Kubiak resigned for health reasons less than a year removed from
coaching the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl championship, he left behind
a great gig.
“There’s 32 of these jobs, and to think that you’re
doing one of them is the greatest feeling in the world. I’ll say this:
At this place, this is the best job in America,” Kubiak said this week,
“because the people you’ve got helping you on a daily basis are second
Several factors can be considered when rating which of
the six head-coaching vacancies around the league is the most — or least
— worth wanting. Those include roster quality, especially at
quarterback; how helpful and patient ownership is; competence of the
general manager; competitiveness of the division.
potential candidates for these positions are top offensive minds (Josh
McDaniels, Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay), defensive experts (Matt Patricia,
Teryl Austin) and folks who’ve been around before (Tom Coughlin, Mike
If one had his choice of landing spots, which should he
pick? Here is one analysis of the current NFL openings, in order of
DENVER BRONCOS (2016 record: 9-7)
it’s a good gig: By far the best job available. One side of the ball is
set, thanks to linebacker Von Miller and the rest of a topflight
defense that led the club to the title not that long ago and was superb
again this season. There’s considerable talent on the roster, a winning
environment, a real home-field advantage, a GM (John Elway) who knows
what he’s doing, and a willingness to do — and spend — what it takes to
Why it’s a bad gig: There is no established quarterback —
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch have a combined 16 pro starts — and the
AFC West might just be the league’s toughest division.
said: “This is a great place to work, but the expectations are high. …
Everybody that comes here, as a coach or as a player, understands that
the standard is to have to be able to compete for world championships.” —
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-13)
Why it’s a
good gig: There’s a big drop-off from Denver to the rest of the bunch,
but Jacksonville ranks No. 2, primarily because of an up-and-coming
defense and relatively patient ownership, plus plenty of room under the
cap to bring in help. Doesn’t hurt to be in the deeply flawed AFC South,
either, meaning a playoff berth is never far out of reach.
it’s a bad gig: Not clear that Blake Bortles is a long-term solution at
quarterback and, as of now, it appears the franchise could be stuck with
him for at least another season.
What was said: “Whoever the new
head coach is, I totally understand that he’s going to play at
quarterback who he wants to play at quarterback, and I have no problem
with that.” — Bortles.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (4-12)
it’s a good gig: Thanks mainly to Aaron Donald, the defense is
respectable. Sophomore slump aside, Todd Gurley looks like the real deal
at running back. There’s also a young QB drafted No. 1 overall, Jared
Goff, to work with. And if you’re a coach who wants to “go Hollywood,”
well, here’s a place you truly can.
Why it’s a bad gig:
Something’s amiss when a coach gets fired within days of word leaking
out that he received an extension a while ago. Oh, and there’s the
not-so-little matter of 12 consecutive seasons without making the
What was said: “With the talent we’ve got, we shouldn’t
be where we’re at, as far as the record and the way we’ve been losing.” —
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (5-11)
Why it’s a good
gig: There’s quality at QB (in the short term, anyway, because Philip
Rivers is 35), RB (Melvin Gordon) and DE (Joey Bosa). And, hey, can’t
beat the weather, right?
Why it’s a bad gig: The uncertainty over
whether the team will be in San Diego or LA is only one manifestation of
the club’s long-standing lack of direction. Ownership is known for
hiring coaches on the cheap, and the Chargers have made nine playoff
appearances in 33 years.
What was said: “You’re looking for a
leader. It’s not always just about the X’s and O’s.” — GM Tom Telesco,
on what he wants in a coach.
BUFFALO BILLS (7-9)
it’s a good gig: Some pieces of the puzzle are in place, including WR
Sammy Watkins and RB LeSean McCoy. Not a lot else, though.
it’s a bad gig: Start with two names — Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The
Bills are basically playing for second place, at best, behind the New
England Patriots in the AFC East, although even that doesn’t account for
why they have gone 17 seasons without reaching the playoffs. That
drought is unfathomable in today’s everyone-has-a-chance NFL. One
example of the problems: GM Doug Whaley had no input in the decision to
fire coach Rex Ryan.
What was said: “We’re searching for that coach that can be here for 10-15 years.” — Whaley.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-14)
Why it’s a good gig: Hmmmm. San Francisco’s a terrific city? The new stadium? Nowhere to go but up?
it’s a bad gig: A lengthy list, from the lack of a QB, to a woeful
defense, to general dysfunction and impatience of an organization that
dismissed three head coaches and a GM over the past three seasons.
Things are so bad that team CEO Jed York was asked at a news conference
why he shouldn’t be dismissed or reassigned.
What was said: “I own
this football team. You don’t dismiss owners. I’m sorry that that’s the
facts and that’s the case, but that’s the fact.” — York.