Surviving Black Monday doesn’t mean every NFL coach’s job is safe

NFL Black Monday Survivors

1/1/14 in NFL   |   PAULLEBOWITZ   |   109 respect

With Black Monday over, several coaches who were in danger of losing their jobs survived. For some, Nov 4, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin addresses the media during a press conference at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports it could be a temporary reprieve as they’re being evaluated more closely by owners and general managers. The majority of the firings on Black Monday were obvious and justified. Before the survivors get comfortable, they need to remember that Marty Schottenheimer got fired in February of 2007 a month after his Chargers were bounced in the second round of the playoffs following a 14-2 regular season. Owners might wake up one morning and change their minds. Black Monday isn’t the deadline day to make a change. It’s just the day that produces headlines.
 
Here are the coaches who survived…but would be well-advised not to get too comfortable in their jobs, homes, offices, etc.
 
Joe Philbin – Miami Dolphins
 
Owner Stephen Ross was disgusted with his team’s performance against the Jets on Sunday and is considering changes. What that entails could mean anything. General manager Jeff Ireland is reportedly in trouble and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman—who was used as a human shield by quarterback Ryan Tannehill—is not expected back. If they’re firing the GM and firing the offensive coordinator, what possible reason would there be to keep the head coach?
 
All the posturing and anger of the owner aside, how is Philbin to be evaluated? Is he the offensive guru who worked with Brett Favre and helped develop Aaron Rodgers with the Packers? Is he the vanilla personality who acts like the substitute teacher we all goofed on with no fear of retribution? Is he the inept leader who let Richie Incognito run roughshod over his locker room? Or is he the coach who kept the team together in the immediate aftermath of the embarrassing and possibly career-killing Jonathan Martin – Incognito “bullying” scandal?
 
Let’s suspend disbelief and give him a pass for the Martin-Incognito mess. It’s hard to accept that the issues that Martin claims to have been going through didn’t reach the head coach, but perhaps he didn’t know the extent of it and certainly didn’t believe that it would blow up as it did. Without it, have the Dolphins shown enough improvement in Philbin’s two years as the head coach to give him another year?
 
Blaming the offensive coordinator is a copout. It happens all the time, but the head coach is the boss. It’s Philbin’s team and his offense. It’s understandable that a first time head coach will be willing to make a change with his coordinators to keep his job, but if Ross thinks that’s going to solve the problems then he’s not entirely aware of what the problems are in the first place.
 
If there wasn’t an issue with the general manager, I’d say keep Philbin for another year and make a change with the offensive coordinator. If they fire Ireland, telling the new GM he has to keep Philbin is absurd. Ireland and Philbin should either both stay or both go.  
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