Around the NFL for Wile Card week.

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The Coaching carousel spins.

Redskins—Zorn is gone. Former Denver coach Shanahan is in and has total power. See there is not a “no win” policy in Washington. Shanahan is smart and will get a lot more out of the talent that is there. The biggest problems with the Redskins are the O line and QB. The D is solid but has suffered because it has been on the field nearly 40 minutes a game. Shanahan will get the running game going and will move on from QB Campbell soup can.

Browns—Mangenous is still there. Browns Pres. Holmgren announced today that Mangini and his minions will be given one more season. Most observers had hoped that the team would at least demote or fire OC Daboll because he was clearly over his head in that spot. Holmgren is an offensive coach and all the Browns fans can hope is that the he will be puppet master calling the shots for the O.

There are a couple of things going on here that made that decision reasonable. First, there is a 75% chance that there will be no NFL football in 2011. For all the reasons I have published here months ago, there will be no agreement in time to prevent an uncapped year in 2010 and little chance that the two sides will agree to a deal before the drop dead date early in 2011.

The second reason is that I believe the rumors that have Jon “Chuckie” Gruden joining the team after football returns as head coach of the Browns. I would love that combination. I believe it would finally turn the team around. Both Holmgren and Gruden realize what a big job this is going to be. But both thrive in turn around jobs.

Steelers—The staff of coach Tomlin is paying the price for the team not making the playoffs. OL coach Zierlein and not so special teams coach Ligashesky have been fired. This is a move to take some heat off the HC chair. If the team comes around next season, Tomlin will keep his job. If not he will be the next one to get the pink slip out of Steel town.

Giants—O line coach Waufle was fired yesterday. The O line was one of the best in the league in 08 but disintegrated in 09. It caused QB Manning to run for his life on almost every play. The way the team rolled over and died late in the season, the O line is not the only problem. Look for more changes in the Big Apple.

Bears—The Bears fired OL Luke Butkus and quality control/wr assistant coach London. The problem on the O line was age not coaching. OT Williams was the only top 3 round pick in the last 6 years for the team. C Kreutz is a year past serviceable, Gs Garza and Omiyale are “never was” guys that are below starting quality and RT Shaffer is a journeyman. The WR problem is lack of WRs. The combination of Bennett, Davis and Hester don’t equal one #1 NFL quality guy.

Chiefs—Kansas City is trying to become “Patriots West.” As I have written before the only way that coach Haley saved his job was to bring experienced coordinators in like training wheels on a bike. Former ND and Pat OC Weis has been named OC. Look for current DC Pendergast to be the next causality. There are rumors that ex-Brown coach Crennel will be named DC. That might give Haley enough experience on his staff to make up for his lack of it.

The INs and the OUTs.

INs

Jets—The Jets got REALLY lucky being scheduled in their last 2 games against two teams that had already clinched their playoff position. The Jets won those games and they are in. They are playing a little better than they were earlier in the year but you can’t go far with a rookie QB at the helm unless you come from Pittsburg.

Ravens—The Birds won the games they were supposed to win to get WC spot. They are matched up against the Pats and that should be a great game.

Cowboys—Who says threats don’t work to motivate players and coaches? JJ threatened to blow up the team and start over if they missed the playoffs and the team responded. They beat the Eagles easily to win the NFC East. Let’s see how far they go. They will meet the Birds again in the Wild Card round.

Packers—The Pack beat the Cards easily and that will be the Wild Card game. The Cards rested a number of players that were nicked up. They will play this weekend.

The OUTS

Broncos—After a 6-0 start, the team disintegrated going 2-8 and failed to make the playoffs. It was only the 2nd team since the playoffs were expanded to 12 team to go 6-0 and not make the big dance. The problem is the head coach. He ticked off his all pro QB Cutler so badly that he was forced to trade him. Then he benched his all pro WR Marshall twice losing all those games. McD is not qualified to be head coach of a peewee team.

Texans—This team is just not talented enough to be much over .500. They have had some good drafts in the early picks but not enough guys contributing from the middle and late rounds to get over the hump.

Dolphins—One of my readers asked why I didn’t talk more about the Dolphins. Here you are. The Fish amazed everyone in 2008 going from the 1st overall draft pick to the AFC East championship. This year they were scheduled against other playoff teams and that and key injuries to their QB and RB proved to be too much to get to the playoffs for a 2nd year in a row. They are a really good team that has found their QB of the future in Henne.

Steelers—A Steeler team that can’t run the ball won’t make the playoffs. They are going to have to solve the O line problems to both protect the QB and create holes for the RBs. Their D missed Polamalu most of the season. The D has become far too dependent on him to correct mistakes that the other players make.

Giants—A combination of injuries and guys getting old in a hurry killed their chances for the playoffs. This team will be reworked in a big way in the off season.

Falcons—This team was another surprise in 08 that failed to make the dance in 09. They are getting better but had a lot of injuries that hurt its chances of making the post season.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What did we learn from week 14 in the NFL?

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The Steelers are really bad.

Losing to the injury depleted Browns was the last straw for the Steelers’ attempt to defend their Super Bowl title. The team started off 6-2 but after 5 straight losses are now 6-7 and done. The O line has totally failed to protect QB Roethlisberger who has suffered from concussions. On Thursday it allowed 8 sacks to a Browns’ D that couldn’t find one at a Kroger grocery store. The line is also struggling to open holes for the running game. The most surprising thing was a duct-taped D was more physical than the Steelers on O. The O line has deteriorated badly and has been neglected in the draft. There will be major changes on the line next season.

The Pit D hasn’t stepped up either. They are soft against the run and are not able to cause turnovers the way they did last year. No matter how the last 3 games turn out, there will be major changes on the D as well.

Things are getting so bad that there are rumblings that Coach Tomlin may be part of the problem. Can it be that he has already lost the support of the team in just his 3rd year? That is possible so you can add his name to the slightly warm seat list.

Did the win against the Steelers save Mangini’s job?

After the big win in Cleveland, there has been some talk around town that the win might save Magenous’ job. The issue is still open depending on what happens in the next 3 games. We have seen a national game win before. Last year a 1-3 Browns team beat the undefeated Giants. That Browns team went on to win 2 more games the rest of the way. To see my entire article on this check out NflDraftDog.com.

The Colts and the Saints stay perfect.

The Saints game wasn’t pretty but they came back and won. The Colts looked good wiping out the Broncos. Both face interesting games this week. The Saints host the Pats and the Colts go to Jacksonville that is still in a position to get to the playoffs.

The Broncos are falling and they won’t get up.

Denver lost last week and they will not make the playoffs. After a 6-0 start they have gone 2-5 and are now 2+ games behind the hot Chargers. Their only 2 wins were against the lousy Chiefs and the broken Giants. They are still 1 game up on the rest of the Wild card group but have a tough schedule down the stretch. So much for the Coach of the Year award for McDaniels.

The Bengals are who we thought they were.

The team is a lot better but has not yet gotten to the point where they can win a big game. They may be better prepared by playoff time but I don’t expect them to go too deep this year. But watch out next season because this team could be really good next year.

The Cardinals need to improve their O line before they get Warner hurt more.

We have seen what happens to the team when Warner is out and it isn’t pretty. The O line is terrible. It made no difference if the 49ers blitzed or not because they got to Warner either way.

The Dolphins took a big step toward a wild card or more.

The win over the Jags was big because it knocked Jacksonville out of the playoff spot as of now and put them in the 6th spot. Now they are looking at the Division lead currently held by the Pats. The Pats would have been in a tough spot had they lost to the Panthers but pulled out the win. The Fish have both Pit and the Titans left which is a tougher run than the Pats with the Jags and Bills left. Both teams will play the Texans. If the Fish make the post season they will have earned it.

Look for the Eagles to win the NFC Least.

The Cowboys took a major hit with their loss to the Chargers. With the wins over the Giants the Birds took control of their division. The Giants chances are on life support. The Boys have a heartbeat but need a pacemaker badly to keep going. The Eagles can end the Boy’s chances and Phillips coaching career by beating them in week 17.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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