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Tracking NFL head coach firings on Black Monday after regular season ends

Keeping track of every coaching change made this season

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Folks, Black Monday is upon us. This is the time of the year where coaches who aren’t in the playoffs decide to make coaching changes and go in different directions with their franchise.

Coaches will inevitably get fired on Monday and the buzz will begin. Candidates will be dropped on Twitter quicker than a hiccup and hot boards will be made, but most of the top candidates will be the same.

Here’s your tracker of all the NFL coach firings, complete with an explanation for why and potential candidates.

Houston Texans fire Lovie Smith

This honestly felt inevitable. Lovie Smith wasn’t the Texans first choice, probably wasn’t the second choice either. He was given a poor roster with a QB that was more than likely a lame duck. Firing another Black coach after one year is also something that needs to be discussed.

With that being said, the Texans were a really bad football team. The offense felt archaic and lacked explosiveness, while the defense just didn’t have enough impact playmakers. Smith was probably not given a fair shake, but that team and that roster were both extremely bad.

I’m not sure how attractive of a job this will be. There’s no QB in place and there’s few young impact players on the roster (Jalen Pitre and Derek Stingley are both very good in the secondary). However, the biggest landmine here is the GM. Nick Caserio might not be there when the coach is hired, but if he is, it’ll be the third HC he’s hired in three years. Not exactly the best track record. I’d be wary.

Coaches to watch out for: Demeco Ryans, 49ers DC, Jonathan Gannon, Eagles DC, Shane Steichen, Eagles OC

Arizona Cardinals fire HC Kliff Kingsbury

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury was fired after the Cardinals went 4-13.

There was no way this could’ve continued. Between the offensive miscues this year and the constant arguing between he and QB Kyler Murray, something had to give. Despite signing a contract extension ten months earlier, Murray is the QB and face of the franchise and that holds a lot of weight.

In addition, the pairing of Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim made misstep after misstep in terms of team building. The roster was top heavy and lacked depth, and once the aging OL got injured, that was all she wrote. Kingsbury will probably rebound as an offensive coordinator somewhere though.

Candidates to watch out for: Shane Steichen, Eagles OC, Ken Dorsey, Bills OC, Vance Joseph, Cardinals DC

Denver Broncos interviewing HC candidates

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Denver Broncos are preparing to interview Rams DC Raheem Morris and 49ers DC Demeco Ryans for their head coach vacancy. In addition, CBS’ Jonathan Jones is reporting that Denver has officially put in requests to interview Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, former Saints HC Sean Payton and Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh.

The Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett 15 games into what was a tire fire of a first year only comparable to the job Urban Meyer did with the Jaguars. With the Broncos being under new ownership led by Rob Walton, they could look to make a splash with their big hire, and want to throw money around. This leads to thinking Jim Harbaugh will be the guy there.

An interesting side note in all of this is the future of Broncos DC Ejiro Evero. Evero guided the Broncos defense to a top ten finish in EPA/play allowed and is seen as a rising star in the business. With most of the candidates interviewed being defensive-minded guys, Evero could want to find somewhere else to work. Keep an eye on his name popping up in assistant circles if the incoming HC decides not to retain him.

Steve Wilks interviewing for Panthers HC job

According to The Athletic’s Joe Person, Panthers interim HC Steve Wilks is interviewing for the permanent position on Tuesday.

Wilks seems like the odds on favorite to get this job, mainly because the players love him. After firing Matt Rhule, Wilks got the franchise turned around, got great play out of both sides of the ball and almost made the playoffs. Wilks deserves this opportunity.

Texans begin their HC interviews

According the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the Houston Texans have put in requests to interview multiple coaches. Pelissero reported that the Texans are interviewing Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson, and Rapoport said that they’ve also requested 49ers DC Demeco Ryans, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon and Broncos DC Ejiro Evero.

Coordinator hirings and firings

  • Atlanta Falcons DC Dean Pees is retiring after a long career as a defensive coordinator.
  • The Cleveland Browns have fired DC Joe Woods, and according to reports their first interview for the same position is Patriots LBs coach Jerod Mayo.
  • The Tennessee Titans have fired OC Todd Downing, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Downing is among four assistants fired today