The 2017 regular season is over on the field but off of it, it’s just beginning. Several teams are hitting the reset button and that means a coaching change. Some teams, however, chose to stand pat despite their coaching situation being less than ideal. Here are the current coaching situations around the league. This section will be updated as news around the league develops.
Coaching Carousel: There Will Be Blood
Bruce Arians is expected to announce his agreement to part ways after the Cardinals final game against the Seahawks. It isn’t clear if Arians is simply stepping down from the Cardinals or if he’s truly done coaching.
Whomever his replacement ends up being will have a solid defense to work with and David Johnson at running back. Outside of that, the Cardinals need to figure out their quarterback situation given that Carson Palmer is on his way out.
Blaine Gabbert might be resigned as a stop gap but clearly, Arizona will be in the market for a new quarterback. The Cardinals haven’t tipped their hand as to who they are going after but Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots or Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy would be a good fit here. Ditto Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur would also be a solid choice.
John Fox’s fate had been sealed weeks ago. He is clearly not the guy the Bears want for a rebuild let alone to develop a young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky.
The Rams are the comparison being drawn given their talent in the backfield and decent talent on defense. The Bears are likely to go with a young coach and are hoping to find their Sean McVay. There might not be someone like that available but they could very well be the team to land Josh McDaniels, Matt Nagy, or they go after a veteran offensive coach such as Scott Linehan. Jim Bob Cooter, the Lions current OC, is another name to watch for. The Bears tried to interview him for their OC position a few years ago, but the Lions blocked it from happening.
The Marvin Lewis experience is over. He was the second-longest tenured coach in the league despite not winning a playoff game. Mike Brown was beyond loyal but clearly, a coaching change had to happen eventually.
The Bengals are a mess and it isn’t clear if they’re content to rebuild or find a veteran coach to right the ship. If they go with a veteran Jim Caldwell could be a suitable replacement. They could also be a landing place for Jeff Fisher whose been trying to lobby for another job.
Hue Jackson is coming back because owner Jimmy Haslem believes Hue still has the magic. Hue certainly made a lot of wins disappear and has the staff of Jaffar because Haslem is under some kind of spell. Or he’s just a bad owner.
Jason Garrett somehow survived despite morphing into the best casino greeter since Jerry Cooney. The Clapper is likely to let go both offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Garrett needs to reestablish himself as the offensive mind Jerry Jones labeled him as when he fired Wade Phillips. The Cowboys offense needs a complete rework now that its clear that Dez is washed and the rest of their receivers aren’t number one targets. It’s odd that Jerry would choose to die on Clapper hill, either it’s out of ego, stubbornness, or Garrett is the perfect Manchurian candidate. The point is, Garrett will live to clap another season.
John Elway wasn’t going to fire himself so Vance Joseph was the fall guy. Joseph had a rough first year because not only did they find themselves in a quarterback wasteland but the defense took a step back.
It is being reported that former head coach Gary Kubiak may have his role expanded in the front office but it isn’t clear what direction the Broncos are headed. If they decide to go young they wouldn’t be a McDaniels destination considering how well it went the last time.
They could snag Matt Nagy or even dip into the college ranks by trying to lure Stanford coach David Shaw. Or they could decide to go with a proven veteran coach, but that person hasn’t emerged yet.
Jim Caldwell is out even though he’s the best coach they’ve had in thirty years. True, the Lions are stuck in sort of a no man’s land but that’s more to do with the front office.
They’ve been looking at Patriot defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Patricia rebuilt his stock after seeming to have fixed the Pats defense. Unlike McDaniels, Patricia has no coaching track record so it isn’t clear if this would be a worthwhile hire or not.
Green Bay Packers
Mike McCarthy continues to dine out on that Super Bowl. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers is out however and it’s looking as though Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would be brought in. The Packers defense has a ton of young talent on it and needs a new system.
Bill O’Brien looked to be on the way out but with GM Rick Smith taking an extended leave of absence to take care of his wife after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, he seems to be back for another year. O’Brien and Smith never got along but with Smith taking time off, O’Brien will have another chance to make it work with DeSean Watson.
#ChuckStrong feels like eons ago. Ryan Grigson was canned last year after failing to build around Luck. Pagano just couldn’t get the defense to work either so he has officially been let go.
The Colts have an erratic owner in Jim Irsay so while Andrew Luck is an asset, it comes with strings. Josh McDaniels would be the perfect fit for this job but rumor has it that Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable is in the running. Cable would certainly bring toughness to the Colts but the problem is that he’s also likely to fight his own staff.
If Bruce Arians chooses to coach again this would likely be the only job he would take. The Colts have probably the most attractive job in the league with a top-five pick and a presumably healthy Andrew Luck.
New York Giants
Ben McAdoo did everything he could to alienate the New York fan base. His decision to bench Eli and end his start streak in the name of giving Geno Smith a chance was the final nail in his coffin.
The Giants have cleaned house bringing in former Panthers GM David Gettleman. Gettleman will unclog the Giants cap situation and he is already scheduling an interview with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Schwartz had a rough tenure in Detroit but he seems like he’s learned his lesson. The Giants have a ton of talent on defense and the number two overall pick. It isn’t clear if Eli will be coming back but the offense is the top priority either way.
New York Jets
Todd Bowles deserved to come back after overachieving with a bad roster. Kudos to Jets ownership for giving him another shot.
Jack Del Rio was fired as the head coach of the Raiders pretty much immediately after their week 17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. If Jon Gruden agrees to a $10 million dollar a year salary and an ownership stake than the job is his.
This would be the perfect time for Gruden to leave the Monday Night booth if, for nothing else, ESPN can fix the worst announcing team in sports. Gruden can still spend time endorsing Corona and can have coach’s meetings at Hooter’s. His only job is to make Derek Carr look like he did in 2016 and he has proven capable of that. He should have an easier time working with Mark Davis than he did with Al.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The defense still hasn’t come together either. Koetter was promoted to head coach because he seemed to be the Winston whisperer. That has not come to pass. Gruden was rumored to be coming back but if he’s intent on returning to Oakland its possible there wasn’t a plan B. Keep eating those W’s.
Word is Mike Mularkey will be out if the Titans were to miss the playoffs. Since they won their week 17 matchup and clinched a playoff berth, he may be safe, for now.
Mularkey hasn’t done anything to develop the passing game and if he were to survive it’s only because he promised management he’d get a coordinator who’d inject some life into their stagnant passing game. If they decide Mularkey isn’t the guy than this could be a McDaniels or Naggy destination. They could also take Scott Linehan or even Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Tennessee has the potential to be a force in the South but they need someone else to get them there. Marcus Mariota needs a real coach and fast.
Jay Gruden appears to be safe which is a minor miracle.