Move over, Thurston Howell III. Your spouse’s evil twin is looking for a job now.
This morning is the day for the axe to fall on most NFL coaches that are going to be replaced. Chan Gailey, Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills, was predictably let go. News of that coming had leaked a couple of days ago and was no surprise. The Bills have the longest playoff drought in the NFL, not having been to the playoffs in the 21st Century.
Not so for Lovie Smith, and the Bears finished 10-6.
The 2 coaches followed different routes to get fired. Chan Gailey simply didn’t do a thing with all the talent the owner added in the offseason and through several pretty decent drafts (for Buffalo). They spent $100 million on Super Mario, added a lot of defensive talent through the draft, and the Bills still stunk.
Smith’s Bears were a far different story. There was a time not long after the halfway mark of the season where a few analysts were ranking DAAA BEARSSSS in the top-3 or even the top team in the NFL in power rankings.
A slow finish with some ugly wins, including week 8’s single point victory over the Panthers in a game that they were dominated. Only a Steve Smith slip on a timing pattern resulting in a short pick-6 made the difference in that game and everyone knows that play was a gift. The Bears were 3-5 in the second half of their season, and that weak finish was enough to finally part ways with Smith. The Bears have missed the playoffs in 5 of the last 6 seasons, which likely heavily factored into the decision.
On a bit of a side note, some of Lovie’s issues were lack of personnel in some positions, which weren’t his doing. They really reloaded at the skill positions over the past couple of seasons, but WR Brandon Marshall was the only productive “new” player they got with rookie Alshon Jeffery being injured for much of the season. Marshall had over 80 more receptions than the next-closest WR on the team in 2012.
It’s maddening when you have a coach that always seems to field a playoff team, or one in the hunt until the final week, but no Super Bowl wins. Yes, they got to one under Lovie Smith, but even with the 1985 version of their defense, it’s hard to beat great teams with a Rex Grossman pulling the trigger on the offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles ended speculation about Andy Reid’s tenure by cutting him loose today. That’s not such a surprise as Reid’s Eagles have gradually gone downhill since taking on Michael Vick after his two year prison hiatus. At one point, Reid had taken his Eagles to the NFC Championship Game four consecutive times, but broke through to the Super Bowl only in the season they had a Terrell Owens in his prime but lost.
Romeo Crennel was ousted in Kansas City. That one wasn’t hard to figure as the Chiefs are in the unenviable position of finishing as the NFL’s worst team, getting the top pick in the 2013 draft, and no quarterback being worthy of the top pick. So far, the Chiefs are holding on to embattled GM Scott Pioli, who I know as a guru in picking defensive line busts in the first round….Dontari Poe, Tyson Jackson, and Glenn Dorsey were all Pioli first-round picks.
Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum was fired as well but Rex Ryan holds on to his job for another year. Cleveland cleaned house AGAIN, firing both GM Tom Heckert and HC Pat Shurmur. Interesting that they heave the GM, who apparently made some good moves the past few years. Perhaps it’s payback for trading down 2 years ago and not grabbing Julio Jones in the WR-bereft organization. However, the team just isn’t performing on the field, so heads roll.
No decision has yet been made on Panthers’ Head Coach Ron Rivera after a horrible start but a strong finish to get to 7-9, a one-game improvement over last season. With the momentum the team played with in the second half of the season, they were 5-1 in their last 6 games while winning the last four. That, I think, will be what saves Rivera from the chopping block.
Jon Gruden, the analyst on Monday Night Football opposite play-by-play man Mike Tirico, is reportedly interested in interviewing for open jobs with Philadelphia and San Diego perched at the top of his list while we wait for Norv Turner’s likely firing later today. Remember, it’s 3 hours earlier on the west coast, so let the man eat breakfast first at least before he tosses it after losing his job.
And I was just kidding about Lovie being evil…although with his run with the Bears I’m sure I could find a few players that would agree with me. Such is life in the NFL.