The season is coming to an end and a new year awaits all of us.
With many people setting resolutions for 2011, the idea of change is also very much at the forefront for teams not heading to the playoffs. In fact, many organizations have already started planning for next season, which could include a coaching change.
Many coaches will find out their fates on Monday. "Happy New Year, you're fired," is a refrain many have unfortunately heard in the league, and it will be uttered again this time around.
Here is a look at what awaits some of the coaching staffs and front offices on the hot seat.
A new coach is going to Carolina to try and turn the team around, but the biggest looming decision will be if the Panthers feel Jimmy Clausen is their long-term answer at quarterback. Not in terms of starting, but long-term as far as winning.
Even though Marvin Lewis wants changes in Cincinnati, he does not have much leverage or another year on his contract. In any event, whoever is coaching the Bengals next season will most surely want to make the same changes.
Jerry Jones said he does not want a coach who has won a Super Bowl somewhere else, which means that Jason Garrett might be safe to stay on as head coach. That is, unless the Titans cut Jeff Fisher free. Garrett is the favorite, but Fisher is really well liked in Dallas.
John Elway is coming in, and is Jim Fassel far behind? My sources say if Gary Kubiak is not the man in Denver, Fassel just might become the new coach. The former Giants coach is a favorite of Elway. Stay tuned.
The Texans think they are just a good defensive coordinator away from being a great team. Indications are that owner Bob McNair is not making a head-coaching change, but will tweak the defensive staff. Will this work? Not unless the offense gets tougher as well.
Jack Del Rio never appears safe in Jacksonville, in part because he has fired more assistant coaches in the last few years than any other team, and many are wondering if he is next to go. The Jaguars are an extremely young team and need an influx of talent to close the gap on their AFC competitors.
Bill Parcells appears to have saved Tony Sparano's job, but what won't be saved is the offensive staff. The Dolphins will be in the market, assuming that Sparano does stay for a new offensive coordinator.
This is the one team that really needs to figure some things out before it makes a move. The first thing needed is a complete and thorough autopsy of what went wrong. Then, a plan can be put into place.
New York Giants
Major problems to solve, but normally management will never rush to judgment. Tom Coughlin will have to make some changes if, in fact, he is back.
Even though the Raiders are now a good team, always expect changes there, not with the players, but with the coaches. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson might be in line for a head-coaching job, especially if there is an overhaul in Cincinnati.
San Diego Chargers
No changes coming at the top, but there might be some movement if defensive coordinator Ron Rivera is able to secure a head-coaching job.
San Francisco 49ers
A new general manager -- not me, by the way -- is heading to town and will hire the coach. Candidates from Mornhinweg to Jim Harbaugh are being talked about around the league. If Harbaugh wants to enter the NFL, I am sure he will have many places that could use his talents.
A showdown is scheduled in Nashville between Fisher and quarterback Vince Young. If Fisher loses, what coach in the NFL would actually want to coach Young?
Dysfunction is back in D.C. and, before deciding on their next quarterback, the Redskins need to decide what they want to be on both sides of the ball. This season seemed like a wasted year, and now Washington must make a few changes. And those adjustments might come from anywhere, but the first place to look is on defense.
I hope everyone has a happy New Year filled with success, joy and, most of all, great health.
Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi.