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NFL Black Monday head coach primer: AFC East

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Our look at the coaching needs across the league takes us to the AFC East. Could a 49ers coach wind up there?

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 East.

The AFC East goes basically like this: There’s the Patriots and then there’s everybody else. Nothing much has changed in 2018. Since the year 2000, the Patriots have come in second place within the AFC East a total of two times. The rest of those seasons? First place.

Last year, little turnaround was expected. This year, there’s going to be some heads falling. Oh, heads will fall. If you can’t beat the Patriots (which no one can with consistency) you’re out of a job. Which leads us to:

New England Patriots

In a season everyone thought once again would be a down year, the Patriots sit at the top of the AFC East with Tom Brady reaching 1,000 yards rushing for his career. Took him long enough.

Outside of that milestone, it’s business as usual for New England. Last year, there was some speculation that the wheels were falling off due to the Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the San Francisco 49ers. Garoppolo is recovering from an ACL tear and Brady is ageless,

The Patriots almost lost Josh McDaniels last year to a coaching vacancy with the Indianapolis Colts, but at the last second, McDaniels backed out and returned to New England. It was a bad look, but what isn’t bad is McDaniels’ offense. That’s still telling to what happens in New England. It’s absolute stability and McDaniels may be the successor to Bill Belichick whenever he decides to hang it up.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody

Miami Dolphins

It’s nice when the Dolphins get stability at the quarterback position, and by quarterback position, we mean Ryan Tannehill isn’t out for the season. Tannehill has been out which has let Brock Osweiler come in and try his luck at the position.

The Dolphins also made a genius move to bring in Frank Gore. A running back who at 35 has outplayed 24-year-old Kenyan Drake in some games.

Beyond that, the Dolphins are just about there. They need to get the quarterback position figured out, because even with Tannehill, there’s a lot left to be desired. A coaching change could be looked at, but Gase has said the right things and brought the right people in. He’s going to get another year.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody

Buffalo Bills

Boy I’m glad the 49ers aren’t at least dysfunctional. The Bills have been a basic WTH all season. One week you think they are just missing a few pieces, the next week they look abysmal.

After the Tyrod Taylor debacle of 2017, the Bills went and picked Josh Allen. This turned out to not be a bad idea, but they failed to put anything around him at wide receiver or offensive line. LeSean McCoy hasn’t been awful, but he has dealt with some legal issues. Despite the chaos, the Bills named McCoy a team captain. Well, whatever.

The Bills would go to a season that went back and forth. They dominated the Minnesota Vikings but got destroyed by the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers. The latter of which has just fired their head coach for sluggish performances.

Sean McDermott is a defensive-minded coach, but the organization isn’t giving him much to work with in all this turnover. Not to mention that they can’t get one side of the ball figured out. His defense seems to have taken a step back from 2017 as well. It seems like the team has failed to make any progress since McDermott’s hiring a year ago. Still, the Bills made the playoffs in 2017 which is an achievement of its own. Given that he’s in the second year of his coaching tenure, he’s got another year, but don’t be surprised if he’s on thin ice.

Who should get fired: Sean McDermott
Who will get fired: Nobody

New York Jets

And then there’s the Jets. Let’s get something straight: They weren’t winning anything this year. It’s not that you lose, but how you lose, and the Jets have looked awful losing this year. They took quarterback Sam Darnold with the third pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and he has been a bit questionable — it’s obvious he needs severe development. His season has been something expected from a second round pick. Not a pick taken at number three.

While Darnold may wind up being a bust or the savior of the franchise, one thing is certain with this offensive pickup, the Jets have been atrocious on offense. Their running backs are awful and with uninspiring play from the wide receivers, they need a lot of pieces. On the defensive side of the ball, Todd Bowles’ defense hasn’t done much of anything as the Jets losses are at an average of 13 points (that’s almost two touchdowns).

Given how long Bowles has been there and the offensive movement the Jets are showing as of late, it’s time for him to go. He’s had plenty of time to get things righted, and it’s just not working.

Who should/will get fired: Todd Bowles