Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Dec 2013

FO's Black Monday 2013 Thread

So, once again this year we'll provide one thread for discussion of Black Monday firings and prospective hirings around the NFL. We're actually throwing this up Sunday night because the word is already out that the Browns are firing Rob Chudzinski after just one year. Very few people seem to understand this one. There has to be some sort of story here, because the Browns were pretty reasonable for a team that had no real quarterback. Usually, the only time you see a guy get fired after a year is if a new general manager comes in and wants his own guy. (That's why Mike Mularkey went in Jacksonville, for example, and Hue Jackson in Oakland the year before.) This firing certainly doesn't do anything for the popular belief that the Browns organization is a mess where we have no idea who is in charge, because you have to wonder: Is the person who made the final decision to hire Chud also the person who made the final decision to fire him?

Here's a story on the Chudzinski firing.

Other rumored firings include Jim Schwartz and Mike Shanahan, and we'll add links as news comes in Monday.

The Vikings have fired Leslie Frazier.

The Redskins have fired Mike Shanahan.

UPDATE (1142 ET):
The Buccaneers have fired Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik.

UPDATE (1209 ET): The Lions have fired Jim Schwartz.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Dec 2013

129 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2014, 4:25pm by Hurt Bones


by Graeme O'C (not verified) :: Sun, 12/29/2013 - 10:49pm

Here's hoping there'll be a link to "Greg Shiano Fired" by the end of the day. The Bucs fan sites are in despair over another possible year with him.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:18pm

Please please please also please in case you missed it please let this come true.

by Peregrine :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:34pm

Nah, I like Schiano exactly where he is.

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:50pm

Wish: Granted.

by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:00pm

All you needed to do was tap your ruby slippers together and say "this is no place for gnomes".

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/29/2013 - 10:53pm

As I said, I'm thinking that Banner/Haslam are thinking that Mangini and Shurmur got *too long* by getting 2 years each, and giving Chud less, rather than more, time, was appropriate if he could only get 4 wins out of 5 pro bowlers, QB problems or not.

by Greg B (not verified) :: Sun, 12/29/2013 - 10:58pm

There is no good reason for the Lions to maintain Schwartz and not go after Lovie Smith. None. They have tons of talent on both sides of the ball but no team discipline, and we know that Lovie makes the most of what he's given.

There is also no good reason for the Jets not to court Smith, but that's already settled, unfortunately.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:11pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Lovie has always coached a 4-3, cover 2 type defense, and the Jets personel does not fit that at all. In fact, they have too many stud defensive tackle/3-4 end types as it is, with Coples playing rush linebacker. Lovie Smith also doesn't have a good record on the offensive side of the ball, where the Jets need the most help, and team discipline (penalties) has not really been an issue in the Rex Ryan era.

by Greg B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:26pm

I wasn't really thinking of discipline re: Jets, but points taken on the two personnel issues. Sitting out here in NY, it's hard not to feel a certain desperation for change, though. And I think any floundering franchise would be lucky to get Smith.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:30pm

Tampa and Lovie Smith clearly make sense in a bunch of ways; he's got history there, it's a roster with plenty of talent that needs an experienced coach, and Tampa's two best front-seven players (Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David) are clearly pretty studly 4-3 defenders. Presuming he brings in a solid offensive coordinator (like Chudzinski, perhaps), I'd certainly be OK with him as a hire. At least he wouldn't be the walking pile of shame Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano were.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:41pm

I can understand the wish for change; it's not like Ryan is perfect, the team will occasionally lay an egg in situations you wouldn't expect (against the Bills this year). But the quarterback situation is the problem, and has been the entire time Rex has been there. Sanchez was supposed to be terrible according to FO's own metrics, and Geno was only a rookie in the west coast system, which takes a while to learn.

by bucko (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:57pm

Mike McCarthy is no gameday wizard and he routinely outcoached Smith the last few years both were in the same division.

I think Smith got the shaft by the Bears, but Detroit has to look elsewhere.

by jonnyblazin :: Sun, 12/29/2013 - 10:59pm

The Chud firing confuses me. Really, that's more of an indictment of the FO's ability to evaluate coaches, rather than an indictment of Chud's coaching abilities. The QB's he was given to work with were not good, and the defense didn't have that many quality players even though popular opinion early in the year was that they were solid.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/29/2013 - 11:06pm

I remember that probably one of your favorite writers, Jamison Hensley, was a big critic of the hire (seemingly one of the only critics,) on the grounds that Chud had no head coaching experience.

I'm mixed on this; he can't be given a pass for the particular ways that the Browns lost some of games (i.e. New England, Jags, etc.)

I thought he brought some of the best assistants the Browns have had recently, and I actually wanted him to be even more aggressive on 4th downs than he was.

by Dan L (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:56am

The more I think about it the more it sounds like Haslam is playing the most evil caricature of Jerry Jones here. Sure he let's the GM hire whoever they want, but they must fire that coach the minute Haslam gets mad, or else they get fired themselves. In this sense it is more an indictment of the culture at the top, which acts like a talented but easy to tilt poker player.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 7:20am

" Sure he let's the GM[/president] hire whoever they want, but they must fire that coach the minute Haslam gets mad, or else they get fired themselves. "

Technically, last year Shurmur got to stay the season, even though Haslam's madness was clear from the punt a good ways inside Colts territory. (This was the right decision, despite Shurmur's failings, due to the problems that often come from midseason coaching changes.) Holmgren got fired later in the season, but was gone anyway (the acceleration of the firing was from his apparent looking for the Cowboys coaching job.) Heckert was not involved in the hiring, but we can debate whether he should've kept the job in the first place or not.

by Dan L (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:40am

I was speaking of Banner as the "GM" in this case, who definitely was involved in the hiring process. I know the Browns have an odd title structure, but I'm saying that the "GM" is the person with final say on football personnel decisions. What I am suspecting is that Haslam gave Banner full ability to hire whatever coach he wanted for 2013, but with the caveat (spoken or unspoken) that Haslam will tell him to fire the coach at any whim. This is why I see it as a problem in the front office, rather than bold forward thinking. Will Haslam actually allow anyone to make decisions without subverting them? Will any decent coach want to work in this environment? I have suspicion that the answer to both questions is no.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:21pm

Jimmy Haslam is a billionaire fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers who had to sell his minority interest in that team so he could purchase his majority interest in the Browns. Why are we assuming he wants the Browns to be any good? He might have had the GM fire Chud because he did too good a job, or he might be trying to instill his own brand of soul-sucking chaos so the Steelers have an easier path to the playoffs every year.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:50pm

I realize it's bad form to respond to your own post, but I have to chime in against this idea now, having seen Haslam take the three stooges question from a reporter. He obviously does want to win, but this decision seems really foolish right now.

by Jerry :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 7:57pm

While I like the idea of a fan of one team spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a division rival and keep them down, I'm sure that the financial benefits of fielding a winning team are much more attractive.

by DavidL :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 9:43pm

On the other hand, Jerry Jones.

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:38am

Tanier, in his usual inimitable style:

"Chud failed to win with Jason Campbell and Fozzy Whittaker as his backfield; as soon as we find someone who succeeds, we should make him Emperor of Earth, not head coach of the Browns."

( http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/66233380/ )

by andrew :: Sun, 12/29/2013 - 11:13pm

As a Vikings fan if Frazier is gone I am hoping they are calling Chud tonight.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:05am

Dan Snyder will not fire Mike Shanahan by text message, or tweet, or fax, because Dan wants to see the expression on his face.

by arias :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:50am

Doubt Shanny would give him the satisfaction of seeing any expression. He'd surely know what was up prior to that meeting and would be cool as ice.

by drobviousso :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:55pm

After all that plastic surgery and tanning, if Shanny can make an expression, its a medical miracle.

by Steve B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:44am

That expression being "I get $7 million AND I don't have to work for you anymore? Hot Damn!"

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:05am

The best way to deal with these stressful times is by using humor in the workplace.

Knock knock
Who's there?
Not you anymore

by Mash Wilson :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:15am

"I give up. What IS the difference between my husband and the seventies pop group 'Village People'?"

"They're coming back."

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:12am

Please fire Mel Tucker into the sun, thanks.

Also Gilbride.

by Cythammer (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 5:28am

Rex won't be getting fired, which is somewhat of a surprise. I'm glad. He'll continue to be a great defensive coach who doesn't know what to do on offense, but I think whoever would replace him would most likely be worse. The problem is that the Jets' 8-8 record this year was a mirage. They were much worse than that, as a glance at their point differential will tell you. Even if they improve next year they will probably still have about the same record, which would probably get Rex canned. So I predict he'll be gone a year from now.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:05am

The only questions in my mind is: does the NFL rename the AFCleast the "Patriots and the rest" or does it give the Professor and Maryann equal billing. Either way fans of the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins need to stop caring until the division becomes something worth caring about. The Bills might have the best roster, but the worst owner. The Jets have been a mess since IDK 1969, and the Dolphins new owner just wants to cash out on his franchise. Neither of the three teams have a QB the fan base can rally behind, and so the Pats will win this division over and over and over and over...

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:59am

Maryann always deserved equal billing.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:33pm

Yeah, the Jets have been a mess since 1969, even though they beat the Pats in the playoffs three years ago. They haven't been to a Super Bowl since then, but they've been to 4 AFC championship games since then, so it's not like they've haven't been relevant since then. The same holds true for the Bills and Dolphins within the same time period. As far as the quarterbacks go, yes, Brady is far and away the best in the division. But he's 36, and his skills are obviously deteriorating. My hope is that the Pats win it all this year, so the collapse happens next year.

by RickD :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:48pm

I think it's very unlikely the Pats win the Super Bowl this season, so I hope Brady has at least one more season in him.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:50pm

Oh, I think he does. I just think a lot of the young players would take too much of the offseason off if they win it all. Brady would be stuck shouting at people all year; I would love it even if the Jets went 0-16, which is entirely too possible.

by Cythammer (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:55pm

The Jets aren't a mess, and haven't been for quite a while. Their reputation as such seems to stem in large part from the fact that many of the media that cover the Jets like to stir up controversy and in general be as melodramatic as possible. The team also haven't been to a Super Bowl in over 40 years, which leads people to believe the franchise is totally wretched. However, in the Brady era the Jets have actually made the playoffs six times in 13 seasons, which is slightly above average. Yeah, no one's impressed by slightly above average, I know, but don't forget the Patriots have been not just good but great for most of that period, which makes it much harder for the other AFC East teams to qualify for the playoffs. There have also been at least a few years where the Jets were, according advanced stats, considerably better than their record indicated. 2004 and 2011 come to mind. I think there are other but I'm not going to bother looking them up.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:24pm

"The problem is that the Jets' 8-8 record this year was a mirage. They were much worse than that, as a glance at their point differential will tell you."

Doesn't that support the notion that Ryan is a good coach? Given that he consistently coaxes more wins out of his team than their talent should support?

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:55pm

The point differential was terrible, but how they accrued it was interesting. They would go on the road, get behind, and then Bad Geno would show up. At times, they would open up a lead but then allow the other team to get close but not blow it (Saints, Falcons). I don't think their record is close games is repeatable, but 10 to 11 draft picks and 30 to 40 million in cap room may allow them to make the playoffs next year.

by td (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 6:11pm

Not really... Good coaches tend to win about as much as they should. The leaderboard of coaches who outperform their point differential is full of guys like Mike Nolan and Dennis Green. Very good coaches develop talent (or constantly put guys in situations where it's easy for them to excel)

by wiesengrund :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 6:45am

Falcons just extended Mike Nolan. Is there a track record for "worst extensions" by DVOA? Dimitroff and Smith have now extended the coordinator of the 31st (as of today) Defense, after hiring the coordinator of the 31st Offense (Koetter after 2011).

I'm guessing and hoping he did this only to prevent himself from hiring Lane Kiffin.

by Chattanooga Chuck (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 5:00pm

I thought Nolan did a fine job considering the lack of experienced talent he had to work with. The Falcons were starting four rookies for much of the year, two of whom were UDFAS, with other young players seeing extensive action. The youth movement was needed, but injuries and veteran ineffectiveness forced it to be more drastic and sudden than the team would have liked. As a Falcon fan, I'm hoping the shock therapy pays off in the long run.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 9:59am

I'm trying to understand what magic talisman Jeff Ireland has that keeps his job non-playoff season after non-playoff season. The only thing I can think of is that Ross wants the Dolphins to win the move to LA sweepstakes. AFCleast is so noncompetitive the past decade is it any wonder fans stay home.

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:09am

Vikings announce Leslie Frazier will not return.

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:16am

Down goes Frazier!

Shanahan is probably next, waiting on Schwartz.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:40am

So Frazier is gone. He is not without positive attributes, and it isn't his fault, I suspect, that the biggest error of Vikings management in the Wilf era, using a number 12 pick on The Ponderous One, took place. However, the staff he hired did not excel, or even approach adequacy, and that'll get a head coach fired more often than not.

They oughta' hire whomever does the best job of making a case that he can fix their qb debacle, while hiring an assistant who can coach up defensive backs.

by andrew :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:55am

I don't know if he picked Musgrave but he's the one I hold responsible for zero development of their quarterbacks as well as their inability to analyze what they didn't have. I actually think Ponder could have succeeded in the right environment. Hell he may still resurface somewhere. But he was an abject failure here.

The failures of the defense though does not look good for Frazier. I agree he has positive attributes, the team did look like it tried under him and never gave up, attributes that probably cost them four draft slots. And also kept them from the RG3 and/or the bounty the Rams got for him.

Apparently Spielman stays, at least for now. I think that's probably a mistake... though they really need to have someone in mind before they make a change there. My guess is that he stays though.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:10am

Well, if Frazier wasn't allowed to hire his staff, that is a huge management error, and Frazier should not have taken the job with that restriction. Nothing is impossible I suppose, but there is nothing, and I mean nothing, which indicates that Ponder approaches adequacy in any area, other than running fast after failing to locate an open receiver.

The Vikings defensive backfield has never looked well coached, in the entire time Frazier has been employed, as an assistant or head coach, by the Vikings. That's not a ringing endorsement for a coach who used to be a NFL defensive back.

I have no idea what produced The Ponderous Draft Pick. If Spielman lobbied for it, that speaks extremely poorly of him. If Wilf insisted that a qb be taken, and Ponder was simply the next qb on their board, that's the best news Vikings fans could have, assuming Wilf has learned his lesson, and will now butt out.

I'd really like to see Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell's draft boards for the last 10 years. My suspicion is that they have done pretty well, when they have adhered to his board. If that is the case, I'd hope Wilf would have enough sense to put forth the edict that Studwell's judgement is going to be heeded, absent extraordinary circumstances.

by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:06am

I think the Vikings might have two decent secondary players now in Smith and Rhodes. Which is more than you can say for the linebacker position.

The defence is awful and could even get worse. They lose Allen and Williams this year and while they are clearly in decline they are still likely their best two front 7 players.

There is some talent here. The last two drafts included 5 1st rounders all that have shown signs of being good NFL players. But I suspect Spielman will make another bad reach for a QB in the draft. My fear is he will give up a bunch of future picks to trade up land the 3rd or 4th QB off the board. That QB will likely not pan out as almost all 3rd to 4th guys off the board do not.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:14am

Decent qb play and better coaching of the dbs would go a long way to improving the Vikings defense, as challenged as it is.

by andrew :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:30pm

Reportedly the guys Spielman is targeting for head coach.... are Broncos coordinators Jack Del Rio and David Gase.

Because I mean when I look at the Broncos offense I think the offensive coordinator is why their offense is so great.

Del Rio has history with the vikings, and is a good interview. But he's a retread. And other than Belichek, retreads generally don't work.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:39pm

Tom Coughlin was a pretty good retread. As was Tony Dungy. As was Marty Schottenheimer, many times. As was Mike Holmgren, when not being given GM power. As was Dick Vermeil.

My biggest concern about Del Rio would be that I don't know how good a job he did as a tread, as opposed to being a re-tread.

by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:55pm

Del Rio was not too good as a tread. A sub 500 record with 9 years on the job. Brian Billick would be a better retread. Not that I'm saying Billick should be hired, just that Del Rio would be a mistake.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:20pm

Gosh, I'd forgotten that he was there that long. Yeah, I don't remember him being all that good.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:30pm

The Del Rio era is strange. He wasn't a good coach, but I don't think he was nearly as bad as many people remember. I believe he was decent in terms of aggressiveness. Those weren't overly talented teams, and the ones that had the most talent won games.

He had a better run in Jacksonville than Belichick had in Cleveland.

As to the point of hiring retreads, I would classify guys like Schottenheimer/Dungy as different. They were very successful in their first stop, just not successful enough. They weren't like Belichick in Cleveland, or Del Rio.

by td (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 6:31pm

Del Rio also had a much, much longer run in Jax than Bellicheck had in Cleveland. If you can't find a decent quarterback in nine years, you might not be looking for the right things in a quarterback (although to be fair, Garrard was better than his national reputation)

by andrew :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 9:26pm

I guess we can add Andy Reid to that list.

Except in the case of success in the initial stop comparison.

by Shattenjager :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:44pm

Adam Gase.

by Silversmith (not verified) :: Tue, 12/31/2013 - 6:35am

Nobody aside from Denver fans actually know who Adam Case is. Yes, Manning is a huge part of why the Broncos offense has been so spectacular, but Case's play design has been absolutely brilliant this season. The "John Fox Coaching Tree" has had a really good last few years.

by Silversmith (not verified) :: Tue, 12/31/2013 - 6:36am

*Gase :-P

by td (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 6:27pm

Jacksonville resident here. Del Rio wasn't our worst coach, but he's definitely a believer in the "run the ball and stop the run" school of thought. Maybe he'd have been a good hire 30 yeas ago. It was nice for a couple of years to have a kick-ass offensive line that the offense was built around, but if you're depending on five guys staying healthy you're in a more precarious position than just relying on a good qb

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 2:53pm

As an outsider, it's hard to see how Spielman has survived this. Frazier may have not made good choices for assistants, but Spielman has to have responsibility for the poor drafting.

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:45am

And there we go. Shanahan is gone.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:47am

Peyton is irritated, because now he has to rent a new house.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:46am

The Lions are a horribly coached team. This means, in all likelihood, that Schwartz is not going anywhere.

by andrew :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:49am

Shanahan is also gone... .

sigh, too slow.

by RickD :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:04am

The Shanahan firing comes as a complete surprise to me.

Ohmigod, what is that yellow ball in the Eastern sky?!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:07pm


I screamed YEESSSSSSSSSS! so loudly my kids came running to see if I was hurt. I danced around my office. TODAY IS A GREAT DAY.

by jds :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:10pm

And Lions fans everywhere await the same joy.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:16pm


I'm just gonna put this on a loop for the next five days or so.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:18pm

The dark side of the Schwartz has been released.

by DavidL :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:23pm

Apparently they couldn't....handle it.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:30pm

Shanahan got the ax (or the chainsaw). Let’s celebrate. Free Subway sandwiches for everybody.

by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:30pm

Who's next? Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin. I don't think Philbin is bad, but if Ross is thinking of canning Ireland then you really need to let the new guy start with a clean slate.

Mike Munchak?
Haven't seen the Titans all year so I really have no idea.

Dennis Allen?
He got dealt a pretty crappy deck of cards, but you have to think Mark Davis looked at Mike Flynn in GB and thought how come we couldn't get that to work? I mean besides the obvious reason of lack of offensive talent.

Jason Garrett? I know Jerry says he's safe.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 4:26pm

I'd rather see them keep both Philbin and Ireland than get rid of both.

The man with no sig

by Hurt Bones :: Sat, 01/04/2014 - 4:25pm

Turns out to be Munchak.

by Luigi (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 1:59pm

Mike McCarthy takes some strange decisions but compared to Schwartz, Frazier and Trestman he is a genius.

Now I wonder how the NFC North is going to reshape.
The vikings have no QB and Peterson won't play forever.
The Lions have no RB and Stafford is becoming the next Tony Romo.
The Bears have.... oh well...

by tuluse :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:04pm

I think Trestman has done a very good job coaching his first year. Is there a specific reason you think he makes McCarthy look like a genius?

by Richie :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:33pm

Count the NFC North ringzzzz!!!!

by QCIC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 6:41pm

A lot of really obvious mistakes. He might be great at all the difficult to evaluate portions of his job, but the easy to evaluate ones have been obviously poor many times.

by Eddo :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 7:04pm

Such as?

I count a few obvious mistakes: the OT FG against Minnesota and the timeout usage against Baltimore are obvious. He's punted a few times when in opposing territory, but he's also gone for it quite a bit as well, especially inside the five.

And there are several things he does well: he goes for two at the right times (almost engineered an 8-8-8 comeback from 24 down, which most coaches mess up by kicking XPs); he's used timeouts well in a few games (the first Minnesota game, for example); he put together a top offense (#6 by DVOA), despite having to start Josh McCown for a third of the season.

I'd take him any day of the week over McCarthy.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 7:31pm

What did you think of his explanation for the timeouts?

I wish he'd saved some timeouts for last night's final drive, but I'm not certain he wasted the first one, as said in audibles, to ponder a challenge. Yet maybe he did, and if so, that is very dumb.

In listing mistakes--don't forget those short yardage runs against MN.

by Eddo :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 8:19pm

I appreciate that he put that much thought into the timetouts in the Ravens game, though I didn't agree with his conclusions. So it's not a huge issue in my book.

Last night, he should have used them in the first half. I'm not sure he used the first second half timeout to contemplate a challenge. The offense took a while to get down to the one on that play, and the play clock was winding down.

As for the end game, the Packers - not necessarily by design - wound up executing a perfect four minute drive. I don't see how he could have used his two remaining timeouts prior to the Cobb touchdown.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:46pm

So I guess you were unimpressed with Alshon Jeffrey's season? And Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall still have a few good years left. I'm not sure what the Bears will do about Cutler. Even if keeping a quarterback in his mid-30s was a viable longterm option, I hear Josh McCown is thinking about retirement. I would probably keep Cutler, given the lack of better options.

by Duke :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 6:02pm

The Bears QB situation is tricky. If it all worked out, my feeling is the best plan would be to re-sign McCown, franchise Cutler, use that leverage to work out a trade of Cutler to some other team, then draft the long-term QB this year. But that's a lot of ifs.

Overall, I've been impressed enough by the QB play in Chicago this year to trust whatever Trestman (and Emery) go with at that position.

by Eddo :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 7:01pm

I concur.

by jackiel :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 9:16pm

What about that defensive regression despite Mel Tucker running the exact same scheme the previous regime ran?

Honestly, I wish the Bears would just bring Lovie back. He's a SB coach if you can get him an above average QB that can make it through a 16 game season. (Off the top of my head, Cutler has never made it through a full season in Chicago and I recall him being hurt most seasons in Denver.) All of that investment on the offensive side of the ball produced about the same team performance this year and I don't know where the defense goes as Briggs, Tillman, and Peppers continue to slow down due to age.

So way to go Emery.

by tuluse :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 10:47pm

Cutler played all 16 games in 2009... when the Bears were undone by defensive injuries and a poor defensive coordinator.

by Duke :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 4:23pm

Even before he got hired by Tampa Bay, that bridge was burned already. Couldn't bring Lovie back after one season.

And for the record, Briggs, Tillman, and Peppers were going to slow down regardless of whether Lovie was here.

by victorb16 :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:09pm

Schiano deserved better. Hopefully Schiano lands a good college job where he doesn't have to deal with the Freemans and the Revis' of the world. Lovie Smith? Defensive co-ordinator, not a coach. Rex Ryan deserves to stay in NY. Jim Scwartz deserved to be fired. Lezlie Fraser deserved it as well. Wasn't Frazier the supposed genius that the media wanted hired instead of Pete Carroll in Seattle? Mike and his stooge son ruined RG III. They were calling read option plays in that Seattle playoff game in the 4th quarter when RG III was running on one leg.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:40pm

Wait, seriously? Schiano has a team full of plenty of talent, and still managed to lose the first eight games of the year. He tragically mismanaged the Freeman situation, and better coaches have been able to handle far more troublesome players than him with aplomb, and Revis wasn't an issue at all this year. He's a massive bully, he's genuinely unlikeable, and his players regularly did the wrong thing in the worst possible situation, which is clearly a coaching issue. McCoy, Lavonte David, and Revis are three of the best players in the NFL at their respective positions, and to give up as many points as that team did with that level of talent is patently embarrassing

He is a terrible, terrible coach in every potential sense of the word. His brutal, bullying style might work well in a mid-range college program, but he was completely overmatched as a coach in the NFL. He was a train wreck, and he will never coach in the NFL again.

by DEW (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:41pm

I didn't realize that Schiano was a FO poster.

Seriously, that guy was a thug and a bully who spent his entire time using the authority of his position to try and browbeat everyone who was working for him and was somehow amazed by the fact that grown men making millions of dollars didn't respond to his complete lack of respect for his workers, the opposition, or the game. He spent the entire first half of the season in an ego war with his own quarterback. He absolutely should return to college, when he can go back to humiliating children who can't fight back to make himself feel like a man. Maybe he can hire Richie Incognito to be his OL assistant.

Ryan's continued inability to field the offensive half of a football team will handicap the Jets; the talent level has always been iffy there but his inability to perceive and fix the problems is equally relevant. Like Lovie, he's a defensive coordinator disguised as a head coach.

Jeff Ireland needs to go from the Dolphins. I'm not sure about Philbin; the lack of institutional control over the Incognito mess makes him look bad, but the OL disaster is pretty plainly a roster construction issue. The quality of the opposition pass rush pretty much determined the outcome of Dolphins games all year long.

by Jeff88 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:03pm

I think is the GM's inability to acquire suitable talent on offense that has hampered Ryan. Seriously, tell me what other coach can do better than what Ryan did with Sanchez and Geno at quarterback. The Jets have had a historical run of ineptitude at QB for 5yrs. Average play at QB would have led them to a superbowl! You give Rex an average starter, and he can coach a team to 10-6 at least.

by DEW (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 5:21pm

The question remains, though, are Sanchez and Geno the symptoms or the cause? That is to say, is the "historic run of ineptitude" because of the players, the coach, or some combination of both? We've never actually seen Rex field a successful offense; the quality of his teams has been entirely in 2000 Ravens mold, where they go exactly as far as the defense can carry them. Personnel's obviously part of that (regardless of Geno's skill level, his receivers were arguably worse than any other team in the league's), but those "ground and pound" Sanchez teams were deliberately built to run Rex's defense-and-ball-control system.

by td (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 6:45pm

Tannenbaum was an awful GM, and Rex arrived with an expensive, old team. He's turned over the defense quite nicely, and Geno was as good as could be expected, given the dearth of skill-position talent around him. With a good draft and some money to spend the Jets should be a dark horse contender next year

by jackiel :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 9:24pm

It's clear that Rex has some influence on roster construction. I don't think that many teams with the Jets' obvious offensive flaws would have gone DB-DT with their first round picks last year if they didn't have such a defensive minded coach.

It's also clear that the Jets' personnel department has significant trouble identifying talent at the offensive skill positions. They're bad at every skill position.

Frankly, if the same people involved in picking Geno Smith to be the starter of the future are involved in constructing the 2014 roster, I would be very concerned about the Jets offense's ability to take the next step.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 4:29pm

Rex always gets credit for coaching a good defense, but none of the blame for coaching a terrible offense. That would be fine if he were the defensive coordinator, but as a head coach he's accountable for both. I think in the right situation he can win, but he doesn't do anything for the offense.

The man with no sig

by slomojoe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:32pm

So, in terms of landing the easiest coaching job available - most talented team, most likely to rebound - which is best: Detroit or Houston? I'd probably go with Houston, but I'm torn.

by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:41pm

I'd say Houston. They're in better cap shape.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:47pm

If only getting the qb issue fixed were a matter of cap space.

by RickD :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:51pm

The Texans have the #1 overall pick. They really ought to be able to fix the QB problem via the draft.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:15pm

Who's the consensus best qb; Bridgewater? Is the Florida State guy coming out? I haven't paid attention that closely. Are any of these guys better than the normal first qb picked?

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:59pm

I think Bridgewater has been the #1 pick in almost every mock draft I've seen this fall. The FSU kid is a freshman. Don't know if he's a redshirt or not, so it could be next year or the following when he's eligible. Johnny Manziel is probably leaving A&M. David Carr has a younger brother who is highly regarded at the other FSU (Fresno State). There's a couple others (Central Florida, I think is one.) but I don't follow the draft much until about a month before it happens. It's supposed to be another good year for QBs, which means a couple will be at least good and at least a half dozen will be replacement level and overdrafted (or just flop).

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:10pm

The Central Florida guy is Blake Bortles, and some scouts are ranking him above Bridgewater. He seems like a good prospect, but I don't think he's a better one than Bridgewater. It's not so much that the QB prospects are better than Luck, RGIII or Newton, but that there are so many good prospects this year. There's a guy coming out from FCS Eastern Illinois who looks good too, Jimmy Garoppolo, probably a 2nd or 3rd round pick. David Fales and Derek Carr are also good prospects this year.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:57pm

Bortles seems like an "interest fatigue" guy. Scouts get tired of watching Bridgewater and start focusing on his flaws, then start hyping a new guy without putting as much consideration into it.

With Manziel, the problem is trying to sort through whether he's a Newton-like guy or a Tebow-like guy. Although the autograph 'scandal' suggests "Newton".

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:04pm

Watch video of Bridgewater against Florida last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmyPaOy7OTs

I watch way too much video of college players, and saw footage of one of his 'bad' games against UConn last year because I was hoping the Jets would draft UConn linebackers or cornerbacks. Bridgewater is for real, not as good as Luck as a prospect, but in the ballpark. If you had Bridgewater throwing to Andre Johnson with JJ Watt playing defense, you will win a lot of games in the NFL.

by DEW (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:48pm

I'd agree. They pick first, so they get to fix their quarterback issues with the option of their choice, and their secondary and RB problems were at least partly due to injury (though a safety couldn't hurt at all, and a permanent Plan B for Cushing's inevitable injury next year would be good as well). They've still got Andre Johnson and Hopkins looks like he might be the real deal as a #2. Hopefully, though, they'll sign someone who knows what an NFL offense looks like. Far too many teams today seem to be hamstrung by arch-conservative offensive play (Kubiak being more of a case of "generic" than "conservative," admittedly).

by Will Allen :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:44pm

I think it is possible, with the right coaching, that Stafford could be an above-average NFL starting qb. Schaub's done, I think. That's enough to make Detroit the better job, given the Lions seems to have an ok G.M. these days.

by slomojoe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:52pm

Agreed on Schaub, but they can probably parlay that first pick into a suitable replacement.

by serutan :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:08pm

My understanding is that the Lions are in terrible cap shape, which usually means that they will have to shed players they don't want to. Not a situation I'd want to get in to as a coach.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:52pm

The players they'll have to shed are underperforming veterans, who will be easily replaced. A lot of the projected starters next year (other than Johnson, Stafford, Bush, and Suh) are young players who are on their rookie contracts under the new collective bargaining system. They will likely ask the Chris Houston, Dominic Raoila, Brandon Pettigrew, and Nate Burleson types to either leave or take massive paycuts.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 5:00pm

The Lions don't have any room, but none of their valued players are going to get more expensive in the near future. The advantage of having a lot of holdovers from the old cap is that there aren't any suddenly expensive guys who are coming off cheap rookie contracts. The Lions don't have any cheap rookie contracts.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:54pm

I think Detroit has one of the most talented rosters in the league. They also only have four potential free agents (Dominic Raiola, Willie Young, Brandon Pettigrew, Rashean Mathis), none of which couldn't be replaced. If Stafford gets a decent QB coach and Bush and Megatron stay healthy, Detroit should be a playoff team. They were 6-3 at one point and finished 1-6, the only win being the Turkey Day blowout of a Packers team that they should have put away in the first half.

Houston is talented, but needs a QB. Drafting #1 is no guarantee of drafting the right QB. Just ask the 49ers. I think Tampa also has a lot of talent that could make the playoffs quickly with the right coaching. I wouldn't wish the Cleveland job on anybody.

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 3:12pm

Cap issues aside, I think Detroit has fewer player issues. The Lions have solid lines on both offense and defense and stable, if not stellar, personnel at LB and S. Their big issues are at CB and secondary WR, and Akers needs to go at K. I think Houston has more problems on the lines and in the D, especially in keeping their best players on the field. But Houston can improve a lot faster with a better QB -- they can easily get 6-8 more wins just with better QB play.

by Rikki (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:48pm

I imagine coaches won't be too keen on the Cleveland and especially Washington jobs.

by DEW (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:53pm

I'd be more worried about the Cleveland situation. The Chud firing speaks loudly of front-office chaos, and I'd much rather try to win games in the NFC East than the AFC North. Though that Washington defensive roster is dire (particularly with Fletcher's impending retirement), and the cap situation plus the "what-have-we-got-at-QB" debates suggests that they may require more fixing on the field. Still, whatever else Snyder may be, at least he tends to give his hires a few years to try and navigate the chaos.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:10pm

The Redskins cap situation is fine... they should be something like $20M under the cap heading into the offseason, because of the cap penalties they got hit with the past couple of years.

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:14pm

Washington's cap situation is a lot better than people think. They took the hit this year; next year they are almost 20 million under the cap.

by apk3000 :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:41pm

Yeah, the big question is how Snyder blows the cap this time.

by slomojoe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:55pm

The only positive aspect of the Washington coaching job is that it comes with an NFL head coach salary. Otherwise, no one in their right mind would want it.

by Lebo :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:50pm

Plus a minimum of one year's severance salary.

by RickD :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 2:56pm

Lombardi will find somebody. Already hearing rumors he wants McDaniels.

As for the Redskins...you know somebody would take the job. Only the most principled and accomplished coaches can turn down a shot at being an NFL head coach, anywhere. By which I mean - I doubt that Bill Cowher would take the job, but I could see Jon Gruden doing so, if Snyder went that route.

Would you put up with Dan Snyder for a few years for several million dollars per year? A lot of people would.

by slomojoe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:05pm

McDaniels seems to me unlikely to move again. He had his chance in Denver and blew it, and the Browns are a disaster area. He would not get another go around after another failure. He's ostensibly being groomed as Belichick's replacement, and he's young enough to wait a few more years for that job.

by Nathan :: Tue, 12/31/2013 - 11:05am

McD is from Ohio, right? And so is Chud. Interesting.

by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 3:08pm

Lombardi found Chud last year. He'll find somebody this year only it probably won't his third choice like Chud. It'll be his 4th or 5th.

as Marla Ridenour wrote "They actually believe there’s a future NFL coaching star out there who wants to work with an owner under federal investigation and a CEO and general manager who have yet to prove they know anything about talent evaluation."

by mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:17pm

Not only is the Brown's front office a mess, they kept the assistant coaches. So whoever they hire is supposed to keep them. I'm hoping they hire no one and prove how much a head coach is worth in the NFL.

by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 12/30/2013 - 4:36pm

Maybe Lombardi can pull a Joe Thomas (not the current Brown but the late Joe Thomas).

by the K :: Tue, 12/31/2013 - 2:51am

I'm way late here on this, but seriously, firing Chud was stupid. The players liked him, they were competitive with a subpar roster, Gordon is an emerging superstar, and he was 3-0 with Brian Hoyer under center. Absolutely mind boggling. I'm sorry Cleveland fans. They traded away Richardson for a first rounder next year, and I'm not saying it's a bad trade, I'm saying it's a dick move to saddle Chud with the loss of Richardson while passing the benefit on to the next coach. But who would want to go coach there? It's not a tremendously talented team and the front office is clearly the most dysfunctional in professional sports at this point.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 12/31/2013 - 4:07pm

I think most of us would agree. Tanier does a pretty good job in comparing the different jobs (as only he can), including the Browns, on SportsOnEarth and brings up many of the same points you did. I'm a bit surprised Mike didn't post a link here. It's at http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/66247674/