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.

Four bold predictions for the 2014 NFL season as the games begin

As the regular season  begins in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year.

As the regular season begins in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

With the NFL season starting Thursday, September 4, optimism is at its height as every team hopes that all things work in their favor. The predictions for this upcoming NFL season from OnPointPress.net will be bold and based on the idea that the unexpected must always be considered when it comes to sports.

AFC Player Prediction: Joe Flacco will make the top three in MVP voting this season:

Flacco already has a Super Bowl MVP award. Could he add a regular season MVP to his award case?

Flacco already has a Super Bowl MVP award. Could he add a regular season MVP to his award case?

Flacco has proven to be a very good quarterback already as he has helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to the playoffs 5 times out of 6 years and win the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season. However, Flacco’s regular season statistics have been mostly average. Though Flacco is yet to miss a game in his career, he has not thrown for more than 4,000 yards or more than 25 touchdowns in any season of his 6 year career. This season, the prediction is that will Flacco throw for more than 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns and lead the Ravens back to the playoffs with home field advantage. A revamped offensive line along with added healthy weapons will give Flacco a chance to put up big numbers on a winning team.

NFC Player Prediction:  Gerald McCoy will win defensive player of the year:

Defensive lineman Gerald McCoy will help bring wins and attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Defensive lineman Gerald McCoy will help bring wins and attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gerald McCoy is already one of the best defensive players but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled during his four-year career. McCoy has been selected to the 2012 and 2013 Pro Bowl and was an All Pro selection in 2013. This season McCoy will be under the tutelage of new Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith and his defensive expertise. This season, the prediction is that McCoy will have 13 sacks and cause six turnovers as he helps lead the Buccaneers to a winning record this season. Tampa Bay will have a chance to catch some teams by surprise early and build on that momentum during the season.

AFC Team Prediction: The Oakland Raiders will finish second in the AFC West:

The Oakland Raiders have a lot of new faces on their roster including rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Those changes will result for the first winning season in years for the Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders have a lot of new faces on their roster including rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Those changes will result for the first winning season in years for the Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders have been mired in mediocrity for more than a decade now with their last playoff appearance occurring in 2002. There has been a great deal of turnover on the roster and the Raiders have spent money on veteran players like Charles Woodson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Justin Tuck between the last two years to try to change the culture. The addition of first round pick Khalil Mack and second round pick Derek Carr should provide enough blending of youth and experience to win a lot more games this year. This season the prediction is that the Oakland Raiders will win nine games and finish second in their division.

NFC Team Prediction: Only one team will make the playoffs from the NFC West:

Russell Wilson (l) and Colin Kaepernick (r) are expected to be better this season than last year but one of their teams may not make the playoffs this year.

Russell Wilson (l) and Colin Kaepernick (r) are expected to be better this season than last year but one of their teams may not make the playoffs this year.

The defending champion Seattle Seahawks have looked fantastic this preseason while the San Francisco 49ers have had to deal with a breadth of depletion to their roster due to injuries and suspensions. Both teams have a great deal of depth and numerous young talented players which is why they are expected to make the playoffs again this year. The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams will be decent this year but both have major problems. The division will come down to the Seahawks and 49ers again. The 49ers will win the division if for no other reason than the gift presented by Seahawks’s defensive back Richard Sherman.

As a firm believer in the Madden Curse, OnPointPress.net is convinced that Sherman will singlehandedly destroy his team’s chances to advance out of a competitive division by choosing to grace the cover of Madden this year. It stands out that the Seahawks have been good early in the season. The biggest obstacle will be whether the Seahawks can maintain the level of defensive dominance to allow an evolving offense to lead a team on another championship run. Great defensive teams like the 85′ Bears, 86′ Giants, 00′ Ravens, and 02′ Buccaneers, all failed to repeat and the Seahawks will join that list, as the Madden Curse will triumph again.–OnPointPress.net–

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

Notable takeaways from the 2014 NFL draft

Teddy Bridgewater seems to the quarterback of the future for the Minnesota Vikings.

Teddy Bridgewater seems to the quarterback of the future for the Minnesota Vikings.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Football League (NFL) completed its amateur draft on Saturday, giving 256 young men an opportunity to live out their dream of playing professional football. While Johnny Manziel and Michael Sam have received the bulk of the recognition from this draft, there were a few other players that seem to be in a great position to make their General Managers look good. The Heisman finalists, in particular, did well.

Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks are widely regarded as the most important position in the NFL and there were a few that were drafted that seem to be in excellent positions to contribute to their teams.

teddy

Teddy Bridgewater inspires hope for the Minnesota Vikings’ future.

Teddy Bridgewater – Bridgewater was selected 32nd overall with the last pick of the first round. The Vikings traded up to take a player that was rumored to go near the top of the draft. The Vikings plan to ease Bridgewater into the mix and he may not play this season. However, Bridgewater seems to be the quarterback in the best position for long-term success.

Derek Carr might be the first of the drafted quarterbacks to take the field this season.

Derek Carr might be the first of the drafted quarterbacks to take the field this season.

Derek Carr – Carr was drafted 36th overall by the Oakland Raiders and is not going to a team full of offensive talent. However, the Raiders do not have a great deal invested in incumbent starting quarterback Matt Schaub. The Raiders have focused on improving their defense so when Carr is eventually the starter, there can be a balanced team waiting for him.

tom

Tom Savage is not expected to make much of a difference to the Houston Texans this season.

Tom Savage – Savage was drafted in the 4th round by the Houston Texans but will not be expected to contribute to the team this season. The Texans will hope that they can develop Savage into the long-term starter to replace the turnover- prone Schaub from last season.

The 2014 Heisman finalists were heavily represented in this year's draft. (l - r)  Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, AJ McCarron, Andre Williams, and Jameis Winston. Winston was not eligible for the draft but is expected to be taken high next year.

The 2014 Heisman finalists were heavily represented in this year’s draft. (l – r) Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, AJ McCarron, Andre Williams, and Jameis Winston. Winston was not eligible for the draft but is expected to be taken high next year.

2014 Heisman Candidates

Five of the six 2014 Heisman candidates were eligible for this year’s draft and 4 of them were drafted. QB Jordan Lynch signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears.

tre

Tre Mason was drafted early in the 3rd round by the St. Louis Rams.

Tre Mason – Mason was drafted early in the 3rd round by the St. Louis Rams to be a backup running back. Mason had an exciting career as a running back and returner at Auburn and the Rams are hoping to be able to add depth to an important position in the Rams game plan.

Running back Andre Williams will have a chance to help the Giants this season if he proves himself during the offseason.

Running back Andre Williams, who boasts Jamaican heritage, will have a chance to help the Giants this season if he proves himself during the offseason.

Andre Williams – Williams was selected in the 4th round by the New York Giants. Williams is in the best position to contribute next season as there is less defined depth at running back for the Giants.

The Giants will hope that Williams can help provide some balance to their pass heavy offense.

Andre Williams transitions from Boston College to the New York Giants, trading in one big city for another.

Andre Williams transitions from Boston College to the New York Giants, trading in one big city for another.

Johnny Manziel – Manziel was selected 22nd by the Cleveland Browns. There are many questions as to whether Manziel’s improvisational style at quarterback will transition well to the NFL. The Browns have made it clear that they believe in Manziel, as their backup quarterback, for now.

AJ McCarron – McCarron was drafted in the 5th round by the Cincinnati Bengals to likely be a backup quarterback. The Bengals’ current starter Andy Dalton has shown improvement in the regular season but has yet to lead his team to a playoff victory. The Bengals are hoping McCarron’s collegiate playoff experience will be a benefit to their team.

Michael Sam

Michael Sam became the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft. He is headed to the St. Louis Rams to join Heisman finalist Tre Mason.

Ground Breaking Event

Michael Sam, who declared his sexuality prior to the draft, became the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL. He will join Mason as teammates.–OnPointPress.net–

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

NFL coordinators need Rooney Rule too

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome at Super Bowl 47.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome at Super Bowl 47.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

There are currently five minority head coaches in the National Football League (NFL): Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), Lovie Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers), Jim Caldwell (Detroit Lions), and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers). There are five minority general managers: Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Reggie McKenzie (Oakland Raiders), Martin Mayhew (Detroit Lions), Rick Smith (Houston Texans), and Jerry Reese (New York Giants). There are 32 NFL teams so there is clearly need for better minority representation at the coaching, coordinator, general manager and ownership levels . Extending the Rooney Rule to address this under-representation, seems to be the only solution to change the status quo.

Current NFL AP Coach of the Year Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers.

Current NFL AP Coach of the Year Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers.

The  Rooney Rule, named after the chairman of the NFL diversity committee and Steelers owner Dan Rooney, was instituted to give minority candidates more chances in positions of power. The NFL hiring pool for head coaching positions generally comes from current or recent NFL coordinators. As the Associated Press recently reported, “The Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group of minority coaches and front-office, scouting and game-day NFL officials, wants the Rooney Rule expanded to apply to coordinators, assistant head coaches and club president positions.”

Mike Tomlin has led the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl 43.

Mike Tomlin has led the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl 43.

The challenge for minority candidates now is that most of they mainly come from the defensive side of the game. As the NFL continues to make rule changes to accentuate offense, defensive coaches are increasingly challenged to prove their worth in a league with continual rising scoring. This past season, NFL teams combined to score an average 23.4 points per game, the highest league average of all time. As offensive coaches continue to be rewarded, defensive coaches find themselves left behind and  having to constantly prove themselves, which is odd, since strong defense typically wins games as the Seattle Seahawks convincingly demonstrated in Sunday’s Super Bowl blowout.

Newly hired Detroit Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell, was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens last season.

Newly hired Detroit Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell, was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens last season.

The extension of the Rooney Rule to coordinator positions will allow for more diversity in coordinator positions on both offense and defense. Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports recently surmised, “offensive coordinators tend to get the call to be head coach, and the guys overseeing quarterbacks… tend to get [Offensive Coordinator] OC jobs.” Of the current minority head coaches, only Jim Caldwell has expertise on offense. His hiring this off-season was lauded as a positive step for minority candidates as the Lions were viewed as a desirable destination. Extending the Rooney Rule to coordinator positions will likely give more minority candidates a chance to show that their knowledge of offense is as strong as their accepted knowledge of defense. That should increase the ranks of minority coaches in the NFL, a change that is long overdue.–OnPointPress.net–

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

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.