Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Jan 2018

Black Monday 2018 (UPDATE: Green Bay Carnage)

With so many rumors flying around, we might as well start this thread a day early. Jon Gruden to the Raiders? Jim Schwartz to the Giants? Is Bruce Arians retiring? Are we talking six or seven open jobs, or more like 10? We'll update this thread with specific reports once rumors become fact, and you can discuss any of the jobs below.


It looks like the tension between Houston GM Rick Smith and HC Bill O'Brien has solved itself in a morbid fashion, as Smith announced after Houston's Week 17 loss that he's taking an "extended leave of absence" due to his wife's recent cancer diagnosis.

Chuck Pagano has been fired, per Ian Rapoport. Pagano technically leaves Indianapolis with a 52-43 record, but that includes Bruce Arians going 9-3 during Pagano's cancer treatment in 2012.

Jack Del Rio announced that after today's loss, Mark Davis informed him he would not be kept on as Oakland head coach.


Jim Caldwell is out after four years in Detroit. Caldwell leaves as the first Lions head coach with a winning overall record since Joe Schmidt in the 1960s and 70s. Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is the current favorite for the vacancy.

Also in the NFC North, John Fox has been fired by the Chicago Bears after three consecutive losing seasons. The Bears are reported to be searching for an offensive-minded coach to replace Fox and develop quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees will retire after 45 years in coaching.


Arizona head coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement.

Green Bay fired defensive coordinator Dom Capers. The Packers finished the year 20th in defensive DVOA.


Contrary to earlier reports, Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis has signed a two-year deal to extend his time as the Bengals' head coach through the 2019 season.


The Green Bay Packers did not fire Mike McCarthy; in fact, they gave him a one-year extension through 2019. However, the following changes were made, in this order (we think, there's a lot going on here and it's hard to keep track of):

  • Defensive coordinator Dom Capers, inside linebackers coach Scott McCurley, and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac were all fired after the loss to Detroit on Sunday.
  • General Manager Ted Thompson stepped down on Monday, taking a new position as "senior adviser to football operations."
  • Senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith joined the Browns as vice president of football operations on Tuesday. Highsmith specifically said he did not think he would get an interview for the GM job in Green Bay.
  • Finally, offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett and quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt were fired on Wednesday

In short: virtually everyone responsible for putting the 2017 Packers together is gone, except Mike McCarthy, who got an extension.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Jan 2018

154 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2018, 3:22pm by justanothersteve


by Shylo :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 1:06pm

Either the Titans win or Mularkey is probably sacked. Even with a one and done, Mularkey could be sacked. I'm confident in a coaching search performed by Jon Robinson, not Amy Adams-Strunk and Steve Underwood.

by Football Michae... :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 4:29pm

Outside of Schottenheimer has any coach ever been fired after winning a playoff game? He'd be the favourite by far.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:02pm

1996 featured the Miners going 12-4, winning in the Wild Card, losing to a great Packers team in the Divisional, followed by Seifert being fired. Mariucci was a much better hire than Norv, however

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:03pm

Steve Mariucci, 2002 49ers. Finished 10-6, won their Wildcard Round game, then was fired soon after they lost in the Divisional Round against Tampa Bay.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:29pm

All Jimmy Johnson did was win back-to-back Lombardi's in Dallas. He also got kicked from Miami after winning in the wildcard and then getting trashed by the Jags.

Raiders traded Gruden to the Bucs the year he went 1-1 in the playoffs.

As for Schottenheimer, he rarely won playoff games 5-13. His 2006 Chargers team lost in the divisionals after a bye. He hadn't won a playoff since 1993 with Joe Montana/Marcus Allen.

by johonny :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:24am

Johnson retired. I'm pretty sure Miami wanted him back as coach or GM.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 2:26pm

I heard Capers won’t be back in Green Bay, which is about damn time.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 4:30pm

I hope all dismissals are accompanied by a terrific sparkler.


by Sixknots :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:19pm

I'll bet that many would agree with you provided that the sparkler is inserted in their *favorite* coach's sun-don't-...

by Football Michae... :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 4:30pm

If we are discussing Arians' (likely) retirement, has anyone considered/discussed the possibility Pete Carroll may retire after this year should Seattle miss the playoffs/get stomped in their first game?

by Football Michae... :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 4:31pm

(he is the oldest coach after all, and Seattle looks to be entering a rebuilding period)

by Sixknots :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:16pm

Nope! Pete says he's not old enough to retire. Will be back.

by CaffeineMan :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:44pm

I'm not sure Seattle has dropped down so far as to be considered "rebuilding", but even if one thinks that, Wilson is still a franchise QB. Why wouldn't Carroll want to stick around? Focus on building a little more around offense, rather than defense maybe?

by Football Michae... :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:53pm

I agree that "rebuilding" is the right word given that nowadays it seems to mean "sell everyone, burn it down, don't look back.". The issues are certainly fixable (it's the offense) and they already have a very important QB to build around.

And Pete Carroll says he's not old enough to retire, so he'll be back anyway.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 5:13pm

Ian Rappaport and Jay Glazier reporting that Jim Caldwell will be fired. Rappaport has gotten things dead wrong before, so who knows? At 36-28, he has the highest winning pct for a Lions coach in the Super Bowl era, which is more sad than it is encouraging.

by Athelas :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:17pm

He's not called The Crap Sheet for nothing!

by Athelas :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:18pm


by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 12:54am

I think it's a bad move if he is. The Lions badly need a boring, stable HC who wins.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 10:08am

I guess it depends on who they hire next. The Lions are in the NFL's version of the "middle income trap" that countries get stuck in. The next coach could pull them out of it to consistent contention, or he may be a disaster they'll fall back to the NFL's third world.

Apparently Bob Quinn's first choice is looking Matt Patricia. I honestly don't know much about him, or his suitability has a head coaching candidate. Impressive beard, though.

by Athelas :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:16am

The reporters around the Patriots seem to think he has a good football mind, is a good guy, but needs to work on his Head Coach Persona. I guess his infrequent interactions with the press are not very impressive--mumbling, etc Kind of BB but without the winning to back it up? He doesn't seem to be a jerk to the press, just not Leader of Men.
I have no personal opinion--I haven't heard him talk enough.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:16am

Such a typical Lions move.

No one on the Belichick tree has worked out away from the Death Star.

But no, we need to can the only winning HC since the Nixon administration. Is there a way we can convince GM to buy the team?

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 12:09pm

I'd be concerned if the Lions don't retain Cooter as OC. Stafford has been a much better QB under his tutelage. It wouldn't surprise me if Cooter is a HC candidate.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:28pm

Their current candidates are all defensive guys, so that leaves door open for Cooter to stay. He deserves credit for saving Stafford from his initial career path of “Jay Cutler with a sunnier disposition” and having a consistently good passing offense, but his inability to ever field even a league-average run offense is concerning.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:32pm

Stafford had three seasons better than Cutler's best season (2008 @ DEN). Every year he's played full time has been better than any of Cutler's non-2008 seasons.

by Steve B :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 1:19pm

They were on a treadmill with him. Just because your history isn't good doesn't mean you should say "hey, we're 9-7 with this guy. Let's keep him".

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:29pm

They lost 5 starters on the O-line and D-line. They couldn't stop the run or run the ball due to personnel issues.

That's not on Caldwell. He turned chicken shit into chicken salad as best he could.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:38pm

That’s all true, but injuries are part of the game. And the counterpoint is that from 4 consecutive weeks in games 9-12, the team looked completely unprepared to play and fell behind by double digits in the first half. They came back and won against the Bears and Browns, but unsurprisingly failed to do so against the Vikings and Ravens. The latter two losses essentially killed their season. That’s on coaching.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 4:20pm

If Riveron doesn't overturn the Tate play and run the clock out, Caldwell goes 10-6 and switches playoff spots with Atlanta.

Put it this way, if the Lions jerseys said Patriots and not Lions, they get handed the Atlanta and 2nd Minnesota games, and go 11-5.

All while only being able to pass and stop the pass.

by jonsilver :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 5:01pm

"injuries are part of the game"

...so it's Doug Peterson's fault that he won't win the Super Bowl this year...

...and it's Mike McCarthy's fault that his backup QB isn't as good as his Hall of Fame-destined starter...

a) The Vikes are one of the best teams in the league...going 1-1 against them is no disgrace...
b) The Ravens were a Jekyll and Hyde team this year, and they were at the top of their manic depressive cycle when they played the Lions...
c) the Lions lost to the Bengals when 1) Marvin managed to rally his troops in the last two games to play hard for a likely-looking about-to-be-fired-coach (it appears that doing so may have saved his job)...look what they did to Baltimore yesterday, and 2) Cincinnati got back a few players from injuries that healed...
d) they lost to Atlanta because the officials took away their game-winning touchdown (for whatever reason, there are many, many games in the last five years or so where some version of that sentence applied, and you know it...just like the Pats and the Pack have the best officials luck in the league, the Lions have unquestionably the worst)
e) they lost to another of the league's best teams in that notoriously-difficult to be the visiting team Super Dome

Now this list might not add up to an explanation and you might be right to blame the coaching if your team has a significantly large group of very-talented players, but do you really think that describes the Lions? You'd have a good argument if you said the the QB, the receivers and the special teams are top third of league, but the OL? the RB's? The DL? the LB's? half the secondary? Caldwell didn't buy the groceries...
The bottom line: if the Lions have better injury and officials luck and/or the draft and free agent signings are good to them and/or the new coaches significantly outperform average new coaches, they will remain a 9 or 10 win team...otherwise, the future doesn't look all that bright...

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:32pm

Agreed. Caldwell deserves credit for pulling the team up to consistent respectability, but it was clear he was never going to get them beyond that. It would be the Wayne Fontes years all over again.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 4:34pm

Caldwell had Stafford, one year of Suh, and two years of Johnson. He won 56% of his games.

Fontes was sub-.500 with Sanders, Brown, Ball, Porcher, and Spielman.

Caldwell won as much as Joe Schmidt, who had Barney, Sanders, LeBeau, and Karras.

Caldwell won more than George Wilson, who had Lary, LeBeau, Karras, Lane, Schmidt, Creekmur, Christiansen, and one year of Layne.

You have to go back to Buddy Parker to find a Lions HC who won at a higher rate.

Buddy Parker died before my 1st birthday. He retired during the Johnson administration.

Caldwell's biggest problem was that he was stoic and non-newsworthy. If that's your biggest problem, you're looking too hard for problems. Caldwell had three teams with SB-level talent. He went 35-13 with those teams, and made a SB. He was a rich-man's Bobby Ross.

by jonsilver :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 5:21pm

+5 (and you forgot that, when Layne broke his leg, George Wilson had Tobin Rote on the bench, and Rote led the Lions to a) a historic come-from-far-behind win over the 9ers in a one-of-a-kind extra game to decide a conference championship, immediately followed by b) a 56-14 demolishment of the Jim Brown-led Browns in the '57 title game)

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 8:47pm

Okay the comparison to Fontes wasn't fair. Caldwell was better than him. In fact, he's an above average coach. But if the goal is to at least try to contend for a title, then they have to at least try to find someone better than above average.

by dank067 :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:08pm

I think the Lions are in decent position to do what they're doing right now, to go out on a limb to see if they can find a better head coach, because they have an entrenched franchise QB and appear to have a competent front office—those factors haven't necessarily been there in the past. Also, not to get too bogged down in details, but they were in a uniquely bad salary cap situation a few years ago when they had all of Stafford, Suh, and Johnson (each top-5 draft picks under old system), and even though you can't win without great players, they are in much healthier shape in terms of future roster-building now.

by ZDNeal :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:49pm

Everyone tries that, most fail. Except in Lake Wobegon.

by jtr :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:22am

>No one on the Belichick tree has worked out away from the Death Star.

This is mostly true, although Bill O'Brien is close to being an exception. Seeing in the above thread that Patricia might be lacking in leadership qualities is a red flag--that was exactly the issue with McDaniels and Mangini. I think it's pretty often missed by fans and owners alike that the HC is largely a manager, and the coordinators can do most of the X's-and-O's. It doesn't matter how good your HC is schematically if he can't lead an organization of about 100 personalities (players, coaches, assistants, trainers, etc). Coaches definitely come out of the Belichick organization knowing their X's-and-O's, but they seem to have issues with the rest. I suspect that Belichick's particular no-nonsense management style takes a very specific personality type and a higher level of organizational buy-in than a new hire HC usually gets.

by RickD :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 3:03pm

Nick Saban is on the Belichick tree. He's either a great success or a dismal failure, depending on whether you're considering his college work or his NFL work. I would count him as a success.

McDaniels might work out if given a second chance. He seems to be sticking around in Foxboro, waiting for BB to retire.

Patricia is a good coach but is he a head coach? The Belichick approach to defense appears to be much different from the usual approach. Patricia has done well when he's had the players to work with but there have also been extended periods of mediocrity. Wouldn't have been my first choice for a HC position.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:25pm

Sabah was a bad pro coach and a good college one. He wa probably a better DC all around. He's a great recruiter, especially at SEC schools with low academic standards.

by amin purshottam :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 7:10pm

Mularkey stinks
Maroon stinks
Del Rio stinks
Kotter stinks
Garett stinks
Caldwell was a a good stabilizing hire but he is not taking the team anywhere now
Lewis also is not going to take the team any higher so need a change there
Hue Jackson is absolutely garbage
Macadoo was horrible
Pagano had to go
Please god I never want to see Jeff Fisher coaching ever again
Not sure what I think of the Dolphins situation
Broncos coach sucks

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 12:46am

The Dolphins are a tough read. The team got hit hard by injuries, then was playing like the worst team in the league but winning games. The team later improved, but rightly didn't win much after that.

Frankly, I never bought into this year's team much. I would've fired Tannebaum the day before yesterday. Some of the extensions he gave in the offseason were stupefying, not to mention the "big time" FA acquisitions, like Julius Thomas. And the moves he didn't make, like ignoring the offensive line.

When all's said and done I think Gase deserves another shot. He's done some very interesting things with the crap he has to coach. He's shown brass balls at times, like how he handled Ajayi and Byron Maxwell the last two years. But with Tannenbaum (who will be the last guy fired) at the helm, I don't see how things are going to improve anytime soon.

by RickD :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 3:06pm

How does Tannenbaum have a job?

Gase seems fine to me. There is good and bad in Miami and it's hard to judge a season when the preferred QB doesn't play a snap all season.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:42am

He's from the Jeff Fisher school. He talks a great game and charms his marks with his tongue. I'll give him one thing this year, though. He failed in a new way.

by Theo :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 9:37pm

Hue Jackson is rumored to be kept. For reasons unknown.
They need an OC. If Hue is a good hc... i still got to see it. The only thing going for him is continuity i guess.

by coboney :: Sun, 12/31/2017 - 11:20pm

I only figure out Hue Jackson's being kept if the Magic that Jimmy Haslem allegedly referred to is euphemism for blackmail material. "I don't think Hue's lost the Magic" makes much more sense there and so does not firing him!

by Mash Wilson :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 2:15am

The only thing I can figure is that they told Hue when they hired him "listen, we're going to be terrible for a couple years. We PLAN to be terrible for a couple years. We promise we won't hang that around your neck."

Granting that front offices and owners have broken promises more than once in the past, but perhaps Hue was made a promise of that nature when he was hired and Haslam is, for now, keeping it. (Hey, why pay two coaches next year?)

by coboney :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 7:12am

The only issue with that is then why the firing of Sashi Brown who was leading the personnel side of that there.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 7:01am

I think it's as simple as Jackson talks a great game, paints a pretty picture of how it'll all be great when he has a decent Q etc, etc and Haslam is believing it. Probably gives Hue another 2-3 seasons before Jimmy wakes up and smells the coffee.

by jackiel :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:26am

I'm convinced that Hue tanked the season this year to get Sashi fired. He refused to adapt his offense to Kizer's strengths and the defense played some of the softest pass coverages I've seen in awhile.

by Duff Soviet Union :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:05pm

"He refused to adapt his offense to Kizer's strengths"

Um....such as?

by Mike B. In Va :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 7:24am

I thought Hue did a great job of designing an offense around mind-numbing interceptions, pointless scrambles, and holding the ball far too long on pass plays.

by jackiel :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 1:11am

The Browns abandoned the run too early in a lot of games that were within 1-2 possessions. IMO there weren't enough play calls that were easy reads for a young QB and they could've called more plays to take advantage of Kizer's mobility - rollouts, RPOs, spread concepts, etc. Conversely, go watch a Rams or Saints game and see how many easy throws Goff and Brees get to make each game. Or better yet, watch how the Panthers design their offense around the things that Newton does well.

by OldFox :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 5:09pm

The word from the Cleveland media guys is that Jimmy Haslam likes Hue on a personal level and is easily swayed by Hue's sweet talk. My guess is that the Browns will be terrible in 2018 (my guess is also that they will be terrible FOREVER, which is starting to look like a pretty good guess), and that new GM John Dorsey will then appeal to Haslam to be allowed to choose his own coach, a request that will be granted --- one year overdue.

And by the way, I keep reading a lot of hopeful stuff about how the Browns will be so much better after the upcoming draft, etc. That would be nice, but it ain't happening. The Browns are pathetic. They just played Pittsburgh's backups, in a game that gave the Browns a chance to avoid the historic stain of an 0-16 season, and they still couldn't win. They've got a bunch of players who clearly don't even care. That's not a team that's suddenly going to start winning. Dorsey's going to have to get rid of a whole bunch of losers before the team has any hope of being competitive.

by Alternator :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:46pm

Unless Dorsey has a good-sized cannon and an excellent private investigator, he's not going to fire Haslam, and the Browns will remain doomed.

by OldFox :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 10:32pm

Haslam has been a disaster, but let's not let the players off the hook either. They lost to Pittsburgh's backups, and that's an utter disgrace. These guys aren't even interested in winning. Which is one way to get to 0-16, and of course that's exactly what they did. This roster needs to be fumigated before September.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 5:14am

The trouble with having all those draft picks next year is that Hue Jackson isn't going to teach them the basics and fundamentals. Over in Audibles, Vince wrote a list of simple mistakes the team made in the 1stQ.

This is still happening two years into Jackson's regime so there is no reason to suppose it is magically going to correct itself. Jackson probably believes he needs better players who won't make those kinds of mistakes.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:39pm

The other problem with Cleveland having all those draft picks next year is Cleveland has had lots of draft picks in the past, and they've Clevelanded the hell out of them. All it takes is one notably conversational homeless guy to give Haslam advice and the Browns can do it again.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 2:50am

J. Del Rio excellent hrie. good quality year in 2016. btu had to go. J. Gruden will take Raiders to next level

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 6:57am

Is it normal for owners to tell the coach he's fired? As per Mark Davis to Del Rio. I thought the coach was the GM's pick and therefore the GM made that call.

For most of Reggie McKenzie's reign GM I was spectacularly unconvinced by him. Then everything came together last year for 12-4 and a return to the playoffs so I piped down. This year they're back to where they were. I'm back to being unconvinced by him other than being a good bean counter.

by billprudden :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 8:51am

Morning -

I am another unconvinced Raiders fan. Reggie did four big things for us:

- fixed salary cap hell
- built OL
- drafted Mack
- drafted Carr

But golly along the way there have been some curious moves:

- this year's draft. Could have had Buffalo's CB instead on the one we took...
- LBs don't need to be able to cover the pass?
- overpaid for mediocre veteran CBs
- relied upon 2 good WRs, but then fiddled with question of 3rd and 4th

If indeed Gruden will be arriving soon, I'll be very interested to see how the power structure unfolds. I think Jon would have done the reverse of a lot of these moves.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:06am

Let's add drafting Cooper (although he hasn't looked so great this year and neither has the OL).

I believe he got very lucky with the Raiders being geographically perfect to pick up on the implosion of the 49ers and Seattle's SB-winning players coming up for rookie contract renewals. He couldn't attract free agents at all prior to 2015. Who's close to Las Vegas?

If you want to mention other curious moves ... remember the Roger Saffold negated trade.

I'd also point out that his desire to get rid of Carson Palmer to save money left them screwing around with Pryor and the MattQBs (Flynn, Schaub, McGloin) before the Carr thing worked out for him. Arians seemed very content with Palmer these past few years.

by billprudden :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 10:00am

Agreed on all points.

I feel a bit guilty picking at the corpse of his record - GMing is a funny business, and 50% success rate with draft should be about right, but I have found myself spending the last two offseasons perplexed.

If we wanted to add to the list of cons, how about sitting and waiting for Carr instead of packaging a couple mids or lates and going up and getting him 10 picks earlier? De we have our QB out of skill or luck?

by jackiel :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:24am

I have no problem with letting Carson go back then. As has been proven repeatedly over the years, Carson can only be effective if he has a line that can keep people off of him. The Oakland offensive line back then couldn't do that.

So sitting and waiting to select a player is somehow worse than spending draft capital to move up and take said player? That's nuts. Also I'd argue the reverse. They made a mistake with Carr. Oakland shouldn't have resigned Carr to such a big deal after 1 productive year. They should've either made him prove it in year 3 or taken the Cousins approach. It's pretty obvious that he becomes the check down king without fantastic blocking up front.

by billprudden :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 12:16pm

Morning -

I'm not sure what I meant to say is nuts. My claim was that if they felt Carr was starter-worthy, then playing it cool and sitting back and waiting with fingers crossed was not as smart as moving up and getting him. If he had been taken right before our pick that would have kind of sucked. And, for clarity, if they weren't sold on him pre-draft, fine, see what happens, but if they were, then they got lucky he lasted.

Regarding not paying him yet, yes, agree completely. But he sure did look good last year in Musgrave's system, so perhaps they felt they had the answer...

by jackiel :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 1:49pm

Interesting. Given that the draft is a crapshoot, I think it's smart to be biased toward conserving draft picks and using draft capital strategically for the right player. So I think we agree there.

That's the thing though. Carr looked really good last year in Musgrave's system and with fantastic blocking up front. A new OC and possible regression in the offensive line's performance should have caused Oakland to be more cautious with the contract.

by CaffeineMan :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:10pm

"Is it normal for owners to tell the coach he's fired? As per Mark Davis to Del Rio. I thought the coach was the GM's pick and therefore the GM made that call."

It entirely depends on whether the power is coach-centered or GM-centered. I guess it could be neither, with both coach and GM reporting to the owner. Belichick for sure reports only to Kraft and Nick Caserio reports to Belichick. I think Carroll reports to ownership in Seattle as well, but I don't know if Schneider reports to ownership or Carroll. Up until Reese got fired with the Giants, their organization was GM-centered. Not sure if that will be true going forward. It'd be interesting to hear about how other teams are organized.

by rj1 :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 1:16pm

Why does Pagano officially get credit for the 9-3 record when he was out and Arians was fill-in interim replacement?

by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 2:10pm

Because Pagano was still officially the head coach at the time, as opposed to being fired and replaced by an interim head coach.

NFL rules are weird at times, but since Pagano was never unemployed, it remained "his" team.

by rj1 :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 5:26pm

How can you be head coach if you're not physically at the stadium?

The rule is kind of North Korean.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:11pm

because the league and/or elias sports bureau is ridicuklous. pagano dikdnmt coach for 12 games. should not get credit for coaching those 12 games. makes NO sense whatsoever and I understand argument put forth here by b. Knowles.

a. luck didn't get credit for playing 16 games for the clots this year. his official stats say he played in 0 games.

also, b. arians 2012 nfl heaod coach of year with official record of 0-0-0.

by RickD :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 3:08pm

"also, b. arians 2012 nfl heaod coach of year with official record of 0-0-0."


by Steve B :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 1:21pm

Any talk about Harbaugh and Newsome being in trouble?

by RickD :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 3:15pm

I wouldn't think so. They survived the 5-11 season and have been trending up since. The defense is strong, the special teams are superb, and....the offense is not good. It hasn't been good since Kubiak left. But even Mornhingweg is reportedly safe. The running game was decent.

What they really need to do is move on from Flacco. (Unless they're sold on blaming the receivers, but I'm not buying that.) But that would require Bisciotti to admit making a big mistake. I'd agree with what Rivers says in the Any Given Sunday piece: that they make QB the priority in the draft.

by Steve B :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 1:38am

Would also require a big cap hit. I think they're stuck with him for one more year.

Bottom line is 4 seasons out of 5 missing the playoffs since they won that SB. If Kubiak hadn't been OC in 2014, it's probably 5 for 5. Really, I lean toward Newsome being more to blame. He's missed on a number of draft picks the last few years. For example, Breshad Perriman was a healthy scratch last Sunday.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:08am

Newsome may be the case study for the fact that hardly anyone has a large enough sample size of draft picks made for us to have any strong confidence that the results we see are not mostly the result of randomness.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 6:42pm

Even then, pretty inconclusive. One could equally take the view that he lost his fastball with age. How would you ever tell the difference?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 6:11pm

You can't.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 2:52pm

The cap hit for cutting Flacco is $4M (plus whatever they pay for a replacement).And there's a $12M savings if you designate him a post-Jun 1 cut (16 M gets pushed off till next year).

Cutting him now also saves you $12M worth of salary next year. Pushing it off is just throwing good money after bad at this point.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 1:45pm

Broncos apparently sticking with Vance Joseph.

by Steve B :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 2:07pm

Sounds like Marvin Lewis is coming back after all

by drobviousso :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 2:41pm

Marvin Lewis is teflon.

by jtr :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:42am

As far as I can tell from scanning Cinci media, nobody has any idea if Marvin Lewis will return next year. That seems to include Lewis and Mike Brown.

Word has been going around that the Bengals wanted to lure Hue Jackson back to be their head coach. That makes sense, since the only appropriate Bengals move is to replace familiar mediocrity with familiar mediocrity. My guess is that once they saw that the Browns were hanging on to Hue, Mike Brown pumped the brakes on pushing Lewis out.

by jtr :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 6:50pm

aaaaaaand Lewis is officially extended for two years. I really think it was Hue Jackson or bust for them this offseason, so they're sticking with Lewis.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 7:04pm

Well, if you can't have a guy who has gone 1-31 his last two years, you shrug, sigh deeply, and stick with Marvin Lewis. Makes sense to me.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:19pm

Yea, this is really amazing. I actually agreed with the Jim Caldwell firing, but it should be pointed out that even if Hue Jackson went 16-0 for two consecutive seasons, he would STILL have a worse 4 year record than Caldwell....yet Jackson still has a job.

by drillz :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:31pm

{Green Bay fired defensive coordinator Dom Capers.} Well I certainly saw that one coming.

by dank067 :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 4:02pm

There were plenty of times over the years where Capers could have lost his job, and while this wasn't the worst defense they've put on the field during his tenure, they looked about as poorly-coached this year as they ever have. So much miscommunication between DBs, so many blown coverages, Cam Newton laughing at Clay Matthews at the line of scrimmage on a play where they failed to cover the receiver he was trying to key on anyway. Great stuff.

by Al Hirt Hologram :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 8:56pm

I mostly liked his stuff but they seemed to be exploitable by the Saints/Falcons type offenses lately. Might just be my perception though.

by dank067 :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:22pm

He did coordinate some good defenses in Green Bay—beyond the Super Bowl season, even as recently as 2015 they were a legitimate top-ten defense and the main reason they hung on to make the playoffs that year. He hatched a terrific game plan in the 2014 NFC Championship Game that got them 99% of the way to another Super Bowl appearance. But they also had seasons where they just never figured things out and/or were embarrassed on big stages (2009, 2012), and this season was particularly bad IMO.

by big10freak :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:19pm

Ted Thompson leaving the GM position to take an unspecified role in the organization. One presumes that this allows the next GM to decide MM's fate.

by dank067 :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:27pm

Looks like there are going to be some major changes for sure, the likes of which haven't been seen in Green Bay in over a decade. They appear to have a lot of good GM candidates in their front office right now, which I think is a good thing overall, but also probably means that there will be more turnover in the front office to follow whether or not they hire in-house.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:59pm

I would bet a lot of money that Eliot Wolf is the new GM. Not sure who I'm hoping for at DC. A lot of good coaching talent out there. Not his time yet, but Aaron Glenn has done a hell of a job in New Orleans coaching up that secondary. Really incredible turnaround for multiple players. Carolina Panthers always seem to get a ton out of some mediocre talent at CB, maybe that's what GB needs.

by big10freak :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:17am

I don't understand the Eliot Wolf fascination by GB fans

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 12:25pm

I don't think it's as much the fans as it is the media. He has the news-friendly storyline of following his father's footsteps in GB along with being a fairly approachable front office type.

by ChrisLong :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:51pm

Not saying he's the best choice (I'm a big fan of Scot McLoughan and Reggie McKenzie, for example) but I would bet he is the choice. And by most accounts he's not just Ron Wolf's son, but a good executive in his own right.

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:50am

Eliot Wolf was allegedly the reason the Packers blew a fourth on Jeron McMillian (according to Jason Wilde), one of the worst picks in the Thompson era. I figure he's done some good stuff. Just haven't heard any of it.

by LondonMonarch :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:30am

Surprisingly little Arians comment here.

Fascinating guy in a world of Josh McDaniels and Sean McVays.

Extremely good Head Coach but took an extremely long time to come through the ranks as position coach and co-ordinator. Anyone know why that was? Just bad luck? Maybe would never have got his break but for Pagano's illness?

Also just seems like an incredibly likeable bloke.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 1:02pm

There was A Football Life about him but I don't recall them saying why he took so long to become a HC other than age. He was 60 when the Cards finally hired him.

It's been good having someone in the league who hasn't been afraid to play aggressive offense and defense. The NFC West was awesome there for a few years with Carroll, Arians, Harbaugh and ... er Jeff Fisher(!)

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:21pm

As you can tell in his press conferences, he has no fear about speaking his mind. That probably rubs some GMs and owners the wrong way. That's often listed as a reason why Mike Zimmer took so long to get a head coaching job.

I think he's an excellent coach, and it's unfortunate we, the NFL fans, didn't get more years out of him as a head coach.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 3:00pm

And it's no surprise to me that someone who speaks his mind is a good coach because he's not afraid to hold players accountable. Both with Arians and Zimmer.

Which is pretty much exactly the reason why Hue Jackson and Ben McAdoo aren't.

by RickD :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 3:19pm

It's a shame it took Arians so long to get a top job. I've always like him both as a coach and a person. He managed to win games with smoke and mirrors at the QB position in Arizona. Certainly a better coach than some people who've won Super Bowls.

by MC2 :: Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:01pm

So, Dean Pees retires without ever getting his shot as a head coach. That's a shame.

All these years, I've been waiting for someone to give Pees a chance.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

by amin purshottam :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:42am

Wow, Hue Jackson must be quite the magician.
Marvin Lewis is a nice guy but I guess the Bengals are ok being mediocre.
Still not sure about Gruden, after winning the SB the Bucs were average at best.
Joseph I think is also mediocre.
Cowboys going no where with the clapper.
John Fox was brutal.
I think Schwartz and cable will both really suck and same with Fisher.

by Steve B :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 1:41am

I wonder which is more depressing right now, being a Bengals' fan or a Browns' fan. Browns' ownership at least seems to want win, they're just incompetent at it.

by jackiel :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:37am

I don't know why people are acting that Bengals fans should be upset. Lewis has consistently put out a playoff caliber team. If it wasn't for bad luck - the Palmer injury in the playoffs and the late season Dalton injury - during years in which they had their best teams, it's plausible that they could have made runs to at least the AFC Championship game. It's quite obvious that people are forgetting the 10 years of horrid performance between the Dave Shula and Dick LeBeau eras. It can be much, much worse. And frankly, since he refuses to invest in the football infrastructure on par with other clubs, I believe that Mike Brown prefers to stink. Things will only get better if the Bengals get a new owner.

by Steve B :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:54am

15 seasons. Zero playoff wins. Nobody's forgetting the 90's/early 2000's. Does that mean Marvin should have a lifetime contract? People ridicule Jeff Fisher constantly. Marvin Lewis is a poor man's Jeff Fisher. That said, you're right. The Brown family is the biggest problem.

by LondonMonarch :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 6:34am

The way to fix the Bengals is to spend money on infrastructure/players, not sacking Lewis. He does a very decent job with terrible resources.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:39am

Exactly, while Jeff Fisher does the opposite. There's no comparison, really.

by jackiel :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:04pm

Totally disagree. The records are not created equally. Fisher's teams have frequently won in spite of him. Some examples: Wanting to run Vince Young out of town since day 1 despite Vince winning about 2/3 of his starts in TEN, refusing to adapt his offensive philosophy to fit the new rules and incorporate concepts from the college level that his players are already familiar with, failing to adapt his offense to the things that his personnel did best in STL/LA. His owner in STL/LA is one of the richest people in the world and spent heavily to give Jeff all of the resources he wanted in pursuit of winning.

Contrast that with Lewis whose teams win because of him since he controls both personnel and the coaching side of things. Because the Bengals are never major players in free agency, they have to develop talent internally, which puts an emphasis on scouting, player development, and coaching, and increases the risk of the team stinking if they whiff on a few drafts. However, the Bengals have the leanest scouting department in the league and never pay top tier salaries for coaches. Also, the cheapness manifests itself in some of the player personnel decisions. Lewis has to take flyers on talented guys with checkered backgrounds like Burfict and Adam Jones since he doesn't have a big budget for player salaries. That means that Bengals are frequently competing with 1 hand tied around their back. Under the circumstances, if Lewis was a bad coach, the Bengals would be a sub 6 win team every year.

by Steve B :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 4:35pm

Lewis controls personnel? My understanding is getting more control of personnel was one of the conditions for him staying. Again, Mike Brown sucks, but saying that the Bengals win because of Lewis and that he's not to blame at all when they lose is a big stretch. We could say if he was that bad they'd be a sub 6 win team every year, but we could also say that if he was that good they would've, you know, won a playoff game at some point. Looking at his playoff teams from the last half decade, the talent was there a couple times for them to at least get to the AFCCG.

YMMV, but I don't think Fisher really became a joke until his last couple years with the Rams. Around a decade ago (when the Titans went 13-3 with the ghost of Kerry Collins as their starting QB), the consensus was that he was a good HC overall. Bud Adams was widely considered to be a bad owner, too.

by MC2 :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 4:07am

In 18 full seasons and 2 partial seasons, Fisher had 6 winning seasons (and made the playoffs 6 times). In 15 full seasons, Lewis has had 7 winning seasons (and made the playoffs 7 times).

Of course, Fisher has a much better postseason record (5-6 vs. 0-7), but all of that postseason success came during his first 10 years. During his last 10 years, Fisher was 0-2 in the postseason. Bottom line: Fisher accomplished almost nothing with the Rams, and very little during his last few years in Tennessee.

by Richie :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 4:33pm

Didn't Fisher oversee basically 3 teams that had bottomed out?

He started with Houston after they dumped basically all of their good players after the 1993 season. They were 2-14 in 1994. In his first full year they were 7-9. They were mediocre for a few years, then very good from 1999-2003.

Then in 2004-2005, didn't they dump a bunch of their good players again? They stunk for a couple years, and then Fisher got them back to 13-3 in 2008. Then he stuck around for 2 more mediocre seasons. It seemed like he was making a mistake by not using Vince Young more, but it's not like Vince Young went on to success anywhere else.

Then in 2012, he took over a Rams team that had gone 2-14, and he immediately turned them into a "7-9 bullshit" team. I think that was probably a good job there. By the time they moved to Los Angeles, it seemed like maybe he lost enthusiasm for the job. Judging by the success of the team this year (and Keenum in Minnesota), it would seem like the Rams should have been better last year.

So I think when you look at Fisher's career, you have to factor in that he essentially helped turn around 3 franchises.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 7:15pm

Fisher is real good at taking advantage of cheap rookie deals and high draft picks to get teams to improve to around average. The problem is that all of his teams seem to end up in cap hell about 4 year after he starts coaching them.

If I had to guess at the main problem - I'd say he's terrible at developing talent, and can't really maintain once those high picks get expensive.

by Richie :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 8:13pm

Was Fisher giving out the contracts?

by MC2 :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:31pm

Those are fair points, but if we're comparing Fisher and Lewis, I'd argue that the situation Lewis inherited was far worse than it ever was for Fisher. The Bengals were the laughingstock of the league for pretty much the entire decade of the '90s, much like the Browns have been recently. They were coming off a 2-14 season, and Lewis immediately got them to 8-8, and within 3 years, he had them in the playoffs, at 11-5.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:23pm

I don't know. Is one season of 2-14 less difficult to turn around than a decade of 2-14's? In each case, the cupboard is probably pretty bare.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 7:56pm

I think there are two points here. First, a one-off 2-14 season might be indicative of some non-predictive stuff, like terrible injury luck, or locker room disfunction, or losing a lot of close games, from which a rebound might reasonably be expected. There was plenty of talent on the 2013 Texans for example. The more important point, though, is that going 2-14 once doesn't say anything about the functionality of the organization as a whole; a decade of terrible results screams that the franchise is a mess on higher (probably ownership) levels which are likely to be beyond the ability of a coach to fix. The Bengals don't spend money on players, don't have a professional GM and don't have a proper scouting staff. That makes a coach's job an awful lot harder than just taking on a bad roster.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:33am

If we’re talking about the 1994 Oilers specifically, they were a truly bad team, not just unlucky with injuries/sudden quarterback implosion like the 2013 Texans. ‘94 was the first year of the salary cap (which Houston did almost zero preparation for...they were all in for a Super Bowl run in 1993), so they had to completely gut the roster of any talented veterans. Warren Moon and the previously excellent defensive players were all playing for new teams. Fisher at least deserves credit for turning them from abysmal to mediocre in one season, then Super Bowl contenders within a few years.

The points you make about the Bengals organization are all true, but I’m not sure Bud Adams was that much better of an owner than Mike Brown. At least the Oilers has a professional level scouting staff, and demonstrated that they drafted fairly well.

by Steve B :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 1:42am

Gruden might be the most overrated HC of the last twenty years at this point.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:44am

I suspect he'll make a better TV analyst at this point than coach. I don't think he's a great analyst, but he's all right. He's got an amusing personality.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:12pm

His early years with the Raiders were pretty good, I thought. He then went to Tampa and won a championship with a stacked defense that was already in place, so I think he gets a little too much credit for that. He's a supposed offensive guru, but could never really get a consistently good offense in Tampa, and once the Super Bowl defense started getting old/injured, the team collapsed (not sure if he should get credit for the 2005 season or if that was just a fluke).

To be fair, he should get a little credit for getting two productive seasons out of a way over-the-hill Jeff Garcia in 2007-2008...and it should be pointed out the Bucs went from competitive to awful when he left.

My main concern with him would be that the game has changed a lot since 2008. He might just be another Jeff Fisher when he comes back.

by johonny :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 7:29pm

Clearly Gruden understands the importance of having a QB. He held out a long time to land somewhere with a young QB in place. It's something he never had in his younger years. He has to assume in a year or so Brady, Rivers, and Ben could all be gone. It's attractive given the future AFC QB landscape as it stands. The whole thing now for him is staffing. Most of his assistants are long gone and he's going to need to build a staff after nearly a decade semi-out of the game. If I had a worry it would be that.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:47am

Gruden in Tampa was a guy who very much did not understand the value of a QB, and seemed to think his Offensive Genius would be enough to get whatever Wily Veteran he could find to become great. He basically spent his time there trying to find Rich Gannon 2.0, and never did. That's why guys like Jeff Garcia and Brian Griese became starters (on two separate occasions, for Griese). These are all the QB draft picks during Gruden's time in Tampa:

2003, Chris Simms, 3rd round
2006, Bruce Gradkowski, 6th round
2008, Josh Johnson, 5th round

That's not exactly a big commitment to the position. Gruden never found a QB in Tampa because he believed he didn't need one, and his game planning would be enough.

I'll always have a warm spot in my heart for the 2002 team in general and what Gruden did to push it over the top, but I am so relieved he is not coming back to Tampa. I'm of the opinion that the Raiders going for him is a sign Al Davis has crawled out of the grave, because it's such a bad decision I have to assume Al is involved again.

by ZDNeal :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 1:46pm

His problem was he didn't realize he needed a Vikings retread.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 2:04pm

I'm sure that a large part of the Gruden signing is an attempt to start building a fanbase in Las Vegas. Gruden is a good personality, he's enthusiastic and he's fun. People who've only ever seen him on ESPN MNF rather than remembering him as Raiders coach will know who he is. You can guarantee the LV crowds will be out with their Chucky dolls.

by theslothook :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 5:08am

Don't we all wish we had Marvin Lewis/Hue Jackson level job security. I like Marvin a little, but if failing to win a playoff game even once or going winless isn't enough to get you fired, I don't know what is. I

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:52pm

I mean, I could understand bringing an 0-16 coach back after his first season for the sake of continuity. I don't believe in firing a coach after one season unless he's proven himself to be an absolute joke of a coach. But 0-16 the year after 1-15? I'm with you.

Jackson has to be a lock for worst career winning percentage with one team, even if he somehow finishes out 2018 with the Browns. If they were to improve all the way to 6-10 next year, he'd be 7-41 for a percentage of .146. (I just checked Wikipedia and when you count his 8-8 year coaching the Raiders, his career record as of today is 9-39/.188. That has to be a record for anyone who's coached more than 1 season, right?)

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 5:09pm

According to PFR there are worse careers ...

Marty Morhinweg with the Lions 5-27 in 2001-02
Bert Bell 10-46-2 in 5 seasons with the Eagles(?) from 1936-41
Plus a few others from non-recent times.

But here's a quiz question ... who was the expansion Browns coach in 1999-2000 who went 5-27?

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 6:19pm

Bell is definitely the only one with more games coached than Jackson and a worse record. If Jackson does indeed come back, coaches at least 10 games and does no better than 1-9 in those games, he'd be the worst coach in NFL history for as many games as he's coached.

Which is kind of impressive considering that he has an 8-8 season in there. Imagine if he'd gone 4-12 or something with the Raiders...

by MC2 :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 4:11am

I thought the answer to your trivia question was Butch Davis, but when I looked it up, it was actually Chris Palmer. Turns out Davis went 24-36 with the Browns (from 2001-2004), which is a lot better than I remembered.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 7:33am

Davis owns one of the only two winning seasons, and the only playoff appearance in the history of the Browns 2.0. Came very close to winning a playoff game, too, as they blew a 17 point lead against the Steelers in the 2002 playoffs.

by MC2 :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 8:10am

Now that you mention it, I remember watching that playoff game. It was a shootout between Kelly Holcomb and Tommy Maddox, of all people. I had forgotten that Davis was the coach, though.

by Richie :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 4:36pm

That was a crazy day. If I remember correctly, after the Browns blew that game, the Giants blew a lead to the 49ers with the game ending on a crazy aborted field goal play.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 5:38pm

It was 38-14 before the comeback.

Didn't TO get into a fight with someone that led to offsetting unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that ballsed things up?

Also on the aborted FG play seem to recall the NFL later admitted that it should have been defensive pass interference which would have offset illegal players downfield and therefore they'd have got to rekick.

by Richie :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 6:58pm

Yeah, I have some memory of the NFL admitting a referee mistake.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:32pm

That's actually worse than Marinelli (10-38).

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:46pm

The John Fox firing was probably the least surprising one, so it makes sense that not much has been said here about it. My biggest frustration is that it didn't happen sooner, for the sake of Trubisky's development. It's true that the Bears didn't have anyone on the offensive staff worthy of being elevated to interim coach, but they could have easily installed Fangio for the last 4-8 games of the season and instructed him that his primary objective was to develop Mitch, at least as much as the bad offensive coordinator could do so.

For that matter, I don't understand why Fox was even brought back for the season. I suspect that the cheapness of the McCaskeys was a major factor; after the team fired their last coach after 2 years Pace was probably prohibited from firing Fox until this year. The writing was on the wall after 3-13 last year, and once the team decided to draft their QB of the future, there was no point in wasting the year with Fox. I don't see what he could have done to save his job, except perhaps an extremely unlikely playoff run, so why keep him in the first place?

Making a coaching change last season might also have negated the need to extend Ryan Pace another 2 years. I get the business reason for it, since you might lose your favorite coaching candidate if the GM is only guaranteed another 2 years, but now a GM who is 14-34 in his first three years is looking at 4 more years under contract. Realistically, now I don't see the Bears firing him until after at least 2020 even if it becomes abundantly clear that he's terrible at his job. (I'm not saying I'm there yet, but at this point if I had to pick one or the other I'd say Pace is bad).

Also, it says everything you need to know about how bad the Bears ownership is that they've bungled so much of the discussion this week. Ted Phillips and George McCaskey do not belong anywhere near press conferences discussing the search for the next coach.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 5:12pm

I'm quite surprised by how bad Fox was in Chicago.

Obviously he had a good tenure in Carolina with Jake Delhomme as his primary QB.

Then Denver was very good. A lot of people weren't sure when Elway fired him and brought in Kubiak. Obviously having Peyton was a huge boost but that first yaer with Tebow and making the playoffs and actually winning a game suggested he knew what he's up to.

Is it a sign that old school run&defense coaches are finally expired?

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 6:23pm

I think it's some combination of Fox being overrated as a coach all along and not being as good of a coach in Chicago as he was in his previous stops. Obviously lack of talent played a part in his Chicago tenure too; I don't see who could have dragged the 2016 or 2017 Bears to the playoffs. And the talent side of it falls squarely on Pace which is what worries me about his extension; he inherited a team that had Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, and Alshon Jeffery. I'm not saying that any or all of those guys should have remained on the Bears, but he got rid of them all for next to nothing and did not replace them.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:39pm

Like Tomlin, Marrone, Rivera, Carroll, and McDermott?

by dank067 :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 5:54pm

It had to be frustrating to watch some of the Bears' extremely conservative game plans with Trubisky in there, especially early on, but my impression was that it was more a result of the current state of their roster (no healthy NFL-caliber WRs, OL injuries) as opposed to actively terrible coaching or scheming by Fox, Loggains, etc. They may not have been the best guys to have in place to bring up a rookie QB, but asking Trubisky to air it out from day one with the roster they had could easily have hurt his development. At the very least he got 12 games worth of opportunities to adjust to NFL game speed, read defenses, watch tape and learn from his mistakes, etc., without going full Kizer.

(I realize that if this explanation has any truth to it, it does still reflect poorly on Pace.)

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 01/03/2018 - 6:32pm

That's a fair point, but I would also argue that there is a wide gulf between asking him to air it out from day one, and having games where Trubisky played the whole game and had 7, 15, and 16 pass attempts. By the end of the season he at least was starting to get more opportunities where it seemed like he was being allowed to make mistakes that he could learn from, like his 3 INT game against Detroit.

An end-of-season stat line of 182.5 yards/game, 7 TDs, 7 INTs just feels like they were keeping the training wheels on too much of the time. At least he stayed healthy in the end.

by jtr :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 4:00pm

These moves also mean that Mike McCarthy is officially on notice, right? Everybody besides MM who might have been scapegoated for this underwhelming season is gone. If they don't bounce right back to a successful season, I'd think that would be it for McCarthy.

by dank067 :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 4:18pm

Definitely seems that McCarthy will be coaching for his job next year. If that is the reality, though, seems like it might make it a little difficult for him to restock basically his entire coaching staff this off-season...

by Richie :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 4:39pm

Anybody have any ideas about how much value a QB coach has? Is there really any reason to fire a guy like Van Pelt?

by jtr :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 7:03pm

When your QB is Aaron Rodgers, I suspect that the QB coach doesn't contribute that much. Especially with a HC who is very hands-on with the offense. Maybe he was partially responsible for Hundley not being any good, but that might have just been true with any QB coach. I suspect this is like the hitting coach on a baseball team, where he's a fairly unimportant guy who's easy to blame when things aren't going well.

by dank067 :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 10:46pm

I think McCarthy implied this week that Van Pelt made the decision to leave. Of course that could be because McCarthy made it clear he was not going to get a promotion, etc.

I'm bracing the announcement they're bringing in McAdoo as offensive coordinator... Maybe not likely, but just plausable enough to scare me

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:49am

I hadn't thought about McAdoo as OC. Now I'll be up all night.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:17am

To my eternal regret, it will more likely be Caldwell.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 01/04/2018 - 8:58pm

I'm curious if the new GM will have any say over retaining McCarthy. Thompson hired McCarthy in what some considered a panic move after the Vikings hired Childress. Thompson replaced Mike Sherman as GM but had to keep Sherman on as coach (though Sherman had been considered a decent coach for most of that time). This could be a multi-year drama.

by jtr :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 9:06am

The one-year deal for McCarthy basically gives him one season to prove himself to the new GM, and makes it pretty easy to ditch him if the new GM isn't satisfied. Given how good Aaron Rodgers is, the GM could set a very high standard for this season--say, appear in the NFC Championship game, and then move on from McCarthy if he fails to achieve it with a healthy Rodgers.
But the extension also means that the new GM is pretty much stuck with McCarthy for this season. Cutting him loose right after extending him would be a shitty thing to do and very unlike the generally low-drama Packers organization.

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:39pm

The Packers have requested an interview with Eric DeCosta for GM. Now, DeCosta has turned down every interview he's been offered to be a GM, but I would think the Green Bay job would be about an ideal one. Unless he knows something about Newsome's retirement schedule, that seems to be a move that would make sense for everybody.

by jackiel :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 1:20am

McCarthy should've been fired as well. I guess the Packers don't want to shake things up during Rodgers' prime, but I believe that it's time. Without Rodgers, Green Bay is a team with a punchless offense and a below average defense. They aren't even remotely close to being contenders. Something needs to change up there.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:22pm

ESPN is reporting that Brian Gutekunst will be named Packers GM. I didn't even know he was in the running. No idea what this means for the team's future.

Also, the rumor mill has both Philbin and MacAdoo probably returning to GB.