UPDATE: We’re up to eight coaches out. Mike McCarthy, Hue Jackson, Vance Joseph, Steve Wilks, Adam Gase, Marvin Lewis, Dirk Koetter, Todd Bowles
Welcome to one of the strangest few days in sports. One day 32 head coaches are donning the sidelines. The next several of many of those coaches are unemployed, along with assistants and general managers. Families will be uprooted en masse and quickly forgotten as attention turns to the next leader. We’ll be updating this post with news as it pours in. Names to watch: Dirk Koetter, Todd Bowles, Marvin Lewis, Steve Wilks, Dan Quinn, Gregg Williams. There is typically a surprise or two in every cycle. Strap in! We’ll be updating this post as news warrants.
Dolphins Part Ways With Adam Gase
The most surprising move thus far, Gase’s Dolphins finished 7-9 this season after a 3-0 start. A playoff berth in Gase’s first season and the Miracle in Miami over rival Patriots wasn’t enough to save Gase, who reportedly lost the locker room after pinning hopes on Ryan Tannehill. Gase, who was the only OC to bring out consistent production from Jay Cutler in Chicago, was never able to turn Tannehill into a bonafide star.
Our take: Gase is still a coveted offensive mind and does have a penchant for quarterbacks, despite the Tannehill experiment. He should be in high demand.
Bengals Part Ways With Marvin Lewis
After 16 seasons, Lewis was the model of job security in Cincinnati. But after another disappointing season – along with a failure to win any playoff game – Bengals owner Mike Brown had enough. Lewis’s 8-26 record against the Steelers hasn’t helped either. There was a promising stretch for the Bengals under Lewis, but fifth straight wildcard losses between 2011-2015 had scarred the organization since. At 133-122-3, Lewis is the winningest coach in Bengals history.
Our take: This move should have happened years ago but we should also appreciate Brown’s loyalty to his coach, an example that clearly isn’t followed much elsewhere.
Cardinals Part Ways With Steve Wilks
It was one-and-done for Wilks who led the Cards to a 3-13 record and the no. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Wilks showed much promise as Ron Rivera’s defensive coordinator in Carolina but was unable to light a fire under the Cards defense. But it was the offense that doomed this team, even after Wilks fired retread Mike McCoy midseason.
Our take: Wilks was a disappointment but was also working with a raw rookie QB. Wish had got one more season.
Broncos Part Ways With Vance Joseph
Two seasons under Joseph and the Broncos produced their first back-to-back losing seasons since 1972. Said general manager John Elway, “I spoke with Vance this morning and thanked him for all of his hard work as our head coach. Although we decided to make this change, I believe Vance is a good football coach who has a bright future in this league.” Joseph was Elway’s latest miss as the Broncos general manager took a chance on a coach who was largely unknown and had just a year of experience as Miami’s defensive coordinator.
Our take: This was the right call and the final nail came when Joseph down 4 against Cleveland in the final minutes elected to kick a field goal on a 4th and 1 from the Browns’ 6-yard-line instead of going for it. The Broncos lost by a point.
Jets Part Ways With Todd Bowles
Bowles’s ousting had been predicted for some time. He went a disappointing 24-40 with no playoff appearances in four seasons as head coach of the Jets. Bowles was widely loved by his players, many of who were emotional about the news.
So much respect here. https://t.co/XMMijwkHkM
— Melissa Jacobs (@thefootballgirl) December 31, 2018
Our take: Bowles is a decent coach but unfortunately didn’t have a bonafide quarterback until this season and the NFL is about wins and losses. He should be a top DC candidate.
Bucs Part Ways With Dirk Koetter
This was also expected after Koetter’s lackluster three seasons in which the Bucs finished 5-11 twice after a 9-7 start his first season. On a positive note, the Bucs finished as the top team in passing beards per game this season.
Our take: Koetter never seemed to inspire much zest and confidence in the locker room. A change of scenery was probably best for both sides.
Jags Retain Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell
Jags owner Shad khan announced that the team would move forward with Marrone as head coach and Caldwell as GM, a decision he gave to Executive VP of football operations. “I have the same trust in Tom, Dave and Doug as I did upon their introduction two years ago, and I do believe our best path forward for the moment is the one less dramatic and disruptive.
Our take: Khan doesn’t give a long-term stamp of approval but does make the right move in keeping Marrone and Caldwell. Despite offensive issues and too much faith in Blake Bortles, Caldwell has built an elite defense. Marrone has already proven he can win in the playoffs (with Bortles!) and deserves more time.
Panthers Retain Ron Rivera
NFL Network’s Mike Silver is reporting that the Panthers will stick with Rivera after a positive conversation with owner David Tepper. “I feel pretty good. My intention, everything I’ve been doing is working towards the future and we’ll go from there,” Rivera told reporters this week. The Panthers missed the playoffs this season after a 6-2 start.
Our take: No team bottomed out as dramatically as the Panthers and Rivera’s coaching is worth some of the blame. Still, there’s something to be said about how Rivera has been able to manage Cam Newton and the rest of the squad over the years. Rivera keeping his job may also be a testament to lack of other intriguing options on the open market.