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2023 NFL Black Monday Recap

(Image Credit: Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick

Twitter: @NicholasMullick

This is a day in Football that I don't like at all. That day is called Black Monday. Especially as it is a time where coaches and managers lose their jobs in the NFL. It is not easy writing about people losing jobs, but the NFL is a business and moves like this have to be made. I hope those that lost their jobs get another one in the NFL. In this article let's see who has lost their jobs on Black Monday in 2023.

Fired Head Coaches

Lovie Smith - Houston Texans (2022)

This was a predictably terrible hire the moment it was made by the Houston Texans. I hate to go after Lovie Smith as I have never heard one bad word about the guy, but almost any coach would fail in this spot with the level of talent provided. Even with the poor level of talent as a defensive minded coach there were still a ton of problems with how poor they were with dealing with the run. I guarantee that Smith saw the writing on the wall and heavily motivated this team to win in Week 18 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Let's be real, Lovie Smith was not the guy that they were originally going to have as the head coach of this team this season. That guy was Josh McCown and the organization decided not to hire him as they realized what a disaster it would be and did not want bad PR. This hire also made us question the whole point of firing David Culley if you were just going to promote his defensive coordinator.

You know what is the worst part is, the Texans will have a different head coach for a third straight season. Gosh this team is basically the NFL version of the Robert Sarver Phoenix Suns when it comes to how they handle their coaches. Good luck trying to hire another head coach that you won’t one and done again.

Kliff Kingsbury - Arizona Cardinals (2019-2022)

When the Cardinals originally hired Kingsbury to this role I thought that he was going to be a complete disaster. Especially with the fact that he was fired from Texas Tech and had Patrick Mahomes at QB which was a big red flag to me. However despite all the criticisms against him he did a lot better in this role than many anticipated. You can’t take away that he contributed turning this team from the 1st Overall Pick to a playoff caliber team. However, let's be real the Cardinals should have fired Kingsbury last season. Especially in the way they choked the NFC West title last season and how poorly coached and unprepared the Cardinals were in their playoff game last season.

But he was signed to a 5 year extension which was a massive mistaked. There were many weeks this season where the Cardinals got outcoached and the players especially quit on him in games. Speaking of which it was clear that Kingsbury and Kyler Murray’s relationship was not great at all. Especially when that homework clause got leaked and when that came out I knew that there was a problem. Then when Kyler Murray made this quote below…

When Murray said that, I knew that Kingsbury’s days were numbered here. Schematically they were super screwed and Kingsbury failed to adjust and adapt to certain game time situations. He heavily overlayed on Kyler Murray to bail him out so many times. Plus even when Arizona was good Kingsbury sucked in the second half of seasons and teams started to realize that they took advantage.

It was no longer an if, but when Kingsbury was gone from Arizona. Especially as reports came out that Kingsbury was apparently “miserable” and wanted out of Arizona. Even when he had multiple years left with the extension he signed to.

Kingsbury will likely be getting another role in football as a coach. He could be an offensive coordinator in the NFL, but it would not shock me if he decides to go back to coaching in college football.

Fired Offensive Coordinators

Todd Downing - Tennessee Titans (2021-2022)

It is almost like you should not have promoted Downing when they did. Downing was way over his head as the offensive coordinator of this team and the playcalling was so terrible that it cost the Titans many games this season. This was the worst 4th quarter offense in the NFL and Like I said in my latest Titans article, their point differential in the 4th quarter was at one point was at -100.Even though injuries derailed this team, the coaching did not help either. No matter how well this season went, playoffs or no playoffs, Downing had to go.

Fired Defensive Coordinators

Joe Woods - Cleveland Browns (2020-2022)

One of the main issues with the Cleveland Browns this year was how garbage their defense was. A big reason why was how poorly coached they were on defense and Woods is a big reason why. Honestly I was shocked he was not fired in the middle of the season with how lost the defense was. The defense got progressively worse the last two years under Woods and Stefanski was not going to be fired this season as he is an offensive minded coach. The secondary regressed a lot and the run defense was one of if not the worst in the NFL. I do think that Woods will get another role in this league as a positional coach in the NFL, but this was a move that had to be done.

Fired GM

Steve Kiem - Arizona Cardinals (2013-2022)

This move was not a surprise at all and was expected the past few months. In fact I am more surprised he was not fired the same day Steve Wilks was fired in 2018. Excluding the DeAndre Hopkins trade and drafting Kyler Murray, Keim has really made great moves the past few seasons.

Especially in his drafting which has been awful the past few years. Keep in mind this is the same GM that drafted Josh Rosen with a Top 10 pick that he traded up for. He used premium draft choices on the same positions including linebacker in the first round. Keim largely ignored building the offensive line, DE/EDGE, CB, and many more positions as well. He also traded a 1st round pick to acquire WR Marquise Brown which is such an overpayment. Keim overvalued signing aging veteran talent that didn't fit the system

Also the whole Kugler situation has been super bizarre. Especially in the allegations that the groping incident in Mexico City may have been a coverup.

I still wonder what will come out on the further investigation of that incident. He may have left due to health issues and I hope that he will be better health wise, but the cardinals had to start from fresh. A year too late, but it's better late than never.



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