Black Monday: Breaking it Down

NFL Coaches Fired

Pat Schurmur – Cleveland Browns

Record in 2012: 5-11

Overall Record with Team: 9-23

What Happened – Couple of things happened that set off a chain reaction that led to the Browns firing Coach Schurmur. Former President Mike Holmgren failed to trade up to get RGIII, which led to trading up for talented but injury prone running back Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. In mid-season, the Browns were bought from now new owner Jimmy Haslam and said changes were coming. Despite the Browns improving and being in most of their games, it wasn’t going to be enough to save his job as a new era of the Browns were already in the works. The positive remains, there are a lot of good players in place and the Browns are close to turning their fortunes around.

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Andy Reid – Philadelphia Eagles

Record in 2012: 4-12

Overall Record with Team: 130-93-1

What Happened – Name it. The season was already doomed before it began. First with Andy Reid’s son dying of a drug overdose at team facilities, then Michael Vick saying the Eagles could be a dynasty. Obviously Vick didn’t learn from former Eagles quarterback Vince Young’s “Dream Team” comment. Then owner Jeffery Lurie said another 8-8 season would not be enough. They never even got close to becoming 8-8; they instead went 4-12, firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo & defensive line coach Jim Washburn mid-season. An ineffective Michael Vick as well as injuries to LeSean McCoy, Jason Peters, DeSean Jackson and others were too much to overcome. After barely starting 3-1 by a combined 5 points, they went on to lose 11 of their last 12 games, all but sealng Reid’s fate.

Love Smith – Chicago Bears

Record in 2012: 10-6

Overall Record with Team: 81-63

What Happened – For two straight seasons, the Bears started the season strong, only to collapse down the stretch. This season after starting 7-1, the Bears fell but still managed a 10-6 winning season, winning their last two games, but did not control their destiny and failed to qualify for the postseason. Injuries the last few seasons were a constant theme, but having players to step up, especially at quarterback contributed to the team’s collapse. His choices for offensive coordinators in Mike Martz and then Mike Tice did not help bring Jay Culter to the next level. New General Manager, Phil Emery, who replaced Jerry Angelo last January felt it was time to move in a new direction after the Bears missed the playoffs for the sixth time in Lovie’s nine-year tenure.

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Chan Gailey – Buffalo Bills

Record in 2012: 6-10

Overall Record with Team: 15-33

What Happened – Consistency and inconsistency both did him in. The Bills were consistent in that they finished last in the division in all of Gailey’s three seasons as head coach. In the division, where a ¼ of your season is played, the Bills were 4-14 within their division. Back to back 6-10 seasons to follow up his 4-12 season in his first year. They were inconsistent with a terrible defense, especially against the run, even after bringing in Mark Anderson and Mario Williams to upgrade the defensive line. The Bills defense collapse twice at home to the Titans and Rams on the game’s final drive, losing both. The biggest problem was quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who wasn’t the same quarterback since signing his big contract. His 16 interceptions this season put the Bills behind the eight-ball early in games and now know he is not the franchise’s answer and will now seek a new answer for a long-term franchise quarterback. Despite having the respect of his players, Gailey simply couldn’t coach up what many will consider a very talented team.

Romeo Crennel – Kansas City Chiefs

Record in 2012: 2-14

Overall Record with Team: 4-15

What Happened – While the low-point for Crennel was dealing with the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, the season was a disaster well before that tragedy. Crennel took over in the interim for Todd Haley with three games left in the 2011 season and his first win was an upset over the undefeated Green Bay Packers, to finish the season 2-1. That win basically earned him the job this year. While he earned 2 victories in the last 3 games on the 2011 season Crennel’s Chief’s only earned 2 wins for all of 2012. Good enough for last place in the AFC West in back to back seasons. Biggest problem this year was at quarterback where Matt Cassell was only 1-7 before giving way to Brady Quinn who added one more victory. At the time of writing this the future of General Manager Scott Pioli is still up in the air. Throw in the situation at quarterback, the possibility of losing Dwayne Bowe as well as other free agents; it looks like whoever takes over will be starting to build the team his way from the ground up.

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Norv Turner – San Diego Chargers

Record in 2012: 7-9

Overall Record with Team: 55-41

What Happened – Turner took over a 14-2 team. A Team primed for greatness and his lack of coaching took the team down further and further each season, despite finishing as AFC West Division Champs for the first three seasons, the Chargers then finished in second for the next three seasons. The 14-2 record after following Marty Schottenheimer continually went south, posting an 11-5 in his first season, followed by an 8-8 season. The Chargers rebounded to a 13-3 season but then reverted back to being mediocre with seasons of 9-7, 8-8 and 7-9 in his final season. The Chargers were known for starting fast only to collapse down the stretch. The last two seasons the team started 3-1. In 2011, the team then went on a six-game losing streak. The turning point for the 2012 season was when they led the Denver Broncos 24-0 at halftime on Monday Night Football, only to have Peyton Manning lead the Broncos back to a thrilling 35-24 victory. The Chargers lost three games in which they lead at the half by double digits, Broncos being one, with the Saints and Ravens being the others. Turner led the Chargers to an 8-0 record in November from 2009-2010, then just 1-7 since. While Turner is regarded as a great offensive coordinator who know doubt will land with another team as one, he simply doesn’t have the pedigree to be an NFL Head Coach.

Ken Whisenhunt – Arizona Cardinals

Record in 2012: 5-11

Overall Record with Team: 45-51

What Happened – For an historic losing franchise, Ken Whisenhunt changed the Cardinals into winners and turned around the culture, gradually improving each year from a 8-8 to 9-7 record where they went all the way to the Super Bowl and nearly won it after Kurt Warner brought the Cardinals back to take the lead until Ben Roethlisberger answered back with throwing a game winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes. They followed up with a 10-6 encore in what would be Kurt Warner’s final season. After Warner retired is where Whisenhunt mismanaged the quarterback position. Matt Leinart couldn’t earn his starting job back after Warner took it over and eventually lost it to Free-Agent Derek Anderson. Neither they nor Max Hall, John Skelton or oft-injured Kevin Kolb proved to be the answer. The Cardinals let Anquan Boldin leave for free agency, leaving no viable receiver to take coverage pressure off of Larry Fitzgerald. Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley left for the Kansas City Chiefs. Injuries at running back left an inconsistent running game. Trading their best cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb show a chain reaction of wrong decisions since their Super Bowl year that basically dismantled everything they built and with none of their replacement panning out, Whisenhunt became the man to take the fall.

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General Managers Fired

Mike Tannebaum – New York Jets

What Happened – Tannebaum became the man out, losing the power struggle with Head Coach Rex Ryan who will remain as the teams’ coach for now. The circus-like atmosphere and thirst for headlines over talent proved to be too much for Jets owner Woody Johnson. Even though Johnson may have contributed to such, especially on his insistence of trading for Tim Tebow, the fact is Tannebaum did give Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez a big contract that makes him untradeable and uncuttable. When the injury bug hit the team, including the team’s best player in Darrell Revis, Santonio Holmes, Tannebaum did not have their replacements in line to step up. While the Jets did make the AFC Title game in back to back years, it was in fact on the back of the defense in spite of the offense instead of a team effort. Each year since, they never found the offensive pieces to the puzzle to catch up to the defense so much that the defense started to break when they could no longer bend. With Rex Ryan possibly having more power and say in the personal, time will tell if the decision to remove Tannebaum was the correct one.

Gene Smith – Jacksonville Jaguars

What Happened – Jaguars new owner Shad Khan gave General Manger Gene Smith a year to evaluate him. After overseeing the worst season in Jaguars history with a 2-14 season, which tied for the league’s worst record, Khan had seen enough. Smith had four seasons to build a team, enough to build a winning product or at least be competitive. They were not. Smith did not trade for Tim Tebow, against Khan’s wishes and his trade up in the draft to get quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been a bust up to this point. The new General Manager will decide the fate of Jaguars Coach Mike Murlarkey.

A.J. Smith – San Diego Chargers

What Happened – This firing has been a long time coming, since Smith fired Marty Shottenheimer after a 14-2 season and replacing him with Norv Turner. From that point, Smith’s tenure with the team was at that point automatically tied to the success of Turner. The Chargers always had solid pieces in place for a good team, but Smith always opted to let them walk in free agency to other teams. Players such as Michael Turner, Antonio Cromartie, Darren Sproles Vincent Jackson and some quarterback named Drew Brees. President Dean Spanos waffled last season to fire Turner and Smith but opted to give them another year. In hindsight, he should have gone with his gut instinct. The consistent losing led to a string of home blackouts and now the Chargers have work to do to not only find the replacements for a head coach and general manager but retaining their fan base while trying to exhaust all opportunities for a new stadium deal before they turn their attention towards Los Angeles.

Marty Hurney – Carolina Panthers

What Happened – Hurney is the forgotten General Manager fired. That’ because he was the first one to go, as he was fired after the Panthers got off to a 1-5 start. Impatient owner Jerry Richardson looked to Hurney after being frustrated with the team’s slow start and the progress of head coach Ron Rivera and the quarterback Cam Newton. The Panthers are still looking for their replacement. However, the Panthers did rebound with a four-game winning streak to end the season with a 7-9

Rod Graves – Arizona Cardinals

What Happened – Grave’s fate and reasoning was the same for Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt. His inability to find a quarterback replacement for Kurt Warner and put other pieces in place proved to be his undoing.

Tom Heckert – Cleveland Browns

What Happened – Heckert’s fate was simply tied to new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and new Browns CEO Joe Banner. Heckert did not want to give him control of having final say on numerous issues including players.

Other Front Office Personal Fired

Mike Reinfeldt (Senior Executive Vice President) – Tennessee Titans

What Happened – It came down to failing to get Peyton Manning, the man Titans owner Bud Adam’s wanted more than anything. After not coming through on signing Manning, Adams watching him take the Broncos to a 13-3 record AFC West Division Champions and Home-Field Advantage throughout the playoffs while the Titans dipped from 9-7 to 6-10. Adam’s has stated Head Coach Mike Munchak and General Manager Ruston Webster are safe. So Reinfeldt took the fall.

Status Up In the Air

Ron Rivera – Carolina Panthers – Owner Jerry Richardson may decide to make a change or when he hires a new General Manger, he may want to bring in a new head coach and start from scratch.

Jim Schwartz – Detroit Lions – There has been multiple reports of whether Schwartz is safe or not. The main concern comes with the culture in the locker room and off the field. Despite reports that say he is safe, the Lions brass reserve the right to change their mind.

Mike Mularkey – Jacksonville Jaguars – Mularkey’s fate will rest in the hands of the new General Manager that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan will bring in. His reluctance to accept Tim Tebow may also prove to be a factor.

Scott Pioli – Kansas City Chiefs – Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt is still debating on the future of Scott Pioli. This delay could impact the head coaching search.

Look To Be Safe

Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys – Jerry Jones said he’s safe. But if Jones can lure another coach that he thinks is an upgrade over Garrett, he will make the move.

Rex Ryan – New York Jets – Too much circus atmosphere, too much anyominus quotes about their own, new general manger coming in. Don’t believe this one is over just yet. With the Jets, anything is possible.

Mike Munchak – Tennessee Titans – Two years ago Jeff Fisher looked to have won a power struggle with Titans owner Bud Adams over Vince Young being on the roster. Young was released and Fisher looked to remain the coach. Shortly after, he was out and the Titans were looking for a new head coach heading into an NFL Lockout with no offseason and an offseason where most of the coaching vacancies were already filled. Titan’s owner Bud Adams always lets his emotions gets in the way; this factor alone makes no one safe within the Titans organization.

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