Black Monday in the NFL is always chock-full of news and storylines and this latest incarnation is no different. Along with the two head coaching vacancies we’re already aware of (Miami and Jacksonville) two more holes opened up on Monday (with more likely on the way). Here’s my take on the day’s news.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers release Head Coach Raheem Morris
As many great sound bites as Morris has given us, he also managed to deliver one craptacular year after raising expectations so high with a ten-win season in 2010. After starting this season 4-2, Morris’ young Bucs lost ten straight to finish at 4-12. And they weren’t close games either. These Bucs were routinely pummeled, ending with the 42-point first half they allowed to the Falcons on Sunday. The Glazer family had no choice.What’s next?
Tampa Bay needs someone with experience this time around. Jeff Fisher’s going to be a hot commodity, but St. Louis or Miami would seem to have the inside track to land him. As opposed to the ridiculously young Morris, the Bucs could still hire someone young-ish, but a candidate with a greater wealth of NFL knowledge. Maybe Rob Chudzinski (currently OC for the Panthers) could be a dark horse for the job? Mike Sherman’s been bandied about by NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, which would be the direct opposite of Morris. You know, old white guy re-tread.
St. Louis Rams release General Manager Billy Devaney and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
You knew this one was coming. When everyone picks you to win what was supposed to be a very winnable division and you can’t even get to .500 with a former number one overall pick at quarterback, you’re going to have issues. Were there way too many injuries to overcome? Probably. However, there weren’t enough injuries to account for the total lack of cohesiveness and inability to even compete. Another wasted year of over-running Steven Jackson. So the coach and talent evaluator have to go. Ten wins in three years just isn’t going to cut it.What’s next?
Apparently the Rams are shooting for Jeff Fisher and they’ve already scheduled an interview for later this week. It would be a coup to get Fisher The Grey on their sideline for next year, but what of Bradford? I’m not thrilled at Fisher’s quarterback development history. It’s been… so-so? Bradford’s quoted as wanting another year of Josh McDaniels’ system, and I’m inclined to agree that’s the Rams best bet. Install Fisher’s defense and keep some continuity with Josh at OC. Don’t let Sam Bradford get wrapped in a carousel of offensive coordinators.
Indianapolis Colts release Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian
The stunner of the day, Jim Irsay made the tough call of letting go of one of his best friends when he decided to fire Bill. Polian had shaped this team into the success it’s become over the past decade plus. Unfortunately he also crafted a roster that took 15 weeks to win a game due to one player’s absence. Time to go buddy.What’s next?
Even more tough calls are heading Jim Irsay’s way. He’d like to bring in a new GM before deciding on Head Coach Jim Caldwell’s future, but that decision is almost certainly made as far as I’m concerned. Caldwell’s not a legitimate head coach. He’s Peyton Manning’s glorified defensive coordinator who can’t coordinate defense to save his life. Irsay’s team will have a new shape and direction under a new personnel director with a load of roster moves to make. Do you completely overhaul the Colts with a new coach, offensive scheme (and therefore) a new quarterback by drafting Andrew Luck? Or do you piecemeal this team back together with a new HC and let Manning continue to run the same offense as he’s run his entire pro career and let Luck learn behind one of the greatest? I can’t possibly see any new manager keeping Caldwell around, so those are the options. What would you do? I’m more inclined to say the latter, but I certainly wouldn’t fault Irsay for wanting to start over.
There’s certainly more news to come from Indy, San Diego and Kansas City in the coming weeks, so check back for my analysis of the firing’s, hiring’s and stays of execution!