The 2019 Coaching Carousel is Underway
By Chris Malumphy
Black Monday has arrived for NFL coaches and the 2019 NFL coaching carousel is officially underway. During the season the Cleveland Browns sent Hue Jackson packing and the Green Bay Packers dismissed Mike McCarthy despite a Super Bowl ring and a .618 career winning percentage. Within 24 hours of the end of the regular season, six other coaches met their demise. After one season, the Arizona Cardinals decided Steve Wilks wasn't the answer to their turnaround efforts after just one year on the job. At the other end of the spectrum, Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown decided that the second longest tenured coach in the league, Marvin Lewis, would be dismissed after 16 seasons. In Denver, the revered John Elway will be on his fourth coach in six years after Vance Joseph couldn't make steak out of the quarterbacks Elway provided him like Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum and Paxton Lynch. Perhaps coaching isn't the problem in Denver. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired Dirk Koetter after the coach failed to develop the talents of quarterback Jameis Winston into victories. Dissension in the ranks didn't allow Adam Gase to survive in Miami despite posting a near .500 record with little consistency from his quarterbacks. Todd Bowles couldn't keep losing in New York even though the Jets front office didn't provide him with any viable hope at the most important position on the field until this season. It doesn't appear that the Packers will stick with interim head coach Joe Philbin and the Browns are dithering over whether Gregg Williams' 5-3 record is good enough to retain the position.
With eight firings thus far, 25% of the 32 NFL head coaching positions are in flux. Of the 24 franchises that haven't made changes, 16 have head coaches with winning records for their careers, only six teams are sticking with coaches that have losing records, only two of whom started their tenure with the team prior to 2017: the Redskins Jay Gruden (2014) and the Jaguars Doug Marrone (2016).
There are lots of candidates to fill the vacancies. Among them are a slew of former NFL head coaches, promising coordinators and assistants and a handful of college coaches that NFL teams appear willing to consider. Top candidates appear to include Mike McCarthy, Josh McDaniels (a seeming perennial on these lists), Oklahoma mastermind Lincoln Riley and Adam Gase, who may have some explaining to do about why Dolphins ownership found him wanting. Coordinators and assistant coaches with outside shots include: Brian LeFlores, Matt LaFleur, Eric Bieniemy, Matt Eberflus, Dave Troub and Freddie Kitchens. College coaches include: Pat Fitzgerald, Jim Harbaugh (who took the 49ers to the Super Bowl) and Matt Campbell. Former head coaches, some who've had some success, but perhaps not enough, include Gregg Williams (hoping to hang on with the Browns), Mike Munchak, Dennis Allen, Jim Schwartz, Dan Campbell and Hue Jackson who may land the job in Cincinnati. Others who have no current coaching position but have had relatively recent success include: Bruce Arians, Jim Caldwell, Lovie Smith and John Fox. Only Arians seems to be even mentioned from that group.
|2019 Coaching Carousel Underway|
|* Includes Arians' 9-3 record with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 while filling in for Coach Chuck Pagano who was battling cancer. The NFL has attributed that record to Pagano even though he was not on the sidelines for those games.|