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- In the Dawg Pound: Head Coaching Addition

Kevin Figgers January 5, 2006
Kevin Figgers
NFL Columnist

Tell Kevin your opinion.

Yes, after seemingly a season-long hiatus, the Dawg Pound has officially returned with a special NFL Head coaches addition. It was certainly an unusual season in the NFL when you consider that four teams with the records of 9-7 (Miami, Minnesota, San Diego, and Dallas) and a 10-6 team (Kansas City) missed the playoffs. In this day and age normally at least two of those teams would be their division winner and at least one of the others would be a wildcard. But we will take a look at the now defunct head coaches around the league and the direction their former employers may (and SHOULD) go. And why not start with the team with the NFL's Golden Boy ( or as Sporting News Radio host Rick Ballou calls him, "Lord Favre").

The Green Bay Packers

The Packers had their worst season in the Brett Favre era in 2005. No one has been more critical of the Golden Boy more than I have over the years for his terrible decision making and ill-advised passes, but of all of the coaches let go this off-season, Mike Sherman was probably the least deserving. Is he the greatest coach in the world? No. But you cannot discount what he's done. This was the guys first losing season in 6 years as the head coach. The hot rumor out of Green Bay is that Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress is the frontrunner for the job, which from an offensive standpoint does make sense because the Eagles also run the west coast offense. I think that with Favre and Walker and a healthy offense in place, the Packers should hire a defensive minded head coach such as Ron Rivera out of Chicago or maybe with the speed they already have at LB, try to get Wade Phillips out of San Diego.

Houston Texans

Everyone wondered if what Dom Capers did in Carolina was a fluke and after watching this Texans team over the last 4 seasons it seems like it was. Was it totally his fault? No. The biggest irony would be that the first pick of the 2002 exapansion draft was one-time hall-of-fame to be offensive tackle Tony Boselli (whose career was cut short because of a series of serious shoulder injuries) and now the Texans offensive line can't even block a junior college defensive line. But for a guy who prides himself on his defensive pralice, finishing near the bottom of the league in total defense three years in a row is not they way you would like to go out if you're Dom Capers. The Houston Texans, like the Packers definately need a defensive minded head coach. I believe that they are just a few offensive linemen away from being one of the leagues best on the offensive side of the ball. But they lack toughness on the defensive side. Mike Zimmer the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys or Mike Singletary the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers would be excellent options. However word out of Houston is that they are going to hire an offensive coach like Scot Linehanfrom Miami and Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders, who could be a very good head coach.

New York Jets

Although nothing has been reported as of yet, it has pretty much already been confirmed that Herman Edwards will in affect be traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and will become their new head coach. The New York Jets already boast one of the leagues best young defenses and clearly need help offensively. I think Al Saunders from the KC Chiefs would be the perfect coach for the New York Jets. If they bring back Pennington and can possibly find a way to draft Reggie Bush, they would be able to run their own version of the "greatest show on turf" seeing as Saunders was one of the founders along with Mike Martz and Dick Vermiel. There will never be another Holt-Bruce-Hakim combination again. But Coles has shown the ability to be a quality reciever and maybe they can make a run at Reggie Wayne in the offseason.

Oakland Raiders

Its the same old story here. Hire a cheap retread and fire him after he gives you what most people expected from the start, a losing team. I was always the biggest critic of Norv Turner because without Aikman, Emmitt, Irvin, and an all pro offensive line, he has been nothing more than an average offensive coordinator in this league. As undiciplined and out of control as this team is, the coach the REALLY need is Bill Parcells, but we all know that won't happen. As bad as the Raiders defense was this season, their offense was even worse considering the talent they had. Kerry Collins has a history of being erratic but never as bad as he was this past season. But when I see John Shoop was the quarterbacks coach it all started to make sense (Bears fans know what i'm talking about). I think that brining in Scott Linehan (who was Randy Moss' offensive coordinator in Minnesota)would make a lot of sense. Russ Grimm, who is a tough-hard nosed offensie line coach in Pitssburgh, would also be a good candidate. Rumor out of Oakland has it that Al Davis is actually interested in Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera as well as 49ers defensive coordinator Mike Singletary.

New Orleans

Not to sound cold hearted, but it was time for Haslett to go. It got to the point to where he was literally living on the hot seat year after year after year. The Saints coaching job will not be an easy one to fill, not only because of the unfortunate situation concearning where the team will play and when, but also because how the team will be affected in free agency in terms of bringing in players to improve the team. Not that Tom Benson has ever opened up the wallet to help the product on the field anyway, but it will now be maginified based on the that fact that many players will not want to enter into a franchise that is in such a state of flux. They are currently pursuing young coordinators such as Cowboys quarterbacks coach Sean Payton and Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon which is probably the best way to go. Benson has proven that he will not break the bank for a big name, and even if he tried, they way that franchise is right now, he probably couldn't bring in a big name even if he wanted to.

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions are probably one of the biggest question marks in the NFL. They have so much talent (specifically young talent) and cannot seem to put it all together. Matt Millen brought in Steve Marriucci to "save the franchise" and that plan flopped. Detroit is a team that needs a coach that has been there before. There were a lot of rumors of them possibly hiring Bill Parcells, but most of that has died down as Parcells has hinted more and more that he will be returning to Dallas. A coach like Jeff Fisher would be perfect for this Lions team. They are rumored to be in talks with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak as well as Russ Grimm and Mike Singletary. But I think placing a rookie head coach on a team filled with young players is asking for disaster. I think that this team is very similar to the Dallas Cowboys team before Parcells got there and that with a coach like Fisher or even Jim Fassel (former New York Giants head coach and current Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator) they could have similar results.

Minnesota Vikings

Its rare that a team that finishes with a 9-7 record fires their head coach. but Vikings owner Ziggy Wilf made it clear that he was done after the entire ticket selling scandal with Mike Tice and the infamous "Love Boat" scandal as well. the Vikings are a team that aren't that far away from being one of the NFC's best. Brad Johnson is a good stopgap until Culpepper gets healthy (that is if they still want Culpepper around at all). Al Saunders would also be a viable candidate for this job and has been interviewed by Wilf in the past few days. The Vikings are also interested in promoting defensive coordinator Ted Cotrell who also wouldn't be a bad choice. But Saunders is probably the best choice.

St. Louis Rams

It was pretty much known after year one with Mike Martz at the helm that he was not best suited as a head coach in the NFL. However the team overall had so much success that it wouldn't have made much sense to fire him. But of course the always classy Georgia Frontierre waited until the man had a serious health issue to tell him he was no longer needed. The Rams have been pretty open about the fact that they are looking for a defensive minded head coach and rightfully so. The ususal suspects are being considered, Mike Zimmer the Cowboys defensive coordinator and Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. They also have shown mild interest in Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. I believe that Cowboys defensive cooridinator Mike Zimmer would be a great hire.

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