Let the NFL coaching changes begin.
The St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the latest teams to fire their coaches, bringing to five the number of NFL clubs looking for the right man for the job.
The Rams fired Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney on Monday, and about an hour later, the Bucs fired Raheem Morris and his entire staff.
Both were first-time head coaches, and both lasted three seasons. Spagnuolo leaves with a 10-38 record, Morris with a 17-31 mark.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Monday he hasn’t decided whether to retain Jim Caldwell after Indy finished 2-14 without Peyton Manning in the lineup. Irsay, however, fired vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian.
The Jacksonville Jaguars started the coaching carousel by firing Jack Del Rio on Nov. 29; two weeks later, the Miami Dolphins fired Tony Sparano and the Kansas City Chiefs dismissed Todd Haley.
And the search is on, especially in Florida, where all three NFL teams will have new coaches next season.
The Jaguars, with new owner Shahid Khan taking charge Wednesday, have received permission from the Jets to interview offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and from the Falcons to interview offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for the vacancy.
Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said Monday he and owner Stephen Ross have begun their search. Interim coach Todd Bowles is a long shot, and a front-runner has yet to surface.
The Chiefs went 2-1 under interim Romeo Crennel, including a win over the Packers, and he could end up with the job next season. Many Chiefs players have campaigned for Crennel to be hired.
The Rams finished a 2-14 season with a 34-27 loss to the 49ers and could be interested in former Titans coach Jeff Fisher and former Bucs coach Jon Gruden. Both have relationships with Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff and agent Marvin Demoff.
“Coach (Spagnuolo) addressed the team this morning to let us know that he was terminated and he was sorry, especially for the guys that have been here the entire three years he was coach, that he didn’t get the job done,” said running back Steven Jackson, a former Eldorado High School standout. “He took full responsibility.”
Morris, 35, was supposed to be the rising young star in the coaching ranks after his Bucs won 10 games last season and just missed the playoffs. But his team lost its last 10 games and finished 4-12 this season.
“I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the passion Coach Morris gave to our football team, but this change is one we felt was necessary,” general manager Mark Dominik said in a brief statement.
In San Diego, Chargers coach Norv Turner said he knows a decision on his future is being made by team president Dean Spanos and will be announced in a matter of days. Turner said he’d be “excited” to return to the Chargers for his sixth season because he thinks they “can go do some great things.”
Whether he gets the chance is up to Spanos, who also is deciding whether general manager A.J. Smith returns.
It appears Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey will be back. On Monday, he fired defensive coordinator George Edwards and replaced him with assistant head coach Dave Wannstedt.
In Philadelphia, Eagles coach Andy Reid seems likely to return, but first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo might not be back. That could leave open a spot for Spagnuolo, who also could be wooed by the Giants and other teams looking to upgrade their defense. Spagnuolo masterminded the Giants’ defense that stopped the unbeaten Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl.