What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
The start of a new NFL season also means the return of the Coaches Death Watch. You may notice some familiar names from last season. That’s because some of these guys managed to survive and I don’t think they survive another bad performance. Cats have nine lives, coaches don’t.
The premise is simple. I’m starting with four coaches I think are most likely to get fired. But as we learned last year, these guys can save their necks. There’s things they need to do to hang on to those paychecks, but they probably won’t.
1) Rex Ryan
I have Rex first on the list because it’s pretty cut and dried. The Bills’ general manager has publicly stated that if they don’t make the playoffs, Rex’s head will roll. At least he knows what he needs to do to stay employed. It will be tough for Rex to change his style, though. At some point he will make some kind of a guarantee that the team won’t back up. He already declared that Buffalo “won the off-season”… whatever that means.
I doubt he will suddenly learn how to challenge calls, or instill enough discipline in his team to be able to get the right personnel on the field, or so at his team won’t lead the league in dumb personal fouls. Those are problems the Jets had under Rex, and he brought those problems to Buffalo. It should also be noted that Buffalo already had a good defense and they got worse under Rex, who is supposed to be a defensive coach. Their sack total went from 54 in 2014 to just 21 last year. The Bills were a disappointing 8-8 last year, and I don’t see them being much better in 2016.
2) Jim Caldwell
Caldwell played the part of Nero last year, fiddling while the Lions burned. Almost everybody in the organization other than him got canned. My only guess as to why he didn’t get the boot last year is the Lions either didn’t have anybody else in mind as a replacement, or they did and they are waiting for that person to become available. The offense did improve when Jim Bob Cooter (go ahead and laugh…everybody does) was brought in as offensive coordinator, but the defense still isn’t very good. The Lions have Green Bay and Minnesota in their division, so I don’t see them making the playoffs, and barring a playoff run, this has to be Caldwell’s last season in Detroit.
3) Chuck Pagano
H. Dumpty Pagano also defied the odds and stayed in Indianapolis. On the upside, he’s made the playoffs every year that he’s had Andrew Luck for a full season. He also has tremendous support from his players. He never lost the locker room. His players never quit. To be fair, also, it’s not like he went 4-12 last year without his starting QB. He wasn’t that far from making the playoffs, albeit in the worst division in football.
Now for the downside. I know it’s only 1 play, but that fake punt debacle last year was unforgivable. If you want to go for it, put your offense out there and go for it. I understand the Colts were were trying to fight back against the bully that has tormented them worse than Scott Farkus (not to be confused with Andy Dalton) tormented Ralphie in A Christmas Story, but that play was the definition of ill-conceived. It gets worse when you realize the guy who was supposed to be snapping the ball got hurt and Pagano replaced him with a guy who had never even practiced that play.
The bottom line is the Colts have ruled a lousy division for a long time, but that may be changing. Tennessee may have found a QB to build around in Marcus Mariota, the Jaguars might be able to say the same about Blake Bortles, and the Texans defense will always be formidable as long as they have J.J. Watt. In other words, January football is no longer a given in Indianapolis, but if it doesn’t happen again, the Colts will make an H. Dumpty omelet.
4) Hue Jackson
I normally wouldn’t put a first-year coach on this list, but head coaches in Cleveland have the life-expectancy of Fredo Corleone on a fishing trip. I don’t have any thing bad to say about Hue Jackson yet, because the only experience we have with him as a head coach happened in Oakland, the NFL’s other train wreck. From that experience, I’m sure Jackson knows to rent, not buy. I’m also pretty sure he knows that since 1999, the Browns have led the league in the number of blown draft picks, starting quarterbacks, and head coaches.
Like I said, I think it’s unlikely that Jackson would get the ax after one year, but here’s a piece of advice, Hue. If Jimmy Haslam wants to take you fishing…don’t get in the boat.
Agree? Disagree? Got a hot take of your own on this topic? Send it to JFI at @jbhickle on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org .