NFL head coach tracker: What changes are coming?

  • By Gregg Rosenthal
  • Updated: Dec. 30, 2012 at 10:47 a.m.

A huge weekend of playoff-like games awaits Sunday. On Monday, 20 teams will start looking toward next season.

We'll all have the big moves covered on Around the League, starting on Black Monday, the day when many head-coaching changes are expected. (Less talked about: Black Tuesday and Wednesday to follow).

This page will be a one-stop shop for links to all the latest news from the Around the League page. For now, let's take a look at what teams we'll be tracking next week for potential moves and whether or not they're likely to make a head-coaching change.

Arizona Cardinals

Ken Whisenhunt took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl not so long ago, but he has struggled to find anything resembling offensive consistency since. Whether it's personnel problems or Whisenhunt's coaching that is up for debate, Whisenhunt certainly has had a big say in the team's quarterback decisions.

Chances for a change: Stronger than you think. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton and former Cardinals assistant Todd Haley are two potential hires with whom the Bidwill family feels comfortable. It's also quite possible that general manager Rod Graves will lose his job, with Whisenhunt staying and someone receiving a promotion from within the personnel department.

Buffalo Bills

Chan Gailey has shown little progress in three years under GM Buddy Nix. The team changes its defensive plans every year, and Gailey's offense isn't as tough to prepare for as it used to be. Owner Ralph Wilson might not want to swallow the remaining money on Gailey's contract.

Buffalo Bills

Chan Gailey has shown little progress in three years under GM Buddy Nix. The team changes its defensive plans every year, and Gailey's offense isn't as tough to prepare for as it used to be. Owner Ralph Wilson might not want to swallow the remaining money on Gailey's contract.
Chances for a change: Nothing would surprise us here, but the Buffalo News reported Sunday that a "full housecleaning" could be on the way. Nix would seemingly have a better chance of staying than coach Chan Gailey.

Carolina Panthers

Ron Rivera has struggled to win close games during his tenure and isn't a natural in game management. A strong closing stretch could save his job, but the Panthers will hire a new GM after the season.

Chances of a change: Strong. A new GM almost always means a new head coach. Yahoo! Sports, however, hears some early buzz Rivera could stay.

Chicago Bears

The Bears hired a new GM last offseason: Phil Emery. Missing the playoffs after a 7-1 start could conceivably put coach Lovie Smith in jeopardy.

Chances of a change: Small. A lot depends on Sunday. It's really hard to imagine the Bears firing Smith if the team makes the playoffs.

Cleveland Browns

Pat Shurmur's team probably is better than its 5-10 record indicates. And it probably doesn't matter. Shurmur isn't an inspiring offensive mind. Like Rivera, Shurmur struggles with in-game situations.

Chances of a change:The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert will both lose their jobs on Monday.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has intimated that he hasn't even thought about changing head coaches. Fox Sports insider and NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer says coach Jason Garrett is safe, even if the team loses Sunday night and misses the playoffs.

Chances of a change: Minimal. If Glazer says Garrett is safe, he's safe.

Detroit Lions

Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew pulled off one of the best rebuilding efforts of all time after taking over the 0-16 Lions. And then the bottom fell out for a talented roster this year.

Chances of a change: Close to nil. Multiple reports say Schwartz is safe. He has earned more time and reportedly is signed through 2015.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike Mularkey was hired just last year, but his boss (GM Gene Smith) is on very thin ice. Mularkey wasn't able to develop young quarterback Blaine Gabbert. All signs point to new owner Shad Khan making a change in the front office.

Chances of a change: Good. See Rivera. When a new decision-maker arrives, a new coach is likely to follow.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs were a popular playoff pick before the season (sorry). They are without question the worst team in the NFL. When that happens, change almost is automatic.

Chances of a change: All but certain. The Chiefs deny reports that GM Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel already have been told they're out, but it only seems to be a matter of time before they are. Fans might revolt otherwise.

New York Jets

Rex Ryan has made a pre-emptive strike by reportedly telling people he'd rather be fired than stay without major changes to the offensive coaching staff and personnel. Ryan reportedly wants to stay, just under his own terms. He has more leverage than you think.

Chances of a change: Small. Look for a change at offensive coordinator and in the front office. Ryan might wind up with more power than ever.

Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said before the season that an 8-8 record would not be acceptable. The Eagles have four wins. You do the math.

Chances of a change: All but certain. The only question now is timing. Bill Belichick will be the longest-tenured coach in the NFL after Andy Reid is let go by the Eagles. Reid should get a job elsewhere and reportedly doesn't want to take a year off.

San Diego Chargers

Chargers owner Dean Spanos surprisingly gave coach Norv Turner another season to turn things around after a dismal 2011. Things only got worse. Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego reported that GM A.J. Smith and Turner will be let go at season's end.

Chances of a change: All but certain. This one should happen right away.

Tennessee Titans

Titans owner Bud Adams is mad about his team's performance and wants answers. Television ratings are down, and ticket sales are likely to follow. Coach Mike Munchak already changed offensive coordinators and could change the defense, if he is allowed to keep his job.

Chances of a change: The Nashville Tennessean believes that all early signs point towards Munchak staying.