Happy New Year, y’all! We’ll continue pretty much the same as the old one here, though. Today, as promised, we’re going to take a look at the ten biggest coaching moves in the NFL this week, starting with Black Monday and working our way through. Even though the season is over, the work is just beginning for teams that missed the postseason. Makes it a heck of a lot more fun for us.
1. We begin with the New York Jets’ firing of head coach Rex Ryan. I’m pretty sure every one of us saw this coming. I think Ryan could’ve survived a .500 (or slightly below) season if the club hadn’t begun the year 1-8. As it stands, though, he cooked his goose and is now on the market. Ryan is slated to interview with both the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.
2. In regard to the Niners, head coach Jim Harbaugh parted amicably with the team to take the head coaching job at the University of Michigan (in case you somehow hadn’t heard.) The powers-that-be in San Francisco are already looking at the aforementioned Ryan and a number of other candidates from around the league.
3. The Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith was fired on Black Monday after losing badly at home to the Carolina Panthers in the final week of the season. The Falcons faltered in 2014, losing all of the momentum they had gained in the previous couple of years. Next man up.
4. After just two seasons, the Chicago Bears fired head coach Marc Trestman following a disastrous year (the club’s GM was also let go.) In 2013, Trestman’s Bears were in the top five in several key offensive categories (including yards per game), but fell to the bottom five in 2014. I’m of the mind that a fresh slate can’t hurt anything in the Windy City.
5. Most fans were aware of the fact that Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was rife for a head coaching position following this season. Even though the ‘Hawks year isn’t yet over, Quinn is already a candidate in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago (that we know of.) From the looks of things, Seattle is going to be in the market for someone to oversee that D come September.
6. Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is reportedly slated to interview for the vacant head coaching position at the Atlanta Falcons. The Lions have seen success with Austin at the helm of their D and he could be a good fit for an Atlanta front office that is presumably looking for a defensively-minded leader.
7. Buffalo Bills’ head coach Dough Marrone exercised a $4 million option to walk away from his contract with the team this week. Marrone, it seems, could end-up with his pick of jobs, but the New York Jets seem especially interested in snagging their former AFC East rival.
8. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are searching for an offensive coordinator after Jeff Tedford left to become the head coach of the CFL’s British Columbia Lions. Atlanta Falcons’ O-coordinator Dirk Koetter is reportedly the leading man for the opening.
9. The Washington Redskins retained head coach Jay Gruden after a rough year, but did fire defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. The club has received permission to interview San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell and Chargers linebackers coach Joe Barry. The ‘Skins were unable to obtain consent to speak to the Niners’ Vic Fangio at this time.
10. The Oakland Raiders are in a weird spot this off-season. Interim head coach Tony Sparano actually did a decent job with what he was given to work with, but the front office seems disinclined to give an interim coach a permanent position. Sparano will be interviewed, along with a slew of other candidates, including 49ers’ assistant Eric Mangini and Broncos’ defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.