Maybe in this season of all things Lord of the Rings, his name rhymes to closely with the Dark Lord’s. Maybe it was just that he raised expectations beyond anyone’s ability to deliver with 13 wins in 2001. Most likely the bottom line was five years, 35-46 and 22-43 without that one spectacular year, one playoff game which the Bears lost. No matter which reason you point to, Dick Jauron is gone as the head coach of the Chicago Bears.
Meanwhile, the outlook is getting worse for Bill Callahan. Bad enough to lose to the Chargers yesterday in a game where only special teams managed to score and the QBs combined for a rating of 20 but with the pre-game suspension of Charles Woodson and Charlie Garner, he seems to have completely lost the team. Reminds me vaguely of the stories about Richard Nixon drunkenly rambling through the White House in the Spring and Summer of 1974, talking more to the portraits on the walls than to his staff.
Down in Miami, though, Dave Wannstedt seems to have convinced owner Wayne Huizinga–a man who knows trash thoroughly, after all–that he deserves another year. The Mustachioed One will need to give up some of his authority to a general manager to be named later but I’ve never been a fan of giving one person both jobs anyway, plus he gets a one year extension ensuring that if the new GM wants to drop kick him after 2004, Wannstedt will get a hefty parting gift.
Atlanta is getting started with the interview process; so far Rich McKay is focusing on experienced defensive coordinators and the 49ers’ Jim Mora, who lost out to Dennis Erickson last year, is one of three names listed, along with St. Louis’s Lovie Smith and and New England’s Romeo Crennel. Focusing on defense makes sense to me since a healthy Michael Vick, the RB combination of Duckett and Dunn and a quality free agent at wide reciever (calling Terell Owens!) mean that the Falcons should be a top offense next season. Also nice to see that two of the three named candidates are men of color.
Nick Saban, everybody’s favorite college to pro jumper the last couple of off-seasons, is of course named as a candidate for the Bears’ job if the money can be worked out; I do wonder if the losing coach in the Sugar Bowl mashup will decide to make the leap. Dennis Green is generally seen as the Man Most Favored by Al Davis and may be ready for an NFL return after two years fishing, and I think the Raiders could use his style (not to mention a few quality starters under the age of 30). The other rumor I’ve heard so far is that Jim Fassel, having left the Giants with all of four wins this season, will replace McGinnis down in the desert.
Also: There is now a master page up for this season’s amusement, linked over there on the left in the site navigation bar under Articles.