NFL Coaching Carousel: Who's In, Who's Out for Struggling Teams?
The NFL coaching carousel for struggling teams is now at its apex with black Monday approaching. NFL teams with bad records must move on from head coaches and begin to search for new options to turn things around.
While it is not guaranteed that each struggling team will let go of its head coach this offseason, there are always options on the market who make sense if organizations elect to make a change.
In the following slideshow, we will take a look at struggling teams who could look to move on from head coaches and potential candidates who would fit well as replacements.
Let's break down who is in and out for struggling teams as the NFL coaching carousel hits full speed.
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Chan Gailey is likely on his way out as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, according to NFL.com. Gailey has failed to improve the Bills in all aspects from a year ago.
Gailey's struggles are confusing as he has his franchise quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and the free-agent gem of last year's class in defensive end Mario Williams.
It is clearly time to shake things up in Buffalo.
Buffalo is not exactly a premier head coaching location in the NFL, and that is especially the case this year with so many attractive vacancies possibly opening up.
A name like Ray Horton from the Atlanta Falcons or Mike Zimmer from the Cincinnati Bengals would make the most sense. Both are defensive-minded gurus who take a tough-as-nails approach to coaching and deserve a change.
The Bills are not going to land a top head coaching candidate, so going with a young gun like Horton or Zimmer could allow the franchise to turn things around.
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Pat Shurmur has coached his last game with the Cleveland Browns, if a report from ESPN is to be believed.
Moving on from Shurmur makes the most sense for an organization that just received a fresh start at the top. A trickle-down effect is certainly in order for the struggling franchise.
Shurmur has failed to win 10 games in two seasons as coach of the Browns, and it is at a point now where he would have lost his job regardless of the situation at the top.
Like Buffalo, Cleveland is not exactly the hottest spot for head coaches either. That said, the Browns do have a young, talented roster in place with new faces at the top who want to win.
In the same ESPN report, it is suggested that the Browns will likely pursue a collegiate head coach for a fresh start—meaning Chip Kelly of Oregon and Bill O'Brien of Penn State would be the main candidates.
Kelly would install an explosive offense around running back Trent Richardson, which is exactly what Cleveland needs. O'Brien would bring a much-needed culture change for the positive.
Either way, the Browns cannot go wrong. Grabbing a young coach from the collegiate ranks is the best way to go.
San Diego Chargers
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His teams have been notorious for collapsing down the stretch, and this year that has not changed. Turner has managed to take a talented team and make it worse this season.
Turner has wore out his welcome in San Diego, which means some big names could be looking to land the job.
One big name who appears to have his heart possibly set on San Diego is current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
Reid is all but gone from Philadelphia after a second consecutive mediocre season, and according to Ian Rapport via Twitter, has an interest in San Diego:
Reid makes a lot of sense for the Chargers as he is widely known as a quarterback guru. While a candidate such as Oregon's Chip Kelly is attractive, Reid has what it takes to turn around Philip Rivers' career overnight.
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According to CBS, Andy Reid is a lock to be gone at the conclusion of the season, and he is well aware of his impending termination.
Reid better be, given his inability to take one of the NFL's most talented rosters on paper and turn it into a success over the past two seasons.
It has been a long tenure for Reid in Philadelphia, but it appears to be coming to an end. An end that will allow the franchise to start fresh with a young face.
There is an explosive offense in place in Philadelphia thanks to the likes of DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and others. There is also an offensive genius residing in Oregon in Chip Kelly.
It sounds like a match made in heaven. Albert Breer of NFL.com suggests both parties would have a mutual interest, which makes sense given the offense already in place.
Kelly is the best option for the Eagles, but not the only one. ESPN is reporting the Eagles also have Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien on their short list as well.
Either young coach would be a great fit for the Eagles. Replacing a great coach is not easy, but finding another is even harder. O'Brien and Kelly may make things easy on Eagles brass.
New York Jets
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There is an outside chance the New York Jets could be moving on from Rex Ryan, although a recent report from ESPN suggests the organization is only set on letting go of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
While it sounds like Ryan is safe, this would not be the first time an NFL franchise has played nice publicly leading up to black Monday, only to terminate the head coach anyway.
The case for letting Ryan go is there. He has done nothing over merit over the past few seasons with what he has been given and makes the perfect scapegoat for an organization that simply does not get it.
Should the Jets elect to place the blame on Ryan and let him go, there are not exactly a plethora of coaches lining up for the job.
Oregon's Chip Kelly will likely be a candidate, just based on the fact he is the hottest collegiate coach in quite some time.
Andy Reid is another name that would make sense for the team given the offensive woes, but it is doubtful Reid will ever want to deal with a brutal media market ever again.
Finally, the Jets could attempt to lure Jon Gruden out of retirement, but he appears to be a little too cozy in his ESPN announcing chair.
The Jets coaching search would be a long one if Ryan is canned.
Kansas City Chiefs
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According to NFL.com, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Rome Crennel is set to receive the boot at the end of the season.
Crennel has led the Chiefs to one of the worst records in the NFL, mostly because of his ludicrous coaching decisions when it comes to handling talent.
The head coaching position in Kansas City is not as hopeless as some may think, thanks to the variety of talent peppered on both sides of the football.
The Chiefs have not been actively involved in head coach rumors just yet, but one has to believe once again that Oregon's Chip Kelly is in the mix should Crennel get the ax.
Kelly has the offensive mind to make any quarterback succeed with the offensive talent already on the Chiefs' roster.
Another offensive mind the Chiefs could pursue is Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. He has done a beautiful job building the offense around Robert Griffin III and could do a similar job with the Chiefs.
Perhaps in a last-ditch effort if all else fails, the Chiefs could attempt to lure Bruce Arians away from the Indianapolis Colts. He has done a beautiful job as a head coach there and could potentially do the same in Kansas City.
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In just his first season with the team, Mike Mularkey has led the Jacksonville Jaguars to a franchise-worst 2-13 record.
No decision has been made just yet about his future (h/t ESPN), but things certainly do not look good.
Mularkey has shown no ability to develop talent or properly manage a game while getting the most out of his talent. It would not be shocking at all to see the Jaguars move on from him after just one year.
You've heard this story before. If the Jaguars do make a move, Oregon's Chip Kelly has to be one of the top candidates on their radar.
Kelly could take Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Blackmon and almost any quarterback and build a respectable offense in Jacksonville.
According to ESPN, the Jaguars could also target Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid. Admittedly it is a dream scenario for the franchise, but one that would give the team a quarterback guru who could possibly get Blaine Gabbert to play at a high level.
Finally, the Jaguars were heavily interested in Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden last year (h/t Albert Breer via Twitter). If all else fails, Gruden is a bright young candidate who may be able to turn things around.
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The Detroit Lions are considering firing head coach Jim Schwartz thanks to concerns over the team's culture while under his guidance, according to NFL.com.
Schwartz is best known for turning an 0-16 franchise into a respectable team each and every week. His campaign with the team has also been marred by a variety of off and on-field incidents that have placed the organization in a bad light.
If the Lions choose to let go of Schwartz, it would be a hot landing spot for a variety of coaches.
There is one of the NFL's best offenses already in place in Detroit thanks to the likes of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
An offensive mind like Oregon's Chip Kelly or the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator Jay Gruden could further improve the offense while maintaining an air of respectability around the franchise.
Another offensive mind potentially on the market will be Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who could install a better offensive scheme along with a new culture.
Regardless of who the Lions go with, it has to be someone who can reel things in and actually control the locker room.
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According to NFL.com, Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith could be fired after the season if the team does not qualify for the playoffs.
It is not exactly a shocking revelation given the fact the Bears were one of the NFL's best earlier this year before committing a colossal nose-dive.
If the Bears miss the playoffs, Smith could be gone—meaning one of the more attractive coaching gigs in the league would open up.
Let's get it out of the way quick—Chip Kelly of Oregon is a great choice for the Bears, who struggle wildly week in and out on the offensive side of things.
There. That was easy.
The Bears could also look into pursuing Bruce Arians of the Indianapolis Colts. He will keep much of the same culture, but actually know how to get the most of his talent on the offensive side of the football.
Either way, if the Bears move on from Lovie, finding a great candidate will not be difficult.
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Ken Whisenhunt's future is currently twisting in the wind as the Arizona Cardinals organization decides whether it wants to start fresh or keep him for next season (h/t azcentral.com).
It is a rather simple decision to make. Whisenhunt once again has allowed the Cardinals to be one of the worst teams in the NFL despite some solid talent on both sides of the football.
Should the Cardinals elect to move on, there are a few surprising candidates who may be interested in the job.
A name that continues to pop up in speculation around the Arizona job is Andy Reid, who currently resids as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reid is an offensive mind who would have little trouble building a solid offense around Larry Fitzgerald, no matter who the quarterback may be. The latest news of Reid to Arizona comes from SI.com's Don Banks.
If Reid doesn't want to come to the desert, there are plenty of other young offensive minds who would likely be interested in the job.