Black Monday: the day after the end of the NFL‚Äôs regular season, and coaches of teams throughout the league that under achieved or did not live up to expectations are axed. Actually many of these teams might get a head start and make the dismissals official by the time Faith Hill leads us in to Sunday Night Football. Here is a speculative look at the leading candidates that will be looking for a new employer within the next 24 hours.
Andy Reid is Dead Man Walking. The death of Jim Johnson in 2009 really hurt the defense; moving Juan Castillo from offensive line coach to DC left the team weaker at two coaching positions. The fatal blow was the unrealistic expectations from putting together the Dream Team, while ignoring the gaping holes on the offensive line. Top prospect to take Reid‚Äôs place: Jon Gruden, who was an assistant coach there before becoming a head coach with Oakland.
San Diego Chargers
GM A. J. Smith and HC Norv Turner are toast. Don‚Äôt be surprised if there is also a change with some big name offensive players, such as Antonio Gates, Ryan Mathews – and maybe even Philip Rivers.
Kansas City Chiefs
Sayonara to Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel. QB Matt Cassel has been a target of KC fan‚Äôs wrath since he arrived; he‚Äôs likely gone as well.
G.M. Buddy Nix has twice stated that the team deserves a franchise quarterback, which doesn‚Äôt bode well for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. What they really need is an executive with long term vision, and a realistic plan to improve the defense. Earlier this year the team said HC Chan Gailey‚Äôs job was safe, which is often the kiss of death. Nix is the one that should go, but my gut tells me he‚Äôll stay.
The worst kept secret in the league is that new owner Jimmy Haslam will be making a clean sweep. He has unrealistically proclaimed to Browns fans that the team is ‚Äėvery close‚Äô, which translates into ‚Äėit‚Äôs all the guys from the old regime‚Äôs fault your team isn‚Äôt in the playoffs; I‚Äôll get rid of all of them in exchange for you giving me a couple years worth of time‚Äô. HC Pat Shurmur and his entire staff will be given a pink slip. Rumors earlier this month were that Josh McDaniels might become the next head coach there, but Cleveland is not going to go with yet another ex-Patriot at HC; Indy‚Äôs interim coach Bruce Arians makes much more sense.
Head coach Mike Munchak is definitely on the hot seat, but the guy that is more deserving of the blame for their disappointing season is GM Ruston Webster. DC Jerry Gray will likely be let go, regardless of whether or not Munchak returns; my guess is that Munchak is fired.
They just got a new owner, new head coach, and new quarterback ‚Äď and lost even more games than they did the year before. All that‚Äôs left to do now is to fire the general manager, Gene Smith. Prediction: look for the Jags to try and move Maurice Jones-Drew; potential candidates would be Arizona, Green Bay or Atlanta.
New Jersey Jets
Somebody has to fall on the axe because owner Woody Johnson won‚Äôt blame himself; most likely that will be Mike Tannenbaum, while Rex Ryan gets one more year. Considering how badly the offense struggled I would assume OC Tony Sparano is gone as well; so much for the idea he would integrate his wildcat offense with Tim Tebow and the rest of the team‚Äôs offense. Tebow and Mark Sanchez will both be gone, so who will the next quarterback be? Consider the fact that Johnson likes to see his team talked about in the newspapers, radio and television with the idea that all that publicity will lead to more ticket sales. Prediction: the Jets will sign Michael Vick to be their QB in 2013.
As long as the Bidwell family owns this team it will never succeed. However, you have to question Ken Whisenhunt‚Äôs decision making at starting quarterback throughout this season. Prediction: OC Mike Miller will be the fall guy, while Whisenhunt remains; the Arizona offense ranks 32nd in yardage and 30th in points scored.
As we saw during the CBA negotiations, owner Jerry Richardson is a genuine hard ass. GM Marty Hurney is already gone; HC Ron Rivera is next.
Lovie Smith was the toast of the NFL early in the year, but how many late season collapses will ownership and fans accept? At some point you can‚Äôt keep using the injury excuse; every team has them. Perhaps he can buy himself one more year if the Bears manage to make the playoffs.
If the ‚Äėboys don‚Äôt beat Washington today then I would think that Jerry Jones will fire HC Jason Garrett. What owner Jerry Jones really needs to do is fire GM Jerry Jones.
The Lions took a big step backwards and seem to be far more talented than their record would indicate. They have a reputation for being undisciplined, which goes back to the head coach. Jim Schwartz may be one of those guys that is a good assistant coach or coordinator, but not really cut out to be a head coach. If he does come back in 2013 he‚Äôll be on a short leash, but I have a feeling he‚Äôs done ‚Äď even if the Lions manage to beat Chicago today.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have allowed more yards than any other team; I think DC Steve Spagnuolo will be let go.
New York Giants
Prediction: DC Perry Fewell will be the sacrificial lamb when Big Blue is eliminated later today.
This Day In Patriots History
December 30, 1990:
New York Giants 13, New England Patriots 10 at Foxboro
The 1990 regular season finally came to a conclusion, ending the Rod Rust era and a season that was tarnished with the Lisa Olson incident. The Pats went on to the number one pick of the draft after the worst season in their franchise history, while the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.
Despite being huge underdogs, the Pats almost pulled off an upset victory on a windy, rainy day. Future Patriot Dave Meggett led the Giants 112 all-purpose yards, while Jeff Hostetler threw for 123 yards and ran for 82 more (the Giants piled up 213 rushing yards on the day), filling in for an injured Phil Simms.
Meggett opened the scoring on a 17-yard pass from Hostetler, and a Matt Bahr field goal gave the Gints a 10-0 lead at the end of one quarter. Irving Fryar caught a 40-yard pass from rookie Tom Hodson, and Jason Staurovsky kicked a 19-yard field goal in the 2nd quarter to even the score. The game remained tied until the final seconds, with Bahr kicking a 27-yarder for the winning margin.
For the season John Stephens led the team in rushing (808 yards) and yards from scrimmage (1004); Fryar led the team in receptions (54) and receiving yards (856); and Marv Cook led the team with five touchdowns … which was one more than the total number of rushing touchdowns (4) by the entire team. Defensively the leading tacklers were Tim Goad (89) and Vincent Brown (87); Ronnie Lippett, Maurice Hurst and Fred Marion each had four interceptions.
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December 30, 1928:
Bo Diddley was born in Alachua County, Florida
December 30, 1934:
Del Shannon was born in Grand Rapids
December 30, 1942:
Mike Nesmith of the Monkees was born in Houston; three years to the day later bandmate Davy Jones was born in Manchester, England
December 30, 1946:
Patti Smith was born in Chicago
December 30, 1947:
Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra and the Traveling Wilburys was born in Birmingham, England
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