It’s that time of year again. It’s the end of the NFL’s regular season and the aftermath of the mass firings of head coaches. The Monday following the final regular season is so eloquently referred to as ‘Black Monday.’ There may be more firings to come but the count is held at 5 for right now.
Mike Shanahan was let go from Washington, Greg Schiano was booted in Tampa Bay, Jim Schwartz from Detroit, Leslie Frazier from Minnesota and the most surprising of all was Rob Chudzinski from the Browns.
While every year on Black Monday coaches heads roll, there are some instances that always surprise me. Chudzinski getting let go from Cleveland has been the most surprising because Chud has done a great job with a practice squad running back and no quarterback. They also have a boat load of draft picks in the 2014 draft, which includes two first round picks. Give this guy a chance! I’ve said it a million times; you can’t evaluate a coach on one season. I know the NFL is a win now league but one season doesn’t give you a large enough sample size, especially when the first year head coach was given Brandon Weeden from the previous regime.
Browns CEO, Joe Banner, also announced that no one who interviewed for the job last season will be called again. That’s fascinating, considering one of the best head coaching prospects, Bill O’Brien, interviewed with them last year. Great job Joe! I guess they can call Jon Gruden to come and destroy this franchise even more than it already is. The Browns continue to be a joke in the NFL.
As far as the other coaching vacancies in the NFL right now, I would have to say that Detroit is the best landing spot for anyone interested. The cupboard is full in Detroit…if they can find a head coach worth anything they are an automatic contender next year. The next best would be Houston. They are one competent quarterback from being a contender again.
The list of coaching prospects is long but most are not worth mentioning. Here are some of the names that are circulating around the rumor mill that are worth talking about…
1) Bill O’Brien – O’Brien saved the Penn State program and proved that he could win in college football with sanctions and walk-ons. He is probably the best coaching candidate and will most likely end up in Houston with the Texans. If I were Detroit I would make a huge push for this guy. Even though he is from the Belichik coaching tree he should be very good as a head coach in the NFL.
2) Lovie Smith – Why he disappeared after the Bears fired him last year is beyond me. The guy coached the Bears to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as his quarterback. Enough said. If he doesn’t get looked at for one of these open positions it would be a travesty. He would be great in Detroit as well. It would put him back in a division he knows very well and he would get to stomp on the Bears twice a year.
3) Ray Horton – He coached the Browns defense in 2013, which ranked in the top 10. He was in the Head coach discussions last year but was not hired. He then landed in the black hole that is Cleveland. He has done a great job wherever he has been and he would be a great candidate.
4) David Shaw – For those that don’t know, Shaw is the guy who took over at Stanford when Jim Harbaugh went to the 49ers. Shaw has done a really good job at Stanford and has continued their winning ways. Stanford runs more of a pro style offense and his players seem to play hard for him. With the success that Harbaugh has had with the 49ers it only seems logical to think that Shaw could have the same success. It’s also been reported that the Redskins are interested in Shaw.
5) Dan Quinn – He is currently the Seahawks Defensive Coordinator. While he did inherit a great defense, he managed to keep attitudes in check and continued to run a dominating defense that averaged 14.4 points allowed per game. He would be good for the Browns gig. Maybe this time the Browns will give their coach more than one year to solidify a team.
There are other candidates that would be good fits but these would be my top five if I were a GM. In my opinion there should be a couple other coaches that should be gone by the end of the week but we’ll see if that happens.