The NFL season closes at the end of the day on Sunday....which means that the head coaching carosel will begin sometime Sunday night. I believe there will be about 6 job openings for sure...and that is a kind estimate [especially since we know there will be two job openings for sure].
FOR SURE GONE....
DICK VERMEIL, CHIEFS: The Kansas City Star is reporting what most people believed....that Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil will retire after this season. The Chiefs host Cincinnati on Sunday, and if they win and Pittsburgh loses to Detroit, then the Chiefs are in the playoffs. Otherwise, Sunday is it. Vermeil has had a history of burning out, and his emotional investment in his team lends itself to that. If I had to put money on if he'd return to the NFL...I would really lean toward this really being the end of the road for Vermeil.
LIONS JOB, LIONS: Steve Mariucci has already been canned....and interim Dick Jauron has done nothing really to nail down the job. So it is safe to say that Matt Millen [why hasn't he been fired?] will try to find another name candidate to take his coaching vacancy.
MOST LIKELY FIRED....
MIKE TICE, VIKINGS: This is a tough call. For the last couple of years, he had been riding a hot seat all season long.....only to have a late season run to keep his job. Same thing this year. Tice was on thehottest of seats as he barely survived after the 2004 season; was caught scalping Super Bowl tickets; and watched his team have the Sex Boat incident during the Vikes' bye week. I mean, dude was all but canned then. But, after their 2-5 start...Minnesota won 6 of 8. But is that enough to keep Tice's job?? Remember, there is new ownership in Minnesota and there are signs that they want to clean up the Vikings image...especially as they are begging the state to buy them a new stadium.
DOM CAPERS, TEXANS: I don't think there is any way that Capers can keep his job.....and neither will GM Charley Casserly. The sight of Dan Reeves snooping around as a "consultant" pretty much seals that. Capers did an admirable job, taking over the expansion Texans and creating a pretty darn good program there. However, the team has been a huge disappointment. David Carr, their first ever draft pick, has stalled in his learning.....in some fact due to the lack of an offensive line. There is talent all over this roster....but they just aren't playing up to that talent. That reflects poorly on the coach...especially in a season that some people figured they'd contend for a wildcard berth. Capers will most likely catch on somewhere as a defensive coordinator.
NORV TURNER, RAIDERS: The fickle finger of Al Davis is a main reason this could happen. Well, that's not fair. Davis honestly has every reason to can Turner. The Raiders, despite getting Randy Moss, regressed this season. The team has really tanked in the last several weeks....losing some very bad games - at home. And Turner's call to stary Tuiosososososoosososppspspsoosooo over Collins a few weeks back doesn't really help him. If a certain name becomes available, expect Turner to get pushed under the welcome bus.
MIKE MARTZ, RAMS: This is that "certain name". Martz has had some rocky moments in St. Louis, and the team didn't really get off to a keen start. Then Martz had some heart issues and was on a medical leave. Reports surfaced that the Rams were blocking contact from Martz to any of the Rams coaches...and basically severed ties with him as he recovered...which lent even more to a possibility of Martz getting fired after the season. Martz will get looks around the league for head coaching vacancies [see: Oakland] and would most assuredly get an offensive coordinator job.
GAME TIME DECISION....
MIKE SHERMAN, PACKERS: If Brett Favre returns, Sherman may be back as well. But if Favre officially retires, then Sherman will most likely be shown the door. Sheman has been very loyal to Favre [like not benching him for Aaron Rodgers, the future] and Brett is showing the loyalty back. The Packers have been killed by injuries this year [and that may give Sherman some hope], but they've been blown out on several occasions to teams that really aren't that good either. And the fact that Sherman hasn't been too receptive to sitting Favre and playing Rodgers kinda lends me to believe that both Sherman and Favre figure this is their last hurrah.
JIM HASLETT, SAINTS: The Saints could finish with the worst record in the NFL and the #1 overall draft pick. And yet, Haslett could keep his job. This is such a tough call. Many people were amazed that Haslett even kept his job after last year....and the team's overall performance has been much worse this year. Of course, something called Hurricane Katrina contibuted to that. Haslett had to reel in his troops....had his entire team moved to San Antonio....his home games split between New York, San Antonio and Baton Rouge....lost his best player [Deuce McAllister] early in the season....were kicked out of their locker room for a women's volleyball tournament....etc. Due to performance on the field, Haslett would be fired. However, Haslett may be "rewarded" with another season since he held this team together in the most dire of circumstances.....and, let's be honest, if theyfired Haslett then who would really want this job??? Sure, the Saints will be in Louisiana next year, but no one really knows the long term plans of the franchise. Add in the fact that no top free agents in their right mind would head to New Orleans....and the job really is unattractive. Haslett may stick around.
MIKE MULARKY, BILLS: The Bills have underachieved this year, his playcalling has been in question, and his QB [JP Losman] has looked lost this year. He may get just one more year to straighten this out....but the fact that they tanked in a year which the AFC East wasn't really strong doesn't look too good.
MOST LIKELY WILL SURVIVE....
BRIAN BILLICK, RAVENS: Management apparantly has stated that Billick will be back in 2006...but when there needs to be a statement like that, you're on a short leash. Billick's Ravens have struggled mightily this year. Kyle Boller was hurt for the first half of the season; Jamal Lewis was coming out of jail; and the defense really imploded at times this year [well, when they weren't in the trainer's room]. But Billick and his Super Bowl title will get another shot to gt this team back in the hunt again.
IT IS UP TO YOU...
BILL PARCELSS, COWBOYS: There have been recent rumors that Parcells may step down after this season....rumors he has gotten a bit bent when questioned about. Which means he's probably gone. No offense, but with Drew Bledsoe as his QB and Terry Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson as his receivers....he's really not looking to far ahead in the future. I honestly think he's there for one more year.
HERM EDWARDS, JETS: Two things. One, Edwards is a darn good coach. Two, he is relatively cheap. Add in the fact that Chad Pennington and Curtis Martin were taken away [not to mention that poor management decisions of dealing Santana Moss and adding Derrick Blaylock] and this really isn't Edwards' fault. I mean, dude had to bring in Vinny Testeverde to start for his team!!! While Edwards shouldn't be fired...he may not be in New York. With jobs opening across the league [read: Kansas City], Edwards will be a hot candidate. And with his low salary, he'll be looking for a pay raise. Not to mention, a bit more job security.
JEFF FISCHER, TITANS: The team was rebuilding this year....with a QB that may retire. So, that means it should get worse before it gets better. I don't think Fischer will be canned....I do think that he may actually be open to other offers. Maybe even Houston....again. Sure, the Texans have some rebuilding to do, but I think they have a bit more going for them that Tennessee does [especially financially] and he may get some more power. Or, Fisher could look into those jobs where the teams can contend right away [Rams, Chiefs, Vikings, Cowboys]. Dallas could be the most attractive to him...if it is open.
DENNIS GREEN, CARDINALS: He may get some looks across the league as well. But Green will most likely stick in Arizona.
NOT GOING ANYWHERE....
BILL BELICHICK, PATRIOTS: Going for 4th Super Bowl in 5 years.
TOM COUGHLIN, GIANTS: Got G-men an NFC East crown!
BILL COWHER, STEELERS: Loyalty, baby.
ROMEO CRONELL, BROWNS: He may get on the hot list next year.
JACK DEL RIO, JAGUARS: Not perfectly safe...but successful
TONY DUNGY, COLTS: Could finally get his ring
JOHN FOX, PANTHERS: He's definitely safe.
JOE GIBBS, REDSKINS: His legend is having a rebirth
JON GRUDEN, BUCCANEERS: Made his hot seat into a cool gig.
MIKE HOLMGREN, SEAHAWKS: Only NFC team to get back into playoffs
MARVIN LEWIS, BENGALS: He could run for mayor right now.
JIM MORA, FALCONS: How did this team not make the playoffs?
MIKE NOLAN, NINERS: Could top hot seat list in 2006
ANDY REID, EAGLES: His handlingof entire TO saga must be questioned
NICK SABAN, DOLPHINS: He's got this team on the right track.
MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER, CHARGERS: Sure, the team choked......
MIKE SHANAHAN, BRONCOS: Turned defensive lemons [and Jake] into gold
LOVIE SMITH, BEARS: Most likely wins Coach Of The Year.