With Jay Gruden finally getting the axe (and really Redskins, what took you so long?) and Dan Quinn’s time in Atlanta on life support, I began thinking about other unsuccessful coaching tenures in NFL history and what it took for these guys to finally be let go. Now we aren’t talking one and done coaches like the immortal, Les Steckel’s 3-13 single season in Minnesota. I still have nightmares about that. At a minimum my coaches had to have three seasons of mediocrity with one franchise to make my list. With that in mind, here are some of my fantastic failures in the coaching ranks.
Tom Flores – Seattle Seahawks (1992-1994): Flores had a solid coaching career with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders from 1979 through 1987. In that time he led his team to 83 regular season wins against 53 losses and claimed two Super Bowl rings. He would eventually move on to the Seahawks front office in 1989 and finally back to the coaching ranks in 1992. He should have quit while he was ahead. His three seasons on the Seahawks sidelines all ended in double-digit losses. A 14-34 record later Flores was fired as head coach, unable to repeat his success with the Raiders. If only he’d first taken a head coaching job at USC where he could quickly escape town amidst scandal before coaching the Seahawks. Ah well 20/20 hindsight.
Mike Ditka – New Orleans Saints (1997-1999): Dikta was a great tight end for the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys. From 1982 through 1992 he would coach the Bears. His no-nonsense attitude helped him achieve a career regular season record of 106-62 and a Super Bowl ring in 1985 with one of the most dominant teams in NFL history. After finishing the 1992 season with a 5-11 record, Ditka and the Bears parted ways. Ditka had a five-year hiatus before coming back to coach the New Orleans Saints. His tenure there became a travesty. After two 6-10 seasons, Ditka sold the farm to move up in the 1999 draft to take Ricky Williams. The low point of this tenure was his magazine cover with Williams wearing a wedding dress. The honeymoon ended quickly as the Saints went 3-13 prompting fans to look for their Aints paper bags. The Ditka magic was gone and he was fired after the season.
Dave Campo – Dallas Cowboys (2000-2002): Dave Campo joined the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive backs coach then eventually the defensive coordinator under Jimmy Johnson. He was part of three Super Bowl champions in his assistant coaching role. He seemed to be a natural choice to take the head coaching reins when Chan Galey was fired after the 1999 season. He was dealt a difficult blow right off the bat during his tenure when he lost Troy Aikman for the season due to a concussion (which eventually turned into his retirement after the season). It really never got better. In his three seasons Campo would have a 15-33 record, finishing each season with identical 5-11 records. No other head coach in Cowboys history has never had at least one playoff appearance so he’s got that going for him, which is nice if you don’t root for the Cowboys.
Rod Marinelli – Detroit Lions (2006-2008): Marinelli was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their defensive coordinator when the Lions offered him their head coaching job. Marinelli had been successful in Tampa with Jon Gruden, winning a Super Bowl ring. He has to wonder what ever made him leave the Florida sun. After a 3-13 first season Marinelli gave Lions fans hope getting the team to off to a 6-2 start in season two. Over his next 24 games, Marinelli would have a Hue Jacksonesque 1-23 record, including the first ever 0-16 season in NFL history. It’s difficult to be the most disappointing coach in Lions history but Rod Marinelli managed to pull of the …feat?
There you have four of the biggest coaching disappointments in NFL history. I’m sure there are several more but these names stuck out most to me. Drop your choices in the comments and read the works of my Blitzed colleagues.
Until we meet again never design a killer play on a cocktail napkin, don’t trip over the kid you hired to hold your headset cord, and for God’s sake take off the headset anyway. Why do you need a headset and a kid hired to handle the cord when you’re walking around your kitchen in your lounge pants. That’s just wrong.
Yours in football,
Mike Zimmer Ears is a Minnesota Vikings expert, podcaster, published author and a regular columnist for Blitzed Football. You can find his latest book on baseball here.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 5 had some big misses (Cooper, Jacobs and McCoy – SORREY) but I finished 4-5-1. I’m shooting for 5 wins a week so a little off. It’s hard to believe that we’re 5 weeks in already. Hopefully, Week 6 brings us more success than last. Let’s get to it and enjoy.
Kyler Murray, QB Arizona Cardinals
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 7)
The number 1 overall pick is already flying high heading into Week 6 with a ranking of 7, so he’s going to need to go bonkers for me to look right on this. Luckily for me, he’s facing the Falcons at home in Week 6. Just in case you missed last week, Atlanta got absolutely skullfucked by Deshaun Watson to the tune of 426 yards and 5 touchdowns. Yikes. Their defense #sucksbutts and I’m partially convinced that they want Dan Quinn to get fired. Obviously, Murray isn’t on the level of my dear Watson, but it’s not hard to see the crazy upside Kyler brings this week. The Falcons have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs and have been getting torched for the last few weeks. Not only does the former Sooner QB have an opportunity to dominate through the air, we should see him continue to use his legs. The last two weeks has seen Murray finally start running (120 yards and 2 touchdowns) and the Cards have been more successful because of it. With Larry Fitzgerald and the possible return of Christian Kirk, I’m predicting Murray finishes in the Top 5 of QBs this week.
Kerryon Johnson, RB Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 14)
What do you want me to do to my Johnson? Carry it on where? On who? Oh, you’re talking about the football player, Kerryon Johnson. Gotcha. Sorry, I’m a child. Who doesn’t like talking about Johnsons though? After this week, my bet is the Packers aren’t going to. After having a week off, the Lions will take on Green Bay on Monday Night Football where we’ll have to listen to Joe and Booger scream about God knows what. Watch that shit muted. Kerryon has a favorable matchup as the Packers have allowed over 138 yards/game on the ground and have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to the position. All of this is great for the 2nd year back from Auburn, but what’s even better is this: In the two games since the Lions cut CJ Anderson’s corpse, Johnson has seen 20 carries and 26 carries respectively. We’ll take that volume all day and then some. Kerryon finishes as an RB1 this week and potentially Top 10.
Adrian Peterson, RB Washington Redskins
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 31)
Hold on one second, I have to go puke….
Ok, I’m good. Sorry about that. But yeah, here we are. I’m going to recommend Adrian Peterson as a Thrive this week despite his old balls. This call is really all about the matchup. The Washington R-Words will travel to noted old person’s home Miami this week to take on the tanking Dolphins. On the season, Miami has allowed over 175 yards rushing/game (most in the league) and the most fantasy points/game to RBs. If Peterson and Washington can’t run here, they’ll never be able to. Interim head coach and cousin to Tom Callahan, Bill Callahan is an Oline coach and will look to run early and often because of course they will. Their quarterbacks are Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and Dwayne Haskins. Would you want to pass if those were your QBs? Fuck no. This game is so gross and this call is as well, but Peterson could crawl into RB2 range this week.
Stefon Diggs, WR Minnesota Vikings
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 22)
After Adam Thielen bitched and moaned about not getting the ball, the Vikings and Kirk Cousins rewarded him with 8 targets last week and over 100 yards receiving against the Giants non-existent secondary. Could Minnesota decide to appease their other star receiver this week? Let’s fuckin’ hope so because I’m sure we’re all getting tired of waiting for Diggs’ breakout game (yeah, I know he had over 100 yards against the Bears but he wasn’t universally started in that matchup). I know that Minnesota’s head coach and famous pirate Mike Zimmer want to pound the ball on the ground, but that gameplan might not be ideal this week against an Eagles defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league. What the Eagles have struggled to do is cover the pass, giving up over 270 yards/game and the 5th most fantasy points to WRs. Diggs is too talented to continue to not produce. Let’s hope Captain Kirk can get him the ball and we’ll be digging this dude all week.
DJ Moore, WR Carolina Panthers
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 34)
Calling on a Panthers’ player to be productive when white LaDainian Tomlinson, Christian McCaffrey is there, is a bold move. I’m all about DJ Moore this week though. Moore, the 2nd year WR from Maryland currently owns a 23% target share even with CMC stealing more targets. He’s going to continue to get looks against a Bucs’ secondary that had Teddy Two Gloves and Michael Thomas just eviscerate them in New Orleans. After that performance, Tampa Bay has given up the 4th most fantasy points to WRs and the most passing yards. DJ Moore isn’t Michael Thomas, but he’s definitely talented enough to take advantage of Tampa Bay like he did in Week 2 (14 targets, 9 receptions). Kyle Allen is competent enough to allow Moore to shine in London. Wake up early and watch DJ rack up more and more yards. See what I did there? Yeah, I’m fuckin’ clever.
Carson Wentz, QB Philadelphia Eagles
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 10)
Carson Wentz is one of my favorite quarterbacks in the league. He’s incredibly tough and makes ballsy throws regularly. I just don’t love him this week. The Eagles will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings on Sunday who have allowed the 6th fewest yards and the 8th fewest fantasy points to the QB. Despite not having DeSean Jackson for much of the season and being without Alshon Jeffrey for stretches of play, Wentz sits at QB9 on the season and that just speaks to his incredible ability. I personally own him in a lot of different places and I’m almost hoping I’m wrong on this one. Minnesota plays incredible defense though and should continue that trend this week. City of Philly looking at me like:
Dalvin Cook, RB Minnesota Vikings
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 4)
I swear I’m not only picking dudes from the Eagles-Vikings game but here’s another one. This game reminds me of Cook’s setup a few weeks back against the Bears, an excellent front 7 who excels against the run but can be beaten through the air from time to time. The Eagles can definitely be beat through the air but as I mentioned above (see Diggs, Stefon) they’ve allowed the fewest rushing yards out of all 32 NFL franchises. Cook has been excellent this year, coming in 2nd in the league in rushing, but he’s going to need their Oline to really step up and have Kirk Cousins be competent for the 2nd week in a row. I don’t think Cook finishes inside the Top 10 this week.
Nick Chubb, RB Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 6)
I do not hate Nick Chubb. He’s a terrific running back who grinds out hard yards even with a shoddy offensive line. This will be the 3rd week in a row that Mr. Chubb has appeared on the Dives list. The first week, he nuked me and the Ravens, last week I was right in the Browns’ brutal Monday Night performance in San Francisco. This Sunday, the Browns play host to the Seahawks and their rush defense which has allowed only 80 yards/game on the ground. With Baker Mayfield slowly morphing into a shitty quarterback and a sober Johnny Manziel, Seattle should look to key on Chubb and make things hard for him. I’m sorry for saying Chubb and hard so much near each other but again, I’m a child. The Browns’ offensive line looks absolutely brutal and the Seahawks could shut Hot Chubb Time Machine down.
Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 11)
This might just be a vindictive call. How in the fuck-knuckles do you get a 0 as a big-time WR? Seriously. Even WRs like Stanley Morgan, who I was convinced was a porn star until I looked him up, had a catch last week. This week, it might not get much better. Evans has the constant struggle of having Jameis Winston as his quarterback which if you aren’t a Chris Godwin owner, is a total fucking nightmare. If he wasn’t an Uber gropin, crab stealin’, gun slingin’ QB, it’d actually be funny. But that dude just sucks way too often. Not only is he inconsistent, the Panthers have a dang good secondary led by James Bradberry. The Panthers have given up the 4th fewest passing yards on the season and kept Evans in check in their Week 2 matchup. What hurts Evans the most though is Carolina’s pass rush. The Panthers are second in the league in sacks. This impacts Evans greatly as he is primarily a downfield threat. Those routes take a long time to develop and if Winston doesn’t have time, the super tatted, skyscraper of a WR suffers. He’s more than likely going to suffer again this week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 19)
I love this player and I’m tired of writing too many negative things about him and having him as a Dive. But what can I say? He has a tough matchup against the Chargers secondary and has struggled so far this season in large part due to QB play. As of this writing it’s unclear whether or not Mason Rudolph will be back after getting knocked out on Sunday. That was scary as shit. I honestly thought he was dead. The fact that he might return to play this week is astonishing. If it’s not Rudolph under center, it’ll be Devlin “Duck” Hodges, an undrafted free agent from Samford. So yeah, not exactly feeling the WR2 status for Smith-Schuster this week. I’m sorry, JuJu. I still love you. Forgive me.
Hank Mardukus is the Fantasy expert for Blitzed Football. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Holy Week 4. Down go Buffalo, Green Bay, Los Angeles (Rams) and Detroit from the ranks of the unbeatens with all four making the case to win the game. New England and Kansas City remained unbeaten (both rather luckily in this Barkeep’s opinion) while San Francisco couldn’t lose as they didn’t play. Clippy is back so the guys show is back on point. Thank God. In case you missed this week’s edition which included a riveting chugging beer contest, you can catch it here:
Let’s get into Your Barkeep’s Week 4 in Review:
Nick Chubb (CLE)
Have a week, Nick Chubb. Your drinks are on me. After Baltimore delivered some bulletin board material to Cleveland this week about who the best team in the AFC North was, Chubb planted the Browns firmly on his back and galloped his way to what should be AFC Player of the Week honors. Additionally, it moved Cleveland to the top of the AFC North standings after a quarter of the season, which is where I expected them to be. As I said three weeks ago Browns fans, it’s a long season. Cleveland is going to ride or die not only with Baker Mayfield but also with Nick Chubb. Seems like both are hitting their stride at the same time.
Blitzed Stats: 20 carries 165 yds, 3 TDs; 3 rec 18 yds
Jameis Winston (TB)
Two weeks ago I was kicking Jameis out of my bar and making jabs at him for stealing crab legs. Today, I’m buying his drinks. He put an absolute thrashing on what is “supposed” to be one of the best and most talented defenses in the league to the tune of 55 points. In their house. I’m as shocked as anyone to see that Jameis led them to the win even though a pick six late in the game nearly derailed his otherwise superb outing. Is this finally the Jameis Winston the Buccaneers expected when they drafted him 1st overall? Perhaps Bruce Arians is a QB whisperer after all. I’m sorry Jameis. This week’s tab is on me.
Blitzed Stats: 28 for 41, 385 yds, 4 TDs 1 INT
Buffalo Bills Defense
I know Buffalo lost but check out these stats. 18 for 39, 150 yards and 1 INT for a QB rating of 10.3 (or 48.9 depending on which you use). Include one intentional grounding that was actually called and an additional three or four more that weren’t. You just experienced one of the worst games ever, if not THE worst ever, for Tom Brady. Buffalo’s defense showed up and made TB look bad. They made the entire New England offense look bad. If it weren’t for the five turnovers and the blocked punt returned for a touchdown, the Bills would be sitting atop the AFC East. I can tell you this though- that loss was not on the Buffalo defense who no longer is flying under the radar as one of the league’s best. What a waste of a brilliant defensive effort. The Bills will be a scary team if the offense ever figures it out.
Blitzed Stats: 11 first downs, 5 of 18 on 3rd down, 224 total yards, 9 points given up
Josh Allen (BUF)
The expectation was that Allen was a guy who needed to develop and grow. This is year #2 for a quarterback that seems to have sky-high potential. But this was simply not a good game. His decision-making cost the Bills this game, and nearly two others (NYJ and CIN). There comes a point when the growing needs to stop and the fine-tuning needs to begin. This is a talented Bills team and he doesn’t need to win the game by himself. Simply put, he was awful when all he needed to be was OK and the Bills would have won. That being said, if he wasn’t injured, I still think he would have somehow pulled out a miracle on that last drive for the win.
Kirk Cousins (MIN)
27 for 36 for 233 with no TDs and no INTs doesn’t necessarily scream for someone to be kicked out of my bar. However, if you watched that game you cringed at Cousin’s performance the same way you probably have for the first four weeks of the season. Mr. Guaranteed Money isn’t performing up to standards and Skol Fans are getting restless. 13-3 two years ago seems like forever ago, doesn’t it? I hear Case Keenum is back on the market.
How do you eject a player from one game for a helmet to helmet hit, while allowing a player in a different game to stay in for the very same thing? There is clear favoritism towards certain players in the NFL and it’s become egregious in nature as to how blatant the favoritism is. If you want to create rules to protect players and the integrity of the game, it needs to be called fairly across the games for everyone. Its been getting worse and worse for some players while others are protected at all costs. This has to end.
10 Things I THINK I Think After This Week
1: There is a distinct difference in who is protected and who isn’t in calls by NFL referees. See: Tom Brady and Josh Allen. See above.
2. Another week, another several injuries to sideline big names in the NFL. Trubisky being the biggest name this week. Teddy Bridgewater, Mason Rudolph, Luke Falk and Chase Daniel are now NFL starting QBs.
3. If other teams were watching, the Bills gave every team in the NFL the blueprint on how to beat New England. Follow it. Now.
4. I still feel bad for Dolphins fans.
5. I’m starting to change my mind about the Colts. They’re really inconsistent.
6. Melvin Gordon shouldn’t automatically be given the starter’s role. Eckler has earned it through commitment.
7. I’ve been spelling Mahomes with an L in his name for the past three weeks. I’m sorry. Its Mahomes. He’s still the best quarterback in the league and KC still doesn’t have an L either.
8. New Orleans has proven they are not just Drew Brees. They have that Kamara guy and their defense is really good too.
9. Nick Chubb makes the Browns run. Literally and figuratively.
10. There’s a lot of really bad teams this year. Too bad for the Redskins, Bengals and Cardinals that the Dolphins are really REALLY bad.
My Drink of the Week: