The NFL head coaching carousel spun wildly on Thursday. Suddenly, there is only one spot left to fill.
On the 10th day of the NFL offseason, four head coaching vacancies were accounted for in dizzying fashion. Only the Tennessee Titans are still looking for a head coach, and they were active Thursday finding their new general manager. The Detroit Lions' situation still hangs in the balance, with coach Jim Caldwell possibly losing his job. But we learned the answers to a lot of offseason questions Thursday when the Giants announced Ben McAdoo as head coach, the Eagles settled on Doug Pederson, the Bucs decided to promote Dirk Koetter and the 49ers gave Chip Kelly another chance to lead a team.
Let's break down all the winners and losers from the day.
49ers beat writers: Chip Kelly may be prickly. He may not be successful in a difficult division. But he's never going to be boring. We're happy to see Kelly get another chance to coach in the NFL because many of the concepts he brought to the league worked, and it's easy to imagine he's learned from his mistakes in Philadelphia. He also thinks differently in a league plagued by conservative groupthink.
The 49ers were one of the toughest teams to watch in 2015 and they should be a fascinating experiment to watch on and off the field. General manager Trent Baalke and owner Jed York have been beset by drama over the last two seasons, and adding Kelly to the mix offers the chance for implosion if things don't turn around quickly on the field. Baalke and York will have to prove they have patience because the 49ers roster will take time to turn around and find players that fit Kelly's scheme.
If nothing else, Kelly's hiring offers the chance for redemption for one of the brightest young stars in the league from only a few seasons ago ...
Colin Kaepernick: Count Mike Mayock as a believer in Kelly's ability to turn Kaepernick's career around. Kelly and Kaepernick were rumored as a potential pair in Philadelphia and we suspect he got the 49ers job in part because he convinced the 49ers they already had the right franchise quarterback.
Andy Reid: Three years after getting deposed in Philadelphia, Andy Reid will see his protege, Doug Pederson, take over the team. Lurie entered the offseason saying he wanted a coach that could stabilize the team with "emotional intelligence." Ultimately, Lurie chose to return to the same coaching tree that he chopped down a few years ago.
Pederson, currently the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, can't be announced as the team's coach until after the Chiefs' playoff run. (Look for sarcastic tweets from Eagles fans about the slow motion Kansas City offense sometime around the second quarter on Saturday in Foxborough.) Andy Reid proved he's one of the best coaches in football once again this season with the Chiefs, and the respect that Pederson has earned only furthers that reputation. With Brad Childress also possibly returning to Philly, it feels like Lurie wants a mulligan.
Players that fit in Reid's system in Philadelphia: Oh, wait. Chip Kelly ran almost every one of them out of town.
Jameis Winston: The hiring of Dirk Koetter as Bucs head coach means that Winston won't have to learn a new offensive system. That is a huge plus for a young quarterback that showed all sorts of promise as a rookie. Koetter's system, relying on downfield passing, plays to Winston's strengths.
Tom Coughlin: The entire Giants coaching search was a slap in the face to Coughlin. They basically pinned the problems of the last three seasons in New York on Coughlin after promoting Ben McAdoo from offensive coordinator to coach. General manager Jerry Reese, who has done a poor job stocking the shelves, remains in place. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who just presided over a defense that set records for ineptitude (again), remains in place.
Giants fans looking for hope: The organization isn't starting over. They are just removing the one part of the power structure in New York that everyone believed in. This could be a case of when too much continuity is a bad thing.
Titans fans looking for hope: The hire of new general manager Jon Robinson comes with a caveat. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Mike Mularkey has been given "strong indications" he'll be the next head coach, removing the "interim" tag from his title. This is not going to help the team sell tickets, much less sell belief that next season will be any different after five wins over the last two years.
Doug Marrone and Mike Shanahan: Marrone had an interview in Tennessee, but it looks like he's going to finish another coaching cycle without getting a job despite a ton of interviews. Shanahan, meanwhile, was reportedly close to getting the 49ers job. It's worth wondering if he'll ever get a head coaching chance again.