We would start this saying that NFC West would have zero turnover, but recently news has come out about a possible vacancy. One that may be attractive given the front office in place.
But even that isn’t guaranteed. Don’t be surprised if the NFC West is on total lock-down come Black Friday. There’s too many new hires/progress to fire anyone. It makes this a bit boring, but maybe someone from Los Angeles or Seattle gets poached to go elsewhere.
We’ll begin with who was the NFC’s best last year, the Seahawks. This year, the Hawks have found themselves with a number of issues that they still haven’t repaired, the most important being the porous offensive line. It seems every year, the Hawks have a chance to fix it and every year, the money and draft picks are either spent elsewhere or the wrong piece.
Regardless, Russell Wilson still finds a way to make plays, but he’s been called upon to put the team on his back a lot more due to the multiple injuries suffered by the Seahawks defense. I don’t want to say he did a good or bad job, but the Seahawks are playing for a playoff spot in week 16, so that should say something.
But that right there says something is wrong. This is the same Seahawk team that once had the playoffs nearly locked up 10 games into a season. While the cracks are beginning to show and the leprechauns are beginning to call in sick for this once mighty roster, Seahawks are far from falling off the rails. They’ll make it into the playoffs, probably lose, then then the 1-2 man will laugh at 49ers fans for thinking they have made immense progress in 2017 (my how the tables have turned from 2011). For that reason, the coaching staff is safe. The front office, while failing to address the O-line, has also been able to put together somewhat decent rosters, but the team is only getting more expensive. 2018 will be the first test of the Seahawks sanity. Especially when some of their players are openly wanting to go to the Cowboys.
Then again, they could just fire Darell Bevill for their offensive issues and call it a day.
Who should/will get fired: Nobody. Talk to me next year
Pity the poor Cardinals, they finally got out of .500 hell and put together a decent roster, only for that roster to have the smallest of windows. That window has just about shut. Now Carson Palmer could retire, Bruce Arians is rumored to step down, and Larry Fitzgerald might not be far behind.
There’s all sorts of chaos about to happen in Arizona. One thing’s for sure: the front office is untouchable. They have fielded some great drafts and acquired great players in free agency—just everything is leaving all at once. They will be tested, but no one is getting fired from there.
On the coaching side of things, the Cardinals might be an attractive spot just for this reason. They have a working front office and a good system that Bruce Arians may leave because of his own health, not because of any fault of his own. It’s an attractive landing spot—if the coach can identify a good quarterback or bring one to Phoenix. That’s the big question. The Cardinals will need a year to bounce back from all the injuries/retirements that are coming, but one good draft could bring them back as the NFC’s underrated team. Again.
Who may step down: Bruce Arians
Who else should/will get fired: Nobody
The Rams eschew a lot of the 2011 San Francisco 49ers on that team. They had one of the better rosters in football that Jeff Fisher couldn’t seem to get past seven wins. So they went and got Sean McVay, better known as ‘that guy who learned under Kyle Shanahan’. Certainly, McVay got some perspective learning under Washington coach Jay Gruden, but however way you look at it, the Rams have one of the best offenses in the league under a quarterback that many thought in 2016 would be done with the league in due order.
McVay knocked his interviews out of the park with several teams he interviewed with in the 2017 coaching search, so he’s apparently that good. Now not only does he have a deadly offense, he’s got Wade Phillips on the defensive side of the ball with some of the best defensive players in the NFL.
The Rams very well may represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year. Nobody is getting fired. What will be interesting to watch is how they build through the draft now that they have less picks and less salary cap room coming in. Much like the Jim Harbaugh years, the 49ers couldn’t replace their departures through the draft and the roster suffered.
Who should/will get fired: Nobody
San Francisco 49ers
For a GM who’s had no experience and a head coach who outright wouldn’t hire an offensive coordinator, the 49ers looked like the same repetitive disaster for the four or so months after their press conference. Then John Lynch showed everyone he’s John-freaking-Lynch and fleeced the Chicago Bears for one spot in the draft. From there it was babysteps for the team—they would get there in time with the right coaching and the right offseason moves. Multiple offseason moves.
Things were sped up once Jimmy Garoppolo flew in from a trade with the New England Patriots for a 2nd round pick. With the arrivial of Garoppolo and a convincing offensive win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 49ers look like a possible wildcard contender.
For 49ers fans it’s been the strangest 10 months of their lives, watching the 3rd coach in just as many years stumble and fall, the organization dragging its feet on filling in the holes left behind, and then all the sudden the change from absolute garbage into gold. It’s very reminiscent of the Bill Walsh 1979 season. Now, the 49ers will get to face an offseason without a coaching hiring period, which is very strange indeed. The excitement in January isn’t over who can save this team, it’s on how far the team can go now that they have what may be the perfect fits for players, coaches, and front office staff.
Unfortunately, this comes with a price. While the 49ers coaching staff is young and inexperienced, saving themselves a poaching, the front office is filled with veterans and knowledge that John Lynch has tried to soak up as much as possible via osmosis. There is no way in hell that all star group they have sticks around for the long term, as new positions open up, they will certainly want to further their careers. That is when Lynch will be tested with how much he knows and how much he learned.
Good news is, it’s a better feeling other ball clubs want to get people from our system and not vice versa.
The only thing concerning is 49ers owner Jed York. As long as he stays out of the way and lets his football team be ran. And everyone can get along—they have something special.
Who should/will get fired: Nobody