Week 17 in the National Football League always brings with it some great divisional games with playoffs on the line and it also brings something else as well. This year that date will December 30th. If you still have too much wrapping paper in your face, that’s the Monday following the last Sunday of the season. It’s also a day that sees many head coaches and coordinators sent packing and looking for new jobs.
If you’re asking me who I think gets the axe on that fateful Monday I have a pretty good idea. I fully expect Jim Schwarz to be relieved of his duties in Detroit. It won’t be an easy decision because Schwartz has brought the Lions back to some semblance of respectability, but with that have come problems.
This is a team that had everything set up perfectly for it. The Bears were without Jay Cutler and the Packers were without Aaron Rodgers for good portions of the season. Detroit had very winnable games down the stretch but their lack of discipline and sloppy play cost them a playoff spot. There is a good nucleus in Detroit with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson but Stafford has to better with the ball and not be so reckless. His poor play may have been the final nail in Schwartz’s coffin.
Within the same division, Minnesota’s Leslie Frazier is also likely to be released. A constant quarterback carousel and sloppy defense at crunch time are the key reasons why he’ll be fired. To his credit, the team always played extremely hard and was seemingly in every game, but the 0-3 start was too much to overcome.
Frazier is much respected in the NFL and should land a defensive coordinator position during the offseason. What the Vikings need to decide is where are they going at quarterback? Has Christian Ponder been worthy of his first round pick status? Is Matt Cassel a long-term answer or a career back-up? And lastly, do they give the keys to the car to a healthy Josh Freeman in 2014.
Don’t be surprised if all three are no longer part of the plans under a new regime in Minnesota.
Vince Lombardi was once quoted saying that a coach can stay too long in one place. The message gets old and the players no longer listen. I have to believe this is what is happening in New York with Tom Coughlin. It’s been a highly disappointing season for the G-Men and Eli Manning especially and Coughlin’s ouster will be the result.
This will more than likely be Coughlin’s last job, but who knows? He has earned the Giants two Super Bowl trophies and has made the Giants and their fans proud but the time has come. Job number one for a predecessor is to get Manning to take better care of the ball, establish a running game and rebuild the defense.
Other potential firings… Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay would seem likely but the team has shown improvement under rookie quarterback Mike Glennon and has looked much more enthusiastic with Josh Freeman gone. It may not be enough though to save Schiano’s job… I’ll be shocked if Mike Shanahan isn’t fired in Washington. There is a clear problem between him and Robert Griffin III and that’s not acceptable for Daniel Snyder… With Gary Kubiak already out in Houston, the top candidate has to be Lovie Smith. He will come in and bring immediate stability and toughness to both sides of the ball. Big question? What do the Texans do with their number one pick in May?