While it wasn’t completely unexpected that Chip Kelly would be fired as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles that the axe fell before the end of the regular season was a shock. With that in mind, we revisit which coaches might be coaching their last games this coming week.
Dan Campbell (Interim), Miami Dolphins
Verdict – Gone Steve Ross is likely going to want a proven NFL commodity running his franchise as his last two hires, Tony Sparano and Joe Philbin were largely unproven when hired. Despite doing some good work during his tenure as Interim HC , Campbell does not fit the bill and will be gone after the season.
Mike Mularkey (Interim), Tennessee Titans
Verdict – Gone Mularkey never had a chance. Bill Belichick and Vince Lombardi working in tandem would be unlikely to squeeze a playoff berth out of this roster – even in the powder-puff AFC South. The embarrassment at the hands of the Houston Texans only serves to further confirm that there will be a complete overhaul of staff at the end of this season.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Verdict – Gone Not given an extension prior to the season and now his team are (as good as) eliminated from post-season contention. Pagano likely doesn’t even get to leave the stadium on Sunday night still in his role. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants Verdict – Gone Coughlin’s team was horrible, Sunday night against the Vikings, a sure sign that players have packed it in for the season. A noted disciplinarian, Coughlin has also come under fire for his handling of Odell Beckham Jr’s antics the week previously against Carolina. With a hugely successful career, including 2 Super Bowl wins, Coughlin’s accomplishments will be discussed in the Halls of Canton, Ohio when all is said and done.
Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions
Verdict – Gone A win over the 49ers is unlikely to be enough for Caldwell to keep his job given there is a new GM coming in and the desire for a ‘fresh start’ pervading the entire organisation. In all, Caldwell has not been poor as HC during his time in Detroit as the team has largely been held back by personnel issues.
Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns
Verdict – Hanging by a Thread How much credit Pettine will get for having the Browns still playing hard this year remains to be seen. That was a good performance this week against the Chiefs, but the overall body of work in Pettine’s 2 seasons as HC is poor. Yet another franchise re-boot could well be coming in Cleveland.
Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers
Verdict – Jury’s Still Out No-one in San Diego is just ‘playing out the string’ which is a reflection of the respect they have for Mike McCoy. Respect is one thing, results are another, and, unfortunately for McCoy, 4-11 is not a record Chargers fans wanted to see in possibly the team’s final season in San Diego. Dean Spanos has traditionally been a patient HC and, if it wasn’t for the proposed move to LA, McCoy would likely be safe. The franchise re-location might, however, lead to Spanos looking for a complete refresh of the organisation.
Jim Tomsula, San Francisco 49ers
Verdict – Jury’s Still Out Firing a coach after just 1 season is still rare, even in the trigger happy NFL. Tomsula was dealt a terrible hand in San Francisco this season, leading a roster decimated by retirements and lacking in the star power of the past. Few knew just how important Jim Harbaugh was to the performance of Colin Kaepernick and, for this and other reasons, Tomsula should be given the chance to prove he can lead the team back to the playoffs in 2016
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Verdict – Jury’s Still Out Payton’s tenure in New Orleans feels like it has ‘parting by mutual agreement’ written all over it. The team is still playing hard for the coach but it remains to be seen if Payton is willing to hang around to oversee a full rebuilding project – likely sans Drew Brees. A re-boot of the franchise might be in the best interests of all concerned.
Jim Fisher, St Louis Rams
Verdict – Safe St Louis would likely be the only team in football that would volunteer to play the Seahawks every week. The level of performance put up this last week shows how the Rams roster is playoff calibre, with the notable exception of the QB spot. Kroenke is a patient owner and has seemingly committed to giving Fisher another season despite the mediocre record he has a the Rams HC.
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Verdict – Safe Despite all predictions to the contrary, Gruden’s Redskins are in the playoffs, and will host a game on WildCard Weekend. When you stick your neck on the block by benching the owners favourite player, as Gruden did, you better deliver postseason football. Gruden has, and it is the sign of a great coach when he is willing to fly in the face of conventional wisdom and do what he, not popular opinion, thinks is best for his team.
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Verdict – Safe While this one was never really in doubt the shock victory, and clean sweep, over the rival Steelers shows just how good a coach Harbaugh is. Starting their 4th QB of the season and featuring a cast of no-names at the skill positions, the Ravens dominated the Steelers and showed just why Harbaugh has been successful in the role previously, and will be again.
Dan Quinn, Falcons
Verdict – Safe Taking down a 14-0 team who beat you 38-0 just two weeks previously shows a team with a coaching staff that knows how to adapt. Signs of life from a, previously dormant, pass rush give credit to the idea that Atlanta, behind Quinn, could be ready to compete in the NFC South again next year.