Black Monday was cast in shades of gray.
While a few struggling NFL teams have made changes at the top in the aftermath of the regular season, others remain in flux.
Nowhere is that more evident than the NFC East, where the New York Giants fired coach Pat Shurmur on Monday, the Washington Redskins reportedly were putting the finishing touches on hiring Ron Rivera, and the Dallas Cowboys left coach Jason Garrett in limbo.
The Cleveland Browns fired Freddie Kitchens on Sunday after one season as coach, and Jacksonville looks to be heading that direction with Doug Marrone, although, according to an ESPN report, the Jaguars are not scheduled to formally meet with their coach until Tuesday.
With all signs pointing to the Cowboys parting ways with Garrett, whose team missed the playoffs for the sixth time in his nine seasons, the team announced Monday there wouldn’t be any news conference that day.
A day earlier, after his team finished 8-8 for the fourth time in the Garrett era, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters he wasn’t worried about other teams getting a head start in their coaching searches.
“I’m just not concerned about it,” Jones said. “They can hire every name you’ve heard tonight. I’m not concerned.”
Elsewhere, the ax fell. The Redskins fired Bruce Allen as team president after a 3-13 season that capped a decade of futility. The franchise that once boasted a season-ticket waiting list that could fill a stadium on its own has been in steady decay under owner Daniel Snyder and plays in a stadium featuring wide swaths of empty seats. At least once this season, tickets were going for as low as $4 on the secondary market.
Allen, the son of legendary coach George Allen, was Snyder’s right-hand man for the past decade and the focus of much derision during his tenure.
According to multiple reports, Washington is on the verge of hiring Rivera, a two-time NFL coach of the year who was fired by Carolina at the beginning of December. His Panthers teams were 76-63-1 in his eight-plus seasons but got off to a 5-7 start this year. Carolina finished 0-4 under interim coach Perry Fewell.
The Panthers and Giants have both made requests to the Kansas City Chiefs to interview offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, a Bishop Amat graduate who played running back in the NFL and later coached the position at UCLA.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid lavished praise on Bieniemy in his Monday news conference.
“I’m a big fan, don’t want to lose him,” Reid said. “But reality is, there’s a good chance that happens.”
Other names in the mix for coaching jobs include former Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman and New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, as well as college coaches Matt Rhule of Baylor, Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma and Urban Meyer, who retired from Ohio State after the Buckeyes won the 2019 Rose Bowl.
The Giants showed Shurmur the door after he went 9-23 in two seasons — precisely his record as coach of the Browns from 2011 to 2012. At one point this season, the Giants lost nine in a row.
“With Pat, it ends up being as much a gut instinct as anything else,” Giants co-owner John Mara said. “We felt like we weren’t winning enough games, we weren’t winning the games we should have won, and we just need to go in a different direction.
“I just felt there were so many games I felt we should have won and we just didn’t get the job done.”
Among the coaches who looked to be in danger of losing their jobs at the end of this season but heard from their teams that they will be staying for 2020 are Adam Gase of the New York Jets, Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Patricia of the Detroit Lions.
The Chargers got to the AFC divisional round of the playoffs last season, but this is an unforgiving business in which memories and patience are short. Coach Anthony Lynn was asked after Sunday’s loss at Kansas City whether he has received assurances he’ll be back.
“Unless you know something I don’t,” he said, “yes.”