By Dayna O’Gorman //@DaynaOG
As we head into January 2020, teams that didn’t make the playoffs need to look inward to see what went wrong. Every season there are changes that have to be made, changes that probably should be made then aren’t, and changes that feel like they change a franchise. Often those changes start with the head coaches.
Being a head coach in the NFL is a very hard job. Something only a large handful has been able to execute well. Teams are constantly on the lookout for “the guy”. The one that will be there for years, bringing success to the franchise. This year, we have 4 teams, possibly 5, that are once again on the hunt for a new head coach. Let’s take a look at who they may hiring.
There are a few names that keep popping up over and over in conversations about new head coaches. Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, Baylor HC Matt Rhule, Baltimore Ravens OC Greg Roman, Ravens DC Wink Martindale, Kansas City OC Eric Bieniemy, and San Francisco 49ers DC Robert Saleh.
A worthy group, no question, but we also know that there will be at least one surprise hire, a name we’ve not talked about or considered, as there is every year.
The Washington Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden in October, and also let team president Bruce Allen go at the end of the season. With a huge head start on other teams, Washington hired former Carolina Panthers head coach, Ron Rivera. Then in quick succession, hired former Oakland Raiders HC, Jack Del Rio, as his defensive coordinator. The Redskins are off and running.
The Washington Redskins have announced Ron Rivera as the team’s new Head Coach.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) January 1, 2020
The Carolina Panthers fired Rivera in early December after a rough season. The team has said they are now focused on an offensive-minded coach, who is forward-thinking. They have already interviewed McCarthy, and have plans to interview McDaniels, Roman, and Rhule. It has been rumored that they are also interested in Buffalo Bills OC Brian Daboll after the Bills season is over.
Oh, Cleveland. Here we are again. I can promise you this wasn’t where the team, coach, or front office thought they would be again this year, yet here we are.
The Browns fired HC Freddie Kitchens on Black Monday, and then general manager John Dorsey left quickly thereafter. The team plans on interviewing most of the main candidates listed above, but many are feeling that McDaniels is at the top of their list. McDaniels is from Cleveland and has an affinity for the team. However, if the brass were to ask me, I’d tell them to give Saleh his due diligence. A strong, defensive-minded coach would do well in that division.
That brings us to the New York Giants. The Giants fired HC Pat Shurmur, and seem to be looking for someone to mold their young quarterback, Daniel Jones. Like the rest, they will interview the full list, but Rhule and Bieniemy might have a leg up. This is a critical year for the Giants. They have moved on from their iconic QB, Eli Manning, and put all their eggs in Jones’s basket. This hire and a strong draft is a must for the team and the fans.
We forget that while the coaching carousel is fun and fascinating to us, it’s not for everyone. This picture reminded me that, to the men losing their job, it is one of their worst days.
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) December 30, 2019
Now Dallas Cowboys HC Jason Garrett hasn’t technically lost his job, but most believe it is coming. His contract is up in just a week or so, and there isn’t talk of a renewal. This will be the most scrutinized hire in all of football, as many are fascinated to see where Jerry Jones goes next.
For many teams, ending the season after week 17 isn’t what they wanted, but it does bring a new beginning for them. For a few coaches, it’s the start of a new adventure. It will be fun to see who takes the challenge and runs with it.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG