NFL Coach Fire and Hire Grades

Steve Wilks


I’ll list the grades for the hiring and firing of each NFL coach and general manager, as well as most coordinators.

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Feb. 15 Updates

49ers fire DC Steve Wilks: B Grade
I guess someone had to fall on the sword. The 49ers blew a 10-point lead in the Super Bowl, but did so against someone who can already be considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. There’s no shame in this sort of a defeat, but San Francisco apparently disagreed.

Steve Wilks is 54 and has seemingly been around forever. However, it might be surprising to note that he had been a defensive coordinator for only two years prior to 2023, and neither of the defenses he coached (2017 Panthers, 2019 Browns) finished in the top half of yards allowed. The 49ers did, but were already locks to do so because of the great talent they have on the roster. Still, San Francisco’s EPA numbers weren’t all that great. It felt like the team left a lot of meat on the bone in that regard.

Wilks wasn’t one of the people most responsible for the loss to the Chiefs. In fact, Steve Spagnuolo received a contract extension despite the two teams surrendering the same number of points in regulation. However, I don’t think Wilks did a great job overall, so I don’t mind the 49ers seeking out a better defensive coordinator.

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Cowboys hire DC Mike Zimmer: A+ Grade
The Cowboys had big shoes to fill with Dan Quinn being hired by the Redskins as their new head coach. A new defensive coordinator was needed, so Jerry Jones went back to an old friend to address the position.

Mike Zimmer began his NFL career with the Cowboys in 1994. He rose through the ranks in Dallas before becoming the defensive coordinator for seven seasons. He went on to coach the Bengals and Vikings, then basically took two years off after being fired after a long run as Minnesota’s head coach. Zimmer wasn’t a great head coach, but he’s always been a brilliant defensive mastermind, so I love this hire for the Cowboys. I’m eager to see what he’ll be able to do with all the defensive talent on the roster.

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Feb. 7 Updates

Chargers hire OC Greg Roman: B Grade
Greg Roman has bounced around the NFL, with this being his fourth stop as offensive coordinator. He previously held the same post in San Francisco, Buffalo, and Baltimore.

Roman, most recently, was let go in Baltimore despite his offenses finishing in the top 10 in two of his four seasons. The other two years saw the Ravens finish 17th and 19th in offense, but those numbers are misleading because Lamar Jackson missed a chunk of time with injuries in both years.

I don’t think Roman is a special hire or anything, but he has proven to be competent. He also worked well with Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, so the two won’t have to develop any chemistry.

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Feb. 4 Updates

Redskins hire OC Kliff Kingsbury: F Grade
All of Dan Quinn’s success in Atlanta came when Kyle Shanahan was his offensive coordinator. Thus, it was important that he would hire a sharp, offensive-minded coach to develop whichever quarterback is drafted No. 2 overall. It’s safe to say that quarterback will not be in very good hands.

Kingsbury was a failure as a head coach in Arizona. While he did many things wrong, one of his problems was his atrocious play-calling. Kingsbury was predictable or stupid, often calling for deep shots on third-and-medium, which fell incomplete way more often than not. Kyler Murray didn’t improve under Kingsbury’s watch, and while some of that was on Murray and his poor work ethic, it was Kingsbury who couldn’t get Murray to try hard. I don’t see why he would suddenly energize the next quarterback he coaches.

Kingsbury coached USC last year as an offensive assistant, and he didn’t show any signs of improvement in his coaching ability. Caleb Williams took a step backward in 2023 under Kingsbury, which was hardly a surprise. It seems likely that either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels will struggle under Kingsbury.

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Browns hire OC Ken Dorsey: F Grade
I missed this hire because it occurred during the AFC Championship. Perhaps the Browns made the move then so they wouldn’t be criticized too much for it.

I don’t understand this decision. Ken Dorsey was fired by the Bills because of his incompetence. He had the brilliant idea of having Josh Allen run less often, which handicapped the offense. Buffalo was much better offensively following Dorsey’s firing even though Stefon Diggs was dealing with an injury. Did the Browns pay attention to this, or do they also not want their mobile quarterback not to run?

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Raiders hire OC Luke Getsy: F Grade
The Raiders reportedly hired Kliff Kingsbury to be their new offensive coordinator a couple of days ago, but he took himself out of the running, likely because he was confused that someone would give him a real job again. With Kingsbury out of contention, the Raiders responded by hiring Luke Getsy.

I guess you could say that one team’s trash is another team’s treasure. The Bears fired Getsy because he struggled to develop Justin Fields. His most egregious blunder was deciding to limit Fields’ rushing attempts. In two years under Getsy, the Bears finished 28th and 20th in net yards.

I don’t know why Antonio Pierce has such an affinity for horrible offensive coordinators. He was extremely fortunate that Kingsbury removed himself from the job, yet he doubled down with the inept Getsy.

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Feb. 2 Updates

Buccaneers hire OC Liam Coen: B+ Grade
Dave Canales is one of the primary reasons the Buccaneers exceeded expectations this past season, as he was able to revive Baker Mayfield’s career. Canales took the head-coaching job with Carolina, so the Buccaneers were tasked with finding a viable replacement for Canales.

Liam Coen likely won’t be on Canales’ level, but he coached Mayfield while the two were briefly in Los Angeles together. Mayfield was able to improve with the Rams, and some of that may have been Coen’s doing. It might be possible for Coen to have Mayfield continue playing on a high level, so I’m a fan of this hire.

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Feb. 1 Updates

Redskins hire HC Dan Quinn: F Grade
This is an incredibly innovative hire. Many teams have pursued young coaches with upside this offseason, but the Redskins thought the best course of action was to hire an older defensive-minded person who previously was a head coach of an NFC South team. This plan did not work quite so well with Ron Rivera, but perhaps it will with Dan Quinn.

In all seriousness, those defending this hire will point to Quinn both leading the Falcons to a Super Bowl in 2016 and coaching up Dallas’ defense. Let’s destroy both arguments. Quinn had an amazing coaching staff in Atlanta, which included Kyle Shanahan. However, after Shanahan left Atlanta, the Falcons were just 28-40 with Quinn. And as for Dallas’ stop unit, well, it’s not Quinn is coming to Washington with Micah Parsons in a two-for-one deal.

This is a truly dreadful hire. Quinn is a known failure as a head coach, so there’s no reason to think that he’ll have success in Washington. The Redskins will be drafting either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels at No. 2 overall. They needed a sharp, offensive-minded coach to guide that quarterback. Sure, Quinn can hire a great coordinator, but if that coordinator does a great job with Maye or Daniels, he’ll be hired as a head coach elsewhere. The Redskins, as a result, will be cycling through coordinators, which is disastrous for any young quarterback’s development.

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Seahawks hire HC Mike Macdonald: C Grade
Mike Macdonald has risen through the coaching ranks very quickly. He was an intern 10 years ago and earned his first coordinator job in 2022, serving as Baltimore’s defensive play-caller. Now, he’ll be head coach of the Seahawks at just 36.

Macdonald has an impressive defensive resume, but if the Seahawks were going to eschew all of the offensive coaching talent, why didn’t they consider Mike Vrabel, who is a proven commodity? Macdonald has upside, but for an unknown, going the offensive route is the better move because offensive coordinators tend to get hired more often than defensive coordinators. It can be detrimental to a quarterback’s development if he loses his coach, and that could easily happen for Seattle’s next young signal-caller.

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Jan. 30 Updates

Steelers hire OC Arthur Smith: F Grade
When reports surfaced that teams were interested in hiring Arthur Smith, I can’t say I took it seriously. I didn’t even think they wanted him as an offensive coordinator, or anything. I assumed they’d want him as the team’s water boy or cotton candy salesman, and I don’t even think he would have been an ideal candidate for either one of those posts.

This is a horrible hire. Smith has proven that he can’t develop young quarterbacks, and he has made it a strange habit to funnel his offenses through lesser players. Steeler fans should get ready for increased roles for Allen Robinson, Miles Boykin, and Godwin Igwebuike.

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Jan. 28 Updates

Eagles hire OC Kellen Moore: C+ Grade
The bloom is off the rose with Kellen Moore. Once considered a head-coaching candidate, Moore’s reputation has taken a hit. The Cowboys improved offensively without him last year, while the Chargers offense regressed with him calling the plays. Granted, the Chargers endured many injuries, but that always seems to be the case with that team.

Moore, however, is young and has some upside. There’s also the added benefit of him having some insider knowledge about the Eagles’ biggest rival, so that could help in the two crucial matchups against Dallas in 2024. I don’t hate this hire, but the Eagles could have done better.

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Eagles hire DC Vic Fangio: A Grade
Jonathan Gannon received lots of criticism for his defense’s performance in the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. I always thought this was unfair because the poor field conditions caused the pass rushers to slip frequently, nullifying the Eagles’ greatest strength. Philadelphia fans quickly learned how miserable life would be without Gannon, as the defense imploded in 2023 under different leadership.

It was imperative for the Eagles to make a great hire to fill Gannon’s shoes, and Fangio certainly qualifies. Fangio is a brilliant defensive mastermind who has coordinated many great defenses over the years. He did a great job with the Dolphins last year and will undoubtedly get Philadelphia’s stop unit to improve in 2024.

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Falcons hire OC Zac Robinson: B Grade
The Falcons made a questionable hire with Raheem Morris after they seemed to be closing in on Bill Belichick. Morris is a defensive coach, so he needed to hire a sharp offensive guy who could coach up the next quarterback of the team, whoever that may be.

Zac Robinson is a fine option. He doesn’t have much experience, but he has learned under Sean McVay, whose coaching tree has seen lots of success in the NFL. There’s certainly plenty of upside with Robinson, and the Falcons definitely could have done much worse.

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Jan. 25 Updates

Falcons hire HC Raheem Morris: C Grade
The Falcons were rumored to be closing in on Bill Belichick as their new head coach. It’s unclear what happened, but Atlanta ended up with a far-worse option in Raheem Morris.

To be fair, any coach would look like Belichick compared to Arthur Smith, so perhaps maybe that’s what the rumors were indicating. Morris could be a decent coach for the Falcons, but we’ve already seen him hold a head-coaching gig in the NFL, and it didn’t turn out very well. It’s nice that Morris is a defensive mastermind who can motivate his players, but he already failed once in Tampa Bay, so why wouldn’t that happen again in Atlanta? I also thought the Falcons should have gone after an offensive coach to help with the young quarterback they’re inevitably going to obtain this offseason. That will obviously be their offensive coordinator, but if that coordinator does a great job, he’ll be named a head coach elsewhere in no time.

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Panthers hire HC Dave Canales: A Grade
I’m shocked. I thought that Panthers owner Axe Tepper would find a way to screw things up again. I imagined that his hire would be another retread like Dan Quinn, Norv Turner, or Wade Phillips. Yet, he managed to make a sharp hire by bringing in Dave Canales.

Canales is a young-minded offensive guru. He was able to get Geno Smith to be Comeback Player of the Year in 2022, then he managed to revive Baker Mayfield’s career in Tampa this past season. The Panthers needed someone like Canales to salvage Bryce Young, and if any young coach can do it, it’s Canales. Granted, we don’t know how he’ll fare with motivation and in-game management, but this looks like a great hire.

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Chargers hire HC Jim Harbaugh: A+ Grade
This was always a possibility, yet I just couldn’t believe it. The Chargers have been mired by horrible coaching for countless years. From Brandon Staley, to Anthony Lynn, to Mike McCoy, to Norv Turner, the Chargers have been led by incompetence ever since the Marty Schottenheimer days in the very early stages of Philip Rivers’ career.

For the first time since 2006, the Chargers have a capable head coach on the sidelines. And Jim Harbaugh is way more than just capable. He was one of the best coaches in the NFL when he was in charge of the 49ers a decade ago, as he transformed San Francisco’s football team from a laughing stock to a near-Super Bowl champion despite having Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick as his quarterbacks. Harbaugh then went to Michigan and won a championship this past season.

There’s no question that this is an A+ hire. As evidenced by Michigan’s recent success, Harbaugh still has his fastball. He should be able to get the most out of the Chargers, who have been perennial underachievers. It’s reasonable to suspect that the Chargers will be Super Bowl contenders every season under Harbaugh, including this upcoming year.

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Titans hire HC Brian Callahan: B Grade
There were rumors swirling about the Titans hiring Brian Callahan for days, but the team finally made things official on Wednesday. Callahan is the son of long-time NFL and college football coach Bill Callahan, who famously took the Raiders to the Super Bowl in 2002 and then was fired the next year. When you hear someone is the son of another coach, you automatically have to worry about nepotism, so it’s important to note Brian Callahan’s credentials as the replacement for Mike Vrabel.

Callahan was the quarterbacks coach in Detroit and Oakland when those teams had Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr, respectively. However, both were established veterans by the time Callahan was hired. However, Callahan went to Cincinnati in 2019 and helped develop Joe Burrow. While this could prompt eyerolls as a result of Burrow being naturally gifted, it must be noted that Jake Browning also performed on a high level when he replaced Burrow this past season. It’s reasonable to suspect that Callahan had a hand in that.

I think this hiring is fine, but not overly exciting. Vrabel was a fantastic coach, and this doesn’t seem like an automatic upgrade. However, there’s certainly upside with Callahan, who could potentially get the most out of Will Levis or another young quarterback like he did with Burrow and Browning.

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Jan. 19 Updates

Raiders hire HC Antonio Pierce: B+ Grade
Rich Bisaccia did a great job as the Raiders’ interim head coach after Jon Gruden was fired several years ago. Rather than keep Bisaccia, however, owner Mark Davis opted to hire Josh McDaniels, who went on to ruin the franchise.

McDaniels’ firing allowed Antonio Pierce to take over during the second half of this season. Pierce also did a phenomenal job, with the players all giving 100-percent effort to keep him employed. Davis listened this time, lifting the “interim” tag from Pierce’s title.

I like this decision, as Pierce has proven himself to be a quality head coach, albeit in a limited sample size. The only reason this isn’t in the “A” range is because there are elite options like Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick available, but there’s no guarantee either one had interest in coaching the Raiders.

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Jan. 18 Updates

Cowboys retain HC Mike McCarthy: F Grade
I assumed that the Cowboys were going to fire Mike McCarthy that I had already wondered if they had interviewed Jim Harbaugh or Bill Belichick. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when I heard the news that Dallas plans on retaining McCarthy for another season.

At this point, you have to believe that the only person on the entire planet who doesn’t know that McCarthy is an incompetent head coach is Jerry Jones. Perhaps it has something to do with senility, but Jones is making a huge mistake by retaining McCarthy, especially with some great options like Harbaugh and Belichick being available. Harbaugh or Belichick would put Dallas over the top. McCarthy, instead, is bound for yet another quick playoff exit next year.

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Jan. 13 Updates

Redskins hire GM Adam Peters: A Grade
The Redskins allowed Kyle Shanahan to get away and eventually join the 49ers. Perhaps this is their best attempt at making amends for that, as they hired Adam Peters, San Francisco’s former assistant general manager.

Peters helped oversee the trade up for Trey Lance, but he obviously can’t be fully blamed for that. Instead, the focus should be placed on the talented roster he helped assemble in San Francisco. Acquiring a key cog of the 49ers’ front office seems like a tremendous decision for the Redskins in their rebuilding process.

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Jan. 12 Updates

Patriots hire HC Jerod Mayo: C+ Grade
Well, that was fast. The team that most recently fired its coach was the first one to hire a replacement, as Jerod Mayo will be tasked with filling Bill Belichick’s shoes.

Mayo was a smart and talented linebacker for the Patriots and then coached the linebackers for the same team. He learned under Belichick and can run the same system. That’s the positive, but I wonder if the Patriots wouldn’t be better off going in a different direction. If they wanted a watered-down version of Belichick, why get rid of Belichick in the first place? It might have been a better move to bring in someone with new ideas as the team begins its rebuilding process. I don’t hate this hire, but it doesn’t seem like the best one either.

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Jan. 11 Updates

Patriots fire HC Bill Belichick: B- Grade
Bill Belichick’s firing comes as no surprise, as it’s been speculated for much of the second half of the season. Still, it’s remarkable that this run of 24 years has finally come to an end. Belichick leaves New England with six Super Bowl victories.

Belichick is arguably the best coach of all time, but this firing doesn’t necessarily warrant a failing grade. First of all, Belichick has done a mostly disastrous job as the personnel decision-maker. He’s hit with many defensive backs, but his offensive picks have mostly been duds. He has wasted selections on Mac Jones, N’Keal Harry and Tyquan Thornton to name three of many examples. Second, Belichick turns 72 in a couple of months, so it’s not like he was going to be around much longer anyway. It was time for the Patriots to move on.

However, the Patriots are in for a rough patch in the near future. For the first time in decades, they won’t have someone who can usually out-coach the opposition, so their lack of talent will be even more prevalent than it was under Belichick.

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Jan. 10 Updates

Seahawks fire HC Pete Carroll: C Grade
Pete Carroll wasn’t technically fired, as he will transition to a role in the front office. However, Carroll recently said that he wants to continue coaching, so it seems as though the team is forcing him out of the job.

I’m not in love with this move, but I don’t hate it either. The Seahawks will take a short-term hit without Carroll, given that he constantly got more out of the team than many other coaches would have. However, Carroll is 73, and it might be time for a rebuild. This could benefit Seattle long term, so it might end up being for the best.

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Jan. 9 Updates

Titans fire HC Mike Vrabel: F Grade
When rumors circulated about Mike Vrabel possibly being let go this offseason, I dismissed them as nonsense. Why would the Titans fire one of the better head coaches in the NFL? Surely, they were a smarter organization than to come up with a foolish idea than that.

Well, apparently, the Titans are a clown organization that is doomed for epic failure. There aren’t many coaches around the league who have gotten more out of what they were given with than Vrabel. He took a team led by Ryan Tannehill to the No. 1 seed, for crying out loud. He had losing seasons in 2022 and 2023, but only because his roster collapsed, due to free agent departures and injuries. I don’t think an average coach could have gotten six wins from this Tennessee squad like Vrabel did this year.

It won’t be long until Vrabel finds another head-coaching job. The Titans, meanwhile, have to start from scratch in what looks to be a long rebuilding process.

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Jan. 8 Updates

Panthers fire GM Scott Fitterer: A+ Grade
It’s a shame that the Panthers can’t fire the guy who intentionally spilled drinks on fans and forced the organization to draft Bryce Young when the coaching staff desired C.J. Stroud. That guy needs to go, but the organization is sadly stuck with him.

Scott Fitterer was made the “escape goat” for owner Axe Tepper’s futility. However, it’s not like Fitterer’s track record was very good. Here’s every draft choice he made in the first four rounds, excluding his top-10 picks because players taken that early have a high hit rate:

Jonathan Mingo
D.J. Johnson
Chandler Zavala
Matt Corral
Brandon Smith
Terrace Marshall
Brady Christiansen
Tommy Tremble
Chuba Hubbard

Outside of Hubbard, none of these players have panned out. The jury is still out on Mingo and Johnson, but the rest of the players are all busts.

Furthermore, Fitterer made some dubious free agent signings. Take a look at these moves:

Austin Corbett: 3 years, $29.25 million
Miles Sanders: 4 years, $25 million
Vonn Bell: 3 years, $22.5 million
Hayden Hurst: 3 years, $21.75 million
Shy Tuttle: 3 years, $19.5 million

All of these players have performed poorly for the Panthers. In fact, some were even benched. No one setting money ablaze like this deserves to keep their job, so the Panthers get an A+ for firing Fitterer despite the owner’s incompetence.

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Redskins fire HC Ron Rivera: A+ Grade
It’s hard to believe, but Ron Rivera has just three winning seasons in his coaching career. He has ridden his 15-1 record in 2015 as far as it could go, and despite that season, he now has a losing record overall at 102-103. He was predictably fired after a four-win campaign.

The one positive about Rivera is that his players will usually try hard for him, but that’s it as far as positives are concerned. Rivera is not an innovative head coach, and he failed to recognize that Jacoby Brissett was his best option this past season. Furthermore, his defense wasn’t even good in Washington. His defenses were ranked 22nd or worse in yards allowed in two of his four seasons. They were dead last in 2023. A defensive head coach whose defenses aren’t at least average half the time shouldn’t be holding his job.

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Falcons fire HC Arthur Smith: A+ Grade
Arthur Smith’s downfall was quite the surprise. Smith had the Falcons competitive in 2022 despite a lack of talent on the roster. The Falcons added plenty of skilled players this past offseason, but it didn’t end up making any sort of difference.

Smith was directly responsible for his team’s futility. While it’s fair to point out that he didn’t have a viable starting quarterback, Smith, with the help of his intergalactic mustache, constantly fed the ball to worse players. He opted to give touches to Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson over Bijan Robinson, and Jonnu Smith over Kyle Pitts.

There’s no doubt that this is an A+ firing. The Falcons were not going to win with the incompetent Smith, so they had to go in a different direction.

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Dec. 15 Updates

Chargers fire HC Brandon Staley: A+ and F Grade
The Chargers’ performance on Thursday night against the Raiders was so bad that the Amazon NFL analysts were advocating for the team to fire Brandon Staley at halftime. The Chargers were a complete no-show, so it’s no surprise that Staley was canned. What is shocking is that Staley was given another chance this year after sabotaging his playoff run last season by playing his starters in a meaningless game and then blowing a 27-0 lead to Jacksonville. The Chargers wasted a year of Justin Herbert’s career by foolishly retaining Staley.

So, what’s this “F” grade about? The Chargers should have waited until the end of the year to fire Staley because he’d give them the best chance of losing and obtaining a better draft pick as a consequence. The interim head coach will be better by default, so the Chargers could end up winning a game by accident.

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Nov. 27 Updates

Panthers fire HC Frank Reich: A Grade
First things first, Frank Reich sucked and needed to go. His offensive play-calling was dreadful, and he wasn’t getting Bryce Young to develop. Whether Young is salvageable is another story, but the fact remains that Young was not improving at all under Reich, so the Panthers had to try someone else.

However, the real problem with the Panthers wasn’t Reich or Young. It is owner Axe Tepper, who has mishandled every situation during his tenure as the Panthers’ boss. He hired Reich and Matt Rhule. He traded Christian McCaffrey. He dealt his only viable receiver when planning on drafting a quarterback No. 1 overall. He selected Young when his coaching staff wanted C.J. Stroud. Tepper, who got lucky profiting on bank stocks when the government bailed out the banks, has been a total disaster as Carolina’s owner. If he cares at all about the Panthers, he’ll step aside and let smart football people run the show.

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Nov. 21 Updates

Steelers fire OC Matt Canada: A+ Grade
Some will say that Matt Canada is an “escape goat” for Kenny Pickett’s incompetence. The argument against that is Ben Roethlisberger struggling under Canada’s coaching as well. Roethlisberger had some of his worst years as a pro under Canada, so it’s not a surprise that Pickett has also struggled.

Canada was a total disaster for the Steelers. He frequently would utilize less-talented players over superior ones, and his play-calling was predictable. His inability to develop Pickett was the camel that broke the straw’s back, as one Hall of Fame running back once said. Pickett has been at his best in the fourth quarter while operating in a no-huddle offense, yet Canada refused to implement this strategy earlier in games for some reason.

This is the first in-season coach firing the Steelers have made since 1941. It was well worth the wait because Canada had to go.

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Nov. 14 Updates

Bills fire OC Ken Dorsey: A Grade
The Bills have been a major disappointment this year. They were 3-1 heading into their London game, but they’ve gone 2-4 since, with the latest loss to Denver dropping them to 5-5. Their defense has been atrocious as a result of countless injuries. The offense, meanwhile, ranks eighth in points per game, yet still isn’t performing up to its abilities. With Sean McDermott being in charge of the defense, the Bills had no choice but to make Ken Dorsey an escape goat.

I’m a fan of this firing, as there is room for improvement with the Bills offense, especially under new coordinator Joe Brady. The first order of business is to get Allen running again. If it was Dorsey’s decision to have Allen become a Drew Bledsoe-type pocket passer, then he never should have a coordinator position ever again. Buffalo will be so much better offensively if Allen gets moving again. At the very least, it was beneficial for the Bills to fire Dorsey for that reason alone.

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Nov. 1 Updates

Raiders fire HC Josh McDaniels, GM Dave Ziegler: A+ Grade
Mark Davis finally pulled the trigger. He wanted to fire Josh McDaniels last year, but didn’t do so because he thought he’d be embarrassed as a result of firing a coach so quickly after hiring him. Davis instead absorbed some humiliating losses by keeping McDaniels on board longer than he should have.

It’s better late than never, I suppose. The Raiders get an A+ for firing McDaniels, who has proven to be an atrocious head coach. As for Dave Ziegler, his two draft classes haven’t really produced any promising players. Granted, he didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, but his predecessor, Mike Mayock, would always find plenty of diamonds in the rough after always screwing up in the first round. Davis did a good job of canning Ziegler as well.

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Feb. 27 Updates

Cardinals hire OC Drew Petzing, DC Nick Rallis: B+ Grade
I missed the two Arizona coordinator hires from a week ago. The team brought in Drew Petzing and Nick Rallis to coordinate the offense and defense, respectively.

I think both of these hires are worth a B+. Petzing was the Browns’ quarterbacks coach last year, and he got Jacoby Brissett to perform at a very high level. Rallis, meanwhile, was the Eagles’ former linebackers coach, and he was able to get the most out of T.J. Edwards, who performed on a Pro Bowl level after struggling earlier in his career.

The reason these hires are B+ grades is because neither coach was a coordinator in the past. I think the Cardinals should have hired one experienced coordinator, but this isn’t a huge deal.

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Feb. 21 Updates

Buccaneers hire OC Dave Canales: A+ Grade
Tom Brady is gone, so the Buccaneers had to find a better offensive coordinator to get the most out of the quarterback they sign or draft this offseason. Of course, Tampa Bay actually needed an upgrade regardless, given how terrible Byron Leftwich was last year.

Dave Canales figures to be a terrific upgrade over Leftwich. Not only did he help Geno Smith revive his career with a Pro Bowl season in 2022; he also had Russell Wilson posting his best stats ever. Wilson, who threw for 4,212 yards and 40 touchdowns under Canales’ watch in 2020, really missed his former offensive coordinator in Denver this past year.

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Feb. 18 Updates

Redskins hire OC Eric Bieniemy: C+ Grade
All the Twitter blue checkmarks are angry that Eric Bieniemy didn’t get a head-coaching opportunity, which seems to suggest that giving him such a job would be a bad idea. Bieniemy seems qualified for a head-coaching gig on the surface, but there are enough things holding him back, from the role he played with Andy Reid, to four arrests in the past. One of the four arrests was for an assault against a woman in 1993.

As for Bieniemy’s role with Reid, it’s important to note that his coordinators have made for poor head coaches in the past. John Harbaugh and Sean McDermott were two successes, but the other coaches, namely all of the offensive assistants, were failures. Perhaps a reason for this is that Reid runs the show and calls the plays. When his offensive assistants head elsewhere, they can’t rely on Reid for help.

There’s a chance Bieniemy can succeed in Washington, but he has his work cut out for him. He’ll be coaching Slingin’ Sammy Howell instead of Patrick Mahomes. I’m a huge Howell supporter, but even I’ll admit that he’s a big step down from Mahomes. Then again, it’ll be difficult for Bieniemy not to be an upgrade over Scott Turner, who was atrocious last year.

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Feb. 14 Updates

Cardinals hire HC Jonathan Gannon: A- Grade
The Eagles have now lost both of their coordinators. Hours after the Colts hired Shane Steichen, the Cardinals agreed to terms with Jonathan Gannon.

Gannon’s defense had a horrendous showing in the Super Bowl, as the Chiefs were able to exploit some liabilities with open receivers. However, Gannon’s defense was superb all year prior to the final game. I even named Gannon the coordinator of the year on my 2022 NFL Awards page. I’m dinging Gannon a bit for his Super Bowl performance, and I actually think I would have gone with Brian Flores or Lou Anarumo instead, but Gannon appears to be a strong hire for an Arizona team that needs major defensive help after losing Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt in consecutive offseasons.

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Colts hire HC Shane Steichen: A Grade
Jim Irsay just can’t get enough of Philadelphia offensive coordinators. He hired Frank Reich to be his head coach several years ago, but despite that decision being a flop, Irsay has decided to go back to the well and agree to terms with Shane Steichen.

There’s likely a better chance that this hiring works, and I’m not just saying that because Reich was a disaster. Steichen did a fantastic job of molding Jalen Hurts, a pedestrian quarterback prospect entering the NFL, into a fantastic player who just enjoyed an MVP-caliber season. It’s unclear how Steichen will peform now that he’ll be in charge of everything, but the Colts, at the very least, are getting a sharp, offensive-minded coach who will be able to get the best out of the quarterback they choose in April’s draft.

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Ravens hire OC Todd Monken: A Grade
If you’re unsure if this is a good hire or not, check out what some Georgia fans are saying about it. Their former coordinator will sorely be missed, as he was able to get the most out of Stetson Bennett this past season.

Monken has an uneven track record in the NFL. He was the coordinator for a 2018 Buccaneers team that was third in yardage, but his 2019 Browns were 22nd in that department. Baker Mayfield took a step backward following his rookie year under Monken in 2019, but we now know that this wasn’t Monken’s fault. Thus, I think this signing should be graded highly.

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Feb. 7 Updates

49ers hire DC Steve Wilks: B+ Grade
The 49ers lost defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans this offseason. They’ve decided to replace him with someone they’re familiar with, as Steve Wilks once coached the rival Cardinals.

Wilks doesn’t have an extensive history of being a defensive coordinator – just two years in the NFL – as he has been a defensive backs coach most of the time. His Carolina defense regressed last year, but only because the team lost Haason Reddick to the Eagles. Wilks, however, tends to get the most out of his players via motivation, so this seems like a good hire.

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Vikings hire DC Brian Flores: A+ Grade
Brian Flores was in consideration to be head coach of the Cardinals, so he must have just been told that he was out of the running. I thought he would have been a strong hire for Arizona, so I obviously love this move for Minnesota.

The Vikings had a dreadful defense last year. They need to upgrade their personnel, and that included finding a new defensive coordinator. Brian Flores is a defensive mastermind who worked his magic in Miami. It’s no coincidence that the Dolphins’ defense has fallen apart in the wake of Flores leaving. With Flores now on the coaching staff, I’m expecting a big jump from the Vikings’ defense if the front office makes some solid moves this offseason.

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Feb. 5 Updates

Panthers hire DC Ejiro Evero: A+ Grade
The Broncos are a mess, and one sign of that being the case is that they allowed Ejiro Evero to walk. Evero could have been a great head-coaching hire for Denver, as pairing him with a sharp, offensive-minded coordinator like Greg Olson may have been a winning formula, especially when it would have allowed Denver to keep all of its draft picks. Instead, the Broncos surrendered major draft capital for Sean Payton.

Evero is a great hire for the Panthers. Not only will he provide a boost for a defense that is already ranked highly; he will be a nice insurance policy as a head coach if Frank Reich fails again.

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Feb. 2 Updates

Dolphins hire DC Vic Fangio: A+ Grade
It was initially reported that the Dolphins hired Vic Fangio several days ago, but other reports suggested that the move wasn’t finalized, and that Fangio could go back to Denver. It’s finally official now, however, as Fangio will be coordinating the Dolphins in 2023.

Dolphins fans may feel negatively toward Brian Flores, but even they can acknowledge that the defense took a big hit as a result of his departure. Miami was in the top half of points allowed in Flores’ final two years with the team, but fell to 24th in 2022. There were injuries, but the Dolphins weren’t nearly as great schematically with Flores gone. I liked Miami’s decision to fire Josh Boyer (A Grade) and then hire Fangio, who is a fantastic defensive-minded coach.

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Jan. 31 Updates

Broncos hire HC Sean Payton via trade with Saints: C Grade
If you were to rank all the head-coaching candidates, Sean Payton likely would have been at the top. Payton didn’t come free of concerns, however, as he seemed to mail in his final year in New Orleans. He also had Drew Brees as his quarterback for most of his career. Russell Wilson obviously played nowhere near Brees’ level last year.

There’s a chance Payton can have Wilson playing at a Pro Bowl level again, so there’s no way this hiring can be graded as a failure. In fact, if the Broncos were able to hire Payton like any other coach, I’d probably give them an “A” grade. However, Denver had to trade first- and second-round picks for Payton. I don’t see why Denver had to surrender any draft capital for a coach. The Eagles didn’t do so when they hired Andy Reid for the first time. Likewise for the Rams and Sean McVay, Steelers and Mike Tomlin, and Ravens and John Harbaugh. Denver may have lost out on a Pro Bowl-caliber player by giving up the 29th-overall draft choice.

Then again, maybe not. Look at how cursed the 29th-overall pick has been over the years:

2022: Cole Strange
2021: Eric Stokes
2020: Isaiah Wilson
2019: L.J. Collier
2018: Taven Bryan
2017: David Njoku
2016: Robert Nkemdiche
2015: Phillip Dorsett
2014: Dominique Easley
2013: Cordarrelle Patterson

OK, maybe the trade isn’t so bad.

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Texans hire HC DeMeco Ryans: A- Grade
I’m a bit surprised the Texans hired a defensive coach after employing Lovie Smith last year. However, they seem to have found the solution for their coaching dilemma, which has existed ever since it became apparent that Bill O’Brien was a failure. It would be a shock if DeMeco Ryans were fired after one season like Smith and David Culley.

I like Ryans a lot as a head-coaching candidate. He commanded respect from his players and did a terrific job of getting the most out of some unknown commodities as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator. I suspect he’ll do a great job in Houston.

My only qualm with this hire is that I would have preferred an offensive coach because the Texans will be breaking in a rookie quarterback. Sure, Ryans can hire a great offensive coordinator, but if that coordinator does well with C.J. Stroud/Bryce Young, he’ll be hired to be a head coach somewhere else, forcing the Texans to utilize a new system with its next offensive coordinator.

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Chargers hire OC Kellen Moore: A- Grade
I thought it was a mistake for the Chargers not to fire Brandon Staley. I would have gotten rid of him and obtained a sharp offensive-minded coach instead. The Chargers took a half measure, bringing in a sharp offensive-minded coach to be their coordinator.

I like Kellen Moore, who seemingly got the most out of Dak Prescott. He should be able to boost Justin Herbert next year. There’s a chance he could be gone after one year, but perhaps the Chargers will fire Staley and promote Moore instead, as they won’t have to endure a coach-interview process in that scenario.

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Jan. 27 Updates

Rams hire OC Mike LaFleur: F Grade
The Rams had an opportunity to spark their miserable offense from a year ago by hiring a sharp, offensive-minded coordinator. Instead, they opted for nepotism. They hired Mike LaFleur, who will hold the post his much more talented brother occupied in 2017.

This is definitely a poor hire. LaFleur lasted two seasons as the Jets’ offensive coordinator, with his offenses finishing 26th and 25th in yards despite having some dynamic play-makers. LaFleur failed to develop Zach Wilson, while Garrett Wilson told the media that opposing defenses knew what the Jets would be doing ahead of time. Perhaps the Rams didn’t know about this. Anyone reading this Web site did, however, and I’m sure everyone reading this would agree that this hiring should be graded as a “D” at best. I personally think it’s a failure.

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Jan. 26 Updates

Panthers hire HC Frank Reich: D Grade
What is this? When I saw people talking about Frank Reich going to the Panthers, I thought it was a joke. I didn’t think Reich was up for a head-coaching gig after his abysmal job in Indianapolis, but apparently Panthers owner Axe Tepper wasn’t paying attention to how Reich ran the Colts into the ground.

Reich had lots of talent in Indianapolis, yet the team never met expectations. The Colts had a habit of quitting on Reich, who struggled with play-calling and game management. I don’t get how Reich is any sort of upgrade over Steve Wilks, who did a terrific job at the end of last season.

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Jets hire OC Nathaniel Hackett: C- Grade
There were plenty of sharp, offensive-minded coaches available for the Jets to hire as their new offensive coordinator. Yet, they inexplicably chose one of the worst options available by hiring Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired by the Broncos recently following his horrendous stint as their head coach.

Prior to his time in Denver, Hackett was most known for being offensive coordinator for the Packers. However, despite coaching Aaron Rodgers, Hackett’s offenses were in the top nine just once in three years. Hackett then showed he couldn’t maximize Russell Wilson’s strengths in Denver. Wilson is partly to blame, but he performed much better after Hackett was fired. This was not a coincidence.

I nearly failed the Jets for hiring Hackett, though there’s a chance this could pan out because of Hackett’s relationship with Rodgers. The Jets could land Rodgers this offseason, so the familiarity should help negate any sort of adjustment period.

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Jan. 24 Updates

Patriots hire OC Bill O’Brien: C Grade
Charlie Campbell made a great point on Twitter regarding this hire. Nick Saban and Bill Belichick have won a combined 13 championships, yet none of those championships came with Bill O’Brien as the offensive coordinator. O’Brien isn’t a bad offensive coordinator, by any means, but he’s definitely overrated. O’Brien is also a very toxic person capable of destroying a locker room.

That said, I won’t fail the Patriots for this hire for two reasons. First, O’Brien has worked with Belichick in the past, so there won’t be any sort of adjustment period. Second, O’Brien will be much better than Matt Patricia, who was a defensive coordinator coaching offense for some reason.

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Jan. 20 Updates

Vikings fire DC Ed Donatell: B Grade
I received plenty of hate mail from Vikings fans this year because I never put Minnesota in the top seven of my NFL Power Rankings. Part of the reason was that their defense was so bad. The Vikings were constantly in the 20s of defensive EPA rankings despite battling many soft opponents.

It makes sense that the Vikings would fire their defensive coordinator, Ed Donatell. However, I’m not sure if Donatell had a fair shake in his one season in Minnesota. He didn’t have the personnel to field a competitive defense. That said, it’s not like Donatell offered any solutions, so I can understand why the Vikings would want someone better for the job.

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Jan. 19 Updates

Buccaneers fire OC Byron Leftwich: A+ Grade
It wasn’t too long ago that Byron Leftwich was a hot head-coaching candidate. Things have changed quickly, as Leftwich is now out of a job after being fired from his offensive coordinator post in Tampa Bay.

I don’t see how anyone can argue against this decision. It quickly became apparent that Bruce Arians was the brains behind the operation in Tampa Bay, though he left a disastrous coaching staff in his wake. Leftwich had some of the most predictable play-calling you’ll ever see, as evidenced by his constant failures on fourth-and-short plays. Leftwich also failed to take advantage of liabilities the opposition had, most famously not having Tom Brady target a Pittsburgh secondary missing all of its cornerbacks in one loss this past year.

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Jan. 17 Updates

Titans hire GM Ran Carthon: A Grade
The Titans have been looking for a general manager ever since they fired Jon Robinson in the wake of the embarrassing loss to the A.J. Brown-led Eagles. They found their man, hiring Ran Carthon, who was previously the director of player personnel in San Francisco since 2017.

I’m a fan of this hire because of the 49ers’ impressive track record in the NFL Draft. Look at the players they obtained in the third day of the draft since 2017: George Kittle, D.J. Jones, D.J. Reed, Richie James, Dre Greenlaw, Jauan Jennings, Elijah Mitchell, and of course, Brock Purdy. Compare this to the caliber of player the Titans have drafted on Day 3 recently, and you can see a very stark contrast. Thus, the Titans seem like they’re in good hands with Carthon.

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Browns hire DC Jim Schwartz: B+ Grade
It sounded like the Browns’ defensive coordinator job was going to come down to Jim Schwartz versus Brian Flores. Schwartz won out, though it’s possible that Flores has another job lined up somewhere else.

I would have preferred Flores if I were a Browns fan, but Schwartz is an excellent consolation prize. He tends to get the most out of his defensive linemen, so Myles Garrett has to be thrilled. Regardless, Schwartz is a major upgrade over the disaster that was Joe Woods.

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Chargers fire OC Joe Lombardi: C Grade
So, the Chargers are not firing Brandon Staley? Perhaps they will ultimately can the guy responsible for Mike Williams’ injury in a meaningless game, but for now, it seems as though Joe Lombardi will be used as the scapegoat instead.

I think firing Lombardi is a good decision. Somehow, Justin Herbert ranked 31st in air yards under Lombardi’s watch, and it’s not like the Chargers had a poor offensive line blocking for Herbert. Lombardi’s play-calling made little sense at times.

With that in mind, why the “C” grade? Because the Chargers also should have fired Staley! It’s ridiculous that Staley is likely going to keep his job, but that’s the San Angeles Chargers for ya.

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Jan. 16 Updates

Cardinals hire GM Monti Ossenfort: C- Grade
The Cardinals are in need of a head coach, but they had to hire a general manager first. They were able to replace Steve Keim, who had to step away due to health concerns, with Monti Ossenfort.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of this hire. Ossenfort was the director of player personnel with the Titans, yet I can only find one third-day pick of his who went on to have a very good start to his career, and that one player is rookie tight end Chig Okonkwo. Ossenfort was also holding his job as the Titans signed some aging, injury-prone players to big contracts, such as Bud Dupree. Furthermore, he was part of a front office that traded A.J. Brown, though I doubt he had much of a say in that decision.

I’m not going to fail the Cardinals for this hire because it could work, but this decision doesn’t seem like a great one. Here’s a list of the best available NFL general managers that the Cardinals should have hired instead.

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Jan. 11 Updates

Jets fire OC Mike LaFleur: A Grade
The Jets and Mike LaFleur have technically “parted ways.” This reminds me of when my long-time girlfriend years ago told me she didn’t want to see me again, so we “parted ways” as well. Regardless of what you want to call it, this decision has to be seen as a positive for the Jets.

LaFleur lasted two years as the Jets’ offensive coordinator. In those two seasons, the Jets were 26th and 25th in yards. Under LaFleur, Zach Wilson failed to develop, Elijah Moore regressed, and Garrett Wilson told the media that the opposition knew what the Jets were doing ahead of time. All of this is obviously bad, so the Jets can improve their offense by finding an upgrade over LaFleur, which shouldn’t be difficult to do.

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Jan. 10 Updates

Redskins fire OC Scott Turner: A Grade
I called for Scott Turner’s firing during the regular season, so I have to support this decision. The Redskins were poorly coached this season, and Turner was a huge part of the problem.

Some may argue that Turner didn’t have much of a chance because Carson Wentz is a lemon. While this is true, Turner’s dreadful play-calling didn’t help matters. The Redskins often telegraphed their running plays, as Turner had a habit of pounding the ball on first down and second-and-long. Wentz needed to be replaced, but Turner had to go as well.

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Jan. 9 Updates

Titans fire OC Todd Downing: C Grade
Titans fans wanted Todd Downing fired, so I don’t think they’re going to be too pleased with this grade. I don’t think this is a terrible decision, by any means, but I don’t think it was a necessary one either.

Downing was the offensive coordinator for the Titans over the past two years. In those two years, Tennessee was 17th and 30th in yards. However, the Titans were ravaged by injury during those seasons. Derrick Henry missed half of 2021, and then he lost A.J. Brown and wasn’t given a proper replacement with experience. Making matters worse, he lost Taylor Lewan for the year in Week 2, and by the end of the season, he had Malik Willis and Joshua Dobbs at quarterback. I really don’t think Downing got a fair chance.

That said, there’s room for improvement over Downing, so like I said, I don’t hate this decision. I just don’t think it had to be done.

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Cardinals fire HC Kliff Kingsbury: A+ Grade
Chalk up another head coach with no NFL experience failing in the pros. Kliff Kingsbury now officially joins a long list comprised of names like Steve Spurrier, Chip Kelly and Urban Meyer.

The only negative that can be said about this decision is that it occurred a year too late. Kingsbury was a disaster in the NFL, as he was often out-coached by his counterparts in the division. He showed no ability to adjust his game plan when things went awry, and his constant calls to have Kyler Murray throw deep passes on third down were tiresome.

The Cardinals are in a tough spot because they have an injury-prone quarterback taking up a huge chunk of their salary cap, so I’m not sure who can be brought in to drastically improve the situation. What we do know is that Kingsbury wasn’t capable of righting the ship, so firing him was an excellent decision.

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Browns fire DC Joe Woods: A Grade
Joe Woods survived three years as Cleveland’s defensive coordinator. In chronological order, the Browns ranked 17th, fifth and 14th in yards allowed. Those rankings aren’t bad on the surface, but Woods’ unit was a constant disappointment, especially in 2022.

Given the high number of resources the Browns poured into their defense, they should have been much better this past season. Instead, the defense constantly let the team down, especially when Jacoby Brissett was starting. Brissett was considered to be the weak link of the team when the year started, yet he was soon seen as a major strength compared to the defense. The Browns failed to make the playoffs because of the defense, so Woods had to go.

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Texans fire HC Lovie Smith: A Grade
The Texans’ head coaching position has effectively turned into the Defense Against the Dark Arts post, where the person holding it is gone after just one year. Lovie Smith was the latest victim, getting axed after a 3-13-1 season.

Smith is a defensive mastermind, but he makes for a lousy head coach. One might wonder why he was even hired for the job in the first place, but it seemed obvious that the Texans missed out on all their preferred candidates, so they settled for the default option for the short term. Houston, armed with two top-12 picks, including the second-overall choice, is now an attractive spot for a new head coach, so perhaps the front office can attract a better candidate this year.

I’m definitely in favor of this move. I’m giving it an “A” instead of an A+ because Smith didn’t necessarily deserve to be fired after what he had done in Houston, but it’s not like he had accomplished anything to warrant keeping his job.

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Dec. 26 Updates

Broncos fire HC Nathaniel Hackett: A+ Grade
Black Monday came early for the Broncos, who decided to fire Nathaniel Hackett two weeks prior to the end of the regular season. However, this move was made way too late. In fact, I said on the WalterFootball YouTube channel that I would have fired Hackett after Week 1, because sometimes you just know. If you go out on a date with someone who constantly yells at the wait staff for no good reason and throws plates on the ground, you’re probably not going on a second date with that individual.

Hackett’s horrible play-calling and game management equated to the yelling and plate throwing. It was ridiculous that Denver had to hire a Madden player to help him manage the game. This should have been a major red flag, yet Denver kept Hackett and ultimately suffered one of the most embarrassing losses of the year, a 51-14 defeat against the Rams in front of a national audience on Christmas.

While this firing should have happened in mid-September, I still have to give the Broncos an A+ for firing Hackett. They ruined their 2022 season by keeping him on so long, but it’s better to be late than never.

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Dec. 6 Updates

Tennessee Titans fire GM Jon Robinson: C Grade
I have to say I’m surprised that Jon Robinson was fired. The Titans were 66-43 under Robinson, and they never had a losing season with him as the general manager. At the very least, I would have expected Tennessee to wait until the end of the season to let go of him.

That said, the Titans must have been so embarrassed by Sunday’s performance, so they must have felt like they had no choice. The Titans traded A.J. Brown to the Eagles this past offseason, and Brown went on to completely humiliate his former team in a 35-10 blowout victory. Trading Brown was a huge gaffe on Robinson’s part.

Otherwise, Robinson had a mixed performance as general manager. He put together pieces that were good enough to go 66-43, but he made some blunders, like drafting Isaiah Wilson in the first round. He also wasted a second-round pick on an obviously decrepit Julio Jones. Conversely, Robinson had some amazing drafts. In 2019, Robinson drafted Jeffery Simmons, Brown, Nate Davis, Amani Hooker, and David Long. This is why I don’t think he necessarily deserved to be fired.

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Nov. 7 Updates

Colts hire interim HC Jeff Saturday: A Grade
I usually don’t grade interim head coaching assignments because it’s not a real job. Whoever takes over for a fired head coach often doesn’t keep his job after the season is finished. That’s likely the case here as well.

That said, this is a controversial hire, so I figured I’d voice my opinion. When I first heard that Saturday was named interim head coach, my reaction was, “Oh, I didn’t know that Saturday was an assistant coach.” Well, he’s not. He has zero coaching experience, making this a bizarre move by owner Jim Irsay.

I know I’m in the minority, but I love it. This has nothing but upside. If Saturday somehow succeeds, Irsay will have revolutionized the coach hiring process. If, however, Saturday fails, which is the most likely result, the Colts will continue to lose. This is a good thing because it’s Indianapolis’ best interest to keep losing so that it can guarantee itself one of Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud in the 2023 NFL Draft. the Colts have endured quarterbacking woes since Andrew Luck’s unceremonious retirement, and this is the easiest way to fix that.

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Colts fire HC Frank Reich: A Grade
I had high hopes for Frank Reich after he did a brilliant job of running Philadelphia’s offense during the 2017 Super Bowl run. Reich did nothing but disappoint in Indianapolis, however, posting a 40-33-1 record despite possessing some great talent. He was fired in the wake of the team’s blowout loss to the Patriots.

If there’s a defense of Reich, it’s that management always paired him with decrepit or lemon quarterbacks, but his in-game decision-making and play-calling created so many unnecessary losses. I will never understand lining up a quarterback in shotgun inches shy of the goal line and kicking field goals from the 1-yard line. Good riddance.

The Colts will move forward and play the Raiders next week. The Raiders, of course, are coached by Josh McDaniels, whom the Colts attempted to hire before he spurned them, forcing them to settle for Reich.

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Oct. 10 Updates

Panthers fire HC Matt Rhule: A+ Grade
You could argue that this shouldn’t be an A+ because the Panthers should have fired Matt Rhule earlier. Still, it’s better late than never, with Carolina dismissing Rhule after five games this season and an 11-27 record overall.

Rhule was a terrible coach, becoming the latest college football experiment to fail in the NFL. He failed to develop his players and create quality game plans to help his team succeed in most contests. A telling statistic is that Rhule finished his Carolina tenure on a 3-16 against-the-spread skid. This means that his team met or exceeded expectations in just three of Rhule’s final 19 games.

The Panthers can move forward with a real head coach. There are rumors that they will hire Sean Payton after this season, which would be an excellent hire because Carolina will need someone to develop whichever quarterback it chooses atop the 2023 NFL Draft.

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March 31 Updates

Buccaneers hire HC Todd Bowles: C Grade
Bruce Arians made a surprising announcement Wednesday evening when he announced his retirement. Todd Bowles will be replacing him as head coach, with Arians hand-picking Bowles to be his successor.

I don’t know why Arians is able to choose his replacement, but it’s not the most exciting development. Bowles already had his chance at a coaching gig, and he went 24-40 with the Jets. Granted, he didn’t have a great quarterback during his tenure, but as I wrote when he was fired: “Bowles’ in-game management wasn’t very good, and his team quit on him a couple of times this season, particularly in a blowout loss to the Bills in the middle of the year.”

That said, this isn’t a terrible decision either. There should be a smooth transition from Arians to Bowles because the latter has been with the Buccaneers during their recent successful run. Besides, it’s not like the Buccaneers had many great choices this late into the offseason anyway.

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Feb. 16 Updates

Vikings hire HC Kevin O’Connell: A Grade
This is the final head-coaching hire of this offseason. The Vikings couldn’t officially hire Kevin O’Connell until after the Super Bowl because he was coaching in it as the Rams’ offensive coordinator.

O’Connell is not some retread, which automatically makes this hiring appealing. He is seen as a sharp and young offensive-minded coach with plenty of upside. He has done great work with quarterbacks over the years, which includes the time he spent with Kirk Cousins in Washington. O’Connell can get Cousins to play up to his potential, which will be needed because the Vikings will have to jettison more talent on the roster because of the quarterback’s albatross of a contract.

O’Connell certainly has his work cut out for him. The Vikings’ cap situation is a mess. I really like this hire, but it may take a while for O’Connell to get the Vikings back on the winning track because of Cousins’ contract.

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Feb. 10 Updates

Panthers hire OC Ben McAdoo: A Grade
People remember Ben McAdoo the most as the guy who had the gall to bench Eli Manning. McAdoo did a poor job as the Giants’ head coach, but was much better as an offensive coordinator. The Giants were 10th and eighth in yardage during McAdoo’s two years as coordinator. In fact, he did such a good job in that role that the Giants made him head coach so he wouldn’t leave.

McAdoo hasn’t done much since getting fired by the Giants. He most recently was the quarterbacks coach in Jacksonville, where he did a fine job with Gardner Minshew in 2020. McAdoo deserved another shot to be an offensive coordinator, so I like this hire by Carolina.

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Feb. 9 Updates

Colts hire DC Gus Bradley: C- Grade
The Colts lost Matt Eberflus to the Chicago Bears’ head-coaching job. They obviously had to replace him, but they settled for an underwhelming choice in Gus Bradley.

The goal for any contending AFC team is to beat the Chiefs. Bradley’s defenses cannot beat the Chiefs. We know that because he has been in the same division as the Chiefs since 2017, serving as defensive coordinator for the Chargers for four seasons and then one more for the Raiders. In nine meetings against Patrick Mahomes, Bradley’s defenses have surrendered, in reverse-chronological order: 48, 41, 23, 31, 24, 28, 38, 30 and 24 points. That’s not good.

I understand that there’s more nuance to this hire than that, but there had to be better choices than Bradley to fill Eberflus’ shoes.

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Raiders hire DC Patrick Graham: A+ Grade
Patrick Graham reportedly received strong interest as a head coach this offseason. If that’s true, I don’t understand why he wasn’t hired because he is definitely more promising than some of the bozos who received head-coaching jobs.

The Raiders will stand to benefit from this in the short term. Graham is a stellar defensive coordinator whose Giants defenses overachieved. Graham never had a great pass-rushing presence, and he lost Blake Martinez to an early season-ending injury last year, and yet his stop units thrived the past two seasons.

Graham won’t have to worry about a lack of talent on the edge in Las Vegas. He’ll have Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue at his disposal, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Raiders transition into having one of the better defenses in the NFL in 2022 and beyond.

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Giants hire DC Don Martindale: B Grade
I will be grading some of the coordinator grades over the coming days. I won’t be grading all of them because some of the hires are complete unknowns with no coordinator experience.

The Giants didn’t pressure the quarterback very well last year, though they still were coached brilliantly by Patrick Graham. Despite the ninth-worst pressure rate in the NFL, Graham’s absence will be felt. He did a great job as the Giants’ coordinator last year even though he lost Blake Martinez to an early season-ending injury.

Don Martindale did a solid job as defensive coordinator for the Ravens, but he ultimately was let go for someone younger and potentially better. Martindale is known for his aggressive blitz schemes, which will be welcome in New York. Martindale’s defenses will do a better job of getting to the quarterback, though in-game adjustments will be worse than they were under Graham. Still, Martindale is a fine replacement for Graham, who will be coaching the Raiders in 2022.

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Feb. 7 Updates

Saints hire HC Dennis Allen: F Grade
The thinking by promoting Dennis Allen from defensive coordinator to head coach is that the Saints can keep their foundation together. The problem with that is they’ll be missing their two key primary pieces moving forward: Sean Payton and Drew Brees.

Rather than hoping the Saints can keep winning without Payton and Brees, they should start over. And it’s not like Allen is some hot coaching prospect. We’ve seen Allen in action already, and he was a failure with the Raiders. His record in Oakland from 2012 to 2014 was 8-28. That’s even worse than Lovie Smith’s record at Illinois! Allen did a great job as New Orleans’ defensive coordinator, but he has proven that he’s not up to the task as a head coach.

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Texans hire HC Lovie Smith: F Grade
When Lovie Smith was running the show at Illinois, the thought that he would be a terrific coach in his third NFL stint crossed my mind several times. Sure, Illinois went 17-39 during Smith’s 5-year tenure at the school, but his new Santa Claus beard made him look very smart and competent. The Texans obviously had the same thought process, which is why they made the extremely intelligent decision to hire him as their new head coach.

I’m obviously being facetious here because this hire is a joke. Before Smith was 17-39 with Illinois, he was 8-24 as head coach of the Buccaneers for two years. There were so many better candidates available, namely Brian Flores and even Josh McCown. Granted, McCown has never coached in the NFL, but at least he’s an unknown commodity with upside. There is no upside with Smith unless Houston believes his 28.4-percent win rate is the best the franchise could do.

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Feb. 6 Updates

Dolphins hire HC Mike McDaniel: F Grade
Only Stephen Ross would be incompetent enough to downgrade his coaching staff willingly during a single offseason. Ross did this by firing Brian Flores and then replacing him with Mike McDaniel, who spent one year as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator.

The idea with McDaniel is that he’s supposed to get the most out of Tua Tagovailoa, but how is that supposed to happen when he failed to develop Jimmy Garoppolo during his five years in San Francisco? McDaniel didn’t even call plays last year, so I don’t see what this hire is supposed to accomplish besides prove that Ross is unbelievably bad at running an NFL organization.

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Feb. 3 Updates

Jaguars hire HC Doug Pederson: D Grade
This is not the first time the Jaguars have acquired recycled materials from Philadelphia. They signed Nick Foles a few seasons ago, only to have that blow up in their face. This acquisition won’t be as bad because it won’t carry any financial implications, but it won’t allow Jacksonville to suddenly become a winning team either.

Doug Pederson was praised early in his career for winning a Super Bowl and developing Carson Wentz, but we soon discovered that it was his surrounding coaching staff that was largely responsible for that. The Eagles collapsed once the great assistant coaches departed, while Wentz regressed at a rapid pace. The Eagles fired Pederson shortly later.

I’m going to assume the Jaguars weren’t paying attention to what happened in Pederson’s final couple of years in Philadelphia because this is a stupid hire. I suppose it could be worse – Bill O’Brien’s name was floated around – but this deserves to be graded poorly.

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Feb. 1 Updates

Bills promote Ken Dorsey to offensive coordinator: A+ Grade
The Bills lost one of the top offensive coordinators, Brian Daboll, to the Giants when Daboll became their new head coach. It seemed like a possibility that Ken Dorsey, the team’s quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator, would leave as well, but Buffalo managed to retain him as its new offensive coordinator.

This is a great development for the Bills because they would have been forced into hiring someone new to run the offense had Dorsey departed. This could have hurt Josh Allen a bit because he would’ve had to learn a new system. Instead, Allen can continue to flourish under the same coaching that did a great job of developing him over the past several seasons.

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Jan. 31 Updates

Raiders hire HC Josh McDaniels: C+ Grade
I thought there was a chance the Raiders would stick with their current regime. Rich Bisaccia, with the help of mastermind offensive coordinator Greg Olson, did a phenomenal job of guiding the Raiders into the playoffs amid numerous controversies throughout the year. It was an impressive feat, yet Mark Davis didn’t see it that way. He opted instead to try his hand at the “Patriot Way,” a proven, losing strategy.

That said, I thought Josh McDaniels did a good job as a head coach in Denver. His regime failed because the Broncos gave him full control over personnel decisions for some reason. This led to the drafting of blocking tight ends in the second round. McDaniels won’t have that same sort of power in Las Vegas. He can concentrate on coaching.

I have mixed feelings about this hire. I like McDaniels, but I didn’t think a coaching change was necessary. Also, McDaniels isn’t a very trustworthy individual, so there’s a chance he’ll lose the locker room at some point.

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Jan. 30 Updates

Raiders hire GM Dave Ziegler: C- Grade
It has to work this time, right? Many teams have tried to emulate the Patriots by plucking front office personnel and coaches from the New England franchise. Almost all of these attempts have failed, and the reason for that is simple: None of these teams have gotten Bill Belichick.

You’d think teams would learn their lesson by now, but apparently not. The Raiders are the latest franchise attempting to copy the Patriots. Dave Ziegler, the former director of player personnel, was in New England’s franchise for nine years, so he has tons of experience working with Belichick. That won’t translate to success, however. In fact, history says that this is likely a recipe for failure.

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Ravens hire DC Mike Macdonald: A- Grade
Included in this grade is Baltimore’s firing of defensive coordinator Don Martindale, who was dismissed nine days ago. Martindale was known for his aggressive, blitz-heavy defense, but he was sometimes way too aggressive. He never adjusted for quarterbacks who devour the blitz like Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow, and his defenses suffered as a consequence.

Mike Macdonald, meanwhile, is just 34. He was never a coordinator in the NFL, serving as either a defensive backs or linebackers coach for the Ravens from 2017 to 2020. However, he was the defensive coordinator of Michigan’s great defense this past season. Harbaugh is obviously familiar with Macdonald and sees something in the young coach, so this decision will likely work well for the Ravens.

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Jan. 29 Updates

Giants hire HC Brian Daboll: A- Grade
The Giants wanted Brian Daboll all along, and they managed to obtain him. Daboll, the former offensive coordinator of the Bills, will certainly be an ugrade over Joe Judge, if only because he won’t run a quarterback sneak on a third-and-9 play.

Daboll has been Josh Allen’s offensive coordinator throughout the young quarterback’s entire career. Daboll developed Allen from a raw prospect into one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Given his great work with Allen, Daboll deserved a chance to be a head coach in the NFL. He has his work cut out for him with Daniel Jones, but perhaps Daboll can do some miracle work with the Giants’ young signal-caller.

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Jan. 27 Updates

Bears hire HC Matt Eberflus: F Grade
When Matt Eberflus was presiding over a defense that had no answer for Trevor Lawrence in the must-win season finale, the thought, “Wow, this guy will make a great head coach” never popped into my head. The Colts generated a conference-best 33 turnovers in 2021, but they feasted on lots of bad competition. They always came up short in big games, and they struggled to put pressure on the quarterback despite spending a first-round pick on a defensive end.

Eberflus didn’t seem like the best candidate at all, or even a viable candidate. He also coaches the wrong side of the ball. Chicago needed to hire an offensive mastermind to help develop Justin Fields. Eberflus could always get a brilliant offensive coordinator, but if Fields makes great strides, that offensive coordinator will be snatched up by another team very quickly to be their head coach, and Fields will have to learn from someone else in a short time frame. That’s why the Bears needed to hire an offensive head coach.

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Broncos hire HC Nathaniel Hackett: D/A Grade
Nathaniel Hackett didn’t call the plays in Green Bay, so you would think the Broncos would hire an offensive-minded coach who at least did that. Hackett didn’t seem like one of the top hiring options, so under normal circumstances, I would give Denver a low grade for this decision.

However, there are two grades attached to this hiring, and the second one will apply if it means that Aaron Rodgers will end up playing for Denver next season. Rodgers is a huge fan of Hackett’s, even endorsing him to be a head coach last year. With the Packers in cap hell, they may want to blow up their roster, and Rodgers has previously stated that he would want to play for a western team. It’s no coincidence that the Broncos’ Super Bowl odds for next year rose in the wake of this hire, so this will be a tremendous decision if it means Rodgers will be wearing a Bronco uniform next year.

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Jan. 26 Updates

Vikings hire GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah: B+ Grade
It seemed like Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s name had been floated around as the favorite for the Vikings’ general manager job for the past week. Minnesota made it official Wednesday morning by hiring him to replace Rick Spielman.

Adofo-Mensah has been described as “super bright” by now-fellow general manager Andrew Berry; he has an MBA from Stanford and began serving in the 49ers’ front office in an analytics role nearly a decade ago. This is an important shift for the Vikings. Mike Zimmer was a great defensive mastermind, but he presided over offenses that had a 1990s mentality to them. I’ll never forget how he ran the Vikings into a loss versus the Ravens because the team refused to throw the ball with the lead versus a poor Baltimore secondary. I imagine this won’t happen under Adofo-Mensah’s watch, assuming he hires an analytically based head coach.

I like this hire. It’s nice that the Vikings are headed in a different direction with someone who came from a successful front office.

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Jan. 25 Updates

Bears hire GM Ryan Poles: B+ Grade
Imagine telling Bears fans that their general manager for 2022 and beyond would be someone named Ryan P. I imagine a few of them would completely abandon their team for not disposing of Ryan Pace, but Chicago did just that, hiring Ryan Poles instead.

Poles had been in the Kansas City Chiefs’ front office for 12 years, ultimately ascending to the role of Assistant Director of Player Personnel. Poles undoubtedly had a role in the players the Chiefs selected, especially later in the draft. If so, that’s great news for the Bears. Just take a look at the Chiefs’ past three drafts. Some of the third-day picks they’ve made are Trey Smith, L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton. All three were good starters for Kansas City this past season.

I like this hire for Chicago. I would have placed a couple of possibilities in front of Poles, but it appears as though the Bears are headed in the right direction.

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Jan. 21 Updates

Giants hire GM Joe Schoen: B+ Grade
The Giants endured David Gettleman’s disastrous regime, but they can finally move on from that with a new individual. They hired Joe Schoen, the former assistant general manager of the Buffalo Bills, as a replacement for Gettleman.

Schoen has two decades of scouting experience and helped the Bills build a Super Bowl-level roster. He deserved a chance to be a general manager in the NFL. I like this move, though there are a few other candidates I would have hired instead.

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Jan. 17 Updates

Raiders fire GM Mike Mayock: B+ Grade
Mike Mayock has gotten lots of flak for some of his draft choices, but he made some spectacular ones as well. He found Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow and Nate Hobbs with third-day selections. All of them have been stars for the Raiders.

However, Mayock has been guilty of his fair share of blunders as well. He whiffed on some first-round picks and made the mistake of acquiring Antonio Brown. Perhaps his greatest error came this past offseason when he was willing to jettison talented offensive linemen before a pair of teams called him up at the 11th hour and obtained both at bargain prices. Mayock’s failure to understand the importance of the offensive line was a huge oversight.

I initially planned to give this an A+ grade. However, I don’t think it would be fair to ignore the positives Mayock has accomplished as the Raiders’ general manager.

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Jan. 13 Updates

Texans fire HC David Culley: A Grade
A 4-13 record is not very impressive, but that actually met expectations for the Texans. Their projected win total heading into 2021 was four wins, so they matched that total. From that perspective, firing David Culley wasn’t warranted, especially after just one season.

However, there’s more to this decision, and that would be Culley’s horrendous job of handling the players. He constantly clashed with some of his better players and even was forced into cutting Zach Cunningham for that reason. Culley created a toxic environment in the locker room, so it was difficult to see him have long-term success for that season. Besides, the Texans can find a much better coach than Culley like Brian Flores, Jim Harbaugh or Jim Caldwell. All three would be huge upgrades.

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Jan. 11 Updates

Giants fire HC Joe Judge: A+ Grade
The Giants didn’t fire Joe Judge on Black Monday, leading some to speculate that they would retain him for another year. This may have started a revolt among Giants fans, so it’s a good thing the team finally made the right decision.

Judge’s tenure with New York was a disaster. The Giants went 10-23 under his watch, and they weren’t remotely competitive in many of their losses. They were blown out in every game down the stretch of the 2021 season, and they drew the ire of the fans when they made asinine play calls like running a quarterback sneak on a third-and-8. Furthermore, players had gotten worse under Judge. Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay are some of the players who regressed under Judge’s watch.

This is a no-brainer A+ grade. Judge was in over his head while being in charge of the Giants. Almost anyone New York hires will be a huge upgrade.

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Jan. 10 Updates

Vikings fire HC Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman: C+/B- Grade
The Dolphins made an idiotic decision to let go of Brian Flores. The Bears firing Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy was a no-brainer. This, on the other hand, is more nuanced.

I think Mike Zimmer is an excellent coach. He has his flaws, like being too conservative at times, but he’s a defensive mastermind, and his players try hard for him. He didn’t have much playoff success outside of advancing to the NFC Championship in 2017, but he never finished with a record worse than 7-9 either. That said, Zimmer turns 66 this summer, so I don’t blame the Vikings for wanting a younger, more offensive-minded coach.

Spielman, on the other hand, made a horrible decision that cost him his job. The egregious mistake, of course, was giving Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed contract. This sapped much of the talent on the roster, as the Vikings had to get rid of some key players because Cousins commanded much of the salary cap. Spielman made some great draft choices, like selecting Stefon Diggs in the fifth round, but the Cousins signing was horrible, and anyone with half a brain knew it at the time.

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Bears fire HC Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace: A+/A+ Grade
It’s no surprise that the Bears have fired both their head coach and general manager. The duo of Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace greatly disappointed following a promising 2018 season that concluded with the double doink. Since then, the Bears are 22-27.

Nagy proved to be an incompetent head coach who needed to be fired. He failed to develop the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and then seemed to be making the same mistakes with Justin Fields. It was telling that Fields had one of his best games when Nagy had to sit out with a minor illness. Chicago needed to make sure that Fields would be appropriately developed, and that wouldn’t happen under Nagy’s watch.

As for Pace, he proved himself to be an incompetent general manager. He made some nice moves here and there, but the mistakes greatly outweighed the positive decisions. The worst blunder was trading up for Mitchell Trubisky rather than selecting either Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. There were also other things like paying big bucks to Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, Buster Skrine and Jimmy Graham. The Bears could obtain a better general manager by hiring some college kid playing Madden, so firing Pace was a no-brainer.

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Dolphins fire HC Brian Flores: F Grade
What!? When I saw this news posted this morning, I thought it was a joke. Like, “Haha, Brian Flores is fired, just kidding, let’s get to the real coaches who got fired like Matt Nagy and Joe Judge.”

Instead, the news was real, somehow. I don’t understand it. Flores, in my opinion, is one of the better coaches in the NFL. He’s a defensive mastermind, and players try hard for him. They rallied back from 1-7 and nearly made the playoffs. Miami didn’t quite get there, but the team still finished with a winning record. This was the first time the Dolphins had consecutive winning seasons since the Dave Wannstedt era. You’d think this would warrant an extension of sorts. Instead, Miami let Flores go.

I don’t understand Stephen Ross’ mindset regarding this move. Any coach he hires is likely to be a downgrade from Flores. The only reason the Dolphins didn’t make the playoffs under Flores’ watch is because the front office selected Tua Tagovailoa over Justin Herbert, and yet Ross didn’t fire the general manager. Nothing Ross is doing makes any sense, so this decision needs to be graded accordingly.

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Jan. 9 Updates

Broncos fire HC Vic Fangio: B Grade
Vic Fangio is a great defensive-minded coach who never really had a chance to succeed as a head coach in the NFL. His defenses have been great, but he was ridden with pedestrian quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock throughout his tenure. It’s no wonder that Denver never made the playoffs with Fangio as its head coach.

That said, Fangio doesn’t seem like he’s suited to be a head coach. We’ve seen this with other defensive masterminds like Wade Phillips and Dick LeBeau. Fangio’s in-game management wasn’t great, and he usually lost the close games. Perhaps that was a byproduct of quarterbacking, but such maneuvers like kicking a field goal while down seven with four minutes remaining is why Fangio should probably just be a defensive coordinator.

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Dec. 16 Updates

Jaguars fire HC Urban Meyer: A+ Grade
Urban Meyer shouldn’t have been hired in the first place, given that he had no NFL experience before taking the Jacksonville head-coaching job. The Jaguars absolutely had to fire him, and the only criticism anyone can make of this decision is that it wasn’t done earlier.

Meyer’s entire tenure in Jacksonville was a complete disaster. It began right away when he signed Tim Tebow and then ran the ball with Carlos Hyde instead of James Robinson in the season opener. Four weeks later, Meyer didn’t take the flight home with his team, opting instead to party in Ohio bars instead. Meyer eventually called his assistants “losers” and saw Trevor Lawrence regress under his watch. Meyer also clashed with some of his players, including Marvin Jones and former kicker Josh Lambo. According to Lambo, Meyer kicked him, and when Meyer protested, Meyer shouted, “I’m the head ball coach, I’ll kick you whenever the f**k I want.”

There’s no reason Meyer should ever coach in the NFL again. I imagine he’ll be coaching in college at some point in the future, where he can pay all the athletes he pleases. NFL athletes were already getting paid, so Meyer never had any sort of edge in the NFL. I have no idea how Jacksonville never realized this.

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Dec. 6 Updates

Panthers fire OC Joe Brady: D Grade
Joe Brady was a star two years ago. He orchestrated LSU’s terrific offense and probably could’ve gotten some sort of head-coaching job at the collegiate level. Instead, he chose to be the offensive coordinator for the Panthers. Brady’s offenses in Carolina struggled, but he didn’t exactly have the greatest quarterbacks at his disposal. It would’ve been difficult for any coordinator to succeed with Teddy Bridgewater, Phillip Walker, Sam Darnold and a washed-up Cam Newton.

The Panthers have decided to fire Brady after he failed to develop Darnold. I’m not sure Darnold is even salvageable, so Carolina’s decision to potentially make Brady the scapegoat is a real head-scratcher, especially when considering Brady had Christian McCaffrey at his disposal for only 10 of 28 possible games.

I’m going to grade this as a “D” instead of an “F” because I think it’s possible that Brady could’ve asked for this dismissal because he had a collegiate job lined up for himself. That’s the only logical reason I can come up with for this firing.

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Nov. 23 Updates

Giants fire OC Jason Garrett: A+ Grade
I remembered loving the Giants as a long shot to win the Super Bowl ahead of the 2020 season. Daniel Jones was coming off a promising rookie campaign, and the Giants had tons of cap space to build around their young quarterback and Saquon Barkley.

And then, the Giants hired Jason Garrett, and I knew this regime would be a failure. Garrett was an inept offensive coach in Dallas, and he was destined to fail with the Giants. Garrett failed to develop Jones whatsoever and was often outcoached by the opposition. Despite having a talented, young quarterback and tons of play-makers, the Giants have maintained one of the worst offenses in the NFL this year. Garrett had to go, so this firing should be graded an A+.

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Oct. 11 Updates

Raiders fire HC Jon Gruden: D- Grade
The report of Jon Gruden’s e-mail about DeMaurice Smith surfaced Friday. It appeared as though that story would disappear, but that changed Monday evening when new e-mails were conveniently brought to light. This prompted Raiders owner Mark Davis to fire Gruden, who officially “resigned” in order to save face.

It’s unclear what exactly what is in those e-mails. Adam Schefter noted that there were racist and homophobic slurs, but given how he and the rest of the sports media hypes everything, I get the feeling that the content of the e-mails isn’t as bad as he’s making it out to be. Schefter also cited that Gruden berated Roger Goodell and some owners, but I think that’s perfectly fine because he said those words 10 years ago while he was a pundit on TV. As a football color analyst, it was his job to say these things about people in the league. Then again, perhaps the e-mails were truly bad. There’s no way of knowing right now, but the Smith e-mail was certainly a typical media overreaction, so I’m willing to believe these are as well. Not only that; Gruden said these things in private e-mails that he never expected to be public. I’m not OK with someone being canned for what they say in a private e-mail, especially if they do so before they take the job in question.

Many have criticized Gruden over the years, but he has done a good job of making the Raiders into a competitive football team. The Raiders were the laughing stock of the NFL prior to Gruden’s arrival, but that hasn’t been the case since. Thus, Davis likely made a mistake by firing Gruden. Davis has been a mostly incompetent owner – I can say this because I, too, am a pundit – so it’s not a surprise that Davis would cave to ridiculous cancel culture.

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