NFL coaching changes: Joe Judge joins Flores, Nagy among fired coaches
Once the NFLAs the regular season draws to a close, many teams immediately focus on coaching.
That meant bad news for a trio of head coaches on Monday, as Brian Flores, Mike Zimmer and Matt Nagy were all let down by their respective teams. This follows Sunday’s announcement that the Denver Broncos had fired Vic Fangio after three seasons.
On Tuesday, the New York Giants followed suit, sacking head coach Joe Judge a day after general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement.
Here are the latest moves in the league as the coaching carousel spins.
New York Giants
All eyes were on the Giants after Flores, Nagy and Zimmer were fired on Monday, and a day later New York announced the decision to remove Judge from his head coaching position after two mediocre seasons in the Big Apple.
“Steve (Tisch) and I both think it’s in the best interest of our franchise to move in a different direction,” team president John Mara said in a statement. “We met with Joe yesterday afternoon to discuss the status of the team. I met Joe again this afternoon, and it was during this conversation that I informed Joe of our decision. . We appreciate Joe’s efforts on behalf of the organization. “
Judge led New York to a 6-10 mark in its inaugural season in 2020, and a 4-13 record this season, giving it a 30.3% winning clip in two seasons with the Giants. They failed to advance to the playoffs under Judge, and this year New York was penultimate in yards per game (287.3), –– representing one of three teams to come out on top. averaging less than 300 total yards per game –– and second to last in points per game (15.2).
Last season, the Giants were second to last in yards per game (299.6) and points per game (17.5) as well.
Defensively, the Giants allowed 354.8 YPG (21st in the NFL) and 24.5 PPG (23rd in the NFL) in 2021.
The Miami Dolphins announced Monday that they had sacked head coach Brian Flores after three seasons at the helm – about 12 hours after leading his team to a 33-24 victory over the New England Patriots.
Hopes were high at the start of the season after Miami went 10-6 in 2020. But the Dolphins went 1-7 out of the gate, and as they won eight of their last nine games to finish 9- 8, they placed third in the AFC East and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
“I made the decision today to part ways with Brian Flores,” said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. “After assessing where we are as an organization and what we need to improve on in the future, I determined that the key dynamic in our football organization is not performing at the level I want it to be and I felt this decision was in the best interests of the Miami Dolphins. I think we have a talented young team in place and we have the potential to be much better in 2022.
“I want to thank Brian for his hard work and wish him all the best for his future.”
The Dolphins were 24-25 in Flores’ three seasons, and the 40-year-old is unlikely to be out of work for long, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Flores was only the fourth coach in Dolphins history to record two winning seasons in his first three years with the team. He was also 4-2 against former boss Bill Belichick – the highest rating of any coach against the Belichick Patriots.
Like Flores, Mike Zimmer ended his season with a victory – 31-17 over the Chicago Bears – but also like Flores, it wasn’t enough for a playoff berth or to save his job.
On Monday, the Vikings announced that they had fired Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman.
Zimmer was 72-56-1 in eight seasons as the head coach of Minnesota, reaching the playoffs in 2015, 2017 and 2019. His 2017 squad, led by the NFL’s best defense, earned a 13-3 record and advanced to the NFC. Championship Game, where it fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion, the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, the last two seasons have been less successful as the Vikings went 15-18 and failed to reach the playoffs. The once-vaunted defense has also weakened, ranking 24th in runs against (426) and 27th in yards per game (5.7) this season.
The Chicago Bears fired coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace on Monday after the team placed third in the NFC North at 6-11.
Nagy’s team started the season 3-2, but then lost eight of their next nine to drop out of the competition. The Bears were 27th in the NFL in scorers (311 points) and 22nd in defense (407 points allowed).
Nagy was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2018, his first with the club, when the Bears went 12-4 and ended an eight-year playoff drought. They also reached the playoffs as an 8-8 wild card team in 2020. In their four seasons at the helm, the Nagy Bears have gone 34-31 but 0-2 in the playoffs.
Nagy’s tenure in Chicago was tied to young quarterbacks. First, he inherited Mitchell Trubisky, a QB who was picked No.2 overall in the 2017 draft – eight places ahead of Patrick Mahomes – and never blossomed.
Then, last spring, the Bears traded for Justin Fields’ No. 11 overall draft. The rookie struggled, however, going 2-8 in 10 starts and a final NFL spot for total quarterbacks (26.0).
The Broncos announced on Sunday that they were firing Vic Fangio after three seasons at the helm.
Fangio’s side went 7-10 and placed last in the AFC West in 2021, finishing below 0.500 and missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season. He was 19-30 in three seasons in Denver.
“With the foundations in place, the progress that has been made and the resources we have available to improve, I am excited about the future of our team. We will find an exceptional leader and head coach for the Broncos and our fans. “Broncos chief executive George Paton said in a statement.
Fangio, 63, has held various coaching positions over the past 41 years, including 33 seasons in the NFL. Prior to joining the Broncos, he served as a defensive coordinator in the NFL or at the college level for 20 of the past 24 seasons.
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