29.2 C
New York

Possible NFL coaching openings and most closely fits: A Harbaugh return? McVay to TV? Mike Sando’s Pick Six


This NFL season has reached a degree where there’s enough football remaining for teams to alter their narratives, but with two head coaches fired already, the urgency increases each week.

We’ve heard all season about Sean Payton’s interest in returning to the sideline, complete with speculation on potential landing spots, including one which seems very misguided. There may be reason to ponder whether one other Super Bowl-winning head coach, Sean McVay, might again consider looking for refuge in a broadcast booth if his 3-8 Los Angeles Rams are headed for a rebuild. And after Jim Harbaugh coached Michigan to a powerful victory against Ohio State on Saturday, inching closer to a possible national championship, my mind turned to what Harbaugh termed “unfinished business” within the NFL following his pursuit of the Minnesota Vikings’ job in January.

The Pick Six column leads this week with thoughts from NFL insiders on the dynamics surrounding these heavyweight coaching contenders, and which teams make for the perfect matches. The total menu:

Harbaugh, McVay, Payton dynamics
Is Zach Wilson finished with Jets?
An imperfect 10 for Wilson, Broncos
In your Odell Beckham Jr. fascination
Concerning the Titans’ situational edge …
Two-minute drill: Raiders, Jags, Browns

1. Here’s what’s interesting in regards to the head coaching dynamics, from McVay to Payton to Harbaugh and beyond.

Coaches, execs and agents are Houston, Arizona and Denver because the places more than likely to affix Carolina and Indianapolis available in the market for head coaches, with some thought that the Rams could have a emptiness depending up on what McVay chooses to do, while the Chargers could consider a change if their up-and-down season were to move downward again. There’ll generally be a surprise or two as well.

Two of the three more interesting potential candidates aren’t even working within the league.

Sean McVay: McVay is so interesting because a lot has modified for him so quickly. He led the Rams to their first Los Angeles-era Super Bowl victory in February. He got married in June. He has lost key players to injury with great frequency, from quarterback Matthew Stafford to left tackle Joe Noteboom to No. 1 wideout Cooper Kupp, No. 2 wideout Allen Robinson (on Sunday) and more. His team has a 3-8 record. Stafford’s wife, emotional after a concussion Stafford suffered, has reflected on the quarterback’s future, at one point saying, “I just need the person I fell in love with to be the identical man for my kids and the life that we’re going to live.”

If McVay considered taking a break from the sport by entering into the printed booth nine months ago, how must he feel now? He did sign a contract extension with the Rams, which might potentially limit his options down the road, except that coaches find it flattering and empowering when teams hand over draft selections to secure their services. Who doesn’t like to be wanted? McVay’s former boss, Jon Gruden, fetched two first-round picks, a second-rounder and $8 million for the Raiders when Tampa Bay acquired him 20 years ago.

“All these coaches need to be traded for since it shows how much control they’ll have of their recent place,” an exec from one other team said on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “A lot of coaches have left and are available back. McVay can be a commodity each yr he wasn’t coaching.”

McVay is just 36. He isn’t finished coaching. People near him have said he’d never feel fulfilled professionally if broadcasting one game each week were the extent of his work. But any coach with a recent Super Bowl ring on his finger might prefer making easier money and spending time together with his newlywed wife over the grind that would await the Rams if Stafford is nearer the finish line than anticipated. Watching McVay get smacked in the pinnacle while standing on the sideline Sunday in Kansas City — rookie undrafted free agent Roger Carter slammed into McVay by accident — provided some symbolism for a season gone awry unexpectedly.

“I believe he goes to Amazon for a bajillion dollars because they wanted him before,” an other exec said. “It can bring something sexy.”

Sean Payton: A veteran agent noted that deals between teams and big-time coaches reminiscent of Payton typically are negotiated well ahead of time, in private. The Raiders’ cope with Gruden a couple of years ago involves mind. The situation with Payton is far different since the Saints hold his rights. That’s considered one of two explanation why it’s hard finding logical landing spots for Payton. Money is the opposite reason. Not every owner is willing to pay top dollar.

“I don’t know if Recent Orleans has gotten into any discussions on compensation,” the agent said. “It’s far more complicated.”

Some have linked Payton to the Chargers, but multiple execs can be shocked if he landed there. First, there aren’t any assurances the Chargers will make a change. They’ve a winning record, and current general manager Tom Telesco already hired two coaches previously. GMs typically don’t get to rent a 3rd. But most importantly, execs think there may be zero likelihood the Chargers would do the three things required for landing Payton: trading away premium draft selections, paying Payton near the highest of the coaching market and ceding significant personnel authority to him. That simply isn’t how the Chargers operate.

The Rams can be a more logical fit for Payton if McVay were to depart, delivering star power to a company that has coveted it. The short list of other teams that may be most willing to pay near the highest of the market could include Carolina, Denver and possibly Houston amongst teams which have openings or are expected to make changes, within the estimation of some execs. The Broncos’ job, if it opens, may very well be a tougher sell due to the Russell Wilson situation, but someone with Payton’s pedigree might have the opportunity to supply the needed coaching, and if not, nobody could really blame him for the outcomes. He’d have time to search out his own alternative.

“I actually have heard Sean Payton doesn’t want anything to do with that, however it may very well be a brief list of teams willing to fulfill all of the conditions,” an exec said.

Jim Harbaugh: Harbaugh is in his eighth season coaching at Michigan, twice so long as he’s lasted anywhere else, despite succeeding every step of the best way. He lasted 4 years as head coach of the 49ers and 4 as head coach at Stanford and three as head coach at University of San Diego. He has Michigan at 12-0 and coming off a 45-23 victory at archrival Ohio State, with the Big Ten Championship Game looming against Purdue and a shot on the national championship in reach. It’s unknown whether he’ll emerge as a serious NFL candidate for the second offseason in a row.

The Colts make for an interesting potential landing spot because Harbaugh helped them to an AFC title game as their quarterback. Nevertheless, the coaches Indy owner Jim Irsay has hired over the past couple a long time had mellower personalities. Nobody would mistake Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Chuck Pagano or Frank Reich for the blustery Harbaugh. But desperate times could call for desperate measures. Buying out Harbaugh from his Michigan deal would reportedly cost $3 million, a manageable sum for billionaire owners.

“I lean toward yes on Indy,” an AFC exec said. “It’s gotta be a spot where there may be affection for him. He’s quirky. I believe Irsay has affection for him. You might be getting a man who has won within the league, went to a Super Bowl, has done all of it. And he has won there in Indy as a quarterback. I’d think Denver could make sense as well, that Harbaugh had some affinity for (Russell) Wilson.”

A former general manager thought Harbaugh may very well be a fallback candidate if considered one of the teams with deep pockets strikes out on Payton or one other high-profile alternative. When Carolina hired Matt Rhule, the danger was within the undeniable fact that Rhule was coming from the school ranks without nearly the NFL experience Harbaugh would bring. But it surely’s also possible the 2023 version of Harbaugh could carry different expectations after exerting a lot authority at a premier college program for nearly a decade.

“Harbaugh has done a miraculous job the last two years there,” an agent said, “but he went into the Minnesota interview just like the job was his, he was just going to sign a deal and leave. That didn’t sit well with Minnesota, and these owners talk. Once you have got had the sort of power Harbaugh has had at Michigan, it is far harder to work within the NFL with the restrictions you have got there. What finally ends up happening is, if you go to the professionals, you’re coping with men and owners who’ve larger egos than you.”

2. Is Zach Wilson finished because the Jets’ starting quarterback after the team benched him? Side note: In Wilson’s place, Mike White produced the Jets’ best statistical game for a quarterback because the 2014 season.

After Wilson struggled against Buffalo, Denver and Recent England (twice) over his 4 most up-to-date starts, White took over Sunday and shredded the Bears’ very bad defense. Wilson’s replacements, White and Joe Flacco, have each feasted on two of the worst defenses the Jets faced this season, with Flacco tossing 4 touchdown passes against Cleveland in Week 2.

That’s an attempt at providing context for the situation with Wilson, whose postgame attitude may need hurt him as much as his on-field aptitude when it got here time for the Jets to make your mind up which quarterback to play down the stretch.

“These things shows why it’s so tricky to be a head coach within the NFL,” an exec from one other team said. “Zach Wilson was sh—y in his press conference and his body language on the sideline was not great and the junior-high peach-fuzz face does work against him,” an exec from one other team said. “That isn’t his fault. When he’s 50, he’ll love that. From what I’ve seen on film, we’re being slightly hard on the child. But that’s the reason it is difficult to be a head coach within the NFL. It’ll be really interesting if White plays higher against a number of the higher teams and so they get into the playoffs.”

’15-22 NYJ Starting QBs by EPA/Pass Play

Yr Jets QB EPA/Pass Play


W, 31-10 (CHI)



W, 38-31 (KC)



L, 30-27 (NE)



L, 44-38 (GB)



W, 34-3 (LV)



W, 31-10 (CLE)



W, 20-6 (MIA)



W, 37-31 (BUF)



W, 34-21 (BUF)



L, 29-22 (HOU)


The table above stacks the Jets’ best statistical games since 2014 for starting quarterbacks, measured by expected points added (EPA) per pass play, in keeping with TruMedia. White’s game against the Bears stands at the highest. While EPA captures contributions beyond a quarterback’s control, including yards after the catch and fumbles, it’s no less than a sign of how productive offenses were when certain quarterbacks were within the lineup.

Larger picture, White probably isn’t going to be the reply. Flacco isn’t the reply. Wilson still may very well be the reply. He plausibly could start again this season, depending on how White plays and the way Wilson responds to what ought to be a humbling situation.

For historical perspective, Wilson may very well be fighting an uphill battle to stay the Jets’ quarterback for the long run.

NFL teams drafted 32 other quarterbacks in the primary round from 2012-21. Once those QBs were benched, most of them were soon gone from their organizations. Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa is a notable exception. The Dolphins, led on the time by a defensive-minded head coach and with out a clear vision on offense, benched Tagovailoa during his rookie season. That made Tagovailoa the one first-rounder from 2012-21 to endure that fate in his first yr. The list of quarterbacks benched of their second seasons includes Josh Rosen, Dwayne Haskins, E.J. Manuel, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel. Of those, only Manuel returned to his team the next season.

Wilson is the one quarterback chosen among the many top three picks within the 2012-21 drafts to be benched so early in his profession. The table below stacks all 33 of those first-round quarterbacks by draft slot. I’ve noted how early each was benched. Asterisks discover quarterbacks who were gone from their teams within the seasons immediately following their benchings. This makes it seem as if Wilson is probably going finished with the Jets, but with only 20 starts and no obvious alternative, it feels premature to say so yet.

2012-21 First-Round QBs & When Benched

Pick Slot QB Season Benched


Jameis Winston (TB)

4th (gone next yr)


Baker Mayfield (CLE)

fifth (already on 2nd team)


Andrew Luck (IND)



Joe Burrow (CIN)



Kyler Murray (ARI)



Trevor Lawrence (JAX)



Jared Goff (LA)



Zach Wilson (NYJ)



Robert Griffin (WAS)

third (gone next yr)


Mitchell Trubisky (CHI)

4th (gone next yr)


Marcus Mariota (TEN)

fifth (gone next yr)


Carson Wentz (PHI)

fifth (gone next yr)


Blake Bortles (JAX)

fifth (gone next yr)


Sam Darnold (NYJ)



Trey Lance (SF)



Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

1st (returned)


Justin Herbert (LAC)



Daniel Jones (NYG)



Josh Allen (BUF)



Ryan Tannehill (MIA)



Josh Rosen (ARI)

2nd (already on 2nd team)


Patrick Mahomes (KC)



Justin Fields (CHI)



Deshaun Watson (HOU)



Dwayne Haskins (WAS)

2nd (gone next yr)


Mac Jones (NE)



EJ Manuel (BUF)

2nd (returned)


Brandon Weeden (CLE)

2nd (gone next yr)


Johnny Manziel (CLE)

2nd (gone next yr)


Paxton Lynch (DEN)

Never Won Job


Jordan Love (GB)

Yet to Win Job


Teddy Bridgewater (MIN)

N/A (Injured)


Lamar Jackson (BAL)


3. We mentioned last week that Russell Wilson was near joining dubious company. He joined that company Sunday as his Denver Broncos struggled to crack double-figure scoring in a 24-10 defeat at Carolina.

Wilson made his tenth start of the season Sunday. For the eighth time in those 10 starts, his Broncos failed to succeed in 17 points. Since 2000, only Akili Smith has made more starts in the primary 12 weeks of a season without his team scoring no less than 17 in any of them.

Most Starts Under 17 Points, Weeks 1-12

Yr-Tm QB Starts


Akili Smith



Russell Wilson



Sam Bradford



JaMarcus Russell



Marc Bulger



Joey Harrington



Jake Plummer


Before the sport Sunday, Wilson tweeted slow-motion video of himself striding into the stadium like a rockstar, as if nobody were playing higher. In the course of the game, he passed for 142 yards and took three sacks while the Broncos strained to finish a streak of 19 consecutive Denver drives with out a touchdown. The gap between the sort of imagery and the on-field reality is striking, as replies to the tweet below clarify.

Eternally Grateful. #GodIsGood pic.twitter.com/NYNiWgIFpX

— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) November 27, 2022

4. The fascination with Odell Beckham Jr. as a differentiating WR addition may very well be outdated

Because the Dallas Cowboys and other contenders approach the season’s stretch run, Beckham is continually mentioned because the type of late-season addition that would help put a team excessive. He could change into that, given his talent level and the glimpses of production he showed for the Los Angeles Rams last season, especially within the NFC Championship Game. But as he rehabs from a torn ACL suffered within the Super Bowl, perspective on actual vs. perceived production could help set realistic expectations.

Beckham reached 100 yards receiving in 26 of his first 65 regular-season games, second-most in NFL history behind Julio Jones (28), in keeping with Pro Football Reference. Randy Moss is third on that list with 23. That’s the type of production company Beckham was keeping early in his profession. Since then, he has failed to succeed in 100 yards in any of his 31 regular-season games.

When Beckham caught nine passes for 113 yards for the Los Angeles Rams within the NFC title game last season, he ended a streak of 33 regular-season and postseason games during which he had failed to succeed in 100 yards.

As a general rule, Hall of Fame receivers will average about 75 yards per game, while average ones produce about 50 per game. The table below compares Beckham’s yards per game averages by season to those for all starting wideouts, including playoffs. Over the past two seasons, Beckham has failed to supply in addition to average starting wide receivers on a yards-per-game basis. His name still carries star appeal.

OBJ vs Average Starting WR Yards/Game

Season OBJ Avg Starting WR

























If Beckham could provide even a pair big games down the stretch, especially within the playoffs, he may very well be a beneficial addition. He just hasn’t produced anywhere near his peak levels with consistency for a very long time, and now he’s coming off a major injury.

5. The Bengals were the more physical, situationally profitable team during a 20-16 victory against Tennessee. That was great for them, and a giant surprise from a Titans standpoint.

The Titans have won during Mike Vrabel’s tenure by fielding a hard-nosed team that runs the ball, passes efficiently off play-action and, lately, has stiffened on defense. They’ve also created situational benefits using creative tactics.

One week after we detailed the Titans’ excellence in these areas, the Bengals were the more physical team, and it was Tennessee committing a costly penalty late in the sport to extinguish any shot at a comeback. The Titans haven’t lost many games on this fashion, but we’re continually reminded this can be a week-to-week league.

For years, the Titans have had their defensive linemen use pre-snap movement to trigger false starts. That’s one reason Tennessee leads the league in EPA on opponent false starts since Vrabel became coach in 2018.

On Sunday, the Titans committed two false starts of their very own, without drawing any against the Bengals. As a substitute of their defensive linemen creating benefits in critical moments, nose tackle Kevin Strong was flagged for striking Bengals snapper Cal Adomitis in the pinnacle/neck area on a 31-yard field-goal try with 1:57 left. Tennessee, which lost a replay challenge early within the fourth quarter, had no timeouts remaining. Cincy accepted the penalty and knelt thrice to finish the sport. This was a game the Bengals deserved to win after holding Derrick Henry to 38 yards on 17 carries, however it was also the kind of game Tennessee has found ways to survive through smarter play.

Titans’ Vrabel on last penalty: pic.twitter.com/c81Vehjxg2

— John Glennon (@glennonsports) November 27, 2022

Replays appeared to point out the arm of the Bengals’ right guard striking the snapper, Adomitis, in the pinnacle. It also appeared as if Strong, the nose tackle, could have made contact to the pinnacle/neck area. Regardless of the case, this was an un-Titans-like way for Tennessee to lose a game, and a very important way for the Bengals to prevail — on the road, against a physical opponent, without injured star receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

6. Two-minute drill: Jaguars, Raiders come through

Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars grew up slightly Sunday in scoring a 28-27 victory against Baltimore. They played aggressively down the stretch, putting the sport in Lawrence’s hands on the tying touchdown drive, not that they’d much alternative, given their timeout situation.

Simply Marvelous#BALvsJAX on CBS pic.twitter.com/OpZk3Oqg6u

— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) November 27, 2022

The Jaguars did have a alternative on the two-point conversion that followed. Coach Doug Pederson finessed the situation nicely by sending his extra-point team onto the sphere while Marvin Jones’ touchdown catch was under review. Pederson then sent the offense onto the sphere late, and Lawrence threw decisively from the pocket for Zay Jones to take the lead.

CLUTCHHHHHH#BALvsJAX on CBS pic.twitter.com/Jw3A0liLc6

— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) November 27, 2022

Lawrence’s third-and-6 strike to Zay Jones, followed quickly by his tying touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, happened in such rapid succession, the quarterback had no time to do anything but fire away. Those two plays, the primary for 29 yards and the second for a 10-yard touchdown, used only 18 seconds. The sequence felt like a 1-2 punch.

This might change into a signature victory for Lawrence and Pederson. There have been some harrowing moments. Lawrence fumbled when sacked on the ultimate drive but was bailed out when rookie center Luke Fortner recovered. And when the Ravens’ Justin Tucker was lining up the potential winning 67-yarder with two seconds left, yeah, the Jaguars needed to be anxious. They made their breaks on this game and got a pair, too.

Jacksonville became the thirtieth team since 2000 facing the situation the Jaguars faced on their final drive: down seven points with 2:00 to 1:30 left in regulation, possessing the ball at their very own 25-yard line. The Jags are the primary of those 30 teams to win in regulation, and only the third to win the sport in any respect. …

The presence of a skunk within the stands and tire tracks on the sphere where vandals spun donuts like high schoolers across a neighborhood lawn couldn’t detract from Jacoby Brissett’s closing statement because the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback. The Browns awarded a game ball to Brissett for his efforts during a 23-17 comeback victory against Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was appropriate. But here is the truth for Cleveland: The team is 4-0 this season when its combined EPA on defense/special teams is no less than average, and 0-7 in the remaining of the games.

What a finish here for Jacoby Brissett. #browns #nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/PZ2i2zCXCy

— Sara Walsh (@Sara_Walsh) November 27, 2022

The Browns’ offense was way more productive in losses to the Jets, Bills and Chargers earlier within the season than it was against Tampa Bay, but Cleveland lost those games through unusually poor performance on defense especially, but in addition on special teams, no less than against the Bills.

Deshaun Watson’s arrival because the Browns’ starting quarterback next week should increase the Browns’ margin for error in those phases, but he also will need more support than Cleveland has provided Brissett. The Browns finished with no less than minus-4.4 EPA on defense/special teams in all seven of those defeats with Brissett within the lineup. Houston was 4-21 in those games when Watson was within the lineup — higher, but not adequate to beat that kind of deficit commonly.

I wish I used to be joking #Browns pic.twitter.com/GNR1TcdKF9

— Madison Kerley (@madisondkerley) November 27, 2022

The Raiders entered this season pondering Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow can be their playmakers on offense. All three received recent contracts. Adams has delivered. Waller and Renfrow haven’t. Of their place, running back Josh Jacobs, who most emphatically didn’t receive a recent deal from the Raiders’ recent leadership, which declined his fifth-year option, has emerged opposite Adams as a dynamic force.

Last week, Jacobs gained 43 yards to the Denver 7 within the late going, allowing the team to succeed in time beyond regulation, where Adams’ touchdown catch won it. Sunday, Jacobs’ 303 scrimmage yards at Seattle included the walk-off 86-yard touchdown run in time beyond regulation. The 303 yards tied for eighth-most in NFL history. …

The Von Miller injury might have been worse from a Bills standpoint, with initial reports suggesting the pass-rusher could return for the stretch run this season. Age/injuries were the danger in signing the 33-year-old Miller to a cope with guaranteed money in each of the primary three seasons, however it was a risk the Bills were willing to absorb maximizing a championship window.

After playing 95 consecutive games at one points of his profession, including postseason, Miller has put together streaks of 4 games played, 16 missed, seven games played, two missed, 23 games played and nonetheless many he’s going to miss in the approaching weeks.

It’s a torn lateral meniscus for Miller. In 2014, Jadeveon Clowney missed six games with that injury, returned for one game, missed one other game after which played two before his season was finished. In October 2014, the Saints placed safety Jairus Byrd on season-ending injured reserve when he suffered a torn lateral meniscus. Last season, Washington corner Chris Westry missed seven games with that injury.

From @NFLGameDay: The #Bills ruled star Von Miller (lateral meniscus tear) out for Thursday, but the whole lot else is up within the air; Meanwhile, the #Bengals should not expected to have WR Ja’Marr Chase (hip) today. pic.twitter.com/FKyx0j2uPL

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 27, 2022

The Miami Dolphins jumping to a 30-0 halftime lead on the Houston Texans said plenty in regards to the Texans, especially when you concentrate on that Miami’s all-time largest halftime lead doesn’t date to the times of Don Shula. Slightly, it dates to the 2015 Dolphins led by coach Joe Philbin. That Miami team led the Texans by 41 on the half in Week 7 of that season.

As for the 2022 Dolphins, it looks like coach Mike McDaniel had higher start adding to that 700-play highlight package he made for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa talks a few report during today’s game that Mike McDaniel put together a 700-play highlight reel to point out him how good a player he’s… pic.twitter.com/v3RK9JCmhO

— WPLG Local 10 Sports (@Local10Sports) November 27, 2022

Aaron Rodgers leaving Green Bay’s 40-33 loss at Philadelphia with an injury and alluding to Jordan Love possibly taking on once the Packers are eliminated from the playoffs was … interesting.

Rodgers said he wouldn’t make a call on his future beyond this season until the offseason, but he did say this: “There’s obviously plenty of other conversations that come into play when you’re eliminated, and I’ll be open to all those conversations. Pride involves mind. Love of the sport. But there’s other aspects that, obviously, would come into play should we be mathematically eliminated.”

Love produced well Sunday night, completing 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards and a 63-yard touchdown to the emerging rookie Christian Watson. If Love plays extensively this season and plays well, the Packers gain more palatable options within the offseason because the team and Rodgers determine what comes next.

Unfortunately for the Packers, this season may very well be a preview for all times after Rodgers, when their offense won’t be any more reliable than the opposite phases.

The Packers simply haven’t been capable of count on any of the three phases to prop up the others, whereas up to now, the offense could often be relied upon to choose up slack. After the Packers allowed 363 yards rushing Sunday night, they really rank higher through 12 weeks in offensive EPA per game (nineteenth) than they do in combined defense/special teams (twenty fourth). But they don’t rank high enough in anyone phase to be higher than 4-8.

(Top photo: David Eulitt / Getty Images)

Get the latest Sports Updates (Soccer, NBA, NFL, Hockey, Racing, etc.) and Breaking News From the United States, United Kingdom, and all around the world.

Related articles


Recent articles