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 His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

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  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 26th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving—The NFL Provides the Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving—The NFL Provides the Turkeys

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Happy Thanksgiving to all.

What we learned from last week.

QB Vince Young has turned the corner—Not yet.

Looking at the 4 straight wins of the Titans, many would assume that Young is now an NFL quality QB. Young has given the O a shot in the butt however it is more from his ability or his threat to run than from his passing. Against the Texans he had 116 yards passing.

He has improved his mechanics. His footwork is much better. He is planting his feet before he throws and is not throwing as often off his back foot. That has improved his accuracy. He has been over 50% in every game and over 60% completions in two.

Unless he continues to improve his passing, defenses will adjust to the Young led O and stop this version of the team as well.

The Browns find their O but have lost their D—Not yet.

You and I could move the ball against the Lions even if you were having a bad day. The O of the Browns Sunday means nothing. However, we did see indications that QB Quinn can throw deep but he must work on accuracy.

The Bengals will play up to their competition or down to the Raiders.

This is a team that is just starting to learn how to win again after being the joke of the NFL. It will take them a couple of years to get used to putting their foot on the throat of a weak opponent and winning the game.

The Turkeys served up by the NFL

GB @ DT – UCH! Forget the tradition. Detroit won’t be a competitive team any time soon. Put some team in that won’t make us lose our dinner.

OK @ DA Couldn’t the NFL have found a more accomplished team to match against the Boys than the Al Davises?

NYG @ DV The Broncos are hanging on for dear life and the Giants D will force them further down into the muck. Giants win even without a running game.

Indy @ HO This is the last chance for the Texans to prove they are better than a 500 team. To do that they have to beat the Colts. They are not better than a 500 team. They will lose and end up with a new coach next season.

PT @ BA This is the battle of reserves because these teams are really beaten up. The Steelers called me early this week asking if I would play backup QB because Roethlisberger was banged up last week and Batch was out with a bad wrist. They also could be missing S Polamalu and G Kemoeatu.

The Ravens will also be struggling with injuries to C Birk, LB Lewis and S Reed. Look for the Steelers to win IF big Ben plays.

Game of the Week—NE @ NO The Saints get the first real test of the season. The key will be how well a bad Pat D backfield deals with the passing of Brees. The Saints should win but this is the type of game that the Pats seem to steal.

Stinker of the Week—SE @ STL Ram QB Bulger is hurt and the O line is not good enough to create running lanes against air. Seattle is no gift to football fans.

Please take a moment this holiday to think about those that are on the other side of world risking their lives to make us safe. May the men and women of our military stay safe.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

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  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 7th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The problem with the Raiders is Al Davis not the QB.

The problem with the Raiders is Al Davis not the QB.

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The Raiders are the closest thing there is to a minor league in the NFL. It has become the black hole where players are forced to go to have their careers die. Al Davis couldn’t organize a 2 car funeral procession let alone run an NFL team. It wasn’t always that way. When the Raiders won regularly, they had head coaches that would stand up to Davis. Now no one with a brain is allowed to work for the team.

QB JaMarcus Russell just got the worst situation possible—a lack of ability to process information fast enough to be effective and Jeff Garcia as the backup QB who will do everything possible to undermine him. Russell is a thrower not a QB. He has never mastered the playbook and has the passing touch of a 100,000 pound sledge hammer. The organization is hoping that Russell’s last few almost decent games last year marks a turnaround in his career. Don’t bet on it. There is no way that he can lead a team to a winning record let alone a division title. Garcia is capable of starting but not winning. He has proven that in Cleveland. But he would be much more productive than Russell.

The running back group is very deep and talented. But as usual, the team will start the wrong guy. The flashy Darren McFadden will start if he is healthy. In my opinion he is not capable of being a 250 carry back in the NFL. RB Justin Fargas is a better 3rd down back and RB Michael Bush could be a star despite the steel in his leg. FB Lorenzo Neal is well down on the back side of his career but still can blow a LB off the line. This group will have to carry the load because with Russell at QB they are going to face a lot of 2nd and 10.

The WR group is a microcosm of what is wrong with the team. The starters are Johnnie Lee Higgins and Chaz Schilens. WHO? They both played last year but are not likely to make anyone’s fantasy draft list. The Raiders drafted the super fast Darrius Heyward-Bey in hopes that not even Russell could over throw him. The question is an Bey catch. He has suffered through periods of dropsy. Javon Walker is around but has yet to be healthy since signing with the team.

Beside former top draft pick G Robert Gallery the O line consists of 4 maybe’s. LT Mario Henderson played OK down the stretch. Maybe he will be OK this year. C Samson Satele started for Miami and came to the Raiders as a UFA. Maybe he will fit into the zone blocking scheme. After a fair 07 RG Cooper Carlisle’s performance fell off badly in 08. Maybe he will return to his 07 form. Ts Erik Pears and Khalif Barnes are the only backups of note.

The Raiders D line is in a little better shape. Vet DE Greg Ellis adds some pass rush to the team but Davis was forced to trade disgruntled DE Derrick Burgess to the Pats. DE Jay Richardson looks like he is starting to get it. NT Gerard Warren and DT Tommy Kelly both have talent but are the classic definition of inconsistent play. Rookie DE Trevor Scott had 5 sacks playing part time. The group is going to have to put more pressure on opponent QBs if the defense is going to improve.

The linebackers are fast and athletic. That is good because they need the speed to make up for false steps. WLB Thomas Howard and MLB Kirk Morrison are secure but SLB Jon Alston will face competition for his spot from last year starter Ricky Brown. Howard is a potential star but needs to be better at reading plays. Morrison moved from the outside to the middle. He struggles getting off blockers.

RCB Nnamdi Asomugha is a top player. The Raiders resigned him. LCB Chris Johnson is just OK but will get a lot of action because teams stay away from Asomugha. SS Tyvon Branch and FS Hiram Eugene have the physical tools but have yet to prove they can use them. They will have to grow up fast if the team expects to improve.

OVERALL: This is a bad team and is getting worse not better. Because of Davis, the team starts the wrong guys in too many positions. Free agents have been willing to come to Oakland only when they had no place else to go. The drafts are bereft of real potential stars and have been for a few years. The tag line of this team has always been “Just Win Baby.” There won’t be much of that in 09.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

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AFC Draft winners and losers

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By Bill Smith

NOTE: The NFC winners and losers will be discussed tomorrow.

We all know that it is impossible to really know how a draft of any particular team will work out until 3 to 5 years after the fact. So, ignoring that truth, let’s look at the preliminary score card because everyone else will be doing it.


Jets: New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum should be investigated for theft after he picked the pocket of the Browns to get QB Mark Sanchez (USC). They gave only a first and a second round pick along with 3 journeyman players. If those guys start for the Browns, it is only because they were Jets. Shonn Greene (RB Iowa) was a value in the third round. Grade A+

Chargers: SD got some solid values with the best player in the draft Aaron Curry (ILB Wake Forest) with the 3rd pick, my favorite center Max Unger (OC Oregon) in the second and one of my sleepers, Nick Reed (ILB Oregon) in the 7th. Grade A-

Pats: The Pats got quantity picking 11 players but also got good value with their second picks of Ron Brace (DT Boston College) and Darius Butler (CB Connecticut) to go with their later picks of Brandon Tate (WR North Carolina) in the 3rd round. I really liked Myron Pryor (DT Kentucky) in the 6th round who should develop into a starter. Grade A-

Jags: The Jags got their replacement tackles with their first two picks. Jarett Dillard (WR Rice) is a nice pick (and one of my sleepers) but the 2nd round was a touch early. Rashad Jennings (RB Liberty) was a steal in the 7th round and is this years Brandon Jacobs. Grade B

Bengals: WHAT? That’s right. I’m concerned about Andre Smith (OT Alabama). Odds are good he may eat his way out of the league. But Rey Maualuga (ILB USC), Chase Coffman (TE Missouri) and Jonathan Luigs (OC Arkansas) were excellent values and good players. Michael Johnson (DT Georgia Tech) has top 5 physical ability but needs to have a fire build under his more than ample rear end. The 6th round pick Morgan Trent (CB Michigan) was one of my sleepers and was a steal. Grade B


Texans: Their biggest need was a DT but they went LB with their first 2 picks. They seemed to reach for players a round before they should have been picked. Grade D

Raiders: Al Davis gets an A for the the last half of the draft but the F for the first half outweighs it. He waisted a 2nd round pick on a 6th round CB and got the 3rd best WR with the 7th overall pick. He did take 2 of my sleepers later with Matt Shaughnessy (DE Wisconsin) in the 3rd and Sulak, Stryker (DE Missouri) in the 6th. Grade D

Broncos: They didn’t have a bad draft but lost a franchise QB and did not replace him. Grade D-

Browns: The lack of experience of GM George Kokinis showed in the trades that he made. He failed to get anything close to value in any of the trades down. The Jets were willing to give a 1 in 2010 in addition to the 09 picks but Kokinis took stiffs instead. He also failed to get value in trading down twice. The first deal from 17 to 19 should have brought a 4th round pick but he got a 6th. The trade down from 19 to 21 should have brought a 5th at least but again he got only a 6th. Then they drafted Alex Mack (OC California) with the 21st pick. Mack or another C like him would have been available in the 2nd round. Grade F-

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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The Raiders signing QB Jeff Garcia was a mistake.

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Fryingpan Sports

The Raiders signing QB Jeff Garcia was a mistake.


By Bill Smith

What has held the Raiders back for the last few years? No, I mean beside having Al Davis calling the personnel decisions! It has been the lack of development of QB JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders signed QB Jeff Garcia this week to a one year contract. Garcia is exactly the wrong guy to bring in where a young QB is struggling.

Garcia is not someone that will help develop a young QB. In fact, he will likely retard the development of Russell just by being in the locker room.

IF Garcia is the starter, he will totally ignore Russell. Garcia was a Brown in 2004 when the team had a young QB Kelly Holcomb on the roster. Garcia was the starter and according to reports from several players on the team, Garcia refused to do anything to help develop Holcomb. Holcomb had potential but never developed the way he could have with a true mentor. Garcia could have provided that for him but the starter chose not to.

Garcia was not the only thing that prevented Holcomb’s development but it was a contributing factor. The lack of quality coaching and a decent front line had a lot to do with it as well.

But Garcia is going to be the backup to Russell. That is worse for Russell’s development. Bet on Garcia doing everything he can do to split the locker room and reduce Russell’s chances for success. The reason that Garcia accepted a minimum contract is that he felt that Russell had a better than average chance to fail. That would make Garcia the starter.

Davis wants Russell to succeed. That is the only thing that is going to justify Davis’ picking Russell with his first pick. Russell has a ton of physical ability. Up to now, he has lacked the work ethic to turn potential into performance. Former head coach Lane Kiffin tried to convince Davis that Russell was a bust. That was one of the things that got Kiffin fired.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel for the Raiders and for once it isn’t an on coming train. In an interview at the owner’s meeting, head coach Tom Cable agreed that QB JaMarcus Russell needs to develop a stronger work ethic in order to become an elite quarterback.

He said “If he (Russell) can accept the responsibility of being an NFL quarterback, I think that’s working more, working harder, working longer than everybody else, accepting the responsibility that his teammates look to him as the face of the organization, that he has to go above and beyond almost on a daily basis…if he can accept that and become that, he’ll be fine. He’ll be great, I think. Has he done that? I think during the last six weeks he started to, during the season. I think thus far in the offseason he’s been around more than ever. He was never around like this on his own, just watching tape, studying, so that’s a step in the right direction. I think he has to embrace that, though, for him to be what he should be.”

Now Russell has another problem—Garcia working behind his back. Good luck with that JaMarcus! You’ll need it.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NFL,Raiders,Garcia,Russell,Davis,Holcomb,Kiffin,Browns,Cable,nfl draft

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