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NFL Black Monday head coach primer: AFC North

Our look at possible vacancies continues to the AFC North. This is a bit more unstable. AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West | NFC East

Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

We’re going to go around the league, looking at each division and seeing what vacancies could open up for Black Monday. Thankfully there probably won’t be any in Santa Clara, but a coach could bail to fill one of the vacancies elsewhere. Today, we have the AFC North.

The AFC North has some of the best consistency in the NFL, three of the four teams hae had their coaches for nearly a decade. The results have been some consistent playoff performances and good teams fielded. Unfortunately, one tenure may come to an end this offseason while another one may ritually end like it does every 1-2 years. But don’t bank on it. I’ll let you decide which two teams I’m talking about.

Cleveland Browns

Pretty sure I don’t need to introduce the losing culture that is the Browns. Just when you think they might be on their way out, they show you just how bad they are. Just when you think they get it, they go out of their way to show they have a long ways to go.

The only thing current Browns head coach, Hue Jackson has won is the press conference at his hiring. His current record as of this writing is 1-27. As bad as the Browns were when he came in, there’s really no excuse for this number of sucktitude, but can it all be blamed on Jackson?

Not when your GM is passing on quarterbacks like Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson Deshaun Watson. We may never know what goes on in Cleveland’s draft room, but you’d have to think Jackson had some time to evaluate these prospects to suggest the Browns should draft one of them. The fact the Browns had shots at these quarterbacks and instead invested in DeShone Kizer doesn’t inspire much confidence.

There has already been some transition, manager Sashi Brown has been fired and owner Jimmy Haslam and friend of truckers everywhere has said Jackson is safe. In the meantime, John Dorsey, fresh of a ‘mutually parting of ways’ with the Kansas City Chiefs has stepped in as the new manager of the Browns. A Jackson and Dorsey pairing very well could work, but Jackson is definitely on a short leash. Still, while Jackson managed to get 8-8 out of a paltry Raiders team his first year, the Browns may just be too much for him to handle and his job may still be in jeopardy at years end given the new hire.

Who has been fired: Sashi Brown
Who else should get/will get fired: Nobody, Jackson will get one more year and he should
Who has been hired: John Dorsey

Baltimore Ravens

After winning Super Bowl 47, the Ravens signed quarterback Joe Flacco to a large contract that inadvertently leveled the team into a rebuilding phase. They are just out of that phase and getting competitive again.

Given the time it’s been since Super Bowl, the gloss and Kevlar that one of those wins produces for someone’s job is wearing off and if the Ravens don’t start their consistent playoff runs again, coach John Harbaugh could be looking for a job. However, the Ravens have been rebuilding and steadily improving so they might just fire another offensive coordinator midseason (a growing trend for the team). Manager Ozzie Newsome has overseen the team on two Super Bowl wins over a couple of decades, so the building is definitely patient and lets its managers and coaches do their job. The Ravens won’t be looking for anyone unless someone retires. None of the coaches really seem like a hot commodity after Black Monday either.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody. It’s one of the most consistently safe places in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Read the snippet on the Ravens and you can say the same thing for the Steelers. They went through a rebuilding phase and now have the pieces in place to make a super bowl run. If anyone is gone it’d be offensive coordinator Todd Hayley if a new head coaching job is offered to him. This would open the door for a new coaching candidate, but Kyle Shanahan can easily just offer the OC job to whoever Pittsburgh would want (the 49ers have no acting offensive coordinator at the moment. Head Coach Mike Tomlin has been in the building since 2006 and led the team to a Super Bowl—he’s basically a face of the team so he’s not going anywhere.

The front office is pretty consistent as well. General manager Kevin Colbert just knows his football and has fielded two Super Bowl teams. Much like the Ravens, the Steelers are going to be pretty much on lockdown.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody. Like the Ravens, its too secure and consistent.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals once had the consistency the Ravens and the Steelers had, but that has fallen off in recent years. The second longest tenured coach, Marvin Lewis very well could be on his last season due to the skid the Bengals have hit. That team is not on a rebuild, that team is built to win right now, but a 6-9-1 record in 2016 and a losing record this year isn’t boding well for Lewis.

Many fans are getting—and have been—fed up with Lewis’ inability to win playoff games the years the Bengals manage to make it in. Some of these playoff losses come from undisciplined coaching as well.

In fact, that sums the team’s current issues. A lot of the Bengal’s struggles are from coaching, not draft picks, as they have what should be a respectable defense and decent offensive playmakers. If the Bengals’ skid continues to the end of the season, they may very well say it’s time to end Lewis’ tenure and start fresh.

Who should get fired: Marvin’s time
Who will get fired: Marvin Lewis, he’s been given so many chances, but this may be his last dance. No really.