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A look at AFC coaching and GM hot spots for 2023

Miami Dolphins vs. Chicago Bears

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Three jobs are already open. When the coaches (and GMs) carousel starts spinning tonight, how many more will there be?

The league hopes it’s as little as possible, based on efforts last month to appeal to owners’ greed by highlighting how much money they’ve spent in recent years to pay the balance of coaches’ and coaches’ contracts. front office executives. (The presentation apparently glossed over factors like future revenue-based compensation and potential lost revenue from a struggling football operation, but that’s for the owners to figure out for themselves, apparently. )

So how many jobs will be open in the current cycle, besides head coaching jobs with the Panthers, Colts and Broncos?

A source with extensive knowledge of the annual layoff and hiring spree recently predicted that there won’t be many this year. However, there have been other years that have felt the same, and then one after another spots open up, often with a surprise or two.

Here are the places we watch in the AFC, either because a change arguably needs to be made, or because ownership (the core issue for many dysfunctional teams) can do something dysfunctional.

The Jets: The impressive start to the season has made expectations for the team unreasonable. Has owner Woody Johnson been swept away by this mindset and will he be looking for someone to blame for the way things fell apart? Are general manager Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh on the same page, or will one blame the other if it becomes clear he is looking for a scapegoat? The smart move would be to stay pat. But some owners often don’t make smart moves. A few rarely do.

The Dolphins: A five-game losing streak surely created some frayed nerves. Quarterback Manipulation Tua TagovailoaThe concussions could prompt owner Stephen Ross to come under further scrutiny. Ross may also be looking to blame someone for the organization’s tampering penalties for repeatedly trying to land the quarterback. Tom Brady and, more recently, coach Sean Payton. Could General Manager Chris Grier be in the hot seat? Could first-year coach Mike McDaniel face scrutiny for Tua’s situation? Could Ross want to finish some unfinished business with Brady and/or Payton? Not having a first-round pick due to the tampering situation and trading their other pick with the Broncos (who are already flirting with Payton) would complicate such an effort. Either way, even with a Week 18 Berth in the playoffs, Ross probably won’t be happy with how the season has gone. We have seen what he has done in the past when he was not happy.

Patriots: There will likely be plenty of changes to the coaching staff, perhaps starting with the return of Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator – unless O’Brien becomes a head coach candidate elsewhere. Although a divorce is unlikely between Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft (a confrontation with the coaching staff could, in theory, trigger one), the pressure will mount in 2023, failing to make the playoffs and win a game. post-season for the first time in four years. . .

Ravens: John Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the NFL. The Ravens would have no reason to walk away from him. After 15 years in the same position, could Harbaugh consider a fresh start elsewhere? No coach has won a Super Bowl with two different teams. Every coach who’s won a Super Bowl would love to be the first to do so, whether they admit it or not. And it usually makes sense, after Sean Payton’s departure from the Saints, to generally keep tabs on every coach who’s been in one place for so long.

The Steelers: Again, the raw length of Mike Tomlin’s time with the team makes it a yearly spot to watch, until he leaves. There’s no particular reason to think he would.

The Browns: At some point this year, it wouldn’t have been impossible to imagine owner Jimmy Haslam making a switch, aiming to get more from the new quarterback Deshaun Watson. But Kevin Stefanski, the 2020 Coach of the Year, and Watson seem to be on the loose. The Browns have also been competitive in the five-game preseason for 2023. It wouldn’t make much sense to make a switch.

The Titans: Tennessee last won a game a week before Thanksgiving, the same night offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested for drunk driving on a schedule that made it clear he was drinking on the plane. Green Bay team and/or on the team bus from the airport to the facility. When chief executive Jon Robinson was fired, it initially looked like Mike Vrabel would emerge with more power – and as head of the football operation, vindicated by staff moves gone wrong. Now, with the losses piling up and the division title lost a year after Tennessee captured the No. 1 seed, who knows what owner Amy Adams Strunk will decide to do? Through it all, she should remember what Vrabel managed to do with an ever-rotating list gate and what happened with the moves he opposed. Including the decision to exchange the receiver A.J. Brown to the Eagles.

The Colts: Owner Jim Irsay has repeatedly said GM Chris Ballard will return for 2023. By now we should know to never take anything Irsay says about his team seriously.

Texans: After a one-on-one with David Culley and given their involvement in Brian Flores’ lawsuit for not hiring him a year ago, would they dump Lovie Smith after just one season? Much depends on the extent of change elsewhere in the organization. Owner Cal McNair, who fired Jack Easterby during the season, is he waiting to wipe the slate clean after the end of the season? Beyond the team being the worst in the NFL in recent years, football operations cost McNair in the form of more than thirty settlements for failing to spot and correct Deshaun Watson’s massage therapy habits. Don’t overlook that as a factor when it comes to the big decisions McNair has to make.

The Broncos: Is GM George Paton really safe? It could depend on which trainer the new owner hires. If the Wal-Mart conglomerate picks a CEO for the football operation who wants its own chief executive, Paton could be gone. Or at the very least reassigned, and necessarily stripped of a lot of authority.

Chargers: Coach Brandon Staley seems safe given the team made the playoffs. But there are deeper issues surrounding perpetual injury problems that require a closer look at the overall operations of football, top to bottom and inside out.

The Raiders: Changes would be made if owner Mark Davis could afford to make them, I believe. He either can’t or won’t pay coach Josh McDaniels and/or general manager Dave Ziegler to leave, after writing checks to Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock a year ago.

The Chiefs: Andy Reid will be 65 on March 19. He’s been with the Chiefs for 10 years. He was NFL head coach for 24 consecutive seasons. If they win another Super Bowl, would he decide to walk away? It would be very tempting to stay indefinitely, given the presence of Patrick Mahomes on the team. But it makes sense to keep an eye out for the possibility that Reid decides it’s time — especially if he can walk away with the No. 1 Super Bowl win. 2.

So much for the AFC. In a separate article we will do the same in the NFC.

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