The end of the regular NFL season always marks the end of a few jobs. Coaches with losing records all line up to the chopping block to hear the final verdicts. Within a day of the season ending, a total of five coaches had their contracts cut and were booted out the door. Don’t feel too bad; with the money promised from their contracts, they’ll be living a happy, golf-filled retirement. Among those losing their jobs lie Detroit’s Schwartz, Washington’s Shanahan, Minnesota’s Frazier, Tampa’s Schiano and, shockingly, Cleveland’s Chudzinski. We’ll throw them out to sea and explore the “implications” (Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference) involved with each of the coaching situations. This’ll be a five part series that explores each of the coaches individually. WARNING: this article is largely based on opinion. Deal with it.
LESLIE FRAZIER – YEAH
I’m not gonna lie to you, this is going to be a really boring article. Like, awful. This isn’t in the self-deprecating but hilarious methods of Craig Ferguson; there just honestly isn’t anything interesting to say about Leslie Frazier. He hasn’t messed up in the same way as Shwartz, and he isn’t nearly as crazy as Shanahan. Frazier just… is. A quick trip to his Wikipedia page reveals a short history lesson on Frazier going to the Super Bowl with the Bears in ’85 and suffering a career-ending injury while returning a punt. From that point on, he worked his way up the coaching ladder and eventually jumped into the Vikings’ head coaching job mid 2010 season. He finished the season 3-3. Woo. In 2011, he led the team to a very pitiful 3-13. Not woo. He somehow kept his job and happily watched as Adrian Peterson single-handedly led the team to a playoff spot in 2012; oh and the world didn’t end so there’s that… 2013 rolls around and Frazier decides that his quarterback situation doesn’t need to be addressed. Christian Ponder is a franchise quarterback, right? Well, every team stacked the box against AP and held him in check forcing Ponder to prove his worth. He couldn’t. The team picked up the severely under-prepared Freeman who fared even worse. They then turned to backup Matt Cassel who actually held his own! Woo. Either way, Frazier got the boot. If there’s anything to say about Frazier’s lack of involvement in the media and on the field, it’s that he seems to lack passion and the competitive fire needed to lead an entire team. Minnesota needs a hard-ass coach to step up and beat their under-stacked team into shape.
The team may be down in the dumps, but there are still a few key offensive players worth noting in fantasyland. The Vikings are boasting the incredible Adrian Peterson, the old but skilled Greg Jennings and the new boy-wonder Cordarrelle Patterson. AP was a little underwhelming this season, but who can honestly blame him? And by underwhelming I mean he produced consistently and was well-worth his 1st pick overall – he just didn’t go under the knife and come back for a 9000 yard rushing season. He’ll still be prevalent with new coach Mike Zimmer at the helm. The new hiree leaves the team with many fantasy questions, though. He’s spent his recent career as a defensive coordinator, leaving me without any idea of how he’ll use his new offensive weapons. Jennings is getting a little old and will likely be used sparingly. I would count him as no more than a flex for the next season, even with a quarterback improvement. Patterson, on the other hand, turned into a superstar at the end of this season. He’s one of those weird “good at everything” players. He was a solid punt returner for the team, was occasionally used on sneaky rushing plays and was tossed in as a receiver. What made his play special was that the team didn’t over use him. They allowed their opponents to forget about him, gave him the ball a couple times a game, and watched him break away for huge yardage gains and, more times than not, a touchdown. If Zimmer can keep using Patterson in the same kind of sneaky format, he will be a massive fantasy asset next season. Think top 20 receiver territory.
Next up, Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano and his quarterback feud take a hit…