The only things that are certain are death, taxes and NFL Coaching changes.

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The teams that have already fired the HC:

Cowboys – The Boys will most likely stay with Interim Head Coach (IHC) Garrett. The team has played much better under Garrett than under Phillips. However, owner Jones would love to get a big name guy but none of them will take the job because of Jones history of interference with the day to day operations of the team.

Vikings – IHC Frazier is 50/50 to keep his job in 2011. The team has not improved much after the change but Frazier has had a lot of issues to work through. While the team is talented, it is older and the window on the Vikes getting to a Super Bowl is closing fast.

Broncos – IHC Studesville is not likely to be the 2011 HC. He has been a RB coach for most of his career. Because of the debacle that Owner Bowlen caused by hiring the badly over matched McDaniels, the Broncos need a name brand with HC experience. He is not likely to get the “big 2” (Gruden and Cowher) and will probably have to settle with someone like Kubiak.

The teams that will have coaching changes:

Panthers – HC Fox’s contract expires at the end of the year and he has been told it will not be extended. However Fox has a good enough rep that he will get another HC job very soon. The Panthers are a fairly attractive team with the 1st pick (IF Stanford QB Luck comes out) and some quality pieces. But it is several years away from contending.

49ers – HC Singletary got the job as an IHC but the team never came around for him. Frankly most of the problem is lack of talent. QB Alex Smith, a former 1st overall pick, has been a large part of the lack of production. High draft picks have failed to produce on both the O and D lines. But except for QB, this team has some great players like RB Gore, WR Crabtree and LB Willis.

Texans – This team under HC Kubiak has been the pick for the last 4 years to unseat the Colts in the AFC South. It has not happened. After a couple of 8-8 seasons, the wheels came off this year. The team has a solid O but the D is filled with high picks that have not developed. It is attractive because it is young and has some talent. It is also in a division that is rebuilding with the Colts window closing and the Titans and Panthers getting new coaches this year.

Titans – HC Fisher’s contract expires and there will be a new HC here next year. The problem has been more a difference of opinion between the Owner Adams and Fisher. Adams wants QB Young to be the guy but Young and the HC do not get along at all. Fisher will be hired by another team immediately if he is not extended by the Titans.

Bengals – HC Lewis is history. The Bengals won the Division by sweeping the games within it. This year they have won only 3 games. Lewis will get a job elsewhere as a DC but not as a HC. Mike Brown is going to have a real problem bring in a top prospect because of the history of this franchise. In addition, the entire team is going to be blown up particularly on O. It is a L O N G way from being competitive.

Browns – HC Mangini will be history at the end of the season unless Pres. Holmgren can’t get a name brand. The team has regressed this year despite having gotten a steal at QB with McCoy in the 3rd round. The most likely to replace him is Holmgren as HC or Gruden if the team can sign him.

Teams that will possibly fire their coaches:

Chargers – HC Turner will have to not only make the playoffs but get past the 1st round or 2 to keep his job. The team has always started slowly under Turner and this year has stumbled late in the season.

Raiders – The team is improved at 7-7 but HC Cable may still get the boot if for no other reason than Al Davis is still running the operation. Anything is possible

Dolphins – The team has regressed under HC Sparano this year. The players are not preforming up to their draft projections. QB Henne is seen now as a bust as was QB Beck, WR Ginn and other first and second round picks by GM Ireland. The recent losses combined with the mention of Miami by Cowher as a job he was interested in has destabilized the Dolphin situation. At this point I estimate there is only a 50% chance there will be changes in Miami. However, it is one to watch.

Redskins – There are serious problems between the Owner Snyder and HC Shanahan. Snyder brought QB McNabb in and the coach benched him. Snyder gave him an extension then the HC told him he would not play the rest of the year. The same thing happened with DT Haynesworth. Snyder traded for him, the coach refused to play him. The Owner gave him a huge roster bonus but he seldom got on the field. Battles between a coach and the owner always end one way–the HC gets canned. It may not happen this year but this is a situation to watch.

Giants – HC Coughlin is not on the hot seat yet but after the D allowed the comeback against the hated Eagles, the seat did get a little warmer. Another factor is former Steeler Coach Cowher saying that job would be one he would seriously consider. If the Giants don’t make the playoffs, Coughlin’s seat will get a lot warmer.

Chiefs – There are rumors of a possible change in KC not despite the team’s turnaround but because of it. Last year this same team under HC Haley went 4-12. This year with 2 quality coordinators, the team is 9-5. I hear that ownership is wondering if Haley was ready. Another problem seems to be the difference between 2 coordinators coming from the Belichick tree and HC Haley being a Parcells guy. I am hearing that the coordinators feel like they are carrying an unprepared HC.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org.

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Dallas needs a new head coach to get to the next level

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I live at a lake. I see people fall off their jet skies all the time. The craft just goes around in a circle. That is what has happened to the Cowboys. They have not won a playoff game since Romo was in high school. Without a coach in control of a pro team, the franchise will not advance.

The reason that Wade Phillips is still the coach must be that Jerry Jones wants to surround himself with lackeys. We know that Jones knows a coach when he sees one because he has had a couple of the best in the history of the game. So why Phillips? Because Jones wants to be “the” star of stars in Dallas. Phillips couldn’t be a star in a basketball league of 5 year olds.

QB Tony Romo is more of a pop culture star than an NFL star. He seems to lack the discipline to move from good to great. Can you imagine him lacking discipline in a Bill Cowher or Bill Belichick locker room? Romo has “weak-itis.” He rolls up big numbers against the weak teams but folds in the big games in the 4th quarter when it counts the most. That in part has prevented the Cowboys from getting to the Super Bowl. Experienced QB John Kitna is now the backup and have drafted the QB of the future in Rudy Carpenter. The future may be sooner rather than later if Romo doesn’t play better this year.

The Boys took the “excuse” of Terrell Ownes away. But in doing that, they also took the best WR on the team away as well. What the Boys are left with are two “maybe’s.” The starters are Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton. Williams has yet to prove he can be the #1 guy. Crayton will make an unbelievable catch then drop two easy ones. He also has difficulty getting open. The bench consists of Miles Austin, Sam Hurd and a group of rejects and newbies.

The one guy that Romo can count on is all pro TE Jason Witten. He is consistent, tough, and seems to always be open. 6-7 Martellus Bennett is his backup.

The Boys might be better off being a run first team. They are loaded at RB. Marion Barber is a top back and Felix Jones isn’t far behind. Add to that Tashard Choice and Keon Lattimore and you have a stable of very good RBs.

Three starters on the O line are fine. G Leonard Davis and C Andre Gurode should be probowl players again. RT Marc Colombo is OK and can be good if he applies himself. The left side of the line is the potential problem. G Kyle Kosier is coming off of an injury in his foot. LT Flozell Adams is no where close to what he was and seemed to get old in a hurry. He needs to be replaced this year but there is no replacement on hand. He will be gone next season for sure.

On the D line, the questions are at end. LE Marcus Spears has shown flashes of great ability but is consistently inconsistent. He is in the final year of his deal and will produce or move on. Ex-Charger Igor Olshansky replaces UFA Chris Canty. Igor is average at best but there is no quality depth. The NT is pro bowler Jay Ratliff. He collapses the pocket and had 7.5 sacks last year. He needs help at E. His backup will be Junior Siavii orTim Anderson.

The backers include sack master DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer who replaces Greg Ellis and is questionable. ILB Keith Brookings is fine and fellow ILB Bradie James is adequate but a little old. The depth is very suspect.

The only solid player in the secondary is CB Terence Newman. His running mate will be either Mike Jenkins or Orlando Scandrick neither of whom has proven himself. The safeties are Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh. Hamlin fell off last year and needs to rebound. Sensabaugh replaces Roy Williams who was a nightmare in coverage. There is little behind the starters but potential.

OVERLL: Teams that put a lot of their salary cap in a few players will always lack quality depth. That has hurt the Cowboys in the past. The biggest reason that they will not make it to the Super Bowl in 09 is lack of both preparation and discipline. The team commits penalties at crunch time then makes key mistakes that keeps them from challenging for a title. Sooner or later even Jerry Jones has to realize that Wade Phillips is not up to the job.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Cowboys,Jones,Phillips,Super Bowl,NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Romo,Belichick,Cowher,Ownes,Witten,Crayton,Ware,Williams,Hamlin
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  • Published: Dec 31st, 2008
  • Category: NFL Football
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Before you fire your head coach…

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Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher at ...

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher at the White House- Cropped from original image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Bill Smith

There are a lot more open coaching positions in the NFL than there are qualified candidates. On average, about 8 of the 32 coaches are fired every year. Last year only 6 got the ax so you can look for a few more before too long.

NFL stands for “Not For Long” as far as coaches and players are concerned. “Mangenious” last year turned into one of the dismissed coaches this year after the Jets jettisoned Eric Mangini and his staff. Team management totally ignored the fact that the problem this year was the QB Bret Favre and that was a move that Mangini did not support. He also did not support the release of QB Chad Pennington. Farve did not at all fit the Mangini system which was ball control/low turnovers. Pennington doesn’t have the arm to throw deep but that is not part of the Mangini offense. If management had done the right thing, it would have fired itself. Don’t hold your breath for that.

Management faces a huge problem when the expectations far exceed the results. Just before the fans form a mob and storm the castle with burning torches, the management decides to throw the head coach out the 8th story window. They do that in hopes that the act placates the mob below. But the mob will just move out of the way of the falling bodies and continue to charge. Usually however, the problem is not the coach but the lack of talent that management has collected. But you can’t fire a whole team—can you?

The question is do you take the hot coordinator flavor of the month and hope (and if you are the GM pray) he develops into a Bill Cowher or do you hire a formerly fired head coach and hope the second, third or in some cases sixth time is the charm that turns him into the next genius. Then there is the option of selecting the hot college head coach. Each of the approaches have worked great in some cases and failed miserably in others.

For those that take the coordinator of the month path. While former assistant coach hires John Harbaugh (Baltimore) and Mike Smith (Atlanta) might have worked out well, I remind you that Romeo Crennel was the hottest coordinator in the market just 4 years ago. That certainly worked out great for the Browns, didn’t it?

Retreads usually don’t work out either. Bill Belichick that learned by driving the Browns into the ground and then turned genius in New England. For every Bilichick there are dozens of second time around failures. Most coaches were fired for losing. Since the team that fires a coach is already good at that, why would they want to hire someone that lost someplace before?

Then there are the college coaches. Few college coaches bring the credentials that Butch Davis brought to Cleveland. As defensive coordinator in Dallas, he contributed to the championships won under head coach Jimmy Johnson. At Miami he turned around a program under NCAA sanction and laid the basis for a national championship under his successor Larry Coker. Even with all that, he failed miserably at Cleveland. It was so bad he quit with 5 games left in the 2004 season. College coach Bobby Petrino was hired by the Falcons and things went down hill so fast he didn’t last an entire season. He quit after 13 games.

So what is a beleaguered GM to do? There are a few—very few—coaches out there that left on their own. The name that everyone wants is Bill Cowher. But he isn’t excited about giving up a reportedly 2 million a year TV gig that takes less than 30 days of his time. The second most sought after guy is Mike Shanahan who was just fired from Denver. He was really good at coaching but picking players—not so much. Mike Holmgren agreed to retire after the 08 season but is having “Favre-like second thoughts.” Seattle has moved on so he is a good choice for someone. He also had the GM function there and may be looking more for a GM job, his weakness, rather than a coaching job, his strength. Mike, stick with what you do best!

Marty Schottenheimer is available after being drummed out of San Diego and he has won everywhere he has been. But with him there is that playoff game problem. He just can’t seem to win enough to get to the Super Bowl. Other retreads looking for a second or third chance include former Raven Brian Billick, and former 49er coach Mike Nolan. Former Rams head coach Mike Martz is available after being fired by SF from his offensive coordinator job. Anyone that hires him better be really deep at QB because his system tends to use them up like facial tissue. Reports about former Giant HC Jim Fassel indicate he is so desperate he would consider the Oakland job if it comes open.

There are several hot prospects from the coordinator group including Jet assistant head coach Bill Callahan, Brian Schottenheimer the Jet OC, New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and Cowboy offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (I thought he was the coach in waiting for the Cowboys).

Here is a hint for those owners that want a yes man as head coach. Call Jerry Jones. He will trade you Wade Phillips for a future draft choice and a player…. Well you had better talk to him.

That’s what I think. Tell us what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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