A look at who may be on the hot seat
Being Week 12 of the NFL regular season, it’s quite surprising there have been no head coaches fired yet.
© UPI/Kevin Dietsch
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, left, stands next to his brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh prior to their Thanksgiving Day game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Thursday. Baltimore won 16-6.
Perhaps, instead of firing a coach during the season, teams will all wait until “Black Monday” – the first day after the final regular-season games – for the axe to come down.
A coaching move may change a team's final outcome for the first week or two, but having an interim coach to finish the season is really not the answer for the long term. Therefore, as an owner, you may as well wait until the season finishes.
Some coaches definitely on the hot seat are Steve Spagnuolo (Rams), Jim Caldwell (Colts), Jack Del Rio (Jags), Andy Reid (Eagles), Tony Sparano (Dolphins), Norv Turner (Chargers) and even the likes of Mike Shanahan (Redskins) and Tom Coughlin (Giants).
For Coughlin, if the Giants die like road kill down the stretch like the past two seasons, he will probably be toast. Missing the playoffs three consecutive years in New York is not acceptable.
Some of the others on this list might be able to save their neck by winning a bunch of games over their final six regular-season games.
The Freak hopes that Coughlin can save his job, but another late-season swoon will cost him his job. Giants’ fans live in the present, and it’s the same old story – what have you done for me lately?
Coach Coughlin did some amazing things in New York, and he's still capable of turning this thing around. However, if this is the end, thanks Coach for all the great memories!
Stat of the week
When the Ravens played the 49ers on American Thanksgiving (Thursday night), it was the first time in NFL history that the two head coaches in the same game were brothers – Jim Harbaugh (49ers) and John Harbaugh (Ravens). Wonder whom their mom and dad were cheering for?
Coach Parcells quote of the week
“If you respect a player and he respects you, then you have a relationship. In a relationship all commentary is allowed. I can say anything to Pepper Johnson, and he’ll understand where I’m coming from because of the mutual respect.”
Pet peeve of the week
The NFL needs to clarify what is a touchdown as everyone probably saw the non-touchdown call on the Bengals’ Jermain Gresham. By all indications it looked to be six points. What ticks The Freak off is a running back can break the plane of the goal-line with the ball, then fumble it and it’s a touchdown.
However, if a receiver catches the ball in the field of play, then breaks the plane of the goal-line with the ball under control, but the ball hits the ground as he’s falling, no touchdown. It doesn’t seem right!
The sure thing
On the road in Atlanta, a rookie quarterback and no Adrian Peterson, if you do the math it’s equal to no chance for the Vikings. Falcons keep their division hopes alive.
The Chiefs are not out of it in the AFC West. They signed quarterback Kyle Orton, who was released by the Broncos on Tuesday. They currently have Tyler Palko, who looked bad on Monday night, and he will start at home versus the rested and hungry Steelers. Pitt will eat up and spit out the Chiefs while Orton gets ready for next week.
"A coaching move may change a team's final outcome for the first week or two, but having an interim coach to finish the season is really not the answer for the long term. Therefore, as an owner, you may as well wait until the season finishes." John Turner
The Bills have fallen apart over the last three weeks with all their injuries. They head to New York to play the Jets, who haven’t exactly been gangbusters either. However, the Jets will put it all together, and will look like that team that went to the last two AFC Championship games. Jets win.
Don’t mortgage the house picks
The Giants don’t look like a playoff team after playing poorly against the Eagles. The road gets even tougher travelling to New Orleans, hosting the Packers next week and then the Cowboys. If the Giants don’t win one of these three, they won't make the playoffs. The Saints are rested, and will be fired up for a Monday night game in the dome. The outcome is simple – Saints win easily.
The Bears lost quarterback Jay Cutler, who was playing great the last five weeks, to a broken thumb. This means backup Caleb Hanie is thrown into the fire. Well, don’t forget he got thrown into that same fire in last year’s NFC Championship game, and gave the Bears a chance late in the fourth quarter to win. The Freak expects him to play well and beat the Raiders, who don’t play well at home.
The Eagles have their backs against the wall, and that desperation showed last week in New York. Philly looked like the team that was supposed to compete for the Super Bowl. Look for that same team to show up at home and beat the Patriots, who have too many problems on defence to slow down the Eagles.
Houston’s Matt Leinhart was a great college quarterback, who was just a product of USC’s system and has been a bust ever since.
He gets another shot to redeem himself as Matt Schaub is out for the year, and Leinart is going to try and save Houston's season.
The Jags are just playing out the season, and those teams with nothing to lose usually cause trouble for playoff teams. Jacksonville will pull the upset, Leinart still looks like that bust while this can be heard on the airwaves, "Houston, we have a problem!”
Last week: 6-for-7 (85.7 per cent).
Season: 54-for-79 (68.3 per cent).
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to the firstname.lastname@example.org.