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 NFC North.
Now we’re getting to the competitive divisions. The NFC North was on lockdown for years thanks to the Packers having Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the division having its own coaching problems. Despite the dominance of Greenbay, and the coaching issues some teams would have, a team from the NFC North would take a wild card spot seven of the last eight seasons.
The coaching situation seems to be figured out for the short term. One team is definitely getting some turnover, one team got afflicted with disaster, and two others are still in the wild card hunt this year.
Green Bay Packers
If you were a 49ers fan in the 90s, you probably tend to hate the Packers more than the Cowboys in some respects. Responsible for giving yours truly a terrible childhood, the Packers have been a threat to the NFC for decades. Without a quarterback however, the Packers are a different team. This year, quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed most of the season due to injury marking the first time the Packers have missed the playoffs since Aaron Rodgers’ first season as a starter. Still, there have been plenty of opportunities to fire head coach Mike McCarthy and he’s not going anywhere. That offensive system is perfect for Rodgers and Green Bay isn’t going to mess with that. Same with defensive coordinator Dom Capers who’s had plenty of dirt in his file to get canned.
In the front office, promotions have started. Many thought with John Dorsey exiting the Kansas City Chiefs he’d succeed Ted Thompson. Instead, Dorsey went to Cleveland. Eliot Wolfe is thought to be Thompson’s successor and balance seems to remain in Green Bay. For now.
Who should/will get fired: Nobody
The Vikings had their own coaching carousel come to a close with the hire of Mike Zimmer. With him and GM Rick Spielman, the VIkings have one of the deepest rosters in the league. While they had to give up draft picks to keep that depth up (Hi Sam Bradford for a 1st round pick), the Vikings have started to usurp the Packers’ dominance on the division. They are a contender in the playoffs this year and it’s because of the two men mentioned above. A lot of coaches may leave the Vikings to further their careers, but no one here is getting fired.
Who should/will get fired: Nobody
If only the Lions had a run game. That ‘if only’ statement seems to follow the Lions every year. If only Matthew Stafford wasn’t injured. If only their defense wasn’t a mess. It’s a pity. Plus, the Lions are stuck playing against the Packers and Vikings twice every year. The Lions hired Bob Quinn last year and head coach Jim Caldwell was predicted to be shown the door. That didn’t happen and now the Lions sit with a decent record but on the outside looking in in on the NFC playoff race. They can finish with a winning record or a .500 record depending on how the season plays out. Both not the best situation for firing a head coach. Unfortunately, there’s a new GM and Jim Caldwell may not get it done again. Caldwell has lost both playoff games in his tenure as head coach of the Lions and brought a sort of repetitiveness that only a firing can heal.
Who should/will get fired: Jim Caldwell
The last time the Bears sniffed a Super Bowl was when Lovie Smith was their head coach and Rex Grossman was their quarterback. Since then, the Bears have hit a huge skid they have a long ways to go before they recover from. Head coach John Fox may be coaching his last few games with the team (and in the NFL) as the Bears now have a long ways to go. Mitchell Trubisky was selected in the 2017 NFL draft after the 49ers essentially fleeced the Bears to move up a single spot to select him. His play has been very hit or miss.
The defense, led by Vic Fangio has quietly been a highlight given the talent on that side of the ball. Fangio may be considered to take over for head coach, but the Bears will look for an offensive minded head coach to help with Trubisky’s development.
The front office hired Ryan Pace in 2015 and Pace made the Fox hire. Given his draft management and current roster, he may be shown the door as well after the 2017 season. The Bears are an absolute mess right now with bad coaching and poor personel decisions. They very well may hit the reset button on everything after this season. Pace will probably get another year to right this ship, but they may just want to do a GM/HC tandem similar to what the 49ers did. Pace hired Fox, the buck stops with him.
Who should get fired: Ryan Pace and John Fox
Who will get fired: John Fox