The NFL’s “Black Monday” came and went, and we still have no idea what many of these franchises are doing. Teams can’t figure out whether to fire or retain their coaches (or GMs), and they seem to be as wrong as they’ve ever been. There are a slew of clueless coaches and executives, but they look like Bill Walsh compared to some of their owners.
I’m not exactly an employee of Korn Ferry, but I know enough to tell you that making Mike flipping McCoy the face of the NFL in Los Angeles isn’t going to work out so well. McCoy has proven from the get go that he’s a lightweight. He’s a run of the mill, conventional coach with nothing in the way of imagination, motivation, or any semblance of a thinking man’s mentality.
In the two years since his team made the playoffs after embarrassingly needing overtime at home to beat a Chase Daniel-led Chiefs team sitting 20 of 22 starters in Week 17, McCoy’s Chargers have floundered and just limped to a 4-12 season after starting 2-2. They lost three straight games to the Raiders, Ravens, and Bears. McCoy needed to go two years ago, but nope, he’s back, as his owner files for relocation. Tom Telesco, McCoy’s personnel partner-in-incompetence, will also return. Something for Angelenos to look forward to.
Still wondering what the hell Korn Ferry is? It’s the search firm that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has hired to help find a new coach. Haslam must not realize he’s an NFL owner and alleged businessman. Businessmen in the business of football should have enough, you know, football people around them to make a decision. Did the Academy Awards need a headhunter to find Chris Rock to host this year? No, they just picked one of the funniest people and performers on the planet. If Haslam needs Korn Ferry to tell him to approach guys like Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia, and David Shaw, then he shouldn’t own a team.
Tom Coughlin’s resignation/unspoken firing makes sense. He’s old, he’s tired, and he’s accomplished a lot. Good for Tom, and that Giants job, given their organizational/QB stability and erratic division, is a prime one for coaching candidates.
People say the game has passed Coughlin by. He can’t keep up with the demand. Can’t hang with young players. Not entirely fair, but maybe some truth there. If so, it is fair to ask what the hell the Dolphins are doing by bringing back 63-year old Mike Shanahan for a second interview.
Shanahan flamed out in spectacular fashion in Washington and felt older in his final season there than Coughlin ever did in New York. The only explanation is that Stephen Ross is so impressed with Shanahan’s disciplining and eventual jettisoning of Albert Haynesworth that Ross is hoping Shanahan can work that same magic to rid Ross of his own $100-million defensive line dud. Best wishes, Stephen. You (and your ace personnel man Mike Tannenbaum) will always have these meaningless home wins over the Patriots to get you through the night.
Jim Tomsula was relieved by the 49ers, which is good, because now Tomsula can finally relieve himself, which is what it looked like he was in need of on the sideline during every game this season. Remember near the end of Apollo 13 when Tom Hanks explains in voiceover that the mission was failed before he was even hired because of faulty mechanics? That’s what happened to Tomsula in San Francisco this year. He’s probably not a Super Bowl caliber coach, but we won’t know, because he was set up for failure.
The 49ers couldn’t make it work with one of the three to five best coaches in the league and in the process, poisoned their franchise. They were crushed by injury, retirement, and vanishing mojo, none of which is really Tomsula’s fault. Jeddy York and Trent Baalke will try again, this time with a team in complete tatters. But hey, good on you Trent, for winning the power struggle with the coach that made you look like a genius. It’s working out well for you.
And of course, there’s the Indianapolis Colts. On the short list of most loathsome franchises in football, the Colts got their comeuppance this year in the form of missing the playoffs in what may be the worst division in league history, at least since the league expanded to 32 teams (you could argue 2010 NFC West or even 2014 NFC South). Yes, Andrew Luck got hurt, I’m well aware, thank you Colts honks. But the team stinks. Luck is very good, but the TEAM stinks.
This is the fault of Ryan Grigson and Jim Irsay. Not as much coach Chuck Pagano, who’s seemingly competent but will only go as far as Luck takes him. Grigson is simply one of the worst GMs in the league. Richardson. Werner. Nicks. Andre. Gore. Dorsett. The hits keep on coming.
Monday night, Irsay announced that both Pagano and Grigson—who many apparently within the organization and around the league expected to be fired—had signed extensions. For fans of the other three AFC South teams, dancing in the streets is appropriate. Pagano declared it the best day of his life, which must make his kids—not to mention his chemo doctor—feel pretty crappy. And Grigson probably grunted and snorted the entire time like the meathead he is.
There’s something to be said for continuity and giving your coaches and execs a chance to make the team their own. Bill Belichick spoke at length last week about program-building, and Tom E. Curran had a wonderful column musing that the “Next Belichick” may not exist because owners are trigger-happy and overly focused on short term results.
Curran nailed it, and it’s true that guys like Coughlin, Belichick, and even Shanahan back in Denver, needed time and patience to figure it out. So, good on Irsay for doing the right thing. Unfortunately for fans of Indy, he’s just doing it with the wrong guys.