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May 29, 2024

Massive Shakeup on NFL Black Monday: Six Coaches Fired, Belichick Speculation Swirls

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Jan 11, 2024

The 2024 NFL Black Monday lived up to its chaotic reputation, with no less than six head coaches getting the ax on January 8th following the conclusion of the regular season. Additional major changes are expected across the league in the coming days and weeks as franchises seek new leadership to lift them out of mediocrity.

Rivera, Smith Among First to Go

The day kicked off with Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder firing Ron Rivera after four losing seasons. Rivera led Washington to an NFC East title in 2020 but wasn’t able to replicate that success. He finishes with a record of 31-38-1.

“I’m not sure Ron was ever going to get things turned around there considering how dysfunctional that franchise has been,” said former NFL exec Jeff Diamond. “Still, he deserved more time after last year’s playoff berth.”

The Atlanta Falcons then announced that head coach Arthur Smith won’t return following three seasons that saw the team go 21-27. Smith was hired in 2021 to develop then-rookie QB Justin Herbert but the two never seemed to click. The Falcons offense struggled mightily this season, ranking 31st in scoring.

“You have to feel for Arthur because Matt Ryan covered up a lot of flaws on that roster last year,” said NFL Network analyst Steve Wyche. “The talent just wasn’t there for him to succeed.”

The day’s biggest stunner came just after noon with the news that the Tennessee Titans have fired Mike Vrabel. Vrabel led the team to four playoff appearances and three division titles in his first six seasons. However, Tennessee crashed back to earth this year with a 6-11 record.

“I’m shocked Amy Adams-Strunk pulled the trigger on this,” said longtime Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt. “Vrabel is easily a top ten coach and widely respected across the league.”

Colts Fire DeMeco Ryans After Just One Year

In one of the quickest coaching tenures in recent memory, the Indianapolis Colts announced Monday afternoon they have fired head coach DeMeco Ryans after just one season. Ryans, a former linebacker hired last January from the 49ers defensive coordinator post, led the team to a disappointing 5-12 record this year.

“This is insane. How can you evaluate a head coach after one year, especially without a proven quarterback? said former Colts GM Bill Polian. “Jim Irsay is one of the most impatient owners in football and this is exhibit A. DeMeco deserves so much better.”

Taking over for the fired Frank Reich last season, the Colts struggled mightily on offense behind the aging Matt Ryan and second-year QB Sam Ehlinger. Ryans did an admirable job keeping a flawed roster competitive but it wasn’t enough for Irsay.

“I really think DeMeco has a bright future as a head coach if he gets another shot,” said NFL analyst and former safety Ryan Clark. “The Colts roster has a very low ceiling right now. Even some of the best coaches couldn’t do much with it this year.”

Seahawks Part Ways with Longtime HC Pete Carroll

In Seattle, the Seahawks announced they will not be extending head coach Pete Carroll’s contract that is set to expire after 2024. The future Hall of Fame coach led the Seahawks franchise to eight playoff appearances, three NFC Championships and their only Super Bowl win in 2013 over his 12-year run.

“It really is the end of an era in the Pacific Northwest,” said Seahawks Insider reporter Gregg Bell. “Pete is 72 now and the team clearly wanted to move on to someone who can take this roster back to contention.”

The Seahawks stumbled to a 7-10 record this season after trading franchise QB Russell Wilson last offseason. Carroll was adamant after the season that he still “has plenty left in the tank” but Seattle ownership felt otherwise.

“I’m grateful for the amazing ride here and all the relationships I’ve built,” said an emotional Carroll in a statement. “I’m not done coaching yet but if this is the end here, I’ll cherish the memories from an incredible run.”

Saints Shock Football World by Firing Dennis Allen

The New Orleans Saints raised eyebrows Monday evening by announcing they have fired head coach Dennis Allen after just two seasons at the helm. Allen, a longtime defensive assistant under Sean Payton, led the Saints to a disappointing 7-10 record this year.

“This is a real stunner. I thought Dennis deserved at least another year,” said NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. “That offense was devastated by injuries this season and he still kept them competitive.”

Allen took over in 2022 following Payton’s retirement but wasn’t able to capture the same offensive magic. The Saints averaged under 17 points per game this season.

“That’s an insanely short leash,” said NFL analyst Ross Tucker. “It’s pretty clear ownership thinks this roster is Super Bowl caliber if the offense can get back on track.”

Others noted that Allen is the casualty of unrealistic expectations. “I don’t think even Sean Payton could have gotten this banged up offense to produce this year,” said longtime Saints reporter Nick Underhill. “The bar is just incredibly high for any coach in New Orleans but Dennis never really had a chance.”

Patriots Drama Kicking Into High Gear

While the Patriots finished above .500 at 9-8 under third-year head coach Josh McDaniels, speculation is running rampant that huge changes could be on tap in New England. Several reports indicate that owner Robert Kraft is eyeing a complete “reset” that could see both McDaniels and longtime executive Bill Belichick ousted from the struggling franchise.

“Make no mistake, the Patriots way isn’t working right now,” said ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on Monday. “Belichick clearly doesn’t have the same fire and Kraft isn’t getting any younger. I’d say everything is on the table there this offseason.”

There is talk that Kraft wants to bring back former Patriots legend Tom Brady to the fold as part of a front office role. Brady just finished his legendary 23rd NFL season on Sunday and has stated he plans to retire for good this offseason.

“Having Tom back inside the Patriots organization would energize that fanbase and give them instant credibility with free agents,” said former Patriots front office executive Scott Pioli.

As for Belichick and McDaniels, analysts speculate both would generate significant interest across the league for front office and head coaching vacancies.

“Say what you want but Josh McDaniels remains one of the brightest offensive minds in football,” said NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo. “Several quarterback-needy teams would welcome him as either a coordinator or head coach.”

Top Coaching Candidates Already Emerging

With six job openings already on the board, speculation is swirling around the top candidates to fill these coveted positions across the league.

At the top of many lists is University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who reportedly has significant interest in finally making the jump to the NFL. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on Monday that his sources indicate the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts have already put in unofficial requests to interview Harbaugh.

For teams seeking an experienced former Super Bowl winner, many insiders expect the 8-9 Los Angeles Chargers to move on from Brandon Staley following their late-season collapse. That would open up the possibility of Sean Payton or Doug Pederson taking over quarterback Justin Herbert and a loaded offense.

On the coordinator front, several names are already generating buzz, including the Cowboys’ Dan Quinn, the 49ers’ DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles’ Shane Steichen, the Lions’ Aaron Glenn and the Giants’ Wink Martindale. Multiple reports suggest Quinn will receive heavy consideration from the Seahawks and Falcons for their openings.

With the coaching chaos just getting started on this NFL Black Monday, more surprise moves could be coming in the next 24 hours. And with top candidates like Jim Harbaugh considering NFL returns and Tom Brady’s future unclear, this promises to be one of the wildest offseasons in recent history. Buckle up!

What Lies Ahead for Teams and Coaches

For the freshly dismissed coaches like Rivera, Smith and Allen, analysts expect significant interest for coordinator positions and possibly even additional head coaching looks.

“Good coaches don’t stay unemployed very long in the NFL,” said SiriusXM NFL analyst Alex Marvez. “I could see Ron Rivera in particular getting scooped up quickly because he’s had success and several teams need an experienced culture builder.”

Vrabel and Carroll also seem likely to land on their feet if they want to continue coaching, be it as coordinators or even head coaching elsewhere. Multiple insiders believe Vrabel will take a year off but plans to coach again down the road.

As for the teams beginning their searches, priority one has to be solidifying their unsettled quarterback situations. The Panthers, Colts, Saints, Falcons and Commanders all have questionable futures under center. Their chances of success hinge on finding the right coach to unlock a young quarterback or lure an established veteran.

“Until you get certainty at quarterback, you’re just chasing your tail,” said former NFL GM Charley Casserly. “The teams that get that QB question answered quickly will have a huge advantage on the others in turning things around.”

With the coaching carousel just getting started after this unprecedented Black Monday shakeup, more shocking developments seem inevitable in the coming weeks. For executives, coaches and fans alike, this promises to be the wildest NFL offseason in recent memory.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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