With only Washington and Buffalo making moves on the coaching front, Black Monday in the NFL passed far quieter than anticipated, and certainly was less eventful than last year's day-after-the-season-ends blood-letting.
But the lack of activity may wind up representing a lull before the storm, because the elephant in the room when it comes to this year's NFL coaching carousel remains the future of
Everything might be all hiccups and giggles in the Metroplex at the moment, with the Cowboys (11-5) having won three in a row and secured their second NFC East title in three years under Phillips, but everything could change should Dallas lose Saturday night to the same Eagles team it just beat 24-0 on Sunday. Need we remind you that Phillips has never won a playoff game as a head coach (0-4), and
Phillips is one Eagles' upset away from accomplishing the feat of coaching three NFL teams to playoff losses in three different decades, and if he's shown the door in Dallas next week, it could set off a high-profile scramble for one of the most coveted coaching jobs in the league.
As much as Washington is now free to openly continue its hot pursuit of ex-Broncos head coach
And what of
And don't discount Tennessee's
So don't judge the pace of this year's coaching carousel too quickly. It won't match last year's record 11-man hiring frenzy, but there could be plenty more movement -- including some big-name maneuvering -- than what occurred on an almost sleepy Black Monday.
That way Davis would at least give some nod to the importance of continuity in Oakland, and acknowledge that Cable is popular with his players, who have lobbied for him to be retained. By drawing out his decision on Cable into next week, Davis, perhaps, can buy himself some time to find a head coach Cable would consider working for.
The problem with that scenario is obvious: Davis wants to bring in an offensive-minded coach who can focus almost exclusively on salvaging the struggling career of quarterback
Though the Raiders record didn't improve this season, staying at 5-11 for a second consecutive year, Davis is aware that Oakland became more competitive than at any other point in its franchise-worst seven-year streak of 11-plus loss seasons. Davis doesn't want to lose the respectability that Cable earned with wins over Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Denver this season. But he's hell bent on proving himself right for drafting Russell first overall in 2007, and his next head coach is going to inherit Russell as his starter. No questions asked.
• If this is one of those rare years when the incumbents on the bubble seem to get the jump-ball to go their way, retaining their head coaching jobs for another year, it may have something to do with how little positive impact the coaching class of 2009 wound up making.
Of this season's 11 new full-time head coaches, only two led their teams to the playoffs: The Colts'
Last season that finish wasn't good enough for an AFC playoff berth, and it got
Of the 11 teams that had new head coaches this season, six improved, but all of those by just a game or two: The Colts went from 12-4 to 14-2; Kansas City, 2-14 to 4-12; Detroit, 0-16 to 2-14; Cleveland, 4-12 to 5-11; San Francisco, 7-9 to 8-8; and Seattle from 4-12 to 5-11.
Three teams saw no improvement: The Jets, although they made the playoffs; the Broncos, whose collapse to 8-8 matched last year's identically; and the Raiders, who turned in another 5-11 performance. Two teams got worse: St. Louis, which went from 2-14 to 1-15; and Tampa Bay, the biggest nose-diver, slid to 3-13 after going 9-7 last year.
In light of those dismal results, maybe keeping a
• Couldn't help but be amused by the Redskins on Monday, who felt the need to issue a statement from Snyder reminding us that new general manager
Snyder's admission that "mistakes were made'' was also good for a laugh. It always sounds big to own up to blunders when you're in a position of leadership, but rather than an all-encompassing mea culpa, I'm guessing Redskins diehards would like more specifics of what Snyder has screwed up, starting with, oh, I don't know, the
• Quick hits: As I wrote in mid-November, Titans offensive coordinator