My Odds On NFL Coaches to be Fired
by Trevor Whenham - 12/05/2006
The last four weeks of the NFL regular season are when fans of good teams prepare for the playoff runs, and fans of bad teams call for their coach's head. Last year the coaching carousel spun at warp speed, with ten teams bringing in new faces to run the sidelines. Of those ten teams, only the Saints, Jets and Chiefs are playing really well after the change. Despite that, and despite the fact that bad play is far from always the fault of the coach, there will likely be several teams that make a change this offseason as well. There won't be as many fired coaches as last year, but there will still be some job openings. Here is a look at the coaches who are most likely to be headed for the unemployment line, with my odds of the change being made:
Dennis Green, Arizona (-900) - Green's firing is as certain as anything can possibly be. Frankly, it's a miracle that he's made it this far into the season without getting the boot. The team is playing better recently, winning two of three and covering three in a row. It doesn't matter, though. Green has squandered reasonable talent, especially on the offense, three seasons in a row, and he doesn't deserve another chance. Green obviously has never heard of a running game, and his team is sloppy and uninspired. Betting that Green will go may not make you rich, but the investment would be every bit as safe as your money is in the bank.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (+150) - The Giants have been very vocal recently saying that Coughlin's job is not in jeopardy. That's a sure sign that he's doomed. The bigger question is how his job could possibly not be in jeopardy. The team has lost four in a row, the players are fighting in public, the quarterback has regressed and, despite the fact that Coughlin prides his disciplinary skills, the team plays ridiculously undisciplined football and takes stupid penalties more than any other team. Something has to change dramatically in New York next year, especially now that Tiki Barber won't be there to cover up other offensive problems, and the coach seems like the first, and easiest, step.
Romeo Crennel, Cleveland (+250) - It will be interesting to see if Crennel survives. He's obviously a very capable football mind -- as his time in New England showed -- and he has the strong support and loyalty of his players. The problem is that the team just isn't winning a lot of games. A gutsy win against Kansas City probably helps, but it was only the fourth win this season. They are a tough team, with a 6-5-1 record ATS that far exceeds their straight-up performance, but close doesn't count for management, and it doesn't help sell tickets. Crennel probably deserves another year, but he may not get it. At the very least, management will probably demand he make some changes to his coaching staff.
Jim Mora, Jr., Atlanta (+350) - Atlanta is posed to potentially miss the playoffs again, and owner Arthur Blank may not have much patience for that. Two straight disappointing seasons may be one too many. The biggest problem with the team this year has been the offense. It started off as an incredible running machine, became pass focused for while, and now it's hard to tell exactly what it is. Mora has clearly struggled to come to terms with how to best use Michael Vick, and it seems unlikely that both of them will be back together in Atlanta next season.
Scott Linehan, St. Louis (+380) - He'll probably be okay because this is only his first year, but Linehan hasn't done much of a job so far. After a decent start the team has played uninspired football since. Things really have to be messy for Marc Bulger, a quiet, respectful guy, to rip his teammates for giving up. It wasn't that long ago that the Rams were the class of the NFL, so management might make a change before those glory days are a distant and irretrievable memory.
Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville (+420) - Del Rio has done some very good things in Jacksonville, but it will remain to be seen how management will tolerate a move from 12-4 last year to 7-5 so far this year. He's had to deal with uncertainty at quarterback from injuries and performance problems, but that's been the story since Del Rio got there. If he makes the playoffs and puts up a solid effort once he gets there, then all will be forgiven. If not, then he could be looking for a new gig.
Rod Marinelli, Detroit (+550) - Marinelli is another first year coach that deserves another year. Though his team is far from good, his problem isn't the team's performance, it's the man who hired him. Matt Millen has been perhaps the worst manager in the history of the NFL, and it appears that he is finally about to get fired like he has deserved to for a long time now. When a new man comes in to replace Millen he will have to make a whole lot of changes, and a new head coach could be near the top of that list.