As expected, "Black Monday" was a very busy day for the NFL. The first day after the end of the regular season produced a total of seven head coaching changes, along with several other moves involving coaches and front-office personnel. The coaching carousel is only just beginning, and it got started with a bang. Let's look back at what happened both from a Detroit Lions and general NFL perspective.
Is Jim Schwartz still the Lions' head coach?
Yes, yes he is. While there has been no official word on his status for 2013, the fact that he wasn't fired on Monday indicates he is going to return. It's obviously possible that the Lions are still having internal conversations about Schwartz and haven't made a final decision yet, but all signs point to him staying.
What about the front office? Any changes to report there?
Nothing yet. Martin Mayhew is still the general manager, and despite reports that there could be some changes made to the front office, there are no real signs that any alterations are coming for now. Again, that could change, but it seems the Lions are set to return the same front office.
So what did the Lions actually do on Monday?
In the grand scheme of things, the Lions' activity didn't register as much of a splash. They simply cut ties with wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, running backs coach Sam Gash and offensive line coach George Yarno. It's believed that none of the three coaches were under contract for next season, and the Lions apparently decided to go in a different direction for 2013.
That's it? Just some assistants were told they aren't returning?
For now, yes. I can't imagine these are the only changes that will be made. Rather, these are likely simply the start of alterations to the coaching staff for 2013. The Lions don't seem particularly interested in rushing the process, so more will probably come out over the course of the next few days.
Does this news mean the coordinators are returning in 2013?
It certainly seems as though offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham are coming back. The fact that assistant coaching changes are being made suggests Schwartz isn't going anywhere, and it also suggests that the Lions feel comfortable with their coordinators but want some different voices among their assistants. While there hasn't been any movement on the defensive side of the ball just yet, based on everything Schwartz has said, I don't see Cunningham going anywhere. And I especially don't see Linehan going anywhere after what happened on Monday. This is subject to change, though, as I can't imagine the evaluation process is already complete.
As for special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, there is no word yet on his status for 2013. I would be shocked if the Lions bring him back, but nothing has come out one way or another just yet.
Okay, so the Lions didn't do much. What about the rest of the NFL? Which head coaches were fired? And were any general managers let go?
Seven head coaches in total were fired on Monday, including one from the NFC North:
- Arizona Cardinals - Ken Whisenhunt
- Buffalo Bills - Chan Gailey
- Chicago Bears - Lovie Smith
- Cleveland Browns - Pat Shurmur
- Kansas City Chiefs - Romeo Crennel
- Philadelphia Eagles - Andy Reid
- San Diego Chargers - Norv Turner
Three of those teams also fired their general manager: Browns (Tom Heckert), Cardinals (Rod Graves) and Chargers (A.J. Smith). In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars parted ways with general manager Gene Smith and the New York Jets said goodbye to general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
For some teams, general managers will have to be hired before new coaches are brought in, and the GM shuffle could ultimately result in more head coach openings. You will then start to see the trickle-down effect with coordinators and assistant coaches as jobs change hands around the league.
For the Lions, the next step is to publicly confirm Schwartz's status for 2013. Assuming he is retained, we then need to know what the status is of the Lions' coordinators and assistant coaches. My guess is that we will find out this information on Wednesday when Mayhew meets with the media for his end-of-season press conference.
Where can I read more about all of the coaching changes?