The first Monday after the final NFL regular season games have been completed in Week 17 has become known as Black Monday. It is the day when many coaches learn their fate. Do I stay or do I go? The 2018 season will be no different as a handful of head coaches might be sent packing on the final day of the year. Wonder who will go first?
Amazing Gase The Dolphins started the year strong and on more than one occasion appeared headed to the postseason again under head coach Adam Gase. Then, QB Ryan Tannehill got hurt and the Dolphins lost some consistency. Gase took Miami to the playoffs in his first year and missed last year. This year was a near miss. While it isn’t what the Dolphins wanted, Gase has made strides and if they can stay healthy in 2019 Miami could be this year’s Bears…but only if Gase stays.
Bowles Over The Jets have to be tiring of the Todd Bowles era. The franchise stuck with him after successive 5-11 seasons. It won’t happen again. The Jets close the season on Sunday at New England. A loss would leave them at 4-12. In their last nine games, the Jets won just once. The defense is awful. The offense? Meh, not good either. The question is will Bowles be fired before the team even returns to New York?
Bengals…Ben-gones! It is Marvin Lewis’s 16th season as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. He had a good run. Lewis took the Bengals to seven playoff appearances. The problem is he never won a playoff game. After five straight postseasons between 2011 and 2015, the Bengals haven’t had a winning season since. They are out of playoff contention this season after an epic collapse. After starting the season 4-1, Cincinnati has won just twice (Tampa Bay and Oakland). Will the Bengals finally say goodbye to their long-time coach?
First Out If you are betting on the first firing of Jan. 31, 2018, put big money on Tampa Bay’s Dirk Koetter. The Bucs are 5-10 entering their final game against Atlanta. They have gained more yards than any team in the NFL. They have also allowed points by the truckload. There is no question that Koetter is one of the NFL’s best offensive minds. His offenses are outstanding. In his 12 years as either a head coach or offensive coordinator, Koetter has had two top-10 scoring offenses – Jacksonville in 2007 and Atlanta in 2012. That should tell you something. The Bucs gain a lot of yards but don’t put the ball in the end zone.
Since Tampa Bay fired Jon Gruden, the franchise has had four head coaches. None lasted more than three seasons. The Bucs have not been to the playoffs in 11 straight seasons. In seven of those seasons, Tampa Bay has had at least 10 losses. After starting the season with two impressive wins over New Orleans and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia, the Bucs have won just three of thirteen games.
The defense was the worst in the NFL until Koetter fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith earlier in the season. The Bucs improved but not nearly enough. They still allow nearly 29 points a game, something that will have Koetter the first out the door on Black Monday.