The NFL regular season is complete, meaning today is Black Monday. It's today when under-performing teams traditionally fire head coaches and begin the search for how to right their listing ships. This year is no different with multiple head coaches already getting the ax.
Of course, the firings actually started during the season, with the Houston Texans ridding themselves of Gary Kubiak. The Texans started the season 2-0 and looked ready to continue their rise as an AFC Super Bowl contender. Then, they lost the next 14 games of the season and finished the year with the top overall pick in May's Draft.
Last night, the next two moves were made. The first came immediately after the New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins, when Jets owner Woody Johnson announced in the locker room that the five-year head coach would in fact return for 2014. Ryan was seen as being absolutely on the hot-seat this year, and, according to reports, had already told the team he expected to be fired. Instead, he will remain with the Jets.
The second half of last night's moves was a bit of a surprise. Throughout the day on Sunday, rumors started to circulate that the Cleveland Browns could fire head coach Rob Chudzinski. Later in the day, those rumors proved to be true as the Browns once again began a search for their head coach. Chudzinski was with the team for just one season before being sacked, and he will make $10.5 million for the 4-12 record he led in Ohio. The last four head coach firings in the AFC North have all been from Cleveland, and, for some reason, reports have indicated that it was just Chudzinski who was fired, with the rest of the coaching staff remaining in place, with the team just installing a new top man.
The firings started coming in faster once day broke today. The Minnesota Vikings removed Leslie Frazier from his position with the team, Frazier was 21-32-1 in Minnesota, with one playoff appearance and three last place finishes within the division.
The highly expected firing of Mike Shanahan was next, with the Washington Redskins turning in a new direction. After winning two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, Shanahan was not able to recreate his success in the Nation's capital over the past four years. This year was filled with drama as Shanahan, quarterback Robert Griffin III, and owner Daniel Snyder never seemed to be on the same page.
Another coaching change that was expected, although it was possible it wouldn't happen, was the firing of Greg Schiano by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years after hiring him. Schiano was never able to fit his personality and tough-guy ways in with the Buccaneers, and now he is looking for a job. However, he was not the only one Tampa Bay fired, as he was joined by general manager Mark Dominik as well.
The most recent firing announced today was the relief of head coaching duties for Jim Schwartz by the Detroit Lions. After five years with the Lions, Schwartz compiled a 29-51 record, including 2011 when he was 10-6 and clinched an NFC Wildcard berth. The Lions looked like they were in position to again return to the postseason this year, but collapsed down the stretch and let the Chicago Bears and eventual NFC North division champion Green Bay Packers climb their way back into the mix.
The Oakland Raiders could wind up keeping Dennis Allen as their head coach, despite rumors to the contrary.
Another name who could survive the day is Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones likes Garrett, and could give him another year, given Jones fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan last year to hire Monte Kiffin, only to have an even worse defense this year. Jones could fire Kiffin, then keep Garrett for another year.
For the Miami Dolphins, changes are expected at some point, but to what degree and when are not yet known. Owner Stephen Ross is methodical with his decision making, and could take a few days to try to decide what he wants to do. Ross believes in stability for the franchise, and could look to keep general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin for another year to see if they can fix the team's problems next year, while removing assistant coaches like offensive line coach Jim Turner and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.
He could also just blow the whole thing up, starting over by firing Ireland, Philbin, and the full staff. However, that's not considered likely.
Some of the bigger names under consideration for coaching positions this year are San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, former Bears head coach Lovie Smith, and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan could be a target, though he just signed a contract extension with Atlanta today.
More moves will likely happen throughout the rest of the day, and over the next few days. Will Miami be included in them? And, to what degree?
- NFL Playoffs schedule 2014: Wildcard, Divisional games and matchups released
- Report: Ryan Tannehill among players who lost confidence in OC Mike Sherman
- Brian Hartline injury will not require surgery
- Dolphins 2014 Schedule: Away game travel distances
- 2014 NFL Draft order: Dolphins to pick 19th in May