Taking Spin on NFL Coaching Carousel
At the least, it won't be Black Monday. Some bubble coaches could remain on the fence for several days.
In 2009, nine NFL teams hired new head coaches and two -- the 49ers and the Raiders -- elevated their interim coaches (Mike Singletary and Tom Cable) to permanent status. This season, the hot seat is heating up in Chicago, Buffalo and Oakland, where the status of those staffs is very much in question.
Zorn being sacked wasn't a matter of if, but when. Mike Shanahan has yet to sign a contract naming him the new Redskins head coach, despite multiple media outlets reporting that Dan Snyder used his private plane to fly his top choice from Denver to Washington on Monday in anticipation of the announcement. In Houston, coach Gary Kubiak has told his staff to wish Texans offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan their best; the son is expected to join his father's staff at Redskins Park.
While Shanahan to Washington may be imminent, all eyes are on what's happening with the Chicago Bears, who have canceled their customary end-of the-season news conference with coach Lovie Smith while he meets with ownership and general manager Jerry Angelo, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Bears are expected to hold a news conference either Tuesday or Wednesday and Smith's status should be known by then.
The Buffalo Bills cryptically announced Monday that the future of the entire coaching staff, including interim head coach Perry Fewell, would be evaluated by the new head coach. But while newly promoted general manager Buddy Nix has not formally dismissed any coaches as of yet, he has told the Bills staff it is free to seek employment elsewhere. Translation: clear out your offices.
In Oakland, the controversial Cable may be spending the next few days boxing up his belongings in anticipation of what should be a heated end-of-season evaluation session with owner Al Davis.
Cable, who already has angered Davis for his part in the Randy Hanson broken jaw affair and accusations that he assaulted two of his former wives, may have cemented his departure last week when the coach publicly distanced himself from underachieving draft bust JaMarcus Russell. Cable said the Raiders would have been a playoff team without Russell -- who finished with the NFL's lowest passer rating among starters and the league's worst completion percentage.
The former LSU quarterback was Davis' hand-picked No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft and received $32 million guaranteed to be the next Kenny Stabler.
That hasn't happened, and the Raiders' sputtering offensive performances and record with Russell under center -- 2-7 this season with him as the No. 1 quarterback, 3-4 with Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye as starters -- has solidified the players support of Cable's decision to bench a player that has cost the franchise $39 million to date. Russell has won only seven games in 25 starts with the Raiders.
But while players have been strongly vocal in backing Cable and saying they welcome his return, the coach broke rank with the owner by openly questioning and denouncing Davis' favorite athlete. Davis, after all, cited Lane Kiffin's lack of support for drafting Russell in 2007 when he fired him in the now infamous "overhead projector" news conference.
If Cable doesn't make it to a second full season in Oakland, he will be the sixth coach fired by Davis since Jon Gruden's departure after the 2001 season.
Coaching changes in 2009
Chiefs: Fired Herm Edwards, hired Todd Haley
Jets: Fired Eric Mangini, hired Rex Ryan
Rams: Fired interim coach Jim Haslett, hired Steve Spagnuolo
Buccaneers: Fired Jon Gruden, hired Raheem Morris
Lions: Fired Rod Marinelli, hired Jim Schwartz
Browns: Fired Romeo Crennel, hired Eric Mangini
Broncos: Fired Mike Shanahan, hired Josh McDaniels
Colts: Tony Dungy retired, hired Jim Caldwell
Seahawks: Mike Holmgren stepped away, hired Jim Mora