Christian Petersen/Getty Images
I believe Ken Whisenhunt should keep his job.
1. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions
It’s been an awful season in the Motor City. The Lions are the NFL’s most disappointing team. They’ve shown a lack of discipline both on and off the field, and Schwartz failed to continue the momentum of 2011’s magical ride to the playoffs.
Still, I believe Schwartz deserves one more year to make it happen. Despite his longtime friendship with defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Schwartz make a change on that side of the ball.
2. Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals
I’m a huge fan of Whisenhunt. What he’s been able to accomplish in the desert is remarkable.
However, I fear for his job. This has been a grotesque season for the Cardinals. When you look at their 5-10 record, it’s difficult to imagine that they started the year 4-0. The quarterback situation is the worst in the history of NFL.
I hope that Whisenhunt is retained, along with defensive coordinator Ray Horton. However, someone needs to pay the price for 2012’s debacle. It should be general manager Rod Graves.
3. Mike Mularkey, Jacksonville Jaguars
Although the Jaguars are 2-13, I’m impressed with the way they’ve played for Mularkey all season.
He’s not the one who drafted Blaine Gabbert as a franchise quarterback, nor did he take punter Bryan Anger five picks before the Seahawks selected Russell Wilson. That would be general manager Gene Smith, who I believe must be fired.
I worry that the new GM will want to hire his own coach and let Mularkey go.
4. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Ron Rivera will most likely lose his job, but he’s not the only one to blame for the problems in Carolina.
Former general manager Marty Hurney, who was rightfully fired in October, is the man responsible for the Panthers lack of talent and on-field disappointments.
Just like in Jacksonville, the new GM will likely want to hire his own coach. So, even though the Panthers have played better, winning four of their last five, I don’t expect Rivera to return.
Now, the seven teams that must make changes on Monday: