BLACK MONDAY RECAP: NFL teams cleaning house in hopes of brighter futures
Black Monday has arrived, and it has brought a lot of change and bad news for many coaches and general managers around the NFL.
We’ll have all the big moves covered, and this post will be a one-stop shop for all the latest news.
Here’s what we right know:
Arizona Cardinals: Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves are out.
Buffalo Bills: Coach Chan Gailey was let go after three seasons that went nowhere in Buffalo. The defense and quarterback play never improved. It’s unclear if general manager Buddy Nix will remain.
Chicago Bears: In the first mild surprise of the day, coach Lovie Smith was fired after three playoff appearances in nine years. General manager Phil Emery took the job last year and will hire his own man.
Cleveland Browns: The team announced Monday morning that coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert are both out. They never had much of a chance once new owner Jimmy Haslam bought the team.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt announced the team has parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel. The team said it has not made a final decision about GM Scott Pioli’s status.
Philadelphia Eagles: Owner Jeffrey Lurie confirmed Monday morning that coach Andy Reid is out after 14 seasons in Philadelphia. The Eagles won’t waste any time starting a coaching search.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers announced both coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith have been let go. Ron Wolf has been brought in as a consultant to help search for the next leadership group.
Up in the air
Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera has struggled to win close games during his tenure and isn’t a natural in game management. A four-game winning streak to end the season could save his job. The Panthers will hire a new GM.
Chances of a change: Strong. The next GM will decide Rivera’s fate.
Detroit Lions: Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew pulled off one of the best rebuilding efforts of all time after taking over the 0-16 Lions. And then the bottom fell out for a talented roster this year.
Chances of a change: Growing. Multiple outlets said earlier in the week that Schwartz was safe, but Lions ownership is disturbed with the team’s culture, it could make a change. Schwartz is signed through 2015.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Mularkey was hired just last year, but his boss, GM Gene Smith, was fired Monday morning. Mularkey wasn’t able to develop young quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Chances of a change: Good. Mularkey told players in a team meeting that he’s still the head coach after talking with the owner Thursday and Monday. Mularkey’s fate ultimately will be decided by the next GM. Mularkey will have to wait and see.
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones intimated throughout the process that he hasn’t even thought about changing head coaches. NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer first reported that coach Jason Garrett was safe two weeks ago. Garrett could be asked to hire an offensive coordinator that calls plays.
New York Jets: The Jets announced that GM Mike Tannenbaum was let go Monday morning. But they also announced Rex Ryan will stay on as coach. It’s an awkward arrangement for whomever the Jets hire to run the personnel department.
Tennessee Titans: The Tennessean reported Monday that coach Mike Munchak will keep his job despite a 6-10 record. Personnel executive Mike Reinfeldt is out, though.
RANDY GALLOWAY: Chan Gailey should count his lucky stars Jerry Jones fired him
Photo courtesy: AP/LM Otero
Chan Gailey, left, felt the heat almost immediately as Cowboys coach, and was fired after two seasons by Jerry Jones.
It was noon on a late July day in Wichita Falls, and it was already smokin’ hot, and I don’t mean just the weather.
“What a fraud.” “The man’s a liar.” “What a weak attempt at a cover-up.” “He should be fired right now.”
That was Chan Gailey’s “welcome” to our football world by many members of the local media, angrily filing out of an interview session held in the student center at Midwestern State University.
It was Gailey’s first training camp day as head coach of an NFL team, and that team happened to be the most high-profile franchise in the land.
And really, it was his first day as a head coach outside of dusty college map specks such as Troy State and Samford.
And a couple of years as head coach of the Birmingham Fire of the World League could not have come remotely close to preparing him for anything like this pending storm.
The night before the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp opened in 1998, there was an argument about who had “next” for a haircut in the players’ dorm.
The dispute resulted in one of the NFL’s biggest stars, Michael Irvin, taking the sharp edge of a pair of scissors and running it across the neck of a teammate, Everett McIver, who was not seriously injured but required medical attention.
RIVAL NEWSPAPER: Balanced attack lifts Bills’ midseason grades
The Buffalo Bills’ offense carved out an interesting identity in the first half of the season.
The Bills are a spread offense that can run the ball with authority. Call it Chan Gailey’s “power spread.” If the Bills can stay reasonably close to their production of the first eight games, they should be in the playoff race going into the final weeks of the season.
The Bills, mired in the bottom eight of the NFL on offense the previous eight years, begin the second half of the season Sunday in Dallas with the 12th-ranked offense in the NFL in terms of yards gained.
The Bills are seventh in rushing, 15th in passing, and — more important — tied for fourth in scoring.
The Bills play out of a spread formation — with four or more players split out as receivers — on 47 percent of their plays, according to News figures. That’s among the most in the league. However, the Bills are the eighth most run-oriented team in the league. They run on 44.5 percent of their plays.
Gailey has done a great job of keeping defenses honest and utilizing running back Fred Jackson, who is an All-Pro candidate.
HOMECOMING: Dave Wannstedt, former assistant head coach under Jimmy Johnson
Sunday’s game against Buffalo will be a homecoming for a number of Buffalo players and head coach Chan Gailey but also for Bills assistant head coach/inside linebackers Dave Wannstedt.
Wannstedt was the Cowboys’ assistant head coach under Jimmy Johnson when they won Super Bowl XXVIII before becoming Chicago’s head coach in 1993.
As Miami’s head coach in 2000, Wannstedt hired Gailey as the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator and Gailey reciprocated by giving Wannstedt a job after Wannstedt was let go at Pitt.
“He’s meant a ton,” Gailey said. “He’s a confidant for me. We can talk about things that head coaches talk about. He knows problems that I need to see from time to time that I don’t see. I appreciate his input. He’s an excellent defensive coach. I think he’s helped our defense over on that side of the ball as well. He’s been a super addition for our football team.”
Wannstedt has a 3-2 record against the Cowboys since leaving Valley Ranch.