January 16, 2018 3:00 AM
by Jim Feist
The game of coaching musical chairs is not over yet and won’t be until the Super Bowl concludes. Not only are the head coaching jobs being filled with new bodies but the all-important offensive and defensive coordinators jobs are being filled with old and new players.
Some of these position changes will be positive and others will prove to be oops, we done messed up again. Just ask the Browns how easy it is to mess up. They are, as you well know, the masters of messing up.
Some of the teams that did not make changes are as surprising to me as the teams that did.
The most notable change thus far is Jon Gruden coming out of the booth and back onto the field to lead the LA Raiders for the next 10 years. Then again, that’s what $100 million dollars will likely do to a person.
Gruden won a championship with the Tampa Bay Bucs, but some will argue he won that title with a team built by Tony Dungy who left the Bucs that previous year for the Colts. Overall, Gruden was just 57-55 as head coach for the Bucs, not exactly $100 million worth in my opinion. There is also speculation Gruden may gain some ownership in the Raiders with his deal. All in all, Gruden is the biggest change in the NFL season coaching-go-round.
I will go into more detail on these moves in the coming weeks, but here are some moves we can expect and have seen.
The Arizona Cardinals will not only look for a new QB but also head coach as Bruce Arians retired at the end of 2017.
The Detroit Lions fired coach Jim Caldwell, surprisingly just one year after he signed an extension. Caldwell had four seasons with the Lions.
The Indianapolis Colts have fired Chuck Pagano. The Colts missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year and while Pagano was 53-45 in his six years, he’s out.
The New York Giants fired Ben McAdoo late in the season when the team was 2-10 and McAdoo decided to bench Eli Manning.
The Chicago Bears hired Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to take over for 2018 as the club fired John Fox. I’m a bit surprised by this move. Nagy has spent his career under Andy Reid, let’s hope he has learned how to win in the playoffs.
Coaches who survived
Cincinnati: There was speculation Marvin Lewis would leave the Bengals after 15 years, but the club announced Lewis signed a two-year contract to stay with the team.
Dallas Cowboys will keep Jason Garrett as head coach, much to the surprise of many after a dismal season.
The Denver Broncos looked like a mess this year and frankly I’m surprised Vance Joseph lasted the full season. I’m even more surprised Denver is bringing Joseph back for a second season despite finishing last in the division with a 5-11 record. John Elway, what are you thinking?
The Houston Texans look to keep Bill O’Brien. The Texans resembled a team that was going to make some noise until Deshaun Watson went down with his injury.
The New York Jets have re-signed Todd Bowles. I’m not surprised by this as Bowles had a decent season despite his 5-10 record. This will bring more confidence and stability to this team as they continue to improve.
And finally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will keep Dirk Koetter, though much was expected out of this Bucs team at the start of 2017 and none was delivered.
Next week we will look at the draft and free agency moves teams are likely to be making. And after the Super Bowl is played we will update the coaching changes.