Black Monday. It’s coming. Be afraid. Actually, don’t, because you’re not an NFL head coach. Unless you are, in which case, be very afraid because the fact that you’re wasting your time reading this instead of preparing for your Week 16 game makes it all the more likely you’re going to get canned.
Gus Bradley and Jeff Fisher have already lost their jobs this season and more heads are destined for the little basket that sits under that cut-out where your neck goes when you’re about to be executed. (I’m sure there are names for both those things, but I don’t want to google “executions” at work.)
Rex Ryan’s Bills are going to be on the outside looking in come playoff time yet again (barring a miracle).Mike McCoy failed to get the job done in San Diego. John Fox isn’t proving to be too cunning in Chi-town, injuries notwithstanding. And Hue Jackson is on his way to a winless season in his first year with the Browns.
Will any or all of them be looking for work come the New Year? Boris (BM) and I set the odds. We also take a look at the guys at the opposite end of the spectrum, i.e., the ones vying for Coach of the Year honors, plus the odds on the next Rams/Jaguars coaches, and the chances that one of the league’s longest-tenured bosses gets traded. (Yes, that can happen. It won’t. But it can.)
NFL Coach Props
Odds to be fired on or before “Black Monday” (Jan. 2, 2017):
Rex Ryan (Bills): 1/50
Todd Bowles (Jets): 1/4
Mike McCoy (Chargers): 6/5
John Fox (Bears): 3/2
Chip Kelly (49ers): 3/1
Marvin Lewis (Bengals): 5/1
Hue Jackson (Browns): 25/1
Reports are that Ryan’s walking papers have been signed, sealed and just need to be delivered. The rest of these coaches’ futures aren’t so certain. Todd Bowles’ Jets haven’t shown any fight down the stretch, with a lot of defensive stars regressing this year. Their unenviable QB position may not be his fault, but he hasn’t exactly handled it well either.
John Fox has his Bears playing a lot tougher down the stretch; but all these close situations have given him more opportunity to prove he is not a great game manager. Mike McCoy is in that boat too, but their job security may have as much to do with what their bosses think of this year’s coaching market.
Marvin Lewis is the second longest tenured coach in the league, but it’s not like the Bengals haven’t had plenty of chances to let him go. After seeing potential heirs like Jay Gruden, Mike Zimmer and Hue Jackson all move on to coaching jobs elsewhere, it’s tough to see Cincy going to an outside source for the next boss. Unless they really like Paul Guenther, Lewis may get another chance.
Speaking of Hue Jackson, going 0-14 (and likely 0-16) is a rare feat and one that would tend to get you fired. But the organization knew it was in for a long year and also knows it needs stability at the top.
Finally, Chip Kelly should be spared as Trent Baalke is ousted. Surely the next GM will want a lame-duck coach as the team endures another down season next year. – BM
Odds to win Coach of the Year:
Jack Del Rio (Raiders): 7/3
Jason Garrett (Cowboys): 5/2
Bill Belichick (Patriots): 3/1
Adam Gase (Dolphins): 9/1
Jim Caldwell (Lions): 12/1
It still feels like the Coach of the Year race is wide open, and a pair of losses or a pair of wins down the stretch could greatly shift the odds. But the top of the race has to start with three of the league’s best records. Dallas and Oakland are not just having great years, they’re also enjoying the type of huge turnaround that voters love.
Belichick is always in the debate, but this is one of those all-too-impressive years that voters can’t ignore. Not only did he masterfully navigate their first four games without Brady, but he has a banged up, pretty untalented team (by New England standards) that’s headed for the best record in football again.
Gase and Caldwell are also doing great things, but they’ll need to win out in order to get real consideration. – BM
Odds to be the next Rams coach:
Josh McDaniels (Patriots OC): 4/1
Kyle Shanahan (Falcons OC): 6/1
Jon Gruden (commentator, former Raiders/Bucs HC): 7/1
David Shaw (Stanford HC): 25/1
Jim Harbaugh (Michigan HC): 30/1
Pete Carroll (Seahawks HC): 49/1
This is LA. Glitz and glamor rules, and this team needs to maintain fan interest after a truly insipid return to So-Cal. They already tried to drum up that interest by saying Pete Carroll is a possibility for their coach hunt. One hurdle there: he’s already got a pretty sweet gig in Seattle.
Nonetheless, bank on the next coach being a commodity that the team can sell to fans, even if he’s not the best option long-term.
Josh McDaniels (Patriots OC) is almost a perfect candidate. You can sell him as a Bill Belichick understudy, and you’re also getting an offensive-minded coach who can work with Jared Goff.
The Shanahan family name still has a lot of cachet and Kyle did wonders with the Falcons’ attack this year.
There are some rumors that the Saints’ Sean Payton – arguably the best offensive coach around – could be traded to LA. But that’s not likely, as you’ll see in a separate set of odds, below.
Odds to be the next Jaguars coach:
Tom Coughlin (retired, former Jaguars/NYG HC): 4/1
Mike Smith (Buccaneers DC): 4/1
Jim Bob Cooter (Lions OC): 6/1
Josh McDaniels (Patriots OC): 8/1
Kyle Shanahan (Falcons OC): 8/1
Doug Marrone (Jaguars OL coach): 19/1
Various reports have basically penciled in both Coughlin and Smith. In all likelihood, this search is still pretty open. While the Jags woes under Bradley were largely on the defensive side of the ball, but that unit actually took steps forward this year and it’s the offense that’s sputtered. Like LA, the Jags might now be in the market for an offensive mind to either work with the once promising Blake Bortles, or just shift the Jaguar attack in a whole new direction.
Jim Bob Cooter’s name, alone, probably keeps him from getting the Rams job. That won’t be a hurdle he has to clear in Jacksonville.
McDaniels and Shanahan would both probably prefer the LA job. Jacksonville would be a nice consolation prize.
Odds Sean Payton is traded _____ in the 2017 offseason:
to LA: 15/1
to Indianapolis: 15/1
to San Francisco: 20/1
to San Diego: 45/1
to Jacksonville: 50/1
These “Sean Payton’s going to get traded!” rumors keep cropping up year after year. Yes, it’s possible for coaches to be traded. But the Saints will want something in return and no team will want to part with too much to acquire him, especially draft picks. So while Payton might be a good fit in LA, and would certainly be a marketable name for the team, don’t expect a deal to be swung. There are other coaching options available; there aren’t more draft picks just hanging around.
Odds Cleveland goes 0-16: 3/5
They’ve only got two more chances. They’re six-point home underdogs to the Chargers in Week 16 and they’re going to be massive, double-digit dogs to the Steelers in Pittsburgh the week after, unless the Steelers have already wrapped up the division and are resting, like, everybody.
Photo credit: Coalman767 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons