NFL Coaching Carousel – Kelly to Browns? Lovie to Bills?

With the NFL regular season now over, there have been a flurry of coach firings lately. Some of the moves were expected, while others were a little more surprising given what the coaches had accomplished. A few of these teams have either found a replacement already, or are on the verge of finding a new front man. This being said, let’s look at what teams have axed coaches along with likely candidates to fill the vacant positions.

Arizona Cardinals: Fired Ken Whisenhunt, no Clear Replacement – After finishing with more wins than any other Arizona coach (45) and taking the Cardinals to their lone Super Bowl appearance (2008), Ken Whisenhunt will always hold a special place in franchise history. But Whisenhunt’s past accomplishments couldn’t save his job after Arizona lost 11 out of their last 12 games. Those being interviewed for this position include Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Buffalo Bills: Fired Chan Gailey, Lovie Smith interviewed – In three seasons with the Bills, Chan Gailey failed to make any sort of impact. Gailey’s record was 16-32, and his best year was just 6-10. Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is the most interesting replacement candidate, and he’s interviewed with the Bills already. Others who are being considered are Horton, Whisenhunt, McCoy and Doug Marrone.

Chicago Bears: Fired Lovie Smith, Several Candidates being considered – Smith had a good run as the Bears’ head coach since he compiled an 81-63 record over nine seasons. He also won three NFC North titles, made two NFC Championship appearances, and guided Chicago to the 2006 Super Bowl; they lost 29-17 to the Colts. But after a 7-1 start this year, the Bears stumbled to 10-6 and missed the playoffs. Potential replacements for Lovie include McCoy, Atlanta special teams coach Keith Armstrong and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.

Cleveland Browns: Fired Pat Shurmur, Chip Kelly likely Replacement – Pat Shurmur was only given two seasons in Cleveland, which were largely unsuccessful. He compiled a 9-23 record and finished last in the AFC North both years. While nothing is official yet, Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly is already being tabbed as Shurmur’s replacement. He went 46-7 at Oregon, and the Browns would be his first NFL job.

Kansas City Chiefs: Fired Romeo Crennel, Andy Reid is New Coach – Before the season, some experts picked the Chiefs to win the AFC West. However, Kansas City suffered through a miserable 2-14 season and were noncompetitive in most games. The team has already found a replacement for Crennel since former Eagles coach Andy Reid has agreed to a deal with Kansas City.

Philadelphia Eagles: Fired Andy Reid, Jon Gruden being considered – Andy Reid is the longest-tenured NFL coach to get the ax this season. He spent 14 years with the Eagles and went 130-93 during this lengthy span. Reid also took Philadelphia to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl. Unfortunately, he went 12-20 over the past two seasons with top-level talent at most positions. Former Tampa Bay and Oakland coach Jon Gruden is the most interesting replacement candidate, while Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is also being considered.

San Diego Chargers: Fired Norv Turner, no Clear Replacement – Norv Turner got off to a hot start as the Chargers coach when he guided them to the 2007 AFC Championship game in his first season. He followed that up with a couple of AFC Divisional round appearances in 2008 and 2009. But since then, Norv and the Chargers have missed the postseason in three straight years; he departs San Diego with a fairly impressive 56-40 record there. The Chargers’ coaching search has been relatively quiet – though Lovie Smith’s name has come up a few times.

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