Ranking the NFL job openings after Black Monday’s bloodbath

The core of the San Francisco 49ers (l-r) Navarro Bowman, Colin Kaepernick, and Patrick Willis remain intact for the next head coach.

The core of the San Francisco 49ers (l-r) Navarro Bowman, Colin Kaepernick, and Patrick Willis remain intact for the next head coach.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NFL playoffs start on Saturday, January 3, but the week began with a range of changes on Black Monday. The Atlanta Falcons and San francisco 49ers parted ways with their head coach, while the New York Jets and Chicago Bears terminated their general manager and head coach. Jeff Fisher amazingly retains his head coaching job of the St. Louis Rams despite another mediocre season, but there are five current openings that need to filled.

The next Raiders head coach will have last season's 1st two picks in Khalil Mack (l) and Derek Carr (m) to do a better job than last year's head coach Dennis Allen (r).

The next Raiders head coach will have last season’s first two picks in Khalil Mack (l) and Derek Carr (m) to do a better job than last year’s head coach Dennis Allen (r).

6) The Oakland Raiders have been the model of consistency the last dozen NFL seasons, unfortunately they have been consistently dreadful. The Raiders will not bring back interim head coach Tony Sparano. Raiders rookies Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and second year running back Latavius Murray are some of the bright spots on a roster that needs major changes. The next head coach will not only have to contend with a losing culture but also another season of massive overhaul to the roster. They would be best served in hiring a head coach with plenty of NFL experience.

The Jets will have to decide whether Geno Smith (r) and Eric Decker (l) are part of the long-term solution as the team looks to improve quickly.

The Jets will have to decide whether Geno Smith (r) and Eric Decker (l) are part of the long-term solution as the team looks to improve quickly.

5) The New York Jets pulled the plug on the Rex Ryan/John Idzik era with much fanfare to long- suffering Jets fans. The next GM will have the #6 pick in this upcoming draft and a lot of cap space to try to address a myriad of needs. Second year quarterback Geno Smith and high-priced free agent wide receiver Eric Decker had career days in the last game of the season. The next head coach will have the daunting task of grooming a franchise quarterback, something that has escaped the Jets for quite some time.

The first step  for the turnaround for the Bills is to find a long-term answer at quarterback to throw the ball to last year's first round pick Sammy Watkins.

The first step for the turnaround for the Bills is to find a long-term answer at quarterback to throw the ball to last year’s first round pick Sammy Watkins.

4) The Buffalo Bills and head coach Doug Marrone decided to go their separate ways after two disappointing seasons. The Bills expected Marrone to help their offense grow, instead the defense has been much stronger. There are a number of veteran defensive players that are likely to remain on the roster next season but the team has to solve the issue at starting quarterback. The team started journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton for the majority of last season so it is imperative the Bills address that situation. Their next head coach will have to make the offense as good as the defense has been the past couple of years.

The next GM and head coach of the Bears will have to solve the riddle of how to win with Jay Cutler.

The next GM and head coach of the Bears will have to solve the riddle of how to win with Jay Cutler.

3) The Chicago Bears appear to have enough pieces in place to complete a quick turnaround. However, their defense will require a number of changes to improve, their lousy, hopeless, big money quarterback Jay Cutler seems to have regressed, and they play in one of the toughest divisions. The Bears will first have to find a GM who will determine whether they want an offensive or defensive minded head coach. Ultimately, the next head coach will have to do something that no previous head coach has been able to do, win consistently with Jay Cutler, who is a bust, regardless of his exorbitant contract.

The Falcons feel they have cornerstone players in Julio Jones (l) and Matt Ryan (r). The next head coach has to vastly improve their defense and make the offense more balanced.

The Falcons feel they have cornerstone players in Julio Jones (l) and Matt Ryan (r). The next head coach has to vastly improve their defense and make the offense more balanced.

2) The Atlanta Falcons have been trending backwards since making it to the NFC Championship in 2012. Mike Smith was relieved of his duties in part because the defensive oriented head coach has been unable to put a suitable defense on the field. The Falcons will not only have to make huge strides on defense to turn things around, but their offense is way too dependent on their passing attack. Julio Jones is extremely talented but injury prone and the next head coach is going to have to get more out of quarterback Matt Ryan.

The next 49ers head coach will have large shoes to fill as Jim Harbaugh (l) helped restore the franchise to it's winning ways by helping identify Colin Kaepernick as the next franchise quarterback.

The next 49ers head coach will have large shoes to fill as Jim Harbaugh (l) helped restore the franchise to its winning ways by helping identify Colin Kaepernick as the next franchise quarterback.

1) The San Francisco 49ers ended the season 8 – 8 after going to 3 consecutive NFC Championship games. Head coach Jim Harbaugh’s departure was not celebrated by 49ers fans but anticipated. The team has many positive components in place including quarterback Colin Kaepernick and an excellent defense. All-Pro linebackers Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis should be healthy returns to the roster that will need to improve at cornerback and wide receiver. The main task for the next head coach is to vastly improve a predictable and largely unproductive offense. The 49ers have the best chance to turn things around next season and return to the playoffs.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Mike Shanahan’s saga of failure continues, RGIII is benched

Robert Griffin III is benched by his coach and will consider his future and ways to improve.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Washington Redskins easily win the title of the most dysfunctional team in the National Football League (NFL) with the news that they have benched starting quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season. The decision highlights more question marks about the future of a franchise that is performing so poorly that the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders look like well-oiled machines in comparison. Not even Scandal’s talented Olivia Pope could fix this debacle.

Head coach Mike Shanahan’s struggles continue while the Redskins seem to be in turmoil.

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is on the proverbial hot seat as the Redskins endure the third losing season in Shanahan’s four-year tenure. The news yesterday that Kirk Cousins would start the remainder of the season raised eyebrows in the football world. Senior ESPN writer Ed Werder expressed surprise stating: “This is an unprecedented move to make when the starting quarterback is healthy.”

2nd year quarterback Kirk Cousins is the starter for the remainder of the season for the Redskins.

2nd year quarterback Kirk Cousins is the starter for the remainder of the season for the Redskins.

The change in the quarterback position sends a confusing message to a team struggling with leadership concerns and overall poor performance. The change also endangers the most valuable trade asset the team has, since Cousins is a second year quarterback who has looked good in the few games he has played so far. Shanahan stated “RGIII has taken too many hits and we want to protect him,” as the reason for making the change. If Cousins takes the same  hits as Griffin did while behind center, it will be interesting to see if he will retain the same kind of trade value.

The relationship between Shanahan and Griffin has been far from harmonious, which further complicates the situation. The perceived animosity between the two raises questions about Shanahan’s true motives. Is he trying to sabotage Griffin while designing a play to be fired as well? While speculation runs rampant that the coach is trying to get fired, the implication is that Shanahan does not trust Griffin to protect himself or the team to protect the star quarterback.

Jeff Fisher (l) and Vince Young (r) also experienced a tension filled relationship for the Titans.

Jeff Fisher (l) and Vince Young (r) also experienced a tension-filled relationship while they were with the Titans.

However, the rumors that Shanahan was not enamored with RGIII coming out of college brings to mind another coach/quarterback relationship that has mixed results:Jeff Fisher and Vince Young with the Tennessee Titans. In both situations, the star quarterback was beloved by the owner and earned Rookie of the Year honors while essentially saving the coach’s job. Also, the quarterback became a rising star in the league and quickly fell out of favor with the head coach. The Fisher/Young situation ended with neither being a member of the Titans, just five seasons later (2006-2011).

Shanahan’s questionable decision to bench RGIII also brings to mind his unceremonious firing from the Denver Broncos in 2008 after his decision to draft Jay Cutler to replace Jake Plummer despite Plummer leading the Broncos to the AFC title game in 2005. Shanahan’s decision backfired in spectacular fashion and the team disintegrated into a chaotic mix, sealing his ouster by owner Pat Bowlen.

As the disastrous Redskins season evolves, the Shanahan/Griffin union seems to be irreparably harmed. Of course, their deteriorating relationship has not been a secret since the season began. Also, questions still abound about Shanahan’s decision to play Griffin last year when he was obviously hurt and the impact that ultimately had on his need for surgery and RGIII’s performance this year. The Washington faithful have a hard time feeling confident that their team knows what it is doing. Die-hard Redskins fan Steve Taylor’s reaction to yesterday’s news sums up the fans’ collective mood:

“I feel as though the coach and his son need to be fired,” Taylor said. That sentiment is widespread among Redskins fans and it is hard for them to remain hopeful for next season. The trade that helped them acquire RGIII cost them what seems like a top five pick in next season’s draft. Maybe the Redskins fans will be able to at least take solace in their hated rival Dallas Cowboys collapsing in December again. Maybe.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant.