Here we are, Week 12 of the '08 NFL season, and three coaches have already been fired. Mr. Kiffin, Mr. Nolan, and Mr. Linehan all had their shots to make a difference with their respective teams, but, ultimately, none could.
They paid the price, and now I'd like to highlight some others who could follow suit after the season.
1. Andy Reid
Okay, Eagle fans, I know that Andy has been the guy for nine seasons now and has led the Eagles to contention in six of those years. I also know that he holds the Philly record for wins (93) and winning percentage (.620), but it's time for the Eagles to make a change.
There is plenty of talent on that team, so there's really no reason they should tie with the Bengals.
Reid just hasn't utilized his weapons effectively recently. Using Bryan Westbrook on 4th-and-short at the end of the Giants game was not a smart call.
The opposite was true against Cincinnati. After a nine-yard carry by Westbrook on first down, the offense was unsuccessful on consecutive short-yardage passes, and was forced to punt.
Donovan's confusion at the end of the game just supports the need for a change in the City of Brotherly Love.
2. Lovie Smith
Lovie has always been a soft-spoken guy, which worked just fine during the Bears' Super Bowl run in '06.
Smith got more out of Rex Grossman that year than anyone could have imagined, and he let the lights-out defense do its thing. They were unable to claim the trophy, but he deserves credit for rallying the Bears to two consecutive division titles in '05 and '06.
Since then, however, things really haven't been the same.
The offense really took a hit when it lost Thomas Jones last season, and the defense had some key injuries. This season, the rush defense has been back to normal, but the dreadful pass defense has killed Chicago.
I think all this team needs to be a serious contender is a shutdown corner, a good quarterback (which Kyle Orton very well could be), and the new attitude of a different coach.
3. Gary Kubiak
Kubiak was given the difficult task of bringing the three-year-old Texans into legitimacy.
The former Denver offensive genius has developed some players but has failed overall to guide the team to anything better than its .500 finish in '07. The AFC South is usually one of football's most competitive divisions, but with perennial division powers Indianapolis and Jacksonville struggling, I think it is about time Kubiak conquers the demons with at least a third-place finish.
The Texans have a very good defensive unit, and they have consistently drafted very well, but they just haven't produced. Is it time for Gary to be shown the door?
I think he'd find a lot more success as an offensive coordinator somewhere.
4. Marvin Lewis
Marvin Lewis had a winning record until this season. In six seasons with the Bengals, he has led them to a 43-46-1 record. The Bengals, however, have only won the AFC North once in those six years, and that year they lost in the first round of the playoffs.
That loss was not Lewis' fault, as Carson Palmer was injured in that game. Still, this team has two excellent wideouts and one of the best pass defenses, and that should be enough to at least stay competitive with the hapless Browns this season.
The Bengals really need a new voice in the locker room. The off-the-field delinquency has gotten excessive over the years, and a stricter head coach might do something to help this problem.
Lewis turned down two college offers before taking the job with the Bengals, but a college program might be better suited for Marvin.
5. Dick Jauron
The cagey Dick Jauron was perfect for the Bears in '01, but since then Jauron has not had a single winning season. In fact, that was his only winning season in his nine years as a head coach.
His career record stands at 55-71, which is not impressive. This season appeared to be the breakout year for the Bills, but now they are being scrutinized for dropping four straight since their 5-1 start.
Jauron has just never been effective as a head coach, and he might find more success as a defensive coordinator elsewhere. If he is unable to pull Buffalo out of the current tailspin, it will likely cost him his position.
In summary, all of the aforementioned head coaches are good, smart men who have a vast amount of knowledge about the game. However, I think that most of them are better suited for lesser roles in the NFL. Their teams would have more success with the right kind of replacement.
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