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.

AFC or NFC, which championship game will be better?

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Magic, Earvin Johnson versus Larry Bird or Lakers versus Celtics: Epic individual matchup or dynamic team rivalry? Which was better? Like the great games played by those two competitors, the National Football League (NFL) couldn’t have asked for a better championship weekend. The AFC championship will feature the two biggest stars in the NFL over the past decade as Tom Brady leads his New England Patriots to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Two all-time great quarterbacks facing each other with an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl has to be the best game of the weekend, doesn’t it?

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Meanwhile, the NFC championship will feature the best rivalry in the NFL, the two best defenses remaining in the playoffs, and two of the best young quarterbacks, who are both African-American, in the game. Combine those factors with two head coaches who have a rivalry that goes back to their days coaching in college (Pete Carroll at USC and Jim Harbough at Stanford) and you have a recipe for a combustible contest. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will send a combined 16 players to the pro bowl and both teams play similar styles offensively and defensively. This will also be the third meeting of the season for these teams as both have won on their home field. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the game and they have done nothing but win since they took over as starters in the league. The Seahawks can make it to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2005-06 season while the 49ers are trying to reach NFL title game for a second consecutive season.

Peyton Manning's last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

Peyton Manning’s last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

As intense as the NFC matchup will be, it will not have the historical impact of the AFC contest. Peyton Manning completed a regular season in which he set just about every single season passing record and led his team to the number one seed in consecutive seasons. Tom Brady helped his team overcome a litany of serious injuries as the Patriots continued to dominate the AFC east and reach the AFC title game for 8th time in the Belichek-Brady Era. Manning and Brady will face each other for the 15th time in their careers, with the Patriots beating the Broncos earlier this season. However, the last time they faced each other in the playoffs, Manning and the Colts defeated the Patriots en route to Manning’s only Super bowl win in 2006-07. A win for Manning would put him in the Super Bowl for the third time and allow him a chance at multiple championships. Meanwhile, Brady is trying to join a class with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, four time Super Bowl champion quarterbacks.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Both games should be entertaining, intense, and memorable. All the teams remaining won at least 12 games in the regular season and the winner of either matchup will provide NFL fans with something special to look forward to on Super Bowl Sunday. Will Manning cap off a record breaking season with a Super Bowl win? Will Brady get that elusive fourth title? Will the Seahawks get the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history? or, Will the 49ers tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most Super Bowl victories for a franchise with its sixth win? One thing is sure, the NFL championship round will be one for the ages.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.