What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Coaches’ Death Watch: Week 2 – The “Zombie Apocalypse Is Coming” Edition

sword of damocles

By Jason From Indiana

Week Two of the Coaches Death Watch brings us the classic “good news, bad news” scenario.  The good news is I was right about someone being fired this week. The bad news is I was way off on who it was.

The Tennessee Titans canned Ken Whisenhunt this week which undoubtedly proves that the firing season is is full swing, however he was not on the original list.   For purposes of full disclosure, I intended to put Whisenhunt on the list last week, but I didn’t.  I made the mistake of doing research and I decided he hadn’t been in Tennessee long enough yet.  Obviously, the Titans disagreed.

So, while I get to eat that one, let’s take a look at how last week’s action changed this week’s list.

caoches death watch walking dead

1) Chuck Pagano ↑ 1

Pa-Gone-0 moves up one spot this week because he is still my bet to be dismissed during the Colts’ bye next week.  Of course, he avoids that fate if somehow the Dolts pull off a shock-the-world upset of Denver on Sunday.

But you can tell the smell of coach death is in the air in Indy.  The Colts pulled the trigger on offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, and it seems pretty clear that Pa-Gone-0 can’t be far behind.  But even if they gas him, I still say Chuck is only half the problem in Indianapolis. General Manager Ryan Grigson hasn’t made life any easier for his coach.  Take a look at what he has done in terms of getting players for this team.

Unlike most, I’m willing to give Grigson a pass on the Trent Richardson trade.  At the time he needed a running back, Richardson was a stud at Alabama, and Cleveland isn’t exactly a place where a star can shine. Hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes you have to roll the dice.  But, when he still needed a running back, he let LaGarrette Blount go through waivers.  Of course, he ends up with the  dreaded Patriots, where the big kick in the dick was the fact Blount was the real reason the Patriots throttled the Colts in the AFC Championship game.  Nobody cared about the PSI in the ball he carried over the goal line three times.

Then, in that following off-season, he drafts what amounts to a punt returner in the first round and signs the corpse of Andre Johnson and the skeleton of Frank Gore.  He also signed Todd Herremans, but his combination of age and infirmity has done nothing to improve the offensive line, which is a primary reason behind Andrew Luck’s broken ribs.  On the other sign of the line of scrimmage, the defensive is still putrid,and would likely give up three hundred yard of total offense to Purdue.

Fair or not, Pagano’s going to take the gaff for that, but if the Colts also don’t fire Grigson, this movie is going to have a lot of sequels.

2) Jim Caldwell ↓ 1

Jimbo drops a spot this week because at least he can’t lose a bye.  He also drops a spot because he’s survived two purges already. First, they fired all the coordinators and other various staff members. The Lions then promoted quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator, and last Sunday’s showing in London showed that wasn’t the answer.  So this week, the Lions fired the team president and the general manager, which literally makes Caldwell the last man standing.

I thought Clueless Jim would be unemployed by now with Detroit on their bye, but the fact he’s survived to this point must mean he’s the guy who gets to hand the keys to the new group coming later. It’s pretty clear the Lions are already punting on 2015 after the season.  But there’s always the chance this ream pulls a Dolphin-like check-out job on him, leaving ownership with no choice but to cut the string.


Besides, who doesn’t want to hear the words “Head Coach Jim Bob Cooter” before this year is through?

3) Jim Tomsula ↑ 1

The definition of desperation just might be benching Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert. This may be the ultimate in “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” Gabbert hasn’t started and won an NFL game since 2012.  What does it say when that’s the better option over Colin Kaepernick?   hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire. If this was Tomsula’s decision alone, I could understand it. But I’m hearing other 49ers players have been grumbling for the change.

It doesn’t matter if they are right, you can’t let the inmates run the asylum.  That’s why Tomsula moves up one spot to #3 this week.

4) Bill O’Brien ↑ 1

The only defense I have for O’Brien is out of all the guys on this list, he has the worst quarterback situation.  Pa-Gone-o has the best young quarterback in the league, and he’s trying to get him killed.  Caldwell has Matt Stafford, who has thrown for 5,000 yards  in a season.  That doesn’t make him great, it only makes him at least competent.  Tomsula’s Colin Kaerpernick has had flashes of brilliance, and Blaine Gabbert was a first-round draft pick, as was Johnny Manziel in Cleveland.  Bill O’Brien can’t say any of those things about the two guys he started this season with; Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer.

Better yet, because Mallett is 100% chuckle-head, he managed to get himself released last week. This means the Texans quarterbacking corps consists of Hoyer, T.J. Yates, and a guy named Zac Dysert on the practice squad.  The problem is that excuses are like milk; they’ve got an expiration date.  As the losses mount in Houston; there comes a point when you have to spill out the milk and move on.

But the upside for O’Brien is out of all the guys on this list, he’s got the best shot to save himself.  As bad as this team has been, they’re tied for first place in the AFC South.  If the Colts lose on Sunday to Denver, the Texans hold the lead outright. The Texans are one of the five worst teams in the league, and yet they are a play-off contender.  If Billy O gets Houston into the play-offs, he survives Black Monday.

5) Mike Pettine *NEW*

 I don’t know what I was thinking not having a Browns coach on this list. The Cleveland Browns could offer a post-graduate level class on firing coaches.  The argument that Pettine doesn’t have much to work with is easy to make, and it’s perfectly valid.  I get he probably feels like he’s coaching for his job, which is understandable when you consider the following.  Since the inception of the new Browns franchise in 1999, they’ve had seven head coaches, not including Terry Robiskie, who was never promoted beyond interim.  Those coaches lasted an average of 37 games; Pettine just coached his 25th.  Not only is the clock ticking, but general manager Ray Farmer seems like the kind of guy who might keep the severed heads of his former couches on poles in his office.

Office decor courtesy of Ray Farmer

Office decor courtesy of Ray Farmer

But Mike Pettine has to own his indecisiveness about his starting quarterback. The bottom line is this:  The Browns are 2-7, which means it is time to lose that “guy who gives us the best chance to win” horse shit.  It’s time to hand the keys to Johnny Manziel, call him the starter, and let the chips fall where they may.  Cleveland invested a first round pick in “Johnny Football,” but they will never know what he is truly capable of unless they put him on the field. He’s made 5 starts in a year and a half. That’s not going to work. Give Manziel the job, and if he fails at least the Browns know they need to find another option.


Week Two can best be summed up with a little bit of movement, and an epiphany on Mike Pettine. Chip Kelly is off the list for now, but the Sword of Damocles is still hanging over his head.  We’ve  seen two coaches take the pipe so far, and I’m betting on a third to happen before the next installment of Coaches Death Watch.

Stay tuned since I will be examining NFL coaches for the guys who might yet make this list.  As for the guys on it, I’ll take a look at what they do each week to either start saving their hides or digging their own graves.

Got a coach you think belongs on this list? Got a take on a guy who is on the list? That’s why we have a Comments section…

This list will be updated every Thursday throughout the rest of the NFL season, right up through “Black Monday.”  Be sure to subscribe to Dubsism so you won’t miss a single installment.   More importantly, unlike those silly college football play-off rankings, at least the Coaches Death Watch make sense.

-You can follow JFI on Twitter @jbhickle

About JFI

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


This entry was posted on November 8, 2015 by in NFL, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , .

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