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2015 NFL Coaches’ Death Watch – The Opening Week

sword of damocles

by Jason From Indiana

Editor’s NoteThis marks the resurrection of a bit we used to do previously on Dubsism, and JFI has taken on the task of keeping you, the blog-reading public up to date as to which NFL coaches are about to meet their maker.

We just passed Halloween, the time when the ghosts and goblins are out. The wind blows lightly and there’s a chill in the air.  It’s also the halfway point in the NFL season, and we still don’t know who’s good and who isn’t. But there are a few things we do know, one of which is the Sword of Damocles is hanging over the heads of a few NFL coaches. One, Joe Philbin, has already been eliminated faster than a big-boobed blonde in a “Friday the 13th” movie.

Here are some others who may see the ax fall…if not before the season’s end, almost for sure on Black Monday. I’ve ranked them in order of their likelihood to get canned, and I will update this list on a weekly basis.

1) Jim Caldwell

With all the personality of a ham sandwich and the motivational skills of a houseplant, one wonders how Caldwell even got this job.  Considering the god-awful showing in London against the NFL’s version of “Bob’s Big Boy” (where they don’t even serve ham sandwiches, by the way), one wonders how he keeps it.

Since losing the Super Bowl to New Orleans as the “coach” of the Colts (we all know Bill Polian and Peyton Manning were calling the shots on that team), Caldwell got his second head coaching job in Detroit basically because he’s not Jim Schwartz.  The Lions have responded by winning one game this year.  Before that lone victory, I was thinking they could match the 2008 0-16 Lions. Now they will just be coach-firing shitty rather than historically shitty.

While you can’t fairly blame all of the Lions’ woes on Caldwell (the clear regression of Matthew Stafford for example), it’s pretty clear that he’s a coordinator, not a head coach.

The word on the street is he’s safe for the season, but Detroit also just fired all the assistant coaches, which usually means the head coach is next.

2) Chuck Pagano:

H. Dumpty Pagano...about to become unrepairable pieces.

H. Dumpty Pagano…about to become unrepairable pieces.

File this one under “Captain Obvious.” I’ve never been a fan of Pagano. Yes, he beat cancer, and he seems to be a nice guy. But nice guys finish last in this league (see “Bill Belichick”).

Pagano has always been the kind of coach I can’t stand. Time and time again, he refuses to take chances. I remember last year in the AFC Championship when  the Colts had 4th and a blade of grass, and Pagano elected to run his 42 year old kicker out in the rain and wind to try a 53-yard field goal.  Not to mention, he did this against a team that you just aren’t ever going to beat by kicking field goals. He brought the same game plan against the Patriots earlier that year when Jonas Gray ran for 200 yards against them. Obviously, that failed miserably.

That’s why in this year’s game when Pagano actually DID go for a 4th down, I thought he’d finally grown a pair and learned his lesson. But no. I don’t even have to get into the complete and utter ineptitude of that fake punt play. It got even better when the punter went on local radio and threw gas on the fire by telling us the guy who was supposed to be the center on that play had gotten hurt.  Better yet, to account for that, Pagano sent Griff Whalen out there to run a play he’d never practiced at a position he’d never played. What could possibly go wrong?

That’s how you get the obvious internal strife this club has.  Friction between Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson has been well known since before the season. The Colts have two games left before the bye, at Carolina and home against Denver. If they get butt-housed in one or both of those, the ax may fall on Pagano during the bye week.

Usually in these situations, the coach gets it before the general manager, unless of course the G.M. picks a fight with the owner, like what happened this past week. The bottom line is the Colts are a tire fire from top to bottom.  People were picking this team to go to the Super Bowl before the season, but they are more likely to end up as a playoff team with a losing record (cue Jim Mora soundbite here) because they play in the worst division in the league.

Pagano’s odds of survival are about as good as Lamar Odom being invited back to that brothel he almost died in.

3) Bill O’Brien

As a Patriots fan, this one disappoints me. After leaving the offensive coordinator job in New England for the post-Sandusky Penn State job, where he actually saved that program amid the ridiculous sanctions imposed upon them by the NCAA.  From there, O’Brien went to Houston, and, in my opinion, should have been a Coach of the Year candidate last year considering his quarterback situation and injuries.  He went 9-7, mostly on the shoulders of J.J, Watt and the defense.

But O’Brien is supposed to be an offensive guy. Twice this year, the Texans have been behind by 35 points at the half. Last week against Miami they were down 35-0 before they even recorded their first positive yard gained.  At his press conferences, O’Brien is always quick to point the finger at himself, with such mea culpas as ‘I need to coach better.” Accountability is an an admirable quality; it’s certainly better than pulling a “Jay Gruden” by throwing your players under the bus (how is he not on this list?).

But it still isn’t going to save your job, Bill.

4) Jim Tomsula


I’d hate to see this guy get fired. He farts during press conferences. When asked at halftime of the Seattle game how he was going to get the team’s offensive rhythm back, his response was a clueless ‘Yeah, we’ve go to get the rhythm back.”

His “deer in the headlights look” on the sideline is priceless. It’s obvious he’s way out over his skis. Granted, it doesn’t help when half his team retired in the off-season and Colin “Squidward” Kaepernick has become the poster child for being terrible.  Tomsula looks less like a head coach and more like the first guy your mom goes on a date with after she and your dad get divorced.

5) Chip Kelly

Frankly, J-Dub may shoot him before the Eagles get a chance to fire him.  As an Eagles fan, nothing My issue with Kelly is he’s the guy making all the decisions, so there’s nobody else to blame.  He’s the one who shipped out LeSean McCoy and brought in DeMarco Murray. He’s the one who swapped Nick Foles for Sam Bradford. He also cut loose DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.  But hey, he’s a genius right? Yeah maybe in college, which is where Kelly may be headed.   On the up side, he does have the good fortune of playing in another horrible division that may also produce a sub-.500 playoff team.


So as the Sword of Damocles hovers over Philadelphia, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Detroit, Houston, and likely a few other NFL locales, it’s time to place your bets on who gets it first.  There’s already been one coaching casualty, and it’s the safest bet of all to say Joe Philbin won’t be the only one.  But who will be next?  Stay tuned while we keep you up to date throughout the NFL season, right up through Black Monday.

-Be sure to follow JFI at @jbhickle on Twitter.

About JFI

I tend to think outside the box and question mainstream thinking.


This entry was posted on November 1, 2015 by in NFL, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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