As we come to the end of the season we get closer to the day labelled ‘Black Monday’. No, it’s not another global shopping phenomenon. It is in fact the first Monday after the end of the regular season that coaches of poor teams tend to find out if they’ve still got a job (to be honest, in today’s world we usually hear about all the movements on Sunday night!). With that I’ve gone through which coaches will be sitting nervously by their phones come Black Monday!
Freddie Kitchens – Cleveland Browns
The Browns started the 2019 season with about as much hype as a team has ever had, multiplied by the fact that it was the Browns who are more associated with battling it out for the No.1 spot of the draft. General manager John Dorsey had put together a roster stacked with offensive and defensive talent. To lead it, he chose Freddie Kitchens, the untested temporary offensive coordinator who Baker Mayfield apparently wanted as coach and since the season started it’s been a litany of head in hands moments from embarrassing losses, on pitch helmet swinging fights and star players shouting to the opponent sidelines to ‘come and get them’. There’s a severe lack of discipline in Cleveland and it shows. Kitchens hasn’t got hold of this dressing room, his tactical nous is non existent and he’s been making a fool of himself in the media. It may be only one season but Dorsey needs to take another swing at the head coaching job (and not consult Baker this time!
Dan Quinn – Atlanta Falcons
Whilst the roster probably isn’t as good as that in Cleveland, this is still a good team when it comes to quality of personnel. Injuries haven’t helped since the fabled 28-3 collapse in the Super Bowl but really, this is a team that should be doing better. Yes they’ve gone away and beaten both the 49ers and Saints, but if anything, that underlines how good this team could be. The biggest issue has been the defence, which is Quinn’s forte. It’s been a few years since their Super Bowl appearance and with Matt Ryan not getting any younger the Falcons need to decide whether to go with a fresh approach.
Matt Patricia – Detroit Lions
The Lions went in to this season with a roster more akin to what Patricia wanted it to look like. They started ok with a 3-3-1 record after seven games, but it’s been seven straight losses since then in a tough division where they’re rooted to the bottom. Patricia hasn’t been helped injuries to quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Kerryon Johnson but the defence also hasn’t helped things. With the number of former Pats executives in the front office in Detroit, I think Patricia will get another year to prove himself but that doesn’t mean his seat isn’t simmering slightly.
Anthony Lynn – LA Chargers
2019 will be the third season that Lynn has led the Chargers and this will certainly be his worst. The fresh memory of a playoff appearance last year is likely to save memory but the issue is connected to the issue that is Phillip Rivers. Rivers form has dropped off a cliff in 2019 and it’s very likely that the Chargers will be led by a new QB in 2020. The decision for the front office then is whether they roll with Lynn and trust him with a new quarterback or else go back to square one with a new coach/quarterback combo.
Pat Shurmur – New York Giants
Urgh want a dire season for the Giants. Two top ten draft picks in a row and is going to be three come the 2020 draft – possibly another second overall pick. The team has gone backwards from 2018 with continual question marks over a lame defence, decisions over who will be the quarterback and a second season slump from their star running back Saquon Barkley. Daniel Jones succeeded Eli Manning for most the season but the number of fumbles he’s had (something that is coachable – e.g. Sam Darnold) has been disastrous. Eli should be allowed to bow out with a .500 record and Jones have the offseason to sharpen up his game under what I fully expect to be a new regime come 2020.
Adam Gase – New York Jets
Across town, Gase’s Jets have hardly been lighting up the football. They’ve had a few results which show signs of encouragement, but for someone labelled as an offensive guru, he’s not got enough out of young quarterback Sam Darnold or veteran (and highly paid) running back Le’Veon Bell. Some of his decisions have also been odd, moving away from a game plan that was winning games to one that he used with Peyton Manning which then ended a three game winning run. Sam Darnold is not Peyton Manning. Seeing as he’s only been there a year I think Gase will likely be given a second year but after that there’ll be serious team building considerations given that Darnold’s rookie contract will be running down.
Doug Marone – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags have been somewhat of a dumpster fire this year. Like a few of the teams on this list, there’s some good players on their roster but the performances have been terrible. Gardner Minshew has been somewhat a ray of light, if nothing else he’s a marketing machine for the Jags! But there have been numerous reported fights within the team, the coaching has been bad, the front office has been bad and Tom Coughlin hasn’t done enough for himself to warrant keeping him around. Time for Shad Khan to clear house and start again.
Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys still might make the playoffs which means that Garretts day of doom might not be on Black Monday. If he gets them to the NFC Championship game, he may even get a stay of execution. Aside from that though, the soundbites coming from Jerry Jones have not given us any confidence that Garrett will remain in place come the end of the season.
There’s a few other names you might expect to see on such a list. Zac Taylor of the Bengals for instance – well the Bengals are probably tighter with their wallets than any other franchise and no way do they sack a guy and carry on paying him! Brian Flores of the Dolphins? No, the tanking that has been 2019 can not be placed at his doorstep, in fact getting any wins with that roster should get him coach of the year talk!