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It could be a slow year for the coaching carousel

Only one head coach has been fired this year in the NFL, and it's beginning to look as though we'll reach the 2014 offseason with the remaining 31 still employed. That might have been clinched when the Washington Redskins decided against firing Mike Shanahan this week. Things are still looking bleak for Shanahan, but if they aren't firing him now they won't likely do it until Black Monday at the earliest. 

With that in mind, it looks as though Black Monday could be much more tame this year, and the annual "coaching carousel" could be quite lame. I suppose that's what happens when 14 of the league's 32 head coaches were hired in the last two years. There are a lot of knee-jerk reactions in this league, but nearly half of the NFL's current head coaches have had less than two years to prove themselves. 

Nine coaches were fired last year alone, and five more in 2012. With that being the case, we may have reached somewhat of a temporary plateau.

Gary Kubiak has already been let go in Houston and it appears the writing's on the wall for Shanahan in Washington. That makes one, maybe two. But beyond that, nothing's even close to being written in stone. 

It doesn't help (or helps, depending on how you view this) that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars have turned things around in shocking fashion. The Jags might not have been ready to give up on Gus Bradley after just one year anyway, but it was a definite possibility once they started to look like a potential 0-16 team. After an 0-8 start, though, Bradley's Jaguars have somehow won four of five. As a result, he's safe. And so might be Greg Schiano, which is hard to believe considering the tumult that surrounded the Bucs during their 0-8 start. They too have won four of five, though, and Schiano might have saved his job. 

In the AFC, first-year head coaches Bradley (Jaguars), Andy Reid (Chiefs), Doug Marrone (Bills), Rod Chudzinski (Browns) and Mike McCoy (Chargers) are probably safe. Same goes for second-year guys Joe Philbin (Dolphins), Dennis Allen (Raiders) and Chuck Pagano (Colts). Bill Belichick (Patriots) and Marvin Lewis (Bengals) are the league's longest-tenured head coaches. They're staying put, as is John Fox, who coaches the first-place Broncos. John Harbaugh (Ravens) is a year removed from winning the Super Bowl. 

That just leaves Mike Munchak (Titans), Rex Ryan (Jets) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers).

In the NFC, first-year head coaches Bruce Arians (Cardinals), Marc Trestman (Bears) and Chip Kelly (Eagles) are locked in. I'd also imagine second-year man Jeff Fisher (Rams) has done enough to merit a third season. Jim Harbaugh (49ers) is a year removed from an NFC championship and Pete Carroll (Seahawks), Sean Payton (Saints) and Jim Schwartz (Lions) are leading their respective divisions. Ron Rivera has undoubtedly saved his job with the red-hot and playoff-bound Panthers. Tom Coughlin (Giants) will walk away when he's good and ready and Mike McCarthy (Packers) is as comfortable as a coach can get.

That leaves Schiano (Buccaneers), Shanahan (Redskins), Jason Garrett (Cowboys), Leslie Frazier (Vikings) and Mike Smith (Falcons). 

If all eight of the non-locks get dumped, we'd have another crazy year. But it's possible none of them get canned.

Munchak has only been given two years in Tennessee and that team isn't exactly stacked with talent. The Steelers don't like giving up on head coaches too quickly, and Tomlin is a Super Bowl winner. Ryan is a strong candidate to be fired, but the Jets have already hung on longer than many expected. 

It looks like Schiano's job will be spared, especially since he'd cost a lot to fire. Jerry Jones has vouched for Jason Garrett pretty strongly, and it'd be shocking if Smith were to be shown the door after so many quality seasons in Atlanta. This was just an off year for the Falcons. It doesn't look good, however, for Frazier, who has had plenty of time in Minnesota. 

TGS predictions: Shanahan and Frazier get fired during the first week of the offseason. Everybody else survives. The way we see it, everybody but Houston, Washington and Minnesota avoids the carousel. 

If I know this league, though, it won't be long before it starts spinning faster than ever. 

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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