Bad coaching is everywhere in the NFL

Christian Petersen

The head coaching vacancies are still open, mostly because nobody deserves to fill them.

As of Tuesday morning, there are still five head coaching positions available in the NFL.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals are all looking for new leaders of men, and can't find anyone suitable.

Accomplished names like Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden were thrown around early on, only to meet the reality that neither was interested in returning. Then it was onto the Chip Kelly sweepstakes where as it turns out, Phil Knight has more money than God.

The incredible thing is every name you hear interviewing in one place has already interviewed in three others. Ken Whisenhunt has been around the circuit, interviewing with the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers.

Jay Gruden, Jon's younger brother and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator, has also been talked to by approximately 100 teams, but yet doesn't have a spot.

Other names that have been tossed around are Mike McCoy (Denver Broncos offensive coordinator), Lovie Smith and Bruce Arians (Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator).

Let's go one-by one through the list.

Whisenhunt went to a Super Bowl, but was that season really anything to write home about? A team with tremendous defensive talent in Adrian Wilson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle, and Darnell Dockett went 9-7.

Oh yeah, the Cardinals also had some guys on offense named Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Does that sound like a squad that should have gone 9-7 in the NFC West, also known as the NFC Worst at the time?

If you dig a bit deeper into the 2008 Cardinals, you also see they didn't beat a team worth anything before the playoffs. Whisenhunt's boys went 6-0 in the division, and beat the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys.

In the postseason, they defeated a rookie quarterback in Matt Ryan, Jake Delhomme (enough said) and Donovan McNabb at home.

Maybe there is a reason why Whisenhunt is still looking for a job. When you get passed over by Cleveland, you know there might be a deep issue.

How about Jay Gruden? Why doesn't he have a new shiny office? Well, let's take a look see.

Other than being a low-level assistant under his own brother, Gruden was never able to land an NFL job until he became the Bengals offensive coordinator in 2011.

Under Gruden, Cincinnati and its rookie quarterback made the playoffs in 2011, mostly because of a terrific defense. The Bengals rankings that year? 20th passing and 19th rushing, leading to 18th in points per game.

How about 2012? Cincinnati ranked 17th in passing, 18th in rushing and 12th in scoring. Of course, the Bengals looked miserable in both playoff appearances against the Houston Texans, getting dominated across the board.

Gruden hasn't been terrible, but who wants an average coordinator with solid personnel running their show?

Onto Mike McCoy. McCoy on paper might be the best of the bunch. After coaching under John Fox with the Carolina Panthers in a variety of positions, McCoy landed with Josh McDaniels and the Broncos in 2009 as offensive coordinator.

Under McCoy, Denver has finished 15th, 13th, 23rd and 4th in points per game respectively. McCoy is also the toughest man to judge, since he had the worst quarterback last year (Tim Tebow) and the arguably the best this season in Peyton Manning.

McCoy interviewed with the San Diego Chargers on Monday. They have a quarterback who needs some fixing in Philip Rivers, perhaps a good match for the quarterback-friendly McCoy.

Moving onto Arians. The Colts lost head coach Chuck Pagano for a good portion of the 2012 season as he battled leukemia, leaving Arians to run the team. The 60-year-old did a great job, pushing Indianapolis to a 9-3 mark during his tenure, propelling the young group into the playoffs.

So then why no job for Arians? Well in fairness, Arians has been sick since the Colts' loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card game and is just recovering now.

The bigger reason? He's 60 years old. It's tough to sell your fanbase on renewed hope when the new man in charge is likely going to retire before the rebuild is over. Another problem with Arians is the question of why hasn't he been thought of as a head coach sooner?

As the Browns offensive coordinator from 2001-03, they ranked 25th, 19th and 29th in points per game. It's tough to get Tim Couch to a point of respectability, but the stats remain.

Then, Arians got a second chance with an actual football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Arians held the same position in Pittsburgh from 2007-2011 and was part of a Super Bowl champion, leading a prolific attack with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. However, the offense was never ranked higher than 9th, and twice was in the 20's.

Finally we reach Lovie Smith, who should have been unemployed years ago. Somehow through a sheer miracle, Smith was only fired after this season, leaving him looking for work.

Smith is an excellent defensive coach but has no idea how to run an offense. Even worse, he can't find anyone to run one for him. For years, Mike Martz was the man in charge, constantly calling for Jay Cutler to take a seven-step drop despite having an offensive line that couldn't block a junior varsity team.

Then, the keys were handed to Mike Tice, who actually did a worse job than Martz. Tice perfected the art of calling a pass that went five yards on 3rd and 10.

Smith also deserved to be axed for one huge reason: since he took Rex Grossman to a Super Bowl in 2006 (maybe this is why he wasn't fired, think about that. Go ahead, let it sink in. Rex Grossman was the starting quarterback on a Super Bowl team) the team only made the playoffs once, in 2010.

Looking at his entire resume, Smith just isn't very impressive.

So there you have it. This is why the NFL head coaching vacancies are exactly that, vacancies. Nobody is good enough out of this traveling band of retreads and average coordinators save perhaps McCoy, who at least has an argument to be excluded from this group.

Good luck to the five teams still looking for new coaches. They're going to need it.


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