Tag:Gary Kubiak
Posted on: December 31, 2010 9:29 am
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Report: Texans to keep Kubiak, hire Wade as DC

Posted by Will Brinson

Because of the late-season swoon suffered by the Texans and their current 5-10 record, it's been commonly presumed that Gary Kubiak is on the hot seat in Houston. In fact, some fans have even been protesting his presence.    

Now, however, reports are coming out of Texas that indicate Kubiak may get another year with the organization and may get the help of an old Houstonian, Wade Phillips. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network said earlier in the week he was hearing "rumblings" of a Phillips-Kubiak pairing.

Now, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Texans owner Bob McNair wants Kubiak to hire a big-name defensive coordinator with a proven track record." Although, for what it's worth, McClain does caveat Kubiak's job safety by pointing out that the Texans need only to avoid a "blowout loss in Jacksonville" to keep McNair from having an "11th hour change of heart" and firing Kubiak.

Whether or not you think Wade's a good head coach, it's difficult to argue with his success as a defensive coordinator -- as McClain notes, the last four times Phillips' took a job as a DC, it was with a team that had a losing record and they were in the playoffs the next year.

McNair reportedly believes that the Texans offense is "in good hands" with Kubiak, but the defense, which was abysmal in 2010, needs an overhaul and a veteran playcaller.

Phillips, presumably, would provide that, and considering the season he had with Dallas in 2010 (a 1-7 start), it stands to reason he'd be more than willing to return to Houston (where he played in college, coached as a graduate assistant and began his pro coaching career) to try and wipe away the bad memories that people have of his latest head coaching stint.

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Posted on: December 31, 2010 9:27 am
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Posted on: December 28, 2010 2:15 pm
 

Texans fans want Kubiak out of their lives

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

While it seems fairly obvious that when the Texans face the Jaguars Sunday, it’ll be the last time Houston fans see Gary Kubiak coaching their team, some Texans supporters are getting a jump on trying to convince ownership that Kubiak needs to go.

That’s why, as the Houston Chronicle points out, a couple of fans are in the process of organizing a “Fire Gary Kubiak” rally about 45 minutes before Sunday’s game begins.

Yes, the name of the rally offers a fairly negative connotation – though it’s not quite as bad as a “Burn Gary Kubiak at the State” rally – one of the organizers wants to emphasize that this will be a peaceful assembly.

"I want to stress that I don't want people to come out to bash Kubiak," Brad White told the paper. "We don't want vulgar signs out there. We're not there to bash him. We're there to say that we want a change."

Almost certainly, White will get his wish in just a few very short days.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: December 27, 2010 1:57 pm
 

What do coaching changes say about lockout?

Posted by Andy Benoit

All season long we’ve been hearing about how teams may be reluctant to make a head coaching change given the uncertainty of the Collective Bargaining negotiations. Owners don’t like the idea of a new staff coming aboard and possibly having to wait until late summer to start working with players.J. Richardson (US Presswire)

However, heading into Week 17, we’ve already seen four head coaches canned (Wade Phillips in Dallas, Brad Childress in Minnesota, Josh McDaniels in Denver and Mike Singletary in San Francisco).

There is guaranteed to be at least one other head coaching vacancy after the season, as John Fox’s contract in Carolina expires next week. Marvin Lewis’ deal in Cincinnati also runs out. Many believe that Gary Kubiak will be fired in Houston. And there are questions about the futures of Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, Tony Sparano in Miami, Eric Mangini in Cleveland and Tom Coughlin in New York. It’s possible that 10 teams could be in the market for a new head coach after this season.

There are two ways to look at this as it pertains to the labor negotiations – and both are uplifting. One: the owners really don’t believe that a lockout is on the horizon. Though neither the league nor players would admit it, we got a hint of this sentiment a few weeks ago when the owners extended the deadline for the NFLPA to file a collusion claim against them. The other way to look at it is that if there is a lockout and roughly a third of the league’s owners are bringing in a new coaching staff in 2011, that could subtly influence the owners to get a deal done quicker. Two of the owners who could be searching for head coaches – Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson – are major power brokers.

Of course, it’s possible that we all misread the significance of a coaching change during a lockout to begin with. Perhaps owners are simply willing to take their lumps in 2011. But confusion with your head coaching situation is a significant lump to take. It’s expensive, chaotic and, if everything is shut down anyway, unnecessary. Problem is, all it takes is one team to decide to endure it, and all the others will follow suit. After all, if one team does it, that team would have first run at all the available head coaching candidates.

Something else to keep in mind: if there is a lockout, it won’t come until March. Unless we’re talking about the Raiders, it’s inconceivable that a team would not fill a head coaching vacancy before then. So teams can still implement their new staffs, those new staffs just might not be able to implement their new systems. Still, those limits would all be planned for ahead of time.

The bottom line is, labor peace or labor war, it’s going to be a busy early offseason as usual for the NFL.

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:27 pm
 

Cowher could be looking at a trio of teams

Bill Cowher apparently is looking at three teams (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If former Steelers coach Bill Cowher wants to return to the sidelines, the Giants, the Dolphins and the Texans are the clubs he’d like to take over.

That’s according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, via Pro Football Talk.

Two of those clubs raise an interesting quandary. New York is still in the playoff hunt, so it seems rather silly to think that Tom Coughlin would be in danger of getting fired. Miami hasn’t had a fabulous season, but Tony Sparano has only been on board for three seasons, and he hadn’t appeared to be on any hot-seat list (yet, you have to wonder if the prospect of getting Cowher would inch Sparano toward the unemployment line).

The Texans move would actually make sense. If the Texans don’t make the postseason – and they most likely won’t – coach Gary Kubiak probably should be relieved of his job.

With plenty of firepower on offense (QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster) and with Cowher’s background as a tenacious defensive coach, the hiring of Cowher seemingly would be a very good move for an organization that still has never made the playoffs.

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 1:53 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: It's time for Tavaris Jackson

Posted by Will Brinson

Brad Childress' departure from the Minnesota Vikings organization certainly doesn't mean that Wednesdays aren't FavreDays still -- and so it's now Leslie Frazier handling the press conference questions of reporters while every network in the world livestreams his answers regardless of what else in the world is happening.

Frazier, who's immensely more enjoyable to listen to for 20 minutes than Chilly, said that there hasn't been a decision made on whether Brett Favre will start Sunday. In fact, he said that a decision probably won't come until Sunday, as the Vikings try to figure out if No. 4 can play. He also said that Favre won't start just to keep his streak alive.

"No, I don't think we approach it that way," Frazier said. "Either he can go or he can't go. And when he goes in there, we're of the expectation that he can play for four quarters. That would be the plan. So we wouldn't go into it, get a start, get a couple reps and get out, no."

So, even though Favre hasn't thrown a ball this week and even though he can't lift his arm very far and even though the Vikings offense went ballistic on the Bills once Tavaris Jackson entered the game on Sunday, Favre still gives Minnesota the "best chance to win." Presumably.

But does he?

The upside of Tavaris is that he's extremely mobile, he has a cannon arm and he's absolutely fresh right now. The downside of Tavaris is that he's inexperienced and he frequently makes terrible, inexcusable mistakes.

This differentiates him from Favre in that, um, he's not experienced. Oh, and that he won't be publicly upset if he can't start his 299th consecutive game.

That is to say, if the Vikings were playing to win, they would start Tavaris over Favre. And, actually, if they're playing to make sure that Favre doesn't get literally killed on Sunday, they'll start Tavaris -- the Giants pass rush isn't just formidable, it's terrifying, and they're going to get their hands on the Vikings quarterback, whoever it is.

If it's someone who's mobile instead of someone who's got unbelievable genes and an Iron Man body gripping his extremities by strings -- not to mention a busted foot and/or feet and/or ankles -- they'll stand a better chance of succeeding against a scary defense.

Look, some of Tavaris' success on Sunday came from two things: having Adrian Peterson and having Sidney Rice. Because they played the Bills, Peterson was able to soften up the defense and make Jackson's job easier. And because Rice is as stud, some of the throws Jackson made went from jump-balls to big gains.

But, hey, that's not so different from Favre being under center anyway.

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So, this Cardinals quarterback situation is just a total nightmare isn't it? It's terrible for the fans and it's probably worse for Ken Wisenhunt, who absolutely knows that there's nothing he can do in order to improve his team's chances of winning over the next couple of weeks -- either he starts raw rookie John Skelton, or he keeps throwing Derek Anderson to the wolves.

There's a sound argument to be made from the perspective of "Skelton CAN'T be worse than Anderson -- just play him!" But there's also a sound argument to be made for the other side, as well. Because, you know, if you start Skelton and he gets hurt or stinks the joint up, you're wasting money on Anderson on the bench and getting the same result, with the possibility of hurting Skelton's development long term.

In hindsight, the team shouldn't have been so cheap that they weren't willing to pay Marc Bulger as well (we learned recently that Whiz and the Cards wanted to go after Bulger but didn't want to wait for the Rams to release him) and, instead, ended up with two rookies backing up their de facto starter in Anderson.

The moral of the story? You should always sneak into Kurt Warner's and do your best God voice to convince him to rejoin the team regardless of how morally corrupt that is make sure you have reasonably viable options at quarterback.

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The notion of a "starting running back" is a little outdated in this two-back world we live in, but it still prominently exists. Look no further than the Giants situation where Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have flopped several times as the "starter." Jacobs, who regained the role recently, will continue to start "at this point," according to Tom Coughlin.

The bottom line is that Coughlin's going to keep going with the hot hand, he's going to pound both of these guys with his wide receiver corps banged up, and he'll use the "starter" thing as motivation for both Bradshaw and Jacobs.

And that, right there, is something that deserves a ton of praise -- Coughlin hasn't been scared to make change and motivate these guys in 2010, and that's why the Giants, instead of continually skidding after losses to Philadelphia and Dallas, are tied with the Eagles for the NFC East lead.

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There's been some clamoring for Tim Tebow in Denver. After all, Josh McDaniels is gone and let's see what we've got, people! Unleash the Tebow!!! (Sorry, got excited there for a second.) This is silly.

Eric Studesville needs to win and he needs to win quickly and he needs to do it in a fashion that shows he can win next year as well (with Kyle Orton and his motley crue of wideouts), if he hopes to have a shot at the Broncos gig in 2011. It seems unlikely that he gets that job anyway, but not less likely than Tebow blossoming into a starting NFL quarterback over the next three weeks. So: upside is you have a guy who's not as good as Orton (yet). Downside: Studesville kills any chance of being a candidate in Denver and simultaneously sinks Tebow's trade value even further for next year.

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Pants on Fire! (You see, because we examine hot seats)

John Fox: He's gone. His house, according to people I talked to recently, has been on the market for months. The only question is whether or not Frazier and Jason Garrett in Dallas can lose their jobs in the next three weeks to present attractive openings for a new gig.

Mike Singletary: MUnless the Niners rip off a miracle run, he's toast. And he clearly knows that. Why else would he make the flip-flopping of Troy Smith and Alex Smith "week-to-week"?

Jeff Fisher: Seems kind of crazy, but at this point, if you're Fisher, why would you stay? Your crazy old boss clearly prefers a guy like Vince Young to you (the guy who's been there, winning, for 17 years!) and walking out now, even with the Titans struggling mightily, would mean an easy opportunity to land another head coaching job.

Norv Turner: Once upon about two weeks ago, Turner might have had a shot at running the table and making an argument for COY award. Instead, the Chargers came out completely flat against Oakland, at home, as 13.5-point favorites. If the same thing happens (only with a 7.5 line) against KC, Norv better watch out.

Marvin Lewis: He's hanging out in John Fox's billiards room, obviously.

Gary Kubiak: Primetime struggles against Baltimore (at home, on Monday night) could make things awkward for Kubes. Fortunately, that Denver job's open, so he could potentially "leave" Houston for a "homecoming" and just work something out with Texans ownership where they don't fire him. (And then hire Fisher! The drama! The hatred! DO IT!)

Tony Sparano: There are so many coaches getting canned or sitting squarely on the heater that Sparano gets overlooked, but following up a blowout of Oakland with a terrible loss to Cleveland means he has to beat Buffalo and Detroit at home to close out the season at 8-8, as the Fins travel to the Jets and the Pats as well in the next four weeks. Losing one of those has the makings of a canning.

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Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:58 am
 

Five Questions (or More) with Mike Gottfried

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Bill Gottfried was a longtime college football coach (for a combined 12 seasons, he was the head coach at Murray State, Cincinnati, Kansas and Pitt with a combined record of 75-56-4), and since he hung up the whistle for good, he’s kept involved in the game. He was a TV analyst for many years at ESPN, but he’s also turned to helping boys who are growing up without fathers.

A decade ago, he started Team Focus, a program that helps provide those fatherless children with the skills of life and provides them with a long-term mentor. Three years ago, he wrote a book called Coaches Challenge: Faith, Football and Filling the Father Gap.

Now, he’s back with his second literary offering, Wisdom From Winners. In that work, he talks to coaches – including Houston’s Gary Kubiak, Indianapolis’ Jim Caldwell, former Atlanta coach June Jones and former Dolphins QB Bob Griese – about the nuggets of wisdom they’ve learned in their lives.

We caught up with Gottfried, who now lives in Mobile, this week to talk about Team Focus, his former NFL aspirations and his new book.

Previous Five Questions or More:

Nov. 12: 49ers LB Takeo Spikes

Nov. 5: former WR, current NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson

Oct. 29: Chargers LS Mike Windt

Oct. 22: Bengals WR coach Mike Sheppard

Oct. 15: Redskins WR Anthony Armstrong

Oct. 8:
Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich

Oct. 1: Kent Babb of the KC Star

Sept. 24: Texans WR Kevin Walter

Sept. 17: former Bengals, Titans DT John Thornton

Sept. 11: Seahawks RB Leon Washington

1. CBSSports: I know you wrote a book a few years ago about kids with no fathers, but tell me about this book idea and where it came from.

Mike Gottfried: I was riding on an airplane with Mark Harris, a singer-songwriter. He lives in Mobile. We were coming back and he said, “Of all the people you know, why don’t you write a book on legacies?” I said, “Well, maybe someday.” I went back and that’s about the time (former NFL coach) Sid (Gillman) died. Bill Walsh died a little bit later, and I got to thinking that with those boys I’m working with, they’re not ever going to meet a Sid Gillman or a Bill Walsh or Pete Rose or John Wooden or Nick Saban or Bobby Bowden. I thought if I could get these people to give a little nugget of influence they got somewhere along the line, I could combine it into a book. I started calling guys and sending out questionnaires.

CBS:
I know Sid died in 2003. How long did it take you to compile this?

Gottfried:
It’s been about seven years. I was real fired up right way, and then I got involved in some other things, and I put it on the backburner. Probably about a year ago, I really got everything accumulated. I took everything and started compiling it.

2. CBS: Most of these coaches are successful at the highest levels of their profession. Do you think they really stop to think about their legacy?

Gottfried: I think you do at different times. You don’t go around every day thinking about it. But when I sent the letter to them and the questionnaire and told them about the boys, they took it serious. They thought, “I do want to be a part of this. I do have something to say.” It became very important to be a part of it.

CBS: How did you get involved with Team Focus?

Gottfried: My father died when I was 11. I felt the loss of a father and I kept a lot of things inside me. I didn’t have a lot of people to ask, “How do I do this?” I grew up in a small town where the people really kind of helped raise us. They would encourage me and my brothers. I knew that played a big part in getting me where I’m supposed to be.

CBS: Were a lot of the coaches you talked to in this same scenario – maybe not a father dying but having to overcome long odds to get to where they are now?

Gottfried: Many of them. Bob Griese is one that comes to mind. His dad died when he was 10. Coaches, teachers and Little League helped him, because he was struggling. I think there a lot of guys that know the importance of coaching and the importance of being a mentor in somebody’s life. They were so interested in helping and getting out the nuggets that people taught them. That was a really encouraging.

3. CBS:
It’s interesting you say that. I always tend to think the mentoring coaches are more those guys in high school and in college. But I remember watching the TV show Hard Knocks last year, and Marvin Lewis spent time mentoring Chad Ochocinco in the world of banking and saving money. Here’s a guy who’s grown up and in his 30s, and still, Lewis is mentoring him about life. But I guess that’s why people get into coaching when they first start out.

Gottfried:
Without a doubt. So many guys I saw come to schools I was at – Murray State, Cincinnati, Kansas and Pittsburgh – I would see things in them that if you just would work with them, they really could be polished in those areas. Some of them were real shy and didn’t want to speak. We talked to them about speaking, and with some of these young boys, we put them on camera so they could see how they looked to other people. All those things you take for granted if you’ve grown up with a father. But growing up with a father who’s absent, they don’t learn it. It’s missing. If you can help them be complete, that’s coaching.

4. CBS:
When you were coaching college, did you ever have the desire to go to the NFL?

Gottfried: I had some chances to go in the NFL after I got fired in Pittsburgh. I got into TV, and I wanted to go back. One year, I had a chance with the Browns, one year with the 49ers. I talked to Bill Walsh, and he talked about going back to Tampa and I talked to him about that. Then he decided not to go back. But I thought about it a lot.

5. CBS:
Following the stroke you had a couple years ago, is the TV career over? Is that something you can get back into?

Gottfried:
Right now what I want to do is focus on trying to raise money and reach more boys with Team Focus.

CBS:
That must be satisfying experience.

Gottfried:
It really is. I’ve seen guys when we statted 10 or 11 years ago and now we see so many young men, so many serving in Afghanistan and in Iraq, so many in college, working in business, and leading all kind of different lives. When you see a picture of them from 2002 and you see this little guy in the first row and you know where he’s at today, it’s pretty rewarding.

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Posted on: November 18, 2010 12:02 am
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: Did We Really Doubt Mike Vick?

Posted by Will Brinson

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park . This week: Where have all the job controversies gone? No, but seriously, we're all locked in! Also, Vick talk, because it's Vick Week. And who's on the hot seat?

It's fairly bizarre that for at least say, oh, five weeks we wondered whether or not Michael Vick should be the starter for the Eagles.

Well not so much wondered but at least kind of debated. Well, okay, after we saw how Vick played against Detroit and Jacksonville there wasn't a debate, but Kevin Kolb's performance against Atlanta and his strong effort while Vick was sidelined at least had people thinking twice.

Speaking of thinking twice, remember when Andy Reid decided to go with Vick and we all got all RABBLE-RABBLE! on him for not being man enough to make up his mind?

Yeah, we should probably all apologize for that, because he ended up being 100 percent correct in his decision making, which culminated in Week 10's fantasy point explosion where Vick piled up 413 yards and four touchdowns via the air and ground. (And really, it's kind of criminal that he didn't win both the FedEx awards this week.)

Reid's decision making also includes signing Vick in the first place, prepping him to be a better pocket passer, and putting him in situations to succeed (even if sometimes those situations have fans of football screaming "STOP LETTING HIM TAKE HITS TO THE RIBS, BIG GUY!").

At the end of the year, if the franchise tag survives the new CBA, Vick's likely to get tagged, which may be why the two sides have yet to discuss an extension. Mike Florio of PFT cites a source who says that Vick's contract/extension value is lower than one might think (relative to the market value of the guy he whipped on Monday, Donovan McNabb, who just got a pretty big deal) unless the Eagles can get some sort of assurances that Vick won't get in trouble. In fact, one of the sources points out that "all he has to do is breathe in the wrong direction and he will be suspended for life." Obviously that's a bit of hyperbole (after all, Vick survived his birthday party that wasn't exactly a Sweet 16), but not that much -- he's about to go from one of the greatest second-chance stories of all-time right back to super-popular, rich mega-bajillionaire.

His current humility and attitude towards life sure seems like it can survive that temptations that come along with that, but in the same way that Reid showed some good faith in Vick, well, the quarterback should reciprocate towards Philadelphia, even if it means taking less money than he could get elsewhere.

Reid's talents for offensive scheming fit Vick's talents for offensive performance, and there's no reason to mess with a good thing. Not saying he should completely cave on contract demands (this is a business after all) and not saying the Eagles should put all their eggs in one basket, particularly one with a history of not always holding up, but this is a pretty good marriage right now, and everyone involved would be wise to let it keep rolling.

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Elsewhere in the NFL, well, man, there ain't a whole lot of job issues anymore. We can start in Carolina (per usual), but at this point we're debating the semantics between Brian St. Pierre and Tony Pike, which is like debating between, um Mike Goodson and Tyrelle Sutton.

Actually, no it's not, because Sutton, along with Jonathan Stewart, aren't likely to play this week. Which leaves Goodson and whatever poor soul the Panthers have to start at quarterback against a Ravens defense that is suddenly enraged at being called "not elite." Should be good times!

Arizona's "solved" their quarterback problems the same way Seattle has -- by default. It just makes more sense to roll with Derek Anderson and Matt Hasselebeck at this point, rather than go with the alternative, which involves a rookie and Jesus Beard, respectively.

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Troy Smith appears to have solved the problems in San Francisco (yes, those problems were "losing" coupled with "crappy quarterback play") and, as we mentioned last week, why wouldn't he? Well, except for that ridiculous "week-to-week" tag that Mike Singletary hit him with; that's insulting to Troy and the team and anyone who's ever seen Alex Smith or David Carr lose games.

People lamented his height as a reason for not having quarterback success in the NFL, but that's a poor excuse when the talent is there. And, frankly, probably an indicator of why talent evaluation misses so badly sometimes.

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Even the Dolphins, who just lost TWO quarterbacks in the last week, aren't a debatable team, because there's Tyler Thigpen, who's had some decent success in Kansas City, and there's Patrick Ramsey, who has a resume with enough teams on it that even Todd Bouman cringes when he reads it.

So …

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Pants on Fire (Because, you see, it's a hot seat)

- Brad Childress: Once Brett Favre's lost all hope, there's no reason to continue believing that you've got a job as a head coach. Even more telling of Chilly's future is that he didn't know about Favre's "shoulder injury," which should probably be indicative of his status after this year. Frankly, the team's absolutely foolish not to give Leslie Frazier a chance right now.

- John Fox: He's as good as gone at this point, but give him credit for this -- he 100 percent has not lost the Panthers in terms of the team believing him. You can see it from those guys that they buy into what he's saying, even at 1-8, and that's perhaps the best possible endorsement one can give the coach of the worst team in football.

- Marvin Lewis: Donovan McNabb is making fun of his team's record. If you watched Monday night, you know Donovan shouldn't be making fun of anyone. So, yeah …

- Gary Kubiak: He got an endorsement from the owner, which is always considered a good thing, except it always ends in someone getting fired. Still, considering how terrible his defense is, maybe he should be getting credit for the fact that the Texans are 4-5.

- UMM, seriously, what happened? There were at least 15 guys on the hot seat a week ago. Now all of a sudden Wade Phillips gets fired, Jacksonville's a winner again, Lovie Smith is getting freebies from Chilly and everyone's either being coached by a new regime or a guy who's quickly reviving the team (yes, we're even lumping Mike Singletary there, but . NO GOOD PEOPLE. WE WANT MORE FIRINGS.

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