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NFL Week 17 Open Thread

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You’re the GM of the Indianapolis Colts. Your franchise fell ass-backwards into the best QB prospect of his generation. And yet he has been unable to fulfill his potential, in part because of constant hits that have caused serious injuries to his shoulders, internal organs, etc. You’re finally moving on from your hapless head coach. What’s the next step? I think the answer is obvious!

With the Indianapolis Colts expected to fire head coach Chuck Pagano as soon as the 2017 season ends, one name is already being rumored as a possible replacement — Seahawks offensive line coach and assistant head coach Tom Cable.

Michael Silver of the NFL Network floated Cable’s name in a Tweet on Saturday writing that Cable “will get serious consideration.”

One connection between the Seahawks and Colts could make this make a lot of sense. Ed Dodds, who spent 10 years with Seattle from 2007-16 and for the last three was the Seahawks’ senior personnel executive, became the Colts’ vice president of player personnel last spring.

Cable also has previous head coaching experience, having gone 17-27 with the Raiders from 2008-10 including 8-8 in his final season in 2010.

“We can’t keep Andrew Luck healthy. What can we do?” “I know! Hire the assistant presiding over a team with world-historically bad pass protection and make him the head coach!” “Brilliant! And while we’re at it let’s see if Trent Richardson is still available.” The sad thing is that I can imagine Irsay doing this. And I say, anything that gets Cable off the Seattle staff is a good thing.

While we’re here, let’s look at some of the red hot coaching prospects the Giants are considering:

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels – In his 10th year as a coordinator, and was the Broncos head coach in 2009 and part of 2010.

Yes. Yes, he was.

To be Scrupulously Fair, McDaniels isn’t just one of those guys like Gase or O’Brien who got a rep as a QB GURU by being around a QB having the same kind of season he usually had. The Pats offense went from “really good” to “perhaps the greatest in history” when he took over, and arguably more impressively remained well-above average the next year with Matt Cassel at the helm. The Pats have by far the best offense in the NFL this year, and while Brady is insanely great and he has one of the greatest TEs in history to throw to, 1)Brady’s 40 and 2)Brady obviously gets more of an edge from clever gameplans, exploiting matchups, etc. than say Rodgers or Wilson or Stafford. At least within the context of Belichick’s system — a big caveat, to be sure — he’s very good at his job. And while he was an abject disaster in Denver he was very young and absurdly given personnel control; it’s entirely possible that he’s matured.

Still, he’s not only failed once as a head coach, he even failed as an OC outside of New England. The Belichick coaching tree has been dismal. He could be good a second time around but I personally wouldn’t want to gamble on him.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz – In his 11th year as a coordinator, and was the Detroit Lions head coach from 2009-13.

He’s a better prospect than McDaniels, because 1)he’s been highly successful as a coordinator in multiple contexts (his work in Buffalo is particularly impressive in retrospect) and while his record as a HC in Detroit wasn’t great it wasn’t awful given that he was taking over an 0-16 team either. I suspect that like Wade Phillips (although from the opposite side of the low pressure-high pressure continuum) he might be better suited to coordinator than head coach, but with upward of a dozen vacancies available it’s hard to argue he hasn’t earned a shot somewhere.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien – In his fourth (and perhaps last) year as the Texans head coach. Also was the head coach at Penn State from 2012-13 and the Patriots offensive coordinator in 2011.

LOL sure. I think I’ll just note that after paying Brock Osweiler an enormous amount of money and then having to give up a second round pick just to get rid of him, he spent the summer looking at DeShaun Watson and Strip Sack Tommy Savage and chose the latter and drop the mic. On the Belichick coaching tree chart I’d rank him below Eric Mangini.

Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo – He was in his sixth season as a defensive coordinator before getting a promotion for the final four games. He was also the St. Louis Rams head coach from 2009-11.

Spags is now 10-41 as an NFL head coach. In other words, he’s the perfect fit if the Titans decide that EXOTIC SMASHMOUTH is getting a little too exotic.

Falcons [sic] defensive coordinator Mike Smith – In his seventh season as a coordinator. He was also the Falcons head coach from 2008-14 and the runner-up to Ben McAdoo in the Giants coaching search two years ago.

Well, on the Old Boy’s Network Mediocrities chart I’d rank him above John Fox.

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley – In his eighth season as a coordinator. He was the Kansas City Chiefs coach from 2009-11.

How much you like him for a second shot depends on whether you think the Steelers succeed on offense because of strong gameplanning or because of exceptional front-line individual talent. If you think it’s the former, I’d urge to to WATCH THE TAPE of some Steelers-Pats games.

Alabama coach Nick Saban – He’s been a head coach for each of the last 23 years, including the last 11 seasons with the Crimson Tide and the two years before that (2005-06) with the Miami Dolphins.

I don’t think that Saban’s tenure in Miami proves that he couldn’t be a good NFL coach. He actually did a pretty good job with the talent he had, although his record as de facto head of personnel was dismal. I have very little doubt that he could be a good NFL coach if he was fully committed to it, but at 66 it’s hard to imagine he would be.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh – In his 14th straight season as a head coach, including the last three years at Michigan and the four years before that (2011-14) with the San Francisco 49ers.

A great coach, obviously, although might be in the Dick Williams class of coaches/managers whose intensity leads to diminishing returns a little more quickly than you’d like.

Others who fit the criteria – Pat Shurmur (Vikings offensive coordinator and former Browns head coach),

His Browns performance is neither here nor there — it’s a context where it’s almost impossible to succeed. He’s done a good job in Minnesota; more of these good coordinators fail than succeed, but there are a lot of vacancies out there and you have to gamble on somebody.

Matt Patricia (in his sixth year as the Patriots defensive coordinator)

Between the Belichick coaching tree issues previously discussed and the Pats defense settling somewhere below Trump’s approval ratings, I’ll pass for now.

Dave Toub (in his 14th year as a special teams coordinator, fifth with the Chiefs).

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Given Seattle’s increasing attention-to-detail problems I’m tempted to wonder if the Seahawks should move on from Carroll, but then I remember that even if he’s lost a little off his fastball they’re a lot more likely to do worse than better and I think better of it.

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