Black Monday or as black people would call it “Monday” has hit and (as of now) seven head coaches have been fired. The Cardinals, Chargers, Browns, Bills, Bears, Eagles, and Chiefs have all relieved their head coaches of their duties. The Jets, Panthers, and Jaguars could all potentially have open head coaching spots in the coming days as well. I will now predict (incorrectly) who should be the successors for these teams.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills are in a tough position seeing as they have to be in the same division as the New England Patriots. The only way to beat this team is to outscore them. Chan Gailey was outmatched and signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a long-term deal ultimately led to his demise. The Bills are talented on offense with a spread offense and one of the most exciting running backs in the league with CJ Spiller. Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator, Dirk Koetter, runs a spread offense with the Falcons and would benefit with having a guy like Spiller in the backfield. The Bills could go with a defensive coach, but they will have to put up points in that division.
Chicago Bears: Chicago won 10 games and still missed the playoffs after starting 7-1. Injuries, a terrible offensive line, the least creative offensive play-calling in the NFL and Jay Cutler being Jay Cutler led to their downfall. The Bears should hire 49ers Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman. Roman runs one of the most creative offenses in the NFL, and will make this offense better in the running game and can create ways to get Brandon Marshall and their dynamic running backs the ball.
Arizona Cardinals: Arizona is in shambles. They have an awful offensive line, they started four QBs this year and don’t have a developmental guy or an established starter unless you believe in Kevin Kolb (-__-) and they are in arguably the hardest division in the NFL with the 49ers and Seahawks at the top, and the up-and-coming Rams coming up the rear. The Cardinals do have a good defense and a likely successor in Defensive Coordinator, Ray Horton. Horton allows the Cardinals to keep their defense in tact, but also do not have to start over from the ground up. He will need a complete overhaul and an inspired hire on the offensive side of the ball. Good luck, Ray.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers were a year too late on this one, but they finally gave the axe to Norv Turner and GM AJ Smith. San Diego must rebuild their offensive line (we’re seeing a trend here) and figure out what is wrong with Philip Rivers. What better coach to do that then Colts Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians? Arians took over for Chuck Pagano after he was diagnosed with Leukemia and proceeded to lead this team to the #5 seed in the AFC after being the worst team in the NFL last year. Arians also is the favorite to win Coach of the Year. Any time you can hire the Coach of the Year that can build an offense behind a QB that has a lackluster offensive line, it is an absolute coup.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns are another team that is attractive to a prospective coach. The Browns have a lot of skilled players, a sound defense, and a new owner that is willing to spend money to win. They need a coach that can develop Brandon Weeden. New Browns CEO Jeffrey Lurie goes back to the well and hired former Eagles Head Coach, Andy Reid. Reid is arguably the second or third best coach on the market and just overstayed his welcome with the Eagles. The Browns want to make a splash and the NFC North isn’t as good as it has been the best decade.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have one of the most talented rosters on paper in the NFL, but games aren’t played on paper…sorry Philly! Some bad QB and O-line play, and the defense giving up halfway through the year didn’t help a struggling coach who just lost his son in Training Camp. The Eagles needed a culture change and new coach to get back on track in a very competitive division. The Eagles go out and go after the biggest name in college and hire Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. Kelly has a lot of question marks coming into the NFL, but with the success of the Read-Option this past year, it gives Kelly more power to run his kind of offense. The Eagles have talent all over on offense and will get back a lot of their injured players next year. If Kelly’s offense works in the NFL, the Eagles could be dangerous next year.
Kansas City Chiefs: Despite being the worst team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs job is an attractive job. The Chiefs have talent at almost every position, an established RB, pass rushers and a secondary to build around along with the #1 pick. Chiefs GM, Scott Pioli, needs to get this team a starting QB and a Head Coach that can nurture a QB and be creative with the run game. A recent Head Coach that has been able to do this was Jim Harbaugh, so a logical choice for the Chiefs is to hire Harbaugh’s successor, Stanford Head Coach David Shaw.
If the Panthers decide to can Ron Rivera, I think Chip Kelly fits their offense and Cam Newton to a T and that offense would be scary.
Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments.
– Lance Cartelli