The 0-16 Browns are apparently going to keep Hue Jackson. And…I guess it’s not ridiculous. The Browns are never going to win if they don’t make a commitment to a coach for more than a couple years, and he had good ex ante credentials. And it’s hard to judge a coach without a QB, and he didn’t have one — Kizer wasn’t considered a top prospect by scouts and didn’t have either the experience or accuracy in peonage ball that would suggest that he was anything but a long-term project. Having said that — I dunno. Despite the 0-16 they’re not “let Matt Millen run your team for several years”
bad, but they’ve been really bad — 31st and 32nd in DVOA in his two years, which is really hard to do if only because of the law of competitive balance. With a dysfunctional organization it’s hard to isolate responsibility, but the compete lack of talent development despite a lot of high picks is a serious concern. I’m also not sure Jackson can escape responsibility for the disastrous decision to pass on a Grade A prospect with the 12th pick and take an extremely marginal prospect with the 52nd — he was in the room and his ability to work with QBs is his speciality, so I assume he had major input (and if he didn’t…well, that’s not a good sign either.) I also don’t like having a coach desperate to save his job working with a new GM, so once they fired Brown I probably would have let the new GM bring in a new coach.
The Packers have essentially fired Ted Thompson and fired Dom Capers. The former was probably the right thing — Thompson is able but was beginning to reach the point where he pushed sensible ideas (build from within, trade down at the draft) a little far. I dunno about firing Capers, as the defense was OK despite a lot of injuries this year and was very good last year. But what’s really puzzling is the survival of Teflon Mike. Thompson and Capers at least have a track record of success. McCarthy is an awful in-game tactician. Despite the one championship he’s definitely underachieved given that he’s had one of the 5 best QBs in NFL history, and when the star went down this year his hand-groomed backup got a chance to play and was absolutely godawful. And before coming to Green Bay, he had an undistinguished record as an OC in New Orleans and presided over what was literally one of the worst offenses in NFL history in San Francisco, despite the presence of a #1 overall pick who became an above-average QB the second he got to work with a competent coaching staff. There’s basically nothing in his record that suggests that he brings any added value to the table as opposed to being a generic-minus coach who lucked into an immortal QB, but he keeps his job forever as the people around him fall. I really don’t get it.
Congrats to the Bills for ending the longest playoff drought in major American sports. This being Buffalo, of course they’ll be going into the playoff game with Shady out or badly compromised, which is too bad — with him I think they’d be a very live dog against the Bortleses, but it’s hard to see them doing much against that defense without him.
Contrary to initial reports, the Broncos are keeping Vance Joseph, which is obviously the right call. I wouldn’t have hired him since my first priority would have been keeping Phillips, but now that Wade’s gone it would be silly to fire Joseph when the failure of the team was due to Elway’s ludicrous decision to back up an extremely shaky incumbent with a sub-sub replacement level (but very tall!) lemon and an obviously already busted prospect. (And unlike the situation in Cleveland, the QB decisions were clearly 100% on Elway.)
I don’t get the Lions firing Jim Caldwell either. The Lions had a winning record and were 12th in DVOA despite a lot of talent holes. Stafford had probably the best year of his career. And the run Flacco went on in the playoffs under him seems more amazing every year. Nobody will ever confuse him with Bill Walsh, but I’d sure rather have him coaching my team than Mike McCarthy.
The Gruden experiment in Oakland is…interesting. It was time for Del Rio to go — he played a valuable role in making them more competitive but isn’t the guy to take them to the next level. Gruden did a good job in both Oakland and Tampa Bay, as evidenced by the Super Bowl he won against the team he also constructed (and we certainly know now that Bill Callahan wasn’t the brain behind the Raiders.) But he’s been away a long time now. It will be interesting; better Gruden than the latest “was on the sideline while a star QB had his ninth consecutive outstanding year” coordinator at least.