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Tag:Jim Caldwell
Posted on: December 31, 2011 3:23 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 17

By Josh Katzowitz

Each week, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by Bovada for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Will the winner of the Giants vs. Cowboys game win their opening playoff game?   
    
Yes 5/7

No 6/5

Thanks to the handy help of our post-Week 16 playoff picture, we can tell you that the Giants-Cowboys winner will end up as the No. 4 seed. That means the victor will play either the Lions or the Falcons in the wild card round. If Detroit beats the Packers, the Lions would travel to the New Meadowlands or Cowboys Stadium, but if they lose to Green Bay and the Falcons beat the Buccaneers, it’d be Atlanta with the No. 5 seed. I favor the Falcons to be the No. 5 seed, and I’d favor the Giants, but not the Cowboys, to beat them. But if the Lions come through, I think they’d beat either squad.

All of that means I have no idea. But I guess I’d go “no,” if for no other reason than this is a game it just feels like the Cowboys and Giants would lose.

How many head coaches will be fired between Sunday, January 1st and the 1st Playoff game kicks off?

Over 3 (-140)

Under 3 (EVEN)

Well, Jack Del Rio, Tony Sparano and Todd Haley are already gone. Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morris and Norv Turner are soon to be (probably). I think Jim Caldwell will survive. As will Andy Reid. I guess the best way to approach this bet is to avoid it, because I don’t see more or less than three coaches getting axed.

Who will finish the 2012 regular season with more TD passes? (Note: Both quarterbacks are tied with 20 touchdowns)      

Cam Newton (CAR) QB 7/5       

Andy Dalton (CIN) QB 8/5       

Tie 7/4       

Newton faces the Saints, one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Dalton faces the Ravens, one of the best overall defenses in the NFL. Newton likely will spend much of his day throwing the ball because the Saints probably will jump out to a big lead. Dalton could be involved in a run-oriented, defensive game. Thus, go with Newton to throw more touchdown passes than Dalton.

Which team will win the Number 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft?  

Indianapolis Colts 1/3

St. Louis Rams 2/1

The Rams play the 49ers, and St. Louis almost assuredly will lose. The Colts play host to the Jaguars, where Indianapolis, riding that two-game unbeaten streak, very well could win. I think the Rams take the No. 1 pick for next year and then trade it for a boatload of draft picks.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 10:33 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 15: Good losses?

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. New format! Same old sorting! Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 15 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

Are Good Losses Good?

You're not ever going to hear Aaron Rodgers or Tim Tebow admit this, but losing isn't always a bad thing. In the case of each, a loss on Sunday actually means significantly less pressure in the public eye over the next few weeks.

For Rodgers, there's no more chatter about whether or not the Packers can run the table. Granted, that was a side story to Tebow for most of the past few weeks but if Green Bay had beat Kansas City, the heat was about to be turned up with questions about resting players, playing stars, Mercury Morris' plethora of media appearances and much more.

The loss stinks, clearly. But now the week will be filled with questions like "Are the Packers in trouble?" and "Are the Saints the best team in the NFC?" (See: below). So a team that hadn't lost in nearly a year is suddenly going to get a free chip put on its shoulder? That seems smart for the rest of everyone.

As for Tebow, we all needed this. I love Tim Tebow's story. I love that my cousins' neighbors have a dog named Tebow. I love that my grandfather sends me newspaper clippings about Tebow's awesomeness. But my, um, God, that last week leading up to the Patriots game was just too much, you guys. We had media wars, Tebrews, preachers recanting TMZ quotes on Twitter and just generally all the other things you'd associate with the Apocalypse.

But now the Broncos lost and the Tebowagon gets a chance to tap the brakes, all while not giving up any ground on the playoffs (except to the Chargers who propped their playoff window open a little wider).

We (me, you, Tim) just need some time apart from Tebowmania. Hopefully we get at least a week.

Winners

It's a good thing Romeo Crennel didn't wear the traditional white shirt on Sunday. (US Presswire)

Romeo Crennel: We've been giving Crennel credit for his defensive schemes for a few weeks now, but Sunday's performance by the Chiefs -- a stunning 19-14 win over previously unbeaten Green Bay -- was absolutely worthy of the Gatorade bath he got after his first game as interim coach in Kansas City. The Chiefs shut down the Packers high-powered offense and Crennel parlayed the "you'd think it's obvious!" decision to bench Tyler Palko for Kyle Orton into a serious résumé builder for the offseason.

Reggie Bush: Look, I've ripped Reggie Bush left and right, especially considering his lack of success as an actual running back over the course of his career. But the dude is going HAMbone down in South Beach and Sunday's 203-yard effort makes him just the 40th running back since 1970 to rush for more than 200 yards on 25 or less carries. If you said you predicted Chiefs over Packers I might give it to you. If you predicted Bush rolling for 200 yards? You're a liar.

Skittles: Marshawn Lynch might've only averaged 2.1 yards per carry against the Bears, but he found the end zone twice and crossed the 1,000 yard mark for the season. The game was in Chicago which means it didn't rain rainbows all over Beast Mode when he dashed in the end zone. But has a candy ever gotten a bigger accidental brand boost from an athlete than what Lynch is giving those little sugar bombs during Seattle's sneaky playoff run?

Kyle Orton: Or, as I like to call him, "Senor Spoiler." Orton ripped the heart out of the Packers chance at an undefeated season and over the next two weeks, he's going to get a pair of shots to ruin some seasons. First there's Oakland in Week 16; a win in KC then and the Raiders are likely done. And then the ultimate revenge game against the Broncos, in Denver, on the final week of the season, against the guy, Tim Tebow, that de-seated him. There might be some major egg on John Elway's face if Orton pulls that "W" out.

Norv Turner: It seems impossible that Turner could save his gig, but that's mainly because the Chargers are dead-man walking when it comes to the playoffs ... or are they? After pummeling the Ravens on Sunday night, they've won their last three games and with losses by the Jets, Broncos, Titans, and Raiders they're suddenly one game back of a playoff spot.

Losers

Tom Coughlin: Just a week removed from taking over the NFC East with an impressive performance against the Cowboys, the target's back on Coughlin's back and it's bigger than ever. You can't watch Dallas dominate the Bucs on Saturday night and then lay a freaking ostrich egg at home against a division rival with four wins. Not if you want to make the playoffs anyway.

Our Souls: Bad news, you guys, because Tim Tebow lost. Naturally, that means that salvation will escape even the most penitent man (or woman). Or, alternately, it's a reflection of the fact that when the Broncos turn the ball over a bunch and hand Tom Brady short fields, the Patriots are really tough to beat. I'm going with the latter.

Santonio Holmes: Really Santonio? You're going to catch a touchdown pass, put the ball on the ground, stand on it and then do a dance mocking the Eagles who are in the middle of pantsing you right out of the playoffs? Really? It's kind of ironic that Charley Casserly compared Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson to Holmes on Sunday morning, considering they've both picked up embarrassing unsportsmanlike penalties now.

Oakland Raiders
: Take a look at the playoff picture. (Now back to me.) You realize that the Raiders, who choked to the Lions with a 99-yard drive to close things out, would be tied with the Broncos and Jets at 8-6 if they'd held off Detroit? Because they would be, and they hold the tiebreaker against the Jets and they're just one game back of the Broncos in conference record (5-5 to 6-4). Just close baby.

Ben Roethlisberger's Ankle
: No one's tougher than Roethlisberger, but did you see what happened to him against Cleveland? He probably doesn't have any business stepping on a football field for another week or so, especially without starting center Maurkice Pouncey. But with the Ravens getting paddled on Sunday, the Steelers are in the hunt for the top seed in the AFC and a division title, so Ben almost has to play. Poor ankle.

These Questions Go To 11

Who's protecting Aaron Rodgers? Excellent question.(Getty Images)

1. Should the Packers be worried?
Yes -- but not in the sense about caring over an undefeated season. They should be worried because even though they're still going to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, there's concern about how the offense performed without Greg Jennings and bigger concern about the performance of the offensive line and defense. A bad game from Aaron Rodgers and they can be sent home by anyone.

2. Is Johnny Knox OK?
That's the word on the street. The Bears wide receiver was taken to the hospital after a backbending hit that required him to be carted off the field. Fortunately, he's expected to have surgery to stabilize his vertebrae and according to reports his prognosis is good for a solid recovery.

3. Can the Eagles really still make the playoffs?
Somehow, yes. A lot of things need to happen, but it's not that crazy. 1) Philly wins out (duh), beating. 2) Dallas loses out, against Philly and at the Giants. The Giants go 1-1, losing to the Jets and beating Dallas. If those things happen, the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants will all finish 8-8 and Philly will win the NFC East through tiebreakers. *cues up Gary Wright*

4. What about the Chargers?
YES, THEM TOO. And they have two options -- either the Chargers can win out and the Broncos can lose out and the Bolts win the division. That's the "easy" way. Alternately, if the Jets lose out (against the Giants and Dolphins) and the Bengals can go 1-1 (losing to the Ravens) and the Chargers win out, they can make the playoffs as a wild card. Hope springs eternal in December and whatnot.

5. Should the Bears have called someone?
Yeah, and I'll go so far as to say Brett Favre could've been that guy. Marc Bulger might've made more sense from a perspective of knowing Mike Martz offense, but maybe he wasn't interested. Whatever, Caleb Hanie isn't getting it done.

6. Are the Texans cool with T.J. Yates?
Cool's a relative word, because there's really no excuse for a grizzled veteran of a rookie like Yates to get baffled by a Panthers defense that's running on fumes. Carolina's D showed up big time in Houston, but Yates made some pretty critical mistakes in the 28-13 loss and if Yates ends up with more passing attempts than Arian Foster and Ben Tate have rushing attempts combined, Houston probably lost the game.

7. Why did the Raiders use single coverage on Calvin Johnson?
Honestly, I have no idea. Johnson's the best wide receiver in the NFL and he walked out of a 28-27 win with 214 receiving yards a pair of teeters. It's one thing to trust your cornerback in coverage late in the game. It's another thing entirely to just throw caution to the wind and give the Lions an easy opportunity at going 98 yards for the win, which is what Oakland did Sunday. On the other hand, Darrius Heyward-Bey is starting to look like he could actually be a No. 1 receiver at times. That doesn't help the defensive scheming but it's something, right?

8. Should the Ravens be worried about their road record?
Hell yes they should. Baltimore's been unstoppable at home, rolling to a 7-0 record. On the road they've rolled over for lesser teams like the Jaguars, Seahawks and Titans. And now the Chargers. If Pittsburgh wins on Monday night, it's going to be really tough for the Ravens to land anywhere other than the fifth seed in the AFC, which means they're going on the road throughout the playoffs. And that probably means that the Ravens will be sitting at home in February.

9. Did Jim Caldwell save his job on Sunday?
I know Bill Polian reportedly said all Caldwell had to do was win one game, and the Colts did that by beating Tennessee 27-13 for their first victory on the season. But come on -- this team's going to draft their new franchise quarterback in April in Andrew Luck and Caldwell's not the guy that's going to train him to be Peyton Manning 2.0. Polian can pay lip service all he wants but having Manning/Luck on your roster is like sitting on pocket aces in the hold 'em game of finding a coach who wants to work somewhere with a franchise quarterback.

10. Are the Saints the best team in the NFC now?
If Greg Jennings is guaranteed to be out, if Aaron Rodgers offensive line is completely shredded, and if the game's in a dome ... then maybe, yeah. Drew Brees is as hot as it gets right now (and it's the right time to be hot) and he's going to crush Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season -- he needs just 305 to break it. And that's in two games, so it's broken. But if (when?) the Saints have to go to Lambeau for the NFC Championship Game, it's a whole different ballgame and the Packers will have a couple weeks to get healthy too. If the Niners can stay afloat, the Saints don't have those luxuries.

11. Should you jump off the Tebow bandwagon?
No you shouldn't have. As mentioned above, the Broncos made some critical mistakes that put the Patriots in a good position to win. The hype was so out of control that it was easy to freak out when New England started rolling. This is a game that Denver should've been more competitive in, but turnovers and a strong defensive performance from the Pats doomed them. They won't see the same sort of challenges against a tepid Bills team that gave up 200 rushing yards to Bush Sunday.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF O' THE WEEK

This contest was over as of about 6:00 p.m. ET when dog-riding monkeys started herding sheep in Denver.


Award Watch Worth Watching

I'm tempted to open up the MVP race here, but let's get real: it's still Rodgers, despite Brees going ape smell. But how about Offensive Player of the Year instead? Typically speaking, this awards goes to "the most productive person on the team without the best record" or something like that, but I think Brees, if he breaks Marino's record -- and holds it -- is starting to lock it down. But you could make a great case for Calvin Johnson (gobs of touchdowns), Tom Brady and Rodgers too.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Polian: Colts rookie QB would struggle in 2012

Indy president Bill Polian doesn't think a rookie 'marquee player' will 'come in and contribute immediately.' (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Colts are on a collision course with 0-16. This eventuality means a couple things: the inglorious end to the Jim Caldwell era and, quite possibly, the beginning of the end to the Peyton Manning era because Indianapolis will almost certainly draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first-overall pick.

Except that, unlike Caldwell, Manning's Colts career might not already be over. Any number of variables will determine his future -- his health and the $28 option bonus he's due in March chief among them. And based on recent comments by team president Bill Polian, any scenario that has Luck playing as a rookie is a scenario that's fraught with possible disappointment.

“If we were to take a rookie quarterback [in the 2012 draft] and if we were to play him, he would struggle," Polian said during his weekly radio show, according to the TribStar.com. "Remember, Peyton was 3-13 his rookie year. He did not really look like the quarterback that he became until, ironically, this time of year in Baltimore [in 1998] where we lost a shootout [38-31]. ...

“It’s going to take any rookie, whether it be [2011 first-round draft pick] Anthony Castonzo [at left offensive tackle] or anyone else, a good long time, one year to get their feet under them and really know what the National Football League is all about," he continued. "Then you have an off-season program and the second year [and] now he’s ready to contribute. No matter who we draft next year, there’s going to be a break in period for them. You won’t see the real quality of that player until a year later and in some cases, depending upon what the system is and how he fits. It takes time for young players to develop,” he added.

“Even if we were to draft a marquee player in the first round, no matter who it is, that guy’s not going to come in and contribute immediately, unless he were a running back. That’s the exception.”

That's a great theory except for names like Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and in the last few weeks, T.J. Yates, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. As for rookies who don't play quarterback or running back there's: A.J. Green, Aldon Smith, Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones and Mike Pouncey, (see where we're going with this?).

So, yes, Polian's partially right -- there is a break-in period with rookies -- but it's a stretch to say that we won't "see the real quality of that player" for at least a year.

Also worth considering: if Luck truly is the best quarterback prospect since John Elway, it's all the more reason to get him on the field immediately and let him learn by doing. What's the downside? The Colts can't lose more than 16 games in a regular season. Plus, after Peyton's 3-13 effort as a rookie he went 13-3 in Year 2. And from 2000-2011, the Colts made the playoffs 10 of 11 times.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:19 pm
 

If Colts go 0-16, Jim Caldwell's likely fired

Hardly shocking, we know, but 0-16 could mean curtains for Jim Caldwell in Indy. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

In the immortal words of Joe Theismann, you don't have to be Norman Einstein to know that Colts head coach Jim Caldwell isn't long for Indianapolis. Never mind that he was hand-picked by Tony Dungy, he's 24-8 in his previous two seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2009.

The reality is this: Indianapolis is 0-13 and there's a reasonable expectation that by the time it's over, they'll be 0-16. Not having Peyton Manning has almost everything to do with the Colts' predicament. And that only makes things worse for Caldwell; if Indy's success hinges on Manning's health -- not Caldwell's ability to coach without one of his best players -- why keep him around?

Which is why, barring a miracle only Tim Tebow could deliver, Caldwell will be looking for work on or about January 1.

During his weekly Monday night radio show, team president Bill Polian admitted that, "I bear a lot of responsibility for what happened here and it weights heavily on me. It breaks my heart that there are good players and good coaches who are going through an awful time because we didn't build a strong enough football team."

But he also hinted that, ultimately, Caldwell could be held responsible.

"My fervent hope is that Jim's job is not in jeopardy because my fervent hope is that we don't go 0-16," he said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Tom James. "And we're doing everything we can to try and avoid that."

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora pretty much confirmed through sources what Polian intimated Monday. "…Unequivocally, an 0-16 finish by the Colts will cost Caldwell his job."

The possible follow-up question from some Colts fans: "Hey, Bill, what about you and (your son, Colts general manager) Chris?"

After all, a series of poor personnel decisions played a non-trivial role in Indy's current plight. (Forget Polian's recent admission that "we were getting ready to draft" T.J. Yates -- just take a look at the team's first-round picks from '05 to '10.)

A month ago, back when Indy was just 0-8, owner Jim Irsay said this about the Polian's future.

“I’m committed. In [the Polian's] defense, it’s pretty radical after the successes we’ve had to start even talking about the question, in my opinion. If this is five or six years or losing; you’re talking about eight weeks. The great things we’ve done, there has been a tilted sort of perception when you win so much that it’s disappointing."

Irsay was less certain about Caldwell.

“When it comes to changes and Jim’s status and that sort of thing, it’s something that eight games going forward, more will be revealed," the Colts owner said on November 4, according to the Indianapolis Star. "This situation is always changing. But it’s really going to be always what’s best to give us a chance to win. I don’t have any predictions or any votes of confidence or anything like that. I don’t have any non-votes of confidence. At this point, continuity is a good thing if it makes sense in terms of winning.”

Let's see: the Colts are 0-13 and their starting quarterback is Dan Orlovsky, the guy who was 0-7 as a starter with the Lions in 2008 (that team went 0-16), and is currently 0-2 in that role in Indy. Pretty sure continuity would be a bad thing. And who knows, when the Colts draft Andrew Luck, that thinking could extend to Manning, too.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:56 am
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Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:58 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Potential head coaches

Zimmer (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s getting to be about that time. Christmas? Yes, of course. Hannukah? Naturally. Festivus? It depends on your syndicated TV viewing habits. The carousel of coaches who are fired and hired, changing the courses of several franchises for the foreseeable future? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Personally, I hate to see any coach drawing the pink slip, but as Bum Phillips once said, “There’s two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired." Jack Del Rio knows of what Phillips speaks -- he’s already been asked to vacate the Jaguars premises. And there will be plenty more firings to come.

As colleague Will Brinson pointed out in this week’s Sorting the Sunday Pile, at least seven coaches (Steve Spagnuolo, Andy Reid, Jim Caldwell, Raheem Morris, Tony Sparano, Todd Haley and Norv Turner) are on the hot seat, and that means there’s a strong possibility a whole mess of new coaches will be needed. Like last year, when I presented my list of potential coaches*, many of the candidates are career assistants who have never had a chance at a head coaching slot. Some you’ve seen in this role before. All, though, deserve a chance --- or another chance -- to run a team of their own. And who knows, maybe they’d be the one to turn around a franchise in need of a jump-start.

*Only two from last year’s list made it this list (Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer), and with Leslie Frazier, Jim Harbaugh and John Fox in new jobs, I’ve also dropped candidates like Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron from consideration.

10. Bruce Arians: I had Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the list last year, though I figured that’s not going to happen at this point, but why shouldn’t teams take a look at Arians, Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator? He was the head coach at Temple in the 1980s -- his record is an unshiny 21-45 -- but the paradigm shift made by the team since he’s been offensive coordinator is impressive. The Steelers are no longer a smashmouth, pound-the-rock offense. No, with Ben Roethlisberger and a trio of talented young receivers, the Steelers have entered the 21st century with their offense. There was talk Arians was a contender for the Ole Miss job, and it sounds like these people also would be rooting for Arians to get a head coaching job.

9. Joe DeCamillis: Before you say, “Why in the hell would you hire a special teams coach to be your head coach?” remember that John Harbaugh followed a similar path -- he spent nine years as the Eagles special teams coach and didn’t spend one second as a coordinator -- and it seems to have worked out OK for the Ravens. Plus, as CBSSports.com Pete Prisco said in a recent chat, DeCamillis, the Cowboys special teams ace, is organized and passionate. And if Prisco says he’s OK, it must be true.

8. Rob Chudzinski: He hasn’t spent much time as an NFL offensive coordinator, but he’s performed his finest work this year. Sure, he has some talent on his hands (Cam Newton and Steve Smith, obviously), but the work he’s done with Newton this season has been impressive. It’s difficult to remember this now, but Newton was considered a raw specimen with only one year of major college football before the Panthers took him No. 1 in the draft. But with Chudzinski’s help, Newton oftentimes plays amazing football for a rookie. It’s doubtful anybody will take a chance on Chudzinski at this point, but he’s one to keep an eye on in the future.

7. Chuck Pagano: While the Ravens offense has been in a state of flux this season, there’s little question about the effectiveness of Baltimore’s defense, which is ranked third in the league in points allowed and yards. Pagano is only in his first season as a coordinator, taking over this season for Greg Mattison, but the Ravens have been more effective this year (they were 10th in the league in yards in 2010). Pagano might need more seasoning, but he’s a guy who could ride Baltimore’s wave, particularly if the Ravens go deep into the playoffs, into a possible new job.

6. Brian Billick: There are plenty of reasons not to hire Billick. Like he said recently, he’s not young and he’s not cheap. But if you’re not necessarily looking to hire somebody for the next three decades and you have some money to spend, why wouldn’t you take a look at Billick? Yes, he’s pompous (though very good while being interviewed, and I like him on the NFL Network), but he’s also confident in his abilities. As well he should be. In nine years in Baltimore, he went 80-64, and you might remember that he won a Super Bowl title. It would take a special owner to turn to Billick, but I think it could be a very good choice.

5. Wade Phillips: The job Phillips has done in Houston this year has convinced me that Phillips deserves another chance at a head coaching job. Obviously, things didn’t end well in Dallas -- do they ever with Jerry Jones, though? -- but did you know he has a better winning percentage (.573) than Jeff Fisher (.542) and Brian Billick (.556)? And that in his nine full seasons as a head coach, he only had one losing record? There’s no doubt that Phillips knows what he’s doing as a defensive coordinator, and we know Phillips can win as a head coach as well. He’s deserving of another chance.
Ryan
4. Rob Ryan: This is what I wrote last year: “We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns (now Cowboys) defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?” Indeed Josh from 2010, it would be pretty awesome.

3. Russ Grimm: He was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year as a player. Now he deserves his own team to run. He was nearly selected to follow Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh -- and some believe he was offered the job before the Steelers rescinded the offer and gave it to Mike Tomlin -- and for now, Grimm is an assistant head coach to Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona. You’d think Grimm would get his chance eventually, but he has to wonder how much longer he’ll have to wait.

2. Jeff Fisher: If you were going to hire a former head coach and you had an infinite amount of money to woo even the most resistant of people, you might go with Bill Cowher as the first choice. But my second choice probably would be Fisher. For 17 seasons with the Oilers/Titans, he recorded a 142-120 record, and he came ever so close to a Super Bowl victory. Aside from Cowher, I’m not sure there’s another former head coach out there that would command as much instant respect as Fisher.

1. Mike Zimmer: After a one-year slip-up, when the team was ranked 24th in the NFL in points allowed, the Bengals, once again, are one of the top units in the league. This, even after losing top cornerback Johnathan Joseph to the Texans and after failing to re-sign starting linebacker Dhani Jones. Zimmer has received effective play from youngsters Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, and though there are no legit stars on defense, somehow Zimmer keeps making the case why somebody (anybody?!?) should give him a job. It’s time for Zimmer to have his shot.

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Coaching hot seat adding names down the stretch

The question now: who will replace Norv? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Norv Turner's days in San Diego are numbered. We've heard nothing official from Chargers owner Dean Spanos, but between another underwhelming season (this one includes a six-game losing streak) and the near-daily rumors about Turner's demise, it doesn't take Norman Einstein to make the logical jump that San Diego will be looking for a new coach the moment the season ends.

The biggest question is whether general manager A.J. Smith will be relieved of his duties, too. And that decision could determine who replaces Turner. During NFL GameDay Morning, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports that a) Turner is as good as gone (not news) and b) A-list coaches like Jeff Fisher and Bill Cowher would have interest in the job … but only if Smith is out (news).

"Remember, Cowher's mentor is Marty Schottenheimer who went 14-2 and lost a power struggle with A.J. Smith," La Canfora said. "Jeff Fisher, I'm told, would have some reservations working with Smith. So if [the Chargers] want the kind of coach that they may desire, then they may have to blow up everything to get him."

Other coaches on the hot seat heading into the final five weeks of the season (via La Canfora):

* Norv Turner (4-7)
* Steve Spagnuolo (2-9)
* Jim Caldwell (0-11)
* Tony Sparano (3-8)
* Todd Haley (4-7)
* Tom Coughlin (6-5)
* Andy Reid (4-8)
* Raheem Morris (4-7)
* Leslie Frazier (2-9)

La Canfora "doesn't really see a scenario where" Turner, Spagnuolo and Caldwell are back next season. He also mentions that Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli "always hires within his family tree," one which includes Kirk Ferentz and Josh McDaniels.

Regarding Jacksonville's job opening: "Mike Sherman was contacted by the Jags before they fired Jack Del Rio. He was at A&M at that point. Texas A&M has since let him go. Mike Sherman, Jay Gruden, Brian Schottenheimer -- names to watch in connection to that Jacksonville job."

Most amazing: no one's talking about Mike Shanahan's job security.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:02 pm
 

Colts fire DC Coyer, promote QB Orlovsky

Coyer is out as defensive coordinator, Orlovsky is in at quarterback. (Getty Images/AP)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's been a busy day in the AFC South. The Jaguars fired head coach Jack Del Rio this morning, and by lunchtime, the Colts announced that they had relieved defensive coordinator Larry Coyer of his duties. Because, really, the defense was the primary reason the team is off to an 0-11 start.

“The move was made to improve communication and production,” Head Coach Jim Caldwell, via the team's web site. “We feel this is the most effective and realistic way to move forward and win games this season. We appreciate all of the effort and hard work Larry Coyer put forth in his three years with the Colts.”

We suspect that owner Jim Irsay will be issuing similar comments after the season when we learn that Caldwell has suffered the same fate as Coyer. For now, he's still in charge of a team that has a realistic chance to go winless in 2011.

Linebackers coach Mike Murphy has been assigned to replace Coyer.

In other Colts-related news, Caldwell has announced a new starting quarterback.

“Dan Orlovsky will (start this week at New England),” he said. “He’s been working at it and getting himself ready. … I think he’s a guy that certainly is comfortable within the framework of the system. I think he is a guy that’s also been around the league a while. He’s able to adjust and adapt to different systemic problems that you may have or see from a defense. He can adjust to those very easily. He has a nice, strong arm. We’re anticipating he’s going to be accurate as well, that’s key. The big is, obviously, to stay away from turnovers. He’s got to play smart and not scared."

It seems like a great opportunity for Orlovsky, who's probably best known for running unprovoked out of the back of the end zone when he played for the Lions during the 2008 season (Detroit, incidentally, went 0-16 that year). But the Colts' schedule shapes up like this the next two weeks: at New England, at Baltimore. If he survives that, Indy closes out against Tennessee, Houston and at Jacksonville.

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