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NFL Black Monday head coach primer: NFC West

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

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 West.

In 2019, the NFC West could be the safest division in football. After last year’s one and done coach in Steve Wilks for the Arizona Cardinals, they might have something to build on with Kliff Kingsbury.

The other three teams have had prior success that makes them safe, made progress, or both. Let’s get to it.

Seattle Seahawks

You gotta hand it to the Seahawks, just when you think they are done, they go out and show you how stupid you are for throwing dirt on them. 2018 was supposed to be an offseason for them. One where they’d miss the playoffs and continue this rebuild. Then comes 2019 where they get a shot of that Seattle luck and have Jadeveon Clowney fall right into their lap. Add in the near-MVP-like play of Russell Wilson and you have a team built to get a postseason run.

Pete Carroll has rebuilt the team to be a contender again. People want coaches and executives from Seattle, and Seattle is reluctant to remove anyone.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody

Arizona Cardinals

Last year, the Cardinals had no identity. They got that this year with Kliff Kingsbury. Last year, we knew whatever Steve Wilks was doing wasn’t working. This year, we don’t know what the hell to think of the air raid offense.

Which is why Kingsbury has another year. The Cardinals have invested quite a bit into making Kingsbury succeed, which includes drafting Kyler Murray No. 1 in the draft and passing on Nick Bosa.

If Kingsbury will succeed is still anyone’s guess, and the air raid hasn’t proven it can or can’t work in the NFL, but it’s a helluva lot better than what they had last year. There’s a lot of question marks, but you can at least see what they are trying to do.

This is the last coaching pick for general manager Steve Keim. If Kingsbury goes, Keim goes. I’m not sold on any of this, but I think it deserves another year. Especially when the Cardinals are much better than their record indicates.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams might have a 9-7 season and miss the playoffs. Meanwhile the garbage NFC East can have an 8-8 team go to the playoffs. Please change this dumb rule.

All right, back to the Rams. This did not go as according to plan and they will have some big decisions to make this offseason. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips may not be back for 2020 and there are reports that there might be some retooling after one season at 9-7 (yeah...that’s some pretty ridiculous expectations).

The Rams have to figure out what to do with Jalen Ramsey also. They traded first round picks for him midseason and now need to figure out a way to re-sign him.

Beyond Ramsey though, the Rams have had awful, awful drafts. The cracks are beginning to show for this lack of talent. Not only have they potentially thrown their future away with the Ramsey debacle (if he signs elsewhere) but they also don’t have anyone to step up for the pieces they may lose.

Regardless, of all the retoolings, drama, and future wastelands, there’s no chance they send Sean McVay elsewhere after he’s revitalized a team from the Jeff Fisher days.

Who should/will get fired: Nobody

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers not only brought a coach in Kyle Shanahan and a general manager in John Lynch, but they also had a roster that was in the bottom of football. Since then, Shanahan has not only began developing talent, he’s also kept them motivated in lost seasons and now has a shot at a Super Bowl in 2020.

Shanahan and Lynch have six year contracts. They are in the third year of those aforementioned contracts. Considering the offset language (there is none—Shanahan can be fired and coach somewhere else and get paid from both parties) and the fact Shanahan has improved the roster and the team year over year, it would be outright foolish to end things at this point. Shanahan has gotten the best out of what he has, which right now is not much.

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