2013 Black Monday: 5 NFL Coaches fired

jim-schwartz-lionsEvery year, the Monday following Week 17 of the NFL regular season is a testy time for losing coaches. This year’s Black Monday was especially brutal as five coaches got the ax. Here’s a look at the unlucky coaches who were fired, along with a few that are still awaiting word on their futures.

Firings

Rob Chudzinski, Cleveland Browns – The Browns didn’t give Chudzinski much time to turn things around in Cleveland. They fired their rookie head coach immediately after his first season ended with a 4-12 record. What was particularly disheartening is that the Browns lost 10 out of their last 11 games. Cleveland ownership voiced disappointment over a “lack of accountability and effort” from Chud’s players. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ name has come up in the rumors involving the coaching search.

Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings – The writing has been on the wall for Frazier for quite some time after the team’s slow start and a disastrous quarterback carousel. Minnesota ownership was hoping that the Vikings would take another step forward after making the playoffs last year; instead, they finished just 5-10-1. Team officials have been working on potential replacements for weeks, and they’ve asked about Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

greg-schiano-hot-seatGreg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay is a team that was built to win this season. Instead, they suffered through a 4-12 season under second-year coach Greg Schiano. Management was concerned that players were no longer responding to Schiano’s hard-driving style, and the Josh Freeman quarterback controversy didn’t help matters. General manager Mark Dominik was also a casualty on Black Monday.

Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions – No team collapsed as badly as the Lions did down the stretch. After climbing to the top of the NFC North with a 6-3 record, they lost 6 out of their last 7 contests and missed the postseason. Management had already made the decision on Schwartz’s job when the team was eliminated from postseason contention last week.

mike-shanahan-hot-seatMike Shanahan, Washington Redskins – The drama regarding Mike Shanahan has finally come to an end with his Monday morning firing. He was fired after a 3-13 record, which was the second worst in the league. It was no secret that Shanahan clashed with management over what he perceived as their babying of quarterback Robert Griffin III. The matter came to a conclusion when RG III was benched for the final three games to “prevent any injuries.”

Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans – Kubiak wasn’t a Black Monday firing, but rather axed on December 12th after the team had lost 11 straight games. Team management also didn’t like the way that Kubiak handled the quarterback situation between Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. Add in the fact that many expected Houston to contend for a Super Bowl and it’s pretty clear why Kubiak was fired. Several candidates have already been interviewed, including former Bears coach Lovie Smith, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and Texans interim coach Wade Phillips.

Still Uncertain

dennis-allen-oaklandDennis Allen, Oakland Raiders – Before Oakland played the Denver Broncos, it was generally thought that both coach Dennis Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie would be safe. However, there are no guarantees following a 4-12 season, which ended with an embarrassing 34-14 loss to Denver, where the Broncos were leading 31-0 at halftime.

Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys – For the second year in a row, Garrett’s team lost the NFC East on the final game of the season. Owner Jerry Jones appears likely to keep Garrett, but defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s job could be in serious jeopardy.

Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins – Miami was in the driver’s seat of their playoff destiny, but finished with losses to two subpar teams (Buffalo, NY Jets) to close out the season. Owner Stephen Ross didn’t exactly give any vote of confidence after saying that he has “a lot to think about” with regard to Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland’s jobs.

mike-munchak-tennesseeMike Munchak, Tennessee Titans – It was another up-and-down season for the Titans, with them finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs. And the hard-running, clock-management style that Tennessee is trying to push faltered in the middle of the season. Star running back Chris Johnson won’t be back. Is the same true of Munchack?

Job Security

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants – Two years removed from a Super Bowl, nobody expected Tom Coughlin to be coaching for his job. However, a dismal 0-6 start got the press talking about Coughlin’s future with the organization. But early word is that, following a 7-3 finish to the season, it’s up to Coughlin to decide if he wants to stay with the team.

Rex Ryan, New York Jets – Many believe that Ryan did a commendable job with the Jets since this season was projected to be a rebuilding effort. However, Ryan coached them to a .500 record and ended the year on a positive note with two straight wins.

NFL Power Rankings for Dec. 27th, 2012

We’re now in the final week of the NFL regular season, which means these are our last power rankings before the playoffs begin. At this point, the Denver Broncos are in the driver’s seat after retaining their top spot from the previous week. However, there are a couple of teams waiting in the wings to take over first place if the Broncos lose. That said, let’s look at these teams along with the rest of the top 10.

1. Denver Broncos (12-3) – There’s little reason to drop the Broncos from our top spot since they dismantled Cleveland last week. Expect a similar result as the 2-13 Chiefs visit Denver this Sunday. About the only negative here is that the Broncos need a Houston loss to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Last Game: 34-12 win over Cleveland
Next Game: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

2. Atlanta Falcons (13-2) – The Falcons jump up two spots in the power rankings after locking down the NFC’s top spot, home field advantage, and the league’s best record. We were a bit worried about Atlanta a few weeks ago, but they seem to have regained form after outscoring opponents 65-18 in the past two games.

Last Game: 31-18 win over Detroit
Next Game: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. New England Patriots (11-4) – We see the Falcons and Patriots as being pretty close in terms of rankings. However, New England falls to number three by the slimmest of margins after clawing past the 2-13 Jacksonville Jaguars. Plus it looks as if the Patriots will have to play on the road at least once during a potential Super Bowl run.

Last Game: 23-16 win over Jacksonville
Next Game: vs. Miami Dolphins

4. Seattle Seahawks (10-5) – We’re not sure how Seattle will fare in the playoffs because they’re currently only the NFC’s fifth seed. However, it’s hard not to like them following a route of the 49ers to win their fourth straight game. Marshawn Lynch had yet another good game after running for 111 yards and a touchdown while Russell Wilson tossed four touchdown passes. If Seattle wins against St. Louis and gets lucky with a Niners’ loss, they’d win the NFC West.

Last Game: 42-13 win over San Francisco
Next Game: vs. St. Louis Rams

5. Green Bay Packers (11-4) – For the Packers, it’s simple: win and they secure a first round playoff bye. Based on how they did in an obliteration of Tennessee, we like Green Bay’s chances of winning – even on the road against the Vikings. Ryan Grant put in a surprisingly good performance after rushing for 80 yards and a TD. Could he provide the running game the Packers need?

Last Game: 55-7 win over Tennessee
Next Game: at Minnesota Vikings

6. Houston Texans (12-3) – Houston still has a chance to grab the AFC’s top seed, but they haven’t exactly looked good over the past few weeks. Injuries have taken their toll on defense, and the Texans must now win a tough road game against the Colts to sure the number one seed.

Last Game: 23-6 loss to Minnesota
Next Game: at Indianapolis Colts

7. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) – The Niners fall the farthest in our power rankings after dropping from number three to seven. Their defense was sliced apart by the Seahawks, which creates concerns for the playoffs. At least relatively new QB Colin Kaepernick is still doing fine after throwing for 244 yards and running for another 31 yards.

8. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – Against all preseason odds, the Colts have went from the league’s worst team to a playoff qualifier. However, there’s no reason to celebrate just yet because Indianapolis’ run defense has been thoroughly exposed this season. Jamal Charles ran for 226 yards against the Colts last week.

Last Game: 20-13 win over Kansas City
Next Game: vs. Houston Texans

9. Washington Redskins (9-6) – Robert Griffin III erased any doubts after missing a game (leg injury) as he threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles. If Washington can win against the Cowboys this week, they capture the NFC East and a playoff spot; assuming they lose, they’ll be at home watching Dallas play in the Wild Card round.

Last Game: 27-20 win over Philadelphia
Next Game: vs. Dallas Cowboys

10. Minnesota Vikings (9-6) – Minnesota has jumped into playoff contention by riding the legs of Adrian Peterson. AP is banged up going into the final game against the Packers, but he’ll still do whatever he can to get the Vikings into the postseason. Minnesota’s defense really stepped up last game to hold Houston to just six points.

Last Game: 23-6 win over Houston
Next Game: vs. Green Bay Packers

2012 NFL Thanksgiving Games feature Offensive Explosions

While people were getting stuffed on turkey and potatoes yesterday, several NFL teams were busy stuffing the stat sheets. In fact, five out of the six teams that played yesterday scored at least 31 points, which provided some of the best football that we’ve ever seen on Thanksgiving. That said, let’s discuss all three games that happened yesterday and who the biggest stars were.

Houston Texans edge Detroit Lions 34-31 in Overtime

Few people were expecting the 4-7 Lions to push the 10-1 Houston Texans. But Detroit more than pushed the Texans and had a few different chances to win the game.

Lions QB Matt Stafford had a strong game against one of the NFL’s best secondaries as he threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he helped the Lions grab a 10-point lead in the third quarter.

However, the Texans caught a break when Justin Forsett ran for an 81-yard touchdown where replays showed that he was down at midfield. But Lions coach Jim Schwartz ruined any chance to look at the replay when he threw a challenge flag, which is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty since all scoring plays are automatically reviewed. But due to the penalty, the 81-yard TD stood and pulled Houston within three points.

The game eventually went into overtime where Detroit’s Jason Hansen had a chance to win it with a 47-yard field goal; but he missed and left the door wide open for Shayne Graham’s game-winning field goal.

Washington Redskins hold off Dallas Cowboys in 38-31 win

The Redskins-Cowboys game had all the makings of a blowout since Washington led 28-3 at halftime. However, the Cowboys made a furious comeback thanks to 441 passing yards and three touchdowns by QB Tony Romo. WR Dez Bryant also had a monster game after catching eight passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

However, Dallas could never quite cover the gap that was caused by Redskins QB Robert Griffith III when he threw for 178 yards and three touchdowns in the second quarter. Overall, the standout rookie racked up 311 passing yards and four touchdowns on the night, while RB Alfred Morris ran for 113 yards and a score.

New England destroys New York Jets 49-19

While the first two games on Sunday were fairly close, this one was a massacre! Following a scoreless first quarter, New England rocked New York in the second quarter after scoring five touchdowns – four of which came in a six-minute span.

Perhaps the most crushing score came from safety Steve Gregory when he returned a Mark Sanchez fumble 32 yards for a touchdown. Patriots QB Tom Brady also threw an 83-yard TD pass to Shane Vereen during the second quarter. Brady finished the game with 323 passing yards, three passing TD’s and one rushing touchdown.