‘WE’RE going in a different direction’. ‘Your services are no longer required’. ‘You’re fired’. There are plenty of different ways that front offices tell NFL head coaches that their time is up and after falling short of the mark in 2017 six coaches found themselves on the receiving end of such messages. As it stands right now those half a dozen teams are looking for the next candidate, whether it be a former head coach, a highly touted assistant or a college coaching standout, to lead them to the promised land. If I was one of those said candidates, I know for which jobs I’d want to interview for and which ones, well, I wouldn’t.
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6. Chicago Bears
SOMEONE has to finish last on this list and after much deliberation, it’s Da Bears. A pedestrian passing game led by rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky saw Chicago win just five games with their star running back Jordan Howard regressing too. Coupled with a mediocre defense that lacks playmakers, the Bears are still a few pieces away from being a few pieces away.
5. Arizona Cardinals
OF the six teams on this list there’s an argument that can be made for Arizona owning the best defense. Of course, that’s depending on Haason Reddick making another leap after an impressive rookie year and their other stars in Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu remaining elite. With Carson Palmer’s retirement, Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert aren’t going to save the day. However, there could be a move in the offseason for a play caller that makes this job much more enticing. But then again, they are old. Like really old.
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4. Detroit Lions
A .500ish roster translated into pretty much exactly that for Jim Caldwell over his four seasons at the helm. Stafford remains one of the most consistent performers in the league and his pass catchers are skilled, but the Lions real issue lies at running back. They will probably address that in the draft, and a new offensive minded coach would love to sink his teeth into this opportunity.
3. Oakland Raiders
IT’S virtually a foregone conclusion that Jon Gruden will be appointed as the Raiders head coach by the time you are reading this. If not, then hit refresh on your Twitter feed. Gruden is inheriting a promising Oakland team that I expected to ball out in 2017. With a healthy Derek Carr for 16 games and hopefully a few added pieces on defense then there’s no reason why they can’t win the AFC West in 2018.
2. New York Giants
I was wrong about the Raiders and I was DEAD wrong about the Giants this season. Of course, injuries to almost every one of their recognised receivers and a big regression from their defence heaped pressure onto Eli Manning’s shoulders. However, I still see this Giants team as a potential playoff or maybe even SuperBowl threat with the right offseason moves. An heir apparent for Manning is necessary, but there is probably still at least 15-20 good games left under his belt, meaning the candidates on the market could be very, very tempted.
1. Indianapolis Colts
I had to pause and think about this, mainly because of Andrew Luck’s health. If he is raring to go then this is the best job in the country, because, at the end of the day, your quarterback is the most important part of your success. Getting the keys to the franchise with Luck entering his prime and the third overall pick to add another difference maker though makes for a great squad to begin a new era in Indianapolis with.
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