Coaching toll soars to eight in NFL bloodbath
BLACK Monday has lived up to its name.
The NFL now has eight vacancies - a quarter of the league - after four firings following the final round of the season.
The biggest surprise of the day came in Miami, where Adam Gase was fired after his third season, a stretch over which he went 23-25.
Gase quickly made headway in Miami, going 10-6 and earning a wildcard berth in his first season on South Beach. But things only went downhill from there.
After quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a season-ending injury in training camp last season, Gase brought Jay Cutler out of retirement in what was ultimately a doomed idea.
With Tannehill back this year, the Dolphins could only do one win better, going 7-9 even after a miracle victory over the Patriots.
In Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis's 16-year tenure finally found an end. Though that was the second-longest tenure in the league, behind only Bill Belichick, Lewis went that entire time without bringing a playoff win to the Bengals.
Seven times under Lewis, the Bengals lost the wildcard game. And for the past three years, they haven't sniffed the postseason, going 6-10 with a last-place finish to cap it off this season.
Hue Jackson, his former offensive co-ordinator, who Lewis hired back after a failed coaching stint in Cleveland, will likely get the buzz as his replacement.
While Lewis's firing was a long, slow divorce, Steve Wilks' was more like a shotgun wedding gone bad.
The Cardinals canned Wilks after all of one season - a 3-13 finish in which the talent on the roster couldn't have done much better.
Finally, the Broncos got rid of Vance Joseph after two disappointing seasons. Their decline from the high of winning Super Bowl 50 spiralled under Joseph, who went 11-21.
Denver's offence failed to make headway under Joseph, even after bringing in Case Keenum on a two-year, $36 million deal.
Mike McCarthy (Green Bay), Todd Bowles (New York Jets), Jackson (Cleveland) and Dirk Koetter (Tampa Bay) had all been fired prior to Monday, making the total number eight.
There are now just two African-American - the Steelers' Mike Tomlin and the Chargers' Anthony Lynn - head coaches in the NFL.
QUINN ONLY SURVIVOR IN ATLANTA
THE Falcons became the latest team to make changes on Black Monday, firing all three of their co-ordinators.
Though Dan Quinn remains head coach, Steve Sarkisian (offence), Marquand Manuel (defence) and Keith Armstrong (special teams) are all gone.
"We know we have a group of players here we are excited about and in order for us to consistently play true to our identity in all three phases, we thought we needed some changes," Quinn told the team website.
After two straight seasons with playoff victories, the Falcons stumbled in 2018, going 7-9 after a slew of injuries hit their defence early in the year. They finished 28th in total defence, and though the offensive numbers were better, Atlanta lacked the firepower it had in the past.
Sarkisian often drew ire from the fan base for poor game management and red zone play calling. Atlanta's offence seemed to underperform in key situations with him in charge, including IN their playoff loss in Philadelphia last season, when the Falcons failed to convert a fourth down on the goal-line to win the game.
They already seem to already have their eyes set on one potential replacement for Sarkisian: Gary Kubiak.
Kubiak, a former Super Bowl-winning coach, could be interested in leaving his front office job with the Broncos for Atlanta, per the NFL Network.
Kubiak, who held the offensive co-ordinator job in Baltimore before winning a Super Bowl as the Broncos coach, stepped down from the job in Denver for health reasons.
He was diagnosed with a "complex migraine condition" during the 2016 season, leading him to be away from the team for a week mid-season and eventually resign. He also had a "mini-stroke" in 2014 while coaching the Texans.
On the defensive side, Quinn will take up the mantle of co-ordinator for himself.
"I want (Falcons fans) to know that the brand of football that we are going to play is going to be fast and physical," Quinn said. "We are going to attack in every phase that we can."