“Black Monday” — the day after the final game of the regular season when many coaches are fired — is the worst day of the year for people who work in the NFL.
Three head coaches were fired on Monday: Rex Ryan, Marc Trestman, and Mike Smith.
Add Jim Harbaugh (who was let go on Sunday night) and Dennis Allen (who was fired in Week 5), and there are now five NFL head coaching vacancies.
The five open NFL jobs:
San Francisco 49ers, let Jim Harbaugh leave (8-8 in 2014) — This is probably the most talented of the five rosters. While age is a concern on defence and along the offensive line, San Francisco had terrible injury luck in 2014 and a moderate bounceback season from Colin Kaepernick puts them right back in playoff contention. The only downside is the way the front office treated Harbaugh on the way out.
Chicago Bears, fired Marc Trestman (5-11 in 2014) — The Bears completely cleaned house, letting go of Trestman and head coach Phil Emery. Jay Cutler’s massive contract is a major obstacle for the team. The next coach has to decide whether he can make Cutler work or attempt to trade him, which won’t be easy.
Atlanta Falcons, fired Mike Smith (6-10 in 2014) — The Falcons have a top-10 quarterback and two great wide receivers, but not much else. After winning 36 games between 2010 and 2012, Smith won just 10 games in the last two years combined. There are a lot of areas that need rebuilding, but with a quarterback in place, it might be easier to succeed in Atlanta than elsewhere.
Oakland Raiders, fired Dennis Allen (3-13 in 2014) — People really like quarterback Derek Carr and linebacker Khalil Mack. You could do worse than taking over a team with a potential franchise player on both sides of the ball. But the Raiders’ recent history of rotating through coaches isn’t pretty.
New York Jets, fired Rex Ryan (4-12 in 2014) — Rex Ryan hasn’t had a winning season since 2010, but he managed to leave the Jets with his reputation intact. No one was going to win many games with Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, Geno Smith, and Michael Vick at quarterbacks. The consensus seems to be that Ryan was innocent in this, and he got buried by the general dysfunction of the franchise. Whoever gets the job next has the task of transcending that dysfunction.
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