Gus Bradley gone, playoff picture goes wild and more


The Jacksonville Jaguars fired Gus Bradley to kick the NFL coaching carousel into high gear. Get ready for the circus to begin.

On Sunday, the Jaguars lost to the Houston Texans. They got Brock Osweiler benched for his awful play, only to let Tom Savage come back from a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter. After the game, owner Shad Khan fired head coach Gus Bradley, and then allowed him to fly home on the team charter. Fantastic.

Now, the 2-12 Jaguars will name somebody the interim head coach on Monday, all while searching for a permanent answer.  Thus starts the coaching carousel that should be heating up this week and going full-tilt for the next month.

Looking around the league, there will be ample openings among the 32 clubs. Including Jacksonville, look for there to be anywhere from six to eight jobs available. The Chargers will most certainly move on from Mike McCoy, while the Bills have long been rumored to be wielding an ax toward Rex Ryan. The Rams have already canned Jeff Fisher, and so the City of Angels is looking for a new leader. The Colts, Bengals, Jets and Bears could also move on from their current men, although none of them are sure bets to go.

So, now what? Well, you will hear all the rumors we hear every offseason. Jon Gruden will be on the tip of many tongues in the aforementioned cities. What about Bill Cowher? He’s still young enough. Could Tony Dungy be lured out of retirement? No, no and no.

The assistants are going to be all the rage. There are a couple ex-head coaches in assistant jobs who will be hot names, including Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Then there are the others, including Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Texans linebacker coach Mike Vrabel.

It’s a tough market for coaches, considering none of the job available are going to be great positions. Working in Los Angeles provides a potential franchise quarterback but that’s far from a given. The Bills are keeping general manager Doug Whaley and have no quarterback, making that job unappealing. Regardless of general manager Dave Caldwell’s status, who could want to follow Bradley in Jacksonville? The culture is rancid and the quarterback is past-tense.

If a move was made on Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis, that would be the best job. A coach would step in and inherit Andrew Luck, giving him an immediate shot to win. Outside of that, none of the positions scream easy turnaround. They are all slogs to the top.

Let the madness begin.

Power rankings

Top 10 snakebitten franchises

1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Cleveland Browns
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Detroit Lions
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. San Diego Chargers
7. Cincinnati Bengals
8. New York Jets
9. Arizona Cardinals
10. Philadelphia Eagles


This tweet sums up why the Bengals are losers. Head coach Marvin Lewis lost control of the team in the AFC Wild Card Game last year and has never regained it, allowing the locker room to turn into an asylum. Cincinnati is 5-8-1 and hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991, but odds are, owner Mike Brown won’t make any changes. It’s a shame, but it’s also predictable.

Random stat

The Eagles started the season 3-0. They are 2-9 since.

Info learned this week

1. Brock gets benched

The Texans finally made the right move. Give head coach Bill O’Brien credit. He could have struck with his $72 million anchor, but he went to the bench and gave Tom Savage the keys. Will it lead to a Super Bowl? No, but at least his team will know they have a coach who is really trying to win.

As for Osweiler, this could be the end of the line as a starter. Houston is on the hook for one more year and then the Texans can cut him without repercussions. The Texans made the right move on what has been the worst offseason signing in recent memory.

2. Vikings, Colts going opposite directions

Minnesota had everything to play for on Sunday, and got blown out 34-6 at home against the average Colts. Indianapolis kept its playoff hopes alive and will go to Oakland next week, hoping to pull off a second consecutive upset.

Meanwhile, the Vikings have completely mailed it in. Adrian Peterson’s return meant nothing, and the defense imploded to the tune of 27 first-half points. Mike Zimmer has long been known as a terrific coach, but his team appears to have quit in 2016.

3. NFC playoff picture heats up

The Giants were able to hold the lions to six points on Sunday, getting another hard-earned win. With the victory, New York moves to 10-4 and stays in the No. 5 seed. while Detroit is in trouble. With the Packers beating the Bears, Green Bay is only a game back, with the two teams playing each other in Week 17.

In the SNF game, the Buccaneers fell to the Cowboys, who clinched home field advantage with the win. Tampa Bay drops below Washington with the defeat. Finally, the Redskins and Panthers will play Monday night in the nation’s capital. With a win, Washington remains the thick of the race while a loss all but eliminates it.

4. AFC playoff picture is off rails

With their win over the Broncos, the Patriots remain in the driver’s seat for home-field advantage. Considering the dominance New England has displayed in Foxborough over the years, that’s bad news for the rest of the conference. Meanwhile, the Broncos can be no better than the sixth seed. Denver now needs help from the Dolphins and Ravens. Miami is a game ahead of the Broncos and while the Ravens are also 8-6, they hold the tiebreaker. The Steelers stay ahead of Baltimore by a game with the win over Cincinnati. The two meet on Christmas, likely for the North crown.

Tennessee stunned the Chiefs at the gun, and with the victory stayed in a tie with the Texans atop the AFC South. The two teams will meet in Week 17, perhaps in a do-or-die scenario. Finally, the Raiders won at San Diego, moving into the second seed with Kansas City dropping to the No. 5  slot.

5. Saints should blow it up

Not saying it will happen, but New Orleans should move on from Sean Payton and Drew Brees. Brees will end up in the Hall of Fame, but he’s not winning another Super Bowl in the big Easy. However, he still has a ton of trade value. Apply the franchise tag and if Brees will sign, move him for a few draft picks, including a first-round selection.

As for Payton, the time has simply come. New Orleans is once again missing the postseason despite a terrific offense. The team needs a new message, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

History lesson

The 49ers are terrible, but it wasn’t always that way. In the 1980s, San Francisco rode the talents of head coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana to a quartet of Super Bowl titles (George Seifert was the coach for the final title). In 1994, the team realized one more championship dream with Steve Young at the helm.

Unfortunately, times have changed by the bay.

Parting shot

The Seahawks are still very dangerous. After losing Earl Thomas for the season to a broken leg, many wrongly wrote off a team that is far too dangerous to push aside. Now, Seattle has won the NFC West and at 9-4-1, sits in the second seed of the NFC playoff picture.

Seattle should be the favorite in that conference. The Seahawks are going to be a major problem for the Cowboys, Packers, Giants, Falcons and whoever else you want to throw into the mix. Seattle is playing complimentary football, and coming together at the right time.