the teams that passed on him. But you still didn't answer why you said EVERYBODY knew Mahomes would be that good even though he dropped to #10 in the draft. That was my point. And you can't. You adding some irrelevant info on Watson is nothing more than a red herring. You say things that are wrong, and then try to change the argument or bring up irrelevant info or use some other logical fallacy. It's your MO here.
I'm also a Packers fan, going all the way back to the Lombardi era. Born and raised in GB. Family has first row tickets in Lambeau. I know very well how Reid got his first coaching gig, not just his first HC gig. (This is a logical fallacy - appeal to authority - but it does give background as to why I'd know.) But Reid is nothing more than another of your red herrings from the point that you still haven't defended on how EVERYBODY knew Mahomes was going to be that good. Please explain on how EVERYBODY knew Mahomes would be that good yet somehow dropped to the tenth pick in the draft. I'm still waiting.
#144 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 12, 2022 - 5:17pm
That was my point. And you can't. You adding some irrelevant info on Watson is nothing more than a red herring. You say things that are wrong, and then try to change the argument or bring up irrelevant info or use some other logical fallacy. It's your MO here.
I'm also a Packers fan, going all the way back to the Lombardi era. Born and raised in GB. Family has first row tickets in Lambeau. I know very well how Reid got his first coaching gig, not just his first HC gig. (This is a logical fallacy - appeal to authority - but it does give background as to why I'd know.) But Reid is nothing more than another of your red herrings from the point that you still haven't defended on how EVERYBODY knew Mahomes was going to be that good.
Geez. What a weird thing to focus on. It wasnt that hard to understand if you read the flippin title
Even where he [Mahomes] was selected was high
Because Watson was still on the board.
Watson was a better prospect, the best in the class!
Why are you continuing to ask me to prove why Mahomes was going to great? My point was literally the exact opposite.
But yes he gets no credit. Everyone KNEW Mahomes would be this good. He has to win with bums to get a HC! Like Chad Henne and Matt Moore!
I was clearly being sarcastic here. People act like Bieniemy had no part in helping Mahomes BECAUSE Mahomes was "destined" to be this great. When in reality NO ONE saw Mahomes being this good. Sorry if I give his OC a little credit! You on the other hand, attribute everything to Reid...hmmm weird, Packers fan Steve.
Go ahead and add Joe Judge to the list of questionable hires over the last few years. Surely hiring the 2019 NE WRs coach was a great idea (hint this is sarcasm again).
#146 by justanothersteve // Jan 12, 2022 - 9:14pm
You on the other hand, attribute everything to Reid
Don't EVER put words into my mouth. That is an outright lie. All I said was I've known about Andy Reid for a long time. Talk about going out of your way with your trolling. Start with the "it was all sarcasm" claim; it clearly wasn't originally. Follow it with saying I said something that I didn't. Then making a sarcastic comment about my being a Packers fan that long-time posters here have been aware of for over a decade. Just for fun, add another red herring with Joe Judge.
Don't bother responding. It's just more shit.
#147 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 12, 2022 - 10:56pm
You're mad at THAT?
You're the one writing paragraphs telling me how I am because you cant read!
It wasnt originally sarcastic????? How are you gonna put words in my mouth? What a hypocrite! Only YOU thought I wasn't being sarcastic. It's SO painfully obvious. Why would I act like Mahomes was Andrew Luck when propping up Bieniemy? That makes no sense! How can you not put 2 and 2 together?
"aNoThEr ReD herRinG" how do you not understand the biases Bieniemy has to go through yet? It's like youre being willfully ignorant. But a guy named Steve, that's Packers fan from the Lombardi era, doesn't take much guessing as to why.
But hey you knew about Reid for a while. About him skipping OC and going straight to HC. Meanwhile Bieniemy has coordinated 4 straight top 3 offenses yet still loses out jobs to Joe Judge, Urban Meyer, Adam Gase, etc. Gee I wonder why.
#150 by Eddo // Jan 13, 2022 - 10:16am
ImNewAroundThe... is obnoxious, but I'm 99% sure he was being sarcastic with the "Everyone KNEW Mahomes would be this good" comment, using it as an example of the less-than-compelling reasons teams aren't hiring Bienemy.
#9 by BroncosGuyAgain // Jan 09, 2022 - 6:55pm
Kudos to the Broncos for innovating and bringing a special Sunday edition to to Black Monday. (and, yes, I know that a basement dwelling mouth breather will research it, determine that it has happened before, and shove it in my face)
Not that I am giving kudos for firing Fangio. As an advertised Broncos fan, I am ambivalent. The OC and STC have also, reportedly, been let go. That needed to happen regardless of what happened to the HC. Fangio was criticised as a DC masquerading as an HC. Fair criticism. But Fangio did, indeed, coordinate the defense well, and all reports seem to suggest that the room was behind him. The team is far more in need of a quarterback than a new HC.
#36 by johonny // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:32am
Hard to argue with that. Another year of roster trimming and rebuilding for the future instead of trying to build on back to back winning seasons. This was the first time they swept the Patriots since 2000!
#14 by Joey-Harringto… // Jan 10, 2022 - 9:56am
"He totally made lemonade out of lemons"
Exactly. I really don't get the the rationale, unless they had already made up their minds when the team started 1-7 (although even that would be shaky).
And yet Joe Judge may keep his job. Ridiculous.
#19 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:04am
He pretty clearly had buy-in throughout his tenure, and that's easy enough when your team is winning but not nearly as easy when they aren't. The next HC probably isn't going to be excited by Tua, and there's also a possibility they bring in someone who wastes time blowing up the roster to bring in his own pieces. Whoever the new hire is, though, the Dolphins will probably still beat the Pats in Miami next year.
#39 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:36am
I seriously don't get it. Crennel had a 10-6 year with the Browns, a record they wouldn't reach for over a decade, and constantly impresses whenever he gets an interim job. Mangini had two winning seasons with the Jets, enough to get him an immediate job with the Browns (OK, there he stank). McDaniels gets fired in year 2 after a half-decent first year. Bill O'Brien is the only coach in Texans history with a winning record.
Look at those teams: the Browns, the Jets, the pre-Elway Broncos, the Texans, and now the Dolphins. Total garbage organizations (yes, Crennel had a stint with the Chiefs, it's different when you're promoted from interim).
And yet Judge is a complete disaster with a totally reasonable organization. Seriously don't get it.
#49 by jgibson_hmc95 // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:23am
There was more to it than W-L with McDaniels. There was his whole feud with Brandon Marshall. There was his spying in the London game, which he tried to deny. And also, he's the one who made the call to draft Tebow in the first round.
#51 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:45am
Yeah, it wasn't super-clear from what I posted, but that's actually what I was hinting at. I think in general the Belichick tree head coaches tend to rub owners/management the wrong way, and so they don't get the leeway more agreeable coaches do.
What I don't get is why Judge isn't falling prey to the same thing, because he's clearly got the same problems.
#59 by mehllageman56 // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:01pm
Judge needs to be gone, but I have to pipe in that the Jets were not a garbage organization when they hired Mangini, nor after. They went to the playoffs in 2001, 2002 and 2004 before tanking in 2005. They went to the AFC championship game the next two years after firing Mangini. Also don't think the Giants are that good an organization right now; Gettleman was a bad hire, and the rot has been sinking in since the last years of the Coughlin regime. By the way, Coughlin helped the Jaguars become what they are today since getting booted out of NY.
As someone else posted, McDaniels was a disaster in Denver, in large part because he was also the GM. Of all the Belichick proteges, Flores is the one who got the short end of the stick. He's probably going back to New England, and that sucks big time for the rest of the AFC East.
#131 by t.d. // Jan 12, 2022 - 1:53am
as a Jags fan, I'd love them to go after Flores (Jim Harbaugh would be my first choice, but Flores would be second out of anybody on the market- chances are, with our owner, BF'll pass for a better offer). Flores is clearly an upper-tier coach (i'm wary of Leftwich for the same reason I was skeptical of hiring any of Peyton's OCs; if your credentials are that you ran a good offense with Tom Brady and a bunch of HoFers, not sure that's demonstrating anything substantive)
#141 by dryheat // Jan 12, 2022 - 2:35pm
Along those lines, there are no words that describe how hilarious I find it that Aaron Rodgers's frickin' QB coach is getting interest for multiple HC jobs. Not as hilarious as I once co-starred in a community theater production of Our Town with Sean McVay, but hilarious nonetheless.
#103 by dryheat // Jan 10, 2022 - 5:11pm
Nah...he's too good not to be a head coach, and he'll likely get more than one offer to choose from. I think Bienemy and Leftwich will end up in Denver and Jax respectively, leaving .... Chicago, Oakland, Minnesota...maybe Houston and Carolina, just possibly New Orleans and Arizona. I think he'd fit in especially well in Oakland or Carolina, or Arizona if the Cardinals lost next weekend. Chicago and Minnesota are going to be GM dependent. He knows better than to get within 50 miles of Houston.
The Patriots also have DCs in the wings in Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick. I don't think they'd bring back Flores to block them.
If for some reason Flores doesn't get an HC job, he might prefer to see what's available in the NCAA than to take a coordinator position.
#48 by luisguilherme // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:18am
Matt Patricia overstayed his welcome in Detroit by... (checks notes) ... a whole lot.
Flores made the Dolphins compete every week after a Gase tenure that had one of the most talented rosters in the league and not only went nowhere with it, but also dismantled it before its end.
#62 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:09pm
God, I forgot about Patricia. That's actually pretty similar to the Judge thing, though. Unlike the others he never showed any signs of being able to remotely field a winning team, and yet he got 3 years there.
Flores had nearly double Patricia's win total.
#78 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:53pm
Pretty sure Patricia was also the worst coordinator employed by NE for quite some time. When he was in charge of NE's D, they were pretty much terrible by my memory. Maybe that was salary cap allocation, maybe my memory's just really bad.
#96 by Joey-Harringto… // Jan 10, 2022 - 3:15pm
Matt Patricia was actually a pretty quick hook in the context of the way the Lions historically do things. They usually take forever to fire people who are demonstrably bad at their jobs (Matt Millen, Daryl Rogers, etc).
The whole Matt Patricia episode illustrates the pitfalls of hiring a new GM and expecting him to inherit your old coach. Bob Quinn inherited Jim Caldwell, then looked for the first excuse to fire him so that he could bring in his buddy Patricia from the Patriots. After that, the two were tied at the hip. The usually hands-off ownership had to get rid of them both after they finally couldn't take it anymore.
Whoever the new Giants GM is will be inheriting Joe Judge (who's a way worse coach than Caldwell)....I don't expect it to go well.
#58 by fyo // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:00pm
Flores was pretty lost out there on gamedays. If first quarter was all that counted, Miami would have been top team, but he wasn't able to make ANY adjustments. His decision-making was also highly questionable (see any edjsports table of coaching decisions).
Finally, he just wasn't able to get the right people around him. He went through four offensive coordinators and four offensive line coaches in 3 years. He decided to have TWO SIMULTANEOUS offensive coordinators calling plays this year, which lasted nearly half the season before he realized it didn't work sand stuck to one for play-calling.
The team was solidly below average. 25th in DVOA and 6.5 estimated wins.
I don't know that I would have fired Flores, personally. He has some positive attributes as well and you have to expect a rookie coach to have some growing pains. Realistically, though, the team was looking at a new offensive coordinator and new offensive line coach, even if Flores stayed. That would be the fifth of each to start of the Flores' fourth season in Miami. Hardly much continuity.
#15 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 10, 2022 - 9:57am
But hey the last Miami coach that coached 3 years also lost 25 games.
And FWIW they were essentially the Broncos with a slightly better offense and slight worse defense over the past 3 years in EPA/play.
#16 by James-London // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:03am
I really don't understand the Flores firing. Unless he's either completely lost the locker room or, more likely, lost one of the Dolphins' never-ending backroom power struggles. No doubt the failure of the O-line to improve at all and Tua's struggles this year became a talent evaluation vs coaching and development sh*t-fight and Flores lost.
This franchise continually self-sabotages
#20 by johonny // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:06am
Ross wanted Watson. (He wanted Tua over Herbert in 2020). He sabotaged the locker-room and helped cause the 1-7 start. Instead of blaming himself, he is making Flores the bad guy. Unless he really lands Harbaugh, this is a terrible move. Hint: all the data suggests Ross is a terrible NFL owner.
#63 by mehllageman56 // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:11pm
This solidifies him as the worst owner in the AFC East, unless he pulls off the Harbaugh hire. Even then, I have my doubts. The Johnsons don't have the best record, but their meddling has been asking for the Tebow trade (bad move, but nowhere near the risks of a Watson trade) and about it, and they err more on giving people time. Idzik is the only one they've fired after only two years; even when they made Tannenbaum GM, they kept the former GM Bradway as a 'scouting consultant'. Basically they kept the same team together for ten years, and just changed who held final say. Even Herm Edwards left instead of getting fired.
Obviously Kraft has been the best owner in the division for at least 20 years. He may be getting old, but still better than Ross and the Johnsons. The Pegulas are a weird case; they are atrocious as Sabres owners, constantly causing problems and PR snafus, but have stayed out of the way in regards to the Buffalo Bills, who may now have the best front office in the division. They have an argument at least.
#89 by Noahrk // Jan 10, 2022 - 1:50pm
Not only the worst in the AFC East, but in the running for worst in the league, in my opinion. I did enjoy the fact Miami had a black GM, black HC, non-white QB (maybe for the first time in history?), but as far as football goes, he doesn't seem to get it.
#38 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:34am
Bears fire HC and GM
Vikings fire HC and GM
Dolphins fire HC and ... nope, that's it.
So I think that's your answer. The GM convinced the owner that he gave Flores the talent to be a playoff team and all he did with it was go 9-8 (beating NE twice, for good measure).
There's also some possibility that "he's ruining our young QB" was whispered often and loudly, the sort of blame that falls squarely on the HC and leaves the GM unblemished.
#43 by johonny // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:48am
I've never seen a firing hated by fans more than Flores being let go. I was as hard on Flores as anyone, but the move makes zero sense other than as you put it. Miami's front office as been notorious for years as a den of in-fighting and that Ross has zero control of the minority owners and staff. That report was during Gase's years. I doubt its gotten better.
#56 by Noahrk // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:56am
I'm sure going to miss watching the best Dolphin defense since the Taylor/Thomas days. These guys were fun to watch with all the 0-blitz madness. Flores seemed like a good one, that bit about reshaping the coaching staff at the end of every year was the one red flag I could see.
#83 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 10, 2022 - 1:06pm
A young HC with a defensive background leading a team with a good defense (#10 by DVOA), who's been churning offensive coordinators each year and trying new experiments (two OCs at once) to try and get the offense on track sounds like a good reason to work with him to try and continue to find him a good OC.
#70 by johonny // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:28pm
I've read it was that Ross wanted Watson, it was Marino that wanted Watson, it was Grier that wanted Watson, and now it was Flores that wanted Watson. It's safe to say, Miami doesn't run a tight ship in the front office. I have no idea what is actually true. Clearly Ross flying to Houston to talk Watson seems to indicate he didn't completely hate the idea.
#90 by Noahrk // Jan 10, 2022 - 1:54pm
I think it's Ross that wanted Watson, but I don't think it matters. If there's one QB in the league who I'd want to play behind this OL, it would be Watson. He was a perfect fit. Only issue is, you've already invested in a QB, so you don't want to overspend, especially considering the legal situation (and moral situation, if you're so inclined).
What I mean is that wanting Watson doesn't mean you don't like Tua. It's more a matter of, of course you'd want Watson (at the right price).
#18 by johonny // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:04am
It was the owner that wanted Tua over Herbert. It was the owner that floated the Watson rumor and failed to land him. It was the owner that okayed the stripping of the team in 2019 basically destroying Flores first season. Flores might not be the best coach in the world (his offensive staff decisions are bad), but he's far better than Ross deserved. He just coached Miami to its first back to back winning seasons since 2002-2003. (They made the playoffs in none of those 4 seasons). It's really just a fluke of tie breakers they didn't land a playoff spot. It's a terrible move by a terrible owner that given his previous moves is very likely to land next Adam Gase than Jim Harbaugh. Miami will never be a winner under Ross. I wish he'd sell the team. At this point, Ross has to land Jim Harbaugh, Jimmy Johnson or some other proven winner or he looks like the complete * that he is. And we know he won't land anyone that good.
#23 by James-London // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:09am
Presented with two choices, the Miami Dolphins unerringly make the wrong one.
New OC and OL coach and stay the course? Absolutely not. Fire the best HC since Johnson maybe? Yep, sure, that works for us.
Now watch them get spurned by all the big name QBs and go hard after a man who may concievably never play another down in the NFL. In fact it would be the most Dolphins ever to make the trade (3 #1's and X Howard) and then find out Watson's going to jail...
#79 by serutan // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:55pm
Unless Khan suddenly changes his mind, Baalke is going nowhere. Which if I were Bienemy (or anyone else, for that matter) would be a show stopper.
I too think Flores' downfall was office politics instead of an actual football decision.
#110 by lenny65 // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:21pm
He has no real plan. He'll drag his feet and end up settling for an assistant or a retread, one who'll be saddled with Ross' GM and a huge question mark at QB. Every Dolphins fan has heard that sad story before and here we are yet again. No continuity, "power struggles", it's a circus, overseen by a meddlesome billionaire owner with no patience and no clue.
#115 by jheidelberg // Jan 11, 2022 - 11:22am
That is true but under a 16 game schedule 89% of 10 win teams made the playoffs over the years, so it was simply misfortune that Miami did not make the playoffs. I wonder if Flores fate would have been different with a playoff appearance, and possibly a playoff victory.
This looks like an absurd firing regardless. The 2019 Miami team was horrifying and to have made this much progress this quickly shows promise.
#125 by fyo // Jan 11, 2022 - 7:02pm
As a Dolphins fan, I'm on the fence about firing Flores. I would probably have given him another year, but he wasn't a very good coach. If you look at advanced stats like DVOA, the team record was a mirage. He was too conservative, looked lost on the sidelines, rarely if ever managed to adapt when things weren't working, made bizarre challenges, poor critical decisions (per edjsports' model), etc.
When he started in Miami, he wanted a specific blocking scheme installed on offense. The result was o-line coach #1 got the boot four days into training camp after failing. #2 was replaced after that first season. #3 was replaced after the second season. #4 was, according to reports, about to be replaced. That works have been 5 o-line coaches in just over 36 months.
And what did that line look like, after spending good draft picks and free agent additions? "Historically bad" per PFF. Maybe it wasn't the coaches and the players but the SYSTEM. I don't know, but changing o-line coach every few months sure wasn't working.
Flores also went through 4 offensive coordinators, although 2 of those had the job simultaneously. Yeah, that went about as well as you would expect.
Sure, the defense looked good at times, although very boom or bust by nature and still not really able to stop the run without stacking the box (and keeping them there). All the good parts of the defensive run stats came from sending loads of players. This resulted in lots of tackles near the line of scrimmage, but the line was soft in power situations (30th) and if you got through the milling defenders crowding the line, there was just green grass (30th in open field tackles).
Bottom line is, I had zero confidence Flores could do anything better. Like I lead with, I probably would have given him another year, just because he was a rookie hire and that first year was a joke. Giving him a bit more time to find himself and get the right team around him seemed defensible.
But firing him seems equally defensible.
#139 by johonny // Jan 12, 2022 - 9:47am
He was going to be fired in 2022-23. Ross should have fired him at 1-7 and the optics look so much better. Ross should go get Jim Harbaugh. He loves the dude. It's obvious. Ross tried Patriot way. He didn't like it. He should go get the thing he loves.
#149 by BJR // Jan 13, 2022 - 6:04am
You make some good points. Miami is a mess on offence, and lacking any clear direction going forward. Tua may not have panned out as hoped, but he is hardly a disaster. The coaching must take a large slice of the blame. The cupboard was bare when they arrived for sure, but you'd expect better results 3 years in.
The defense has been solid, but we all know how volatile defensive performance in the NFL can be. Offensive performance is the key to consistent success in the NFL, and there is little evidence of that appearing in Miami.
All that said, Miami has achieved respectability under Flores, so careful what you wish for, it's got the potential to become a lot worse.
#24 by T-Vector // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:15am
Is there any job in football less exciting than the Minnesota job? Look Zimmer was past it, and it was time to move on. However the team is saddled with a huge contract for Cousins and a number of good but aging stars. Why would you want the job? It will take three years until you have YOUR team. Honestly, they should have kept Zimmer and waited until there is either a really high pick or Cousins can be cut.
The Bears have a young QB
Denver has a good defense, decent line, and some young talent. At least you can start from scratch at QB, not stuck with an expensive mediocrity.
The Jags have Lawrence
The Fins have Tua and some quality pieces(what they need is a better OL coach).
I can see it being a while before the Minnesota job is filled.
#29 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:19am
They seem the team most stuck in purgatory. Cousins will stop them from tanking but not take you far in the playoffs...if he makes it.
I agree that might as well have kept Zimmer but him being grouchy about Mond ain't a good look. Can't imagine play for him with that attitude.
#32 by T-Vector // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:24am
So he fails and they get a high draft pick. the 9-8 and 8-9(formerly the 8-8) club is limbo. You don't draft high enough to improve and if you are saddled with big salaries, you can't get good free agents.
I am sorry for you, Minnesota fans, but I am also glad I am not one of you.
#69 by riri // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:21pm
The Vikings have had their chances to improve in the draft even though they've picked consistently in the teens. 4 first-round busts in the past 6 drafts -- plus another first-rounder spent on the ill-fated Sam Bradford trade -- will set back a lot of teams.
At any rate, there are teams in far, far worse situations than the Vikings *coughgiantscough*. It's not an amazing situation, but there's talent to work with, and ownership is pretty hands-off with day-to-day operations.
#77 by Will Allen // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:52pm
The Vikings have picked Darrishaw, Jefferson, Gladney, Bradbury, Hughes, and Treadwell in the 1st round in the last 6 drafts. Treadwell is the only one that's a forseeable bust, and Gladney an unforseeable one. Jefferson's All Pro quality. Darrishaw looks good. Hughes is getting on the field in K.C., Bradbury's not bad. That's a decent draft record.
#117 by mrh // Jan 11, 2022 - 1:07pm
Hughes was traded (along with a 7th round pick) for a 6th round pick. Clearly the GM/coach did not value him very highly.
In KC, he has been pretty good. PFF rates him as the #8 CB overall and gives him the best grade of his career (74.7 vs. 65.3/58.7/54.4, a downward trend). It would appear that coaching/scheme in KC has been better for him.
So while the selection of Hughes may be decent from a drafting standpoint, from a team management and coaching standpoint, I'd say it doesn't reflect well on Spielman/Zimmer (and staff).
FWIW, I think the Chiefs have excellent CB coaching. PFF grades Fenton, Hughes, Ward, and Sneed as as #5/8/46/58 out of 120 CBs who meet their snap minimum (yes, I saw what Chase did to them). Those 4 CBs were acquired for a 6th rd pick, a 6th rd pick in trade (along with a 7th), Parker Ehinger (traded to DAL for Ward, Ehinger had no appearances w/DAL and has played a total of 4 games since the trade), and a 4th.
You can quibble w/PFF's grades, but that's a decent CB squad for very little draft capital.
#118 by Will Allen // Jan 11, 2022 - 3:05pm
Nothing will sour a coaching staff more quickly than an inability to stay on the field. In 3 seasons in MN, Hughes appeared in 4 games, then 14, then 6. Yes, if he stays healthy in K.C., his odds of being a good player skyrocket.
#34 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:25am
It will take three years until you have YOUR team.
Yeah, not really. Cousins has a huge contract for next year but that's it - and it's not crazy-land to believe he could be traded, even with that guarantee. It's only $35M for the trading team, and it's likely the trading team could extend Cousins and get a reasonable cap number. It wouldn't be a terrible option. (Note: I didn't say it would be a good option).
By 2023 the team's almost completely a blank slate, with about $75M of free cap space. They need to shove some things around next year, but with a new head coach it wouldn't be that hard to have a transitional year and then basically be fresh and ready to go for 2023.
I've been saying for a while that I think Minnesota's problem has been that they've been working with one foot out the door in the Zimmer era for years now. They're well-structured to transition quickly.
#44 by dank067 // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:51am
The most frustrating thing for a new GM might honestly be that their floor might not quite be low enough next season with Cousins+Jefferson+Theilen to assume you'll be able to draft a new QB in '23, if that's how you want to build. I'll be interested to see if they pro-actively tear it down or if they kind of ride out the current roster first.
#55 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:56am
Really, if they want to stick with Cousins that's not the end of the world either. They just need to actually commit to him. They could free up ludicrous amounts of cap space next year if they felt like it.
The Vikings always seem to be middle of the pack in terms of commitments 2+ years out. Normally you can tell when a team is recognizing "yeah, this is a short term thing" (like the Bucs) or if they hilariously overcommitted themselves previously (Eagles, Cowboys, Saints), although sometimes you have to squint a bit because you need more like a 2-year or 3-year view of cap space. It's like the Vikings always just dip their toe in the waters of going all in.
#45 by Will Allen // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:00am
Yeah, they are ok after next season. Firing Spielman was more called for than firing Zimmer, and if you are going to fire Spielman, there's no reason to keep Zimmer. At the same time, it's a mistake to call Spielman a bad, or even mediocre GM, if you believe, as I do, that ownership forced him to pick a qb in the 1st round in 2011, which ended up being quite Ponderous.
Spielman and Zimmer have not had good injury or covid luck since 2014, and never had much luck with kickers. Yes, the underinvestment in oline draft capital from 2011-2018 was a mistake. It would't have taken more than a miniscule shift in random outcomes, however, to add 5 or 6 victories over the past 8 years, and they'd still have their jobs.
The Wilfs are good owners to work for, having learned their lessons from their 1st 5 years of ownership. They're willing to spend the money needed, they no longer meddle, they aren't impatient. It's a better than average job, but GM and coaching hires remain a roulette spin to large extent.
#46 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:13am
It's funny because the team's approach to personnel seemed pretty damn similar to Zimmer's coaching style. It was always just patient and cautious, no big risks. Like, ever. Which, OK, has some advantages - that team can turn young really fast.
But it also just prevented them from ever being a great team. You gotta take some risks.
#65 by Will Allen // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:13pm
Well, they desperately rolled the dice on Sam Bradford in the immediate wake of the Bridgewater catastrophe. I'll defend that move forever; Bradford played great for them in that 1st year, in the context of a o-line injury catastrophe of historic dimensions, along with receiver injuries. They rolled the dice somewhat with Cousins, which Zimmer really didn't want to do. The cap shrinkage really made that look like a much poorer decision than it otherwise would have been, as you have noted. Neither Zimmer or Spielman have benefitted from good luck, which isn't to say they haven't made mistakes.
#72 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:33pm
Yeah, definitely to be fair, the cap shrinkage really accentuated things. Without it, they'd probably be looking solid right now, and there's no guarantee that Cousins would've been okay with a modified contract, even if it was the same total dollar amount. My opinion on the Vikings basically presumes that Cousins is reasonable and there's actually fair evidence that he's not.
#68 by mehllageman56 // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:19pm
While New's view is understandable, this is the sort of team Parcells would jump at. Both Dallas and the Jets were disasters before he got there, but Parcells would actually use what was there before and improve them. There's a story that Mo Lewis puked his guts out on Parcells first day of mini-camp because he hadn't worked hard the last two years with Kotite. While Zimmer isn't Kotite bad, if the Vikings get a great coach they could end up surprising everyone. Another comparison would be Rex Ryan's first two Jets teams. Of course, there is one candidate who would make sense, and would love not having a GM telling him what to do.
#71 by Will Allen // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:33pm
Zimmer's HC career, which I assume is over, illuminates how much random chance affects our narratives of coaching careers. It wouldn't take more than 6-10 plays, over 8 years, which coaching had zero effect on, to add 3 or even 4 more playoff appearances, in which case, he still has the job. Toss in a little better injury luck, and he's highly lauded.
#30 by RickD // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:24am
If all the Patriots fans are celebrating (and we are), the Dolphins may well have made a mistake.
If I thought there was any chance of him returning to Foxboro, I would say bring him back immediately. He's a much better DC than Belichick's son. (Not that either has had the job title in New England.)
Flores isn't the problem in Miami, except to the extent that he hired the guys who ran the offense.
And yes, he's obviously a much better HC than Joe Judge is.
#35 by johonny // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:30am
They have Jim Harbaugh all but signed. There is zero reason to believe that is true. Flores will be in the NFL next season somewhere. If not another HC job, then certainly he's going to be DC somewhere. It's not like his first 3 seasons were terrible. And it's not like Miami job has a lot going for it. There are questions at QB, RB, WR, TE, Oline . . . and all that is Chris Grier's fault and he's staying! Unlike Gase, Flores is a very likable guy. If Miami was doomed to be stuck in a division with the greatest coach ever for 4-5 more seasons, they could do a lot worse than Flores to be stuck with waiting for Belichick to retire.
#105 by dryheat // Jan 10, 2022 - 5:26pm
It's slightly amusing to me that Bill Parcells left New England, in part, because he lost a power struggle with Bobby Grier. It appears that Miami is making the same mistake -- not that Flores is Parcells -- in that they're getting rid of a HC to keep a Grier around as GM, when it's the HC who is much better at his job.
#113 by johonny // Jan 11, 2022 - 9:57am
Grier has been there 20 years and done nothing, but survive. That's his real skill. He knows how to survive. You can read the Miami reporters and see that Grier has his boys to help spread his side of the story. Remember, while Flores is coaching the team all week, Ross is not around. He lives in NY. He is only there in gameday. Grier has plenty of time to protect his job buttering up Ross. Flores has 4 Super Bowl rings, he's well respected around the league (literally no one around the league is defending this decision, but overweight Dolphins fans that do podcasts and fire the head coach in their mind after every loss). Flores is not without faults. Most coaches have faults. The things is; Flores is a respected scout as well. How much of their good players on the team now were Flores and how much were Grier? Miami is about to find out (I think the hard way). If I were a good young first time coach, I would not take the Miami job. They've burn guys; Sporano and Flores were decent coaches with iffy QB situations. Gase and Philbin were not that hot. The bottom line is; none of them have succeeded in Miami. Miami has a toxic front office situation. When things go south, people stab each other in the back. It's not a family. It's not New England where people keep it in house.
This move made sense at 1-7. If Grier wanted Flores gone, dump him mid-season at 1-7. No one would question it. It's a result oriented league and the results sucked at that point. Firing after rallying to 9-8 makes the front office look stupid. Two winning seasons in a row, handling a burn this team season his first year, and once again, he's the only guy around there that's ever won anything. Why change now, and once again why the * don't they have a plan on who is next? When you hear the owner say he wants to do what's right for Michigan you think Holy* man, do you want your billion dollar property to be good or the place you went to college 60 years ago? Grow up, Ross. College was a long time ago.
#40 by TomC // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:36am
There were lots of last-minute rumors flying that Pace would either keep his job or be promoted to some head of football operations-type position. Kudos to McCaskey for looking beyond his personal admiration for Pace and doing the proper housecleaning. Now they have to get the next two decisions right, which they haven't done either (depending on your opinion of the early 2000s team) since Jerry Angelo / Lovie Smith or never.*
* I was originally going to say since Jim Finks / Mike Ditka, but apparently Halas hired Ditka without consulting Finks, and that's why Finks quit, but not before engineering the greatest draft in Bears history.
#42 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 10:46am
Kudos to McCaskey for looking beyond his personal admiration for Pace and doing the proper housecleaning.
Sadly, firing the GM and head coach isn't actually a real housecleaning. The Bears are one of those franchises where the GM and head coach can change all they want, but strangely you still just keep ending up with Bears football.
It's almost like the same people have been making the overall decisions for decades. Wait...
#47 by Steve in WI // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:15am
I'm cynical about the prospect of a McCaskey-owned team ever being truly successful on the field too, but today I can at least be happy that they have launched a GM and a coach who I believe to be proven failures at their respective jobs. That doesn't mean I trust the McCaskeys to perform optimally through the hiring process, but there is at least a chance that the next GM is good. I don't think the McCaskeys are a toxic or meddling ownership group so much as an inept one, which means that if they luck into a smart GM they probably won't screw it up.
#50 by Pat // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:43am
which means that if they luck into a smart GM they probably won't screw it up.
Ted Phillips literally voted against the kickoff rule because he thought it hurt the Bears because they have great special teams, and they had invested considerable money into those players as well. As if it was a good thing that the Bears were throwing money at the least important part of the game!
The Bears are weird to me. You don't hear about them as meddling owners, yet there's remarkable consistency in the way the Bears play. I think they just meddle differently - they only hire people who think about football the way they do.
#54 by TomC // Jan 10, 2022 - 11:56am
Your point about consistent "Bears football" is hard to refute, but I'm not sure it's fundamentally a bad thing. Part of this is my meathead tendencies asserting themselves in old age, but 1) I think it's ok to have an organizational identity; 2) the formula of great defense, great ST, and ok offense has won in the NFL; 3) the argument can be made that the 2000s Bears would have made it work if they'd ever gotten the QB position right. So if the McCaskeys are trying to recreate 2006 but with Justin Fields instead of Rex Grossman, I might actually be OK with that.
#95 by Steve in WI // Jan 10, 2022 - 3:05pm
Well, that didn't take long.
After absorbing the takeaways from George McCaskey's press conference (in which he announced they're bringing in a 79-year-old Bill Polian to advise them because I guess Ernie Accorsi wasn't available this time, admitted that Ted Phillips will have a huge role in hiring the GM and coach, and didn't rule out hiring a coach before hiring a GM), that few hours of optimism sure was nice I guess.
#75 by justanothersteve // Jan 10, 2022 - 12:39pm
The defense has been better this year, but it's still incredibly inconsistent. Campbell and Douglas have made a huge difference, additions I credit to Gutekunst. But there are still far too many mental errors. I'd replace Barry with Fangio as DC without a second thought. I may change my opinion if the Packers make the Super Bowl but it wouldn't surprise me if any team (especially SF) beat the Packers in the playoffs.
#88 by big10freak // Jan 10, 2022 - 1:28pm
The unit tackles better but that is somewhat influenced by having a really good tackler in the center of the action (Campbell)
There are been individual improvement among players which is great.
But the unit output does not compute with the individual contributions. Gary has been a real force as an edge rusher. Preston Smith has had a bounceback season. Campbell and Douglas revelations. Stokes has been solid (at minimum) as a rookie corner. Amos is a rock in the back.
Still bottom third in overall defense by DVOA. And rightfully so. They have spent the last 4-6 weeks getting gashed due to individual breakdowns or some bad scheming.
GB doesn't 'need' a top ten defense. GB with this offense will do just fine with a 15 or so defense. Make some stops. Generate some turnovers. Get the ball back to the offense and get out of the way. And I think with the talent base that should be feasible.
That's my perspective. I don't think it's unreasonable but obviously I am biased given that this is my opinion so of course I think I am being level-headed
#107 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 10, 2022 - 7:28pm
And still am concerned about the long term prognosis. Heck, even worried with how he'll reintegrate Jaire and Zada (you think it wouldn't be hard but...)
With that being said, IDK if I'd fire him. I wonder what the "locker room" thinks of him. That might sway a lot more than it usually does for me.
Don't hate the idea though. I think discussing it is a fine option.
What we should also talk about is Hackett potentially leaving.
#97 by mike07030 // Jan 10, 2022 - 3:17pm
They haven't specifically said he'll be the coach next year but they did put out a statement that they will hire a GM responsible for coaching decisions. So, it seems like they will leave Judge's fate up to the new GM.
#138 by Pat // Jan 12, 2022 - 9:29am
Eh. I doubt the Giants have already decided and I really doubt any of the GMs have locked in like that. It's just too much of a house of cards to hold together without any commitments.
Much more likely that even in brief talks with GM candidates they had very low opinions of Judge. I mean, who the heck would have a high one? The guy embarrassed himself publicly and before the season was literally responsible for players walking away. Even if you thought from a football strategy point of view that the guy wasn't terrible, he makes any GM's job way harder.
Just seems like one of those situations where Judge doesn't realize that the crap that he needs to sell to the owner is just talk, and you don't actually do any of that with the players. Like, he actually believes the spin he sells.
#114 by Will Allen // Jan 11, 2022 - 10:48am
Every coach has faults, but the easiest thing to do is to collect criticisms of a fired coach, from players after two unsuccessful seasons. Firing Zimmer made sense; there is a decent chance that a guy has his coaching performance decline between the ages of 57 and 65, and there hasn't been enough success in his tenure. However, it's an analytical error to think that a coach of an 8-9 team being insufficiently personable in greeting players is a significant factor, compared to losing the team's two best edge rushers, having to fire a starting cb just before the season begins, having some of your highest paid players miss games due to Covid, and a qb whose performance doesn't align with his cap %.
#122 by PackerPete // Jan 11, 2022 - 6:21pm
I wonder how much those two QB sneaks from the Giants' own five influenced ownership. What coach signals defeat like that to his own team? I thought a couple days ago that Judge would get the boat with those sneaks as a factor, especially his pride the previous week in running the ball while trailing by several TDs.
#132 by Stendhal1 // Jan 12, 2022 - 3:20am
Unless a team has a meddling owner, it’s just a matter of finding the right persons to run the team. Here in the SF Bay Area, the Yorks were pilloried for hiring Erickson / Nolan / Singletary, then praised for hiring Harbaugh, then called dolts for letting him go, then praised again for Shanahan + Lynch.
#129 by sharky19 // Jan 11, 2022 - 9:33pm
I'm curious if any of the high profile candidates are going to wait until the Raiders begin interviews or if they'll jump at the first openings. That job looks a lot more appealing than NYG, JAX, and Denver, prob equal to Chicago
#130 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 11, 2022 - 10:01pm
1. Chicago - Fields, Mooney and cap space. This feels like the clear best
2. Minnesota - Not a lot of money. Strapped to an expensive QB next year that you can't rely on someone just taking, especially if you don't want to eat part of it. Jefferson is good. So is Thielen but he's getting old and hurt. The rest...uh Bradberry? James Lynch? CJ Ham?? Not much cap.
3. New York - uh Kadarius Toney? A high profile RB? I guess you could make the argument you could tank faster so maybe switch with MN. But you also don't really have money either for a while.
#136 by BlueStarDude // Jan 12, 2022 - 8:42am
Is ownership forcing the new GM to stick with Jones? If not, Jones seems like a pretty easy one to walk away from if he doesn't vastly improve next season—or heck, maybe the Panthers or someone will trade for him now, lol.
#145 by Steve in WI // Jan 12, 2022 - 6:11pm
I am pessimistic about Chicago's short-term chances to compete (I think Mooney is enormously overrated, the cap space doesn't make up for the lack of draft capital and all of the holes that will need to be filled now or in the next 2 years, and we learned basically nothing about Fields as an NFL QB thanks to Nagy's mismanagement), but I think there is a huge reason they would be the best opportunity for a GM: job security.
The McCaskeys love continuity and hate conflict. A week ago the smart money was that Ryan Pace would be retained or even kicked upstairs on the basis of a 48-65 record, 2 failed coaches, and zero playoff wins in only 2 appearances, one of which was a 7 seed. And it's not like Pace is an aberration. If you look back to when Ted Phillips took over as team president in 1999 or when Virginia McCaskey took over from Halas in 1983, their futility over those periods in terms of playoff wins and appearances rivals the worst in the league.
I will say that for a team lacking a first-round pick and a sure-fire franchise QB, they are in the next best position because Fields has obviously earned another look in 2022 so there's no need to overpay for a mediocre veteran or be desperate to draft another one. I do worry about the prospect of the Bears bringing in a GM and/or coach who isn't sold on Fields and would rather move on from him as soon as possible than put him in the best possible spot to succeed. But such is life with a franchise that always makes transitions messy.