NFL Coaches – The Purple Testament

Masha

There’s an episode of Twilight Zone from the first season called “The Purple Testament.” In it, a man sees a “flash of light” across the person’s face when they are going to die. For whatever reason, it was one of those episodes that played repeatedly during my childhood (much like the Star Trek ‘OK Corral’ episode) and is something that has stayed with me over the years. The mystical power of being able to predict someone’s death has always intrigued me.

Today, I’m going to provide my own ‘Purple Testament’ predicting the NFL coaches I believe are not long for this world. I don’t think anyone is getting fired before the end of the season but I believe each of these guys has the glowing face of coaching ‘death’ upon him. Leashes in the NFL are getting shorter and some of these guys haven’t been in the position long, but I don’t see owners living with losing records for long. I think at the end of the season, it’s going to be a blood fest of firings, some reasonable, some obvious, some just for a change. Whatever the reason, I think it’s going to be an apocalypse.

Jason Garrett – Jason doesn’t have just a ‘flash’ of light on his face, he positively shines with a steady, eerie glow. The Cowboys have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory so many times this year that it’s become a bit of a joke on our couch. We have a friend in Texas we imagine we can hear screaming from our distant (and safer) position outside of the state, often with the refrain of “ROOMOO!”

Mike Shanahan and his little dog Kyle – I don’t think there’s a single soul who believes Shanahan will come out on top in the Shanahan/RGIII battle. It amazes me that Dan Snyder hasn’t fired him already. The Kirk Cousins move is working well, but I don’t believe it buys the pair additional time with the Redskins.

Mike Tomlin – Mike has dug a hole for himself with a losing record the last two years. (I know, I know, 500 is not technically ‘losing’ in 2012, but for the Steelers, it was not a stellar year). Although he has an ownership group that tends to be loyal and 5 years of success, I think he’s done in PIttsburgh. I think he still has a long coaching career in front of him, but it’s not going to be with the Steelers. The team doesn’t seem to perform for him and it’s time for someone else to give it a shot. Maybe Whisenhunt will come back…

Leslie Frazier – I like Mr. Frazier. I like how he coaches and I think he’s a good solid manner with his players. But I don’t think he can succeed with the Vikings right now. The team, and therefore Leslie, was adversely impacted by the revolving door at QB, but there are performance issues at more positions than just QB. He has only one winning year of the 4 as head coach. The Vikings looked as bad as any NFL team possibly could this morning and I think today’s game was the final nail.

Mike Munchak – Mike’s only been in position for 3 years, but has a losing record. Oddly enough, I think the death of Bud Adams in October may buy Munchak an additional year, because no one has really stepped into the decision-maker role or consolidated the role enough to fire Munchak. With that said, the team has been a disappointment and nothing breeds leadership confidence like someone taking charge and firing the head coach. Might be a good power play for someone in the organization….

And of course, Gary Kubiak has already joined the crowd invisible, no doubt surfacing somewhere as an OC next year.

Forgive him, Pat can’t work on the blog right now, he’s doing an Arizona Cardinal dance around the house and I can’t predict how long that might last.

Dallas Cowboys – what’s going on here?

Pat

So I said in the coming days I would look at the underachieving NFL teams and the overachieving ones as well and try to figure out what’s gone wrong and/or right with these teams. Everybody seems to love to analyze the Dallas Cowboys, so I will get this one out of the way. I’ve looked at the roster and depth chart to see who’s doing what statistically. I’ve analyzed the coaching staff, specifically the Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator, and of course the General Manager to see if he has hired the right people in these jobs and brought those coaches the players to get the job done. The big failing grade here goes to them all. At a 7 and 7 record, this has to be considered another lost year for the Cowboys. The first one that has to go here is the General Manager and Owner Jerry Jones. Jerry has stuck by Jason Garrett, Bill Callahan, Monte Kiffin and Quarterback Tony Romo because when he fires them it will be admitting that he has continually hired the wrong people and that he is easily one of the worst five General Managers in the NFL.  Philosophically, this team is terrible. They have no balance on offense, even though he has a talented running back, so he puts all the pressure on Romo, who folds under that pressure time and again.  Because he is offensively minded as a GM, he spends all his money on offense and does not have enough talent on the defense to get the job done. The Jerry Jones team philosophy for this team is a big loser and he needs to fire himself as GM and hire a good one.  He says he will never do this, but I believe that when the fed up fans finally quit coming, he will have to make a sensible change to improve his team.

Masha

I agree with Pat that the primary responsibility for the Dallas Cowboys’ performance failures ultimately lies with Jerry Jones. Jerry Jones as the Owner/GM is the worst case scenario. It’s like a physician treating himself for cancer. He’s so close to the situation that he can’t see the problems and instead sticks “loyally” with combinations that are not successful. No one has enough power at this point to challenge his decisions, and those that seem to have tried to challenge him have been dismissed from the organization. Until Mr. Jones steps back from the GM role and allows another viewpoint to enter into discussions, the Cowboys will continue to default to their pass-oriented, “seizing defeat from the jaws of victory” pattern they have languished in for years. I don’t believe for a second that Mr. Jones’ ego will allow him, declining fan base or not, sensible decision or not, to allow an actual GM to make decisions for the Cowboys organization.