Yeah, we know it’s too early to start thinking about this, right? Well, not sure. It’s NEVER too early to talk about a coach being sacked.
Naturally something like this connected to a disappointing season on the part of the team involved. Naturally first-year coaches are going to be less likely to get the axe. But some of them may be wearing out their welcome.
Let’s take a look at some of the “contenders,” with their odds according to BetOnline.
VIC FANGIO, Denver Broncos (+500)
Is he a realistic candidate? I’d say so, and we did see a sense of urgency to win in the preseason. He’s made the decision to go with Teddy Bridgewater over Drew Lock at quarterback. Not sure whether the inability to make a better move in the off-season, or the decision to maintain some faith in Lock, will be determined to be an administrative failure, which would put John Elway on the hot seat.
Fangio came to the Mile High City as a defensive specialist, so that side of the ball needs to improve. But if there are signs of sloppy play – the Broncos led the league with 32 turnovers last year – they might pull the plug.
MIKE McCARTHY, Dallas Cowboys (+700)
My take is that this isn’t going to happen during the season unless something catastrophic happens,with a healthy Dallas roster. AND unless Dak Prescott turns on McCarthy the way Aaron Rodgers apparently did.
MATT NAGY, Chicago Bears (+750)
As pathetic as it was, the Bears did slip through to make the playoffs last season, in spite of themselves. How much patience management has with him may depend on how he handles the quarterback situation. Right now the plan is for veteran Andy Dalton to be the “bridge” over to rookie Justin Fields.
The problem with all this is that Dalton is rather immobile, and Fields is, well, a rookie. Last season we heard Nick Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP, talk about how he didn’t have enough time to execute the plays that were being called. Nagy was calling those plays, and later he ceded that control to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
Now things have been re-established. “I’m gonna be the one calling the plays this year,” says Nagy. So perhaps Lazor is not a convenient scapegoat. On the other hand, the presence of a rookie QB drafted in the first round may buy Nagy some time. Does he deserve it?
JON GRUDEN, Las Vegas Raiders (+1200 at BetOnline)
This is a low number. I just don’t see Gruden being fired, considering the size of his contract and the way owner Mark Davis chased him down. And if he’s fired, it’s not going to happen to him before anyone else.
DAVID CULLEY, Houston Texans (+1800)
Among the first-year head coaches, he comes in with the lowest number. He’s a long-time assistant who is 66 years old, and I just don’t see it. It is understood that Houston probably has the lowest level of personnel in the NFL,and then there is the DeShaun Watson situation to deal with. Yes, they will lose, and probably lose big, but a lot of that is because management has been dumping players and trying to build some room under the cap. At the same time, they have decided to retain Watson, even though they don’t know if he can play. You can’t scapegoat Culley for all this.
ZAC TAYLOR, Cincinnati Bengals (+850)
This could be my guy. Yes, I know the Bengals don’t necessarily fit the profile for this, considering the amount of patience they showed with Marvin Lewis. But they have a lot of money invested in Joe Burrow, and he hasn’t gotten through a full NFL season.
If his development is stunted somehow under Taylor, who is supposed to be a quarterback “guru,” it’s going to be a major concern. There were reports last season about how unhappy a number of Cincinnati players were with Taylor. They didn’t like him, they didn’t respect him, they didn’t like some of the things he said to them in practice – perhaps with some racial overtones. In this day and age, that kind of discontent can have more of an effect than it used to.
Obviously,if the Bengals are winning, that could change. But will they win, in a division with Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore? Hmmmm.
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