Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Dec 2012

Black Monday Primer

This Don Banks piece gives you a good roundup of rumors regarding which head coaches and general managers are likely to be fired on Monday, and who might replace them.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 27 Dec 2012

25 comments, Last at 31 Dec 2012, 7:15am by Bright Blue Shorts


by Insancipitory :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 5:31am

I thought more people would comment on this piece. Certainly of the articles like it, this one is undoubtedly the best I've read. I'm somewhat relieved to see Darrell Bevell only mentioned once, and Gus Bradley not at all.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 7:47am

Reading that Josh McDaniels is already being reconsidered as a headcoach amazes me.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 10:35am

This. What in the world is going on?! He was handed the keys to the car in Denver, and I don't think you could screw it up worse if you tried. I'm still somewhat certain that he's good at making an offense work - even with little talent (Kyle Orton), but did he make a single good personnel decision in Denver? Demayrius Thomas and Eric Decker were McDaniels picks, so I guess there's that.

by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 1:53pm

As a Jets fan I hope he takes over in New England. I cannot believe there would be a bidding war for his services.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 5:42pm

McDaniels was indeed an excellent COACH in Denver. His offenses were very good: he made Kyle Orton an above-average starter and Brandon Lloyd an all-pro. His personnel decisions are what were god-awful, and yes, he was so bad he made Matt Millen look competent in comparison.

It's plausible that he could have learned from his mistakes in Denver. The general manager he worked with in Denver, Brian Xanders, might as well have not existed. Who knows what he could do with a competent GM.

If he learned from his mistakes, or better yet, if his next team takes personnel decisions away from him, I think he could be a great head coach.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 6:22pm

I have no problem with McDaniels one day becoming a headcoach again however three years and still being his mid-30s is too early in my opinion. In another era - see Tom Landry in Dallas - the NFL gave coaches more time to make mistakes and learn from them but that doesn't apply in this day and age.

While it's good to see what a successful organisation looks like, I suspect McDaniels may have got more out of being at the Rams for a year and having to deal with unmotivated players in a flawed system because that's where you find out about how to communicate, motivate and sell people on your ideas. You look back to how he alienated Cutler in the first few months of being in Denver and, while that may have been inevitable given his decisions, a more mature coach with better man management skills may have been able to avoid that.

by BlueStarDude :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 9:36am

Jason Garrett's main problem is he is way too conservative, even by NFL coaching standards. That said, the only potential replacement out there I'd jettison him for at this point is Sean Payton.

by Happy Fun Paul :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 10:10am

The part I found most interesting:

The other theme I heard from club executives this hiring season is that the league's longtime special teams coaches are starting to get viewed as prime head coaching candidates, in part because of Harbaugh's success in Baltimore, and in part because of their unique job description of having to deal with and coach players from all sections of the roster.

The "isn't that odd?" conventional wisdom (though I have no idea if it's actually true) is that when O-coordinators are hired as head coaches, even if they do well overall, the offense is not the reason why (Billick in Baltimore) and the same for D-coordinators-turned-head-coaches having disappointing defenses (Belichick in New England). So, with N=1 (Harbaugh in Baltimore), it looks like hiring a special teams coordinator as your head coach is the exception-- you get good special teams!

(To start a trend in the NFL, all you need is N=1. :-)

On a more serious note, it does make sense to me that special teams coordinators have been undervalued as head coaching candidates.

by Led :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 2:03pm

Baltimore has only been ok at ST since Harbaugh has been the HC. Great this year; terrible last year; ranging from mediocre to pretty good in the preceding years. But with very few exceptions, that's how ST is. Up and down. I do think Harbaugh is a good HC.

by Duke :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 3:45pm

I was more surprised that the San Diego guy was mentioned as a possible candidate. I thought they had horrible special teams?

by Chip :: Sat, 12/29/2012 - 1:49am


And no mention of Dave Toub CHI ST coach? He's only kept the ST unit in the top 5 for 6 of the last 7 years with the worst showing of 8th in 2010.

by Cro-Mags :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 11:58am

I have a hard time believing a seemingly cool, calculating, shrewd guy like Saban would return to Cleveland out of some kind of warm nostalgia. Especially since the Browns he worked for (Modell's) are the Ravens now.

by Steve in WI :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 3:53pm

Obviously Don Banks knows way more about what might happen than I do, but I'm surprised that he seems sure that Lovie Smith's job is safe if the Bears make the playoffs. My perception is if they squeak in but get beat soundly in the first game (which seems very possible, if not likely), he could still very well be gone.

I completely disagree with his analysis of inconsistency as the reason Lovie could be fired. If anything, the problem is that the Bears have been *too* consistent. Almost always an 8-8 or 9-7 team that shows some promise and can beat bad teams but loses to good ones. Always an offense at the bottom of the NFL, even after acquiring Jay Cutler who is unquestionably the best Bears QB in decades (regardless of how you rank him among his peers). Always a team that makes questionable personnel decisions (yes, Jerry Angelo deserves the lion's share of the blame for a series of poor drafts, but it seems Smith can and should be held accountable for not evaluating talent well enough in his position, and for not acquiring good coordinators much of the time).

As a fan, I don't believe anything that happens in the next few weeks is going to change my opinion that it's likely time for a change to a coach who will emphasize putting together a top 10 (at least) offense. I realize that if the Bears put together an unlikely playoff run, Lovie gets to stick around at least through the end of his contract, but I'm not seeing anything to make me confident that Lovie is the coach who's going to put together a perennial Super Bowl contender.

by dbostedo :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 11:44am

"...Lovie Smith's job is safe if the Bears make the playoffs."

I've never understood this kind of reasoning at all, but it does seem to happen. Why would an owner let his decision be made by just one game? Or even what happens in other games not involving his team? Shouldn't you take the entire body of work into account? Or is it maybe just a PR thing (bad for fans to fire a coach that made the playoffs)?

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 12/31/2012 - 7:15am

I think for the most part you're right. You stay with a coach if you can see that he has a good plan, that there is incremental improvement and the team are still playing for him; not just because of outcomes.

Then again the Giants probably proved with Tom Coughlin's two Super Bowls it may not be such a bad strategy.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 4:01pm

Regarding the so-called "tension" between Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew, never even heard a sniff of that, and lot of local media in Detroit are scratching their heads at that anonymous report. And if anyone deserves to get fired, it's Schwartz, not Mayhew (his drafting has been mixed-bag, but not firing-worthy).

by LionInAZ :: Sat, 12/29/2012 - 7:23pm

I'm with you on that any so-called friction between Schwartz and Mayhew sounds fictitious.

But my own opinion is that Cunningham should get the boot first, along with Caldwell, the ST coach. I have my doubts about the DB coach as well. While Schwartz has made a couple of bad in-game decisions, tne fact is the secondary has gotten worse despite losing a corner who was since suspended for PEDs, and the pass rush has declined despite Suh and Fairley playing better.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sat, 12/29/2012 - 10:25pm

The pass rush declining despite Suh and Fairley playing well can be linked to Schwartz's refusal to bench VandenBosch despite his decline to backup-caliber. When your starting RDE is basically just a warm body, it's hard to get a credible pass rush going.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 6:53pm

I agree about Vanden Bosch, especially after his bad decision to go for a scoop-and-run fumble recovery on the wrong end of the field. But KVB was an inspirational character needed by this team. But the problems on D went way beyond him. It was constant overpursuit, overrreactions to play action, and missed assignments in the secondary that were the biggest problems, plus the awful play on kick returns on both sides of the ball.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 2:25am

G. Cunnivgam's last game with deteoit loons is today. Thought that already announxes. Either that or heard form soirce either real or whiel dreaming. If latter would be weird cause do not do drugs. Would be third time in life when dream send messafe. Other time involce girl and another time involve car theft. This cunjogham would not be important for me except for this post where inform Detroit loisn fans about their own tema

by dbt :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 8:12am

invoice girls get me every time.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 6:58pm

If only Raiderjoe could only infirm us about fawls about his own team instead of focusing on Lions for reasons obscure tp everyone but himself.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 11:16pm

Not a lot to syay about 2012 Raiders. Crap season but many good sifnns for futurs. Will discuss tema in offffseason for sire

by Insancipitory :: Mon, 12/31/2012 - 6:03am

That's the allure for the NFL as the season wanes, for an ever dwindling few, "This could be our year!" for everyone else, "...maybe next year."

/Offer may not be valid in Cleveland.

by Nathan :: Sat, 12/29/2012 - 6:43pm

Looking at what RG3 has done out of the pistol I might be tempted to think about Chris Ault.