What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Well, what a difference a few days makes makes. You may think British Pop music might make a strange theme for a list of football coaches about to hear “Taps,” but you’ll catch on, because there’s lots of Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes in the rankings this week.
If that weren’t enough, we all know the British have some strange dining tendencies, which also fits since I’m going to eat some crow this week.
I’ll start by saying that the in-season firings are over. At this point, if any of these guys still standing have made it to this point, they re’s no reason to think they won’t make it until Black Monday. However, that does not make any of these seats less hot. A dark cloud still hovers over these 5 condemned coaches. Let’s see how the dead men walking stack up this week.
1) Jim Caldwell ↑ 1
The Lions fired their team president. They fired their general manager. They fired their offensive coordinator. They fired their water boy. There’s Lions’ parking lot attendants surfing Snag-a-Job.com right now. Jim Caldwell has managed to be the most “Rasputin”-like character since Rudolf Hess became the “friendly” Nazi, which allowed him to avoid the hangman’s noose at Nuremberg, only to die in a cell at Spandau.
Caldwell has dodged every single bullet so far, yet the fact everyone else around him has fallen almost assuredly spells his end come “Black Monday.” Bullshit aside, it’s not really a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when.” Caldwell has reclaimed the #1 spot on this list, and probably will stay there for the rest of the year.
2) Mike Pettine ↑ 3
Pettine had also better be getting his resume in order, because in three weeks he’s gone from not on the list, to #5, and is currently#2. How does one make such a meteoric rise? Being oafishly indecisive about your quarterback certainly helps.
If I were in the Browns’ front office and had used a first round pick on Johnny Manziel, I would want to see him play the rest of the season and see what I’ve got. Seriously, isn’t putting him out on the field really the only way to do that? At 2-7, Cleveland has less than zero chance of making the playoffs, which makes that whole “guy who gives us the best chance of winning” argument completely pointless. The Browns don’t have a guy who gives them a better chance of winning today, but they might have one who give them a shot to win in the future. The time to find out about the future is now in Cleveland.
Manziel wasn’t horrible last Thursday against Cincinnati. He wasn’t great either, but he’s not going to get any better standing on the sidelines wearing a baseball cap. The point is Manziel still has potential to develop and we already know what Josh McCown is…a career clipboard holder. A big part of being a successful NFL coaching is developing players. Pettine’s insistence on going back and forth between Manziel and McCown not only lessens the Browns chance of winning by killing any consistency in the offense, it also ensures Manziel has no shot to grow into a starting quarterback.
3) Chuck Pagano ↓ 2
Here’s where I eat my crow. I expected Denver to walk all over the Colts, which was supposed to set up a bye week firing of Pagano. Obviously that didn’t happen. However, it wasn’t for lack of trying on Pagano’s part. With his team up 17-0 and just a few seconds left in the first half, the Colts didn’t kick the ball out of bounds on a punt, which allowed Denver to return it for a touchdown, which put a Denver team they had completely dominated for nearly 30 minutes to get right back in the damn game. Coupled with that fake punt silliness, it’s obvious special teams are not Chuck Pagano’s strong suit.
Indianapolis did eventually win the game and in the process, the offense looked much better than it had. Was it new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s different offensive philosophy? Or was it Andrew Luck’s improving health? Forget about that “health” thing as word has come down that Luck has a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscles. The fact that his franchise quarterback is expected to miss 2-6 weeks raises some serious questions for Pagano.
What if the Colts do win that putrid division even without Luck? Can GM Ryan Grigson still justify giving him the boot? If the Colts go into the tank, will Grigson use that as justification for getting rid of him? Does “Papa” Irsay step in and send both guys packing? Is this the NFL or “Days of Our Lives?” Like sands through the hourglass (fart noise)…
4) Jim Tomsula ↓ 1
Last week, I criticized Tomsula for letting whispers in the locker room dictate his benching of Colin Kaepernick. Now, I’ve heard the front office was also influential in that decision. I did not criticize the actual move which paid off for Tomsula as the 49ers beat the Falcons with Blaine Gabbert under center.
Now the word is that Kaepernick has played his last game in San Francisco. For whatever reason, the team seemed to respond to the change. If that ends up not being just a “one-hit wonder,” Tomsula may find his way off this list by the end of the year. That decreases the odds he meets the axe, but the season isn’t over yet.
5) Bill O’Brien ↓ 1
Billy O had his bye this past week, but he still moves down a spot on this list based on what happened with the other dead men walking. My stance on O’Brien remains the same. The quarterback guru needs to start guru-ing in a hurry for him to stay in Houston. At the very least he need to stop getting the Texans blown out and at least make them competitive. The football gods smiled on his ass with the recent announcement that Houston’s divisional rival just lost Andrew Luck for up to 6 weeks. As bad as Houston has been, they are still within striking distance of the Colts, including one more head-to-head crack at them.
Once again, much to the dismay of J-Dub, Chip Kelly didn’t make the list. The Chipster bagged a division win on the road last week, and I am thinking the Eagles may be getting their shit together. Despite bye weeks, there was quite a bit of movement in the rankings this week. On the other hand, I don’t take weeks off, so be sure to check back on Dubsism every Thursday throughout the NFL season to see who might be saving his neck versus who is just digging the grave a little deeper.
-You can follow JFI on Twitter @jbhickle