Above Average Thoughts From An Average Guy
Former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenh…huh, not former? Wait…what?
As the Iowa Caucus kicks off an election year that will be in part a referendum on jobs, the NFL got a head start the last few days in their efforts at job creation. Several positions have become available over the past 48 hours—some surprising, some expected—while in some cases the bigger shocks have come from who is still employed. Here’s your official Black Monday and Charcoal Gray Tuesday roundup:
-In the biggest stunner of the day, the Colts decided to part ways with vice chairman Bill Polian (we’ll call him Polian Classic) and his son, general manager Chris (or New Polian). The news was met with cheers by both writers and readers of this site.
-After rising to prominence as the architect of a Giants defense whose stifling performance in Super Bowl 42 put the kibosh on the vaunted Patriots attempts at a 19-0 season, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was fired after amassing a measly 10-38 record in his three with the club. With Spagnuolo leaving town shortly after Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, that brings the total number of upsetting departures for the city of St. Louis to one.
-In addition, the Rams also fired general manager Billy Devaney. Despite his initial role as VP of Player Personnel and later general manager the past three seasons, Devaney has failed to parlay the Rams high draft picks (they picked in the top two from 2008-2010 and will do so once again in 2012) into an on-field improvement, never reversing the team’s dismal performance and downward trajectory in the seasons following the prosperous and fruitful Kurt Warner/Marshall Faulk era.
-The Bears have dismissed general manager Jerry Angelo after 11 seasons. The Bears appeared headed to a Wild Card berth this season until Jay Cutler’s injury and the hideous ineptitude of Caleb Hanie and the lack of a viable alternative at quarterback derailed their hopes. ESPNChicago.com reports that team president Ted Phillips said Monday’s firing of Bill Polian in Indianapolis played no part in his decision, which means it definitely played a part in his decision.
-The Bears weren’t done, also announcing the resignation of offensive coordinator Mike Martz. No word on where he and Roy Williams will sign with and later get fired from/cut by next.
-The Bills fired defensive coordinator George Edwards. Dave Wannstedt was named defensive coordinator in his place, because we almost went ten minutes without having Dave Wannstedt in our lives.
-The Vikings named Rick Spielman general manager, because we almost went ten minutes without having Rick Spielman in our lives.
-The Jets announced they will not fire offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who is scheduled to interview for the Jaguars’ head coaching vacancy. We can officially hand Brian Schottenheimer the Lane Kiffin/Chris Polian award for “Best Use of a Last Name to Keep Getting Yourself Unwarranted Promotions.” That, or Schotty has in his possession a new round of foot fetish videos. But unless there are some ungodly things done with a pinky toe, that still doesn’t justify this decision.
–Rex Ryan cried. And won’t name team captains anymore. And wants to take a bigger role in the offense. And didn’t think he had the pulse of the team. And made other words come out. And probably some other shit I wasn’t paying attention to as I focused on real teams that actually made the playoffs.
-Jerry Jones made clear that he will not be hiring a general manager to oversee day-to-day operations, thus creating his own axiom: “Crazy is doing the same thing over and over since repeated failure means it is due to eventually work out, right?”
-As if it weren’t already obvious, the Cowboys also decided not to fire head coach Rob Ryan Jason Garrett after the team’s annual December collapse.
–Carl Peterson is officially that relative you thought was just staying for a couple weeks and all of the sudden is getting mail delivered.
-Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien appears to be front-runner for the Penn State job. If the Nittany Lions were to hire him, O’Brien would join the likes of Eric Mangini, Josh McDaniels, Romeo Crennel, and Charlie Weis as branches of the Belichick coaching tree. Which, when you think about it, is a tree as sickly as the oaks at Toomey’s Corner.
-Titans coach Mike Munchak was also linked to the Penn State opening, but said he had no interest, meaning he definitely had interest.
-Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs’ strong showing down the stretch might actually mean he’ll have the interim tag removed. For what it’s worth, he presided over the only 10-win season since the Browns’ revival, he has a relationship with general manager Scott Pioli that will make things less contentious than they were under previous head coach Todd Haley, and his players like playing for him. On the downside, can he really compete in a division loaded with the likes of Tim Tebow, Carson Palmer, Norv Turner…oh wait, this would be a good move. RAC! RAC! RAC!
–Raheem Morris was axed by the Bucs. After spending first- and second-round draft picks on defensive linemen in consecutive drafts, Morris’s defense allowed 494 points this season—45 more than the next worst team. During the 10-game losing streak that closed their season, the Bucs allowed 35 or more points six times. Only St. Louis topped them as far as the league’s worst point differential. On offense, they watched promising quarterback Josh Freeman severely regress in his third season, going from 6 interceptions in 2010 to 22 in 2011. Between Morris’s failures and Jim Zorn’s flameout in D.C., could this signal the end of the hasty promotion of trendy position coaches to head coaching jobs they’re in over their heads with?
–Andy Reid was retained by the Eagles as a result of the team’s strong finish, which left them at 8-8. They’ll now have a full offseason to coalesce as a unit and surpass middling teams like the Cowboys and Giants in the NFC East. With Reid returning, could this also mean the return of the Andy Reid look-alike?
-Chargers owner Dean Spanos announced that head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith will both return. I assume Spanos is satisfied with the way the duo has bucked previous head coach Marty Schottenheimer’s trend of abrupt playoff exits by avoiding making the playoffs altogether.
Pending a late decision, that appears to be all the shuffling on the part of the non-playoff teams. You 20 teams may now all return to irrelevance for four of the next five Sundays.