While none of the NFL coaches who have been on the hot seat since early October have been fired yet, the day is likely coming soon.
Look for Week 13 NFL specials at Bovada on the futures of a few of those coaches on the chopping block.
Among the coaches who will likely see their tenures end on “Black Monday,” the day after the regular season ends, there is no bigger name than the New York Jets’ Rex Ryan.
The blustery Ryan predicted Super Bowl victories in his first two seasons, and New York nearly accommodated him by reaching the AFC championship game in both 2009 and ’10. But last year, the Jets missed the postseason at 8-8, and they certainly will again in 2012. Following Thanksgiving night’s embarrassing 49-14 home loss to New England, one of the team’s worst under Ryan, the Jets are 4-7 and going nowhere. Ryan is now 4-10 in his past 14 games.
The Jets have major salary cap problems, so it’s hard to see the team contending next season. Mark Sanchez is regressing as the team’s quarterback, and he just got a new extension. For some reason, Ryan won’t pull Sanchez — likely to save Sanchez’s fragile psyche — and see what Tim Tebow brings to the table.
Ryan recently played dumb on Tebow’s rib injury, keeping the former Heisman winner out of the game against the Patriots. Tebow has attempted just seven passes all season and has generated more headlines for a teammate calling him “terrible” than for his play. That has been another problem under Ryan: anonymous players blasting teammates or the team’s play-calling in the media.
Ryan was asked about his job after losing to the Patriots, and he predicted he will return next year: “I think our team will play a heck of a lot better, and I don’t believe anybody will ask that question by the time the year is over.”
Ryan has a contract through 2014 and has built up plenty of goodwill with Jets owner Woody Johnson, but it’s clear Ryan will at a minimum have to re-make his staff this offseason, with offensive coordinator Tony Sparano almost surely gone. And if New York loses its final five games of 2012, Ryan might be gone as well.
The Jets face another sliding team this week in the Arizona Cardinals. They were one of the NFL’s early surprises at 4-0, and Ken Whisenhunt was being hailed as a potential coach of the year. However, Arizona has dropped seven straight, and its quarterback situation is the worst in the NFL. Sixth-round pick Ryan Lindley will start again this week because Kevin Kolb remains injured and John Skelton remains ineffective.
Lindley threw for 312 yards last week in a loss to the Rams but needed 52 attempts to do so and had four interceptions (two returned for scores) with no touchdowns in his first NFL start. Whisenhunt was supposed to be an offensive guru since arriving from Pittsburgh, but the Cardinals have been mostly inept other than when Kurt Warner was under center.
Since Warner retired, the Cards are 17-26. Whisenhunt is now 44-47 overall. His team has had at least a six-game losing streak every season since 2010 (the first season post-Warner). The goodwill of getting Arizona to the franchise’s first Super Bowl in the 2008 season has vanished, and the team struggles to fill seats.
Ryan and Whisenhunt could be part of a double-digit coaching turnover this offseason — look for a prop on that as well. Also in trouble or potential trouble: Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, Dallas’ Jason Garrett, Detroit’s Jim Schwartz (especially after his costly mistake on Thanksgiving), Carolina’s Ron Rivera, Buffalo’s Chan Gailey, Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur, Tennessee’s Mike Munchak, San Diego’s Norv Turner and Kansas City’s Romeo Crennel.
NFL general managers grew leery of bringing in college coaches after the failures of Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban in the pros. But the success of Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano in his first season is changing some minds. The hottest college candidate this year will be Oregon’s Chip Kelly after another stellar season in Eugene. He was close to taking the Bucs’ job before changing his mind at the last minute. Schiano was the Bucs’ fall-back choice. Will Kelly coach in the NFL in 2013? Find that prop later this week at Bovada. Kelly may have hit the ceiling with the Ducks and has made no secret of his wondering whether his ingenious up-tempo offense will work in the NFL.