Saturday afternoon brought a late addition to Black Monday, as Tennessee fired head coach Mike Munchak after three seasons.
Munchak had spent 32 consecutive seasons with the organization, starting with a 12-season HOF playing career with the Oilers.
He was then an assistant for Jeff Fisher's nearly 17 years as the Oilers/Titans head coach, before taking over for the fired Fisher at the start of the 2011 season.
With Houston (Bill O'Brien) and Tampa Bay (Lovie Smith) having already filled their vacancies, that leaves five openings: Detroit, Washington, Minnesota, Cleveland, and now Tennessee. There's always the chance that Oakland or Miami is added to the list, but it seems unlikely.
Tennessee has been stuck in a rut of mediocrity, with 36 wins over their past five seasons, and with the 2013 passing of Bud Adams, they are now run by Tommy Smith.
It's believed that Smith and GM Ruston Webster had offered to bring Munchak back for one lame-duck season in 2014, but without several members of his handpicked coaching staff.
According to John Glennon, the list of likely candidates to replace Munchak includes Ken Whisenhunt, Greg Roman, Mike Zimmer, Jim Caldwell, Jay Gruden, Todd Bowles, Dan Quinn, Darrell Bevell, and others, but neither Jack Del Rio or Adam Gase.
That's quite a list of candidates, and when we add Bob Stoops, Perry Fewell, and Mike Lombardi's hard-on for Josh McDaniels, it doesn't seem like it will be difficult for those five franchises to find qualified coaches.
Obviously, it remains to be seen whether there's a good match of organization, personnel, and coaching anywhere in there.
But given who's available, the relatively small number of job openings, and the state of the Denver defense, it's no longer a slam dunk that the Broncos will need to hire a new DC this offseason.
Yes, Minnesota is said to be interested in both Del Rio and Gase, but the latter has already delayed (or declined) their advances.
We're not blaming Del Rio for the defense's struggles, especially given the lengthy absences of Von Miller, Champ Bailey, Rahim Moore, and Kevin Vickerson, and the struggles of Wesley Woodyard.
But if we were running one of those teams with a vacancy at head coach, JDR probably wouldn't be our hire.
Other Coaching News
O'Brien cleaned house in Houston, firing old friends Wade Phillips, Rick Dennison, Brian Pariani, and Karl Dorrell. Romeo Crennel is expected to take over as DC, as O'Brien takes the latest crack at recreating the Patriots' success outside of New England.
Ben McDaniels, who was fired along with the rest of Greg Schiano's staff in Tampa Bay, is expected to land with either brother Josh in Cleveland or O'Brien in Houston.
Handshake Haley will remain as the OC in Pittsburgh.
Bill Cowher is putting out word that not only will he not throw his hat into this year's ring, but he doesn't see a return to coaching anytime soon.