Who Stays and Who Goes as the NFL Coaching Carousel Picks Up Speed
Why are people still fascinated with the idea of Jon Gruden returning to a football sideline as a Head Coach??
As the Holiday's are upon us--we are beginning to see the NFL Coaching Carousel cranking up. No, nobody has been fired as I write this story, but with Week 16 already kicked off and Week 17 and the end of the regular season staring us in the face, we're looking at a bunch of potential changes.
I'll start in Tampa only because of a story on Pro Football Talk stating that rumors are flying the Buccaneers are already preparing to part ways with Head Coach Dirk Koetter and potentially replace him with Bucs "Hall of Famer" and current ESPN Analyst Jon Gruden.
No, I don't believe this nor do I believe any rumor containing the name "Jon Gruden". There's no compelling reason for him to leave the ESPN Monday Night Football booth short of the 4-letter Network dropping the NFL---immediately.
10-years removed from his last job on the sideline with Tampa by the way, Gruden is and would be woefully unprepared for the job--noting the fact names often trump abilities when it comes to being a coach of a struggling team. But that won't stop the speculation.
There are a boatload of OTHER jobs likely to come open including all of the guys pictured here potentially losing....or in the case of Marvin Lewis already stating they won't coach in 2018.
Here's a photo gallery of coaches you may not see on the sidelines next season (from Top Left: Chuck Pagano, Hue Jackson, Bill O'Brien, Dirk Koetter, John Fox, Marvin Lewis)
Not pictured (because I couldn't find free images)--Vance Joseph of The Denver Broncos. Other coaches who COULD be gone after the season: Jack Del Rio of The Oakland Raiders, Jason Garrett of The Cowboys, Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals and Jay Gruden of Washington.
The New York Giants have already fired their Head Coach--Ben McAdoo. Steve Spagnolo is the Interim Head Coach--but expect the Giants to initiate a full-on search as well.
Here's what I think will happen over the next 10-days:
--Pagano, Koetter and Fox are goners. No hesitation or doubts. All 3 have grossly underachieved with their teams and clearly are not in the future plans of the Colts, Bucs or Bears.
--Lewis steps away and the Bengals being looking for a coach for the first time since 2003.
--O'Brien and Jackson SHOULD be gone, though there are scenarios where they won't be. O'Brien might survive due to DeShaun Watson being injured most of the season. The Texans though have not done much on his watch and the friction between he and GM Rick Smith is hard to overlook. Jackson--well, because Cleveland.....not much else needs to be said.
--The Giants will announce a Head Coach shortly after New Years, all the Networks covering the NFL and folks in New York will go on endlessly about it. The rest of us will just shrug our shoulders....
--Garrett is finally cut loose from the Cowboys. Jerruh--thinks about but doesn't name himself coach. The Cowboys are not likely to get any better than what they are (not a playoff team) under Garrett.
--Jay Gruden is canned as well. Daniel Snyder doesn't understand why his team isn't loved more and makes a move. Gruden either ends up as Head Coach or Offensive Coordinator in Cincinnati.
--Vance Joseph gets the AX in Denver. John Elway still refuses to admit he needs a good QB or anyone else as long as he's running things.
--Del Rio will have to fire a bunch of Assistant Coaches but will survive. The Raiders are now just counting days until they abandon Oakland for Las Vegas.
--Arians stays because Arizona is kind of nowhere. Good, not great and sometimes competitive. I don't think ownership will or is ready to admit it is time to rebuild.
That's 9 Coaching Changes this season. I suppose there could be more. Del Rio and Arians could in theory be canned too, but I don't see it. Garrett and Gruden could keep their jobs too. But again--don't bet on it.
Stranger things have happened and often do, but the NFL Carousel is much, much easier to predict than College though no less fun.