NFL: Coaches Carousel
The regular season is now over, which is a scary time for most teams in the NFL. Especially the ones that had a bad season, teams that have had previous success can be quickly forgotten about with a losing season. Fans can quickly turn on their team no matter what success they have brought them, and usually when a team fails the first one to take the blame by fans and management is the coaches. Perfect example being the New York Jets. Before this season the fans loved their team, and why wouldn't they. Their team had been to the AFC Championship two years in a row behind a great defense, a rugged running game and a vibrant head coach that New York could get behind. Now, after a down season, New York is wants their quarterback gone and the coaches are receiving heat as well. This article will go over the teams that could be under going some changes during this off-season.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers were thought to be one of the best teams in the AFC at the start of the season, but failed to make the playoffs. Smart money would be for Norv Turner to keep his job as head coach of the Chargers, but he shouldn't. The team has been extremely talented over the past few seasons and have failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs. The six game losing streak after starting the season 4-1 crippled the teams chances of getting to the playoffs and has effectively hurt Turner's chances of staying on as coach of the Chargers. The same can be said about general manager Dean Spanos. It would not be surprising if the team held on to Turner as he did pull the team together to win four out of the team's final five games but it may be best for all parties.
There is no questioning that Norv Turner is a great offensive mind, and their is no shame in being a great offensive coordinator. Which is what he should get back to. He has been the head coach of a supremely talented team in San Diego which has yielded mixed results. A change may be in order for this team to improve. A tougher, more defensive mind may be the best thing for San Diego to turn the corner and finally break down that door to becoming a championship team. If Turner were to be relieved of his duties as head coach he would certainly get offers by many teams. However, it is a moot point, it has just been announced that Dean Spanos and Norv Turner will be staying with the Chargers. It seems as if the final five games saved their jobs.
St. Louis Rams
Under head coach Steve Spagnuolo the team went 10-38 over three seasons. That led to his firing and the firing of their general manager. When Spagnuolo took on the team in the midst of a serious rebuilding period. He also managed to turn top pick Chris Long into a terrific defensive end and drafted Sam Bradford. Bradford had a solid rookie season, only to slump slightly towards the end of the season which carried over into the new season. Things only got worse when Sam Bradford got injured thanks to him consistently getting hit as the offensive line slumped this season. Spagnuolo is a terrific coach, but considering the lack of improvement it is not surprising to see him fired. The Rams job wouldn't be a bad job for anyone to take. If the offensive line could be patched up a bit, then that would go a long way to helping the team reach the playoffs once again. Bradford has proved that he can play in the league and keeping him upright would be the best thing for the team going forward.
Jeff Fisher has been reported to be among one of the coaches that St. Louis is interested in bringing in to fill the coaching void. Fisher has an impressive record as a head coach and is in high standing among coaches in the league. Bringing in Jeff Fisher would also mean he would want his people around him on the sidelines which includes defensive line coach Jim Washburn who coached the Eagles defensive line this season to great results. The Eagles led the league in sacks this season thanks to Washburn's work with players like Jason Babin and Trent Cole. Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd would be another candidate that would possibly follow Fisher's lead.
The big question is, will Andy Reid stay? It is ultimately up to him, the front office wouldn't fire him seeing how he is the reason the Eagles are back to being a consistent threat year in and out. Before Reid, the Eagles were a shell of what they are now. They were consistently inconsistent, but when Reid came in he made his mark on the team by leading them to six division champions, five trips to the NFC championship, and one trip to the Super Bowl. He is one of the best coaches in the NFL, but due to issues at home and the fan expectations, it wouldn't be surprising if he walks away. He has coached in one of the toughest cities for twelve season now which I'm sure has taken a toll on him. If he does leave, the Eagles would be in for a tougher season next year. If he stays, I fully expect the Eagles to be a championship contender next season.
Steve Spagnuolo at one point was supposed to be the heir to Jim Johnson for the defensive coordinator position in Philadelphia. He may get his chance to reclaim his rightful position as Juan Castillo did not excel at the job. It is a superbly talented roster on the defensive side of the ball that excel at what Spagnuolo ultimately loves to do, get after the quarterback and force turnovers. It is a perfect fit for Spagnuolo and it would be a good way for him to bring his career back up to the heights he achieved when he helped the Giants win the Super Bowl.
New York Jets
Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Dustin Keller and a great offensive line but yet the Jets struggle to score points. That can be blamed on quarterback Mark Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The team has all the talent in the world and yet Schotty has struggled to put them in a position to succeed. He may be leaving though to pursue a head coaching job in Jacksonville, which would lead the Jets to search for a new offensive coordinator. Which may be the best thing for the Jets, it is doubtful that they would part with Sanchez after just three seasons and a winning record. Under a new offensive coordinator and all of the talent, the team could shine. All in all the marriage between Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer has yielded mixed results, a good three years but with no positive progress.
In the words of Bob Dylan, the times are a changing. Mike Martz resigned from his position and Jerry Angelo was fired from his general manager position. Lovie Smith could be next. It is a bit unfair seeing how the team started off with a record of 7-3 and then got a bad case of the injury bug. However, if they do fire Lovie Smith then it could lead to a change of direction for the team. It would change its more traditional ways for a more offensive charge. The pieces are in place with gunslinger Jay Cutler and star running back Matt Forte but the defense is aging. A new man in charge could steer them in a direction that would favor the offense over defense, and finally give Cutler a good offensive line to protect him allowing him more time to survey the field down field.