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Monday, 29 December 2014

NFL Black Monday: Coaches Fired and Their Potential Replacements

Black Monday wouldn’t be Black Monday without some controversy or guess as to what happens next for the franchises that make changes with their head coaches.

Four coaches got the news that they would not be retained and another left his post amicably. Now, the watch is on to see who will not only replace the teams’ head men, but can they turn fledgling franchises around.

Here are the coaching vacancies of NFL teams and potential replacements.


The Falcons fired Mike Smith, who was the only head coach in the team’s history to lead the franchise to consecutive winning seasons. After a playoff run in 2012, the wheels have come off in Atlanta.

After a rough 2013 campaign, the Falcons figured to rebound this season, with a healthy Julio Jones back in the lineup and a renewed commitment to being bigger and stronger along the offensive and defensive lines. Instead, the Falcons suffered through yet another five-game losing streak after starting the season 2-1, including a 37-34 season-opening win over the rival Saints.

Smith is one of the nicest guys in football and like Rex Ryan, is a great defensive coordinator. I suspect he will be hired in that capacity, not as a head man. The Falcons now will begin their search to replace him. The team hired a consulting firm to help in the selection process. The two names to watch for are Todd Bowles, the defensive coordinator in Arizona and Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator in New England.


The Bears cleaned house by getting rid of Phil Emery, the team’s general manager, and Mark Trestman after two seasons in Chicago.

There are plenty of questions about this team both offensively and defensively. At the beginning of the year, there was talk (by me included) that Jay Cutler was an MVP candidate. Now, he may be released or traded (Jets, Tampa Bay).

According to, The Chicago Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman on Monday after a 5-11 season.

Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, who starred for 12 seasons as a linebacker for the Bears (1981 to 1992), would be interested in interviewing for now-vacant Bears coaching job, a league source told ESPN.

Singletary is currently working for the NFL as a senior adviser to executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. He'll also be coaching at the East-West Shrine Game in a few weeks.

I think Dan Quinn, the defensive coordinator in Seattle will be a leading candidate. Don’t count out Rex Ryan either as a potential hire.


The Jets also cleaned house on Monday morning. The firing of Ryan was expected and the release of John Idzik was icing on the cake for the Johnson Family, who will rebuild again, with or without Jameis Winston.

After a 4-12 season, the Jets fired Ryan and general manager John Idzik, the team announced Monday morning.

"After extensive thought and reflection about the current state of our football team, this morning I informed Rex Ryan and John Idzik that they will not be returning for the 2015 season," Jets CEO Woody Johnson said in a statement which appears on "Both Rex and John made significant contributions to the team, and they have my appreciation and gratitude for their efforts and commitment.

"We will consider all options to improve the Jets."

Ryan was 46-50 in six seasons with the Jets.

Look for the Jets to find an offensive minded coach. Jim Harbaugh would have been an option, but he accepted the Michigan job. Someone like Pete Carmichael or Josh McDaniel might be a thought. Personally, I think Denver’s Adam Gase is a solid pick.


This was a foregone conclusion. Tony Sparano was not going to be the Raiders head coach in 2015. The Raiders won three games this season and looked a bit better in the second half of the season, but major improvements are needed.

Look for the Raiders to find someone who is not only a solid coach, but a good motivator.

The team had made Jim Harbaugh their top choice, but he is not available now.

Harbaugh had previous ties to the Raiders organization, having served as the team's quarterbacks coach in 2002 and 2003. But Harbaugh has an even stronger link to Michigan, which is his alma mater and where he played quarterback during the 1980s.

The team should look to Dan Quinn of Seattle and possibly Darrell Bevel, the Seahawks offensive coordinator. Don’t be surprised if Jack Del Rio, Denver’s defensive coordinator gets a look.


How did it come to this? A team that for three years as one of the dominant teams in football fell apart this season and in the end, the head coach leaves.

Following four seasons and a combined winning percentage near 70 percent, Harbaugh was more successful than the majority of head coaches who get a chance in the NFL. San Francisco is an organization that will be expecting similar success right out of the gate from his replacement.

With Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers mutually agreeing to end their marriage, the 49ers must now look at other options.

Jim Tomsula, the team’s defensive line coach may be the front runner. Also, look for the team to look at McDaniel, Bowles, Gase and may try to lure David Shaw away from Stanford. The name that may get some attention is Teryl Austin, Detroit’s defensive coordinator.


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