Stats & Info: Pat Shurmur

Seven NFL head coaches, five GMs fired

December, 31, 2012
Seven NFL head coaches were fired on Monday, more than the amount of head coaches fired on the Monday after the regular season in the last three seasons combined.

The barrage of coaching changes comes after no coaches were fired during the season. It was the first season without an in-season coaching change since 2006.

Done in by bad defense

Andy Reid had his share of struggles at the end of his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, and it was mostly on the defensive side of the ball. He was never able to replace the late Jim Johnson -- his only defensive coordinator from 1999-2008 -- going through three defensive coordinators in his last four seasons.

Chan Gailey is no longer the Buffalo Bills coach in part because his defense allowed 45 points in a game four times this season. The 1986 Jets are the only other team to do that since the merger.

Done in by lack of offense

Lovie Smith is the fourth coach since 1990 to be fired despite winning 10 or more games in his final season. He's the only one whose team did not reach the playoffs that year.

Ken Whisenhunt’s Cardinals quarterbacks compiled a 21.4 Total QBR this season, worst in the NFL. For context, the Baltimore Ravens, the worst playoff team in terms of QBR this season, had a QBR more than double that of the Cardinals (46.3).

Pat Shurmur was unable to fix the Cleveland Browns’ offensive woes enough despite a successful rookie season from Trent Richardson. After four seasons ranking no better than 29th in points per game, the Browns ranked 24th this season.

The Kansas City Chiefs were last in the NFL in points per game, turnovers and passing touchdowns, and that spelled doom for Romeo Crennel.

Norv Turner lacked a consistent all-around offense in San Diego. Over the last four seasons, the Chargers ranked second in yards per pass attempt but last in the NFL in yards per rush.

Generally speaking

Five NFL general managers were fired Monday. Only four GMs were fired on the Monday after the regular season from 2007-11 combined
There's a common theme when looking at the general managers who were fired.

Of the five who lost their jobs, four of them had very few draft picks to work with during their tenure as GM (whether that was ultimately their own fault or not). Cleveland's Tom Heckert was the only one of the five who ranked better than 28th in total players chosen in the draft while they were on the job.

Mike Tannenbaum was hired by the New York Jets in 2006 and immediately made an impact, drafting two players in the first round who have started 222 of a possible 224 games for the team since entering the league. The next year he picked All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis.

But he made six first-round picks after that, none of which have made a Pro Bowl, including Vernon Gholston, who was taken sixth overall in 2008. He made five starts in three seasons for the Jets before being released. He never recorded a sack and hasn't played in an NFL game since.
With preparations for the 2011 NFL season starting soon under much different circumstances than in previous seasons, the teams with consistency in the head coaching and coordinator ranks are likely to have an advantage. No new system(s) to implement and fewer new coach-player relationships to build will ease the burden of shortened timeframes.

Eight teams will start the season with a different head coach than at the start of the 2010 season, a dramatic increase from the three head-coaching changes from the start of 2009 to the start of 2010. That's just three short of the NFL record (since the merger in 1970), set in 1976 and tied in 1997.

Three of the eight new coaches have previous head-coaching experience and two of them -- Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier -- got that experience as interim coaches last season, coaching 14 games between them. John Fox is the only new guy with even a full season under his belt, taking over in Denver after nine seasons in Carolina.

Only 13 teams will have the stability of entering the season with the same head coach, offensive and defensive coordinator that they ended last season with. On the other end of the spectrum, there are four teams that will have new men in all three positions -- the Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans.

Twelve different teams will have a new offensive coordinator and only three of those teams were in the top half of the league last season in yards gained. On the other side of the ball, 12 teams will have a new defensive coordinator and five of them were in the top half on the league in yards allowed last season.

Seven of the 13 teams with the same three coaches were playoff teams a year ago and none of the four teams that are changing all three positions made the postseason. In fact, they combined to go just 22-42 in 2010 with only the Raiders (8-8) winning more than 6 games.

Keep in mind, since the merger in 1970, only 11 first-year head coaches took their team to the Conference Championship Game and just five of those played in the Super Bowl.

Carolina Panthers
Ron Rivera
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: John Fox
Team W-L in 2010: 2-14 (last in NFC South)
Previous job: Chargers defensive coordinator

Cleveland Browns
Pat Shurmur
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Eric Mangini
Team W-L in 2010: 5-11 (3rd in AFC North)
Previous job: Rams offensive coordinator

Dallas Cowboys
Jason Garrett
Entering second season as NFL head coach (5-3 in 2010)
Replaced: Wade Phillips
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC East)

Denver Broncos
John Fox
Entering 10th season as NFL head coach (73-71 in 9 seasons with Panthers)
Replaces: Josh McDaniels and Eric Studesville (interim)
Team W-L in 2010: 4-12 (last in AFC West)
Previous job: Panthers head coach

Minnesota Vikings
Leslie Frazier
Entering second season as NFL head coach (3-3 in 2010)
Replaced: Brad Childress
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC North)

Oakland Raiders
Hue Jackson
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Tom Cable
Team W-L in 2010: 8-8 (3rd in AFC West)
Previous job: Raiders offensive coordinator

San Francisco 49ers
Jim Harbaugh
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Mike Singletary and Jim Tomsula (interim)
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (3rd in NFC West)
Previous job: Stanford head coach

Tennessee Titans
Mike Munchak
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Jeff Fisher
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (T-3rd in AFC South)
Previous job: Titans offensive line coach