Black Monday In The NFL
What Will Happen to These NFL Teams?
With the NFL regular season in the books, the Monday preceding the final week of the season is known as "Black Monday." The term refers to the teams that decide to part ways with their coach. In this case, many teams decided to move on from their respected, or in some cases, unrespected teams.
The Bears, Vikings, and Dolphins fired their head coaches the Monday after week 18; the Broncos said goodbye to Vic Fangio following their game on Saturday; while the Raiders and Jaguars fired their head coaches in the middle of the season.
As you can see, there is a lot to piece together. From the Jags, who are a mess, to teams like the Dolphins and the Vikings, who have some talent, it'll be interesting to see what these teams end up doing in regards to a coaching hire.
Regular Season: 6-11
Fired Head Coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace
I'm pretty everyone who follows the NFL saw this fire coming from the beginning. It's kind of hard to believe that in his first season with the team back in 2018, he won the Coach of the Year and took his team to the playoffs. Since then, it has all gone downhill, as he only made the playoffs one more time, and the opposing teams caught on to Nagy's predictable play-calling pretty quickly. If you ask Chicago fans, they would probably say that this firing should've happened a while ago.
They fired GM Ryan Pace too, who took QB Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick in 2018. The 2018 Draft also consisted of a guy named Patrick Mahomes, who went tenth in the draft by Kansas City, and I don't need to tell you how his career is going.
As one might suggest, Chicago fans are thrilled to be going through yet another fresh start. It'll be interesting to see which route they decide to go at head coach. The Bears should be looking for a coach that develops young QBs. The icing on the cake with Nagy's firing was the lack of development in Justin Fields. Yes, he had dashes greatness his rookie year, but when they brought him out against Cleveland, they had no idea what to do with him. I think they should be looking at a coach that can turn Fields into a solid NFL starter. Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy and former Eagles HC Doug Peterson are also some possibilities. However, I've heard another name as a possible NFL head coach: Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh. Although he's currently a college coach, he previously coached in the NFL. He led the Niners to an NFC Championship appearance in 2011, only to follow that up with a Super Bowl appearance the following season. Oh, and Harbaugh played QB for the Bears from 1987 to 1993.
Regular Season: 8-9
Fired Head Coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman
Like Nagy, many people saw the Zimmer firing as a possibility at the beginning of the season. The Vikings have always hovered just above or below the state of mediocrity for many seasons. I'm not saying that Zimmer is a lousy coach. I think Mike Zimmer is a great coach, and he should be considered for another head coaching job this season or in other seasons to come. I think the Vikings needed a fresh start, so firing their head coach and general manager was something the Vikings front office felt necessary.
With Zimmer and Spielman gone, it'll be interesting to see which route they go in head coach and quarterback. If you look at the regular season QB statistics, Kirk Cousins ranks in the top ten in virtually every category. However, he's getting paid a boatload of money, and while he's put up good numbers over the years, the team's records over the years have said otherwise.
If they choose to keep Cousins, which I would assume they would, that will leave a stacked roster on offense; an enticing trait for a new head coach. I think they could go with an offensive-minded coach with a stout offense, but I think they could go with a defensive coach. A guy that fits the build is former Dolphins HC Brian Flores.
Regular Season: 9-8
Fired Head Coach Brian Flores
The fire came as a shock to many people, including myself, as the Dolphins decided to fire Brian Flores after three seasons with Miami. Flores is coming off a nine-win season, including his third-straight win over Bill Bellichick this past weekend. The Dolphins failed to reach the postseason in all three seasons Flores coached despite his success. His firing isn't because he was unable to make the playoffs. According to reports from the front office, Flores had difficulties interacting with certain individuals. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but according to Adam Schefter, Flores is one of the top candidates for a head coaching job, so we will see what happens next.
As for the Dolphins, they have to figure out some things with their quarterback situation. Tua Tagovailoa showed promise in his second season, and he seems destined for better things in years to come. Still, the Dolphins could be leaning towards potentially looking elsewhere at QB. As for the coaching situation, the Dolphins have a lot of depth on the defensive side with Xavien Howard and promising young talent on the offense, like rookie Jalen Waddle, who broke Anquan Bolden's rookie record for most receptions in a single season.
New York Giants
Regular Season: 4-13
Fired GM Dave Gettleman and Fired Head Coach Joe Judge
The New York Giants are quite the story; they fired GM Dave Gettleman this past Monday, and the future of Joe Judge is in the balance after a horrific showing in the final game. Two weeks ago, the front office clarified that they wanted to keep Judge for one more year. That was until Judge decided to call a QB sneak on third and nine from their nine-yard line in their loss to Washington last weekend. Now, the Giants haven't decided whether or not they will keep Judge for next season. If they do, they will most likely have another disappointing season. All eyes will be on who they hire for their next general manager. I'm not sure it can get any worse than Gettleman.
I'm just going to keep this all in here because I think it would be kind of funny. After writing this piece, news broke out that the Giants fired Joe Judge. I guess the QB Sneak worked, and he got fired. It seemed like he was asking for this to happen, but now the Giants have to find someone else to take the reigns as head coach. Hopefully, their GM search goes well because that guy will have to find a new coach.
Regular Season: 7-10
Fired Head Coach Vic Fangio
The Denver Broncos have struggled ever since Peyton Manning left Denver in 2015. Since Manning's Super Bowl farewell in 2015, the Broncos have failed to reach the postseason, including three lackluster seasons led by head coach Vic Fangio. Following their defeat against Kansas City, Denver fired Fangio after three seasons; I'm not sure Fangio had it in him as a head coach. He's a tremendous coordinator, as he led the Bears to much success in 2018 as the DC. In my opinion, he should look at possibly going in that direction.
I'm not sure what direction the Broncos will go at head coach. It all depends on what they decide to do on the offense. If I had to guess, Denver would look at possibly going after a QB or another playmaker on offense. From that, one would assume they'd go after an offensive-minded head coach.
Regular Season: 3-14
Fired Head Coach Urban Meyer mid-season
By now, everyone is well aware of Urban Meyer's pleasant time in Jacksonville. After the lap dancing debacle, Meyer added insult to injury by failing to connect with the team, thus resulting in the decision to give him the boot; I'm not sure he'll ever coach again. The decision to keep GM Trent Baalke is bold, to say the least, as many Jags fans took it upon themselves to dress up as clowns with mustaches (the staches were to represent the owner, Shad Kahn) at their game against the Colts on Sunday.
As for the team, Meyer pretty much left the organization in shambles following his departure. After being the first overall pick in last year's draft, Trevor Lawrence showed no signs of development in his rookie season. To make matters worse, James Robinson, who had a remarkable rookie season in 2020, failed to get any production under Meyer and got injured in the second to last game of the season. For the Kahn family to earn the trust back in the city of Jacksonville, they have to find the right coach.
After all, the Jags have the number one overall pick from last year, and they hold this year's first pick as well. The Jags need to find someone who can develop a young QB like Lawrence. A guy like Doug Peterson would be great. Even though his time at Philly didn't finish smoothly, he still won a Super Bowl in 2017.
Las Vegas Raiders
Regular Season: 10-7
Fired Head Coach Jon Gruden mid-season
I just threw the Raiders in here because they don't have a bonified head coach. However, with the way Rich Bisaccia has led this team since taking over for Gruden, I think we could be looking at their new head coach. Not to mention, unlike the rest of these teams, their season is still going on. After beating the Chargers on Sunday night, they've earned a playoff spot and will play the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday in the AFC Wildcard round. The Raiders would undoubtedly be making a massive mistake if they didn't choose to bring Bisaccia as their new head coach.
Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake.
Follow him on Twitter @jake_klausner
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