- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2019

ASHBURN — The Redskins aren’t the only team searching for a coach. 

The NFL’s annual Black Monday, the day in which a slew of coaches lose their jobs, resulted in the New York Giants firing Pat Shurmur after two seasons. The Cleveland Browns, on the other hand, didn’t even wait until Monday to fire coach Freddie Kitchens, letting him go on Sunday.

There are now four teams with a coaching vacancy: The Redskins, Giants, Browns and the Carolina Panthers.

More changes could be coming, as well.

Notably, the Dallas Cowboys have not announced if Jason Garrett will be returning for a 10th season. The Cowboys were a massive disappointment this year, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs. Garrett has drawn most of the blame from fans, though owner Jerry Jones said after Sunday’s win over the Redskins that no decision has been made.

“I’m not going to get into it at all, an evaluation or assessment,” Jones said. “I’m not. I’m going to do exactly what I always do and get up, go forward and do the best job that I can. We’ll make those decisions accordingly.”

If Garrett is fired, that means there will be three coaching changes in the NFC East — a reflection of how terrible the division was this season. Combined, the division went 24-40, good for a .375 win percentage.

The Redskins first fired former coach Jay Gruden after an 0-5 start. They replaced him with interim Bill Callahan, who has yet to be officially relieved of his duties but has little chance of being named the Redskins’ next coach. Ron Rivera is the front runner and met with the team’s brass on Monday, the same day Washington fired team president Bruce Allen.

The Giants, meanwhile, moved on from Shurmur following a two-season stint in which he went 9-23. New York failed to take a step forward this season, dealing with injuries to running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones. But in a statement, Giants owner John Mara said it was in the “best interest” of the franchise to part ways.

“Pat has been a successful and highly-respected NFL coach for 21 years and he is not solely responsible for our record,” Mara said. “But we came to the conclusion it is best to have a fresh start with the coaching staff.”

New York decided to retain general manager Dave Gettleman, with the team backing him as “the right person to lead us going forward.”

Like the Redskins, the Giants have a promising young quarterback to build around. Some experts viewed Rivera as a candidate for the Giants job, given his connection to Gettleman. Both men spent time in Carolina together.

The Giants, though, appear to be focused elsewhere in their search. ESPN reported the team plans to speak to Baylor coach Matt Rhule and requested permission to speak to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. All three candidates come from an offensive background.

Should Garrett be fired, the Cowboys are expected to lean toward a bigger name in their search. Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, who coached Heisman winners Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, and longtime college coach Urban Meyer have been speculated for months as possible candidates. Meyer, too, said in a radio interview he would “absolutely” be interested in coaching the Cowboys.

Meyer, of course, created headlines when he sat in Dan Snyder’s owner’s box two weeks ago. But the Redskins have focused heavily on Rivera.


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