The Schein Nine  

 

How to fix Eagles, Cowboys, Chargers, other struggling teams

On Monday, I wasn't sure if I was hosting my SiriusXM NFL radio show or a fan hotline. Many of the callers were angry, and rightfully so.

In this edition of The Schein Nine, I examine nine teams in pressure-packed situations and lay out what each one's next move(s) should be.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Darlington: Are Eagles lost?
A dejected Michael Vick talked like Philly had been defeated by more than the Falcons on Sunday, Jeff Darlington writes. More ...

Next move: Bench Vick and start Foles.

It's Nick Foles time. Right now.

Michael Vick's news conference following the Eagles' non-competitive loss to the Atlanta Falcons was telling. He knows his days as the starting quarterback are numbered. While it isn't all Vick's fault that the Eagles are losing, he has been horrible this year -- highly irresponsible when it comes to protecting the football. At 3-4, the Eagles are spiraling out of control. They should play the rookie quarterback (Foles) and give the ball to running back LeSean McCoy 25 times per game.

Andy Reid has been incredible as the head coach in Philly, but he will be fired at the end of the season if this keeps up. Reid removed defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Now he needs to remove Vick.

2. Dallas Cowboys

Next move: Look for another head coach.

Before the season started, I predicted Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would clean house at the end of a disappointing campaign, casting aside coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo.

While Romo continues to throw haphazard picks in big spots, he's hardly the biggest problem.

That would be Garrett.

I don't care that Garrett went to Princeton. He has yet to demonstrate an appropriate football IQ and has no clue regarding game management or play selection. His lack of feel for the game was on display again on Sunday against the New York Giants. Two weeks ago, I chronicled the in-game follies that have marked Garrett's tenure as head coach. He's overwhelmed. The team is disorganized. He's not the right guy. The next move has to be hiring a new coach in Dallas at the end of the year.

3. San Diego Chargers

Next move: Show Smith the door.

In truth, coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith should've been let go at the end of last year. A meaningless win against the Oakland Raiders shouldn't have been enough to bring the pair back after yet another season of underachievement and failure.

The Chargers got Norved yet again Sunday, losing to the inferior Cleveland Browns. I wrote two weeks ago that the Chargers' season and the Smith-Turner regime basically ended with the epic collapse against the Denver Broncos.

But in an effort to save the season, operating under the sure-to-be-correct assumption that both Turner and Smith are done at the end of the year, I'd fire Smith right now.

I thought Smith should've been fired immediately after he disparaged his own team in comments he made to Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego regarding the loss to Denver.

"It was an embarrassing and humiliating performance by a team going in the wrong direction fast," Smith had the nerve to tell Acee.

"We have some outstanding, talented players on this team and some outstanding coaches across the board. But obviously, we cannot play as a team. We appear to not be able to handle adversity or finish games. Individual and team confidence appears to be going south."

That's a morale killer.

I'd have him pack his bags right now, and then fire Turner at the end of the year.

4. Kansas City Chiefs

Next move: Purge the negativity.

So Romeo Crennel actually told reporters after the Chiefs' loss to the Oakland Raiders that he had no clue why Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles didn't touch the ball more? Wow.

Dead. Coach. Walking.

I'm a huge fan of Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, but the NFL is a results-oriented business, and the results of his drafts and free-agency moves have been putrid.

Pioli, Crennel and quarterback Matt Cassel should all be distant memories for the Chiefs by the offseason. The negativity is overwhelming in Kansas City. The Chiefs need a total cleansing.

5. New York Jets

Next move: Let Tebow loose.

Pin the latest debacle, an embarrassing no-show loss to the Miami Dolphins at home, on coach Rex Ryan. Antonio Cromartie's personal foul on Dolphins running back Reggie Bush on the first drive of the game showed that the Jets were ill-prepared and not focused on winning, seemingly more interested in the midweek chatter.

Ryan had promised that the Jets would "empty the tank" against the Dolphins. Instead, they flopped miserably, in grotesque fashion, on offense, defense and special teams. Mark Sanchez coughed up the football via a sack/fumble during which he seemed to have no internal clock, and also threw his customary pick while locking in on a receiver.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum traded for Tim Tebow so Ryan could run the ball with him. The Jets hired Tony Sparano, who had never called plays by himself before, to be the offensive coordinator and do things like run the Wildcat with Tebow. But the Jets don't play Tebow, even though they likely eschewed the chance to add a receiver (think Mario Manningham) in order to pay the former Broncos quarterback. It's all baffling and inexplicable.

Force the issue, Rex. It's Tebow time.

Tebow would give the Jets a lift. As I wrote weeks ago, the Sanchez era is over. He has regressed as a player and a leader. He fails even when giving news conferences.

The haters say Tebow can't throw. I say Sanchez is having trouble completing the forward pass. After the bye week, the Jets should name Tebow the starter for the rest of the year. This team needs a major boost.

6. New Orleans Saints

Next move: Forget a nightmare of a season.

It's a given that the Saints are going to miss the playoffs, so my big plan for them kicks off in the offseason. And here it is: Do nothing.

Suspended coach Sean Payton hasn't been around all season. Quarterback Drew Brees selfishly held out during the preseason. The bounty scandal was a distraction. The players on defense haven't adjusted to new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's system.

This season was doomed from the start. I'm sure general manager Mickey Loomis (who was also suspended for eight games) will look to add more talent on defense via the draft. But I'd keep this group together and just chalk this year up to bad circumstances.

7. Cleveland Browns

Next move: Start over.

Jimmy Haslam is now officially the owner. Joe Banner is officially the CEO. Haslam and Banner both represent major upgrades (over Randy Lerner and a checked-out Mike Holmgren, respectively).

That's just the beginning. In January, general manager Tom Heckert will be out. Head coach Pat Shurmur doesn't have a chance to survive. The incoming brass will decide what to do with quarterback Brandon Weeden.

8. Carolina Panthers

Next move: Hire the right general manager.

First, I would see if there's a general manager who will take running back DeAngelo Williams (his bloated contract, his injuries and his untapped potential) off the Panthers' books.

Assuming that doesn't happen by the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline on Thursday, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson needs to start interviewing candidates to replace fired general manager Marty Hurney. It's important that he takes his search outside the organization. Look at what the Atlanta Falcons did, bringing Thomas Dimitroff over from the New England Patriots.

Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Steve Keim would be ideal for Carolina. Whoever Richardson hires, the new general manager should have full autonomy when it comes to players and coaches, and should be allowed to decide if coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski are right for the Panthers.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

Next move: Turn to an old divisional rival.

The Jacksonville Jaguars also need a new general manager. Gene Smith is in over his head. Have you noticed how lazy rookie receiver Justin Blackmon is as a route runner? The fifth overall draft pick, who embarrassed the organization with a DUI this summer, has been a total non-factor on the field. Smith's draft record hasn't been great. He made quarterback Blaine Gabbert a first-round pick last year. This April, after picking Blackmon, Smith took a punter -- a punter! -- in the third round.

Take a look around the AFC South. The Jags are light years behind the Houston Texans. The Indianapolis Colts have a franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck. The Tennessee Titans have a chance. Jacksonville has nothing.

If I were in charge of the Jaguars, I'd give former Colts executive Bill Polian a blank check and the keys to the car at the end of the season.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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