Breaking down open NFL coaching positions

As the 2015-16 regular season comes to an end, six different teams are looking for a new coach to lead them to a coveted Super Bowl Championship.


As the postseason approaches, many struggling NFL have decided to part ways with their head coaches. Out of the 20 teams who didn’t make the playoffs, six teams enter 2016 coach-less. The teams are the following: Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Tennessee Titans.

Cleveland Browns

With Johnny Manziel battling alcoholism, the Browns lack of a perminant quarterback may effect who accepts the coaching position.
With Johnny Manziel battling alcoholism, the Browns lack of a permanent quarterback may effect who accepts the coaching position.

The Browns recently fired head coach Mike Pettine who has been the Browns coach for the past two seasons. Pettine led the Browns with a 10-22 record and finished last in the AFC North both years.

Pettine had troubles filling the quarterback position which the Browns had been struggling to fill for many years now. The Browns went through five quarterbacks within the two year tenure that Pettine was with the team.

The Browns were really counting on quarterback Johnny Manziel to fill the gap in the quarterback position, but after signing up for rehab back in the off-season before the 2015-16 season, it was clear that Pettine and the Browns would have to go a different route to find their quarterback.

“We’ve made this decision because we don’t believe our football team was positioned well for the future,” said Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. “We are all disappointed with where we are and we take full responsibility.” Haslam admits that he was wrong in hiring Pettine and was responsible for the current position that his team is in right now. It’s clear that the Browns are now in a deeper hole without a head coach and secure quarterback.

Miami Dolphins 

The Dolphins had high hopes going into the 2015-16 season but were disappointed when they started off 1-3 through the first four weeks. The Dolphins released head coach Joe Philbin who went 24-28 through three years.

Things were looking great for the Dolphins program but the Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, decided to look for a new coach. Tight end coach Dan Campbell replaced Philbin and finished the season with a 5-7 record and finished last in the AFC East.

Although Campbell was a somewhat successful interim coach, its no secret that the Dolphins are looking for an outside coach instead of someone from their current coaching staff.

New York Giants

Tom Coughlin gives a farewell press conference.
Tom Coughlin gives a farewell press conference.

The Giants and long time coach Tom Coughlin recently parted ways after the 2015-16 regular season. Coughlin was the head coach for 12 long seasons (102-90 record) and led the organization to two Super Bowl titles (2007, 2011).

Coughlin resigned as head coach on January 4th and released the following statement:

“I met with [the owners of the Giants] this afternoon, and I informed them that it is in the best interest of the organization that I step down as head coach. I strongly believe the time is right for me and my family, and as I said, the Giants organization.”

To watch Coughlin’s final press conference, click here.

The Giants might have trouble finding a good coach due to the amount of available coaching positions. The Giants don’t have much to offer with a average, veteran quarterback in Eli Manning and an almost silent defense.

The Giants had a promising defensive end in Jason Pierre-Paul. The only problem is the injury Pierre-Paul sustained this off-season with a fireworks accident. Although he is still able to play, Paul has never looked the same.

Picture of Jason Pierre-Paul injured hand.
Picture of Jason Pierre-Paul injured hand.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles fired head coach Chip Kelly before the last week of the 2015-16 season with a record of 6-9 (26-21 through three seasons).

Kelly made some questionable trades last off-season by trading pro bowl running back LeSean McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso and also got rid of fan favorite quarterback Nick Foles for the injury riddled Sam Bradford. Fans had mixed reactions to these trades and overall were not happy with the outcome.

Almost a year before he was fired, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made Kelly the head of football operations for the Eagles franchise. But after making those questionable trades and failing to make the playoffs in a soft NFC East conference, Lurie fired Kelly before the final game of the season.

Although Kelly was not viewed as successful in Philadelphia, within 24 hours of his firing, three different teams reached out to him saying that they were interested in him coaching for them next season. This makes people wonder if firing Kelly was the right move for Lurie and the Eagles organization.

San Francisco 49ers 

After leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2012, Jim Harbaugh left San Francisco for the University of Michigan
After leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2012, Jim Harbaugh left San Francisco for the University of Michigan

After Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers at the end of the 2014 season, the 49ers hired assistant coach Jim Tomsula to take over what Harbough had started. This didn’t last long because after going 5-11, Tomsula was fired immediately after the final game of the year.

In Jim Tomsula’s defense, the 49ers have one of the worst rosters in the NFL today. This wasn’t a very coach-friendly situation and still isn’t. It’s hard to believe the 49ers fired Tomsula after being with the team for nine seasons.

Out of all the open coaching spots, this will probably be the hardest to fill. Many coaches will pass up the opportunity due to the poor roster and quick firing of Coach Tomsula.

Tennessee Titans

After starting the 2015 season 1-6, the Titans fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt was 3-20 as the Titans head coach through two very long and painful years.

Mike Mularkey served as the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2015 season. The Titans stated that Mularkey would only be the head coach for the remainder of the year, then he would return as the Titans tight ends coach.

Although the Titans have not had a winning season since 2011, this is a sought after position due to this promising young team led by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Which team has the best shot at making the playoffs next year?

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