Black Monday is always a tough day in the NFL. A lot of people lose jobs on that day every year. The Head Coaches are the headline makers but there are a lot of people who lose jobs that do not make the headlines and a lot of families whose lives are turned upside down. So after we saw Hue Jackson and Mike McCarthy lose their jobs in the season, which coaches lost their job on one of the craziest days in the NFL?
Ultimately there were not any huge shocks on Monday. All of the coaches that lost jobs are understandable, and all of the coaches who were retained can equally have a case made for them.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
This one has some element of shock about it. Lewis is the winningest coach in Bengals franchise history, with a 131-122-3 record in his career. However, despite making seven postseasons the Bengals never won a single game in the playoffs. His firing comes off the back of three straight years missing the playoffs and perhaps the year in which the team has looked the worst. This was partly expected at this stage of his career but it still came as somewhat of a surprise when they finally pulled the trigger. I would not be surprised, given his history, if Lewis was back in the Bengals franchise in a front office role next season.
Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins
Over his three years with the Dolphins, Gase posted a 23-25 record. However, over that time his team had a dreadful points differential. Despite one 10-6 season they never ranked above 24th in points differential in a single season. That is a pretty damning stat for a head coach. He has had issues with Ryan Tannehill’s health and that will likely see him get another job. He also had culture issues in the locker room last year but even with those guys out they still only managed to go 7-9 in 2018. Those culture issues should also count against Gase though as he was the head coach that allowed the to become a problem for the team. He will get another job as a head coach relatively soon, but I am not sure he will succeed without major changes.
Todd Bowles, New York Jets
4-12 this season and 24-40 all time is hard to overcome. They have also had some terrible losses with ugly performances and it became inevitable he would leave his position. The only shock for me is that they did not also send the GM packing as well.
Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
This one was hard because Joseph was handed a tough assignment. However, after posting back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in over 45 years someone had to go. Unfortunately for Joseph it was not going to John Elway and Joseph was the fall guy. The Broncos defensive regression is perhaps the biggest stain on his time as the head coach. A terrible offence could be pointed at Elway but a defensive regression will fall on the defensive minded head coach every single time.
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This has been another ugly situation and the Buccaneers have gone 19-29 under Koetter. In addition, he has failed to get any progression out of Jameis Winston. With one year left on Winston’s contract it makes sense that the Buccaneers wanted to go elsewhere in one last ditch attempt to try and salvage something from their #1 overall draft pick in 2015. Koetter will likely land an offensive coordinator job and could even be heading back to Atlanta to team up with Matt Ryan once again.
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
This is an incredibly harsh one-and-done. This was always going to be tough with a team lacking talent and a rookie quarterback. However, the offence was abject this season and the team put up their worst record since their move to Arizona in 1988. The Cardinals could not afford to waste another year of Rosen’s progression and they clearly decided they needed an offensive mind at the top. This one likely came down to the fact there was no one in the Cardinals front office who banged the table loudly enough for Wilks to survive.
The one who survived: Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Things got pretty ugly in Detroit this season. The Lions regressed from a 9-7 team and Patricia did not make many friends. He was crass with the media, pissed off his players by working them hard in the cold and was reportedly late to meetings. All of those things he did are no different to what his mentor and previous head coach Bill Belichick has done in his career. However, Belichick has earned the right to be like that and Patrica has not.
While Wilks likely did not have an ally in Arizona I think Patricia did and that is what I ultimately believe saved him. Bob Quinn and Patricia go back to their days at the Patriots and that connection is why Patricia will be in Detroit next season.
Image credit: Al Diaz / Miami Herald