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NFL Black Monday head coach Primer: NFC South

It’s onto the NFC South for our look at the state of front offices. AFC North | AFC East | AFC South | AFC West | NFC East NFC North

We’re going to go around the league, looking at each division and seeing what vacancies could open up for Black Monday. Chances are, there won’t be any in Santa Clara, but a coach could bail to fill one of the vacancies elsewhere. Today, we have the NFC South.

The NFC South started things early this year. With the Carolina Panthers already getting into the action, that leaves one other job that will be vacant when Monday rolls around. The NFC South is hard when you have the New Orleans Saints in your division. The Panthers made a sport of things, but now they have Ron Rivera out, so it’s back to the Saints dominating things.

Let’s see who else gets canned.

New Orleans Saints

The rebuild for the Saints is over. They went through a rough stretch of losing and trying to fill the needs of the team after departures and salary cap casualties left them a shadow of their former, Super Bowl-winning selves. The Saints are back, and should have been in the Super Bowl last year if not for an atrocious PI no-call while playing the Los Angeles Rams. They may have to get through another NFC West team this year, the San Francisco 49ers.

Drew Brees, despite his age is still setting records and the Saints defense has been able to compliment him, even if the bending leaves it a bit warped.

All said, there’s no way the Saints start firing anybody. They’ve gone decades to have stability and winning seasons and wouldn’t want to return to the old days of perennial losing. while rumors would fly some seasons that Sean Payton wanted out, he’s still there. The Saints are safe.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody

Carolina Panthers

Rob Rivera is fired. While it makes sense, he also had the Panthers competitive for several years, even if it wasn’t the level some would want. While Ron Rivera managed to get them to a Super Bowl a few years prior, the resilience of a Super Bowl appearance wore off and it was time to get someone who might take things to the next level.

The Panthers removed Dave Gettleman and inserted Marty Hurney as the new GM last year also, which might explain the decision to move on and get their guy. Gettleman was not GM at Rivera’s hiring, but Hurney definitely wasn’t. If Rivera isn’t producing the numbers, and he wasn’t hired by the powers that be, it might be easier to move on.

I said last year it would take two years of underachieving to fire Rivera. 2019 is one year of that, it’s not surprising. Hurney will stick around.

Who has been fired: Ron Rivera

Who else should/will get fired: Nobody

Atlanta Falcons

.500, one Super Bowl appearance, one playoff appearance, and now a very bad team make up the five years of Dan Quinn’s resume. As bad as the Falcons are in 2019, there’s still the backdrop of going to a Super Bowl and a team kept afloat.

Just one problem, that Super Bowl year was more on the shoulders of their offensive coordinator than it was on their head coach. While Quinn turned in a decent season following the Super Bowl loss, the Falcons have trended downwards since said, “coordinator of offense,” left to go do something else.

Last year, I said they haven’t trended downward enough to merit a coaching change. This year? Blow it all up. Steve Sarkisian was an awful play caller, but Dirk Koetter isn’t much better. The Falcons under that shadowy god of offensive coordinators had the No. 1 offense in 2016, per Pro Football Reference. In 2017 they dropped to 15th. 2018 they moved up a spot to 14th. Now that’s not terrible for any team, but when you have Matt Ryan as your quarterback and Julio Jones as your wide receiver, that’s unacceptable. Reports have said as such. There won’t be a change at head coach, but expect a new offensive coordinator to come in.

As far as that amazing offensive coordinator who took them to the Super Bowl? Who knows what mess he’s in.

Who should/will get fired: Dan Quinn

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians returns! In his first year he got Jameis Winston to mold and Winston certainly had his moments, but the only consistency was dial-a-turnovers.

The running game is a mess at 25th in yards while they rank first in passing yards through the league with 4652. The defense? 30th yet again (same rank as last year). At last the Buccaneers are 6th in turnovers.

Every year I say general manager Jason Licht needs to go and every year I’ve been proven wrong. If you’ve been with the Buccaneers since 2014 and your roster is this bad, that’s on you. Don’t forget, this is the team that traded draft picks to get into the second round in order to draft a kicker who is out of the league. Picks don’t work out, in fact, some drafts only one pick will work out, but when you trade picks for a kicker, in the second round, you as a GM simply don’t work out.

But he’ll be tied to Bruce Arians. I don’t get why he’s still running this team, but if Washington can keep Bruce Allen around, then what do I know?

Who should get fired: Jason Licht

Who will get fired: Nobody