AUSTIN DENTON | SPORTS
A lot of changes this off-season are coming to NFL teams that failed to advance to the playoffs this season, and most of them are going to be for the better. Six teams either relieved their head coaches of their duties or they retired. The Bills, Broncos, Jaguars, Rams, Chargers, and 49ers all experienced these changes and are looking for someone new to lead their team in the next season to a Super Bowl. As professional football fans who don’t have a pro team here in Albuquerque, we all dream of going to the game and seeing our favorite team win. And the person behind making that happen? The head coach.
BUFFALO BILLS: First team that experienced the change is the Bills. The Bills front office fired head coach Rex Ryan along with his brother Rob Ryan who was the offensive coordinator before the final game of the regular season. This is more than likely the last time that Rex Ryan will coach in the NFL, as he has been fired from the Bills and the New York Jets earlier on in his career. Sources and players told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington that players did not give Ryan full support in the locker room toward mid-season. “There were too many cooks in the kitchen. Guys were pissed,” a player said to Darlington. “He lost the defense.”
The current front runner to take the job is the current interim head coach Anthony Lynn who coached the final game of the season, but Ian Rapaport of NFL.com reports that Lynn has four other interviews scheduled with the 49ers, Broncos, Jaguars, and Rams.
DENVER BRONCOS: The Broncos sent off their head coach with a memorable win on New Years Day. Just a couple of days before their final game of the season vs. the Raiders, it was announced that head coach Gary Kubiak was going to retire due to health reasons. Kubiak confirmed it to the team in the locker room after their win. Kubiak has had a few health scares while coaching, including a mini stroke back in 2014 while he was the head coach of the Houston Texans.
The Broncos have scheduled interviews with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (the son of former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan), Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, and Anthony Lynn, Bills interim head coach, according to theScore.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Just two hours after a 21-20 loss to the Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars fired their head coach Gus Bradley after three seasons of coaching the team. He led the team to a 14-48 record through three seasons.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Kyle Shanahan is one of the front runners for the job as well as Josh McDaniels, the current offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.
LOS ANGELES RAMS: The Rams returned to Los Angeles this year for the first time in 22 years, and didn’t get off to a great start. They finish 4-12 on the season and fired head coach Jeff Fisher mid-season. And what was ironic about his firing? His firing came eight days after news was leaked to Adam Schefter of ESPN that his contract was extended before the first game of the regular season.
Most of the coaches who are being interviewed for head coaching jobs have the Rams on their list of teams that they are talking to. At the moment, the front office is expressing interest in current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, and Payton himself is expressing interest as well. But former NFL coaches names like Jon Gruden and Jim Harbaugh have been thrown out there according to Washington Post.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: This firing was the one that came as the most surprise. Mike McCoy was fired as the head coach of the Chargers hours after their final game of the regular season. Even though he went 27-37 and made one playoff appearance in three years at the helm, it had seemed like McCoy was looking to take the team back on the right track. But the front office thought otherwise.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith may be the front runner, but La Canfora of CBS Sports says to not rule out Dave Toub, special teams coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Most reporters saw this coming after the first few games of the season. Head coach Chip Kelly was finally relieved of his duties after their final game of the season after leading the team to a 2-14 record in one season. Along with Kelly, GM Trent Baalke was shown the door after the game. “Despite my feelings for Trent and Chip, I felt the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary,” team owner Jed York said in the press conference after the announcement.
York has been a fan of the coaching style of the Patriots Josh McDaniels, and he is likely to be the front runner for the job.
The coaching carousel is very complicated, but is also fun. Because we never know as fans where coaches are going to land, they could even possibly be the next coach of your favorite team. We’ll find out in the next month where each coach will land and how each team will progress next season.