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NFL Black Monday head coach primer: AFC West

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.

So the AFC West, this might be the safest division in football. Sure, there’s a lot of disappointment in all of this, but given how the circumstances have worked out, I don’t think there’s going to be too many pink slips.

But I’ve been wrong before.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are going to Las Vegas. They will need a following and they will need to sell tickets. This is why they hired Jon Gruden. If he has been disappointing is up to you.

Currently, the Raiders sit at 6-8. Of those losses, one of them is to the New York Jets. Now that’s not a good sign of progress right there, but Gruden has a plan. I think. The Raiders have transformed into a young team with the trade of Khalil Mack and they have draft picks to develop. At this point with the move to Vegas and all the money they gave Gruden (and a 10-year contract) he’s not going anywhere.

The Raiders have improved on their 4-12 record in 2018 also. I said last year Gruden should get fired, but trust me, no one is going anywhere. At this point, it looks like Gruden planned on starting from scratch building a team. It worked for the 49ers and the 49ers took three years.

Who should get fired: Jon Gruden

Who will get fired: Nobody

Los Angeles Chargers

Last year, the Chargers finished 12-4 and made the playoffs. This year, at-best they can finish 7-9. That said, they’ve dealt with a lot this year so it’s not near as bad as one might think. They’ve already made changes to their offensive coordinator, firing Ken Whisenhunt, and that might be all they need. Next up, the Chargers might need a quarterback.

Philip Rivers isn’t getting any younger and it will be up to Lynn to find his replacement. A lot of the Chargers’ issues in 2019 can be attributed to their ‘aging’ quarterback as well. Well, that and the offensive coordinator, but like we said, Whisenhunte was canned.

Head Coach Anthony Lynn instantly changed things when he took over from the fired Mike McCoy. His first season, the Chargers went 9-7 and then the aforementioned 12-4 season came up. Lynn has received nothing but praise in coaching circles for his football mind and the Chargers would be insane to fire him after one bad season. The Chargers may miss the playoffs this year, but they have some rebuilding to do, and Lynn is just the guy for it.

No one is going anywhere.

Who has been fired: Ken Whisenhunt

Who else should/will get fired: Nobody

Denver Broncos

Two years ago, I said the Broncos needed a new quarterback. They went and got Case Keenum. One year ago, I said the Broncos needed a new quarterback and eventually that went to Joe Flacco. And this year, guess what? The Broncos MIGHT need a new quarterback. On the other hand, this Drew Lock kid might be the answer. Kansas City shut him down last week, but he’s still a rookie and has a lot to learn.

But the Broncos need more than this. John Elway has been a problem. Yes, he got them Peyton Manning, but he also passed on Russell Wilson due to Wilson’s height and then turned around to draft Brock Osweiler.

And it’s not just quarterbacks, Elway has made some head scratchers at head coach. First Elway passed on Kyle Shanahan and went with Vance Joseph. Smooth move there. Then Elway fired Joseph after two seasons and picked up Vic Fangio. Like any 49ers fan it was awesome to see Fangio get a head coaching gig, but the staff they helped him assemble (usually a front office helps a first-year head coach assemble his coordinators) is questionable. Rich Scangarello seemed like a great choice for offensive coordinator and running Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but if he wasn’t ready to be an understudy as OC of the 49ers (like so many are to Kansas City Cheifs’ Andy Reid or New Orleans Saints’ Sean Peyton), maybe he wasn’t ready to be a full-fledged offensive coordinator with the Shanahan system.

And then there’s Fangio. His defenses always get an insta-upgrade when he’s calling the shots. The Broncos defense gives him plenty of toys to play with, but there is something off here. Maybe it’s him as head coach and not knowing how to delegate, maybe it’s his coaching style, or whatever, but his defense (from a subjective viewpoint) seems like it’s taken a step back than what we are used to.

It is Vic Fangio’s first season. It takes at least a year to learn the Kyle Shanahan scheme and they have a young offense. He gets another year.

Except Elway, I think it might be time.

Who should get fired: John Elway

Who will get fired: Nobody

Kansas City Chiefs

And then, there’s the Chiefs. What can I say this year that hasn’t been said in years prior? They have one of the best offenses in the league and a defense that shows up when it feels like it. The one thing to note is the consistency that they’ve had. Andy Reid runs this team and has had seven years to put draft picks and acquisitions together to turn around once lovable losers. The defense needs work, but everyone from the coaching staff to the scouting department has been on the same page.

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

Who should/will get fired: Nobody