Think back to a year ago and all of the bad-to-pedestrian teams who rewarded that lack of production by promoting from within, giving coaches and/or GMs extensions or making everyone kiss and make up amid divisive environments. How many of them had decent seasons? How many are right back where they were a year ago?
Besides the Bucs and Titans -- who hired coaches from within -- and Atlanta, where the front office got confusing new titles and extensions, it has been a failure everywhere else. The Bills, Browns, Colts, Jaguars, Rams, Saints, Chargers and 49ers all went this route in either coaching, personnel or both, and it has ended up with firings and/or potential movement in each instance.
For all of the talk about how owners can be too quick to change in this league, far more are indecisive and allow friendships and interpersonal politics to cloud their vision, which results in them repeating the same mistakes over and over as years waste away.
More notes from around the NFL:
It was only one drive, but Tony Romo looked legit. His ball had pop and velocity, his placement was perfect and you could see his verve to play was still there. The film of that drive will make the rounds in plenty of NFL front offices this offseason -- the Browns, Jets, Bears, Broncos, 49ers, Bills and Cardinals (should they walk away from Carson Palmer) would all be in the market for a quarterback and several will explore a Romo trade. For a short sprint, it was as good as the veteran could look for having not appeared in a regular season game since last November.
The Texans QB situation is heinous entering the playoffs. Bill O'Brien ended up benching Tom Savage for a while and then re-benching Brock Osweiler and then having to go back to Osweiler in the second half after Savage was re-assessed for a concussion and then ruled out. Yikes. Savage would likely be the guy in the wild-card round if cleared ... though if he has to miss a few days of practice time and/or isn't cleared, things get cloudy.
In the end, I suppose it doesn't matter because the Texans have been playing essentially without a quarterback all season. Last year Brian Hoyer played in parts of 11 games (nine starts including just eight games he started and finished) and completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,606 yards, 7.1 yards per attempt, with 19 touchdowns to seven interceptions and a rating of 91.4.
This season Texans QBs completed 60 percent of their passes for 3,418 yards (just 214 per game) for 5.86 yards per attempt with 15 TDs and 16 INTs for a rating of 73.2. It's a good thing the Texans couldn't wait to give Osweiler $37M guaranteed and are stuck with him for 2017! What an upgrade! We'll see if the Texans get steamrolled again in the wild-card round, with Hoyer's bad game leading to him being the fall guy for a team that doesn't seem able to ever get over the hump.
Who knows what happens in Indianapolis? Owner Jim Irsay walks to the beat of his own drum and is very difficult to predict. But if he does decided to blow it up, a shrewd front office elsewhere would reach out to Colts personnel man Jimmy Raye. The Colts' wild comeback win over lowly Jacksonville, to reach 8-8 on the season, might have been enough to save the jobs of coach Chuck Pagano, GM Ryan Grigson and their assistants. But Raye could contribute to a lot of organizations in an evaluating capacity if everyone in Indy is left looking for work.
That was another tough year for the Jags, but their secondary coach, DeWayne Walker, is very good and has head coaching experience at the college level and the Jags' defense was much improved this season. He is very bright, experienced in a variety of defenses, and he could make things happen as a defensive play caller.
The Rams have not fired GM Les Snead yet and he remains part of their coaching search, but that status could change rapidly. Why? Because as the process of hiring a new coach moves along it's going to become clear to ownership just how coveted that GM spot is. Even guys like Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, who is the heir apparent to Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore and has rebuffed all overtures in the past, might not be immune from listening to this potential opportunity. There is significant allure to personnel men and coaches alike.
The New England Patriots are playing the best football in the NFL heading into the playoffs, surprise, surprise. Here they are again. The defense has been much improved in the final month of the season, Tom Brady looks fresh and Big Ben is the only other big-time QB in the AFC postseason. Look out.
The Eagles will be making some coaching changes at the assistant level from what I hear (and it could be more should their defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, get another head coaching gig). I'd anticipate a few tweaks on both sides of the ball and possibly in personnel as well.