The NFL Head Coach Situation

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Sonny Fimple

Bengals diehard. Washed up college baseball player looking to get in tune with my creative side. Pete Rose belongs in the HOF, convince me otherwise. #SignedJT

It’s safe to say that there will be several new NFL head coaches once this season is over. So far in 2020, we’ve already witnessed numerous franchises cut ties with their head coaches. Although each of them kicked off the season with a sense of excitement, loss after loss ultimately sealed their fate. With a couple teams finishing the season with interim head coaches, you better believe they are scouring every nook & cranny to potentially reel in the next great NFL head coach. There are plenty of options to choose from in the pool of growing candidates.

It’s been an interesting year for the NFL. Franchises are looking for almost immediate success, so the turnaround window is as small as ever. For some, one bad season could mean your goose is cooked and you’re back to collecting unemployment. For others, they overstay their welcome and their departure could not come at a better time for the fanbase.

Coaches Who Didn’t Cut It

Bill O’Brien

Bill O’Brien was both the GM and head coach of a very talented Texans team at the start of 2020… In what realm of sports management would this ever work? If O’Brien had a beef with you your chances of being a star in Houston were very slim. O’Brien traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals, which any football fan understands is an awful move. He got into a heated exchange with J.J Watt, who has been at the forefront of the franchise for years. Bill O’Brien was a trainwreck of an NFL head coach and GM.

The Texans relieved O’Brien of his duties on October 5th, after an 0-4 start. The Texans haven’t looked back since. As a matter of fact, the Texans are playing some of their best football of the season. Romeo Crennel has taken over as the interim head coach, but will not be considered for the job after the season. A new coach is imminent for Houston.

Dan Quinn

Sundays in Atlanta wouldn’t be complete without an Atlanta franchise giving up some sort of lead. From the Braves losing a series they were up 3-1 against the Dodgers on a Sunday, to the Falcons continued losses on Sunday to start the season, Sundays have been a bad omen for fans in Atlanta.

An 0-5 start to the season buried the Falcons, most notably their choke job against the Cowboys. Up 20-0 after the first quarter, the Falcons thought they had this thing sealed. Fast forward to the end of the fourth and one botched onside kick return later, and the Cowboys win the game 40-39. The Falcons, however, have been playing much better football under interim head coach Raheem Morris. They currently sit at 4-7 in the NFC South.

Image courtesy of Raj Mehta-USA Today Sports

Matt Patricia

It was only a matter of time before Patricia was fired. The Thanksgiving loss to the Texans seemed like the final nail in the coffin for Patricia as an NFL head coach. Like Sundays in Atlanta, no Thanksgiving is complete without watching the Lions lose a football game.

Patricia came to Detroit as a Belichick-disciple hoping to turn around an abysmal franchise. Well, the Belichick 2.0 plan failed miserably. Patricia has been operating on borrowed time for a while now. The only difference is this time the Lions actually pulled the trigger. Lions fans were so happy about the news that they flooded Deshaun Watson’s charity with donations, thanking him for ending Patricia’s short-lived Lions tenure.

Potential Head Coaches in 2021

Eric Bieniemy – Offensive Coordinator (Kansas City Chiefs)

Bieniemy is the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs. He has helped develop Patrick Mahomes into a superstar and is sometimes tasked with calling plays on offense. The schemes that Bieniemy is able to concoct, outside of the talent on offense, was/is a major reason for the Chiefs’ success. Reid and Bieniemy are the Batman & Robin of the operations in Kansas City. With as much success as Bieniemy has had with the Chiefs offense, it was surprising that he wasn’t named an NFL head coach last year.

Bieniemy would be a great fit for the Texans. Watson and Mahomes have a similar style of play and I think Bieniemy could thrive as Houston’s head coach. He’s respected, has plenty of experience, and who wouldn’t want to see what kind of crazy mad scientist schemes Bieniemy and Watson could draw up in Houston? We’ve seen what Watson can do under a subpar NFL head coach in O’Brien. Picture what he could do under a someone who isn’t on a power trip and actually knows what he’s doing. Bieniemy & Watson 2021, let’s make it happen.

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Joe Brady – Offensive Coordinator (Carolina Panthers)

Brady was well on his way to becoming an NFL head coach after leading Joe Burrow and the LSU offense to a National Championship last season. Brady has done a great job this year for the Panthers, given what he has to work with. They are 14th in offensive efficiency, 12th in total offense, and lead the league in third and long conversions. Brady is definitely helping this team in the offensive department. The NFL head coach conversation for Joe Brady is gaining traction quickly. I’d expect Brady to be someone’s top guy sooner rather than later.

Image courtesy of Bay Area News Group

Robert Saleh – Defensive Coordinator (San Francisco 49ers)

Mr. “All Gas No Brakes” is another name being tossed around in the potential NFL head coach conversation, and rightfully so. Robert Saleh has helped shape a very talented 49ers defense, the second best of the 2019 season and a huge factor in their trip to the Super Bowl. He embodies everything you’d want in a head coach an is extremely supportive of his players.

Taking what he learned from his days in Seattle, Saleh has been able to construct his own defense under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. His schemes have adapted to the evolution of modern day offenses. Saleh is a clear favorite for the Lions job, with 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman adding that Saleh “has to get the job in Detroit.” Sherman played three seasons in Seattle with Saleh as his defensive quality control coach. If anyone could help turn around the Lions, it’s Robert Saleh.

Matt Eberflus – Defensive Coordinator (Indianapolis Colts)

A favorite amongst coaching circles, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is a great defensive mind to have on your side. Eberflus loves the Cover 2 scheme. The Colts defense is one of the best in the league when his schemes are executed. Indy’s defense is top 5 in several defensive categories, including YPG and PPG. Eberflus would be a phenomenal option for any struggling team. The man a visionary when it comes to orchestrating a successful defense. He’s also a family man and loves to dance; let’s get this ball rolling already.

Other Coaching Situations

The list of potential new NFL head coaches is growing by the day. From coaches leading successful college programs to coordinators across the league, this offseason’s coaching carousel should be very interesting. The 0-11 Jets are sure to fire Adam Gase pretty soon, so that’s yet another job to be filled. He’s caused nothing but problems with some of his top players, on top of all the losing.

Doug Marrone’s job with the Jaguars could also be in jeopardy, given how bad they’ve played this season. Granted, there isn’t much talent to work with right now in Jacksonville, but 1-10 is never acceptable. He’s 12-31 since he led the Jags to the AFC Championship game in 2017.

Mike McCarthy could also be in hot water in Dallas with how bad their year has been. I’m sure Dougie P’s job in Philly is also being closely monitored by Jeffrey Lurie. In Cincinnati, the Zac Taylor situation has been less than pleasurable for Bengals fans (although, if they managed to keep Marvin Lewis around for 16 years, then Zac should probably have at least one more year to prove his mettle). Either way, it should be interesting to see what struggling teams decide to do as the countdown to the 2021 NFL Draft and season draw nearer.

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Episode 81