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NFL Black Monday head coach primer: AFC West

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Our look at front office/head coach openings in the NFL continues today with the AFC West. AFC North | AFC East | AFC South

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 West.

When I began writing up the AFC West, two things became certain. There were coaches and front office personnel that needed fired, and from the looks of it, it’s doubtful anybody is going to get canned. At least the right people. There is plenty of blame to throw around for some of the antics here, but I don’t think those responsible are going to get any of it.

There will most likely be one, maybe two openings here. Both in different departments.

Oakland Raiders

Everyone can still wonder what the hell the Raiders were doing when they gave Jon Gruden that insane contract to come back and coach. Sure, at first it looked kind of fun seeing a TV announcer away from the game for so long return, but then when you saw him trade Khalil Mack, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the Raiders (well, three of us couldn’t help it, most of you are laughing). The Chicago Bears will go down as running away the true winners of the Khalil Mack trade. How? They got Khalil Mack. Amari Cooper was jettisoned during the season and Marshawn Lynch is on IR. The only talent left on the team is Derek Carr and he has regressed this season.

It all points to Gruden, or general manager Reggie McKenzie and drama has already started in Gruden’s first season. Just Google what he’s said to follow up the trade and cringe with me.

Sad part is, this is only the beginning. There is no way the Raiders fire him after giving him a 10 year contract that is loaded. Not in his first season. They say McKenzie is on the way out and that sounds plausible. Maybe with his pile of first round draft picks Gruden can put the Raiders back together, but we all need to wonder what the hell he’s doing

Who should get fired: Jon Gruden

Who will get fired: Reggie McKenzie

Los Angeles Chargers

Time for me to eat some crow. When I made my predictions I said the Chargers weren’t going to be very good this year. Well I was all sorts of wrong on that one because they’ve been the opposite. Are they going to the Super Bowl? Not with the Kansas City Chiefs in that division. They might win the wild card game they’ll have to settle with, but they aren’t representing the AFC in the Super Bowl with the Chiefs and New England Patriots running around.

Head coach Anthony Lynn has done all sorts of wonder for the Chargers, but his biggest test is yet to come: Philip Rivers. The Chargers quarterback isn’t getting any younger and it will be up to Lynn to find his replacement. Maybe he already has it in Geno Smith (try not to laugh) but decisions will have to be made.

Until then, the Chargers have had not had this kind of success with coaching since the Norv Turner days, and even then that was sketchy. No one is going anywhere.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody

Denver Broncos

Last year, I said the Broncos needed a new quarterback. They went and got Case Keenum. This year, the Broncos need a new quarterback and Case Keenum isn’t it. Then again, Keenum may not be the problem. The Broncos haven’t been horrible this year, but when you have the Chargers and the Chiefs in your division, it doesn’t help the win totals.

The sad part is, the Broncos have a decent defense (ranked 10th per Pro Football Reference), but their offense is developing. They have Phillip Lindsay, an undrafted gem that is making himself their running back of the future. Courtland Sutton has made a name for himself as their wide receiver (and a reason to jettison Demaryius Thomas to the Texans) and then there’s Keenum. Well, he’s holding down the fort better than those before him, but if the Broncos are going to go to the next level, quarterback will be needing an upgrade. Until then they are caught in .500 hell. Keenum isn’t going to lose a game for them and he’ll even win some games, but he sure as hell isn’t going to win them a championship. At least not right now.

Last year Vance Joseph didn’t impress and this year he’s doing a bit better, though one has to wonder who goes first in front office drama, he or John Elway. Remember, last year all signs pointed to a pink slip to save face. My guess is neither go. Elway had a decent draft in 2018 and Joseph has gotten better as a coach. The Broncos have shown some good pieces to develop and Joseph can get one more year. But don’t be surprised if he gets canned to save face.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody

Kansas City Chiefs

And then, there’s the Chiefs. We’ve talked long and hard about them. The one thing to note is the consistency that they’ve had. Andy Reid runs this team and has had six years to put draft picks and acquisitions together to make one of the most formidable offenses in recent memory. The defense needs work, but everyone from the coaching staff to the scouting department has been on the same page. General manager John Dorsey was let go last year and it looks like it may have been for the better.

There’s not much that needs to be said about the Chiefs. They are a team that loses coaches to other teams looking to hire and get that same culture brought to their organization. No one here is getting a pink slip.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody