AFC East

Black Monday (And Tuesday) Recap

Black Monday
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Every Monday after the NFL season ends, a hoard of coaches and general managers are let go after disappointing seasons. This season was no different, with multiple coaches being let go Monday and Tuesday. What coaches and general managers were let go? Were there any surprises? Let’s recap who’s lost their job over the past few days.

Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

Black Monday started a day early this year. After a sixth straight loss to their division rival the Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos let Vic Fangio go. Fangio finishes with a record of 19-30 as Denver’s head coach. Vic Fangio never led the Broncos to the playoffs. This firing wasn’t surprising to say the least. Under Fangio, the Broncos were consistently mediocre and struggled to find an answer at quarterback. With no clear answer at quarterback and the team going through an ownership transfer, the future of the Broncos hasn’t been this murky since Peyton Manning retired.

Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman, New York Giants

Technically, Dave Gettleman retired. But, it was likely that Gettleman was going to be fired anyways. Gettleman has completely mismanaged the Giants. They have one of the worst salary cap situations in the league. Considering the mediocre talent of New York’s roster, the salary cap situation is inexcusable. Gettleman has also failed at identifying a replacement for Eli Manning. Daniel Jones has shown potential, but has failed to become a viable starter since taking over. The only thing surprising about this was that Gettleman retired before he could be fired.

Joe Judge’s firing was a little surprising, only because ownership had already publicly supported Judge. Judge did the best he could with the roster he was given, but a lack of talent hindered Judge’s success. The end of the 2021 season was the pinnacle of Judge’s frustrations with his team. Judge made that clear after an 11 minute rant. Now, the Giants have to begin with a new general manager and coach. Considering their salary cap situation and talent deficient roster, it doesn’t look like a good landing spot.

Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman, Minnesota Vikings

Rick Spielman’s firing came as a bit of a surprise. An earlier report indicated that Mike Zimmer would be fired, but that the Vikings would keep Spielman as general manager. Over the last few years, Spielman has gained a reputation for amassing as much draft capital as possible. In 2020, Spielman made 15 draft picks. However, Spielman will be remembered for 2 things. A consistently awful offensive line has been a liability for years in Minnesota. The Kirk Cousins’ signing and extension will also be remembered. Cousins has been unable to lead the Vikings to the playoffs consistently. Vikings’ ownership has made it perfectly clear what they want.

Mike Zimmer’s firing wasn’t a surprise at all. Zimmer was hired to as a defensive head coach. Over the last 2 years, Zimmer’s defenses have been awful. After the 2021 season, they’re ranked at 24. It appears that the Vikings also had a culture problem under Zimmer. Eric Kendricks and Brian O’Neill have both made statements about Zimmer’s culture. Zimmer has always been a no nonsense head coach, but it appears that that elevated to a new level. Minnesota might be one of the best landing spots for a new coach and general manager. With good ownership, a new stadium, and a great roster, the Vikings stand a chance to get great leadership.

Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears

Ryan Pace should have been fired a year ago. His mismanagement of draft picks and of the quarterback position have been awful. Pace has constantly failed to find a starting quarterback, despite drafting quarterbacks. Mitchell Trubisky might be one of the biggest draft busts ever. Pace’s solution was baffling. Trading for Nick Foles to have him compete with Trubisky for the starting job in 2020. Then, drafting Justin Fields, and signing Andy Dalton all while Foles was still on the team. Oh, did I mention the Mike Glennon 3 year deal worth $45 million? Ryan Pace failed at a general manager’s most important job: identifying a franchise quarterback.

Matt Nagy’s fall from grace has been spectacular and entertaining to say the least. Nagy went from being named the coach of the year in 2018, to an offense that has often struggled to move the ball. Matt Nagy’s rise and fall has to do with his inconsistent quarterbacks. After Mitchell Trubisky’s decent 2018, Trubisky was inconsistent and often struggled. Nagy was unable to help find a solution for his struggling quarterbacks. Justin Fields might be able to entice an offensive head coach into signing with Chicago.

Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins

This was the biggest shock on Monday. Brian Flores’ firing was completely unexpected. Flores led a Miami team to a winning streak, after a slow start to the season. Flores has often coached up a struggling roster, usually being able to put together a decent defense. So why was Flores fired? Reportedly, there was tension between him and Miami’s general manager Chris Grier. Don’t expect Flores to be unemployed for long. He’s already being looked at by other teams to be a head coach yet again.

All Of The Assistant Coaches, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers made a puzzling move on Tuesday morning. The offensive line coach Pat Meyer, the the special teams coach Chase Blackburn, and the defensive line coach Frank Okam were all fired. It’s been a disappointing season for Carolina, as Matt Rhule made Sam Darnold his starting quarterback. We all watched the results of that decision. Carolina is dancing around the problem however. Matt Rhule has a losing record as the head coach and has failed to make anything of a talented roster. Matt Rhule likely has one more shot this season. But with no clear answer at quarterback, he’ll likely be on this list next year.

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