Coaching replacements a hot topic around NFL

Leslie Frazier & Zygi Wilf (USA TODAY)

Leslie Frazier might still have a chance to save his job, but December is once again bringing plenty of coaching speculation around teams in the cellar of their divisions.

Around the Vikings front office, there is likely contemplation going on as to whether the Vikings are going to keep their current coaching staff – in part or in total – after the season is over.

Whoever has the final say on that call is likely already compiling a list of potential replacements for head coach Leslie Frazier or the coordinators if they decide to retain Frazier but get rid of the support staff. That list currently includes hot coordinators or position coaches with other teams and the annual rise in value of elite college coaches.

But perhaps in no time in recent history has there been speculation about coaches being fired like there has been this season, and that doesn't include coaches like Mike Smith in Atlanta, who will likely be spared the axe despite going from 13 wins in 2011 to double-digit losses in 2012.

Assuming Frazier is on the hot seat, there's one. Houston made the first move of the season by firing Gary Kubiak while still in the tail end of a horrendous season for a team that was in the preseason discussion of Super Bowl contenders from the AFC. But the list doesn't stop there.

Mike Shanahan – His days in Washington are numbered and the fracture between him and Robert Griffin III means that one of them has to go. That will be Shanny.

Tom Coughlin – It seems like every time his name has come up as a potential firing, the Giants have rallied and saved him. With nine losses already and the only two shutouts in the league this year, he's back on the hot seat and may not be able to be saved.

Jason Garrett – The Cowboys have solid talented on both sides of the ball, yet can't seem to stop shooting themselves in the foot. Garrett was saved last year when the Cowboys opted to keep him and fire the coordinators, but Jerry Jones needs to engage the fan base and Garrett just isn't getting that accomplished.

Jim Schwartz – It can be argued Detroit has as much or more talent on both sides of the ball as most teams in the NFC, yet, after a disappointing loss Monday night, not only are they no longer in first in the NFC North, they're in third place. The Lions are one of the most undisciplined teams in the league and, if their implosion continues, Schwartz could find himself on the unemployment line.

Greg Schiano – He has gotten rid of players he felt didn't fit his scheme, which is somewhere between prison and an Army boot camp. It seemed a foregone conclusion at midseason that he would be fired, but a late surge of sorts might save him the guillotine. Still, it's hard to imagine there would be many players too upset if he goes.

Rex Ryan – When you talk tough and your team doesn't back it up, there is hell to pay. Ryan has had his head on the chopping block all season. It might be unfair to fire him because he has done more with a lack of talent on the roster, but the Jets are so bad offensively that the fan base has been calling for his head much of the year.

Dennis Allen – To say the Raiders are bad is redundant and Allen has does nothing to pull them out of it. The Raiders have already lost 10 games and the future doesn't look much brighter moving forward. Al Davis isn't running the show anymore, so anything could happen, but Allen can't consider himself safe on the job.

Frazier and his staff will have to wait until the end of the season to see what the organization plans to do with their future, but if the team has decided to make a move in the coaching department, they might consider moving quickly in hiring a replacement because there could end up being a ton of competition for hot coaching prospects following the 2013 season.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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