By Wesley Kaminsky
It’s almost that time of the year again, and yes I’m talking about the NFL season. With the lockout nearly over, it is time to start thinking about the 2011 NFL season, and forget about all the nonsense that went on this off-season.
Every year, at some point, there are head coaches fired during the season. It simply is something that always happens every season, and this season I expect nothing less.
There will be teams that exceed expectations, and teams that disappoint. If a team is struggling badly, the scrutiny is put right to the head coach. Here we go.
No. 5: Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins:
Coming in at number five on this list is Mike Shanahan, head coach of the Washington Redskins. In his first year in Washington, things were shaky, as the Redskins finished 6-10, and last in the NFC East. After acquiring Donovan McNabb in the off-season, Shanahan gave up on the former Eagle, questioning his stamina and toughness. You gotta wander how that went over with Dan Snyder.
Now, I leave you this question. Is Mike Shanahan really a good coach, or did he just get lucky with John Elway? Aside from 1997 and 1998 when John Elway led the Broncos to back to back Super Bowl titles, Shanahan has won just two playoff games. Since Elway retired, he has won just one playoff game, in 2005 versus the Patriots.
We all know that Dan Snyder has a short leash with head coaches, and don’t be surprised if Shanahan is searching for another job next off-season.
Final Verdict: Mike Shanahan gets fired.
No. 4: Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Out of the people on this list, Tom Coughlin is the guy who I feel is the best coach on the hot seat. After failing to make the playoffs the last two seasons, the 2007 Super Bowl champions need to make it this year, or Coughlin will be done in New York. In a brutally tough NFC East, that task won’t be easy, as they have to go against the Eagles, and Cowboys twice.
I’m surprised that Tom Coughlin made it past last season to be honest. After the Giants began the season red hot at 6-2, then at 9-4, they went on to collapse for the second straight season, missing the playoffs. Let us not forget about the biggest loss of them all; when they blew a 24-3 halftime lead at home against the Eagles, losing at the buzzer on a DeSean Jackson punt return. As an Eagles fan, I was obviously in heaven after that game.
The Giants are a team with all the tools to compete not only for a playoff berth, but to come out of the NFC. I never know what to expect out of this team, but I’m gonna put my money on them making the playoffs, leaving Coughlin safe.
Final Verdict: Tom Coughlin will be around a little longer in the Big Apple.
No. 3: Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
The next coach on this list, Marvin Lewis, should come as no surprise. Following the Bengals 10-6 season, in which they won the AFC North, many expected the Bengals to compete for a Super Bowl last year. The tables turned though, as the Bengals turned back into the “Bungles,” finished 4-12, in a season that was a complete disaster. Things once seemed so promising in Cincinnati, and now they are back to normal.
Marvin Lewis is on thin ice in Cincinnati, and quite frankly, I don’t see how he makes it past this season. With the Bengals franchise quarterback, Carson Palmer refusing to play in Cincinnati, it’s likely that the Bengals will turn to Andy Dalton, a rookie out of TCU. You know things are bad in Cincinnati when your quarterback threatens to retire if he has to remain a Bengal.
Since becoming head coach of the Bengals in 2003, Marvin Lewis has made the playoffs just twice, resulting in zero playoff wins. How he’s still coaching this team is beyond me. He’s a good guy, but it really does not seem like he is the right guy for this job.
Final Verdict: With the Bengals likely to struggle this season, Marvin Lewis may not make it through the whole year.
No. 2: Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
Similar to Marvin Lewis, I wonder how Gary Kubiak is still coaching the Texans. In fact, it’s a bigger shock that he is still in Houston. Since joining the NFL in 2002, the Texans have yet to make the playoffs, having a winning season just once. In Gary Kubiak’s defense, that was in 2009 when he was coaching.
However, following that 2009 season, the Texans regressed, finishing 6-10, after a red hot 4-2 start. Last year was supposed to be the season the Texans finally made the jump to the playoffs, but instead were just the same old team they have always been.
This season it’s now or never for Kubiak, and it’s time to put this team in the playoffs. No more excuses.
Final Verdict: I’m going to roll the dice here, and say this is the year the Texans finally make the playoffs, leaving Kubiak safe. Please note, yes, I have been wrong plenty before.
No. 1: Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
In my mind, there is no bigger mystery as to how Norv Turner is still the coach of the San Diego Chargers. I simply just do not understand it. Every year it seems the Chargers have underachieved under him.
Let’s take 2009 for example. After a regular season in which the Chargers finished 13-3, they looked invincible and destined for the Super Bowl. Following their first round bye however, the Chargers were shocked by the Jets, ending another disappointing year. I thought for sure Norv Turner would be finished then, but somehow he kept his job.
Brace yourself for this next part now. The Chargers finished last season 9-7, second in the AFC West, missing out on the playoffs. In case you were wondering, this is an AFC West that consists of the Chiefs, Broncos, and Raiders. Yet, somehow, someway, Norv Turner kept his job, despite missing the playoffs. How?
Final Verdict: The Chargers will bounce back this year, and win the AFC West. This leaves Norv Turner safe. Again.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.